16 September 2008

Adventures in Cake Decorating

Last December, I was at home in BG and helping my mom clean out the kitchen pantry. I came across a nasty water-stained and moldy box of her supplies from when she took the very same class in 1986 (see pic, lower right). Though I had passed by that box so many times growing up, I hadn't really given thought to the fact that she never used it anymore. Since I had also started to take up cupcake baking last year, I thought...hmm, maybe I should take this to the next level. So my mom gladly gave me all her supplies, and flash forward to now when I finally got my butt to sign up for a class at the Michael's in Richfield. The class meets 4 times, once a week for two hours. It was also on sale for 50% off and at $20, I figured...not bad. Especially if this can help my not-so-secret wish to sell my cupcakes as a side gig in graduate school (seriously, email me for your small events).

On the first class, we learned the very basics. How to level/torte a cake (this tool is pretty awesome and totally worth the $3); how to make the buttercream frosting and the different consistencies (i.e., stiff, medium, and thin; different designs call for diff consistencies); how to frost a cake; and some other essentials.  I just came back from my second class where we learned how to do stars, borders, dots, and writing (mine is really bad right now....so I decided to leave it for another cake). That all might sound pretty elementary, but it's a lot harder than it sounds. They're not kidding when they say that you have to practice this stuff. As part of the practice, we had to bring in a cake that was frosted and work on a design. What I came up with was pretty plain because I have so much work to do for school...but hopefully I'll get better with practice.  And my lucky friends, classmates, and roommates get to eat all that cake! 

Some lessons learned:
- Consistency of frosting is key.  Meringue powder in buttercream helps it to set so that it holds shape better.
- Practice, practice, practice. We'll see if I can hone my skills effectively with my crazy schedule and short attention span.
- Exorbitant prices for cakes (save for CostCo, those prices boggle my mind) are pretty much warranted. This is a time-consuming, detail-oriented endeavor!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Steph, This is an amazing hobby and definitely combines your love of food, art, and socializing. I am wondering if you have worked with fondant? I am thinking that the potential sacrifice in flavor may be outweighed by its canvas like potential? You are so impressive. From knitting licorice underwear to this!