Let me just say this -- I wasn't expecting to become Buddy Valastro, or one of those cute DC Cupcakes gals. I was hoping not to be the recipient of pity stares and the 'look' that says, 'oh, I'm glad that's not me!' But, on class number two of my 'Basics of Cake Decoration' course, this happened:
|Taken with my camera phone.
I even got 'the look' from the instructor. Yes, my cake broke in half before I could even scoop the butter cream into my featherweight piping bag. (If you can actually call it butter cream. The version they want us to use is made with vegetable shortening.) Nonetheless, I'm determined, so I look the instructor straight in the eye and say, 'I'll make something fantastic with this - just you wait!'. She didn't look convinced.
But really, it's a frickin' cake class, not brain surgery. I took the 4 week course with my friend and faithful reader, Libbyloulou, thinking it would be a nice way for us to spend some time together, learning something fun. So, I must say I'm incredibly surprised at the dedication and intensity of the other classmates. These are serious cake ladies, armed with the $400.00 Wilton Professional Decorating Kit. I'm not sure if this is what it's actually called, but I'm calling it 'The Mofo'. I was slightly intimidated looking down at my piddly beginner's kit, its half-dozen tips haplessly scattered across the cardboard box, sadly taunting me with 'couldn't you at least buy us a case?' Mofo indeed.
Isn't it all about learning technique? Substance over style? Well, if my cake is any indication, I've got some work ahead of me. I felt like the kid who turned in a 'volcano' science project at the last possible hour, dragging in a pile of papier mache that resembles more lump than mountain. This feeling was confirmed when one of the students hauled out a multi-directional cake stand, and gently placed a perfectly baked, leveled and flawless looking chocolate torte on top. She brought dulce de leche to use as filling; I brought a Hunt's snack pack.
So, what can you do? Well, you can't give up the research, even in the face of challenge. So, I glued the sorry mess back together with "butter cream", and took in the instruction. Truthfully, I was pleased that I finally learned how to properly ice a cake, make rosettes, shells, and my favourite, leaves. I may never own The Mofo, but I think I have the beginnings of some decorative skill. Here's how the sad little cake turned out:
And, here's a bit of leaf handiwork:
All things considered, I think I have a steady hand, a creative eye, and yes -- an annoying determination to get things right. Next week is the final class; we're learning how to make 'ribbon roses'. I will bring in a cake that is properly iced, level, and unbroken. I am thinking of veering from the formula though, and will make my butter cream with butter. (Just don't tell the instructor.)