I recently decided to take a cake decorating class at my local “adult school”. The fact that I’m old enough to go to an “adult school” doesn’t quite feel right but I guess as you edge towards the latter of your twenties, you’re fully considered an adult.
Anyhow, the class was awesome. The fee for the class was very comparable to what you’d pay at a Joann’s or Michael’s. The costly part is all of the equipment. I think I spent about $200 in all – this includes decorating tips, piping bags, pans, Bake-even strips, cake boards, a turntable, extracts and flavorings, and of course all of the supplies to bake the cakes. So while the class is affordable, be prepared to invest a good amount. I say “invest” because I do know that I’ll be making cakes for occasions, so the equipment will definitely be put to use. The class itself was only four, three-hour sessions, but that was plenty of time to learn the basics.
Class one: Presentation on how to properly dam and crumb-coat (or as Buddy Valestro says – “dirty ice”) a cake, and practice with basic tip styles. Most of this class was a lecture-style, with some actual practice at the end.
Class two: Practice damming our cakes and covering in crumb coats. Then we got to decorate! My cake was a white cake, with an almond crusting-buttercream frosting.
I have to say, I LOVED how my cake turned out and it was so easy to decorate (my hand was shaking by the end though!)
Class three: decorating cupcakes. I was exhausted that day so I honestly struggled through the three-hour class. I’m not sure if it was my fatigue that put a damper on decorating cupcakes, but I found that I didn’t really enjoy decorating the cupcakes as much as the cake. But I did manage to create a tropical-theme with them, like the one below.
This was the day before the first day of fall. Maybe I wasn’t ready for summer to end?
Class four: We had to bring a cake dirty iced and ready to decorate. My cakes didn’t bake so well, so it was a wee-bit lopsided. I found that the instructor’s recipes needed a lot more baking time than my usual recipes and I think I got too antsy and took them out a tad too early. Still tasted fantastic though! I couldn’t decide what to do and kept going back and forth on the style… and landed on a sort-of wedding cake.
Lemon cake with lemon crusting-buttercream frosting (try to say that 3x fast!) and a blackberry-lemon filling.
The class is over now but I took away some friggen’ GREAT tips I wanted to share with y’all.
- Make everything two days before. You can freeze cake and it will taste/be fine. You can refrigerate buttercream frosting for a littler over a week, and you can freeze that for longer. Weather and different recipes can affect the way your cake turns out so if you do it ahead of time and mess up, you have some time to re-do it.
- Make a TON of buttercream frosting because that shiz goes faaaaast.
- Don’t eat all your buttercream frosting. The recipe I’m posting (with my own personal changes) is delicious and tastes nothing like the store-bought frosting that leaves that lingering, sticky residue on the roof of your mouth. But don’t eat it all. Because you’ll need that. Like I said, shiz goes fast.
- Don’t use Crisco. They’ve changed their formula and it makes your buttercream gritty. No one wants gritty icing. I used Smart N’ Final shortening and that seemed to work great. If you’re really going to be baking and decorating cakes, get Sweetex – a specialty shortening specifically for cakes.
- Practice! The only reason my cakes looked half decent was because I practiced at home. Practice on an upside paper or styrofoam plate, and use videos to show you all the crazy cool things you can do with your tips!
I hope that this inspired any hopeful decorators out there. I was so nervous but I had a blast learning (and my coworkers didn’t mind the free cakes…).