Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wilton Cake Decorating - Course 1, Class 2

I have spent the vast majority of my life rushing off to work, then rushing back home to cart my girls around to dance classes, guitar lessons, softball, basketball, soccer, name it.  I have loved every second of it (well mostly...), but now that they're in college and law school, I find myself with free time...and I have no clue what to do with myself.

In the spirit of finding "me" time, my eldest daughter, Megan, and I have decided to take cake decorating classes.  Meg is in her last year of law school and needs to do something other than sit hunched over her desk staring blindly at law books, so this was the perfect thing for both of us. 

We signed up at our local Michael's and began classes last week.  Week 1 was basically informational.  We had to each bring 6 sugar cookies and icing to class to practice making stars.  We bought the pre-made cans of Wilton White Decorator Icing and found that it was too stiff to work with...won't be buying that concrete again.  Week 1...done!

Week 2 required us to each bring one 8" or 9" cake to class, and 2 batches of icing (one mixed to a thin consistency for icing the cake, one medium consistency for decorating).  Since Meg was out of town for the weekend, all of the baking/prep work became my job.  Hmmmm....out of town....coincidence....I think not.  Anyway, I wasn't in the mood to do any big, take everything out of your pantry, run to the store because you forgot to buy something, curse at the Gods, completely from scratch cake, so I wimped out and bought a box of Duncan Hines French Vanilla.  Hey, this course isn't about baking the cake, just decorating it...cut me some slack.  Our instructor actually recommended Duncan Hines over other brands, so there!  I also bought a pre mixed chocolate Bavarian cream filling which came in sort of a long, clear bladder.  The chore was in mixing 4 separate batches of frosting (4 lbs. of confectioners sugar...yikes) and getting them all dyed to the colors we'd want to use in class, but I got it all done in plenty of time to watch the Saints whoop up on the Buccaneers.  Can I get a Who Dat?

When we got to class, we practiced a few decorating basics, then we were off and running.

1.  First we dragged out our cake levelers and began to level and tort our cakes. 

2.  Got that done and piped a dam around the outside rim of the bottom layer to prevent the filling from bleeding out of the cake.  Piped in and spread the chocolate Bavarian cream, then plopped the top layer down.  

3.  Next, we put on a very thin crumb coat of icing.  After this, you must wait a few minutes for it to "crust", then take a Viva paper towel (Viva is the only one without a pattern, and smooth is what you're shooting for), and gently lay it across the top of the cake and, using your hands, begin to smooth the Viva over the icing, including the sides.  This is not a Wilton approved technique, but the instructor shared it with us and it sure does work....well, someday it'll work.

4.  Now it's time to put your final coat of icing on.  We were told to be generous with the icing, and I come from the school of thought that cake is merely a tool we use to consume icing, so I had no problem with this instruction.  Apparently, I went a bit overboard (who me?), because it took forever for my icing to dry enough to "crust".  Actually, it never did quite dry.  Then you go through the entire Viva paper towel process again and make the icing so smooth it almost looks like fondant.  As I said, I had too much icing (go figure), so mine (the pink cake) didn't come out perfectly smooth.  See how it's kind of lumpy and irregular.  Meg's (the white cake) on the other hand, came out beautifully.  The kid's trying to show me up!

5.  Finally, it's time to decorate....but we only have about 30 mins. of class time left...aarrgghh!  Take a sheet of wax paper and lay it over whatever design you choose to put on your cake.  Use clear decorator gel (or really any color that works for you) to trace the design, then flip the wax paper over onto your cake and trace the gel with your fingers onto the cake.  Voila....your design is now on the cake.

6.  Using tip #12 and our dyed medium consistency icing, we began piping our designs onto the time was running out...and the instructor was obviously ready to go home....crud...this isn't turning out how I wanted.  So, Meg and I threw our stuff into our bags and headed home to finish our cakes.  Honestly, by that time I was kind of over it and ready to just call it a day, but I had to get this darned thing done.  I would've liked to have been able to do the decorating with the instrutor there to tell me what I was doing wrong, but no big deal.  I'm anxious for next!

Here's the finished product.  Can you tell which purple and gold, Mike the Tiger, Death Valley, SEC powerhouse school Meg graduated from?


  1. And, might I say, the combination of French Vanilla cake with Bavarian Cream filling was DELICIOUS.

  2. I think both of the cakes look fantastic! You're definitely inspiring me to take classes next year sometime. Good job!

  3. Wow, I'm impressed! Y'all did a great job!

  4. It looks fantastic! You are doing great.

  5. I think the Bavarian creme sounds so yummy! And look at y'all being so fancy. I have to admit you lost me on some of the lingo, but maybe I can pick it up! I need some of those levelers, and I"ll have to try the Viva!!
    I'm sure you'll be an expert by the end of this class!

  6. Way to go Shannon, your cakes look fantastic. I'll be expecting something pretty specticular when I next visit.

  7. Wow! I'm impressed too. So...what are you doing with all these cakes you're decorating??

  8. I am seriously impressed by your handiwork. Both cakes look great!!