Wordless Wednesday – Holiday & Birthday Baking

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Final cake project

I can’t believe a week has passed since my final cake decorating class. Life with a 4 month old and 3 year old can be pretty chaotic at times!

During our last class we learned how to make the ribbon rose and wilton rose. After all my icing prep the day before, I was so disappointed when my stiff hot pink icing went runny and became unusable. I’m not sure what went wrong, everything else was fine. Grr!

So the teacher let me use her orange icing, which didn’t match with my cake at all, so that’s why you don’t see any roses on it. They are really finicky and I know I will need to practice them a lot to get them right.

So here’s my final cake. I’m not over the moon about it, but considering where I was before I started the course (I never baked a cake, iced a cake or decorated a cake), I’m very pleased. I know I’ll get better with practice. So a warning to nearby family and friends – I may spontaneously show up with goodies because I had an urge to “play”.

I’m most proud of the “ombré” edge. I saw it on a lot of cakes on Pinterest and it was quite easy! I started with a batch of purple icing, scooped some out and added more colouring, and then repeated it so I had three shades. I like the cakes covered in ombré rose swirls, I think I’ll try that next! It’s also much more forgiving and hides icing blemishes underneath.

I’m considering the next course, but I may actually take it on Craftsy because then I can do it on my own time. The summer is busy and it’s hard to coordinate schedules to get away for two hours. The Wilton piped flowers class on Craftsy looks interesting! I’m not sure I want to go down the path of sugar flowers or fondant until I improve at buttercream. I also don’t want to spend the money on a whole new assortment of tools.

This is a fun hobby but it’s not cheap when you’re starting out. That said, I’ve learned a lot of techniques and recipes that should save me a lot on birthday cakes and pot luck contributions in the future!

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Wilton Cake Decorating Class 2: Decorating My First Cake

I knew cake decorating would be tricky, but I never expected that icing the cake would be the hardest part!

Our prework for the second class was to bake and ice a cake. I baked the cake and refrigerated it overnight (suggested by the teacher) so it would be less likely to tear when icing it. I also knew I would never be able to complete both steps in one afternoon – the challenges of looking after three boys!

I used Wilton Decorator Icing (bought with a Michaels 50% off coupon for my first class – I still had lots left) and added some water to bring it to a thin consistency so it would spread easily. I put the cake upside down on my turntable (the teacher said it was easier to use the bottom as the top to have the flattest surface) and grabbed my angled spatula.

I dumped all the icing in the middle (as instructed) and began to spread it out to the edges and down the sides. It took me about half an hour to complete the “crumb cover”, the first completed picture below. I put it back in the fridge and added a second coat half an hour later once the icing could harden a bit.

Then I was ready for class! I was pretty proud of my cake, and to be honest mine looked the best out of anyone’s (the other two people’s cakes were really messy and the icing was full of crumbs). That made me feel pretty good!

Then the teacher pointed out that my top had a slant and the corners should be flat/straight instead of rounded. So we proceeded to spend the first hour of class fixing our cakes. She showed us a few techniques for cleaning up the edges and evening out the top. In the end it looked pretty good! Definitely not perfect but better for my first attempt!

Then we got to do the fun part – decorating. First we put parchment paper over a black and white cupcake outline, then traced it with piping gel. Then we turned over the tracing on top of the cake so the gel could transfer and leave a pattern, tracing over it lightly with a brush.

Then we filled in the cupcake base using the dimensional technique and the top using assorted swirls. I was pretty proud of mine! I asked the teacher to show me how to do the shell border around the bottom, and then thought I would use the star technique from the first class for around the top.

You can see my finished cake below. I’m very pleased with my first attempt and I know I will only improve with practice.

And as you can see from the very bottom pictures, it tasted as good as it looked!!

Next week we’re onto cupcakes and flowers, I’m excited for that one!

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Baking my first cake

I’m not sure why I’ve been so intimidated to bake cakes, it’s actually really easy!

One of our assignments for Sundays class is to bake and ice a cake. I thought I’d tackle the baking part today so I can chill the cake overnight and ice it tomorrow. Sadly when you have kids you have to do everything in phases!

I used a Betty Crocker golden cake mix, a brand new Wilton 6 inch pan (michaels had a whole pan set on sale for $14 a few weeks ago – from $45) and the Wilton Bake Easy spray (bought today at the McCalls warehouse sale in Mississauga – thanks to Stephanie B for the tip, I had some great finds!).

I combined the ingredients in my KitchenAid stand mixer (my favourite toy), preheated the oven and sprayed the pan. I filled it just about half full and popped it onto the middle rack (which I lowered after last weeks class when I realized I had my oven racks set all wrong!).

The box said to bake it for 28-30 mins so I set the timer for 25 so I could check it and avoid burning. The toothpick came out wet at 25 so I put it in for 4 more minutes. Then it came out perfectly!

The only negative of my cake is the crown on top (which apparently is common and can be avoided using Wilton bake even fabric straps you wet and put around the pan to keep the outside from cooking till the end). The teacher warned us of this, but it’s really not a big deal.

The teacher told us to remove the cake from the pan after about 10 minutes by putting parchment paper and a cooling grid on top, and flipping it over gently while holding them steady.

Once the cake was relatively cool, I broke out my new turntable (purchased with last weeks 50% off coupon at Michaels) a cake circle (I found a pack at winners for $6 – they have lots of Wilton gear for a little less than Michaels) and a serrated knife. I used the technique the teacher showed us to carefully cut off the crown. Then I flipped the cake over on the circle so it could finish cooling and be ready for icing. She told to ice the bottom as the top for the flattest surface possible.

Tomorrow I will tackle icing the cake. I’m also going to ice the cupcakes I made with the leftover batter for a family gathering tomorrow. I’m going to be very popular at parties with my new talents!!

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