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Monday, June 20, 2011

Skillz, part 1

This is Heather. Say, "Hi, Heather."
Heather is a professional cake decorator (yes, that big bowl of spaghetti is a CAKE!), and luckily for me, my friend.
As we all know, I am a baker, not a decorator. It's really all about taste for me. But upon seeing Heather's amazing stuff, and some of the other really impressive goods on Frosting for the Cause, it occurred to me a few basics might do me good. So I collected a few other interested novices, and got Heather to teach a two-part class at my house. (We paid her; she's a professional, you know.)

Part I: Cupcakes
Heather showed up with a box bigger than her of all our supplies, plus six cupcakes each, tubs of buttercream, and land knows what else. We each got a big fat honking packet with everything we could ever want to know, donned our aprons, and began.

First she showed us how to make decorator's buttercream - so it tastes good but is the right consistency for what you want to do, be it piping, flowers, spreading, shells, etc. We all took furious notes, overwhelmed already.

She talked us through how to do these three kinds of cupcake icing: (smooth top, smooth twirly, twisty twirly - these are my own terms. Obviously.)

Then we got down to serious piping. I learned how to use a coupler for the first time. Amazing. Here are some of my practice boards: stars
Dots, rosettes, shells
More shells, flowers. Are you impressed?
Here's how the table looked at this point. As for us students, well, we were beyond overwhelmed. Past awe. Slack-jawed numb by now, really.We practiced a lot. Some of those moves are super tricky, especially the shells, man! Turns out most of those little things have a right way (what we were learning) and a "lazy" way. And Heather does not teach lazy!

Everyone was supposed to take their practice cupcakes home but most "conveniently" left them at my house. The next morning I got out my kit of sprinkles and let the girls go crazy.
(This one's my favorite.)
We took them to a church primary activity, where they got properly devoured.

Next time we are doing cakes and buttercream roses. We will learn how to properly frost a cake (finally!), with a crumb coat first and all that like they do on Ace of Cakes. Our homework is to make our own buttercream for the class and to make some decorator flowers that we learned last week. I need to go get some gel food coloring for that. Heather said roses take about 50 minutes to learn so that will be half the class right there! No fondant this time; that is another class and most likely another supply list.

So don't get your expectations too high for future visuals - learning is one thing, remembering and doing, another. But I've got a pack of tips (and couplers!) and I know how to use them. A little.

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