Wednesday 24 July 2013

Adventures in Cake Decorating

I don't have many trips planned at the moment - the next one is a weekend away in Quebec City with Brian and his mom which I will definitely blog about. I went to Quebec City with my mom after I graduated grade eight, and then again with Brian on our Honeymoon and have always found it to be a beautiful and magical place so I am excited to go back. 

For the time being I figure I will try my hand at using this blog for other posts. First up, my cake decorating. 

Growing up I was never really into baking/cooking. In fact, at my bridal shower I was the butt of a lot of jokes as I had no idea what some of the kitchen related gifts were called or what they did as Brian took care of the kitchen part of the registry. I am still pretty much that way with cooking - though I have mastered a few dishes (vegetarian lasagna, clam chowder soup, risotto, couscous, and avocado enchiladas (thanks Pinterest!) but I have gotten into baking. 

It started when my Aunt Honey and I were talking about this cupcake/cake decorating craze and decided at the spur of the moment to take a course together. We found some Wilton ones being dome the local Michaels and signed up. Aunt Honey is the closest person to Martha Stewart that I know as all her cooking, home decor and organization skills are amazing. Needless to say it was a bit intimidating taking a class with her because I knew whatever she did would be perfect... LOL and it always is! I am the one borrowing supplies, covering myself and the table in icing and making at least one small mistake on my cake, whereas she and her cake were always flawless! She doesn't even wear an apron and come away completely mess/free!  But there is no one else I would rather do this activity with, as its a great chance to spend time together and have some fun.

We stated with Level One - basic skills and the following are my results. 

(My fancy kit that my parents surprised me with) 

(The first cake I decorated that had a cupcake on top) 

(Learning to make flowers.... To this day I still can't make a rose. Whatever this is, is the extent of my icing flower skills)

(Final project - naturally I chose an Elmo cake!)

(Level One is complete) 

After this introduction we took a few cupcake classes to try our hand at something else. I found cupcakes less stressful and more enjoyable. Before this, I was a cake person... Thinking cakes looked better and were better to do. Now I still prefer to have a cake, but much prefer to bake and decorate cupcakes. I use a mix, but play around and spice them up a bit. I have successfully used liquor in them like Baileys, Malibu and other flavoured alcohol along with adding things like fresh fruits, juices and nuts to the mix. I quite enjoy the experimenting process and have a list of eager taste testers! 

(Photos: cupcakes I did in a "cupcake couture" class) 

(The first one is my favourite!) 

(Photos: cupcakes I did at home for various parties/occasions. Here I played around with various styles, designs, icing flavours and techniques. I love the edible glitter effect, and topping the cupcake with something in fondant based. My most recent accomplishment was two/three toned icing which I did for work just before the Christmas holidays) 

My grandfather hosts an annual golf tournament each year so I was enlisted to put my skills to use and make the cake. It was a challenge --- and it reinforced how much easier cupcakes are! 

(Photo: 2012 Cake - which was the biggest cake I had ever done at this point, and it took over 6 hours to decorate and came with a lot of stress and snappiness) 

(Photo: 2013 cake which Aunt Honey and I did together! Much easier and more fun! (She did the writing, as that's one skill I need to practice!) 

We then went on to do level 3 - Gum Paste and Fondant. (Level 2 was full, so we went out of order a bit) 

(Photo: learning to make a giant bow) 

(Flowers - still can't master the rose. The orchid isn't bad though!) 

(My final product - A Halloween cake that I took into work) 

(Another view) 

(Level 3 completed!) 

We took another cupcake course, this time for Halloween/Thanksgiving. This was a lot of fun! 

(Photo: making a cupcake look like an cherry tart) 

(This is supposed to be a scary ghost, but honestly it's more like the cartoon  character in those old Christmas movies) 

(Scary eyes!) 

(My favorite - the turkey!!! This is one of the best things I learned/did) 

(Group shot) 

(I made the eyes for our work Halloween party) 

I bought some new pans one of which was this skull that went on mark-down after Halloween. It's cool, but I need a lot of practice with it. Here are my sad attempts. 

Next Halloween I vow to master this! 

For Christmas we took another cupcake course, this time decorating some of the cutest cupcakes ever! I loved this course and what cupcakes we did. 



(A wreath) 

(Adorable snowman) 

(Group shot)

Then we enrolled in level 2 - Flowers and Cake design which used Royal Icing and Fondant since they finally had some spots. This was taught by a different instructor and we loved her! 

(Royal icing flowers) 

(My final project cake --- I brought it to work and someone actually wrote a note "this is real, and you can eat it" because apparently there was some confusion over it!) 

This was my first time doing basket weave, which was harder then it looks! 

(Another level successfully completed!) 

We plan to complete level 4 - advanced gum paste soon which will give us all the Wilton certifications, but I also want to keep taking cupcake classes as I enjoy decorating them a lot! 

There you have it, my adventures in cake decorating!! 

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