Tag Archives: basic cake decorating course

New Experience #8: Graduate from Cake Class!

I’m happy to report that as of Thursday evening, I am a Cake Class graduate!

Shay presenting me with my certificate of completion

shall i frame it?!

Once again, our class session on Thursday eve was a ton of fun. (For a recap of Week #1, click here; Week #2 is here; Week #3 – here).

I found the pacing this week to be a lot more relaxing than last week’s flurry of decorating lessons; our curriculum for this week consisted of learning how to print and do cursive writing…

flashback to grade 3 and writing lessons!

[Sidenote: Lesson learned: the icing recipe for when you do writing asks for 1/4 tsp of piping gel + thin consistency icing. I omitted the piping gel because, in all honesty, I didn’t want to open my container for  a mere 1/4 tsp, and I didn’t believe it could really make a difference. I was wrong! Error in judgement! Use the gel!!! Your writing will be more fluid and will adhere to your cake].

…and how to make a Ribbon Rose. I loved learning how to make this flower!!

Shay demonstrates how to make the rose base: you want a hershey’s kiss shape and NOT a witch’s hat!

For the final hour of our class, we dedicated ourselves to creating our unique cake masterpieces.

The concept I envisioned for my cake? A Bon Voyage message with an Under-the-Sea/Aquatic theme. My mental picture included a fish, seaweed, aquatic flora and fauna on the cake face, and a snail shell border around the middle layer of the cake.
Sadly, this design remained but a figment of my imagination.
I accept full responsibility! I embodied the motto, “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.”

not so sure about the final outcome!...

ok, it's kinda cute!

Ah, well. On the bright side, I: 1) got a message onto my cake, and it did say Bon Voyage 2) my cake features the Ribbon Rose, the shell border, and the dot, all decorating concepts that I learned over the course of the course.

i liked making ribbon roses more than i thought i would!

every cake in future will feature a rose, somewhere, somehow!

 

haha! the most successful part of my shell border is located on the SIDE of the cake!

I’d like to give a very big THANK YOU to Shay, my wonderful instructor. Shay really made the course fun. The mood was light, yet we did learn; Shay is personable, relaxed, and knowledgeable, and I just had a great time attending class each week. Thanks so much, Shay! I definitely know a lot more tricks and techniques than when I walked in the door for Class #1!

My classmates kindly granted permission for me to show their cakes on the blog. Enjoy the cake parade!

linda, my table mate for all four classes - i give her an extra special thank you, too, for her willingness to share materials and tips with me; she was a very congenial cake buddy!

connie and lydia - watch out cake boss! lydia is very talented already!

jen - how does she get her colouring so divinely shaded?!!

i m in awe of margaret's shell-making talent!

erin's drop flowers just pop!

laura's attention to detail and her creative genius show a natural ability with decorating!

constance's baby-themed cake was truly creative...and perfect for the intended occasion!

All in all, I’m very happy that I enrolled in this course. I look forward to making cakes for family celebrations, in the future. Mom and I have already discussed our strategy: she will bake the cakes and I will play decorate them. Win-win!

Thanks again to MichaelsWilton, Shay and all my classmates for contributing towards a making New Experience #8 of the Kiki Project so completely enjoyable!

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Three Questions Thursday!

Good day to you!

I’ve got three decisions to make, and have decided to solicit opinions.

1) Nails??

I got my nails applied done 3.5 weeks ago. I’ve since re-learned how you have to type when you have claws at the ends of your fingertips, and I’ve gotten quite attached to my beauties. But they’ve got a shelf-life of 4-6 weeks. I am leaving on a week’s vacation this weekend. It’s a tropical climate, and the nails would fit right in. However, they are definitely on their last legs/looking stale:

can you make out the new nail growth?? i've got about 3 mm of bare nails which have emerged...

As well, the turquoise blue colour is fading at the nail tips.

I’m going to have to get them removed professionally as I really don’t relish the idea of plying off fake nails with my bare hands.

Question: Would you go before or after the trip to get the nails taken off?

If I go before I depart, I’ll have clean nails for the trip; if I wait til after I get home, I’ll have fun nails that fit in divinely with the vacation surroundings.

2) Dress?? 

Earlier this week, I was reading Kath’s blog. She was sporting this dress:

It’s by Mahi Gold and I covet it with all my heart.

Kath in the dress:

IMG_2817Blog

(Here‘s the blog post where Kath is wearing the dress, as seen above).

 I immediately had heart palpatations as this amazing garment cried out to me. ASAP, I emailed Mahi Gold, and inquired about shipping to Canada. Within one hour (talk about wonderful customer service!) Becky replied back that she could indeed get the dress to me, and would even apply the free U.S. shipping credit to the international mailing charge.

Question: would you buy a dress without trying it on?

Everything about this dress screams, “Kiki, wear me!” I love the graphic pattern and the colour; crewneck styles and short skirts suit my body shape. Oh, what to do!

3) Cake??

Tonight is my final Cake Decorating Class! Our task this eve will be to design and decorate a cake with a theme. I’ve got an idea percolating in my head, but am wondering if you have any grandes idées. Here’s my iced cake:

two layers, icing in the middle; the layers ARE supposed to be different sizes - that's how i made 'em!

view from the top

The purpose of our final challenge is to display the skills we have experimented with acquired over the past three weeks. So I have a clean slate of a cake! And many colours of icing! Let’s think creatively!

Question: what theme do you envision for this cake??

Thanks muchly for any and all ideas/answers you care to share!

I’ll have Cake Class #4 Recap on Saturday!

Cake Class #3: Decorating Tips

Thursday night was cake class!

week #1 i wore "chef's whites;" this week i went with "representing team (iron chef?!) canada!"

This week we got down to the nitty-gritty of cake decorating. There was no time to spare!

Shay kept our noses to the grindstone  – kidding! Shaw is much too nice and fun for that seriousness (hi Shay – am I sucking up too much!?!) Seriously, though, I am glad that Shay is experienced in teaching this course. Week #3 is jam-packed with decorating lessons.

[Sidenote: I’ve taken to calling our course the Survivor Cake Class: week one we started out with 12 participants, week two we saw 11 class members, and this week there were only nine of us!].

I liked the organization of this week’s class: Shay demonstrated the decorating idea…

first up: the drop flower!

…we tried out our technique using our Practice Board…

the drop flower was not too taxing!

…then we’d move on. Like I said, our evening’s curriculum covered a lot of “tips” (note the dual-meaning!…tips as in handy knowledge AND the physical decorating tool on the end of our icing bags!).

The rosette followed the drop flower:

the trick to the rosette is all in the squeeze pressure and the hand rotation!

Next, the technique that proved to be my nemesis: THE SHELL:

Shay stressed that we wanted SHELLS not SNAILS. Let’s just say that I foresee a lot of aquatic-themed cakes in my future. I make excellent snails. Ho-hum!

shay makes it look so easy - wah!!!

my family of snails - i mean shells! this is called a shell border!!!

The trick, I figured out, is all in the release of pressure – I had more success if I added a wrist swoop…not sure if that is officially allowed (Shhh!).

Here’s today’s Tip of Brilliant Wisdom that Shay imparted at some point during the evening: “Every cake has a front and a back. Start [decorating] at the back.” Haha, I can just picture myself waving my hands over my cake, asking it: “….and where do YOU feel your front is, mr cake??? ommmmm…”

Anyway, where were we…yes! Making Barbie bouquets! That’s what our next trick reminded me of anyway!….

we got to use a little pedestal/golf tee thing-y on which to make our FLOWER

We sped along to the pompom flower: multi-steps and multi-tips are needed!…

hard at work!

Can I just give a shout out to my table-mate, Linda? I am so glad we ended up together…I love her relaxed approach and the wealth of cakey knowledge she has:

maybe the trick to being a natural is being a grandmum and mother...years of experience!

If you have flowers, you’re gonna need LEAVES!!! My leaves kept coming out perpendicular to the work surface. Shay to the rescue – just turn Tip #352 to the SIDE and your leaf will lie flat! I foresee a lot of FORESTED CAKES in my future: I like making leaves, and they are easy!

Our last flower was my favourite of the whole night: the shaggy mum. ALLLL I could think of as I practised was the Muppets! I have this urge to make a shaggy cake…I foresee MUPPET CAKES (ok, maybe “creature cakes”) in my future!

my first efforts at the shaggy look!

All I could think of after seeing my shaggy cupcake was that it looked like when you over-condition your hair or use hard water and it goes limp and flat. My shaggy cupcake needs a salon treatment!

I was glad I did not attempt to fill my cupcakes (this lesson was optional) – as it was, I only had about 15 minutes with which to ice my six cupcakes. Class #3 could use another half hour!

i LOVE making the drop flower!!! a spring look to cupcake #1!

shay helped me transfer my platformed flower onto my cuppie-cake with this neat-o lifter thing!

...and i humbly present to you...

that's a better angle!

...and my box of cupcakes that i brought home!

Whew! That was a lot of work, this class! But now I feel a lot more confident with the tips that are in my possession. Look at all the tools we used!…

i washed everything up asap - dried and hardened icing would be no fun to clean up!

Our homework for next week is to bring in a cake, and have a design plan for it. I will make my cake tomorrow eve during the Oscars, and then brainstorm how to make shaggy + drop flowers be friends how to decorate it! So sad it’s our final class next Thursday!

*#*#*#*#*

Quick quick…last eve  my friend Michelle, B and I went to see “The King’s Speech.” We all agreed that it was fantastic. Go see this movie! I hope it cleans up at the Oscars tomorrow. For a future blog post, I would like to examine the relationship between Colin First and his speech therapist, played by Geoffrey Rush. Suffice to say, for now, that the film is simply wonderful. And while Colin Firth does an amazing job, my favourite actor was Geoffrey Rush. Luckily, they are nominated in two different categories tomorrow eve!

*#*#*#*#*

Lastly, I’m going to gaze into my crystal ball and make five predictions on winners for tomorrow night’s Academy Awards. And I hearby solemnly swear that if I get all five correct, I will hold a cookie giveaway. I can’t mail a cake. 🙂

Best Picture: Inception will win

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges will win for True Grit

Best Actress: Michelle Williams will win for Blue Valentine

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale will win for The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham Carter will win for The King’s Speech

* who I predict is not necessarily who I want to win!

*#*#*#*#*

We’re off to Jillian and Duncan‘s Stag & Doe tonight! To Drink or Not To Drink, That is the Important Question… 🙂

Cake Class Deux

Thursday night saw my return to Michaels:

welcome back!, says shay

 Creature of habit, I took the same spot at the same table as last week. Just me and my cake with the thumb hole in it.

did i scare my tablemates off last week?!

Our first lesson of the day was icing the cake:

workbook instructions at the ready - i want to try the wilton ideas!

I felt like a sculptor at work on a creation!! (hey, a girl can dream):

a little dab here, a little swoop there...

Our Cake Guru Shay pronounced her wisest words of the day:

Once you’ve got the cake iced, STEP AWAY.

You don’t want to overwork the cake.”

i took my photo, and ... walked. away. 🙂

Next lesson: adding colour to our icing:

watch and learn, kids

Then we practised with our decorating tips. Today was all about curving lines and tight zigzags:

these lesson pages remind me of the exercise books we used in primary school when learning to write!

All you moms, listen up: as a mother of four, Shay has refined her “how to bake and keep your sanity” ideas. Here’s a really good one – tell your children (once a certain age, of course) that if they leave mummy alone to bake in peace, they will get this reward for their good behaviour!…

a happy face to lick!

Linda DID show up a little late, and I am so lucky to have her as my tablemate. She answers all my questions so patiently (when Shay is at the opposite end of the room), and kindly and generously shares her supplies with me.

linda, you don't need to practise!

Let me be honest: cake decorating is not coming naturally to me. I forgot how to screw on the coupler, I cut my decorating bag too short, and I tried to put my decorating tip IN the bag…argh. BUT! I am having fun, and that’s what counts.

By this time, our icing had hardened enough for us to grab our parchment paper and smooth the icing:

i loved this step!

i named my technique "soothing the baby" - i pretended i was rubbing little e or baby c's back! it worked like a charm -- beautifully smooth icing!

 And now, the grande finale lesson: Coloured Cupcake on White Cake:

piping gel for the cupcake design!

my cake!

....cupcake in the book...

...now back to my cake. ok go back to the workbook picture!

Two of my classmates produced really good designs!

laura made a double layer cake with filling! and look at that edging!

i love jen's BRIGHT BLUE!!

Once home, I showed off my cake:

me and my cupcake!

I sent the cake along to B’s Friday morning class. 8 a.m. cake time? dandy when you’re of college age!

Another fun night – our classes are half over! Boo Hoo!

Next week we will work on cupcakes for our practice pieces!!

A Cake in the Oven

Better than a bun in the oven. 🙂

note that i am using my wilton pan!!

I just popped one 8″ square cake in the oven for Thursday evening’s class. There are also 6 cupcakes in there  – they’re going to be for Week #3, next week.

Have to be honest: I slammed together mixed up the cake using my usual methods (ie. I did not sift the flour, salt and baking powder together, I only used one set of measuring cups, not separate ones for liquids and dry ingredients). Hey – we’re lucky we’re getting a cake from scratch, at all! The batter was dreamy to work with…and my kitchen smells all cosy and cake-y right now. Good stuff.

I’m using this Basic Yellow Cake recipe from Wilton. Shay recommended it because it’s supposedly going to be crumb-free for icing and decorating. I shall report back after Thursday’s class!

*#*#*#*#*

We are all done Season 2 of Jersey Shore, and all up-to-date on Season 3. So last eve we got a DVD out of the Christmas present pile, and opted for…

Damages – Season 2!!!

(source)

If you love drama with compelling characters, sharp dialogue, and non-linear storylines, try this show!

*#*#*#*#*

I’m working on three hours sleep. Three reasons for it:

1. dark chocolate chocolate chips on chocolate ice cream right before bed. Ka-Zing! NOT fun times!

2. a husband who obviously harbours dreams of becoming a cement mixer in his next life. He is banned from the late-night chocolate, too.

3. a busy-busy mind. But have you ever tried to mindfully tell your mind to settle down? My mind did not want to listen to my mind.

It was a situation.

*#*#*#*#*

I want to wind these four skeins of yarn tonight:

the first skein i wound unravelled very smoothly - hope these four go just as lickety-split!

I’ve started A’s sweater:

cables for the bottom of the back of the sweater

Cabling is not as hard as it looks. I love making cables!!!

*#*#*#*#*

one, two, three, four. We’ll call that a blog post for tonight. Not feeling too *feist-y* at this exact moment!! Is it bedtime yet?!

Cake Class 101

Last night’s cake decorating class was simply a hoot.

It was a friggin’ freezing chilly night to be out. I dressed warmly:

my versio of "chef's whites!"

I arrived at Michael’s just before 6:30 p.m., sac of supplies in hand. Our class started bang on time. That’s a good first impression to make!

Meet our instructor, Shay!

shay explains lesson #1: how to bake a great cake

Shay’s awesome (Hi Shay!) – very down-to-earth, easygoing, fun…she set a comfortable mood for our class. She also is very knowledgeable with 15+ years of cake making, baking, and decorating under her belt. Plus, she has four kids – there’s a lot of baking going on at her house!

Our evening’s itinerary covered three basic concepts: the cake baking process, everything icing, and using the star tip with our decorating bag.

There are 12 students in our class, and we run the gamut in age and experience – the commonality? all females! The youngest participant is a tiny wannabe decorator in Grade 2 (she and her mom are driving 45 minutes, one way, to take the class!) and the most senior lady is in her 50’s, a grandmother who is looking to start making cakes professionally. Otherwise, the class is composed of several university-aged girls, another more mature mother-daughter combination, and then “the rest of us.” It would be super fun to take this class with a friend!

my workmates: elise, whose mom gave her the course as an xmas gift, and linda, grandma with lots of decorating experience, already!

I like the style of this course: Shay demonstrates the techniques in our workbook, and keeps the pace fast-moving. And on time!

prepare your cake pan!

choose the right icing ingredients!

For most of the demonstrations, we gathered around Shay’s workstation – the beauty of having a small class size. Then we retreated to our own tabletops to practise.

Shay elicited several ooh’s and aah’s from us, especially when we learned how to “torte a cake!” [completely new term to me; the other one was the “coupler” that goes with our icing bag]. I picked up several brilliant ideas for the cake filling (what you put in-between the two cake layers). Nutella, anyone?!

how to use our icing bag to pipe icing!

torting the torte....er, cake!

Our course is “sponsored” by Wilton products. I have no issue with this, since I have found my (0ne) Wilton pan to be top-quality. I so easily could spend gazillions of dollars on the suggested cake gadgets and products in our workbook. I appreciate that Shay shares what she considers to be essential tools, and what would be nice – ie put ’em on your gift list.

The great thing is that it is very easy to find Michael’s coupons online; also, for the duration of our course, we automatically receive 10% off cakey-type items, just by showing proof of our course registration.

My favourite quotes of the night, thanks to Shay:

~ it’s not rocket science, it’s cake decorating

~ if you’re a perfectionist, let. it. go!!!” [all of the class perfectionists – hmmm, hmmm – got a good chuckle over that one!]

For the second hour of our two hour class, we focussed on using our reuseable icing bags and sized tip #18 to ploop out stars! Our Wilton beginner’s kit provides us with practice sheets to work on!

just squeeze the icing onto the blue star!

i need two hands!

"stop pressure before you pull the tip away!"

Shay circulated to offer suggestions and guide us along:

i can make stars!!!

After trying our hand on the worksheet patterns, we moved on to our plain cookies…

what shall i do?!...

We have homework for next week – bake a cake (eek!).

we're going to copy a gel pattern transfer onto the top of our cake!

I can get a reliable (ie non-crummy) recipe off of the facebook page that Shay has set up. Thumbs up for modern technology!

By hometime, I had six samples of **stars!!** to show off!

i replicated the examples in our workbook - wow!

Yippee! I’m happy already with how much I learned, and how many “insider secrets” I now possess…just wait til the end of Week #4! I’ll be “dancing with my stars!”

...in honour of the 1970 kiki project!

My #1 A-Ha of Class #1: baking, icing and decorating a professional-looking (and tasting) cake is not something you pull off in a rushed two hours on a Saturday morning. To get impressive results, you need T-I-M-E.

You also need tools. I am drooling over and desiring fun cake toys. Yes, my birthday is not for 11 more months…but maybe Santa makes Valentine’s house calls????

We’re encouraged to practise at home. Choco chip cookies with **stars!!**, B? Or, can I torte them?!?

HiHo, HiHo…

…It’s back to school I go!

I’m so excited! Tonight is the first night of my basic caking decorating class, as I told you about here, back when I signed up for it.

In typically Kiki-organized fashion, I consulted my syllabus (love that word!) earlier this week to ensure that I had all necessary supplies. Then I laid out everything; I am ready to go!

let's check that supply list one more time...

Ξ 6 plain flat cookies:

check! can't get plainer than digestives!

I’ll bring the roll in case I mess up a few  – I mean – break a few someone else forgets!

Ξ something to transport the cookies home in:

fake tupperware - i mean, ziploc storage container...that'll work!

Ξ 1 gallon-size (the list must be American in origin!) plastic food storage bag (to carry home soiled decorating tools):

ziploc to the rescue, again!

Ξ damp cloth, scissors

damp cloth for slops, i am sure; not sure why the scissors??

Ξ sticky notes, pen/pencil, and paper

since i have a deep and abiding love for school supplies, i already had these goodies stashed...

Ξ Oh! And let’s not forget all the Wilton-issue supplies!…

supply kit, icing, colours...

Ξ apron – this one, I am not taking because i am a student rebel because I don’t own an apron, and do not wish to purchase one for this course because I intensely dislike wearing them!

Ξ NOT on the syllabus, but of course, I am taking my camera! This cake decorating course will count as a New Experience for the Kiki Project, bien sur! I am not going to include it, though, until after the final week of class (the course runs for four consecutive Thursday evenings).

I’ve packed everything up for easy transport…

trusty tote!

Betcha I walk out tonight with the capabilities to recreate this!…

(source)

Haha! I’ll be happy if I can pipe out a straight line on my “plain cookie!”

Back with the first class recap tomorrow!

Back to School

I just registered for a course!

Haha, don’t worry, it’s nothing as intense as going back here to my alma mater:

(source)

…instead, I am heading the other way up Westmount Rd and going here!

literally just up the road from the condo casa!

I’m really excited to take this Decorating Basics class. For four consecutive Thursday eves in February, I will immerse myself in learning how to swirl, plump, blip, twirl and squizzle buttercream.

I do love playing around with icing…

the caterpillar cupcake-cake i made for little e's 3rd bday in oct.09

  (Recipe #5 of the Kiki Project…)

 (…and Recipe #6)

…but my *skills* are very elementary and the results are decidedly amateur-ish. I’m looking forward to indulging my artsy-fartsy side, and acquiring some competance with cake icing techniques!

Added bonus: my registration fee was a big score: 50% off (a January special offer price).

I checked out the cake decorating aisle…

wow!

 …and mentally spent $1000!

Betcha there’s an option for every theme occasion??!

cake pans!

Good thing I live in a condo and storage is an issue! Although we’re not really doing anything with the “zen room,” at present…

Technically, the course is entitled Wilton Decorating Basics – the brand of all of these cake pans, above. Luckily, I purchased a Wilton brand 9×13 inch pan a few months ago, and am very pleased with the quality of it.

After I paid, I received the course syllabus (sounds just like a uni course, does it not?!):

note the course "supply list" part way down...

I refrained from purchasing any of the course supplies today because I now have two coupons for 50% off any one item, good from January 8th to 14th. Haha, little does B realize that on Saturday, we will be heading back to Michael’s. (It’s my birthday weekend, he has to do what I say). I’ll send him through the check out line with the “Wilton Decorating Basics Student Kit…”

i need the green one

…while I purchase the “Wilton Ready to Use Decorator Icing.” Good game plan, eh!

Just like half the nation, I’m a fan of living vicariously through the Foodnetwork shows, but have never caught this one:

(source)

Maybe I should start doing some homework!