How I should have spent this week was to take the dogs on long lazy walks every day, sleep 8 hours a night, and organize my life (read, yarn. I am still looking for a skein of yarn I would like to knit into a shawl.).
Of course, I bit off more than I can chew. I thought it would be a really good idea to take a 4-day, intensive cake decorating class.
The first two days were spent making icing and learning some basic piping techniques. And we piped, and piped and piped. Piping is not like knitting. If you don’t practice/pipe on a regular basis, you lose it. You can’t pick up piping bag, pop in a #104 petal tip and start piping buttercream roses to perfection.
I have piped a few of those in my day. But beyond a few flowers that I pipe on friend’s cakes and cupcakes here and there, I have not really picked up the piping bag in about 10 years…..oh wait. 18 years. (YIKES).
So when it came to piping roses, my first few were looking really cabbagy. Then, they started looking a bit more like flowers and then like cabbage roses.
Then finally, after about 10, my right hand found the right pressure to apply on the piping bag, and how to arc the tip just right against the base to create a petal in a shape that sort of resembled a rose petal.
The teacher gave us great recipes for different kinds of buttercream for icing the cake, piping the border, and piping the rose. All about the type of fat that you use, and ratio of liquids to solids. What I loved about my teacher for the class was that taste was #1 for her. So, while it would have been 100% easier to pipe with a shortening based cream, her buttercream was…just that. Even the highest shortening ratio in her recipes were relatively low so the piping is delicious beyond all doubt.
We also spent time talking about food colors — both for icing and marzipan.
And we took a turn at making marzipan fruits. Mixing colors, using petal dust to finish off the fruit…talk about Play-doh for adults! Remember I said my teacher thought taste was #1? The marzipan is delicious. And she taught us to mix in cocoa powder to get depth in the browns so the brown marzipan? Off the charts. Here’s the assortment we made:
And when I came home, I took photos of some marzipan fruits next to their real life counterparts. Not bad for some almond paste, sugar, and food dye!
The most fun I had was probably making the “chocolate plastic” (it’s basically chocolate and either glycerin or corn syrup) and learning to work with that. We made bows and streamers, leaves, and modeled a full rose!
And of course, as this was a recreational class (…ok, for semi-serious, crazy people), our chef had baked cake for us to decorate and take home.
I am having a bit of a knitting get together today, so we will be cutting into this cake today. I hope it is delicious!