Basic Cake Decorating, Lesson 1

I went to my first cake decorating class today! My instructor is really nice. She’s been decorating cakes for 20 years, and teaching people how to do it for 10. She called me last night to remind me to get there a little early to fill out some paperwork which I thought was cool. When I walked into the classroom, I was a little nervous, but she was very friendly and welcoming.

My 8 classmates all seem like good people. I might be the youngest one there, but not by much, which is nice (though I have always gotten along better with older people – my best friend when I was 9 was an elderly woman who lived down the street). They’ve all had some sort of experience with decorating cakes, mainly just from experimenting. I think I was the only one who has never baked and decorated a cake. That didn’t surprise me too much. Until this year, I avoided the kitchen like the plague.

We spent most of the class watching the instructor decorate a cake. She showed us how to level it, fill it, and frost it. We learned how to transfer a design from parchment paper to the cake (we didn’t do it ourselves, just watched her start it and then she had a volunteer finish it). Transferring is amazing! I had no idea that it was even possible. I’ll write more about it next week, when we’ll be decorating our own cakes. I think the purpose of showing it to us now was so that we could understand it well enough to start working on our cakes as soon as the class starts next Monday. It took almost the entire 2 hours for the instructor to finish the cake because she had to do it slowly so we could see and understand what was happening. I don’t imagine we’d have enough time to watch her do it and do it ourselves, so I’m glad she showed us today. Plus, now I can attempt to make a cake this week based on what I watched her do. Maybe it’ll help to have a little practice between now and the next class.

As for what we actually worked on today… we only used one tip – the star (size 18). I didn’t realize there was a proper way to push and/or pull the tip when you squeeze the bag. I figured you just squeeze as much out as you want and move on, but there’s a technique, and it’s one I’m definitely going to have to practice this week.

These stars have 'peaks' (especially the big one on the far left). Peaks are a no-no!

There wasn’t enough time for us to decorate our cookies, but we were able to use our practice boards to make a bunch of the stars. I felt like I got the hang of it, but as you can see in the picture above, I reverted back to ‘peaking’ when I got home and got to work. I really don’t think it’s called peaking, I just decided to call it that right now. I didn’t really mess with any of the other tips, just the star. I worked on it for a while and I think I’m doing better.

I think these stars are a lot less... peaky :)

Next week, we’ll have to bring our own frosting, so we learned how to make that as well. I was not joking when I said I used to avoid the kitchen. I seriously had no idea frosting was so easy to make, and I never imagined I’d be making it myself! There’s a recipe in the lesson plan, but the instructor gave us a sheet of paper with more detailed instructions so we don’t have to keep referring to the book. I love having that sheet of paper. I can just put it up on the fridge and I don’t have to worry about getting any kitchen junk in the book. Bueno.

I really don’t have any complaints about the class. It was really fun, and I feel like I learned a lot. Well, I guess there was one thing I kind of didn’t like, but it had nothing to do with the instructor, my classmates, or Michaels. Before the class started, we all had to fill out an attendance sheet with our contact information. There was a box I could check if I was interested in becoming a Wilton instructor. I didn’t check it. I mean, I’d only been sitting there for 2 minutes, how was I supposed to know if I’d want to teach anyone how to decorate cakes? I really wish they’d waited to ask me that until after I’ve completed a course, or at least one lesson. Now that I’ve done some of it, and now that I’ve looked through the lesson book and caught a glimpse of the things I’m going to learn and how to do them, I feel like I’d be a bit more interested in being a Wilton instructor someday. But it’s not like I can check the little box now. I’m sure it’s not impossible to become an instructor if you don’t check the box, but I thought it was kind of silly to ask so soon.

Okay. This post was way longer than I planned, and I’m way more tired than I thought, so I’m outta here.

I leave you with this picture of four ridiculous cookies.

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4 thoughts on “Basic Cake Decorating, Lesson 1

  1. Sarah says:

    They aren’t ridiculous. They are great :)

  2. bwince says:

    I can send you my address since you will obviously be needing a taste tester! The cookies sure look yummy. Can’t wait to taste them and your cakes! slurp, slurp!

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