Last night, I finished the fourth and final Wilton cake decorating course. It was bittersweet, because while I’m happy to have learned so much, I’m a little bummed that I no longer have a weekly class to attend! These past few months have just flown by so quickly, it’s incredible.
During the first three courses, I tried to post once a week or so because I always had something new to share. This fourth course was a little different. We made a lot of flowers out of gum paste, but each flower was part of an ongoing project, so none of them were truly finished until last night. This means I had to save all of my flowers for the entire month. I think that would be pretty easy for most people, but with the amount of cats I have (two of my own and my roommate has four!), I have to be super careful about where I store important things. Luckily, I had these flowers in a place where no cats could bother them. Unluckily, Nate accidentally knocked them over and they all broke. Right before we had to leave for the class! I was pretty upset because I worked really hard on them, but you really can’t tell too much now that the class is over and the project is finished. You may see bits broken off randomly in some of the pictures though!
First off, I found this great picture of the contents of the course 4 kit. I wish it was just a little bigger, but it’ll do:
In the first class, I learned how to make a gerbera daisy.
It was very simple… I just used the two cutters from the kit for the petals. The center is just a ball of gum paste that was pressed into the impression mat.
I also learned how to wire a flower and wrap the wire in florist tape. I have to say: florist tape is the worst kind of tape ever in the world forever. If you’ve never used it, allow me to explain why it’s so horrible. First of all, the tape itself can dry out, so it must be stored the same way fondant and gum paste must be stored. That is – it needs to be kept in an airtight container/sandwich bag. That’s not a huge deal, but I found it mildly annoying because I already have enough random bags of random fondant/gum paste and it’s getting unruly! haha but really, not a huge deal. That’s not it, though! The tape sticks to nothing but itself. I’m not exaggerating. It is literally made with a special adhesive that only sticks to itself. This makes wrapping the tape around a tiny little wire very difficult at first, because there’s nothing on the wire for it to stick to right away. Once the wrapping is actually started, it gets much easier, but it always feels impossible to start. Especially since the tape doesn’t start to stick to itself until it’s pulled. Pulling on it activates the adhesive, so you have to pull a bit to get it to work at first, and then continue pulling as you wrap the rest of the wire. It sounds easy but it’s really awkward because the wire is so small. And finally, while the tape will not stick to you, the adhesive somehow manages to rub off onto your fingers, causing them to be very sticky, but not sticky enough to stick to anything. If that makes sense. One of my classmates even ended up with green fingers from the tape rubbing off on her hands. The good news is that you can get rid of the horrible stickiness with a dusting pouch. Just swipe it across your fingers and rub your hands together like you’re rubbing in lotion! Pretty good tip, courtesy of my fantastic instructor. Okay, that’s the end of my florist tape rant.
Anyway, the first wired flower I made was this blossom:
Later, I learned how to use color dust to add dimension to flowers, as well as how to arrange them properly. That cute little pink blossom becomes something more with a deep rose-colored dust:
I really like the finished product. You could barely see the line in the middle of each before I brushed on some color dust. Now the lines are really accentuated and the flowers look more real than the one in the first picture.
Using that same deep rose color dust (and a bit of lime green), I made a stargazer lily:
Each petal was made separately using white gum paste, colored with dust (and a brown food writer, which looks like a marker, for the dots), and then assembled with florist tape. We made the leaves and petals during the second class, but didn’t put it all together until last night. I really like the way this one turned out, especially since I was running low on time and had to rush through it. I would have colored it a little differently to try to get it closer to a real stargazer lily if I’d had the time to do so, but I’m still happy with it! It reminds me of a poinsettia though, and that makes me want to try to make another one using red gum paste. It wouldn’t look exactly like a real poinsettia, but it’d be close and still pretty.
I also learned how to make sweet peas and ivy leaves:
I didn’t like the first sweet pea I made, so I thought I didn’t like them at all, but after my second and third, I fell in love. They’re fun to make and I think they’re very pretty. The only color dust used was a little bit of goldenrod applied to the center piece. The ivy leaves are colored with a mixture of spruce and lime green dust, as well as a little bit of the deep rose color on the edges. When the instructor said we could put a little pink on the leaves, I thought it sounded funky, but I tried it and realized that it’s not uncommon to find a leaf with a little pink in it. It looks neat.
My final bouquet is made up of briar roses, stephanotis, and ivy leaves:
What I really like about this little bouquet is that one of the two leaves and every flower except for one of the briar roses was broken (from when they all fell earlier in the day), yet I was able to arrange them in such a way that you can hardly tell. I also like that while I made the sweet pea bouquet by following instructions, I made this one myself at the end of class when we were talking about other things. It’s like I proved to myself that I can put these little arrangements together on my own, and that feels good.
So I’m done with the cake decorating classes, but I’m not done learning. My Wilton instructor offered to do a project class (a 3-hour, one day class at Michaels) on tall cakes in June, so I’ll be learning how to properly make a tiered cake. I’m also going to try some of the projects I’ve read about on the Wilton website. They have a lot of project ideas and guides, from gum paste flowers I didn’t learn in class to completely different projects with totally new mediums, like modeling chocolate.
I have a potentially money-making plan, too. I like making cakes but with the exception of a few I’ve already promised to make for some friends-turned-customers, I don’t think I’ll be selling them. It’s very difficult to decorate the cakes in my crappy apartment/kitchen and I don’t think I could get them to come out perfectly enough to sell to strangers. Also, it’s pretty tough getting a big, decorated cake down the stairs and into the car, and I’d go crazy with worry driving somewhere to deliver a cake. But I’ve seen decorations being sold on Etsy and I really think I could do that easily, so I’m going to practice my flowers and try it out.
I’d like to thank my little group of followers, who have been super encouraging and have left me some super nice compliments on my work over the past few months. Thanks, you guys! Your kind words have really helped me feel like I am actually not bad at this haha! I have a lot of ideas and I fully plan to expand my knowledge with cookie decorating, sculpting with modeling chocolate, fondant, and gum paste, and even cake pops and sugar eggs, and I’ll be sure to post a picture or two for every new thing I learn :]