Michael’s Basic Cake Decorating Class – Day 1
A couple weeks ago, I went to what I thought would be my first Michael’s basic cake decorating class. Due to that unfortunate mix-up, I was put in the correct class which started last night. All I could think was “FINALLY!”
This time around, it was such a relief to arrive at the Michael’s store craft room and find people with the required sugar cookies laid out. Our class was all females with a nice mixture of ages and the instructor was wonderfully informed, chatty and super friendly.
The only dull thing was that the first class was, to put it mildly very boring. At least for me.
We started out by going through the Wilton’s booklet that came with the class (these babies are $25 at Bulk Barn, so I think that was a nice steal since the class was only $22). She went over the secrets to baking a good cake and how to make your own buttercream icing with shortening. It was good for a lot of people, but except for the odd little fact, this was nothing new to me. The instructor then pulled out a hand mixer and showed us how to make homemade icing and then we passed around the bowls of icing to compare the consistencies and which ones are used depending on if you are icing the cake or piping borders.
YAWN (I’m sorry).
Halfway through the 2 hour class, she then pulled out the piping bags (YES!) and we learned how to properly fill them without getting a mess everywhere (something I’m still working on). Cookie royal icing is way different than cake buttercream icing, so I think it was easier to get into the piping bag. I did learn that I need to recut my featherweight piping bags as my markings are a little off and that might make a difference in controlling my piping and why my tips are always a little wobbly.
Our instructor pulled out a plain vanilla cake that she made for the class and showed us how to level it with a cake leveler (we joked throughout the class about how everything she showed us was getting us on the Wilton’s brand) and then she filled the middle of the cake with icing and vanilla pudding. She iced the cake with the icing she showed us how to make and then showed us how to spread it with minimal crumbs.
For the rest of the class, we then got to use our piping bags with the star tip #18 and practice making stars on our practice board and our cookies that we brought. As a last sweet treat, our instructor cut up the cake she made and we each got to have a delicious slice.
Despite the slow start, it was a very good class. I felt totally in my element around other people interested in learning cake decorating. I also think its better that I start in the basics, even if nothing is really new to me right away. Nothing would be worse than being cocky and trying to take the next level class and feeling left behind and useless with icing leaking out of my piping bag.
Some great things I learned from the first class:
1). Lighter pans are better for baking cakes. It cooks more even and darker pans are more likely to burn the bottom of your cake.
2). Only fill your pans half-way with cake batter to prevent the top cake lump from forming (although this part is usually cut off later when you level the cake).
3). When measuring your piping bag with the coupler base, mark the bag against the first ridge where the tip screwed in and then cut it.
Next class we get to ice and decorate a cake with a cupcake design so we have to bring two batches of homemade buttercream icing (the Wilton’s recipe) and a round cake.
Looks like I need to buy a round cake pan for next week!