Monday, December 1, 2008

Wilton Course 2 - Final Cake

As I've mentioned previously, my sister and I started taking Wilton cake decorating lessons at Michael's back in October. Last week we finished Course 2 and I was really happy with how my cake turned out, so I thought I would share.

The reason I started to take these courses was because I had tried making flowers out of icing and fondant a few times and wasn't having much luck, so I figured I could use some direction. In the first class we just covered the basics, but in Course 2 we focused almost entirely on making flowers from royal icing and learned a few new borders.

Here is the top of the cake. As always, click on the picture to get a closer look.
Lots of flowers! The roses, daffodils and daisies should be easy to pick out. The orange flowers are chrysanthemums, the large yellow and purples ones are pansies, the small purple ones are violets, the large pale pink ones are primroses, the small pink ones are apple blossoms and the tiny pink ones are rose buds. All of the flowers are done with royal icing, and the cake, leaves, borders and basketweave are done with buttercream (Don't tell my instructor, but I used my own buttercream recipe instead of the Wilton one!).

BF was impressed with how I balanced out the colours and arranged the flowers. He said he bets I learned those skills from making so many bento lunches.

Here is a side picture to show a flower arrangement on the side of the cake.And here's a front picture to show the basketweave around the sides of the cake as well as one of two run-out birds made from royal icing.

The royal icing recipe we used for the course consists only of icing sugar, meringue powder and water. The result is an icing that is stiff and holds its shape well as you mold it. It then hardens into a crunchy sort of candy. Some people don't enjoy the taste I guess, but I think it's yummy. Although this is the only icing we used for the flowers, I think a stiff butter cream would also work, although it might not hold all of the minute details. It would probably have to be kept cool as well so that it would hold its shape.

Overall, I'm really pleased with what I learned in this course and the value for the cost. The course itself was $21 and the course supplies kit was $40 but I had a 50% off coupon. I already had all of the rest of the decorating equipment I needed (piping bags, practice board, cake turntable, cake board) from Course 1 so it was just a matter of picking up a couple of bags of icing sugar. And now I know how to make gorgeous flowers! Course 3 isn't offered until January, so we get a month off (so I can get back to making cupcakes!!) and then we'll be back at it.

My understanding is that their are Michaels stores across North America, so I definitely recommend taking the classes if you have any interest in making pretty things with icing. It's an easy way to learn some new practical skills. Before I took the classes, piping swirls on cupcakes with a 1M tip was pretty much the extent of my cake decorating repertoire. I don't necessarily think that The Wilton Method is the be all/end all of cake decorating, but I do feel that the amount I've learned is definitely worth the 2 hours per week investment. Like anything in life though, I would suggest getting several different perspectives and choosing the method you like the best. For me that means using my own recipe for buttercream frosting and using a traditional variation on royal icing for icing run-outs rather than purchasing the Wilton Color Flow powder.

I love learning!


those are gorgeous. i might have to check out my local Michaels and see if they offer the classes.

Jacki that cake is gorgeous! I know someone in a culinary course at a college and her cakes aren't nearly as professional looking!

I was thinking of taking that cake decorating course a few months back and am glad to have someone else's opinion. I think I might look into it early next year. Thanks for the perspective.

Good job! It's beautiful... I love the rope around the top edge. I see as tiny little cake and cupcake boutique in your future, above the door is a sign reading "You Take the Cake by Jacki"

Hi Allison!
I think all of the Michaels offer them. You definitely should do it :)

Hi Domifc!
I've actually been considering taking pastry arts at college so I took these courses as kind of a warm up to that.

I didn't bother posting after the first course because it was pretty basic stuff, a lot of which I already knew. I think if you took them, you would do wonderfully because you are so creative!

Hi Jomamma!
I laughed when I read that. Maybe some day!

Hi Jacki: I love the look of the cake you made and I bet it tasted just as good! Maybe you could post a photo of Erin's too! I think there is definitely a bake shop, cook book or something along those lines in your future!


PS: Did I mention I have a birthday coming up in March??!!!

Hi Debay!

I don't actually have a picture of Erin's because I didn't take the pictures until I got home from the lesson. I'm not sure if she took a picture or not, it was very pretty though!

If you come to Halifax in March I will certainly make you a birthday cake or cupcakes!

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