Friday, May 14, 2010

Where There's a Wilton, There's a Way

As I continue on my job hunt, I decided to sign up for the beginner Wilton cake decorating course at Hobby Lobby in order to develop my cake decorating skills even further. Our first homework assignment was to bake any kind of cake and ice it (they showed us how) using the Wilton butercream recipe in our handbook. We also had to put some of that buttercream in five small containers, bring it to medium consistency and use colored gel paste to create five different colors for our class assignment.

In class, we learned about piping techniques and how to decorate our cake with a rainbow pattern by using a transfer technique to move the image from a pattern in our book and onto the cake. We then used a piping bag with a star tip to fill in the colors with the Wilton's buttercream that we brought from home. It takes a little time to change out your piping bag and it does get a bit messy, but it's pretty easy. Unfortunately, we didn't start piping until the last 20 minutes of class, so I kind of had to rush it and didn't have time to use all of my colors. That's okay though, I intend to create my own more elaborate design to practice these techniques on a future cake in my own time. Rainbows are nice and all, but they make me feel like I should be plastering unicorns and sparkles all over my cake.

Our next Wilton class (the third of four classes) will cover making buttercream roses and other flowers, so I'm pretty excited about that. We'll also learn how to make creepy little clowns (see photo), something I'm less than thrilled about. Our instructor said that a lot of people don't like making the clowns, but it's part of the standard curriculum. She did say that instead of putting the clown on the iced cake that we have to bring in, we can make a practice clown on the table and then scrape it off. I'm opting for that one because their buttercream bodies are a bit disturbing to me. Besides, I don't want to eat a clown — I heard that they taste funny (sorry, couldn't resist making that joke).

I've also been experimenting with cake flavors in my spare time. I recently made a batch of lemon-rosemary cupcakes with lemon zest/cream cheese icing. I really like this recipe because it isn't too sweet and like the unexpected hint of rosemary. The cake is more dense than fluffy (less like cake, more like cornbread consistency), but I think it worked great in cupcake form. It might be a bit too dense for some in cake form. I found the recipe in a magazine, but a friend of mine found it online if you would like to make a batch (http://szera.blogspot.com/2010/03/lemon-rosemary-cupcakes.html). I added an extra tablespoon of lemon juice and a little extra rosemary to the cake. I also added extra lemon zest to both the cake and the icing since I had some leftover and, in my opinion, you can't add too much lemony goodness.

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