Last Monday's cake decorating class had us bringing our own baked cakes to be decorated. An amazing cake tool I discovered from this class is the "cake leveler" which lets you slice off the unsightly hump on newly baked cakes. You get a flat-surfaced cake by using this simple tool.
Our course booklet contains model cakes to copy. Another cool trick we learned was transferring traced patterns onto your cake from paper, such as this fish design I chose. Instead of using tracing paper and pencil, we used parchment paper and gel piping. We also learned how to smooth out the icing on the cake using parchment paper and a spatula for a polished look.
I only have one icing color, green, so I borrowed my classmate's orange icing bag. On this cake, we applied the "dimensional decorating" technique for icing with a Wilton #12 icing tip. It lets you do round and elongated icing shapes on your cake.
Pardon the crude look of my cake. I'm just a beginner, after all.
It's green because of St. Patrick's Day. I call it my "Lepre-Cod Cake." (Leprechaun, get it?) My fish is so Irish, it even has orange fins. Flaming orange fins.
Our cake decorating instructor encouraged us to take photos of our finished cakes not just for posterity, but as requirements for when we wish to become Wilton instructors ourselves later on. Something to put in the portfolio, perhaps. Luckily, I brought my DSLR and snapped away. I even took photos of my Filipina classmate's cake because she didn't have a camera. Just in case we want to be cake decorating instructors in the future. But presently, for blogging purposes for me. I can see myself doing cake after cake until I get old enough to qualify for a Medicare plan.
KG had asked in a comment on a previous post if I could share the recipe for the buttercream icing which uses meringue powder that we had used for the class. I must warn you, though, that since it's stiff, it will give your arms quite a workout mixing it. Unless you have a nifty stand-alone mixer. Here it is from our Wilton Basic Cake Decorating Course booklet:
Buttercream Icing Recipe (Stiff consistency, makes 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup solid white vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon Wilton flavor (Vanilla, Almond or Butter)
7-8 teaspoons milk or water (I use water)
1 lb. pure cane confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon Wilton Meringue Powder (*Allergy warning: may be eliminated if allergic to eggs)
Pinch of salt (optional)
Cream shortening, flavoring and water. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Blend an additional minute or so, or until creamy.
To turn this icing batter into thin consistency, add 2 teaspoons of water for each cup of the stiff consistency icing mentioned above. Therefore, you will add a total of 5 teaspoons to make it thin, that is, soft.
The thin icing is the one used to frost the surface of the cake, while the "medium" consistency is used to add decorative icing, such as the fish design and dots you see on my cake.
Decorator icing is like modeling clay, only you squeeze them out of icing bags with specially-shaped tips. Wanna try?