Sometimes I even amaze myself.
After finishing Class 4 of Wilton's Decorating Basics at Michael's, I'm finding myself emerging as an artist. I have better-than-average crafting skills (in college and in Chicago I worked as a prop designer on several theatre productions) but nothing was truly amazing. But this? Cake decorating? I found my strong suit!
For our final lesson, we had to bring in an iced and ready to decorate cake. I used The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free's recipe for Devils Food Cake with Bob's Red Mill Chocolate Cake mix. I made the cake ahead of time and leveled and froze it. The day before class, I defrosted it in the fridge and then made my icing and frosted it while watching TV. So it took a little longer to frost than it should have (Glee was very distracting this week). I realized that the more I messed with it, the worse the cake looked. It was better to walk away and leave it be at a point. I also mixed two pounds of powdered sugar worth of icing in various colors for my cake, choosing vibrant and bold colors.
In class, we learned how to print. Writing is not my strong suit - I'm left handed in a family of right handers and I grip my pen really weird. So holding the bag properly was weird for me. It didn't look that bad - but it left me with something to keep practicing. The only other thing we learned was how to make a ribbon roses . My icing was a little too thick, so the petals did not have a super clean edge. But as my instructor pointed out - they look very natural. I made a lot of progress even between my first and fourth rose.
For decorating the cake, we could do whatever we wanted to showcase the different techniques we learned throughout the course. The general cake decorating guidelines are to do your writing, flowers, leaves, and borders in that order. I found that using the Wilton Flower Lifter (rather than a spatula or my fingers) to move the flowers was a lifesaver. I was able to get my flowers perfectly positioned every time. As my cake came together with each addition and splash of color, my adrenaline started pumping. I was very excited to create something so beautiful and so uniquely me.
Taking the class with food allergies was actually not a big deal at all! I went into the class terrified that someone was going to accidentally glutenize my food (I pictured cake flying everywhere - not the case at all) and was so relieved to have an incident-free experience. The icing (assuming you don't use milk and go with water or a milk alternative) is dairy free. Wilton has been fantastic with answering my questions regarding products' milk and gluten statuses (their products tend to be "same facility as" wheat and milk). My frosting behaved just like everyone else's did and I was never at a disadvantage in class. When my friends on Facebook asked if I made it "edible (by us) or poison?" I was excited to answer that it was entirely gfdf. I maintain a strict dedicated gluten free kitchen (I live alone - it's easy) and could not imagine the emotional stress of working with wheat.
I'm planning on taking the next two courses when the weather gets warmer. Juggling a cake, bag and purse or backpack on public transit during rush hour was a little much. I can't imagine doing it with a bulky jacket in the snow. (But now that I've said that, watch, I'll sign up for a January or February course during a blizzard.)
Overall - I highly recommend the Wilton classes. They are an easy and affordable (if you time your coupons right) way to learn lifelong skills that help you elevate your baked goods to the next level. You learn so many tricks and techniques along the way that open up the door to so many new decorations on the Wilton website. You'll impress your friends and coworkers and surprise yourself and have fun all at the same time! And you'll never look at an overpriced, poorly decorated cake at the store the same way again!