For Lesson Three of Wilton Cake Decorating Basics (I'm taking the class at Michaels), we learned how to make icing flowers and a few new techniques. The drop flower is super easy - we learned both methods - the star flower (simple squeeze and lift) and the swirled flower (squeeze, turn and lift). The rosette was nice and elegant.
The shell gave me a bit of trouble - I'm having difficulty being consistent and this is one technique that I really need to master since the shell is one of the most common borders on cakes. We took out our flower nails and learned the pompom flower (which my instructor loving calls the sea urchin). My very first attempt is pictured - I swear I got better as I made a few more. Net up was leaves - the tip does the work for you! Beautiful leaves every time! We also learned shaggy mums that were very fun to make. We had the opportunity to fill our cupcakes and tossed around some ideas of good fillings. Perhaps the greatest thing we learned was how to ice a cupcake. My instructor said that the trick is to go faster and with more pressure than you think you need. In about five to ten seconds, I had a perfectly iced cupcake. I think that is faster than taking a spatula out of the drawer... This is now my go-to-method for icing cupcakes. Where has this trick been my entire life? The tip is only $1.69. That's nothing considering the praise you will get for your beautifully iced cupcakes!!
After we learned all of our new techniques, we had time in class to practice what we learned. My gluten free cupcakes started off looking very pitiful (I used a doughnut recipe to make mine, so they were all sunken in) and ended up as a colorful array of cupcakes! Once I got home, I took out some plates (these make cleanup a BREEZE!) and started practicing some of the techniques I learned and used up my extra icing. My white plates were quickly dotted with pink flowers, purple shells, green leaves, and white stars.
When I started this class (meets for four weeks, two hours a time, on the same night throughout the month), the class was crowded with 11 students. By the time we got to week 3, we were down to 5 students. Where did everyone else go? All the ladies in my class were super excited to take it, but our numbers keep dwindling. I'm all for learning on the internet and from TV, but there's something important missing when you don't have an instructor who can help guide you along or fellow classmates whose work can inspire you. (I totally keep looking over to see what everyone else is doing - we can all be doing the exact same technique but we each have our own personality woven into it. Very cool!)
Next up? Learning roses and my final project cake. (Color scheme and theme still to be determined...Really only two days to decide since I need to make my frosting on Tuesday night...No pressure.)