Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wilton Decorating Basics - Class 1

While my cupcakes with powdered sugar dusted on top are pretty, at some point in my gluten and dairy free life I need to put a little more work into the finished product. And learn how to decorate a cake without resorting to the decorate-while-warm-for-the-melted-frosting look. I've known about Wilton cake decorating classes forever - there is a Michaels store in my hometown and I've always wanted to go but never really felt like it was the right time for me or it did not fit in my schedule. This past birthday, my aunt went to the Wilton tent sale and bought me some new brownie and loaf pans (with rounded edges so no crumbs stick) to upgrade my gear and surprised me with a 25 piece decorating set with some piping gel. She obviously thought more highly of my decorating skills than I did... When I was a prop designer, I decorated three cakes in a year - all of them looked horrible. But that's going to change! I signed up for the Wilton Cake Decorating Basics course at my local Michaels craft store and now I'm going to be a decorating extraordinaire!!!

For the first class, our supply list included the kit, ready made icing and cookies. After a few e-mails back and forth with Wilton, I learned:

White Decorator Icing, 710-118: no dairy or gluten in this product but there was dairy and gluten in the plant. This means our lines are cleaned for cross contamination but we let customers know this for air born allergies.
Most of our icing colors are gluten and dairy free but the only way to be sure is to check each stock number such as 610-256 in order to know for sure. I hope this helps and I apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any other questions or stock numbers you would like us to check, please feel free to let us know! We appreciate your business,

So far, so good! I'm still not a fan of needing to e-mail the company with stock numbers of already purchased products (that seems to be the only way to get a solid answer), but am happy to know that Wilton is on top of the cross contamination issue and declares allergens on their labels. (The white decorator icing is made in a facility that also processes milk and wheat products.) They were also quick with their responses.

I'm always going to be the special kid in class because I'm left handed. But I can't eat wheat or dairy? And I need to make buttercream icing? Fun fact: Wilton's class buttercream icing is butter and cream free. It uses shortening (Crisco), milk or water, confectioner's sugar and the optional flavor, meringue powder and salt. Helpful hint: Crisco doesn't change consistency with temperature. Butter does. Keep it dairy free. No problem!

For the first class, we were supposed to bring in cookies. Since I'm super excited about baking these days, I made up a recipe to make six very large, chocolate cookies. Recipe at the bottom. I was ambitiously over-prepared for the first class (I found the supply list online) so was able to buy some things with 40% off coupons first (you get a 10% off class supplies coupon, but 10% off is kind of a joke when you are looking at all the toys you need/want. At the first class, we started late because people needed to still buy their kits and icing (do this in advance!). Our instructor went over how to bake a cake (no new info for me), recommended using box mix (too expensive for me), how to make the icing and how to water it down for the right consistency, how to fill a decorating bag, leveling and torting a layered cake, how to ice a cake and how to make a piping gel transfer. Seems like a lot of info, but a lot of the class was very basic.
When we did get our hands into the action, we pretty much just piped stars using tip 18 on the practice board and then class was over. I wasn't leaving until I decorated at least one cookie, so I piped some stars in a swirl on one and took a picture. I decorated the rest when I got home. The next night, I took out the practice board and kept going with the stars. They are getting closer to consistent the more I practice.

Next week we need to bring in an 8" cake to level and tort. Gluten free cakes don't rise too much, so this means I'll be making two 8" layers and leveling off the tops. I still need to decide on the filling... And find a recipe! And buy more things! Yeah...I'm going to be that awkward girl on the train next Wednesday during rush hour juggling a cake, plastic tool box and backpack, aren't I?

Michelle's First Ever Cookie Recipe
1 stick vegetable oil spread/dairy free butter
1 c gluten free flour mix
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
2 t vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a stand mixer, cream the butter. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Slowly add to the butter mix. Then add in the vanilla and egg. Mix well. Place cookies on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 8 minutes. The cookies should expand quite nicely and give you PLENTY of room to add as many stars as you desire.

No comments:

Post a Comment