Monday, May 30, 2011

Wilton Decorating Basics - Class 1: Cookies

Practicing my stars on my star cookie for Course 1
A few years ago I watched every cake decorating, designing, battling show that the Food Network aired. I thought Duff Goldman was the coolest, funniest guy on television. He made it all look so easy. Just roll out the fondant, plop it on the cake, make some things out of modeling chocolate and BAM - awesome-out-of-this-world cake that didn't even look like a cake. I thought to myself...I can do that. If the girls on Ace of Cakes can do that, why can't this computer nerd who had only ever made like one cake from scratch in her life (up until that point anyway). So off to the craft stores I went, coupons in hand, and bought everything I thought I needed. And I just went for it. Turns out it's kinda hard. I really had no idea what i was doing. And the store bought fondant is not good. Who am I's downright disgusting. Alas, my passion for baking and this blog was born. I no longer watch any of the crazy cake challenges or even the Ace himself, but when a friend asked if I wanted to take the Wilton cake classes with her, I was in. I thought maybe with a little guidance and some practice I may be able to produce something a little more photogenic than those first two attempts years ago.

For the first class we were supposed to bring the Course 1 Kit, 6 "round" cookies, Ready-To-Use White Decorator Icing, and lots of other stuff we didn't really need for night one.  It was more lecture and learning than hands-on that night.  Our instructor showed us how to whip up the Wilton recipe for buttercream, how to level and split a cake, and then how to add filling between the layers. We got to see and feel the difference between different icing consistencies - stiff, medium, and thin - and which applications each one is for.  She "torted" her cake for us which I guess just means cut it into layers, although after doing some googling this does not seem to be the proper definition of torte.  Torte is a specific kind of cake, no where can I find an official definition of it as a verb...oh well...moving on...

So as you can see, right off the bat I didn't exactly follow instructions.  Plain round cookies sounded boring to me, and if I was going to get everything dirty cutting out cookies I was going to have fun with it!  Turns out I only have a bin of holiday cookie cutters, so from that I pulled out the star shape.  I also had some small flowers that were officially fondant cutters, but the biggest one worked pretty well for a small cookie flower.  Unfortunately this proved more challenging when it came to decorating.  We only learned how to pipe stars in the first class (best seen in the first two photos) which I had troubles translating to the star and flower.  By the end of class, my creative juices were gone.

Tuesday night my creativity came back a little when I went to decorate the rest of the batch and use up more of the store bought buttercream (the rest I ended up throwing away...I realize now it probably would've kept in the fridge forever, sigh).  I did a lot of random patterns and then realized that weekend was Mother's Day!  So as you can see I attempted "MOM" but it didn't turn out so well.  I was starting to dread the night we had to do writing, it's a lot harder than it looks!

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