Friday, September 28, 2012

Let them eat cake!!

While creativity is usually not my strong point, I do have artistic ability & love it when I can channel it.

I am pretty decent at drawing.  Although I am good at drawing something that I can see, coming up with something out of my head to draw seems to require too much creativity for me.  I have no doubt that if I spent time working on this I'd be REALLY good at it.

I am pretty decent at singing & playing guitar.  I spend as much time as I can doing this.  That's usually an hour or so each week at this stage of my life. 

I have a strong desire to learn how to paint, specifically landscapes & seascapes.  Maybe someday I'll have the time & resources to actually pursue this.

I am also very passionate about cooking & especially baking.  For a long time now I have been VERY passionate about cake decorating.  And it's become even more of a passion now that I'm a mom.  I want to make great cakes for my son.  And I have to admit that I am far more creative when it comes to cake decorating than most other avenues in life.  And while I can see what I want in my mind so far I have not been successful at carrying it out in the cake decorating process. 

For Mother's Day this year my hubby gifted me a Wilton cake decorating class at Michael's.  I had originally signed up to do it in June, on 4 Saturdays.  But the first class was the day after my brother in law had unexpectedly & suddenly passed away.  So I delayed the class.  In July & August they weren't holding the class on Saturdays, which I needed, so hubby could watch Lil J while I took the class.  So now I'm finally doing it in September.  I have taken 3 of the 4 classes so far for this class.

In the first class we talked about cake baking basics & learned some basic piping techniques & carried them out on cookies.  Our homework was to bake a cake & make frosting & bring them separately to class to decorate in the second class. 

In the second class we frosted & decorated our cake.  We learned how to level & torte a cake as well.  We also learned an interesting technique where we take a picture of something & transfer it to the cake & fill it in using various piping methods.  It was pretty cool to learn because you can esentially put ANYTHING you want on a cake provided you can draw it or find a pic of it that is the size you want it to be.  To me that's a pretty valuable tool.  Somehow I didn't take a photo of this cake.  I was disappointed that my frosting wasn't as smooth as I would like on the cake, but the time constraints of the class made it hard for me.  This is something I've always struggled with & am hoping to improve by taking the class.  Our homework this time was to bake cupcakes & make frosting.

In the third class we learned to make some basic flowers & other piping techniques.  We decorated our cupcakes & made flowers on parchment paper.  When I signed up for the class I honestly had NO interest at all in learning about making flowers.  I really just wanted to learn some basics, mostly how to frost a cake WELL.  But I have to admit that I LOVED making the flowers.  I am now seriously wanting to take the 2nd class (there are 4 classes total, but the 3rd & 4th classes are about fondant, to my knowledge.  While I love the "look" of fondant I just don't like eating it.  And I know there's tons of gadgets involved, which make it a pricey hobby.  So I'd really rather just not take those classes.).

[On a side note: In this first class we do everything out of buttercream frosting.  In the second class, to my knowledge, we learn to make royal icing, which allows for more flower creations.  And, like I already said, the 3rd class is all about fondant & I "think" the 4th class combines buttercream, royal icing & fondant to pull it all together.] 

On the day of the 4th class (tomorrow) my niece is getting married & my son is the ring bearer.  So I am taking this class on October 27th, the 4th class of the next time she is teaching the class.  So I am working hard, taking advantage of my extra time, trying to get in a lot of practice.  My teacher says that you can take these classes & learn, but unless you spend a lot of time practicing you will never get really good at it.  So I want to practice as much as I can.  The homework for the next class is to take a cake & dried drop flowers (on parchment) & frosting & put it all together, plus more flowers (roses) we make in class learning new techniques that day.  I must admit that I have already tried my hand at the roses in the final class.  I think I did pretty decent, considering I did it on my own.  The book doesn't tell you everything, the teacher fills in a lot of info at the class itself.  I think they do this on purpose to keep people from just buying the book & learning on their own.  Also, when you buy the kit for the class it doesn't have the book in it.  The teacher gives you the book on the first day of class.  I think this is also to prevent people from just buying the kit & not taking the actual class.  But you can get the books on amazon & I'm sure other places as well.  Although, like I said before, you still won't have ALL the info you need, you still need the instructor for all the info to learn how to do it all. 

I'm trying to insert photos here of my work so far (with the exception of the first cake I did in class that I can't believe I didn't take a pic of).  It's not working yet, but I will keep trying........

Ok, I'm just gonna do the photos in separate blog posts, I can make it work that way.

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