This was the final class of the Wilton Cake Decorating Class, Level 1. We spent a good bit of time on the Wilton Rose this time, because our teacher wanted to make sure we had it down. I can understand why. This rose is not something new, nor something that is indiginous to Wilton. If you ever work with pulled sugar, or see somebody work on it, you may have seen a pulled sugar flower. The concept is the same: you make one little petal in the middle, rolled up by itself, then you make a row of three petals around it, then a row of five and a row of seven. The difference is, the pulled sugar is a lot hotter, but when it cools, it's a lot sturdier; that is, unless it's humid. Since sugar is hygroscopic, it attracts water molecules (right from the air!), and when it gets too much water, it screams out, "help me Dorothy, I'm melting!" That's about when you have to throw it out, and all the monkeys that were guarding it fly away. And need I remind you, that monkeys are comedy gold, every time.
We also did a sweat pea blossom, some vines, and even some leaves for the Wilton Rose. Then we had about an hour to just decorate our cakes. I had my styrofoam cake again, with the top scraped off from last time and refrosted. I pretty much just did more paisleys. I like paisleys. The girl next to me did yet another fabulous cake, this time in chocolate. Justine, if you're reading this, heed my words: when you graduate, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of pastry chefs in this world that would love to hire you. You seem to have a natural talent and skill, and it would be a shame to waste them.
The girls across the room have progressed quite nicely as well. In fact, our teacher seemed impressed with everyone's progress. I get the impression not every class goes that well. Ginny has developed a technique of painting just the edges of the roses, which I think looks really classy. Her roses also look way better than mine. I suck at roses. Julie opted for a design with large dots all over the cake that looked really nice as well. Her roses also put mine to shame. And yes, their mom even does better roses then me. I'm just tragic when it comes to roses. Today I'm going to post photos of Ginny's and Julie's cakes. I wish I could post photos of them all.
The next class, Level 2, starts in about a month. I understand we will cover the basketweave technique as well, but the primary focus will be royal icing. For those of you not in the know, royal icing is quite the multitasker. I think that most people use it as glue for gingerbread houses. I've also seen a French pastry chef use it as decoration on a nougatine sculpture. Level 3 will cover rolled fondant which, as it turns out, is only one kind of fondant. There's also another kind used in candymaking, particularly for cherry cordials. I don't think most cake decorators know that.
I also found out last night that our teacher runs a blog of her own. Go check it out. It's mostly photos of her cakes, but she does a good job on them. I understand a bakery around her just offered her a job as a cake decorator. Were I running a bakery, I would have already done the same long ago. If any of you are interested in picking up cake decorating, I suggest you head on down to the Roberts store in Orem, UT and sign up for one of her classes.
Myself, I don't plan on spending a whole lot of time decorating cakes. I'm looking to expand skills in the pastry arts in other areas, and I discovered long ago that a lot of the techniques from all over the bakery cross over to other areas. Heck, not even just from the bakery. Are you interested in working with chocolate? Take an oil painting class. Once you realize that painting with oil paints is exactly the same as painting with colored cocoa butter, the number of things you can do with chocolate will more than double. Want to become an Iron Chef? Learn Perl. You will eventually discover that while the key words and syntax may differ, the concepts are almost exactly the same. Just like with Perl, there are thousands of ways to cook just about anything, and at least as many right ways as wrong. And just like writing in Perl, cooking is pure poetry.