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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Course Two Final Exam Cake - Don't Judge Me!

Onward and upward to Wilton Cake Decorating, Course Two. If I thought Course One was hard, that was a walk in the park comparatively!

Each class is an exercise in frustration, learning more and more flowers, more and more borders and working with vile buttercream. We were to make flowers each week, keep them and store them and then bring them all back to the final class to assemble our final exam cake. So first up was the chrysanthemum. That was met with absolute failure. So much so that I didn't even keep any. I kept telling myself I would make more later, but later never arrived. Rosebuds were also met with failure. Yeah, I really do suck at cake decorating.

Week two we were using royal icing which is basically just water and powdered sugar with a little meringue powder thrown in. Again, nothing I'd actually want to eat. Speaking of which, a few days ago I was watching Ina Garten on Food Network and she made a buttercream icing for her cake. Let's discuss that she did not use shortening. She did not use meringue powder. She did not use butter flavoring. Hell she didn't even use powder sugar! Nope. Ina's buttercream is made from real egg whites, sugar and water made into a simple syrup and five.... I repeat FIVE sticks of actual butter. That's a buttercream I can get on board with. But I digress...

Royal icing and color flow icing are both used in class 2. Color flow icing is basically royal icing but instead of the meringue powder you use color flow powder. What's the diff? No clue other than another way for Wilton to make more money. We started out making birds where you trace a bird design onto a board using Tip 2 to outline it then filling it in with color flow icing. I didn't take any pictures during any of the classes other than the last one, so you'll see my bird on the final cake picture.

Using Tip 101, we made Apple Blossom flowers. I actually did OK with those. That is until we had to change over to Tip 1 and put the little dots in the center. I don't mind telling this, I hate Tip 1. Tip 1 is evil. You need to be the Incredible Hulk to squeeze Royal icing out of the bag with Tip 1 on it. From Apple Blossom's we moved on to Violet's, using Tip 59 and, yep, you guessed it, that blasted evil Tip 1 reared it's ugly head again. After Violet's came the Violet Leaf using Tip 103. And that brings us to the end of Class 2. So in two hours we did birds, apple blossoms, violet's and violet leaves. That's a lot to cover in two hours.

On to Class 3 again using Royal Icing. We started out making the Victorian Rose. How it's different from a regular rose, I'm not quite sure. The technique is pretty much the same. After the rose came the daisy. After the daisy came the daffodil. After the daffodil came the pansy. After the pansy came the primrose. Seriously! All these flowers were covered in the 2 hours of class 3.

Class 4, the final exam is approaching. Now we need to bring in a cake made in the pans provided with the Course 2 kit. Knowing damn well that this cake would meet with an unfortunate demise when all was said and done, I opted for a box cake mix as I have with previous class cakes. The pans provided are oval shaped but quite frankly, the cakes came out of the oven looking like a couple of footballs. Thank goodness I have that wonderful cake leveler!

Cake... check. Leveled... check. Iced in vile buttercream.... check.

On to class armed with my cake, my flowers from previous weeks, a big bowl of craptastic buttercream and I'm ready! I'm ready to learn basketweave and put this bad boy together. And let me just say, I was in an extremely pissy mood on this particular day. Everything went wrong before I even got to class! But that's another story for the next blog. I will say however, that I decided to bring everyone a little Halloween treat and made cute spider web cupcakes with delicious chocolate cake. Upon arriving and opening my car door to retrieve everything I had to carry into class, the cupcakes hit the ground! No cupcakes for anyone :(

And because I was making a bunch of things that day, I only got one coat of icing on my cake and yes, it's all full of crumbs. I know better. I know to do two coats. I didn't have time and anyway, I was going to be loading this cake up with all kind of craptacular flowers. So in the end it didn't much matter. So here we go. Basketweave is tip 47 and I have to say, once you get a rhythm going, it moves quicker than I thought it would.

There is a specific problem that arises often in class and that is that the vile buttercream gets softer and softer from the heat of your hand as the class moves along. So while my basketweave is not perfect due to hand heat softening and my own less than stellar abilities, I'm actually pretty happy with how that part of the cake turned out. This is on half an hour of practice!

After the sides are completely weaved up, it's time to start placing flowers. There isn't really a rhyme or reason to this. Just make it look good. Hmmm.... yeah, I'll work on that. So I started placing flowers on the top.

I'm sure you've had no trouble distinguishing that the purple flowers on the sides are primose, the yellow flower is a daffodil and the purple flower in front is a daisy.

And here is the final product in all it's sucktastic glory!

I don't think Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss will be calling me any time soon.

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