Today was my first Wilton Flowers and Cake Design class.
Here was today's agenda:
- Basic Principles of Cake Design
- Gum Paste and Fondant 101
- Button Flower
- Making Royal Icing
- Making a Parchment Bag
We didn't talk too much about the first point. The instructor basically just said your flowers should be proportional the size of your cake. No gigantic flowers on a small cake and no small flowers on a gigantic cake. Personally, I think it's all about the look you're going for.
I was excited to learn about gum paste and fondant since I've never worked with either. I didn't really understand too much about the difference between them, other than that gum paste can be rolled out thinner and dries harder, whereas fondant is more of a Play-Doh consistency and doesn't get too hard.
The dumb thing about this class is we had to buy both gum paste and fondant and this is the only class in course 2 we're using it! The instructor said it's a teaser for course 3 (gum paste and fondant) but I think it's more of a waste of money. I hope my gum paste doesn't harden up by November.
We made the button flower using a mixture of gum paste and fondant. The student kit came with a button flower press. It is dead simple to do and very cute. I will definitely make it again in the future.
The second flower we made was the pansy. I wasn't a big fan of it and I don't foresee myself putting it on a cake in the near future. That is kind of the downside of these classes, you can't pick and choose what you want to learn like you would on your own. You have to learn things you don't like and will never use again.
Next we talked about royal icing and the instructor made a batch to show us how it's done. If you're not sure what royal icing is, it's the rock-hard icing you see sometimes as flowers on a cake. You'll know if it's royal because you'll break your jaw trying to bite into a royal-made flower. It's also used on gingerbread houses which I'm thinking I might want to make this Christmas. I've had cakes with royal icing before and admittedly, I always just thought it was old and hardened up regular icing. Oh no no. Royal icing is a mixture of icing sugar, meringue powder, and a tiny bit of water. That's it. No wonder it's like cement!
It's very important that you do not let your royal icing come in contact with any grease or you'll completely wreck it. It's apparently a giant pain to work with during humid summer days. I'm glad I'm taking these classes as it's getting progressively colder out.
We didn't really talk about parchment bags because my instructor doesn't use them. We use the cling wrap method I talked about in course 1, class 1.
Anyway, less talk, more photos, am I right? I just have one tonight, that's all I needed!
2 button flowers and a pansy. The white on the petals is a mixture of cornstarch and icing sugar, dusted over the working surface to keep fondant from sticking. I think it was more hassle than it was worth.
I must say, it was very weird not to bring a whole ton of stuff to class and even weirder not to bake anything. I actually feel antsy to bake right now. I debated all class whether to come home and make cupcakes so I could make more flowers. In the end I decided I really need to slow down and not smell the flowers (har har). So instead I'm heading off to bed at 9:30.