Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flowers and Cake Design – Class #4: The Final Class

So it’s the final week and that means final project cakes.  The hardest thing about the final cake is picking the design.  Sure, Wilton gives you some ideas, but there are a lot of different things you have to keep in mind.

Since we still had 2 techniques to learn, we were going to have approximately 90 minutes to finish the cake.  If you ever watch any of the Food Network cake challenges, you know the biggest weakness of the majority of the designers is they plan too big of a design to complete in the time they are given.  That is one thing I have in common with them.  The things I don’t have in common?  Insane cake decorating talent. 

Er, okay, mediocre cake decorating talent. 

Sigh… basic cake decorating talent

Another thing to consider is what flowers you already have made and how much time you’ll have to make new ones.  I had a lot of a specific type of flower already made and I had royal icing already made in 3 colors.  I think it’s pretty apparent the direction I went.

Finally, our instructor wanted us to utilize the basketweave technique that we were learning in the final class.  We got to decide how much we wanted to do on our cake, but we still had to figure it in somewhere.

Oh, I almost forgot… here’s what we covered this week from the class lesson plan, as listed on Wilton’s website, in the RED BOLD text:
  • Basic Principles of Cake Design
  • Gum Paste and Fondant 101
  • Button Flower
  • Pansy
  • Making Royal Icing
  • Making a Parchment Bag
  • Flower Nail
  • Rose Base, Rose Center
  • Apple Blossom, Primrose
  • Rosebud
  • Wilton Rose
  • Daffodil
  • Violet
  • Using the Lily Nail, Lily
  • Guidelines for Flower Arrangments
  • Floral Cake Design
  • Making Stems
  • Reverse Shell
  • Basketweave
Bad thing about the basketweave – it’s done with buttercream.  That being said, I pulled off one of my best batches of buttercream icing EVER.

The Reverse Shell is important since it is often used to line the top of the basketweave.  It isn’t difficult, but it has to kind of come to you.  Once you get it, you can do it all day long.  Until then, it is frustrating.

The Basketweave technique is not difficult, but it takes a lot of concentration - concentration and pre-planning because you have to have an even number of vertical stripes spaced evenly apart.  I lost it more than once and had to gingerly scrape off icing, but I hid it well.

So are you wondering what my final cake looks like?

© You Want Me to Cook?
Final Cake

Not bad, huh?  I decided to put the basketweave around the side of the cake.  I lost concentration a couple of times, but then I got into the zone and finished it off.  Around the border of the top of the basketweave, I did the reverse shell to clean up my edges.

© You Want Me to Cook?
If you're wondering... yes, I found the part of the cake that looked the best.
Nope, no mistakes here, but please don't turn the cake around.

I had plenty of Apple Blossoms and several Primroses from practice.  So, I decided to fill the top of the cake with primroses filling in the holes with a couple of apple blossoms and let them trail down the side of the cake in vines.

© You Want Me to Cook?

I have no idea if apple blossoms can appear on vines in nature.   

Just checked… nope.  

Okay we’ll do a little suspension of disbelief, m’kay?

I tried to put some leaves around the flowers on the top of the cake, but for some reason I couldn’t get the royal icing to release from the decorating tip.  It could be that I whipped the royal icing the day before to “freshen” it up, but neglected to do it before leaving for class.

© You Want Me to Cook?

My bad.

So I am going to pat myself on the back a little bit and say that I was REALLY proud of this cake.  It didn’t taste too bad either – lemon cake with poppyseed filling.

I also got to snap some pictures of a couple classmate’s cakes.  The first is from someone I met in my first cake class. 

She does great work!

This other cake was the clear winner of talent in the class.

She came in with approximately 100 flowers.  I was impressed… and very jealous.  Her design was gorgeous not only from the top but also from the side.  Amazing.  I did have a detail of the top of the cake, but somehow it disappeared.  Bummer.

I finish my Gum Paste and Fondant class next week (check up on my progress in that class here and here) and then I start the final class in the series Advanced Gum Paste Flowers the following Tuesday.  I’m excited to be done, but also sad.  I’ve had A LOT of fun in these classes.

Stay tuned because I’ll have what I learned in my third Gum Paste and Fondant class up soon and then next week is my final cake.

Wish me luck and until then… happy baking!

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