Cake decorating is almost like scrap-booking, except that it is completely edible. I love how simple it is to be creative, as long as you are exposed to the proper basic techniques. NAIT offers exceptional decorating classes — BAK 400 supercedes the classes offered by Wilton at Michael’s. Cakes, icing and filling were all provided during the class. First, they start you off by using coned icing (yuck) to ice a round dummy. It involves using a spatula and a bench scrapper, as well as a turntable.
Yet, it is also easy to go wrong when it comes to cake-decorating, especially if we were to forget to tape the cake board to the cake box! 🙂 When working with buttercream icing, I found that it will take a lot of practice to be consistent with the angles and pressure. It will take quite a while before I can perfect reverse shells and pearl icing techniques. Gel paste (such as AmeriColor) is always preferred over liquid colours when mixing in buttercream icing. Using the same small amounts of colours I used for my first fondant cake, I was able to decorate the following sponge cake (with Bavarian custard cream filling):
The leaf icing was piped using parchment paper, with the tip cut in a triangle. A closer look on the side:
Buttercream melts really fast (as you can see the lop-sided icing on the picture!) — so, you may have to freeze it if you want to add more embellishments to it. I shared this cake with co-workers — it was gone within 15 minutes!
This Chocolate Ganache cake, however, is not for sharing. The instructor added praline paste into the buttercream icing to give it flavour. It is an art to melt your own chocolate, pipe it onto acetate sheets, let the chocolate cool (but not too long) and apply on the sides of the cake. To make ganache is quite the process: whisking a one-to-one ratio of whipping cream and chocolate (must not contain shortening). You can see that I went a bit chocolate over-board:
They also showed how to make your own fondant. The techniques were much different from the book I used, which makes a lot of sense. Where I went wrong was using butter instead of shortening. Shortening has to be used where it holds everything together. Glucose, glycerin and shortening were all melted together in a double boiler. The gelatin and water mixture were then put on the double boiler and incorporated into the GGS mixture. And here is also where I went wrong: I put my fondant in the fridge (as well as using too much icing sugar)! Homemade fondant needs to sit in a cool airtight container for 24 hours before it can be worked. Add a tiny bit of shortening — just a touch — if we added too much icing.
We shall see how my cake decorating projects progress. The first cake that I ever attempted decorated was the chocolate sauerkraut cake! (With just a butter knife) I absolutely love how it is possible to meditate and seize the moment to be creative when it comes to decorating cakes.