Sweet Treats: Cake Decorating

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I love making cakes! From looking through recipes, checking pictures on the internet, searching for random ingredients, and spending a small fortune in cake shops on fancy tins and glitter. I enjoy the planning and preparing, and of course happy faces of my friends eating my baked goods. But then I struggle when it come to finishing and decorating the cake. There has been times when I felt like putting the cake straight to the bin because of a very disappointed look of the final monstrosity. So, I decided a way forward would be to go for a course and learn what exactly needs to be done and what exactly I am doing wrong when it comes to the buttercream.

Last Saturday, while most of people stayed in their warm beds, I crossed foggy and cold South London and made my way to A Techniques with Buttercream class, in Cakes4fun in Putney.

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I was a bit apprehensive and not sure what to expect, as I have never done any cooking or baking classes. However, I was welcomed by a lovely shopkeeper who asked me to wait a bit for our tutor. This gave me a perfect opportunity to look around a small shop with generous amount of edible glitter, food colourings, tins, and cupcake cases. Of course, I love glitter so much that I was already tempted to spend my cash.

Our tutor for the day was a charming lady called Pervin. She has a great knowledge of cake baking, decorating, and chocolate making. On top of the extensive qualification, she also has valuable experience in working in kitchens and baking for paying customers. Her approach was friendly and very professional. She was happy to share her knowledge and useful tips on what to do with buttercream, why air bubbles form and what to do about it, and she explained us which utensils are the best to use.

The room was very comfortable and had a wonderful display of decorated cakes. There was five students in total and we all had plenty of work space. We were given an apron, some basic utensils, cake boxes with cake boards to take our cakes home, and a guide with a few recipes and a description on what buttercream styles and type we were going to do.

During the morning, we cut, trimmed, and prepared our three sponges, so that we could practice our pipping techniques in the afternoon. The first technique was the most simple and we used our chocolate cake to create petal appearance. This was fairly easy, but still gave us a chance to work with temperamental chocolate and bubbly buttercream. The second technique was to decorate a lemon cake with horizontal thrills, zig zag or two different flower patterns. I enjoyed this part the most as I was always excited to learn how to make a pretty feminine cake. Pervin was excellent in showing and describing the pipping techniques and the steps needed to make our cakes looks tidy and uniform. I tried all three different ways but settled to finish my lemon cake with a delicate rose pattern.

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The last technique we did was a pink rose cake. I have seen this particular style and I can say it is the most beautiful and elegant of all. By adding extra pink colour we could also create shaded roses.

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The pace of the course was perfect and gave us enough time to focus on each task. Pervin is extremely talented and her charming and honest personality made a world of a difference in  understanding the buttercream. She was more than happy to answer any of our questions and give us advice about any home electricals, piping nozzles, and what kind of ingredients are the best to use.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the course and would definitely come back for more. And if you are looking to learn about cakes check out Cakes4fun courses (The Techniques with Buttercream course run from 10 am to 4 pm, with a fee of £99). I am sure you can find something interesting too.

by Maria

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