Recently, I took the Level 1 Cake Decorating class at the Decorette Shop. I thought it would be interesting to talk about what I learned. The idea of the class was to prepare us to make nice cakes for any occasion. The class was 7 weeks long, meeting for 3 hours one day each week. I know that you can buy a cake mix and frosting at the grocery store, and produce a nice enough cake for a celebration. What I didn’t know was that you can put more into the production and have a better cake.
The photos in this article are pictures of what I produced. I discovered that I an a good engineer in that I can copy what is shown me, but I am not an artist like some of my classmates. They seemed to have a better picture of how colors went together.
The first meeting of the class was to provide a list of material that we would need for the class; such things as piping bags and tips, wet cloths, aprons, and gel paste colors were among the many items on the list. We also got to work with Royal Icing to do color flow like I had done in the Cookie Decorating class. And, we were introduced to Molding Sugar and how to make and use it.
Our assignment for the second week was to bake and bring a 9 x 13 cake; it was recommended that we use a box and a half of whatever cake mix we chose.
In class the second week, we learned how to split the cake evenly and put a layer of filling in the split. Then we cut the cake up to form an old-fashion baby buggy. Finally, we learned how to pipe frosting in several ways to finish the cake; we used star-fill, basket weave, zig zag, and shells.
In class the third week, we learned how to pipe many different flowers as decorations on our cakes.
For week 4, we needed to bring a dome-shape cake to class; the idea was to make a doll cake. However, anyone that didn’t want to buy the special cake pan could create a dome in other ways. And anyone that didn’t want to buy the doll could do whatever they wanted with the dome cake. I went ahead and bought the pan and made a true doll cake.
In class the fifth week we worked on piping figurines.
In the sixth week, we made our third cake and took it to class. This class taught us more border design piping on the cakes. It also refreshed some of the ideas from our first two cakes, such as filling, and crumb coating. We also learned more about frosting a cake; up to now the cakes were not frosted, but covered with piped patterns. This week, we frosted the cake and put the patterns on the frosted cake. The two patterns we tried were Cornelli lace, and lattice. The edges were then piped with one of the patterns we had learned earlier- shells and zig zag.
And finally in week seven we learned how to stack cakes. In this week we baked, and processed two cakes to the smooth frosting stage. In class we learned how to stack the smaller cake on the larger cake. And then we were free to decorate the cakes in any way we wanted. I chose to repeat the border designs from week 6 on my larger cake, and nearly ran out of time. A 10 inch cake is a long way around.
I think it is important to recognize that we all like to bake cakes for different occasions, but we generally do not worry about crumb coating, about smooth frosting, or doing major decorations on the cake. We probably never consider stacking cakes. This level 1 Cake Decorating class teaches the student some of these techniques and develops a confidence in the student for moving ahead with making nice looking cakes.