Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cake Class - Me versus Frosting

It's Wednesday night and I'm sitting on the carpet in my PJs after having finished week three of a four week Cake Decorating class that I'm taking at Wellington High School. Here are some photos from last week when I made my first attempt at 'properly' icing a cake with buttercream frosting. We had to split the cake into three even layers and frost each layer with a nice uniform amount of frosting. I was so happy when I cut my cake to see that the layers were even! Cutting a cake in three is actually a little harder than I expected and icing it evenly and smoothly was a tricky process too. Who would have thought that buttercream could be so sensitive? It's just buttercream! But that's why I'm doing this course, to learn the little secrets of the cake trade that will make whipping up a beautiful cake that much easier.

Yes, that's my Almond Cream KitchenAid in the background. Thanks family! You are the best!

The cake I made was a plain chocolate cake (using cocoa and not actual chocolate) from a recipe given to us by our lovely tutor Maria. It's a cake recipe she relies on a lot and is part of her repertoire of 'go to' cakes for the work she does - including managing the baking side of treats at the sweet and charming Martha's Pantry (who are well known in Wellington for their cute, classic high tea). I haven't asked Maria if I can share the recipe here yet but I will do. Watch this space. It's easy and turns out a cake that's perfect for layering as it's quite dense but not overly moist (hate that word but couldn't think of an appropriate alternative!). The flavour is also simple enough to work well with the rich buttercream.

I frosted my cake with lavender buttercream. I had never worked with lavender in baking before but after some online research I decided to just pick the flower buds from the garden, pull off the petals, cover them with a little bit of milk, boil it in the microwave to get rid of any little plant bugs that may have been hanging out in the tiny blossoms, and add the lavender to my frosting mix. Voila - lavender buttercream. The flavour was subtle but really nice, just a little perfumey. It didn't taste at all like you were eating potpourri (some people thought it was an odd choice of flavouring). I would make it again but only for the right girly type of crowd.

Tonight's class was all about prep for our epic grand finale cake that we'll be making for our last class next week. We spent two hours playing with Flower Paste, making the decorations. I have great plans...whether or not they work out is another thing! Just know that there's going to be pineapple, coconut and possibly some white rum involved. Until next time...

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