Much ado about nothing, well not quite. I met a lot of homebakers like myself in this Wilton Cake Decorating Class 1 (buttercream) who wish to expand their skillset further to be able to dress up cakes they make like a professional – or as close to one as possible.
We enrolled in B-I-Y at Bukit Timah Road here. There were about 7 ladies. This course lasts 4 weeks, with lessons once a week for 2 .5 hours each time. To be honest, I did not realise the amount of tools and utensils, icing tips, needed. I was annoyed and convinced after my first class, this is a very smart business move by Wilton, to get eager students to buy all their products. That being said, I did sign up so I might as well learn it right.
To be rather good at buttercream, temperature and humidity plays a large role. Being in Singapore it was rather tricky, the refridgerater or icing in air conditioned room helps a lot! Another to consider , is a firm hand and strength too. The right tips help too of course, and patience! Last but not least, a good techique is the key to making perfect buttercream decorations after all, that is why I am there – to learn them. and so I did – but practice makes perfect.
Nothing frustrates me more than not getting things right. After the first attempt with a rainbow cake today (see above), the teacher nodded her head with approval and we went home to prepare for the following week’s lessons – roses and clowns. I have a newfound respect for cake decoraters in general, these things take time and lots of patience and I have not even tried fondant, or royal icing yet!
My cake was a vanilla sponge cake with wild blueberry jam filling, iced with a sky blue buttercream thin icing. I chose sponge cake due to the buttercream icing , I wanted to balance the buttery feel of the entire cake.
As you can see I need more practice, but all in all I had good fun and now lots of washing up to do!
Buttercream Icing (Stiff Consistency) 3 cups
- 200 g shortening Crisco
- 454 g icing sugar (there is a bit of cornstarch in most store bought icing sugar)
- 2 tbp water
- 1 tsp of vanilla, or almond essence
- 1 tbp meringue powder
- a pinch ofr salt (optional)
Sift your icing sugar 3 times to break out the lumps.
Cream your shortening on low-medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Add in the water and essence, and beat for another minute. Slowly add in your dry ingredients and continue beating low/medium speed for another 6-8 minutes until really smooth.
For icing the cake base, thin icing is used, that would be 1 cup stiff consistency + 2 tsp water. Mix well. Colour as desired. For other decorating features like stars, squigglies – medium consistency is used (ie, 1 cup stiff consistency + 1 tsp of water – mix well and colour as desired). Use different tips and play with the results.