So, Friday night I stepped out of the home to attend a cake decorating class at Sweet Wise Candy and Pastry Shop with my friends Trish and Richard (or as I like to sometimes call them, Trichard). Sweet Wise has many different class options covering everything from fondant to blown sugar. We took the buttercream I class as we were just getting started and it taught the fundamentals. During class we learned how to properly ice a cake, how to do basic buttercream piping techniques, and also how to make fondant roses. Our instructor also shared some helpful tips for home baking and icing.
Use warm ingredients when baking
You know that “dome” that your baked goods get? That is created when you put cold ingredients into a hot oven. Our instructor suggests warming all ingredients (including leaving your eggs in a little bit of warm water to warm them up) prior to baking. This will help your cakes to bake up with a nice, even top for easy decorating.
Cold cakes are much easier to ice
Obviously you know not to ice a cake when it is still warm but they suggest chilling your cakes prior to icing them to keep crumbs from ruining your finish.
When using buttercream, always “dirty ice” first
Dirty icing is the first layer of icing that you put on your cake. Inevitably, it will be “dirty” and full of crumbs but that’s ok! Let the icing harden and then when you put on your second layer it should be nice and smooth! Just make sure to use clean utensils so none of the crumbs transfer from your tools.
Smooth out your icing using parchment paper
Apparently you can smooth out ridges and give your icing a satin finish quite easily. All you have to do is wait for your final layer of buttercream to harden and then gently place a piece of parchment paper (or a Viva brand paper towel) on the cake and lightly rub. Do this in sections until your icing achieves a smooth, uniform finish.
Another great thing about this particular class is that not only do you get to learn and practice several different decorating techniques but they also send you home with plenty of goodies! We each wound up with our own fully decorated cake, icing bags, piping tips, couplers and a texture comb.
I would highly suggest signing up for one of their classes if you are at all interested in baking and decorating. Word on the street is that they will be offering a Groupon in the middle of May for their Extreme Cookies and Cupcakes class so keep your eyes peeled!