Sunday, June 29, 2008

Christmas in June!

So my best friend from high school has been doing some cleaning out of stuff that she no longer uses... and being aware of my new interest in cake decorating she asked if I wanted her stuff! Of course I did! Well, wasn't I surprised to see HOW MUCH she was giving me!

-Cake pans - Ice Cream Cone, Snowman, Christmas Tree, Easter Bunny, Cross, Train, and Heart!
-Decorating Bags - Parchment triangles and Disposable Bags
-29 piece deluxe tip set! (w/ a couple extra tips and extra #9 flower nail!)
-Tupperware Decorator comb
-Decorator brush set
-9 large bottles of Icing Colors
-Script Message press set
-Block letter make any message set
-4oz Meringue powder
-Wilton's 2003 yearbook (and a couple of other small idea books...)
-Extra couplers and a #789 cake icer tip!

Anyone who's taking the Wilton classes like I am (or just likes to decorate!) knows how much this stuff is going to come in handy! WOW! Thanks, Jodi!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

3-D Cupcake Pan Giveaway!

Ever wanted Wilton's 3-D cupcake pan - check out! Maybe you could win one!

(Contest ends June 30, 2008)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wilton Cake Course II, Class 2

Last night we learned how to make some new flowers w/ royal icing and also how to use color flow icing. I'm having tons of fun in this class and I really love the things we just learned! It amazes me what you can make out of icing! I also love the fact that these flowers can be made ahead of time! (It's been very rewarding and exciting to see how much I've learned and how quickly. Not too mention that fact that each time I learn something new, I don't feel quite as bad about all the supplies I've bought and want to buy! :-) I think my husband also feels that way! :-) I think he's been pretty impressed w/ what I've learned to do in such a short time!)

The first thing we did last night was work w/ color flow icing... I'm not completely thrilled w/ the birds, although I do think they came out better than I was expecting... I had ready a butterfly pattern also... I've seen pictures online of cakes w/ the birds and also w/ the butterflies and I think butterflies look way cuter! :-) I was so nervous about working w/ color flow since the book (and our instructor) warned us to be careful since it can dry out quickly. I'm relieved to say I didn't have any problems w/ this! We outlined our designs w/ a tip #2 and then used a parchment bag w/ a tiny tip cut off to fill them! I also have TONS of leftover color flow icing... maybe I'll make a few backups in case some break...

My best bird (I need to buy the edible markers to make the eye and color the beak...)

My butterflies...

Next we moved on to royal icing... we brought 4 colors to class - yellow, green, pink and purple... and made apple blossoms, violet leaves, and violets... I was able to make 7 or 8 of each in class and then I made some more at home last night (At the suggestion of my instructor, I dried some of my leaves on the opposite side of the flower former to have them curved in different ways..._ I still don't know what flowers I want to include on my final cake... So I'm trying to make sure I have extras of everything. (After all, they'll keep for a while - I can make cupcakes or a small cake w/ my leftovers!)

Flowers/leaves I made in class...

Closeup of flowers/leaves I made in class...

Flowers/leaves I made at home....

Next week we make more royal icing flowers! (victorian roses, daisies, daffodils, pansies, and primroses...)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wilton Cake Course II, Class 1

Last night was my first class of Wilton 2 "Flowers and Borders".

We reviewed some basics of course 1 (how to make a parchment bag, the shell etc.). Then we moved on to learning a couple of new buttercream decorations - the Reverse Shell, the Rosette and the Rosebud (none of which were too difficult once the instructor showed them to us).

Next our instructor showed us how to make Royal Icing (the best way I've heard Royal Icing described is that it takes like "dots" candy - you know the candy dots that are on paper - it really does!). She gave us some and we learned to make Chrysanthemums! She let us take the leftover home (which was quite a bit... since there are only two of us in the class...). I was glad that she did - I made 5 mums in class and they didn't come out too good... I made tons more at home last night and I was getting better. I still have some icing left and as long as it didn't dry out, I'm hoping to make some more this morning to practice (hopefully I'll get better, they don't look too bad, but they don't look like the ones in the book...).

Part of our homework was to cut out all the flower nail templates in the back of the book (there is a template for all the different flowers we're going to work on). Our instructor let us use hers in class and gave us a great idea - she cuts hers out and puts clear tape or laminating paper on top, then she puts a magnet on the back so the flower template will stay on the flower nail! Then all you do is rub a little shortening on the top of the flower template and lay your waxed paper on it and it sticks! It really works nicely!

Can't wait for next week! - color flow... and more royal icing flowers (apple blossom, violet leaf, and violet)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

10yr Membership to Giveaway

Stop by and click on **CURRENT GIVEAWAYS**

It's a chance to win a 10yr membership to
(they are giving away 2 memberships - even more of a chance to win!)

They have tons of recipes, meal planning and other features! (Membership is usually $37/year!)

(Contest ends June 22, 2008)

Free KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway

Interested in winning a Free KitchenAid Stand Mixer? Who wouldn't be!?!

Check it out at (and click the link for **CURRENT GIVEAWAYS**)

(Entering is a simple as posting a comment... or you can complete more than one requirement to get multiple entries!)

(Contest ends June 17, 2008)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 4

Tonight I "graduated"! Yeah!

For my final cake, I made chocolate cake (see previous post) and used a cherry jelly for a filling. My husband and I prefer the plain jelly vs. adding the Jello to the jam... it was WAY TOO sweet w/ the Jello... although, the Jello did make the filling a little firmer... (btw, if you use the plain jelly - make sure to eat it w/in a few days as the jelly "juice" will start to make the cake a little soggy...)

I decided to make peach roses w/ a darker peach bow... I mixed orange and lemon yellow to get my peach... instead of actually buying peach icing color... My icing for my roses was a little bit too stiff and the petals are a little jagged... I like how they turned out, though - sometimes real roses can have "jagged" edges. I also didn't have room to write on my cake (I made a 8 inch cake instead of buying a 10 pan as suggested in the course book...)

(btw... I was playing around w/ my leftover icing in preparation for my first Wilton 2 class next week - I added some pink and it made the peach much prettier!)

(I did my leaves w/ a tip #352 borrowed from my instructor... It was way easier for me than the leaf tip that came w/ the kit! When I used the tip that came w/ the kit, I couldn't get the ends of my leaves to come out right... at least not consistently... the tips kept breaking off!)

(I also learned how to finish the shell border... I didn't have a problem w/ the bottom row since I was alternating shells/sweet peas... but the top was just shells... it was a lot simpler to finish off then I thought... I just had to judge if I needed one or two shells to finish - and the last shell was just kind of "fudged" into my first shell... If you look closely you can see two smaller shells near the top of my rose spray... but it's kind of hard to pick out...)

A close up of my roses...

Next week, I start Wilton 2... Royal Icing and new types of flowers! (oh, and a break from cake... I only have to make one cake for the final class of Wilton 2!)

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 4 Practice

Every time I make a cake for class, I end up w/ leftover cake batter.... so I make a few cupcakes. This week I used Duncan Hines (Moist Deluxe) Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix. I needed a change from yellow cake... I also had some leftover icing from the last class so I thought I'd practice my roses for my final cake... I was pretty happy with how they turned out. I definitely need more practice to get more consistent. They're all different sizes :-) But my husband said they looked nice that way since real roses are all different :-)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 3

My third class of Course 1 was a couple of days ago.

In this class we reviewed the rose base and not only learned the rose center but how to complete the rose w/ petals! (I wish I would have had my camera w/ me to take pictures of my roses!) It's really neat how simple it is to make something that looks so complicated! We also learned the shell, figure piping and drop flowers.

Once again we were to bring an iced cake to class (or cupcakes) to decorate w/ clowns to practice figure piping. My clowns came out better when I was practicing than on my actual cake, but I'm not sure that I'll be making a ton of cakes w/ clowns on them anyway! (The clown heads scare me a little! :-) )

For this cake I used the Wilton Icing tip... it definitely helped me to get more icing on the cake (for my first cake, I kept having to lift the spatula to add more icing and as a result I got a few crumbs...). The only problem I had was that I think I made my icing too thin... it seemed to come out of the bag a little too quickly.... and it took a lot longer for it to develop the "crust" so I could smooth it w/ parchment paper... (I still need some practice icing my cakes... they look ok but up close you can see the imperfections... and in the enlarged pictures! YIKES!)

I also used another Duncan Hines cake mix... Classic Yellow this time and I used a Jam filling... I found the idea online... You take a jar of seedless preserves, jam, etc... heat it for about 30 seconds... and stir in a small box of the same flavored jello... let it cool a little and then after you've made your frosting dam... you can spread the filling. Make sure to let it set a little before you put your top layer back on. It's a little sweet, but it's definitely tasty for such an easy filling. (I used a black raspberry jam w/ blackberry fusion jello...)

I decorated the edges w/ the shell border (I needed the practice!). I did a large shell on the bottom and a small shell on top (mainly because I was running out of blue icing and was afraid I wouldn't have enough to do the large shell on top...) I also wasn't quite sure how to finish the shell border so I added a star... (I need to ask my instructor next week.... so I don't always have to use a star to finish the border... I also didn't think of that when I started... My star finish is slightly off center... Next time I'll start and end my border at the back of the cake!) I also thought the sides and top looked a little bare so I added some little yellow dots!

Next week I "graduate" and get to decorate a cake w/ roses! I've also already signed up for Wilton Course 2 "Flowers and Borders" which starts the week after Course 1... I already know I don't have to make a cake for the first class of Course 2 (which is good - my family will get a break from cake! )

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 2

For our second class we were to bring an iced cake to class. We could either make a character cake or the rainbow cake. I chose the rainbow cake. (Decorating w/ stars is very time consuming and I didn't think I'd have enough time for a character cake.... I was right!)

In this class we learned how to decorate w/ stars, zigzags, printing, writing, lines and dots. We also learned to do the Wilton Rose base.

For my Rainbow cake, I made the cake w/ Duncan Hines French Vanilla cake mix (it didn't taste too bad... but I think I like Yellow better...)... I also filled the cake w/ frosting... I also wanted to try the rainbow cake (instead of a character cake) so I could try the piping gel pattern transfer (I don't have a lot of artistic ability and can't draw anything freehand! So any designs I use will have to be done using this method!)

I don't think my cake came out too bad for my first attempt... My icing job could have been better... but considering it's the first time I've ever iced a layer cake, I was pretty happy w/ the results. I was able to get everything decorated in class except for the writing, which I did once I got home... (My clouds were also made w/ a tip size bigger than the book said... a suggestion from my instructor... to make the clouds look fluffier!)

Wilton Cake Course I, Class 1

I started Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1, "Discover Cake Decorating" and am SO excited! I've wanted to take this for a long time and have finally done it! (I also thought a blog would be a good way to track my progress!) I left the first class even more excited than when I started... It seems you'll either LOVE it (and want to take other classes) or HATE it!...

In the first class we went over the different bag types (parchment, disposable and featherweight) w/ and w/o couplers.

We also learned how to make Wilton's Class Buttercream Icing (and the different consistencies) and how to ice and fill the cake. A lot of people don't like this Buttercream Icing recipe... and while I will admit it's not the best I've ever had... it's not even close to the worse. Also, you have to take into consideration that this is a good icing to learn w/. If you were to use icing w/ butter in it and have any warm weather or humidity, you'll have problems w/ the icing consistency. Not to mention that if butter is used you won't have the pure white color you get w/ Crisco... so if you're coloring you're icing... you're colors will be off...

I also bought tons of supplies! If you're like me and think you'll want to buy more stuff... you should buy the 50 piece kit in the Caddy... it runs for around $45, but you can usually get it at 40% off from Hobby Lobby or Michaels w/ their ad coupons.... this Caddy has everything that's included in the Course Kit 1... plus other stuff that you'll probably end up buying anyway... I went the other route (bought Course Kit 1 and tons of stuff and eventually the empty caddy separately) and returned to the stores repeatedly w/ 40% off coupons to accumulate stuff at the best price possible... I started out using a small plastic box to carry everything... but the Caddy helps you stay much more organized... (I got the Caddy at Joann using a 50% off coupon from Michaels... Joann's will honor Michaels coupons, but they will call Michaels to verify they carry the item... The caddy was $5 cheaper at Joann's $19.99 vs. $24.99 at Michaels...)

I have found there are some items I wouldn't live w/o... cake leveler (who knew a $3 tool could be so useful!), turntable (makes icing SO much easier...), cake caddy (unless you have something else to carry your cake in... btw... my instructor gave me the idea of using non-slip shelf liner under my cake board... it keeps the cake board from sliding around in the carrier...)