Recently, an advertisement for Wilton Cake Decorating Classes caught my eye at my neighbourhood mall. My daughters admire fancy iced cakes , even though they hardly eat any…………..they just lick the frosting. I thought it’s a good opportunity for me to revive my hobby now that my daughters have grown up a bit. I told them about the course and they were more excited than me in anticipation of all the frosting they would get to lick .
There are three levels of the Wilton Cake Decorating Course –
Course 1 : Decorating Basics
Course 2 : Flowers and Cake Design
Course 3 : Gum Paste and Fondant
I was impressed to learn that over 4 million people have taken the Wilton Method Courses.
The Decorating Basics Class consisted of four classes of two hours each. The batch comprised of 10 amicable ladies and a gentleman who was the Supervisor of the Specialty Store (Bulk Barn) where the classes are held. The instructor was an extremely helpful and experienced lady who was certified by Wilton.
In the first class we learnt about the basics of baking and making icing. Then we decorated some cookies with a pastry bag using Wilton’s ready-to-use frosting. I couldn’t take pictures of the cookies because my daughters licked up all the frosting before we reached home……….their reward for agreeing to stay home with Baba ( Dad ) and behaving themselves while Mama pursued something she had been wanting to do for a long time.
In the second class we had to take an 8 inch iced cake to be decorated in the class with buttercream frosting. Here’s a pic of the cake :
The third class was about decorating cupcakes. We learnt how to make shaggy mums, rosettes, pompom flowers,leaves etc but once again I couldn’t manage to take pictures.
The final class, the “graduation class” as my instructor put it, was all about ribbon roses. A word of advice for anyone planning to take these classes : do watch some YouTube videos and practice the roses before going to class. As you can judge from my pic, I had a really hard time making them, as did most of my batch mates who didn’t practice enough at home. I also wanted to practise piping messages , so I wrote “Ramadan Mubarak” (Happy Ramadan – the muslim month of fasting) on my cake, even though Ramadan was a month away, lol.
Have a look at some of the tools I bought for the Decorating Basics class, apart from the 8 inch cake pan and cupcakes pan. I ended up buying much more than I initially guessed. As my instructor put it, once you get into cake decorating you never stop buying, so be prepared . The icing tips, spatula and pastry bags were part of the Student Decorating basics Kit , rest of the stuff – turntable, cake box etc had to be bought separately . Then, of course we needed the ingredients for our cakes, cupcakes, cookies and buttercream icing.More stuff will be needed for the next two levels – Course 2 and 3
All in all, it was a really enjoyable experience. At the end of the class we got a certificate, a Wilton tote bag and a free gift – Wilton Message Pattern Press Set. I guess this was what was taught in our Marketing Classes as “Customer Delight” – going beyond customer’s expectations.
I am looking forward to take the next two levels as well. In case you are wondering, no Wilton didn’t pay me for this……..I wish they did though 😉
I made a simple vanilla cake for both the classes (Class 2 & 4) since my husband doesn’t like any sort of chocolate cake/ fruit cake etc. Here’s the recipe for the cake:
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3-1⁄2 cups sifted cake flour
1-1⁄4 cups butter, at room temperature and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, and set aside.
2.In a large bowl, sift together the baking powder and salt. Then whisk in the cake flour.
3.In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, and continue beating.
4.Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5.With the mixer set on low speed, add the flour mixture and the milk to the egg mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Each addition should be mixed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl twice during beating.
6.Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with few moist crumbs attached.
7.Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges, and then invert the cakes onto racks to cool completely.
This recipe makes batter for two 9 inch pans. You can make two 9 inch cakes and stack them with a layer of buttercream in between to make a layer cake. However, I made just one 8 inch cake (didn’t want to double the calories even though a taller cake would have looked better) and used rest of the batter for making cupcakes to freeze for my third class.
For the frosting:
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 lb Sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp Clear vanilla extract
1 tbsp Meringue Powder
8-10 tsp water (according to the consistency required)
Sift the powdered sugar and meringue powder into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Cream shortening, vanilla and water. Gradually add sifted dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Blend an additional minute or so until creamy. If you only have a hand mixer like me, be prepared for a good workout for your arms while making buttercream.
This recipe for buttercream icing recipe was given in our lesson plan and all of us had to use this in the class for consistent results.This “buttercream” icing has neither butter nor cream/milk , hence the cake can be safely kept at room temperature for long periods of time.For roses, a very stiff consistency is required so I opted for Wilton’s ready to use decorator frosting……..my poor hand mixer as well as my slender arms couldn’t manage the stiff consistency.