Wilton Course 3, Lesson 3: Complete!

Another day, another lesson! For lesson 3 there really wasn’t much to go over. Below was my work station for the day again. I know I’ve said it before… but seriously. No buttercream and royal icing to cart with me? Amazing! Below is all I need to bring.

course3lesson3pic1I didn’t take too many pictures for this class because my phone was next to dying. We started with finishing up the carnations that we started in the first class. The base that we made needed to be completely dry in order to stack the next layers of the carnation. Basically, the book tells you to cut out 5 or 6 circles and fluff them up with the veining tool and stack them on the carnation base that you started. Now I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was using fondant and not gum paste so it wasn’t drying as fast as I wanted it to. It still worked (and dried a few days later), but it didn’t get as fluffy as I wanted it to get. I also used 9 additional petals to get the final result below. It clearly looks like a carnation and is very simple to make. The only thing the book didn’t say is to wait a minute or so between attaching each layer. If you fluffy and shape the circle and then let it dry a bit, the next layer won’t flatten it out (as you can see on the bottom of mine). But overall, I don’t think it matters how many layers you have, it still looks like a carnation.

course3lesson3pic2The next two flowers we made were the daisy and the mum. Both used the same cutter. The daisy was two simple shapes and then taking a little bit of yellow 50/50 covered in sprinkles smashed into the middle. The mum was just 6 layers of the same thing (two sizes) covering the mum base that we made in week one. You can see them both below in the flower forming cups. I think the mum could use a few more layers spaced out better.

My big issue with the two flowers was the cutter. No matter how hard I pushed on the cutter there were still thing scrapes between each petal. I tried to cut them out but it still looked sloppy. I would have to find a better way to cut it out correctly or just be patient to cut away all the excess.

course3lesson3pic3The last thing we did was make a layered ruffle and a ruffled swirl using the “straight scallop cutter” that came with the Ultimate kit.

The long ruffle is used to cover cakes with a long layered look. The swirled one is supposed to be pretty on top of a cupcake or something. I think it just looks awkward. But, the ruffle was easy enough which is good to know for the future. I may try and cover a cake layer with it.

course3lesson3pic4So that finishes the third lesson in course 3. This lesson went by fast. I finished a bit early too. Mostly because once the instructor starts reading out loud from the book, I just read ahead and do it. I figure I rather screw it up and then ask why so I know for the future. Mostly because (as I’ve said before), I won’t be using what I make in class on anything. The dirt in the room alone is insane.

For the next and final class we have to bring flowers already made with us and a cake design. This is something you have to do at the end of each course. If you look back on my lesson 4 of each of the previous classes I, (1) shared with my friend for one, and (2) didn’t bother to bring a cake with me. The women in this class seem to take it a bit more seriously than the previous one. Plus, it is easier to just make the gum paste flowers and bring them in. It’s not like its royal icing that could melt and needs a more delicate handle or it will crack.

One thing I have to keep in mind is where I’m going to take the Course 4 classes. The place I’m at now doesn’t offer it. In fact, no store in my county offers it. Wonderful, right? I really wanted to make sure I could keep up this blog until I finished Course 4. I tend to half ass things and never finish them. I’ve been told most of my life that I was good at something and then I would eventually walk away from it. I’m half good at a bunch of things. I really want this to work. Maybe I’m being crazy. But anyway, I have to find Course 4 somewhere!

Wilton Course 3, Lesson 2: Complete!

A couple of days before the second lesson I had to make the 18 loops for the bow we were going to make in class. I also wanted to remake the carnation base that I didn’t like in the first lesson.

In the picture below, you can see how gross the 50/50 was. Fondant, gum paste, 50/50 picks up every particle of dirt that floats by. This ball in the picture went to and from the Michaels store so I expected it to get a bit snarly, but this happens all the time. Aside from getting a air proof room that is vacuum sealed, I have no idea how to keep dust out of this. Especially when its white. Dark colors can hide the bits of dust that float around, but not white. Look how obvious the bad things are in there!

course3lesson2pic1But anyway, I made everything I needed before class. Again, I really like how I’m able to spread out more. I think it has to do with how the tables are set up.

course3lesson2pic2From this angle you can see how the tables are set up and the size of the room. It is made for small groups of people. In my opinion, it should always be no more than 7 (8 maximum) in each class. It makes it easier for the instructor to go to each person. This also helps if someone is late. They can at least catch up faster.

course3lesson2pic3Moving on, I’ll start with the big bow that we had to make the 18 loops for. Since Wilton did the overhaul of their lessons they changed how they did this big bow. Now, after doing this bow it seems clear to me that they really rushed this new program. What they tell you to do is to take a big ball of gum paste and stick all the dried loops into it. Really? Just stick them in? Well that doesn’t work. Well, it does, kinda. You stick the loops in (I eventually had to add edible glue to make them stay), but then the other loops start to move out as you move the gum paste ball around. I made the 18 the said but you can clearly see the large ball of gum paste in the middle. It just looks sloppy. Maybe if I added 10 more loops it would distract it, or if it was in color? I don’t know, but this is a bad way of teaching this. The “old” way was to make two circles. You would place the circle on the bottom, then the loops all around the edge. Then take the next circle, put it on top, and add more loops. I’m sure you would see the edges of the circles, but at least not this huge ball of gum paste. I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but I can’t help but think this is their way of making you go through gum paste faster so you have to buy more. This was just horrible looking. I threw it out.

course3lesson2pic6The first flower we worked on was the calla lily. To be honest, I wasn’t very interested in making this flower but it’s so easy, and it looks so awesome when it’s done. I like the idea of putting sprinkles on the center to help it stand out. I would definitely make more of these. To make them, all you need is a heart shaped cookie cutter and a cone shape. Wrap the heart around it, and then fluff up the edges. Very simple, and very cute! As I write this I’m considering making step-by-step photos of the gum paste flowers. It would be easier to do a tutorial of these than with buttercream or royal icing. I think everyone should know how simple it is to make these!

course3lesson2pic4The next and last flower that we made was the rose. We had to use the rose base that we made in the first lesson (tear drop shape). One of the things that bothered me was they had to make the base in white, not referencing that it would show in the center of the rose. So as you can see below, my white center is showing. I would suggest you make sure they match, or you make the base very small where it is completely covered by the petals. It pretty much looks like a rose, but only because of the color. I think adding the calyx to the bottom helped.

course3lesson2pic5So that was it for the second lesson! I took a picture of my two completed flowers and the new carnation base I made before class (much more fluffy).

course3lesson2pic7 One of the things I mentioned previously was how we never went over cake designing. We don’t do it in this class either. Well, the instructor does talk about the pictures in the books which technically you should be able to do after finishing the class, but that’s about it. Again, so far I like this class much better than the previous Wilton ones!

Wilton Course 3, Lesson 1: Complete!

So I finally started Wilton Course 3: Gum Paste and Fondant. I took course 1 and 2 at one location. I’ve complained enough about how long it took between courses (sometimes even between classes) and the location wasn’t offering any more classes. So luckily, the Michaels location closer to my house was starting up Course 3. The room lay out was much better. Since I took this class by myself I had much more room since the spot open to me was, well, open. So here we go!

class3lesson1pic1One of the first things we discussed is the difference between fondant, gum paste, and 50/50. Fondant is best for covering cakes and simple decorations for cakes. 50/50 is exactly what it says – 50% fondant and 50% gum paste. It tastes like fondant but is pliable like gum paste. Gum paste alone is great for flowers (dries quickly and can be spread paper thin). So to begin, we made 50/50 and had to cut them into strips. Apparently Wilton did an overhual of the courses during the weeks I was at the other location. Course 3 now wants you to cut out the ribbons using a ruler instead of their strip roller. I already had this since it was in the Ultimate Kit that I bought at the beginning. I didn’t feel like setting it up (and I wanted to follow along with everyone else), so I used the ruler. It is a pain to use a ruler to cut all the lines. As you can see below, I didn’t really care how things turned out. I didn’t make the lines exactly the right length and some of the widths were off. But as usual, I care more about what I get out of the class to use at home than what we do inside the class.

class3lesson1pic3So we had to make 18 loops. I only made what you can see below and the rest we were supposed to bring for the next class. The strips were just folded with some gum glue to make a loop.

class3lesson1pic2Next thing we did was made these simple bows with tails that you can see below. My 50/50 dried out a bit so it wasn’t very pliable so I couldn’t form nice loops in the bow (as you can see below, it was flat looking). If done correctly, I think this is a great way to make fast and easy bows. Though I think you should scrunch the ribbon a bit, and make sure to angle the tails to look like an actual bow. I saw that someone in the class overlapped the loops to force a “fluffy” appearance. That may be something I’ll try in the future.

class3lesson1pic4The next thing we did (with more of the loops we made) was work on quilling. Quilling is a thing I’ve seen that is pretty popular with paper. You can make very pretty and intricate designs with it. On my Pinterest binges I’ve noticed people starting to do it on cakes. Since it is very pretty, I was mildly excited that we would be going on the technique in class. Below, is my sloppy attempt. After looking closely at the pictures in the book the reason why mine looks so bad is because the layers shouldn’t be meeting all together at the end. Each layer should end further down and then be pinched closed. I also thing since I didn’t pay attention to which strips I was grabbing (and didn’t make sure they were the same size), they were very off. But you get the idea behind it.  One very important thing for this technique is to make sure all the strips are even. If you don’t, each layer will be bumpy and it just doesn’t look right.

class3lesson1pic5Next, we worked on leaves. A leaf cutter came in the kit, but it doesn’t make an impression of the leaf. You use the veining tool to make an indent down the middle and then the veins on the leaves. Maybe because I used white fondant I wasn’t happy with how it looked. I’ll try again using green, but I think I would like to get a leaf impression mat for them. We shall see.

class3lesson1pic6The picture below (that looks like a white nipple), is actually a carnation base. We’re suppose to save this so it completely dries for lesson 3. Basically, you take a ball of fondant, roll out the nipple part and then push out the circle. You cut it with a circle cutter then fluff it out. I didn’t like how this one came out (it tore), so I threw it out after class and planned on making a new one before we needed it.

class3lesson1pic7Below is everything we had to make for the first lesson. Those two yellow sticks? Yeah, those are pieces of spaghetti to hold the mum base (just a small ball) and the rose base (tear drop shape, but make sure its at a point, not a rounded cone like I have). If you are taking this course, please use a toothpick. The spaghetti breaks with any pressure. I know that Wilton wants to make sure everything is edible, but this is crazy.

class3lesson1pic8So that covers the first lesson in course 3! I like this course better so far than the other two because there is so much less mess. With the buttercream in course 1, and the royal icing in course 2, it was just a mess. I hated coloring everything and bringing it in containers. So much easier with the fondant and gum paste to just throw it in a bag and be on my way.

The only negative I would say is that the instructor mostly reads directly from the book. I feel like I’m complaining too much though. The previous instructor at the other location didn’t explain things all the way, which makes me wish I had this instructor for the first two courses. But then again, I do get a bit bored just reading step by step. Oh well!

Wilton Class 2, Lesson 1: Complete!

So I FINALLY started Wilton Course 2 at Michaels. I really should be finishing up with course 2 if everything went they way it was supposed to, but I need to get over that. So anyway, course 2! I signed up, and it looks like there is a sale right now on the courses since Wilton is re-doing all of their marketing. Basically, most of the things they currently sell are just getting their packaging redone. But, I did look around and see some really awesome silicon molds that I can’t wait to pick up. They also had some new cookie/fondant cutters I just need to buy. I need to hold myself back when I go into the store.

Anyway! After signing up, this is the list of materials they want you to bring with us:

ImageMost everything that I needed to bring came in the big Wilton ultimate kit thing I bought the first time around. The only thing I had to buy was the second course book, gum paste, and the neon fondant. Inside the book, we were also told to bring vegetable shortening, corn starch, powdered sugar, and adhesive (I normally use royal icing, but apparently you can dissolve gum paste in water and use that, or piping gel).

There was only five people in this class which made things much easier. You could ask more questions, and spread everything out. I took a few general notes at the start of the class. An issue I had was the course 2 books were given out for free, yet I already got one and marked it up. Blah. The instructor show us the new Wilton silicon mats that came out, and told us the new Wilton fondant is very good. If the price is right, I may give it a try. She said it was very pliable and tasted just as good as the fondant I currently use. The only other tip I got in class that I felt was very important, was using coco powder to deepen red/block when mixing fondant. I’ll try this in the future.

Moving on! So even though there was more room overall in the room where I can throw all my stuff, my actual working space was the same.

ImageWe started with mixing gum paste and fondant together. Gum paste cannot get wet, which is something I need to keep in mind. I wasn’t a huge fan of mixing it together and then sitting around and talking. Adding gum paste makes the 50/50 mixture dry out very quickly. We rolled out the fondant using the “workbook,” from the previous class. Apparently it can store the fondant to help it not dry out when we’re talking, but it wasn’t very successful for me.

ImageI used the dusting pouch to prep the “box.” The first time I tried to do the impression on the fondant, it didn’t work. You really need to push the box closed and use the rolling pin to shove it down. Below, you can see the result. I think they came out too thick. In the future, I think after they are rolled out evenly, they should be rolled out a bit more. My completed flowers were too thick to put on a cake, or cupcake, or any sort of baked good. But they did look cute!

ImageThe next thing we made was a pansy flower. I couldn’t use my course book since it was the new one, and they now do it differently. That being said, I like the old way better and I will practice the old way in the future. So the old was is rolling out two kinds of fondant, and rolling it together in a straight line (two petals a different color). To do this, slightly overlap them before you roll it out. I had a very difficult time with this since the fondant dried so damn fast. I’m not sure it would be wise to use the 50/50 in the future unless you will immediately be making a decoration.

ImageAfter you make one flower, you cut out another, remove two petals, and attach them to the top of the flower. I didn’t take any pictures because it was just coming out horrible, too dry. I really need to try this again at home and see how it comes out. It also hardly looks like a pansy, but I figure if I could try using real pansy colors, and maybe painting on some details to see how it comes out.

ImageI really need to find some time to practice at home this week. I also need to bring in royal icing. I’m excited for the next class since we will be making royal icing flowers. I have not been successful with this, and I hope I can figure out what I am doing wrong so I can mass produce flower for the future.