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 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!

Practice and Messing around

I had to make an 18th birthday cake. I was told that the girl liked “girly” things, like purses, shoes, some specific brand names, and the colors pink and purple. I wouldn’t have the time to order a Coach or Michael Kors cutter, and I knew if I didn’t cut it out exactly right it wouldn’t look good so I just scratched the idea. I wanted to try and carve out a mini-purse for the top of the cake. I figured I would need a sturdy cake. I found a recipe (which I will not give because I don’t want to bash it), and figured I would try it out.

I set up my pans as I usually do now (Crisco spray and parchment on the bottom), and as you can see they came out warped as usual it seems. Very frustrating. But it was a test cake that I planned on chopping up so I tried to not be too upset over it.

ImageI also finally made edible “glue.” To make it I added small chunks of gum paste to water and let it dissolve.

ImageAnnnnnnd I can show you my greatest new purchase… A digital kitchen scale! A few recipes I found went by weight and it was extremely frustrating. I bought this scale from Target. So far I use it to weigh my powdered sugar, and I find it very helpful.

ImageI also got this fabulous new Wilton purchase from Michaels. In my very first post I showed the little pouch that came in the Wilton Ultimate Kit. The reviews for it were very poor. I used it myself once, and it was a pain to use (trying to open it and refill, and making sure it didn’t spill). So they came up with this new thing. So much easier. Easy to refill and store.

ImageMoving along, I thought it would be a good idea to try and make my own show without any molds or cutters. I printed out some shapes online and tried cutting them out. It was a bit difficult since they didn’t come out smooth. I also tried using a shot glass (see below) to form the show. I used the glue I made and tried to attach everything together to see how it would look. Bottom line? Meh… I wasn’t impressed. At some point I would like to get some things to shape and dry them. But since my funds are super limited, that won’t be happening for some time.

ImageI gave up on the shoe thinking it wouldn’t be a best idea if I couldn’t make it look good. I took one of the cakes I made and carved part of one of them into the shape below.

ImageOh a side note, the cake tastes horrible. Just nasty. I threw out the rest of it. I’m so glad I tested it instead of making it the day I planned on making the cake. I figure the shape above could work for a cake. We will see!

Preparation for Wilton Course 1: Lesson 1

Hello out there! Originally, I planned on starting this blog after my first Wilton lesson, which should have been this past Thursday. For reasons unknown, they pushed the first lesson in course one back a week. So I figured to be helpful, I would go over all the supplies that I decided to buy.

To backtrack a little, I decided to take these Wilton courses because (like most people), I love seeing beautiful decorations on desserts. Themed cakes, towering cupcake toppers, and dressed up cake-pops are amazing to me. I think they add something to an event. They can be amazing centerpieces, or even favors. A few years ago, I made some X-Rated cookies for a friends Bachelorette Party. They were sloppily done, since I really had no idea what I was doing. I like how much everyone enjoyed them, and all the girls are the party ate every cookie. It was after this that I decided to take the leap and make a cake for my niece’s birthday (more on that later). Those X-Rated cookies have led me down a road to try and see how far I can take this decorating thing.

This week I will (hopefully) be starting Wilton’s Cake Decorating Course 1 at a local Michaels store. The first course takes place over a month, with one class a week.  According to the Wilton website, this first course will cover “a broad set of buttercream decorating techniques.” Or, the basics. Using a decorating bag, icing cakes, making buttercream flowers, letters, shapes and so on. When I showed the instructor a cake I’d made, she suggested I skip the first course and I declined. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. I’m able to copy things relatively well from websites and YouTube videos, but I want to learn from the ground up. So why did I decide to blog about this experience? When I searched online, I found a couple of pages that briefly went over the first lesson or two of the Wilton course, but they didn’t go further. I would like to document this journey lesson by lesson, and maybe further on.

To start off, I would like to cover what the required materials are for Course 1.

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After signing up for the class, I was given this to print out. Everything is clearly listed. I would suggest gathering these materials early. You never know if your local Michaels store will have everything that you need. I opted for the Wilton Ultimate Cake Decorating Set instead of the Course 1 kit. If you only plan on taking a course or two, I would suggest just buying the individual course kits. They have just what you need. If you plan on taking all four courses like me, or just like to attempt to make pretty desserts, go all out for the Ultimate kit. (Remember to coupon hunt! You can look in your local paper, or on the Michaels website for coupons to keep the cost down. I got a 50% off coupon for one item, and a 25% coupon off my entire order. What should have cost $265 in supplies, cost me only $130.)

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So here we go! The kit has 177 pieces (http://tinyurl.com/ltmxtxn). The pictures about show what the front of the box looks like, and the pictures of what was inside. The very last photo on the bottom right is the Wilton Carry-All Tote. I plan on bringing the Ultimate kit to each class, and it seemed like a hassle to carry around. This tote fits the entire Ultimate container (It was $40.00 so remember your coupons!). The only downside is that I will have to carry the additional supplies in another bag. I may look a bit crazy walking around the parking lot with all my decorating materials.

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Moving along, I went through the entire Kit to make sure everything was in there. This took much longer than I expected. Everything was neatly packed and sealed. The biggest complaint I have is none of the items are labeled in the kit. While some items were easy enough to figure out, others I had no concept of what they could be used for. I went through the list of items in the kit one by one, and whatever I couldn’t figure out I looked up online. It look a long time, but it’s worth it. You wouldn’t want to be digging around through all the drawers when you need something quickly. Another downside is that this kit basically fits just what they give you. The top two drawers are empty, but do not hold much. I was able to put my gel colors in there, but in the future, I need to get something more organized.

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The above photo is the Wilton Decorator Icing that is required to bring for the first class, and the flat cookies we need to bring. I debated making some cookies from scratch, but since we’re going to be practicing on these, I doubt I will be eating them. I would suggest picking up some cheap, large, and flat cookies at a local store. There is a list of the additional items you need to bring in (see first picture), and I’ll gather those in a small shopping bag. After going through everything I need for the course, I suggest the following:

  1. Make sure you organize your kit and label everything!
  2. The kit contains a dish washing pouch for your piping tips. From experience, please don’t use this. The tips do not get clean in this pouch in the dishwasher. Clean them by hand, and soak them if you have something on them you can’t pry off.
  3. Get a crafting knife! I picked up an X-Acto knife to cut my piping bags and it works 100% better than a pair of scissors. I also use it to fix lines on my decorations.
  4. Print out the list from the Wilton website for what is in the Ultimate kit (if you decide to purchase it). Most likely you will forget what is in there if you aren’t using it often, and you will be able to refer to your list quickly. You don’t want to accidentally buy a duplicate!

This is about all I can cover on the Wilton preparation for now. See you on my next post!