Cake Decorating Class: First Night

So my neighbor tells me she needs to get out of the house from time to time and was thinking of taking a cake decorating class.  When she found a class that fit her schedule and budget turns out it also fit mine as well.  I have always been a savory guy and tend to default to making bread pudding or Key lime pie when asked for a dessert, this would be a chance to upgrade my skills.

I call this installment “first night” even though it was the second class.  The first class was just administrative stuff – taking roll, paying fees, making shopping lists.  Therefore tonight was the first actual lesson.

This is a basics class so the goal for our 5 meetings is to decorate a full cake with roses, vines, a border and writing.  There will also be a quick crash course in icing the cake.  Since roses are the hardest part of this class they were the first thing we learned and we will repeat them every class to build muscle memory.

We used a #104 Rose Tip, 18″ disposable piping bags with a standard coupler and plain white butter cream.  I used a #13 flower nail and a 5 1/4 in. flower lifter (aka scissors).  Remember that the rose tip is pyramidish in shape and it is important to keep the base of the pyramid at the bottom. Now, I’ll try to do our instructor justice:

  1. Make a pile of icing in the center of the nail building a tower of icing roughly the diameter of a dime and about an inch tall.  The method is similar to filling a cone with soft-serve ice cream.
  2. Build a wall.  With the bottom of the pyramid next to the nail go around the pile by turning the nail with your fingers and make what looks like a wall around the bottom of the pile.
  3. Build a second wall on top of the first.
  4. Using a similar motion build a third wall like thing directly on top of the pile.  This level should be half the diameter of the pile and followed by a second level just outside of the first.  Two concentric rings.
  5. Starting at the base of the top tier, move upwards in a parabolic motion peeking at the same height as the top of the tier and return back to the base, it other words make a rainbow.  Start another rainbow with the base of the new one overlapping the base of the old one.  Repeat until you’ve looped the rose.
  6. Move down a bit and repeat a second, shallower row of rainbows.
  7. Moving to the base of the nail make a final row of rainbows still shallower than the last.
  8. Using the flower lifter act as if you are trying to cut the flower off the head of the nail but only cut halfway through.  At this point you’ll want to twist the nail away from the scissors, uh “flower lifter.”
  9. Lay the rose on the surface of your cake and inverting the nail like an upside down umbrella finish the cut with the scis. . . er “flower lifter” while stabilizing the rose with the nail.

I’ll try to shoot a video of this for next week’s installment.

I tend to learn things very well just from watching someone else do something and then “reverse engineering” it.  Well, this time was no different.  My first ever attempt actually looked like a rose.  See:

Buttercream Rose

Then we did a few more to practice.  When our piping bags were low we refilled them with the roses we had made and put the icing on ice (literally) for about ten minutes.  We then piped another bag full of roses then repeated the refilling and chilling stage before doing one more bag full.  We did about eight roses total.  Here is my last rose:

Buttercream Rose

I know, right?

Next week we’ll practice the rose a few more times and then learn to make vines.  I have set up an album on Facebook so as to document my progress.  So until then, let them eat cake!

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
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2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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