Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wilton Cake Decorating Course- Course 1, Class 1

For our anniversary, my DB surprised me with signing us BOTH up to take this course. I am so lucky that he took the initiative to sign me up, but he also wanted to attend and learn too… together! He’s already challenged me to a Cake-Off at the end of the course :)

Course Structure
Course 1: Discover Cake Decorating
Course 2: Flowers & Borders
Course 3: Fondant & Tiered Cakes
Course 4: Fondant & Gum Paste

Location, Pricing, Additional information
We are taking the class at our local Hobby Lobby (Mason, OH). It’s a 4-week course for 2 hours in the evening (6-8pm). Normally the course is $35pp, but for July they were running a promotion for 50% off- score! (Apparently, they frequently run these promotions throughout the year, so check-in with your local Hobby Lobby store for this.) Melissa Adams is our Wilton Method Instructor, and she is great. She’s been decorating for over 15 years, and she’s full of energy and showed a genuine passion for cake decorating and teaching her students. She said that this current class was the largest she’s ever taught- 9 students.

What do I need to purchase?
Melissa did state that Course 1 tends to be somewhat costly, especially if you don’t own any cake decorating tools. The upside is that you’ll have these tools for a long/lifetime, and should you continue with the more advanced Wilton courses, you’ll have all the basic tools. She said that this course would be the most costly overall. Make sure to take advantage of the 40% off coupons on hobbylobby.com (check every Sunday if they are offering this promo)! They helped reduce the cost significantly.

Material List
- Course 1 Enrollment fee: $17.50 (Tip: Do this when they’re offering 50% of enrollment; Regularly $35)
- Course 1 Student Kit: $24.99
- Course 1 Workbook: FREE with enrollment (provided at Class 1)
- Piping gel: $3.99 (Piping gel is a clear, smooth medium that can be tinted, and is great for writing messages, helps transfer designs, and creates patterns)
- Meringue powder (8-oz): $8.49 (Meringue powder is dehydrated egg whites to give frosting stability, helps crusts it up, and helps for the decorations to stay put)
- Clear vanilla extract: $2.49 (Used Kroger brand)
- Cake mix or cake ingredients (To bake a cake for Class 2, 3, and 4)
- Class Buttercream ingredients: Powdered sugar, extract, WHITE shortening, meringue powder (LOTS)
- Wilton Icing Color (12-pack): $13.99 (Make sure pack container No-Taste Red)
- Additional disposable bags (50-ct): $13.19
- Parchment paper: $3.29 (Purchased at Kroger)
- Wax paper: $1.59 (Purchased at Kroger)
- Extra couplers (each package has 4): $1.99/pkg (I'd suggest buying 2 extra packages) (Couplers allows you to change your tip without changing your bag)

- Cake leveler: $3.19 (Helps make your cake layers even for decorating; no “mound” at the top of your cakes)
- Trim N Turn Table: $11-$14 (Helps to make it easier to decorate your cake)
- Angled, long metal spatula (13”): $6.99
- Cake base(10”): $8.99 (I used 9” cake pans, so you need to go up 1-2” in diameter to leave a border. Cake boards are grease-resistant, food-safe, and reusable bases that are strong enough to hold heavy decorated cakes)
- Shelf liner: This is to place under your cake base and on top of your cake carrier. The shelf liner ensures the cake board & cake will maintain in place and not slide off.
- Cake carrier: $10-$15 (Can be purchased at Walmart)
*We didn’t need to purchase the Derby Clowns Set

What did I learn?
Wow, I felt like we learned a lot. I took 4 pages of notes and I was note taking the ENTIRE time.
- This class mostly focused on what materials are essentials vs. recommended, and how they are used to help us in this course.
- We also learned about the Class Buttercream recipe, sampled the 3 consistencies: Stiff, Medium, and Thin, and discussed their specific uses.
- We also discussed the use of the decorating bags, couplers, tips, and went over the method on how to prepare and frost cakes using the icing colors.
- Doing a “crumb coat” is suggested when decorating a cooled cake as the basis for a smooth finish for your frosting. Having a smooth surface not speckled with small crumbs makes your cake a much nicer and easier place to work on.
1. Place your cake on your cake board.
2. Make sure your cake is COOLED. Your cake should have filling between the layers and ready to start the frosting process. First, brush off any loose crumbs that are on the cake with a dry pastry brush or your fingers.
3. “Crumb coating” is done by spreading a THIN layer of frosting on the cake (thin enough where you can almost see the cake through the frosting). “Crumb coating” catches any crumbs (especially for chocolate cakes) that are on the top layer of your cake.
4. Once done, let it “crust up” for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
5. Frost your cake.
6. Another neat tip we learned to frost a cake- Take wax paper, lay it out on your frosting, and use your hand to “smooth” out the cake.
- We learned the 3 essentials in cake decorating: Icing consistency, correct bag position, and pressure control.
- Practice, practice, practice! We’re encouraged to practice the techniques at home prior to coming to the next class.

Helpful & Interesting Tips
- Combining vanilla and butter extracts will result in a “French vanilla” flavor. This was my favorite flavor combination: 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp butter.
- Domino 10x Powdered sugar... Do you know what the “10x” means? It means it’s been sifted 10x (and thus I don’t sift my powdered sugar)
- When baking, measuring out your cake batter is the most accurate way to ensure even cake layers
- When baking, adding 1 Tbsp mayo to your cake mix will really help moisten your cake
- Fill your decorating bag half-full- the fuller you have it, the less control you have, it will hurt your hand, and it’s harder to squeeze the frosting
- Adding a pinch of salt helps to relieve the “sweet” in buttercream
- Keep a dish towel over your mixer while mixing in your powdered sugar- it will cut down the "sugar cloud" that coats your countertops.
- The smaller the tip size, the smaller the shape of your decoration
- Icing (gel) colors are recommended- they are concentrated colors so only a little is needed, and will last a long way. Food colors (liquid) will thin out your icing (which could be detrimental since specific icing consistencies need to be achieved to result in good decorations.)
- Coloring dark frostings are a challenge!
- To color your frosting RED: Start with pink dye, then slowly start adding no-taste red color
- To color your frosting BLACK: Start with chocolate buttercream, then slowly start adding brown or black color
- Keep in mind that dark icing colors will intensify/darken over time.
- Take a piece of wax paper and place it over your cake. Use your hand to smooth out the frosting... perfect every time.


Angie said...

Great tips; thanks for posting. I've been wanting to take classes but I just don't know what I'd do with the cakes so that's the main reason I haven't!!

So, I have a question about the "take a piece of wax paper and place in over your cake" tip - do you do this when the frosting has dried, is freshly applied, or when?!

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Ashley @ Bride on a Budget said...

I really want to take this class. Thanks for posting how much it costs. That's great to know.

Anonymous said...

I want to wait to buy my kit because I can use a coupon on Sunday. Did you actually use any of your supplies at the first class?


Sara said...

I am so sorry to leave a comment so late. Yes, we actually did start using it in our first class, but I have heard it varies by instructor. Sorry, I know that wasn't helpful. I hope you enjoy the class!

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