My sweet obsession
I am a newbie to the world of cake decorating and sugar art. Too old and too broke to begin formal training, I use the internet to learn techniques for my cakes. Let’s be perfectly clear: THIS IS AN OBSESSION!
I have always baked and even dabbled (unsuccessfully) at decorating with buttercream. The best I could do with that medium were the “kit” cakes – specialty pans decorated with buttercream using a star tip. They were nice and the kids loved them – but I never got any real satisfaction from that kind of decorating. I loved what talented cake designers could do with buttercream, but for some reason, my hands and brain would not come together to create anything so extraordinary.
I used to see fondant on the shelf at Michael’s. It looked interesting, but I had heard such awful things about its taste and being difficult to work with that I steered clear of it. Besides, there were other things out there that seemed more my speed. I think my “downfall” began with the book, “Hello Cupcake” by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. The book was full of gorgeous cupcake designs that were broken down into simple step-by-step instructions with clear photos. On top of that, there were no trendy ingredients or fancy industry jargon.
After making my first cupcakes, I knew I needed to take this further. Blame shows like Cake Boss or the likes of celebrity bakers such as Duff – whatever the cause, I was eventually tempted to try my hand at fondant.
A friend had seen my cupcakes posted on my Facebook page and asked if I “did” cakes. I told her that I didn’t have any formal experience but that I would like to give it a try. She asked me to make for her parents a celebration cake and I agreed. To prepare for my undertaking, I thought it would be a good idea to take a beginner fondant course at Michael’s.
In four classes, we learned to apply the fondant and make several basic kinds of gum paste flowers. We had to purchase a small arsenal of tools and ingredients to complete the course. This class did two things for me – one, it sealed my fate with respect to my fondant addiction (which, by the way, tastes very good); and two, it made me realize that I had some things to learn before I could take on making cakes for those outside of my close circle of friends and family. I backed out of the celebration cake commitment due to time constraints and COLD FEET!
I did begin making cakes for our own family celebrations. These cakes were bigger and more elaborate than the occasions called for, but it was good practice for me. I posted everything on my Facebook page. The feedback I received gave me the confidence to try bigger and better things. One year later brings me to a larger arsenal of cake supplies, this blog, and my first wedding cake.
This coming week, I will be writing about the trials and tribulations of THE WEDDING CAKE. To be honest, I am really nervous. 5 tiers of something beautiful imagined in my head are supposed to somehow translate into 5 tiers of something beautiful AND delicious on a cake table next weekend. Pray for me!
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