Last night I went to the 2nd class of the Wilton Cake Decorating course and learnt more about piping techniques – bag positioning and pressure control. It was interesting and I realised, the buttercream comes out much neater and more uniform if you pipe faster. If you take your time, the buttercream tends to break off and you end up with uneven lines.
We used our practice boards to try out curving and zig zag lines with a No. 18 nozzle. It was important to make sure you kept the same pressure on the piping bag whilst piping the lines to make sure you got the same thickness throughout. The buttercream consistency was also important here – it’s best to use a medium consistency to pipe these sorts of patterns. We also tried out dimensional decorating, which we used a No. 12 nozzle for – actually harder than it seems!
For the class, we were asked to prepare and ice a cake – see picture above. I baked a chocolate cake from The Hummingbird Bakery – Cake Days cookbook. I mentioned in a previous post how their new recipes make 12 – 16 cupcakes, instead of 8 – 12 cupcakes. After doubling the chocolate cupcake recipe for an 8″ cake, I ended up filling 3 sandwich tins full of mixture – MUCH more than I am used to using! They peaked a little but I used my new cake leveller to attempt to slice off the top – it sort of worked.. but one of the sponges fell apart a little! Luckily it was all going to be covered with buttercream – so, after sandwiching the 3 layers together, I started icing the cake. There were a lot of crumbs due to the cake levelling, and I attempted to ice a thin “crumb” layer and then go over the top with a thicker layer to hide all of it – it failed a little as you can probably see from the picture! In hindsight, I should have left it in the fridge to harden a little before adding another layer on. I seem to always end up with a curvy side when icing my cakes – I tend to put enough icing on but I don’t do it evenly.
During the lesson, we traced out the cupcake picture onto greaseproof paper and piped some piping gel over the outline, then turned the greaseproof paper over onto the cake and the piping gel stuck to the cake, giving us an outline to work with. Using the techniques we learnt in the class, we decorated the cupcake with a variety of nozzles and finished it off with decorations – I did use glitter but you can’t really see if v. clear in the picture. Unfortunately the box I took the cake home in wasn’t tall enough and some of the cupcake buttercream came off!
Next week.. cupcakes and piping a variety of flowers!