While I may bake a mean cake, I sure suck at decorating them. Always have. Husband was better than me at frosting a layer cake for a really long time. Recently, my best friend and I decided to take the Wilton cake decorating class, at the beginner level, naturally. It was a lot of fun - in part, because she and I are prone to get the giggles over silly stuff, but also because the class was just fun. Our instructor, Maureen, was a hoot - she's been doing this a long time, and her style of teaching was definitely from the school of hard knocks.
I did several practice cakes, at first with cake mixes, because I was making cakes so often that I just didn't have the heart to make a cake from scratch every darn day. But they taste so bad! Especially with the class buttercream frosting (a.k.a. CriscoCream). Yuck. Then I made a cake for Thanksgiving as a practice cake, with the Beatty's Chocolate Cake recipe (also known as the end-all-be-all chocolate cake recipe), and it tasted so good, I couldn't go back. From that point on, I made the cakes from scratch. I still have a plethora of box mixes in my pantry that I ought to donate.
The last class was definitely the hardest - roses are not my friends. I had a super hard time figuring out how to large make the rose base, and then how to pipe on the center of the rose. However, I totally rocked at piping rose petals, definitely. My roses didn't look perfect, by any stretch...in fact, they looked a bit more like carnations, with rough edges to my petals and all. I fully intend to try again on Husband's birthday cake this week, so stay tuned. My best friend on the other hand was kicking out cabbage roses like nobody's business, so I suppose I may call her to pipe a few roses on Husband's cake.
I still can't make my frosting look as smooth and perfect as a wedding cake, but I'm way better than I was when I started, that's for sure. I'd definitely recommend this class to anyone who enjoys decorating their baked goods, I've used a lot of the techniques I learned in cake class on my holiday cookies this year. Here's a few snaps from the cakes I practiced on and class itself: