My Adventures in Cake Decorating, Part 1

I think cake is one of the greatest things in the world. I love a moist cake with buttercream icing anytime. Preferably vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream icing. Although I’ll take chocolate, strawberry, red velvet, etc. etc. etc. I’m not the best baker (as you’ll notice by my lack of baked goods posts) nor am I the most creative in the kitchen (hence my need to follow other people’s recipes most of the time). So why on Earth would I take a cake decorating course? I’m still not sure but I thought it would be fun. I was in Michael’s recently and saw that a Wilton Cake Decorating Course was being held during August. I mentioned it to my mother and we agreed to take it together.

Last night was the first of four 2-hour classes over the course of the month. You are able to take 3 additional courses besides the Basic course. We arrived at Michael’s and it was a small class, a few other mother-daughter pairs and a married couple who work together at a bakery. Our instructor was a jolly ol’lady with over 25 years experience in the cake industry.

Our instructor handed out a course booklet and went over the basic necessities we need for the course. What Wilton says you need in the book is not necessarily what your instructor will say you need. The initial investment was about $20 for the four week course and I will likely be spending an additional $40 for supplies, but they will be good for future courses. Luckily for me, I can share some of the items with my mother.

Next the instructor went over how to make icing. The classic buttercream icing from Wilton contains Crisco, flavoring, water and confectionery sugar. I haven’t tasted it yet, but am not sure how icing is going to taste when the base is Crisco. Apparently most bakeries use this icing as it does not need to be refrigerated and lasts for weeks and weeks.

Finally, we went over some tips and techniques for baking cakes. Our instructor, who has a cake business, confessed she actually uses Pillsbury Plus mixes for her cakes. She stopped making cakes from scratch years ago. Another interesting tidbit was that Pillsbury confirmed the cakes will last several days at least as they are meant to taste better in a day or two after baking. The instructor told us to bake the cake and then not ice it for at least 1 to 2 days. She then showed us the proper technique for icing the cake and filling it.

For the next three weeks, I will need to bring in batches of icing and a pre-iced single layer cake. Over the rest of the course we will learn the essentials of cake decorating and beginner decorating techniques (stars, lines, writing, flowers, figures). I’ll be posting pictures next week after the first lesson of my cakes. Who knows, I could be the next Ace of Cakes or Colette Peters!



  1. Susie said

    It is great reading this. I plan to take Course I in the spring and another next summer and maybe the other two in the fall. 🙂
    I loved reading about you and your Mom’s adventures.

  2. foodiedani said

    Thanks Susie! If all works out with this course, I too plan on taking the other ones as well.

  3. Tracy said

    Good luck with your Course! I had so much fun taking mine. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures!

  4. foodiedani said

    Thanks Tracy! Hopefully I will be as successful as you were!

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