One of my birthday presents from my lovely boyfriend was a cake decorating course. I've been wanting to learn how to do this properly for ages now but I was really nervous as the decorating part is always something I've struggled with, so clearly some expert tuition was needed!
On 29th June Nicola and I spent the day being taught by Ruth Clemens of Great British Bake Off fame and author of one of my favourite baking blogs, The Pink Whisk! The course was run by Seasoned and was in a beautiful farmhouse where we were fed lots of tea and brownies and a very yummy lunch too.
We took our own cakes to decorate and even though I hate fruit cake with a fiery passion I thought it would be a good opportunity to try one out and would also stop me from stuffing my face too! I made this Easy Apple Fruit Cake from BBC Good Food. It was indeed easy and I am told it was very nice, although a few people were disappointed that the fruit was not alcohol soaked! They were reassured that the Christmas cake most definitely will be!
Anyway, we were taught everything we needed to know - marzipanning, covering the cake and board with sugarpaste, smoothing, crimping, piping - and also repairing disasters, as my sugarpaste tore around one side when I laid it on, Ruth showed me how to patch it up good as new.
We were also shown crimping and piping and the bit we were probably all looking forward to the most: colouring sugarpaste and making flowers and decorations! I made some rolled up pink flowers, some purple roses and stamped out some green leaves. I didn't end up using the pink flowers as I thought I would keep it simple with my roses in the centre of the cake.
I was so amazed by the decorations that everybody else made and felt a bit embarrassed when all our cakes were on the table at the end - I was really proud of my cake until I saw everybody else's! The icing wasn't as smooth as I'd have liked, and I know my sugarpaste wasn't anywhere near thin enough for the flowers. However it was my first attempt and so I know I just need to practice, practice, practice myself now.
It was such a lovely day - you can also read about it and see photies on Nicola's blog here. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone wanting to learn how to decorate cakes, and even those who already know - I'm sure there would still be lots of tips to pick up, plus it was lovely to just be able to sit and play with the sugarpaste without having to worry about the phone ringing, or what time you had to be making tea, or the pile of washing growing in the basket... it was very therapeutic. You can find details of this and other courses on the Seasoned website.