Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wilton Method Classes

As I mentioned in my last post, I took a Wilton Method class (their Course 1 Building Buttercream Skills) at my local Michael's and really had fun, so I figured I write up my experiences for this blog post. (I did bake over the weekend for a friend's birthday, but he requested I repeat a previous recipe, so nothing novel to write about).

The course I took was one of Wilton's newly revised classes - instead of four two-hour classes, they've condensed it down to two three-hour classes. I don't know how the pacing of the previous classes were, but I really enjoyed the condensed version. I felt that the techniques could be taught quickly in the first two hours, leaving an entire hour for us to practice and decorate.

In the first class, we learned the very basics - how to adjust the consistency of the icing, how to tint it different colors, how to fill a piping bag and tip. We also learned some beginning piping techniques, like lines, swirls, and stars. It wasn't anything that I didn't know already, but I did pick up on a few tips on better control for more even patterns.

At the end of the first class, we were given time to decorate cupcakes with the skills we learned. I think my favorite are the large rosette and swirls. They look much more complex than they actually are, but really with the right tip, it's rather easy.

For the next class, we were instructed to prepare a cake and A LOT of icing to decorate it with. I was beating shortening and powdered sugar in my KitchenAid mixer for hours. Luckily I had leftover batter from the cupcakes I made from the weekend, so I didn't another batch for the cake.

Before we got to decorating our cakes, we first learned to make a whole bouquet of different flowers. Using the large closed star tip, we were able to make simple little drop and swirl flowers. Using multiple tips however, allowed us to craft more complex and pretty flowers, such as daisies and sunflowers.

My favorite two were the zinnia and the rose. The zinnia was created using a round for the base, a petal tip to make ruffled petals, and a star tip to finish off the center. The rose used a round tip for the base as well and a petal tip to make the layers (the icing needs to be pretty stiff for this one for the rose to stand up on its own). These were so fun to make that I used my leftover frosting to make a bunch of zinnias and roses. I froze these flowers and plan on topping future cupcakes with them.

Back in the class, we learned how to properly ice a cake. The biggest challenge was to cover the cake without getting crumbs into the frosting. The solution seemed to be drown the cake in in frosting so you don't have to get too close cake itself. After the icing dries a little and crusts over a little, you can also use parchment paper to pat and smooth the icing down even more.

After our cakes were all iced, we were free to decorate to our hearts' contents. For mine, I decided to use all my favorite flower techniques. I was very pleased with how it turned out!

All in all, I was glad that I took this class. The instructor, Gloria, was very nice and patient and good at explaining all the techniques. The only thing I didn't like too much about the class was how much of our supplies we had to prep outside of class. Between the cupcakes, the cake, and the six pounds of icing, that was a lot of extra time and money I needed to put in.

If I come across a good deal for the classes again, I'd consider taking Course 2 to learn even more advanced buttercream skills. In the meantime, expect my cupcakes to be a tiny bit more pretty!

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