On Monday night I taught a class at a local high school on basic cake decorating. I love doing these classes because I get to meet new people and everyone has a smile on their face by the end of the class. Learning something new is always exciting!
In my basic class I give each new student a goody bag with a writing tip, a border tip, a coupler and a few disposable pastry bags. There is a misconception that cakes have to be fancy to be beautiful. With just these two pastry tips you can do a lot to make your cakes look professional without having to learn advanced skills.
I had 10 students, all women, ranging in age from early college to mid 60s. I started them off with the border tip and we practiced how to hold the bag. What I recommend to everyone is that they practice their piping skills on their kitchen counters or tables so that they can wipe the surface clean and keep practicing over and over. In fact if I have a new design that I am working on I practice piping it first on the counter. It’s a lot easier to scrape off my attempt on my counter than it is to have to scrape it off the cake and potentially ruin it.
After we practiced borders we then switched the border tip out for the writing tip using the same pastry bag. The writing tip is really the most versatile of all pastry tips in my opinion. Not only are you using it to write names on a cake but it truly can be like a pencil in your hand. Below is an example of an Iron Man cake I did with just the writing tip and the border tip.
As you can see in the first photo, I outlined Iron Man’s head first then filled it in. Then in the second photo the details of his face pop after I outline them with the black. Now some people might want to smooth the lines to even out the texture but I liked the texture so I left it alone.
The idea of using the counter to practice my writing skills was given to me by my first and only cake decorating boss. She stressed how important it was to practice first before having a go at the real thing.
The class lasted about 2 hours and everyone had a blast. Lots of questions were asked and lots of answers were given. Some of the ladies had experience in cake decorating but enjoyed the advice they were given and some of the ladies were completely inexperienced and loved learning something new.
I think they did a darn fine job! What do you think?
I also like to print this example of some of the most popular decorating tips and what they are used for. I give it to all of my students to keep as a reference.
I also want to mention that this would be a very creative and fun way to spend some time with your kiddos on a weekend afternoon. Give them some disposable pastry bags and a few tips and let them loose on your kitchen counters. I promise they will love it! -MM