Welcome to my learning project journey! I look forward to what this journey has in store for me, as well as the audience who is taking part. So, for those of you who are unfamiliar, one of the assignments for my ECMP355 class requires me to select a skill that I want to learn over the course of the semester and document the process. Initially, I felt like this was a pretty daunting task. How was I going to find something I was remotely interested and find the motivation each week to work on it? But then it hit me like a ton of bricks, BAKING!! Specifically, decorating cakes.
I have always had a passion for baking and creating all things sweet. Naturally, as I grew older, I wanted to improve my skills and challenge myself. As my recipes increased in difficulty, I found myself withdrawing because I was disappointed with the results. I chose to learn to decorate cakes because the idea of cutting, filling, icing and decorating a cake has always appealed to me, but I am honestly very awful at it. I experience very little success and my “good” creations are few and far between. I’m also motivated to improve this skill because I have been asked to bake a friend’s wedding cake in the fall, so instead of presenting her with a mediocre looking cake, why not get super amazing at decorating and blow her away with a beautifully decorated cake?? (Humility is key here.)
So cake number one…
This week I decided to go with an ocean theme. (I’m going to be honest with you, it was not a premeditated idea, my mom had told me that my cake reminded her of the ocean and I was like “perfect! I’ll go with that!”) I was given some vibrant coloured cake mixes and icing in my stocking this year for Christmas and was very unsure of when I was actually going to make this and allow that obscene amount of food colouring to enter my body… This project was the perfect opportunity! Baking the cake layers was a breeze so I was able to focus all of my attention to the decorating.
After the cakes came out of the oven, I allowed for ample cooling time. In the past, I consistently made the mistake of icing too soon and it would melt and slip all over the cake. A few hours later, I levelled the top of the cakes and then sliced them in half. I alternated between purple and green cake with a layer of bright blue frosting in between each level. I have watched numerous videos on Instagram and YouTube so this concept was very familiar to me. I especially enjoy ASpoonfulOfFrosting and Rosie’s Dessert Spot when I am in need of some inspiration. Then came the crumb coat…in the past, this is usually where it usually went south for me. However, I experienced a very mild success! Woohoo! I completed the crumb coat and placed my cake in the freezer to cool, instead of rage quitting like I usually do.
Once the icing has set (and the cake had frozen, whoops), I whipped up a simple buttercream icing and filled a piping bag to pipe onto the cake. The icing technique that I went for was one I had seen many times and always loved the look of. I opted for sprinkles on the top and a simple “blob” border instead of continuing the pattern.
Here’s a tutorial for it:
(mine was not this successful)
Overall, I’m pretty content with the final product I created. The icing was a bit messy and sloppy looking, this is certainly something I need to improve on. I think for next week I will need to scale it back a bit and work on different icing techniques in isolation instead of attempting to decorate a cake! Stay tuned!!