Friday, February 8, 2008

Yeah, So I Made Glue...

Or maybe it was cement?

I started taking the Wilton Cake Decorating I course this week at the local Michaels. The first class is the instructor telling you everything you'll be doing while she demonstrates by making icing and then decorating a cake.

For the first weeks homework, I have to bake a cake, make thin icing, and ice the cake to bring to class on Wed night. In addition, I have to make another three batches of icing that I'll take along to practice and then decorate the cake with a rainbow and clouds.

I plan on doing a practice cake this weekend and if I have time, also trying my hand at some of the stars, zig zags, and flowers. Just to see how it goes.

Last night, I made a grocery store run to get everything I'd need. Only I forgot about 3/4 of the things on the class list. *sigh*

I made do though, and once I got home, figured I'd make up a batch of icing and maybe play with colors. Because that's the part that gets my little heart to squeeing (is so a word!). First problem was that the grocery store didn't have confectioners sugar in 1lb bags, only 2lb. I figured I'd use my handy dandy food scale and it would all be fine. Not so much. My broke-ass scale said the 2lb bag of sugar was only 1.6lbs. Doh!

I figured this was a practice run, so I'd eyeball it. Onwards!

The next lovely issue was that I decided to use my Kitchen Aid mixer because the instructor said she prefers that when she's at home (she made the icing with a hand mixer in class). I pull it out, dust it off, set it up, and start the creaming process. Ever tried to mix water into shortening? On low because the Teach said that medium to high would introduce too many bubbles? I did. Took forever and threw water (and the flavoring extract) all over me and the kitchen.

And the flavoring! I had bought all three of the Wilton flavors because it seemed like a good idea. And Teach said they were all delicious (sales point!). Figuring that I'm always on the lookout for a good butter-flavor buttercream icing, I decided to use the butter extract alone. That stuff smells like a concentrated version of the fake butter they put on popcorn. Twas not appetizing, lemme tell ya.

Again, onwards. I'm making this batch of icing if it kills me.

So I start adding the powdered sugar. And I add. And I add. And I weigh, and I eyeball. And I add.

In the end? I have a pale purple bowl, pale yellow bowl, and a plain white bowl of something not unlike cement. I threw it all into cheap plastic containers and in the fridge to deal with another day.

Lessons learned? Buy the 1lb bag or a better set of scales, use a hand mixer, and go sparingly with that "butter" flavoring.

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