Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cake Class #4

My fourth and final cake decorating class required me to bring a fully iced cake with me.


At class, we learned how to write letters in print and cursive, as well as, how to make a ribbon rose. Then, we turned our attention to the cake we had brought with us and decorated them.


Time to update my resume:

I am so glad Mark gave me this class for a gift. It was fun to learn this skill. I don't know that I will make many cakes with flowers on them given I live with all guys! But, I am glad for the tips I learned to make good-looking cakes. Thanks, dear husband!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cake Class #3 - Flowers

Last night's class was devoted to making flowers. Using several different tips we learned how to create: leaves, star flowers, swirled flowers, rosettes, a pompom flower and a shaggy mum. I also learned how to pipe a shell border.

My blank canvases for Class #3 were yellow cupcakes:

Some of my finished products:

The pompom flower:

I couldn't resist turning my "shaggy mum" into a cookie monster for Jay.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I love living in Virginia (most of the time). I love being near Washington DC and all of its history. I love that Spring arrives so early each year. I love our hot summers and long autumns. I love having our pick of so many great restaurants in Alexandria. But, every once in a while I miss certain aspects of other places I have lived. I miss being near the beaches of Cape Cod, MA. I miss Margherita's Pizza Shop and Capriotti's Sandwich Shop in Newark, DE. And every year at this time (Shrove Tuesday), I miss my childhood home in Berks County, Pennsylvania. I miss walking into my mother's kitchen and being greeted by a white bag full of fastnachts and a jar of Turkey Table Syrup. Fastnachts were a special treat we had growing up. The idea being that you would enjoy them the day before Ash Wednesday, since that would be a day of fasting. Their story is interesting. They were born out of a need to rid your pantry of lard, sugar, flour and eggs (items typically restricted during Lent). We did not follow that rule completely, but we always had fastnachts on Shrove Tuesday.

Here in Alexandria, we have so many ethnic cuisines available to us. Surely, there must be a German bakery that would make fastnachts, right? There might be, but I have not found it yet. So, I did some more research this year and found that there is a large German population in Frederick, MD and that I might find fastnachts there. But, Frederick, MD is at least an hour and a half drive from my home. Next clue I was able to dig up was that there is a Polish version of my beloved fastnacht called the paczki. And these little babies are sold in most grocery stores in Virginia.

This turned out to be true as I was able to pick up a box of paczki at my local Giant yesterday.

I kept my expectations low, since nothing could compare to a fastnacht of my childhood memory. And well, these are not nearly as tasty. They were very dry, not to mention they are not made of a potato dough like fastnachts. These were powdered and filled with custard. So, I was disappointed by the doughnut itself but thrilled to at least be making some connection with my childhood on this cold February morning.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Class #2 - update

Class 2 was just mastering frosting technique. This is something I am glad to learn...possibly even more so than how to make a pretty flower to put on a cake. I will need to keep practicing but, I have learned some good tips. But, many cakes can we eat, just so I can master frosting a cake? My dear husband doesn't even really like cake and my eldest son seems to only eat the frosting. So, I guess the grunt work will fall to my youngest and me. Oh, well!

Here's the finished product from class. I was going to decorate it yesterday but, did not feel like cleaning up the mess in the kitchen that would have made.

Next lesson will be flowers. We'll practice those techniques on cupcakes. So, I will need to make some cupcakes this weekend. Life is good.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Prep for Class #2

Tonight's class will be focused on frosting/ decorating a cake. (Guess that's pretty obvious, since it is a cake decorating class.) I've made my chocolate cake and buttercream frosting for class. I'm sure you will be eager to check back here tomorrow for the finished product. So, hopefully I will remember to take a picture of it this time!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Little Apprentice

AP has a Valentine's Day Party at preschool tomorrow, complete with a valentine exchange. His teacher told me on Friday that they have been working on decorating their individual bags for collecting valentines. It made me smile to remember doing the same thing when I was in kindergarten.

I suggested picking out valentines at the store but, he really wanted to make his. So, I taught him how to stencil today. I'm so glad we made these.

Check out my little apprentice:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New skill....

Last night, I attended my first of four cake decorating classes. This was a gift from my dear husband for my birthday. I've often considered taking the classes offered at our local craft store to improve my decorating/icing skills. So, I was thrilled to be gifted this opportunity. Not to mention, how very sweet it is of my dear husband, to gift me some time to myself. He's so good to me.

I've been proud of the cakes I've made for the boys' birthdays but, clearly I could use some improvement and let's be honest some instruction.

I'll try to keep an update on my progress here. These are the cookies I made yesterday to use as my "blank canvas" for class one.

I learned two tips already that will drastically improve my cakes. So, in my opinion, this class has already paid for itself. And the main part of our lesson last night, was learning how to make stars, using the number 18 tip. Being the scatterbrain that I am, however, I forgot to take pictures of my finished product. Here is the best I can offer, which is Jay's half eaten cookie:

I'll try to post some more pictures as I practice. And I will certainly update here after each class.

What fun!