The smell of icing powder in the morning...

October 12, 2015

I don't have a sweet tooth. Not even really nearly (apart from my pregnancy  when I single-handedly kept Coco Pops and Cadbury's in business but that was a glitch. Now I'm firmly back on crisps). So what on earth am I doing at the Wilton Academy (or some such) learning how to master the art of buttercream at stupid o'clock on a Monday?

 

Well... it seemed like a Fun Thing to do. And it fulfilled my criteria of 1) learning something new 2) having nothing to do with singing 3) having no final exam type  outcome to aim for and yet 4) having a limited number of lessons after which I walk away.

 

And it certainly ticks all those boxes (plus I know one day soon, Stanley will ask for a "purple dinosaur with yellow socks" cake, and I want to be able to at least have a go).

 

If only it wasn't so SWEET! I've had 2 three-hour lessons so far and have been less than tempted to eat my finished result both times.

 

Last week, the teacher made it easy by flavouring the icing with almond, which I HATE. And today, (see photo for today's Grand Finale) I made such a mess of the colour (which was supposed to be RED) that 2.5 hours into messing round with flesh-coloured buttercream, I'd mostly lost my appetite.

 

My husband applauded my 'baked bean cake with a sprout on top' which let's face it, isn't far from the truth, and bizarrely makes it slightly more palatable.

 

Colouring / flavouring aside, I have learnt a few things. Cake decorating is absorbing. Some people are exceptionally good at it. There is an ENTIRE INDUSTRY dedicated to 'sugar art' (which I didn't even know was a thing until last week). It's possible to fly to America from HK as a group to indulge in fully immersive, celebrity (for the sugar world) studded events replete with workshops and talks for the princely sum of $30,000. There is a lot of equipment potential. It's a whole thing.

 

But more importantly, being in a classroom, with a teacher who knows way more than me, is such a great experience. Learning. Seeing how she teaches. Being aware of how I learn. All Good.

 

I've also learned to not try and make red again. Dealing with that much squidgey, sweet smelling flesh colouring goo is more than my stomach can cope with.

 

 

 

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Bethan Clark, 2018