I thought it might be a good idea to use these blog posts occasionally to give you more of an in depth look at some of our classes. I know that it’s often hard to get a full picture when you’ve only got a short description on the website, and a photo of a cake made by one of our tutors (Jenni in this case). So every so often, I’ll tell you more more about a particular class, and show you lots of photos of the class in action as well as cakes from former students so that you can see the kind of cake you can learn to make and take away at the end of the day.
I’m going to start with our Ganache & Lace Cake Class. This class has been around for a while and it’s one of our most popular classes, partly I think because you end up with such a pretty cake at the end of it, but also because it’s a really good class for beginners to decorating ‘big cakes’ or to chocolate ganache. All sorts of people have come and done this class with us; we’ve had the aforementioned complete beginners who’ve never even used sugarpaste (fondant) icing or crumb coated a cake before, mums who are making their children’s birthday or wedding cakes and want to learn some new techniques, cake decorators that can’t quite get the ‘sharp edges’ they’re after or who normally use buttercream, and those who just want a nice day out to themselves and to learn something new in a relaxed environment. Most students probably fall in to the latter category!
Most people who are keen home bakers will use buttercream to crumb coat their cakes, which is great, but chocolate ganache is generally the professionals choice and does give a much smoother finish, so it’s worth trying if you can. It’s very messy (as my washing machine will testify!) but it’s like really good support underwear for your cake, it just smooths out all the lumps and bumps and gives a really professional finish to it. If you’ve never used chocolate ganache before, then this class is a great place to start. Everything is provided for you including a vanilla cake ready for covering and making look pretty, and the chocolate ganache which Jenni makes for each class. You’ll get her recipe in the class notes, and also get to ask her lots of questions about ganache so that you can go home and practice, hopefully without any issues (the class notes also include a ‘ganache troubleshooting’ section just in case!). Usually, the first 20 minutes or so of the class is just everybody drinking tea/coffee and chatting about making ganache, Jenni will answer any questions and give you lots of ideas on how to flavour ganache to go with particular cakes. Maybe dark chocolate ganache is too rich for you? Then how about white chocolate ganache infused with vanilla? Yum!
Then it’s time to split, level, and crumb coat your cakes with the ganache, before they go in the fridge. Next up (or occasionally we’ll do this first, depending on the weather and how much drying time we think they will need) everybody learns how to make a gorgeous sugar rose. Again, this is great for beginners who have never made a flower before. Jenni is the queen of sugar flowers (if you don’t believe me, just take a look at her website), so again it’s a good chance to pick her brains and ask for advice on making all sorts of flowers. Whilst half the class cover their cakes with sugarpaste at the island, the other half make some more simple flowers to put on their cakes too, so you’ll learn how to make more than just the sugar rose too. And for those covering their cakes, you’ll get all of Jenni’s tips and tricks, and will watch her do her cake first. She’ll teach you now to get those ‘sharp edges’ and how to get rid of any imperfections.
The edible lace is made during the day too, this is a brilliant cake decorating technique that looks much harder than it is. It’s actually very simple once you know how to do it, and it’s so effective. It can be used on all sorts of things, from cupcakes to big cakes, and once you’ve learned the technique you can use it again and again.
The trickiest part of the day is usually deciding on a colour scheme! The cake lace we use is white, but as you can see from the pictures students choose all sorts of colours for their flowers and cakes. We’ve had some stunning pastel ones, but also some really amazing bright ones, it’s completely up to the student as to what kind of colour scheme they fancy. If you want to see more photos of cakes from our classes, do take a look at our Facebook page, where there are lots for you to see.
A few final finishing touches including lustre dust, edible pearls/dragees in your flowers, and a ribbon around your cake drum, and that’s the day done. Everybody then gets to take their cake home and share it with family and friends, although occasionally we do get people tell us that they just couldn’t bring themselves to cut it and so it never got eaten! And even better, you get to walk away and leave me to do the clearing up.
If you’ve ever wondered how the pros get their edges so sharp and their cakes looking so smooth and professional, as well as learning simple but effective decorating techniques, then this is the class for you. Have a look at our website for available dates and come and join us! Hope to see you at a class soon.
Happy baking and caking everyone,