Newcastle, NSW, Australia
I’m a former industrial chemist, and after deciding on a career change while at home with my two young children, I’m now a qualified pastry chef. In 2009 I started taking some classes in cake decorating and other pastry-related cookery, and taught myself many more decorating techniques from books and internet resources. In 2010 I started a pastry apprenticeship, studying Retail Baking (Cake & Pastry) Certificate III at TAFE, which I completed with Distinction in 2012. I completed my apprenticeship in December 2013, and am now working as a full time Pastry chef and Cake Decorator at 'Exquisite Cakes by Lennert' in Cessnock, NSW.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Homework

I did a bit of ‘homework’ for my course last night. I made half a dozen rose centres, and practiced piping shell borders with the royal icing I had left over from Tuesday. And I can add another hint to my list of tips for dealing with warm hands… don’t have a cup of tea when you’re getting ready to pipe. I only though of this when that nice warm flush came over me just as I finished my cuppa, and therefore I decided to do the rose centres first!

I have two different sized rose cutters now, so I made three centres for each cutter size. I measured them against the petals of the cutter so I think I have the length right, my only concern is that I may have made the too ‘fat.’ Time will tell… we’re learning to make the sugar roses and leaves in the next class. Sorry the photo is a little blurry, but hey, I’m not learning to be a photographer!

 
My second project for the night was to add some more icing sugar to my leftover royal icing and practice shell borders again. The shells definitely held their shape better, but I’m not sure if I might have made it too thick this time. I’m definitely better at it since the class, but I’m still struggling for consistency. Every time I went ‘wow, that one’s perfect!’ the next one was crap.


I also suspect that I might have put too much icing in the bag. I deliberately loaded it up because I wanted a decent practice session, but that also meant that the ‘warm hands’ factor didn’t really kick in until towards the end when my hands were actually around the narrower end of the bag. I think I’m just going to have to practise with smaller amounts that are more like what you would realistically put in a bag to do an actual border on a cake, and take my fine-tuning from there.

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