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.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Still More Homework

I’m slowly working my way through everything I need to get done before the final session of my beginner course on Tuesday. I’ve made another dozen roses and a few more leaves since finishing the last lot (they still need to be dusted and steamed), which should give me plenty to play with for flower arranging. I also spent a bit of time practicing my piping and figuring out how I’m actually going to decorate my cake.

My original design idea was to have two hearts on one side of the cake and a flower spray wrapping around the other side and trailing over the front (a potential Valentine or engagement cake). I found a great video on You Tube for piping a scroll border, and I thought of using the scroll idea to make hearts. I did really well with piping the scrolls freehand, but as soon as I tried to follow the outline of the heart, it just didn’t happen for me. I briefly toyed with the idea of doing the actual border from the video, but after a couple of pathetic attempts, I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to practise.

I really wanted to do something with the scrolls because it’s about the fanciest thing I’ve managed to successfully pipe so far, and it was actually Rohan’s idea to make butterflies from back-to-back scrolls. I’m still not confident enough to pipe them directly onto the cake, so Rohan whipped up a template for me (he’s better with computer graphics stuff then me!) and I’ve piped eight sets of wings and four bodies for each of three different sizes.

One more touch of fanciness that I’m hoping I can pull off successfully is piping over the shell border and outlining the butterfly wings with the fine nozzle and a deeper pink icing. On one of my many inspiration-seeking random searches for cake images, I’ve seen quite a few cakes that have shell borders with scallops piped over them in a contrasting colour, and I absolutely love the effect. I’ll end up with the soft pink fondant background, a white shell border and butterfly wings, and the darker pink over-piping for extra contrast. Here’s hoping it all comes together!

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