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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back On Track

After a fairly disastrous week, I finally got myself back on track by Sunday night. I made a mess of everything I touched that afternoon, so I hoped that I might have a happier time making up the flower spray rather than doing the piping. Out of all things cake decorating that I’ve learned or tried so far, making and arranging the flowers has been my favourite part of the process.

So this is the cake topper I made… white roses, white filler blossoms, and loops of red ribbon. It’s actually two separate trails (the only type of spray I know how to do at this point!) designed to curve around and meet in the middle, because I’m not sure how to make a crescent. Hopefully the roses will still hide the two thick chunks of wire that cross in the middle once it goes on the cake!

I felt much better for having finally made some positive progress after doing the flowers, so on Monday I was ready to tackle the piping. I’m still struggling to master script writing… why is it that when I try to loop around the top curve of a letter, the icing always does this funny ‘corkscrew’ thing as it comes out of the nozzle? It seems to have a mind of it’s own, and it always wants to curve the opposite direction to where it’s supposed to go.

Anyway, after a few practise runs I managed to do a half-reasonable job. I still only have the basic Wilton gel colours, so I coloured the icing with a fair amount of red, a tiny bit of black to darken it, and a touch of blue to bring it to more of a burgundy-red. The colour actually turned out to be quite a good match for the Claret Wine lustre dust.

I painted over the piping with the lustre mixed in a little alcohol. The effect was more subtle than I was expecting, and it really only showed up in the photo if I used the flash. I’m not sure if someone that isn’t familiar with cake decorating and doesn’t know that royal icing normally gives a flat colour would even notice it, but I still think it gives the cake a much nicer touch of ‘ruby’ rather than just being a flat red.

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