Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Confession of a clumsy cake decorator

chocolate tart 1

Looking at the chocolate tart we made in class 2 weeks ago makes me happy. It has been a solid 2 weeks when I last brought something edible home from school. These 2 weeks have been spent on gumpaste flowers, wedding cakes and fondant. In fact, there may be a 3-tiers fondant covered dummy cakes following me home tomorrow. It will be decorated with the gumpaste flowers that we spent almost a week to make. Another inedible creation before we conclude the 2 weeks wedding cake chapter of my pastry course.

010 copy

I know I don't sound too enthusiastic about wedding cakes. As a matter of fact, I would happily spend extra time on cakes, tarts, breads and petit fours. Sitting down the whole afternoon to make flowers only makes me tired and exhausted at the end of the day. Luckily, we have a really great instructor. Chef Laura makes the wedding cake classes so much more bearable. Her demo and clear instructions help even the most clumsy cake decorator like myself to perform the task at hand confidently. I am happy with how things turn out. Admittedly, I didn't set a high expectation on my decorating skill. My piping and flowers still suck compared to many of my classmates. I was totally in awe, seeing some of their creations. As for myself, I see obvious improvement in my piping and frosting, and that's all that matters to me in this stage! I only wish we have more time to practice. Although deep down in my heart, I couldn't wait to start the tart classes!

pate a choux 1
Instead of torturing you with my gumpaste flowers pictures, here's the picture of pate a choux we made awhile ago. When filled with hazelnut pastry cream, they are a real treat.

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I also wanted to show you the coconut passion cake we made in cake class, which is one of my favorite. The various components like coconut mousse, passion fruit mousse, candied pineapple and coconut dacquiose are flavors that I can identify with, growing up in a tropical country.

side of my cake

I decided to show you a snapshot of my buttercream wedding cake even though it's far from perfect. I didn't have a clear idea on how to decorate it, so I simply piped with the techniques and patterns I learned. Please try not to laugh too hard. It's already the smoothest frosting I have ever done in my short baking life. I wish I could show you some of the pretty buttercream cakes my classmates have done! But I promised not to post them on my blog. If you go to my flickr, you can see some of their wedding cakes!


Y said...

Fantastic stuff! Love the chocolate tart and those choux. Wedding cake looks pretty impressive too.

veron said...

It looks fabulous to me! I am the one that is hopeless with a piping bag.What kind of buttercream did you use?

Dana McCauley said...

Don't be so hard on yourself - your wedding cake is beautiful!

Well done - remember with cake decorating it's all about practice and patience. Until you are really good at the techniques, it takes forever to have a good looking result.

Manggy said...

Mandy, you're being too hard on yourself! I'm sure your gumpaste flowers look pretty too :) I'm not a fan of coconut but that passion cake looks gorgeous!
As for practice time? Well, you can always sacrifice sleep, hee hee :) (No, don't do that!)

Mandy said...


we used italian buttercream for this cake.

Thanks for the encouraging words! And i agree, practice and patience are important. I will work on that.

trust me, the gumpaste flowers are embarassing! I am surprised that you don't like coconut! I don't like coconut until I was in my mid 20's....One's tastebud changes when one ages.:p

Jennywenny said...

Good for you for trying your hardest. The cake looks delicious! I find piping really hard and will return to it, but people are just ga-ga about my fondant creations.

We did black forest gateau yesterday in my first practical class, nowhere near as fancy as your stuff! I think I'll post about it anyway though.

The Food Librarian said...

Amazing!! These all look perfect! You did a great job!

dallas from Bitchin' Kitchen said...

That cake is gorgeous. You are very modest! And, I have to add, that pate a choux looks divine!

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

Seriously, these do all look incredible. I would eat them :)

The Duo Dishes said...

Looking at these kinds of beauties make pastry school seem like the place to be. Do you realize that chocolate tart is grade AAAA???!!!!

farida said...

They all look so good! I would like to try some of the coconut passion cake. Looks so good!

Snooky doodle said...

I think these looks so nice! You re not clumsy at all!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I don't really enjoy decorating with buttercream either, but it's a nice skill to have, you'll use it in the future even if you don't decorate wedding cakes! Keep having fun!

Maria said...

You are very talented. Thanks for sharing your creations! I am in sugar shock now!!

The Chic Cakery said...

That coconut passion cake looks absolutely scrummy!
And I think your cake looks great! It's so hard to pipe scrolls free-hand, so I definitely admire you for having the guts to do it!

Deborah said...

I think your cake looks amazing - along with all of the other wonderful treats you've been making!

Angela said...

Hi Mandy,

Stumbled on your blog.. from Tartlette's blog.

Your chocolate tart looks so devilishly decadent and the choux too and also the passion cake.. can you share the recipe ;)).. especially the chocolate tart.. yum yum..

Reading your blog.. reminds me so much of myself during my cake decorating course.. Don't give up Mandy.. if fondant, gumpaste, sugar paste etc etc is not for you, then just focus on what you enjoy. Of course, it would be great to be able to do all.. but at the end of the day.. you must enjoy it and that it taste good.. really, nothing like home-baked food!!

Angela KL

Beachlover said...

your wedding cake look good thou..and the rest look as pretty as always:)

niagaragirl said...

Please torture me. I would like to see some snaps of the gum paste flowers!

Alyse said...

oh my that looks AMAZING.

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