So there’s no point in trying to make up for lost time here. I haven’t had a real post in close to three months. That’s crazy. I miss my blog. I haven’t been as good at uploading pictures and whiny entries with no pictures are pretty booooring.
Okay, let’s recap a little bit:
I totally went off the South Beach way of life over the holidays. Like WAAAAYYYY off. Like, gained back a lot of weight. It was not happy, but all the delicious food I ate was happy. And all the wonderful baking that I did was really pretty awesome. But now I’m back on the wagon. I’ve been pretty good the last couple of weeks, even though I’ve been sick a lot. It’s hard to find the energy to eat healthy when you’re sick. But I’ve managed, and I’m getting close to the weight I was when I fell off the wagon. Once I get back to that weight (180-ish) I will be really happy and vow to make it much closer to my goal weight by the time Christmas comes this year.
Baking: My enemy and my love.
I love baking. I can’t get over it. I love trying out new recipes. I love when something comes out more perfect than anything you can buy in a store. I love the way it makes my house smell. I love everything about it. Except for the fact that I want to eat ALL OF IT. Not just in a “quality control” way before I send it off to coworkers. As in, I would like to put a cake in front of me and eat it for each meal of each day.
And so, on that cake note, I took a cake decorating class! It’s the Wilton Course, offered at Michael’s. This was Course 1. It was pretty cool! I’ve been wanting to learn about actual decorating and how to make certain designs. I had a really nice instructor and got to take it with my friend and her mom. We had a great time and we still actually learned some stuff.
The first class was easy. The teacher told us about the stuff we’d learn and gave us tips on cakes and icing. She showed us some basic stuff that we’d be learning in class 2. We had to bring a cake that was frosted for Class 2, the next week. An excuse to try out a new cake recipe? Yes please!! I will post my recipes soon.
We started by learning some basic maneuvers with a pastry bag. The Wilton method is very structured and the teacher did a good job of making it interesting. She did cheat a little bit by showing us the whole rose the first day. I was so happy with this. The Wilton book says you are supposed to learn a little bit each class, and then put it all together at the final class. I think that’s dumb. This way we got three classes (and three weeks) to practice the rose before the final cake.
I feel like my roses at my first class were the best. My frosting was a little stiff, and I overcompensated at the next classes, where it was a little thin.
One of my first roses:
At the end of class, we got time to decorate our cakes using the techniques we learned that day.
I used the zig-zag border, roses, writing, and stars.
For the second class, we could bring cupcakes instead of a cake. I opted to do that, so I could practice all the techniques, without the final product looking too crazy.
We learned more shapes and how to use more tips and worked more on our roses. We learned grapes!
And we practiced our roses some more.
We also learned shell borders and drop flowers. I tried to use all our techniques on my cupcakes. They looked bright and vibrant:
For our final class, I actually considered using a box mix because of time. But I decided to stress myself out and try out Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake. It was beautiful and delicious and made my kitchen smell amazing. And, including frosting and my variation to the filling, used 4.5 sticks of butter. Like I said, amazing.
This was my first time making a Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and I had zero problems! I was kind of surprised, but I’m not going to question it. It is my new favorite frosting.
Ready for class:
We learned leaves and sweet peas and vines and got a long time to decorate our final cakes in class. My frosting wasn’t perfect for roses, again, but I managed quite well.
My final cake:
I used roses, leaves, shells, sweet peas and vines. Here’s a good shot with the sides:
And a close up of my roses (and leaves). Not perfect, but I understand the theory:
And my luscious layers. Instead of just layering it with buttercream and raspberry jam, I made a lemon curd, and folded that into some of the buttercream to put between the cake layers.
While only 6 of my cupcakes got consumed at work, over half of this cake was devoured, so I think this is a winning recipe!
I can’t wait to start Course Two, though it will have to wait until April. I’d be missing a class due to Las Vegas (OMGINTENDAYS!!!!) so I had to skip out on March.
I love this stuff! I feel more determined than ever to some how, some way, some time, make a little money on the side from my baking adventures. If only to offset the cost of ingredients! In the meantime, I’m cutting back my baking. I’m going to try to bake only for certain occasions, and not JUST because I saw a super awesome recipe that I NEEEEEED to make right this moment. That should help my wallet and my waistline. Which is good, because just thinking about that last cake made me gain some weight.