So after I completed my A Levels last year, I spent the day I ended at my first ever decorating lesson.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m quite the artsy fartsy crafty (baking, sewing, drawing etc.) type of person. It’s been pretty much a pain to not know how to ice cakes properly and to always have my icing running (especially due to Singapore’s hot weather). I’d actually wanted to sign up for Course 1 back in 2010 but I was too late. These courses are snapped up so quickly you acutally have to register months before to ensure that you have a spot.
Oh yes, I’m doing my classes at B-I-Y (Bake-It-Yourself)
B-I-Y is located at 182 Bukit Timah Road and is open 9am-7pm on Mondays-Saturdays. For those of you that know where Makepeace road is (Tanglin Pau), the shop is pretty obvious. There’s a shop on the first floor selling most of you baking needs (though I need to express my disappointment in that they don’t stock up frequently enough, resulting in students having to turn to other alternatives such as Phoon Huat to purchase things), and classrooms on the upper floors where lessons are conducted.
As a student, you receive several benefits such as 5% off all products in the store, though this isn’t sufficient to off-set the 7% GST. Also, if you’re new to baking and want a cake mixer, you get 15% off (if I’m not wrong) off kenwood machines.
B-I-Y is one of the most specialized centres for Wilton Cake Decorating, and also conducts basic baking lessons, seasonal cake decorating lessons (eg Christmas, V Day) as well as PME Diploma courses. Apart from B-I-Y, there are two other centres that I know of that conduct such classes. Artisq sugarcraft and Phoon Huat.
Wilton Course 1, which is the pre-requisit to Courses 2 & 3, teaches skills of baking decorating with buttercream.
After completing my first course, I knew i just had to take the second and third ones.
Cost: $280 inclusive of GST
Course duration: Four lessons, 2.5 hours per lesson
As per the first course, each student was equipped with a kit and a manual.
The kit contains almost all the technical things you need to create your flowers etc., unlike that of the Course 1 kit where we were required to purchase many more items.
We were told to purchase ready made fondant (Wilton brand) and ready made gumpaste. Here’s where I’ll express my disappointment in that I couldn’t make use of my 5% discount to purchase the ready made gumpaste as it was sold out. Instead, all the studnets had to purchase the Gum Paste mix and spent a deal of our time sitting down and mixing our paste before we could use it. We did a 5o-50 (mix of gumpaste and fondant) and learnt how to make pansies and button press flowers.
It was pretty awesome as it was my first time working with fondant/gumpaste. I was always too much of a chicken to try it on my own cos it’s kinda costly to buy the premade ones and no one I knew could teach me how to do it properly.
Because of the time that we spent making our gumpaste and all (trying to get the texture right), I only ended up with two flowers HAHAH.
The thing about using fondant/gumpaste flowers is that you dont’ need to worry about them melting and can just store them out in an air-tight container.
So that’s what I learnt on my first day. Not something ‘challenging’ per se because everything was ready made (anyway this isn’t about gumpaste and fondant. that’ll be course 3).
For this lesson, we had to come prepared with one recipe of royal icing. Our instructor modified the lesson (which made sense), to learn the Wilton rose base and make the rose itself on the same lesson (this meant postponing rosebud to day 3). Because I wanted to make flowers that I could use for my final cake, I had to plan what colours to mix my icing etc.
I chose to make Periwinkle and a Pink.
My pink turned out kind of bright initially so I added some burgundy and some violet and got this colour (see picture below). I don’t know what you’ll call that though. I’ve yet to figure out what other colorus i’m putting on my cake, much lest the cake that I’m baking for decorating.
We also learnt how to make Apple blossom and Primrose. This is made out of ROYAL ICING, which is so much easier to work with than butterream, and dries up when aired, meaning to say we don’t need to worry about melting but about cracking :/
The other great thing about royal icing is that you don’t have to worry about overbeating it. There are only 3 ingredients: icing sugar, meringue powder and lukewarm water. You just have to beat it till the icing loses it’s shine and becomes matte. It’s pretty simple and very easy to clean up.
After all my ‘complains’ about the shop, I can still spend FOREVER in the shop. I always leave with one thing that I convince myself will be necessary in the future. I wanted to buy butterfly cutters, which were sold out grr (so igotta go phoon huat and buy it), but ended up with Disco dust ^^
It’s Day 3 and 4 tomorrow! I will update in another post.
I have to admit i’m pretty satisfied with the results i’ve been getting :>
If you wanna know more about Course 1/2, you can just place a comment below!