Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time
before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000.
Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.
Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire
her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she
earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.
Decorated cakes are fun to look at, but the decorating limits your flavor choices. Is it worth the sacrifice to have something fancy-looking for a special occasion? What would you prefer for your birthday -- something ordinary looking that tastes amazing, or something ordinary tasting that looks amazing? I'm thinking it would be fun to take a couple Wilton courses, but I'm not sure if it's really worth the time investment. You'd have to make a lot of cakes, I think, to get good enough to be quick at it. But then I look at cakes like these and I think it sure would be a lot of fun!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:22 PM
On August 15, 2007 8:48 PMAngiewrote... I think you ought to take the courses--since you have an artistic bent, you'd probably pick things up quickly.
My mom does beautiful cakes--wish I had her talent. The only tips I remember from her attempts to teach me were: 1) freeze the cake layers before frosting so you won't get crumbs, and 2) icing for roses needs to be thickened with a little flour, so they don't "wilt"
Anyway, I think you already do a great job at making cakes taste and look good!
On August 15, 2007 9:21 PMdawnwrote... I'm *not* artistic and I took courses 1 & 2 (It isn't until 3 before you start fondant). They were fun, and it will be good as I have kid birthday cakes to do now. I, myself, generally prefer a good tasting cake to a pretty to look at cake any day. (That, and I just can't stand the decorator icing anymore ... bleah. And the cleanup is no picnic either.)
On August 15, 2007 9:46 PMsorawrote... False dichotomy. You want an incredible looking dessert that also tastes amazing. The Wilton courses might be a good opportunity to practice your icing techniques, but IMHO all they'll really do is teach you how to decorate cakes that look (and taste?) like something you could get in the grocery store bakery.
Get Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible and study the appendixes. Also, all of Alice Medrich's dessert books. The lucky recipients of your creations will think they've died and gone to heaven.
I think it's the bright, funky, plasticy colors that attract me most to the decorating end of things, though. And I'm pretty content with my Cake Mix Doctor recipes. So I'm not sure how much I'd use other books.
On August 16, 2007 10:30 PMnonnobis1wrote... When I was young we lived on an Air Force base in Japan, and my mom was into all sorts of hobbies at the base hobby center. She took a cake decorating class for about a year, and when we moved she opened up a small decorating business out of our home. She did cakes for the next thirty years, until she passed away in 2002. I grew up in a kitchen full of 100-lb bags of flour, cases of C&H 10x sugar and hundreds of pounds of sweet butter. I've decorated for about fifteen years, mostly stuff for the kids and for church friends.
I think fondant looks really pretty and makes for all sorts of design possibilities, but tastes terrible. I know, you can fancy it up and put all kinds of flavorings in it, but the mouthfeel of all of that gloppy sugar is just, blech. Just my opinion. Give me buttercream any day.
Bad cake story: about five or six years ago, I was asked to make a groom's cake, Black Forest with whipped cream icing.
A June wedding in Maryland.
And the party was in a home with no AC.
Use your imagination, and if anyone ever asks you to do something similar, tell them no!
On August 16, 2007 10:36 PMValerie (Kyriosity)wrote... I've only used fondant once, and wasn't too thrilled with the taste, either. But I was wondering what about marshmallow fondant. I've seen that mentioned in various places as a tastier alternative.
On August 17, 2007 12:27 PMnonnobis1wrote... Haven't used marshmallow but I think the lighter texture of it (just guessing, since most marshmallows are largely whipped air) would be a much better alternative to traditional fondants, which seem to be made more for visual application than actual taste. Hmmm...food that's not meant to be tasted. reminds me of the avant garde music we listened to in college, some of which "wasn't meant to be heard." Huh????
On August 17, 2007 6:11 PMbarbwrote... I like to have my (pretty) cake and eat it too. So I say - take the class. It opens up your oprions. And remember, the skills you develop aren't just limited to use on cakes. Cupcakes and cookies count, as well!