Still wondering why there is no butter in BUTTERcream icing.


Two years ago, I finally decided that my sanity was more important than getting a Masters in Vocal Performance.  Due to a friend asking me to make cupcakes for her wedding, I took a cake decorating course to learn the basics. This is the first in my many kitchen escapades.

Domesticity, baking, cake…these are all recurring themes in my life. The difference now is that I’m paying attention to these desires and themes rather than just thinking, “Oh, you mean some people don’t memorize recipes?”

In an effort to explore what my life holds next, I am continuing my voice studies (with a new teacher this year) and taking on various baking and culinary adventures.

Since graduating from KU, I have wanted to take the Wilton Cake Decorating courses. The prospect of baking over 350 cupcakes and decoratively frosting them on October 1-3 was the last needed impetus for me to sign-up and start stocking my kitchen with pastry bags, couplers, frosting tips, and any other means to transform fat and sugar into something gorgeous.

So, here I am. 4-weeks of introductory cake decorating.

Some of the highlights from the first class:

In Crisco’s effort to remove trans-fats, they have eliminated themselves from Wilton’s famous Buttercream icing. Yes, folks, to get the right consistency, you need partially hydrogenated fats rather than fully hydrogenated. And the butter…it’s all due to a flavoring extract. God forbid that we have anything but pristine white icing.

The instructor did have a good point: when a person eats cake, they don’t expect it to be healthy. I still might break code and go with my mom’s White Chocolate frosting (cream cheese base).

I also learned that my instructor insists the company’s name is “Wil’in” by not making a full-plosive “T” sound, rather cheating with a glottal stop after the “L.” While my ancestry has grammatical and vernacular oddities, I thank them for my pronunciation of the “t” in “Wilton.”

I am fairly certain that my instructor doesn’t know what to do with me. While we had a pleasant farewell (and she’s letting me miss the last class so I can make the 350+ cupcakes), my natural inquisitiveness had to be held back; some of her answers were on the sharp/curt side. This is her first time teaching, so I will try to be forgiving. It’s very obvious that she is used to her own home environment where she can frost and decorate without questions regarding ingredients or techniques.

I have yet to mention the cake equipment and every-single-décor-doodad aisle. I know that this course will be eight hours of Wilton advertising, yet they try to be nice and package everything you need for Course 1 at a discounted rate. Thankfully, I can use my ever-present 40-50% off coupon on all this stuff. And even if I used the coupon, another one is printed for me immediately. Yes, I am persistent and thrifty enough to split up my purchases over the next week in order that I may use a coupon. Now, if only these supplies were available at Bed, Bath, and Beyond—I would really be set!

Did you know that you can get an entire tackle box full of cake decorating supplies?!?!? 
As I had the 40% off coupon, I considered taking the plunge. Then I thought, “No, I should just buy what I need for now. Worry about different flower nails and angled spatulas later.” Also, clowns don’t scare me, but seeing an entire bag of the derby clown heads for whom I will make a frosting body suddenly creeped me out! I still need to purchase (using my 50% off coupon!) gel icing colors, piping gel, and 8-inch cake pans.

I’m a little nervous about some of the finer techniques needed for my “graduation.” I have never excelled in any sort of visual art. Giving music the right dynamic, timbre, and mood – SURE! Coloring, well, anything…nope; my attempts at home décor are nominal at best. I’m praying that frosting is a very forgiving medium.

So, for the next three (3) Fridays, I will have a somewhat-artfully decorated cake available after 8:30 PM. And before I leave for Nashville’s wedding cupcake extravaganza, this is similar to what I will have to accomplish in order to pass to Level 2:

Any opinions on which cake flavor I should bake first???

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