Ooh! I got a Diploma in Cake Decorating

Posted by Lakshmi
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Sunday ,  11 March  2012

My almost one month hiatus from my last blogpost   was because I had a number of things to do, one of which was I had enrolled for a  UK based Professional Intensive Diploma Course by  Squires Kitchen  International School of Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft . 

Intensive it was !  Classes were from 9am till 5pm but it was anything but that!  The sheer amount of work that had to be done and  accomplished  saw me getting up at 6am and leave my home by 6.30am ( to beat the mad traffic jam ) to be at the centre by 8am.  Continue that with the heavy  and tight  workload/practicals  with hardly any  time to grab a bite - we took a 10 minutes break for lunch and a 5 mins break for tea  and some of us  just ploughed on without even a break, except to the washroom  !  We would usually finish for the day at 8 or 9pm, only to come early at 8am the next day to continue where we left off !

To top it up, since I was on unfamiliar territory and driving through the jam was a nightmare,  during my trip back home after the first day,  as was usual, I took the wrong road and ended up in Kepong.., then  Selayang and then  Cheras. and this was at 9pm.  After driving round in circles and breaking no-u turn signs and paying toll amounting  to RM10 , I finally found the way and reached home at almost 11pm

 Gosh, it certainly isn't for the faint-hearted !

 There were about 14 of us,  some of whom had flown in from Hongkong, Taiwan, Bangkok, Australia and  Sarawak .  Why ?  Because Ms Rosalind Chan, the  Canada based Malaysian was the only authorised tutor to conduct the course in  South East Asia , otherwise I would have had  to travel to UK to do it.  Don't get me wrong, it was certaintly nerve-wrecking but it was fun too.  Learning new techniques and getting the latest updates on the  cakes scene    in UK and US was an eye-opener for all of us.  The mistakes and  the cries of  " Oh my God !"  when our painstaking  stringwork and sugar bridges  broke off or our exquisite but so so fragile lace work just collapsing on us was part of the terror trials we endured but in a fun kind of way, if you know what I mean .  We helped each other to fix things up and then admired each others'  handiwork .... warts and all...

It was pain-staking, tedious and nerve-wrecking, especially if you don't make extras of the sugar collar and it breaks at the wrong time while assembling the cake (!)   but if you have a passion for it, you certainly wouldn't mind.  I didn't.

Below are some pictures taken from my class....

A fondant covered cake with brigdework.
The  board was covered in fondant  and the edges crimped . I had to pipe fine  pink sugar strings  to form a curved bridge all round the cake -  lots of breakages.  Then very fine  vertical sugar strings of royal icing was painstakingly piped from the sides to the  edges of the bridge -- even more breakages when you go slightly out of line and the fresh lines collapse on the dried one like in a domino .  After it had dried, scallop strings were piped at the base of  bridge.  Then tiny tiny dots of pink was piped onto the stringwork -- called raindrops -   more breakages and have to do all over again.  Finally a bead design was done on both  edges of the  bridgework with another beadwork done on the base of the cake.  Really  nerve - wrecking !

And this was just the starters !

The second tier was smocking with herringbone stitches done in fondant and royal icing ... I went off line and and had  to re-do it for the 3rd time.

The flooded sugar collar - a real tedious and heart-breaking work ..  some almost cried when the fragile thing broke when piping the edges and  when assembling the cake.  Notice the triangular lace edges on the bridgework.  Each triangle lace was piped , left to dry and inserted one at a time --- lots and lots of breakages lah and sometimes the vertical bridgework will fall  and break --- re do it again !

The wedding cake -  the base cake  with frills and ribbon insertions - all made of gum paste and sugar.  The bride and groom atop the cake was handmade individually by me.  The faces were painted using food grade oil colours ..  This picture was taken at home when I had brought it back,. It was almost 10pm and I was too tired  and forgot to put the sugar collar  on top of the smocking design .

The poppies made from sugar paste

The sweet peas and hypericum berries  made from sugar paste and dusted with food grade colour

The fully assembled rose - sugar paste

The royal icing sugar collar piped separately and left to dry.  Some were too shocked when it broke during removal and  transferring it to the cake

A fondant and gumpaste 'photo' album/card     ...... a bit of a hurried work

This buttercake was covered in marzipan and fondant and iced with 3 coats of  royal icing.  The flowers and butterfly was piped separately  in royal icing and assembled 3D style.  The board was flooded with royal icing .... tiring.. tiring... tiring

Ahah !  I finally had it in my hands -  The Professional Intenstive Diploma Course by Squires Kitchen International School of Sugarcraft and Cake Decorating, UK.  Sure feels good after all the hard hard work .

The worst nightmare was when  I  had to put all the  many cakes with such intricate and delicate designs into the car and bring it home.  Uurgh.....

Happy reading and painting and baking !