No Comments »
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 !