For the third class of my Wilton Decorating Basics course I had to bake cupcakes. I was really looking forward to this, because I love making cupcakes. They are such nice little treats and always look fabulous when topped with icing and even some simple decoration. I also was excited to finally learn how to make the basic flowers. During this third class we learned how to make drop flowers, two-toned pompom flowers, shaggy mums, leaves and some borders like rosettes and shells.
In preperation for the class I baked 24 vanilla cupcakes. My birthday was coming up and I thought a couple of extra ones could not hurt. I bought some Wilton icing color, because I needed a dark blue for the two-toned pompom flower. I also got a pack of Wilton pre-cut icing flower making squares. They are not expensive, but it is very easy to cut little squares out of waxpaper as well. At home I mixed green, yellow, light and dark blue icing. The left over icing stayed white for icing the cupcakes and filling little dots in the drop flowers. For the flowers you need medium consistency icing, for the leaves and icing the cupcakes thin consistency icing. Because we wanted to fill our cupcakes, I prepared vanilla pudding, which I love as a cake filling. You can also use jelly or any type of pudding as long as it is thin enough.
Here is a summary of the third class of my Wilton Decorating Basics course:
- At the beginning of class I iced my cupcakes, so I was able to decorate them with the flowers. We always get so caught up in the class that the two hours seem to fly by. In the end there is hardly enough time to finish the whole project. So it is always good to get a head start. There are two ways we iced our little cakes. Some cupcakes I iced the regular way with a spatula like I would ice a cake. Some others I iced using the big star tip #1M. Thanks to the cupcake nail included in the student kit it was easy to spin the cupcake and swirl on the icing. It looked pretty and served as a great base for the flowers.
- First we learned how to make drop flowers. I love the practice board which comes with your student kit. It gives you the chance to practice, practice and practice without messing up cakes or cupcakes in the meantime. The drop flower is an easy cute looking flower which is pretty in every color.
- The rosette was more challenging and I found that the right icing consistency played an important role again. My icing turned out to be a little too stiff, so that the rosette did not turn as nicely. At home I added some water to the icing and that made it much easier to form the rosette. I practiced some shells on the practice board and they were not too difficult.
- Making the two-toned pompom flower was a lot of fun and requires some technique. Our instructor makes everything look so easy, but I found it very hard to create petals that are the same length. After making several flowers, you will find the right amount of pressure and it will become easier. I certainly will use this flower again and I am sure it will look beautiful in other two-color combinations as well.
- The shaggy mum looks like such a fun flower, but it was the hardest for me to do. In the end it looked more like a sad soggy mum with the spaghetti like petals hanging flat. I guess with a little or a lot of practice I will get the hang of it. It is definitely a great flower for decorating a cupcake.
- The next challenge was filling my cupcakes with the vanilla pudding. I filled cupcakes in the past with strawberry preserve and loved it. Then, I dropped a teaspoon of the jam on top of the batter and baked it with the cupcake. That way the preserve baked into the cupcake and it tasted delicious. Filling an already baked cupcake was new to me and it did not work out the way I hoped. The pudding was very liquid and leaked out of the decorating bag. I stabbed the cupcake with the bismarck tip #230 and squeezed the pudding in the cupcake. When I tasted the cupcake at home I realized that only a drop of pudding went into the cupcake. I will try this technique again with a different stiffer filling or just stick with baking it with the cupcake.
- My favorite part of the class was making leaves. Even though I always saw leaves as an accessory to the colorful flowers, I soon found out that you can create beautiful patterns with only leaves. It is relatively easy to form leaves of differents shapes and sizes, either lying down or standing up. I realized that even the cupcakes looked great decorated with leaves alone.
As the two previous classes this third class was a lot of fun and I am happy that I learned the basic flower making techniques. They are already very helpful in making any cake or cupcake look amazing. The most helpful thing I learned besides making the flowers was that you can prepare any kind of drop flower ahead of time. You can make drop flowers on parchment paper days before decorating the actual cake. They can air dry, but the best way is to freeze them. The frozen hard flower can then be placed on the iced cake. That method saves time and it is much easier to handle frozen flowers than soft ones.