Over the past two weeks, the skies have seen fit to inform me that my uber-early seed starting was indeed a foolish move! Ah well. I still have hope that my plucky plants will manage to stick it out, but am also mentally prepared for the likelihood of needing to start new seedlings.
This past weekend, I remembered to bring my camera with me to capture some of what honestly felt like the first “winter days” of the year: cold, bright and snowy!
I keep thinking I should break out my (cross-country) skiis — the skies keep providing wonderful powdery snow for it! — but thus far have been too lazy. I think this upcoming weekend I shall have to stop making excuses and just do it!
In other, cake-ier news, Maria beat me to it, but this past Tuesday was the wrap-up of our “Decorating Basics” course. Despite some definite struggling with getting the crumb coat on my cake (although I will say that the jumbo frosting tip was a great help for the sides), I’m quite pleased with how my cake turned out.
Not very ambitious I guess (what? no ribbon roses?!) but I didn’t want my coworkers to explode from a sugar OD, so I thought this would be a good balance. I forgot to start my base border at the “back” of my cake, hence the little skoodge going on in the front, but as I said, given my past decorating attempts, I’m pretty happy with this.
What all did I learn from the course?
- I learned to actually ice a cake smooth (well, or the theory of how to do it; I could definitely use a little more practice). This was probably the most useful thing I learned in the course, because I’ve never been able to smoothly frost a cake, despite reading all about crumb coats and whatever online previously. (This was in the second class, where I also saw the jumbo cake frosting tip in action and fell in love a little.)
- I learned some basic techniques (stars, dots, drop flowers, some bigger, showier, way-too-much-sugar flowers, and a few borders) that by themselves don’t seem to add up to much. Where I found the little techniques (stars, dots, etc.) useful was looking through the pictures in the course book at how they can be used to fill out and cover a cake. I don’t know if I’d have the patience to do stars to cover an entire sheet cake, but at least I have an idea for getting a picture on there! Piping gel transfers were also a surprisingly obvious thing that I wouldn’t have thought of, and am glad to have learned.
- I learned what it feels like to pipe frosting consistently. That sounds stupid, but given that our course materials include “how to” sheets for more complicated flowers and things (basketweave!) from later courses, I find it encouraging that if I were a real keener, I could probably learn to do those on my own, so long as my hands and pressure are steady enough.
- I was reminded that while I think cake frosting is a good skill to have (pretty cakes!), I actually don’t really like frosted cakes, because holy cats, a LOT of sugar. (Hence my preference for “rustic” cakes, that just take a quick glaze, or have a streusel topping or whatever.) Still, maybe with some experimentation, I’ll find a frosting I like that’s not crazy-sugary but still stiff enough to hold some shape.
Oh, and one more thing: I learned that my very favourite thing to pipe is leaves — they’re so cute!