Practice Makes Perfect

Well. Okay. So life throws a girl for a loop once in a while. My baby girl came two weeks early and I didn’t have a chance to post everything that I wanted to before my life became a whirlwind of nursing, changing diapers, soothing a crying baby, playing with a happy baby, laundry, eating, sleeping, working, squeezing in a shower, and daydreaming about how to get more sleep. The past five months have been a wild ride, but we are all doing well…or well enough on the days that we don’t get more than a few hours of sleep!

Let’s get back to where I meant to be in mid-September in the world of all things cake. Enjoy!

Flashback - talksweettome.comOriginally posted January 9, 2008

First day back after the holidays, and it was a good productive day. My task was to complete another Golf Course cake (probably the third one), and I can honestly say that each time I do it, the cake is coming together more quickly with more confidence and improved skills. Practice, practice, practice.

Golf Course Cake | Talk Sweet To Me

I’ve asked the decorators at Planet Cake about the best ways to practice cake decorating skills. The answer is of course (drumroll please…) simply by doing. Unfortunately all of my cake decorating equipment has been left in my parent’s attic while I’m living in Sydney, so the majority of training right now is done on the job. However, I’ve picked up the following suggestions, which may be useful to you:

-Use Styrofoam. Here is what I used to do: a sudden inspiration for a cake would pop into my head. I would get out my pans, go to the store for ingredients, mix up the batter, put it in the oven, clean the kitchen, wait for the timer to go off, and set the cake out to cool. Then somehow, after all that hard work, part of the enthusiasm was missing when it came to the actual decorating. Thus…Styrofoam. Grab some icing and go to town.

-To practice piping, use the kitchen bench (aka counter top, for you Americans out there). It is easy to clean, always available, and offers plenty of space for practice. Anna-Maria suggested that instead of whipping up a batch of icing every time you want to work on your skills, buy a jar of Nutella. It has a similar consistency and will save you time. As you continue to practice, it is beneficial to switch over to the icing you will be using on your cakes to get used to its properties. In addition, piping onto a vertical surface (such as the side of a cake) as opposed to a horizontal surface (such as the kitchen counter) are two entirely different skills. Grab that Styrofoam again and use it for the vertical surface practice.

Each day at Planet Cake I learn something new – not only in regard to cake decorating techniques in general, but also about my own abilities and preferences. This week, I found that I like using colored icing to make flowers rather than coloring the white ones that are already made. It gives more control over the colors, shapes, and sizes of the final outcome, and appeases the control freak in me.

Back to the cakes of the day – after finishing the golf course cake, I also worked on a Funky Baby Petals Christening cake and a Spotty Present Box cake. Both were already expertly covered by Ritzy, so I had my favorite job…finishing touches. It feels pretty good to have three cakes completed, photographed, and boxed by the end of the day. Love it.

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