Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wilton Course 1, week 2....

With the goal of making my cakes a little less 'rustic' looking, I signed up to take the 4 week Wilton cake decor class at my local Michael's. The first week was all about how to make the icing, all the crap we'd need to be lugging to and from class, etc.

This week, we had to come with a cake ready to decorate, not to mention 1/2 my kitchen in tools to accomplish this. I'm not a big fan of the 'shortening and powdered sugar' method of butter cream, but its what they recommend for the class, so I tried my best to ignore the scads of shortening being dumped into my mixer and focus on the bigger picture of attaining prettier cakes. And heck, the shortening + sugar + water + flavor + meringue method is downright quick to mix up than the whole boiling syrup and raw eggs.

Anyhow, After the requisite star, letter, rose base, and wavy line practice, we set about decorating the cake. This is where my perfectionist tendencies kicked in, and by the end of the 2 hour class, I had only completed 1/2 my rainbow. So I had to do my homework to finish it up.

On the whole, I think it turned out ok. I was at a loss for writing until I talked to my husband, who while I was at class, took our Lab mix to the vet because of an inner eyelid problem. While she can't have any cake, She was apparently a very good girl at the vets office, so the cake is 'dedicated' to her.

Inside the standard Wilton butter cream is a three layer "Perfect Party Cake" from Baking: From My Home To Yours, written by Dorie Greenspan in lemon with rasberry filling.

Wilton Buttercream Icing

(Stiff Consistency)
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon Flavor Extract (I used wilton Butter Flavoring)
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons water
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

YIELD: Makes about 3 cups.

Medium Consistency - for rainbow & clouds - Add 1 Tsp water per cup of stiff frosting and mix.

Thin Consistency - for Frosting the cake and lettering - Add 2 Tsp water per cup of stiff frosting and mix.

Perfect Party Cake, adapted from Dorie Greenspan:

2 1/4 cups cake flour (1 cup cake flour = 1 cup all purpose - 2 Tbs, add 2 Tbs cornstarch)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated Meyer lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 4 4-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.Whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites in a medium bowl.Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the buttermilk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the buttermilk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the four pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean.
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).


Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

hi katrina
you have a nice blog..keep it up !

Anonymous said...

Your cake looks fabulous!! Your writing is so elegant and flawless. Great job! :)

Cherie said...

Good luck in the class! Your rainbow looks great! I've been taking the classes and am currently in Wilton 3!
(I have pictures of my cakes on my blog...) (I agree about having to take tons of stuff to class... I've recently discovered that a rolling scrapbook tote works wonderfully!)