Thursday, October 15, 2009

Course 2: Apple Blossoms and Violets

For class we had to bring with us 2 batches of royal icing.

Royal Icing (Stiff Consistency)
adapted from The Wilton Method of Cake Decorating

4 level tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 lb sifted pure cane confectioners' sugar (4 cups)
5 to 6 tablespoons lukewarm water

Make sure all utensils are grease free. Place confectioners' sugar and Meringue Powder in a bowl. Stir or mix at low speed until blended. Start by adding 3 tablespoons of water and add additional water by the teaspoon until you reach the right consistency. Mix 7-10 minutes at low-medium speed until icing loses its sheen. To prevent drying, be sure to cover the bowl with a damp cloth while working with icing. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on icing and press down and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Do not refrigerate.

When I was making the royal icing, it looked like crumbled dough pieces at first. I was a bit worried but I just mushed them together with my hand until it looked like one big piece of fondant and then let the mixer go at it. I literally thought my stand mixer was going to break. The royal icing didn't look right, but I just brought it to class anyway hoping the teacher would thin it out for me.

I brought Pete and Wonster to class with me hoping they'd be able to sit in and participate but the instructor wouldn't let them. So sorry guys! They roamed around Michael's while I spent the bulk of the class thinning out my frosting. Actually the instructor is the one that did most of the heavy lifting. She told me it was way too thick and she had to borrow another classmate's frosting and combine the two. We had to make 4 different colors of frosting so I was busy mixing together the colors once she made them into the right consistency. I added some water to my frosting because it still seemed stiff and she almost shrieked. I guess the littlest bit of water can ruin your icing and I was suppose to add one tiny drop of water, but I added a splash. She was pretty peeved at me for ruining the icing after she spent so much time thining it out. She had to add more of my leftover rock-hard icing to bring it to the right consistency again. Oops, my bad.

I should have taken more pictures, but I was preoccupied with stirring and filling my four pastry bags with different colored icing. The thing to note is that since this icing is basically sugar and water, it dries out really fast. So you have to cover it with a damp cloth or baby wipes (in our case). She said we can use baby wipes for teaching purposes but if you plan on eating the flowers, you should use a damp cloth of water instead. Also when you aren't using your piping bags, you should cover them with a damp cloth or baby wipes as well or else the frosting will harden in the tips.

We used the yellow royal icing for the center dots and the pink and purple for the flower petals. First, she taught us how to make apple blossoms. On a piece of parchment paper, you make five petals using your flower nail and then put 5 little dots in the center. You then take off the piece of parchment paper from the flower nail and lay the flower and paper down in this little curved flower former. It looks like half of a plastic pipe but it helps your flowers dry out and harden and also gives it a slightly curved shape. Here are my apple blossoms.

A close up of them. The plan is to make 5 or 6 of each flower and at the end of the class, we use them to decorate a cake.

Next we did violets. In retrospect, I should have made the purple darker, but oh well. It's pretty much the same technique but 2 of the petals are smaller than the rest of the petals. I guess someone at Wilton is responsible for carefully studying these tiny discrepancies. I'm not very good at this so to me, they just look like pink and purple flowers, but in the book, the two flowers look different. Then, once you have your violet petals, you place 2 yellow dots in the center and there you have it! There's a cake in our book with basic white frosting and a bunch of violets interspersed along the cake and it looks super cute.

I'll try to do a better job of taking pictures in the next class. I think we're making daisies, daffodils and pansies next. Ooh la la.

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