Monday, 28 May 2012

Wilton Decorating Course - Decorating Basics, Week Three

Today was the third and final installment of my Wilton Decorating Basics course at the Greensborough Cake Decorating Centre. It kind of feels like they taught us things a little bit back-to-front because, pretty though some of the cakes we made today were, I don't think they were in quite the same league as the ones we made last week. Then again, I suppose the piping skills we picked up over the last few weeks were necessary for this week's project, so ignore everything I just said!

This week's project was novelty cakes. Wilton (and other companies) make bajillions of different shaped novelty tins, and I chose the flower pot.

This is what it was supposed to look like:
Flower Pot Pan

(except, not that horrible Grecian urn. Cos, eeuw... although it does show you that you don't necessarily have to follow the pattern precisely. For example, I saw another one that kept the terra cotta pot but had proper piped roses instead of daisies.)

And this is what it does look like:

(Did you notice the bottom of the flower pot was missing? No? Excellent *wipes crumbs from mouth*)


- Choose what colours you will use for your design and prepare buttercream as needed. Put it in piping bags, ready to go. I suggest having a couple of each sized tip you will use as it will make it quicker and easier to switch colours and tips. Oh, and use couplers. They're awesome.
- Glue cake to centre of cake board with buttercream.
- Brush crumbs off with pastry brush (if you remember).
- Fill in any flat, white (or not white - it will depend on the design) areas on the picture and smooth them by dipping your small spatula in boiling water, wiping it dry and then smoothing it over the buttercream. Better to over-fill an area than under-fill it because you're just going to pipe over the top of it anyhow.
- Do any crumb-coating that may be required - think large, flat areas and bits around the sides. You will be icing zig-zags around the side at the end so a crumb coating will assist with coverage and also help the zig-zags to stick.
- Pipe any outlines with a #3 tip in the appropriate colour.
- Fill in the pattern using stars (I used the #14 and #16 star tips), leaving no gaps anywhere on the surface of the cake.
- Zig-zag around the vertical edges of the cake using a large star tip (#21??), being sure to come right up to where you have filled in your pattern on top of the cake. So, you end up with an edge that looks like a series of vertical lines, only it's a lot easier than actually piping a series of vertical lines because they're all connected like a continuous S-bend.
- If desired, pipe stars or shells around the base perimeter to neaten things up - those zig-zags never quite touch the board properly.

And there you have it. This one took me a little under two hours, not including dyeing the buttercream (+40 minutes or so) or filling the piping bags, or un-filling the bags when I realised that it was almost impossible to pipe with a full bag. You're far better off continutally re-filling piping bags than getting sore hands/arms from having to push too hard because the bag is too full. Don't make it any harder than it has to be!

Oh, look. I'm a moron. The PDF instructions can be found here.


  1. Did you enjoy the Wilton decorating classes? I have to admit that cake decorating is one of those things that I can't really do at all. I would like to be able to, so going to a class is probably my best bet at actually learning how.

    I love your flower pot, how fun!

    1. That's exactly why I took the course - I have a million books on cake decorating and YouTube has some handy videos, but there's nothing quite like actually being taught and having that "ah-hah!" moment with an instructor standing over your shoulder. My food presentation skills have never been my forte; instead, I specialise in the, erm, "rustic" look and favour a rough, swirly finish over a smooth, detailed one!

      The instructor said that the Wilton way isn't necessarily the best way or the way favoured by professionals, but that it is a good learning format for the basics that you can build on. I definitely recommend it!

  2. Great job and hehe I wouldn't have noticed about the bottom of the flower pot until you mentioned it! :P

    1. One thing that you'll notice about most of my photos is that there's a piece of something missing, or 11 cupcakes not 12. I just can't help myself ;)

  3. Lol taste testing as you went? Best thing about baking ;) and what a cool course!

    1. Let's face it - the real reason we bake is so we can taste it at every stage :)

  4. That looks fantastic. I would love to do a decorating course like this. It's definitely a skill I could improve on.

    1. I highly recommend it if you're like me, and need to know the basics inside-out before feeling confident enough to branch out. I also highly recommend it if you want to eat a lot of cake in a very short period of time!


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