I decided to take some Cake Decorating Classes this month. It has been on my list for a while now and I found a class at my local Michaels. The class is once a week for two hours but we usually don't take the full two hours and end about 20 minutes or so early. The class requires that you come prepped every week with your icing, cakes or cupcakes depending on the lesson that day.
The actual class was relatively cheap. It cost $25 to sign up. What they don't tell you at the time of signing up are all the hidden costs that go along with it. You also have to buy an instruction book, a course kit, additional supplies and the ingredients to make your cakes and icings. If you aren't careful this can add up fast! The cost of the course kit is $50 and to be honest I didn't think it was worth the $50 for what you get in it. I found it on sale at Michael's for 40% off and I have heard that Walmart also sells it. I would suggest that you check your coupons for Michael's regularly because I noticed one day after signing up for the class that they sometimes have coupons that give you $20 off class supplies when you sign up and they have coupons off of the actual class fees too sometimes. I got creative with my weekly Michaels coupons to get everything I needed for class and used Bulk Barn for certain items as well. I would suggest doing a quick scan of the Michaels baking isle and noting the prices of certain things before going to Bulk Barn. I found some of the Wilton product at Bulk Barn to be more then Michaels or the about the same price (but you get 10% off at Michael's if you are in the class).
Flowers and Cupcakes from Class 3
The Course and Instructor:
My instructor was extremely nice but I didn't find her all that helpful. She kept the class moving but basically just followed the book which I could have done on my own at home. Any hints or tips that she gave were mostly to do with buying additional Wilton Products or Wilton Products that she LOVED. I get that its a Wilton Course (as a business student I applaud Wilton for their marketing strategy here - its genius) but I couldn't help feel like it was more of a money grab and less of an learning opportunity. I felt like my instructor should have been more up front with the fact that she gets 40% off her Wilton products (I looked it up online). The class is small but I didn't felt that I got any individual attention. When asked how she did something, she would say "oh I've done this once or twice" and just tell us to practice. She wasn't very good at explaining how to do things outside of what was printed for her in the instruction booklet. I found the actual content of the course to be slow at times. I did learn a few tips/tricks but I probably could have read about them or learned them through a YouTube Video. It was nice having a set time to decorate a cake and a reason to decorate a cake. It also gave me an excuse to buy a lot of the supplies that I was missing in my collection.
The cake we decorated in Class 2
A Few Helpful Class Hints:
- I baked 2 six inch cakes (in a cake pan with 3 inch sides) so they were nice and high. I could still torte them to fill if I wished. This allowed me to get two cakes out of one doctored cake mix (I cheated for class...shh). I wrapped both cakes in plastic wrap and tin foil once they had completely cooled and froze them. I took them out a day before class to thaw on my counter top before I needed them for class. This meant I only had to bake cake once for the whole month which saved me time.
- I made my cupcakes from my go to chocolate recipe. It worked out that I was making a dozen cupcakes for a friend the same week I needed these.
-The icing recipe calls for icing sugar, water and shortening. None of this goes bad. You can mix up all the icing you need for all your classes at one time in stiff consistency and leave it on your counter for weeks in an airtight container. You can then quickly adjust it each week to the right consistency (thin or medium) and add any colour to it.
- A cheap cake/cupcake carrier comes in handy (the dollar store sells them) if you don't already own one. The dollar store (at least here) also sells cake turn tables and cooling racks.
-Bulk Barn sells individual disposable decorating bags for $0.35
- If you can take the class with a friend DO IT. Seriously. It can cut down on your prep time and your costs. You can share some of the additional supplies that you have to purchase and can take turns making icing. Or each make different icing colours for class and then share.
- Don't buy the pipping gel (needed for Week 2). Its a complete waste of money. Its like 7 bucks for a tub you will use once in class. Someone in your class will probably let you share with them.
- The book always tells you to make WAY more icing then you need.
Cake from Class 4 - We learnt the Wilton Rose (mine all got squished by my cake carrier before I took a photo).
I would recommend the course to anyone who has very little cake decorating experience. It is definitely a course for beginners. Keep in mind that there is "homework" every week which is very time consuming.