Monday, 20 June 2011

Royal love birds

Ha! I left the word 'icing' out of the title to trick you into reading my blog. You thought you'd get a lovely read about Kate and Wills and a photo of them smiling like saints, but instead you've got the first module (royal icing) of my PME diploma. Well you're here now, so let's get cracking.

I did the course at Cakes4Fun, a place that does exactly what it says on the tin: they make cakes and it's a lot of fun.

There were eight ladies on the course (for the avoidance of doubt, I'm counting myself as a lady) and as usual they'd come from so far away that my journey from Newcastle seemed like a hop, skip and a jump. One had come from Germany, another from Switzerland. Her husband works for Nestle and gets to bring home free chocolate. She must REALLY love him.

We made two cakes, which in truth were polystyrene dummies.

They look just the same as cake but don't taste quite as good. The first cake was covered with royal icing, a laborious process that takes several days of smoothing on fine layers of icing, leaving them to dry for hours, sanding them and then adding another layer. It's called royal icing because it's a royal pain in the chuff. It is a technique that's taught in the same way that trainee hairdressers learn to do a perm, something you need to know but will never need to do.  No one asks for a cake covered in royal icing because a) it is time consuming and therefore expensive and b) they've invented sugarpaste. Mercifully it was sugar paste that we used to cover the stacked four tier cake.

Once the cakes were covered, the fun began and we learned some royal icing piping techniques that we definitely will use again because they're so pretty.
Broderie anglaise love birds. GET A ROOM!
Lace and snail trail 
Brushed embroidery
Bridge and extension work. The birdcage represents the claustrophobic trap of marriage something pretty 
Scrolls and piped flowers (on top)
We looked at some great books on royal icing. I have a current embargo on buying more cake books but it's my birthday next month IT'S MY BIRTHDAY NEXT MONTH so I've added some to my Amazon wishlist, please and thank you very much.

We were covering dummy cakes but there was a ready supply of real cake from the kitchen. These are people who take a real pride in their cake and happily take time to pipe ganache and add sprinkles onto a mid morning snack. Here are just some of the treats we had:

I had a great time on the course, met some lovely people and learned a huge amount in a week. I'm very much looking forward to modules 2 and 3 in September, as well as a macaroon class in August.

In a brief round up of other London news:

  • Monday: a comedy hero described my cakepops as ' like little cakes on a stick' (just as well he steers clear of observational comedy). 
  • Tuesday: the tapas at Elaine's King William pub in Hampstead is delicious as ever
  • Wednesday: Dylan has had his first hair cut

  • Thursday: Taste Festival London charges £22 entrance (it can taste right off)
  • Friday: the Turkish food at Tas is still fantastic
As I packed my case on Saturday morning, I laughed at my optimistic inclusion of a sunhat and sunglasses lying unused at the bottom of the case, shook out my umbrella and headed for Manchester.

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