I wanted to blog after each day of my course but unfortunately everything got really busy. It was a fantastic week and I was lucky enough to be on a course with a great bunch of people who were all extremely talented. Everyone produced some amazing work throughout the week.
In my day 1 blog I didn't discuss the Squires course venue or shop. The facilities are great and the lunch and biscuits supplied were yummy. Here are a few pictures of the venue:
Everyone working for the Squires Group were extremely friendly and helpful. The shop is full to the brim with everything you could need to decorate a cake and the ladies working there were very knowledgable and always gave very comprehensive answers. This made the experience even more enjoyable.
Day 2 and 3: Royal Icing
Day 2 and 3 were really intense as we were using royal icing to cover one of our fruit cakes we had covered in marzipan the day before. I had never used royal icing to cover a cake and I found it really challenging to get the really smooth finish we were aiming for. I was pleased with my attempt but I wouldn't have suceeded without Paddi Clarks tuition and some very useful tips. I never thought I would be calling a small piece of paper 'a little friend'.. you would have to attend the course to find out what this is but it helps a great deal when you are smoothing royal icing on the sides of your cake!
Here is my finished cake:
As I said I was pleased with my efforts and have learnt a lot for when I give it a try again in the future. While we were waiting for the layers to dry we practiced some runouts and piping which included straight lines, shells, leaves and runouts to name just a few. Here are a few examples of the work I did:
Lines and squiggles!
All the royal icing techniques required a steady hand and a huge amount of concentration but like everything, it got easier and easier with a bit of practice.
I would love to try and explain all the methods we used in more detail but I think I will leave that to the experts for now until I perfect my royal icing skills!
Day 4: Pastillage, stencils and brush embroidery
On day 4 we used pastillage to make plaques and a small box. On the plaques we created designs and learnt how to do brush embroidery and use stencils. Both effects were great but unfortunately I didn't take any pictures..
Day 5: Sugarpaste
On day 5 we got to cover our second fruit cake in sugarpaste. Paddi taught us an excellent technique where we covered the cake in two layers of icing and while the second layer was still soft we cut out shapes from the cake to expose the colour underneath. This was very effective.
I decided to do an initial layer of white icing (which was the thicker of the two layers) and then a thin top layer of red (for the second layer we added a small amount of red flower paste to in order to strengthen it). Before adding the second layer we waited for our first layer to set a little so we left it for an hour or so to let it harden a little. Once covered we carefully cut out shapes from the cake using a variety of cutters. I will be doing this again some time and will do a step by step guide. Here is my finished cake:
I have covered a few cakes in sugarpaste before but I still learnt an awful lot of tips on this course, for example, how to remove bubbles using a carefully positioned pin and how to make a cake polisher out of sugarpaste and a piece of clingfilm.
Day 6: Flowers and Foliage
On our final day we made flowers and foliage and this was a very relaxing day although it did require a huge amount of concentration and I was very tired so struggled a little.
For the methods we used I highly recommend Paddi Clarks book Sugar Flowers for Beginners: A Step by Step Guide to Getting Started in Sugar Floristry.
My finished flowers:
I should have finished with a lot more leaves but I run out of time to put any more together. We dusted all our leaves and I put a little in the centre of the flowers.
Overall this course was excellent and I highly recommend it to all beginners and intermediates. I have learnt most of my techniques so far from you tube and books but in my opinion nothing beats some classroom tuition from an excellent tutor such as Paddi Clark.
I was very sad to say goodbye to all the wonderful people I met throughout the week but we all promised to keep in touch and keep eachother informed of our adventures in the world of cake decorating.
Happy cake decorating everyone!