I cannot believe that I am writing my final learning project post right now! It seems like just yesterday that I was trying to figure out how to properly hold an icing bag and now I have numerous cake and cupcake creations under my belt! I never imagined that I would be able to learn so much in such a short period of time, nor was I convinced that I could do it through online sources! Well, it looks like I have surprised myself! Not only have I developed some impressive baking skills, but my confidence in the kitchen has grown substantially!
The idea to choose cake decorating for my learning project was not a difficult one to come to. I have been baking ever since I was a little girl and I love everything about it! In a way, it’s almost a stress reliever in my life! However, one thing that I have not been as successful with in the past is making my cakes LOOK as good as they taste! While flavour is the most important thing when it comes to baking, the saying that “people eat with their eyes first” is also beyond accurate! The goal I set for myself when I began this project was to learn a variety of decorating tips and techniques, a goal I feel I can say I accomplished!
Where I began
I began this project with a cupboard full of decorating tools, many of which I had no idea how to use.. More often than not I would just throw my icing onto my cakes using a butter knife and cover up any imperfections with a handful of sprinkles or more icing. While this “worked” it wasn’t the most attractive approach to decorating! This is where my idea for my learning project began!
Online Sources and use of technolgy
So I began searching the internet for blogs, videos, tutorials, pictures, and basically anything that could help me learn how to decorate beautiful cakes. I was happy to see that the opportunities to learn online were endless.
- YouTube channels: I began following numerous YouTube baking channels such as My Cupcake Addiction, How To Cake It, and my personal favourite, The Scran Line. These channels contained step-by-step tutorials that focused on the decorating aspect of baking! I found myself watching the videos over and over until I could work up the nerve to try them for myself!
- Pinterest: having always been a huge Pinterest fan, I relied a lot on the app for inspiration and ideas! I created a board titled “EDTC Baking” and began pinning away! I quickly found myself with a board full of baking creations and was tasked with the tough decision as to which ones to attempt! Although I only had the opportunity to try a handful of recipes for this learning project of mine, I will definitely continue working away at my board and adding to it all the time!
- Netflix Baking Shows: Another guilty pleasure of mine is watching baking competitions! I started to watch the Netflix series “Nailed It”, which is a show about home bakers who compete in a competition in which they are challenged to re-create extravagant baking creations! While the “fails” brought a lot of laughs into the series, there were also a lot of great tips provided throughout the show that I found to be very useful!
- Blogs: I signed up for a Feedly account, where I was able to follow several different baking blogs. Some of the most helpful ones I found included Joy the Baker, Sweetopia, and Sprinkles Bakes! While I may not have used recipes from all these websites, I did get a lot of inspiration and tips!
So as you can see, I was able to find an amazing amount of resources to aid in advancing my cake decorating skills! I had no idea that I would be so successful in finding such detailed and user-friendly videos and websites! I am a huge fan of breaking things down and doing them step-by-step and luckily I was able to find a lot of sources that showed me just that!
In terms of my own personal use of technology, this learning project has allowed for me to gain experience by uploading videos to my own YouTube Channel, something I had no pervious experience with. I also gained a basic understanding of how to use iMovie. While I am no expert, I was able to create voice over videos that showed my decorating process, which was a huge accomplishment for me!
So..What exactly did i learn?
Where do I start?? I cannot believe the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained throughout this learning project! I learnt so many amazing things about cake decorating but let me share with you an overall summary of what I learnt each week!
Week 1: Introduction: Lets Get Baking
- How to set my baking goal! I learnt to not make my goal too extreme, yet it had to challenge me! Goal: learn a variety of baking and decorating techniques using a variety of tips and tools.
- What tools I would be needing and what each of the tools I had in my pantry was actually used for! (Check out this link for an advanced look at how to use over 40 baking tools!)
Week 2: Beginning With The Basics
- How to fill a piping bag
- Basic piping skills
- The importance of consistency, speed, and rhythm in piping
- How to use fondant
- Common decorating mistakes and how to avoid them
Week 3: My First Cupcake Creation
- Exploring baking blogs, specifically The Scran Line
- How to pipe on a cupcake using a round tip
- How to make a chocolate ganache (spoiler: it’s not just melted chocolate!)
- How to create fluffy buttercream frosting
Week 4: My First Cake
- How to properly level cakes
- How to stack cake layers
- How to/the importance of dirty icing a cake
- How to pipe rosettes
- How to use a cake turn table properly
Week 5: Oreo Drip Cake
- Exploring Pinterest to find recipes
- How to create a chocolate drip around the top of a cake
- How to stack a triple layer cake evenly
- How little finishing touches can make or break a cake
Week 6: Cupcake Bouquet
- How to arrange cupcakes in a unique and eye-catching way
- How to prepare a strong base for cupcake arrangements
- How to fill cupcakes
- How to pipe 3D flowers
While I have provided a few specific links above, if you are interested in learning more about any of the points mentioned, please follow the links provided to the blog posts of mine that will give you access to more instructions, videos, and comments!
My Main Take Aways:
- Follow your recipe!! Measurements and instructions are there for a reason! It’s okay to be creative and add your own touches, but stick with the recipe if you aren’t an experienced baker!
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. I was originally scared to try different cake flavours and techniques but I came out with some really tasty and interesting looking creations! Stepping outside of the box was my goal!
- Practice makes perfect & patience is key! I would just like to say that nothing turns out perfect the first time around! My decorating took many hours of practice to get to the point that I was ready to share with everyone! Don’t give up when things don’t go right. Sometimes taking a break and getting some air or re-watching a tutorial can help immensely!
- Sharing your progress/learning online is beneficial. Through blogging, i have had to opportunity to share my experience with others, gain their input, and create new relationships!
- Follow your passion. The entire point of this learning project was to find something that interests you and build on it! My passion for baking has only grown stronger through this adventure.
Where I am now
I have gained so much confidence when it comes to my decorating skills! I have said good bye to the butterknife and sprinkles, and hello to the arsenal of tools I once had no idea how to use! I no longer worry that i am incapable of achieving beautiful desserts because I now have numerous resources to aid me in doing so!
As a fun finale to this baking adventure of mine, I decided to showcase some of the things I have learnt by teaching my younger sister how to bake and assemble a cake of her choosing! This was an opportunity for me to take on a leadership role and share my knowledge with others, something I will soon be doing for a living! So if you are interested in watching the some-what dysfunctional, yet super fun and informative baking and decorating process of my sister and I, check out the videos below! If you would like to try out the recipes we used, those will be linked below the videos!
Baking The Cakes
Decorating The Cakes
This was the perfect end to an amazing learning project adventure! In the videos above, I shared numerous tips and tricks that I have learnt about through my use of technology over the past two months and I still can’t believe everything I know now was found online! Technology truly is amazing and opens up so many opportunities to learn!
This project has been an absolute source of joy in my life and I will continue on this journey for years to come! I think I will even continuing blogging about my creations from time to time!
Not only have I loved learning about cake decorating, but I have also loved sharing my journey with all of you! So thank you so much to all my EDTC 300 classmates for your comments, words of encouragement, and for reading my posts! I really felt the support and hope that I may have taught you something along the way! I would also like to thank Katia Hildebrandt for giving me this opportunity to further explore a passion of mine!