Cake decorating school
Ice work if you can get it: Cake decorator Robert Borg at work in his Penrith business. Cake decorating is a booming business, writes Grant Jones. Whimsical Cakehouse’s Guy Harden is swamped every time he posts a new load of classes at his Dolans Bay cake shop and decorating school….
Cake decorating is a booming business, writes Grant Jones.
Whimsical Cakehouse’s Guy Harden is swamped every time he posts a new load of classes at his Dolans Bay cake shop and decorating school.
“It’s huge,” says Guy of the trend. “We ran a promotional introduction to a two-hour cupcake decorating class and we had close to 800 people subscribe to the class in two days. It’s that novelty factor.”
Celebrity teachers both from here and overseas, plus a surge in shows about cakes, including one on Paris Cutler’s Planet Cake in Balmain and US shows Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes, have created a mini boom.
Guy says those attending are of all ages and backgrounds.
One of his most recent participants is Gary Phillips, a self-taught cake decorator but plumber by trade.
The Woronora father of two boys, aged 13 and 15, and a daughter, aged nine, has been decorating cakes for family and friends for the past 15 years and works in fondant to create works of art, which can take up to 40 hours.
Among his designs have been a sunken pirate ship and an arctic scene of playful penguins and polar bears.
“I don’t sell my cakes. They’re mostly for family, a few for friends; it’s just a labour of love for my kids,” he says.
Where once a sponge cake with jam and cream would do, today the expectation for a children’s birthday party can include everything from a work of art for the main cake plus an intricately decorated cupcake for every child attending.
Last year, cake-decorating classes at Robert Borg’s Cake Art Design Centre in Penrith filled up as fast as he could organise them. Robert has noticed a significant increase in the number of customers buying equipment as opposed to those who splash out the cash for an already decorated design. “We are now selling more and more decorating supplies,” says Robert, who bought the business five years ago. “It’s been great in the past 18 months to two years.” Despite an initial outlay for lessons and equipment, it’s a skill that can be practised whenever a birthday is close.
But there is also a not-so-sweet stand-off between those who favour fondant, the icing sugar dough, and the American-style butter cream.
“Kids just peel it off,” says butter-cream cake supplier Gabbie Budai, who co-owns Kute Kidz Cakes in Rosebery.
“Butter cream is best suited to sponges and light cakes. Ninety per cent of ours are light frostings.
“Mum can spend two-three hours at home decorating but with the high-end fondant it could be six or seven hours.”
For plumber Gary, it’s all just a bit of fun. “There are not too many boofhead blokes like me around who make cakes,” he says. “Seeing the smile on my kids’ faces or my mates’ faces, that’s what you do it for. It’s just like playing with Playdough.”
- If using fondant icing, a sugar dough, a heavier cake such as mud cake or red velvet cake is best. Butter icing better suits sponges
- Knead icing well for a soft and smooth finish
- After colouring icing, cut the kneaded ball in half to make sure the dye is all the way through
- Use cornflour when rolling out, not icing sugar, otherwise it will stick
- A good rolling pin always makes for better icing
- Basic cutters for edging and strips
- Icing smoother for a finer end result
- Fondant mat to stop the icing sticking
- Good food colour gel, not the supermarket dye
Information in this article is correct as of 6 March, 2012.
Taste.com.au – The Daily Telegraph – March 2012 , Page 3