Last week I went to a sugarpaste decorating class. I’ve never used sugarpaste before and it seemed like it was about time I did, if not just for fun, then to increase my general cake decorating skills – which, I have to say, are slowly but surely improving (as in, I can ice a batch of cupcakes and they all look roughly the same level of goodness rather than half of them being squiggly and weird).
Incidentally, it’s quite difficult to not want to eat icing when you are surrounded by it. At first I was like, man, this looks really tasty – luckily by the end I’d become more concerned by how pretty everything was, which then overrode my desire to eat it all.
First we were shown how to deal with sugarpaste – how to colour it and make it more manageable when it started to dry out. Then we were given cutters and moulds and I made about a billion sugarpaste flowers and leaves and cherries. I was really impressed with my cherries, just because I didn’t think you could put two different colours of icing into a tiny tiny cherry-shaped mould and it would actually come out looking like cherries, but it did! It did!
Next we started covering cupcakes, making stripes and spots and in my case, a basket-weave style thing that I was super impressed with (this was the most artistic thing I achieved all evening). I decorated 10 cupcakes in the end, all in varying degrees of good-ness. It was so incredibly hot, and the icing was sticky and so I wasn’t really feeling my most artistic, which kind of ended up meaning that everyone else’s looked a lot more impressive than mine.
It’s a fantastic thing to learn and I did enjoy it, but I realised that sugarpaste isn’t really for me. I prefer simple cakes – ones that look pretty good but taste incredible – and it’s so rare that you get cakes that look and taste incredible (I mean in a elaborately and beautifully decorated kind of way, not in a “I would totally eat that right now” kind of way). So I’m sticking with my buttercream and sprinkles for now, and hopefully they’ll get me somewhere.
I’ve been doing some other learning recently too, which is only slightly cake-based – the practicalities of setting up a business. It’s an incredibly overwhelming thing to try and do by yourself, to think of all the things you need to know and research and discover before you can even really start is unbelievably daunting. Some days I feel like I’m making progress, and other days I feel like I’m going to be sitting at my dining table forever trying to work out how much I would have to sell in order to make a profit. Today is one of the ‘other days’. But we’ll see. Updates will occur regularly and hopefully by the end of the summer I will have reached some kind of quantifiable achievement.