Ironic that my last post was about Weight Watchers when this one is all about CAKE beautiful, creamy, buttery, sweet cakes!
Mike bought me a day with The Gourmet Cupcake Company as a Christmas Present and I had been saving my weekly extra points on my Weight Watchers plan so that I could scoff with guilt free glee.
Mike’s Sister Emma also had a place on the course and drove from Sussex, getting up at 6am (Thanks Em!) to get us to the company’s base in central Chelmsford.
Following Em’s SAT NAV we arrived on an industrial estate, not where you would expect a bakery. But appearances are indeed deceiving; through the shop’s door was a baking heaven!
Decorated in pretty pastel colours of pink, blue and green the shops shelves were lined with all manner of baking must have’s like; cutters, piping bags, edible glitters and pens, cupcake cases in every colour, food colours/flavours galore and so much more!
We were greeted by El our course leader who made us welcome with hot drinks and an introduction to the day’s activities. There were 8 of us on the course, all round a big table covered in a rose printed tablecloth and sat on white wooden chairs – very country, very cosy! Because of such a small group El was on hand to help us all with any problems or questions without feeling that she was rushing from person to person.
First up was the cake sponges; in groups of four we mixed large batches of vanilla sponge (I have added an Artisan food mixer to my wish list – although starting at £300 – I’ll be waiting a while for one of those!) – if you’ve ever baked a cake from scratch you’ll know this is the easy part, making a cupcake beautiful is all down to the icing and sugar craft.
El demonstrated how to make butterflies, daisy’s, blossom flowers, hearts and star’s all using simple plunge cutters, but gave us ideas on how to make the 2D sweets into interesting 3D creations with flood colourings, paints, glitters and how to build the icing up into layers. These were all done with Sugar Florist Paste a tougher icing perfect for moulding more stable decorations.
I was a little worried the mild Cerebral Palsy weakness in my left hand might hinder such delicate work but most of it was easy enough to do with one hand. I later found making the sugar paste roses harder, but I think that was the case for all of us there – it just needs practice!
For lunch Emma and I popped into Chelmsfords town centre which is a 5 minute walk from The Gourmet Cupcake Company. After a Veggie Delight at Subway (still saving those Weight Watchers points!) we tackled the above mentioned roses which included making Florist Paste rose leaves which we shaped with a cutter then moulded in a little gadget called a viner which you put your sugar leaf into and it creates really life like veins imprinted into the icing.
To marry cake and craft’s; El showed us how to make a simple butter cream topping and a fondant icing. Once we had coloured and added flavourings to these we were shown how to pipe and level each icing and then it was time to decorate our cakes with our creations and an abundance of glitter and hundreds and thousands in all colours of the rainbow.
This was probably the quickest park of the whole course but seeing the day’s lessons come together in what I can only describe as edible artwork – it was the most satisfying!
|My Finished Cakes|
Emma and I both had a brilliant day, both learning some great new skills (or in my case – a whole new skill set) our course leader El was fun, chatty and never made you feel daft for getting things wrong. The course is a wonderful gift but I would have happily paid for it myself.
We were presented with course completion certificates (no matter how old I am I love getting these!) and recipe cards and sadly it was time to go home! 24 hours later there are amazingly still three cupcake’s left out of my 12 – a bloody miracle, but I have earmarked one for after my Weight Watchers weigh in tomorrow – yet more irony!
The Gourmet Cupcake Company - Is well established company bakery with previous client including FireFox, FedEx and Nintendo. For cake quote’s you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . For information on the 6 courses they currently run click here.