At GCSE I was lucky enough to go to a school that allowed me to take the easiest course known to man, Food Technology. For my year 11 final project I spent my last term baking a cake every week and then spending two hours decorating it. My theme was birthdays and my biggest achievement was making a farm themed birthday cake (because every little kid who lives in the countryside I’m sure would love a farm cake). I made mini sheep out of icing, I created a tiny duck pond with miniature ducks made out of icing, I made lily pads to decorate the pond, I made a fence out of matchmakers… I basically did everything I could to make this out of touch birthday cake work.
Food Technology was more stressful than I imagined it would be. All of that decorating and precision took so much time and effort and I grew to really detest piping icing.
Now in my second year of university, I have rekindled my love for decorated cakes. Mostly cupcakes and mostly eating them, not making them. But as a present my mum enrolled me on a cupcake-decorating course that she found on groupon. I was extremely excited.
Not realising beforehand how far away the shop was, I readily accepted the offer to attend the course. It took me 50 minutes to get there via tube and most of the journey was above ground, on the tube. I have never used my phone on the tube before and it was a nice experience. But I realise now that even if other countries get signal underground, I’m so glad that we don’t because I hate sitting next to people talking loudly on their phones!
The course was in Queensbury, at a shop called ‘Sugar Shack’. I was a little disappointed when I arrived; it’s basically just a warehouse business estate in the middle of nowhere.
This disappointment continued when the course session began. After being lectured for 20 minutes about how to make butter-cream icing (for any one who isn’t familiar, butter-cream icing is a beginner’s icing, it is one of the easiest things to make and it doesn’t require any skill at all), we were told that the cupcakes had already been made for us and we were given only 4 to decorate.
The course instructor went through the basic methods of piping, methods that any one who had just been given a piping bag for the first time and was told to be creative would have quickly done. I can’t stress enough how glad I was that I only paid £24 and not the rrp of £60.
Nevertheless, I think the course instructor made the 2 hours worthwhile, as she was very funny. She kept laughing about everything, including her own instructions. Whilst a group of 15 of us looked around at each other baffled, she continued laughing and wiping away tears, before carrying on something like: “And so yeah, that’s how you pipe in a circle”.
There was one moment in particular that stuck with me. The instructor had just asked how everyone was getting on and I smiled at her and she started laughing. The rest of the class turned to me, I shrugged my shoulders. Then later, at the sink, the instructor smiled at me and I smiled at her, again she started laughing. She was quite literally holding her stomach and leaning forward with laughter, clearing her throat she said: “I’m sorry, it’s just you have such a lovely smile”. Feeling self-conscious now, I wonder what kind of messed up Frankenstein face I must be pulling each time I smile.
Here are the cakes that I decorated: