Let them eat cake!
We celebrated the impending bundle-to-be of a fellow Hometown staffer yesterday with a baby shower. I volunteered to make the cake(s): a butter cake and a three-tiered cake with chocolate and German chocolate layers topped with yummy buttercream frosting and a lemon cake with raspberry filling.
I'm no Ace of Cakes, but considering these are my second and third fondant cakes and my second ever tiered-cake, I'm summarily impressed. (My first stab at making a tiered, fondant cake was for my informal wedding reception held after our wedding on Mackinac Island. I decorated it the day of - I do not recommend this).
I took the first two Wilton class series years ago at Garden Ridge in Eastgate. The store went out and returned in the same location last September, but they've since discontinued most of their Wilton line and cake classes. But if you're interested, Fantasy in Frosting offers lots of cake decorating classes each month at its Newport store. Not only did I buy most of the basic cake decorating supplies there, FIF also offers pre-made flowers and floral sprays of fondant and gum paste, so even aspiring amateurs can make their cakes look professional. (Wal-Mart and Meijer also offer basic Wilton cake decorating supplies, like Wilton pre-made fondant and royal icing, decorating bags and tips, rollers and smoothers, color tints and cake pans. Their prices tend to run much cheaper than dedicated cake supply stores, but they only offer the basics.) Cincinnati Cake & Candy Supplies near Arlington Heights also offers classes, ranging from beginner to more advanced levels. Both stores print their monthly schedule of classes on their websites.
If I weren't in graduate school already, I'd probably enroll in the Midwest Culinary Institute's pastry arts certificate program for my own personal edification. The one-year evening program covers the basics of baking and design, while the two-year Pastry Arts Technology program is more in depth and even yields an associates of applied business degree.
But for me, the fun of cake-making isn't in the baking - I use a modified cake mix recipe - but in the decorating. I was a graphic designer before I turned reporter, so I view cake decorating as an art form - one that tastes great, too. Are there any true aces of cakes or aspiring cake decorators out there? Or do you know of any other good cake supply shops or stores offering cake decorating classes?