The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

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?


at 9:26 AM Blogger Stepf said...

I made two vegan chocolate cakes this weekend, but they were unadorned except for some good strawberry jam. (Corn syrup-free jam!)
You're really talented, Rachel. Cake decorating is a talent I don't possess.
I like the look of fondant, but I can't stand to eat it. : )

at 9:28 AM Blogger Nicci King said...

Those are fabulous, Rachel! :-)

at 9:31 AM Anonymous lauren said...

Wow - I am impressed!

at 2:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool cakes! I think Michaels and Hobby Lobby still offer the Wilton classes

at 3:18 PM Blogger Julie said...

Have you made marshmallow fondant yet? It's the only sort I actually like to eat, and a friend of mine uses it on cakes she makes. Tres yum!

at 11:18 PM Blogger Rachel said...

I found a very easy recipe for marshmallow fondant and it's pretty tasty, too, Much tastier than the Wilton pre-made fondants, which are also filled with processed chemicals. Bonus: it's cheaper to make, too.

at 10:27 AM Anonymous **Jennifer** said...

Wow - these cakes look great. I've often talked about taking a cake decorating class over at Fantasies in Frosting but I dont think that would be too good for my rear end. I want to learn how to work with fondant though...decisions, decisions.
Thanks for posting the cake pictures!

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