For Christmas this year, my sister-in-law and her husband gave me a gift certificate for a decorating class with Carlo’s Bakery. After perusing the options, I elected to take the “Bow and Flowers” class so I could learn fondant skills. In this class, students learn how to cover a cake with fondant and then make a bow and flowers from fondant.
The class met in the Lackawanna facility where cake consultations and decorations for speciality cakes happen. Our class was held in the same room that plays host to “The Next Great Baker” on TLC. Those boxes along the ceiling are lights for filming. It was already fairly warm in the room, so I have a lot of respect for the contestants trying to work with cake melting under those lights!
The first step in decorating our cakes was to cover the already frosted cake with fondant:
And then we kneaded our own balls of fondant until they were soft and pliable and took them over to another Carlo’s employee to run them through the sheeter to get them nice and thin:
We then set to work covering our cakes. My fondant was not working with me. It ended up tearing in a few spots and I had to patch it up and it sadly didn’t look so great. Then I noticed I had air bubbles in the top. The instructor came by to help me with those and pointed out that it wasn’t air– it was the frosting underneath melting. My hands were apparently too warm and by rubbing on the fondant to get it smooth, I was melting the frosting underneath. We got it looking okay and then it was on to crafting the fondant bow.
I had more luck with this. It was a pretty simple process of putting together four pieces of fondant at different lengths.
Then it was on to the flowers! The instructor showed us a very simple way of making hydrangeas and my classmates had various amounts of luck and patience. We were told that we could use cookie cutters to do other things if we wanted, and it seemed that a lot of people abandoned the flowers and just decorated with polka dots or shamrocks (it was a few days before St. Patrick’s Day). I decided to stick it out with flowers and just do a few polka dots around the side, as the flowers were too heavy to stick to the cake.
Two different instructors asked if I’d made these flowers before as they looked great! At least that made up for my hole-y fondant covering!
One of the great things about the class is that we got to take the whole cake home– which would have been great if I had a party of people waiting for it at home!
As it was, my husband and I had a slice that night and he had another the next day and then we sadly had to throw the rest out. It was just too much cake to keep in the house! It was quite delicious though– a layer of chocolate cake and a layer of vanilla cake separated by fudge frosting, covered with vanilla buttercream. And the fondant was marshmallow fondant, so it actually tasted pretty good! We nibbled all the little flowers off before we threw the cake away!
All in all, I had a great experience. I would like to take another class, though the cost is somewhat prohibitive. They generally run about $125, which isn’t an insane amount of money for the materials and instructors’ time, but it is still quite an investment.