I spent 4 Saturdays this month taking a Cake Decorating Class at the Cake Craft Shoppe in Sugar Land. Wow, this was definitely more challenging that I had expected. The first class was lecture only, and I learned that since Crisco decided to remove Trans Fats from their shortening, buttercream icing is no longer as stable for decorating a cake as it used to be. So if I don't want to purchase special Trans Fat shortening from the CCS (Cake Craft Shoppe) I must go on the search for a needle in a haystack find shortening with Trans Fat. I havne't found it myself, but I've been told to look for Bake Rite at HEB...otherwise you will need to add a ton of powdered sugar to your icing recipe to thicken it up.
After practicing icing techniques each Saturday I learned that I need to start workout out my hands in addition to the rest of my body. Squeezing those piping bags is hard work and I began to feel as if I had arthritis at the age of 29.
The last class happened to be the same day as my Grandma's birthday celebration, so of course my class cake was made to honor my Grandma's special day. I don't usually bake with box cake mixes, as I prefer to bake from scratch. However I do highly recommend Betty Crocker's Butter Pecan cake mix. Per my cake instructor I substited the water for sprite, and added a softened scoop of vanilla ice cream at the end of the mixing process. Grandma is blind so she couldn't really see her cake, and I of course noticed all the crumbs in my icing, but for my first real decorating attempt I think it turned out pretty. I will be practicing more in the future.