Just finished my cake classes and basic royal icing and buttercream decorating the other day and I am so happy with the results.
My students never had a background so it was kinda like walking on egg shells as I have to be careful not to step on the gas too much.
Honestly, my student said one of them had a headache after the first day of cake decorating. I think I went too fast I admit that so instead of just two days of cake decorating we stretched it for 3 days so they won't get a nose bleed.
It was fun. I did not teach cake decorating last year because my brother died and I was not up to it. This time I had to dig up stored cake deco tools and stuff for my student's one on one session. Didn't realize i have very few Wilton piping paper which I prefer over Ateco. Why not Ateco? The tape does not adhere, in fact i still have a roll of this stuff and i just use it to line my cookie sheets.
So i ran out of parchment paper and since I did it intend to teach, I left abot 50 of my icing tips in New York as well (all my PME) the special ones and about a box of parchment paper. Grrrrr.
Anyway, I enjoyed it so much time that I am putting out another schedule just in case my past students want to join before i leave for New York on September.
The first 2 days will be baking Cakes, the basic Buttercakes, Red velvet, chocolate etc.. and the foam type chiffon cakes etc..then the icing, the 3 days will be cake decorating with royal icing, buttercream and Fondant with Gumpaste. They are supposed to be at least 2 days each so a total of 6 days for the Cake Decorating but i look at my calendar and i can't find a date to fit them all in.
Here are some photos from my class. Regarding which brand i trust more, is a toss up between Wilton and Ateco when it comes to piping bags. I don't like Fat Daddio's( love the cake pans though) because it was too stiff for me. I had on several occasions had carpal tunnel pain, my right hand just got sore from pressing the piping bags even when the bags where flexible. Stiff bags will make it worst so do not buy those. Get the flex type and make sure you get sizes 8 10 12 only because larger bags do not figure in cake decorating unless all you do is pipe a large rosette on top of cupcakes. Bleeh. You can't be that forever.
Get a large 16 inch bag for that job and for covering the cake, but for small piping flower jobs which is what i do most, get the smaller ones. Rule number 1 in piping royal icing flowers is that you do not fill the bag too much. The icing dries fast, you do not want even a tiny bit of dried icing on your tip. That is a disaster. I see myself years ago, picking on clogged tips with a pin just to pull the job to the end but most of the time, IT DOES NOT WORK. You do the bag over again, and .... waste the paper and the icing as well. For this work, you need sturdy parchment paper such as Wilton's pre cut triangles in 100s/box. I tried another brand from webstaurantstore.com and that one too was very good, almost the same as Wilton so try it if you cannot find a Wilton brand.
Lastly, when it comes to food color, I have two. Powder and gel. Powder food colors are great for royal icing because it doesn't change the consistency of the icing too much and gel because it has a wider color choice. Although it is fun to mix colors, just like in painting, you need some hues and tints that you cannot achieve when getting only the basic red blue and yellow. I paint so i know. The pinks in different shades are lovely, violet and lavender are tricky, so get a couple of this. Try mixing pink and yellow and you get a gorgeous peach color. I hardly use pure green because i mix my blue and yellow to get one and throw in some unmixed yellow for effect.
My favorite website to shop? Pfeil and Holing in New York. Amazing store. The shipping and tax is worth it because the prices are lower than other stores on ebay or Amazon.
Regarding my KitchenAid that got stuck, my student gave me an oil and i sprayed it on the control knob thingy and now it works fine. I am shopping for a different brand of mixer. I am not spending another 400 bucks on a KA again.