Saturday, February 9, 2008

Cake Decorating Class - Class Number 1!

My first cake decorating class was this past Thursday evening. It was a lot of fun. The act of getting there, however, was not so fun. My mother had not returned home from work and I had to be at class by 6:30pm. In fact, I had to be there a little bit earlier than that as I had to pay for my course and I also had to buy my palette knife.

I got on the bus and went to the subway, at which point I got on the train and went to the correcct station. I didn't want to take the chance of getting lost, so I called the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) before leaving in order to get directions on how to get to the school. I got on the bus and got off at the correct stop. When I looked around, I saw nothing except houses and snow! Luckily there was a lady standing at the bus stop so I asked her for directions. She pointed me in the correct direction.

The only problem was the fact that there was still so much snow on the ground from the snow storm. The sidewalk was unshoveled/plowed and the snow reached my mid-calf. To get to the school from the bustop, I had to cross a busy street and walk up a hill. I didn't want to j-walk, so I walked to the crosswalk. It was only a few feet away, but I had to walk slowly and carefully as I didn't want to fall in the snow. And, as you may or may not know, walking or running in tall snow is much like walking or running in water: it adds resistance, and is therefore more of a workout.

By the time I got the the crosswalk, I was exhausted. I was glad that the light was red because it would allow me to take a breather. The light turned green and I crossed the street. Luckily there was a gentleman crossing the street at the same time, so I followed him as he walked so I could walk in his footsteps in the snow.

When I got to the bottom of the hill, I decided that I had two options. I either had to walk on one side of the road which was completely full of snow, or I'd have to cross the street and walk up the hill on the road which didn't have snow. I opted to walk on the road, but because I didn't want to interfere with cars (there were no cars coming at the time), I decided that I had better run up the hill. Bad mistake!

The school was in a plaza right at the top of the hill. When I got into the school, I was deathly exhausted. It was cold outside, but I was starting to sweat. My stomach hurt so badly that I thought I was going to throw up. After entering the school, you are immediately in the supply store where I would be able to buy my palette knife and pay for my course. I went the the palette knife section and listened as one of the store's staff discussed the best palette knife to buy to another student in my class. I listened patiently for a few minutes and decided to just grab the palette knife that I saw her motion to. The man who was speaking to the lady working in the store was asking way too many questions. Had I been feeling 100% I may have stood there and listened, but I simply wasn't in the mood.

I turned around and headed to the checkout line where I would pay for my palette knife, pay for my course, receive my tax receipt, and receive my discount card for the store. Ugh...the line up had 4 people in front of me, and each person takes about 5-7 minutes. I was standing there totally thinking I was going to fall over. I finally got close enough to the front of the line to be able to lean against the desk. I kept on interlocking my fingers and putting them in the air to stretch hoping that the stretch would make my stomach feel better. It didn't.

When I finally got to the front of the line, the lady who had a "training" button on asked me for my last name. I toldd her my last name and she punched it into the computer.

"That'll be $150". She said. The cost of the entire course was $150, but I had paid $75 already as a deposit. I knew that it had been paid because there was a transaction on my credit card stating that it had been paid. I politely told the lady that I had already paid half of the price and only had $75 due.

"Oh...umm....ok" said the confused clerk. She asked the cashier beside her for help, but that cashier was busy helping another student complete registration for the course. She told me that she'd be right back and walked away.

"Ughhh......not NOW!" I thought to myself. All I wanted to do was remove my heavy jacket and scarf, sit down and put my head in my lap so I could catch my breath. Yeah....remove my jacket. I quickly removed my jacket and decided to hold it. I was seriously afraid that I was going to pass out and they would call an ambulance!

Finally after a few moments the clerk that was helping me returned to the desk with the staff member who was educating us on palette knives earlier. The staff member simply punched a couple keys into the computer and informed the training clerk what she had done wrong. I quickly paid the $75, signed my name on my discount card, and paid for my palette knife. I grabbed my palette knife, credit card slip, discount card and tax receipt and high tailed it out of there. I went into the class which already had quite a few students seated and ready to go. I sat down for a minute and decided that I couldn't possibly sit here and put my head down.

I grabbed my jacket and my purse and headed for the washroom which was downstairs. On my way downstairs, I was delighted to see coat hooks, so I threw my jacket on a hook and headed downstairs. There was only one washroom and luckily it wasn't being used. I locked myself in the washroom and closed the lid of the toilet. I sat down, put my head down, and took slow, deep breaths. The washroom was nice and cool. I was beginning to feel better already. Two people tried to open the door as it isn't very obvious that someone is in there when the door is closed. I told them that "someone is in here".

I stayed in there for about 5 minutes and I felt much better. I still didn't feel 100% but class was starting soon. I sprinkled a few drops of water on my face. Had I not been wearing makeup, I would have given my face a big splash of water, but I also didn't want my makeup to look all smudged when I got back to class!


The class was more full than classes usually are at that school. There were about 16-17 people with two instructors. After sitting in my seat for 5 minutes, I was 100% better. I've felt that way before, but usually I'd have somewhere to sit or lie down right away, be it in a car in at home in my bed. Now I know to take it easy. Had I just walked, I may have been 5 minutes late or so, but I wouldn't have risked becoming ill, throwing up, being forced to go to the hospital...all that bad stuff.

The class was 3 hours long. We spent the first day working on our piping skills. We learned how to pipe stars, roses, shells, ropes, bows, etc. Our two instructors also did a demonstration on building a 3 layer cake. It was flavoured with lemon buttercream. I'm usually not a fan of things that are TOO lemony, but it was a very delicious cake. I was seated in between two women. The lady on my left seemed to be really good. I think she's done this before. With the way this school works, you can take any level you like just as long as you have experience (any level meaning intermediate, advanced, etc.). However, if you start with the beginner level, then intermediate, then wedding cakes, you cannot get the master cake decorator-basic level certificate. There are other courses to be taken that can make you a " master decorator intermediate" cake decorator and "master decorator advanced". But you cannot get any of those without starting at the first class, which is what I suspect this lady was doing. The lady on my right was an older european lady who didn't speak english very well. She came to class late and didn't have time to buy a palette knife. She helped herself to mine. I didn't mind, as all I was using the palette knife to do was to scrape the royal icing off of my cutting board. We all practiced piping on a cutting board. After our cutting boards got too full, we'd scrape the icing off our boards and put it into a bowl.

Today my mother and I went to the grocery store so we could buy icing sugar. I want to make royal icing so that I can practice piping. I really enjoyed the relaxed, helpful, and laid back atmosphere of the class. I'm definitely going to take the next level too.

So, aside from almost collapsing after running up a snowy hill....(LOL) I really had a good time and I'm glad I decided to take the course. On the last day of the course, we get to utilize the skills that we've learned in the previous 3 weeks to decorate a cake of our own. I can't wait! I'll be sure to post pictures of my final product after I make it.

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