Last Saturday, I woke up as excited as a child on Christmas morning. The day had finally arrived! After months of waiting, Helen and I were finally off to our cupcake decorating class at the Make Lounge. Our class was led by Janine Rose, who runs a bespoke cake business and was the sort of excellent teacher who made everything look easy.
The Make Lounge is a lovely place, where you find yourself believing that all manner of crafts are perfectly possible, if only you had access to the supplies conveniently offered in their shop, and a patient teacher. And maybe some sort of manual dexterity. After we and our classmates were ushered into the long, light workshop, our first task was learning how to quickly and easily make a piping bag from a piece of baking parchment. I was dangerously close to losing my enthusiasm straightaway, as I battled with my paper before finally, with a bit of help, ending up with something that might do the job.
Using these bags, we then practiced piping lettering with buttercream. I can sort of see how I might learn to do this in a more accomplished fashion if I had a never-ending supply of buttercream and a steadier hand, but my efforts mostly looked like a shaky old lady’s handwriting. I apologise in advance if you get a cake from me while I’m still learning.
The most exciting part of the class was decorating our cupcakes (we were given seven to customise and take home) with coloured, piped buttercream, as a base for further embellishment:
We were let loose on a variety of paste colours, resulting in some outlandish colour combinations around the table. Once the buttercream was in place, it was time to really go to town with sprinkles, glitters, and dyed marzipan hearts, stars, and flowers. All restraint disappeared at this stage:
I can wholeheartedly recommend this class – it’s not cheap, but you’re given all the guidance, techniques, and tools you need to produce a box of cupcakes that you’ve decorated entirely by yourself. I splashed out a bit in the shop afterwards on heart- and star-shaped plunge cutters (those things are amazing), and am confident that I’ll be able to recreate something suitably lurid and sparkly at home now. I’ve never found making the cakes themselves as much of a challenge as making them look pretty, but I definitely feel like I’m a step closer.