Three days ago, I posted about my first ‘day’ with Wilton. While that technically was my first day with Wilton, I wanted to share with you my first FULL day with Wilton. While I was at Wilton, I learned so many things ranging from what pans to use for baking your cake, how to prevent your cake from sticking, tools to use while decorating, and oh – so much more!
Once we all arrived to Wilton, we were able to venture around and look at all the cakes that were on display from sessions for the Wilton books. This was so cool to be a part of!
There were two tables set up for each of us. Four at one table, and three at another.The moment that I saw our stations, I knew this was real. I have baked before, but never, in my life, have I ever known the logistics on how to decorate cakes.
Our teacher of the day is the ever-so-patient-and-amazing Ann! :rose:
To start baking, you need a good pan to bake in. Wilton is the #1 bakeware brand in America. Why? Because Wilton has the broadest range of fun novelty shapes for birthday cakes to dramatic cast aluminum styles for elegant desserts, count on Wilton for the best results.
After you bake your cake, do NOT cut your cake in the pan. The easiest thing for you to do is to take the cake from the oven and turn it upside down on a cooling rack, after about 10 minutes, to let it cool before icing and decorating it. This works great to release the cake from the pan, on to the cooling rack as long the cake pan is greased well. You can do this beautifully by using Wilton’s Cake Release. There are so many products that Wilton makes that (to be blunt) I never would have thought about, yet have already changed my thoughts on baking and decorating.
Here are some options to help you prepare your pan for baking:
- Option 1: Brushing Inside Pan Surface with Solid Vegetable Shortening: The traditional method is to brush the inside pan surface with solid vegetable shortening, then add flour to the pan and tilt and rotate the pan so that all the surfaces are coated with flour.
- Option 2: Brushing Inside Pan Surface with Cake Release: Brush with Cake Release, which has the flour added to the product already.
- Option 3: Spray Pan with Pan Spray: The simplest method is to spray the pan with pan spray. We recommend using a product with flour already added or you can coat the pan with flour after spraying.
With the Cake Release, you can squirt this in the pan and brush it around with a brush. Just before you put your cake mix in the pan to bake, you can use the bake easy spray. Don’t use this until just before you are ready to put the mix in and bake. Make sure no silver spots or open spots within the pan, otherwise your cake will stick to those open areas.
When you are baking, the biggest advice is to always preheat your oven. If you don’t make your cakes from scratch, but the cake mix that is recommended by Wilton is Duncan Hines. Of course, you can use any mix or homemade batter that you prefer.
When you are measuring for your cake mix or homemade batter, the main key is to always measure accurately. As Ann told us in our first full day of learning, she told us:
Cake baking is a chemical type process. Don’t scoop with measuring cup, use a scoop & POUR it in to measuring cup, and never fill cake pan more than halfway.
With a Wilton Cake Pan, the average cake mix is about 4 ½ – 5 cups.
- 6in cake: 1 box will make 2 cakes
- 10in cake: 1 cake mix
Suggestions for cake baking:
- Don’t open the oven for 1st 20 minutes while cake is baking
- Toothpick test: put a clean toothpick in the center of the cake, and it will tell you if and when the cake is done. How? Put the toothpick in when the cake is done baking and then you pull the toothpick out, it should come out clean.
- Timer: set it for 10 minutes, and then you can flip the cake out of pan.
- Put wax paper on top of cooling rack so no lines on cake
While I learned about the first process of baking, I learned so much about the decorating and icing process.
- First of all, I had NO idea that vanilla is in a dark bottle because store fluorescent lighting turns liquid a yellow color, which in turn – could turn your white cake in to a yellow cake. I didn’t know! Did you?
- I had no idea that you can freeze icing and that it freezes really well. When you are ready to use, just simply set out overnight to get to room temperature before using.
- Wilton makes a meringue powder that helps perform a crust to the icing. What? If you live in high humidity, this helps icing not to bleed & icing not to be so sticky.
- Weigh your sugar. (4 cups = 1 pound) Use pure cane sugar. Generic brand may be ‘beet sugar’, so make sure it says pure cane sugar.
- Mix all ‘creams‘ together, pre-measured liquids, then pre-measured powders.
- Use squeeze bottle with water, to use in case you need water during mixing
For icing consistency, you will use medium icing for most of your decorating needs.
If you need to make your icing thinner, use milk or water, or you can use Half & half to get that ‘bakery‘ style icing to thin icing instead of water, and give it that richer taste.
I also learned that if you are making icing, and let it sit for a while and your icing sets too long & gets sweaty, all you have to do is use powdered sugar to thicken it.
When you are going to start decorating your cakes, Wilton makes some amazing featherweight bags. I will have a whole other post on this later on with my home experiences!
- Using: While filling icing bag, do not fill past the ‘premium quality‘ on the Wilton Bag
- Using a disposable bag; you use it the same way as featherweight, but the bags are disposable.
- With any bag, featherweight or disposable, you don’t have to use a coupler; you can put a decorating tip inside bag and use that way. The point of a coupler is for easier exchanging of tips. In my experience and use, I love using a coupler verses not using one.
- Washing: When you are using featherweight bags, Ann (our patient instructor for day one), suggested to wash them in your washing machine, or you can wash them in your sink by using Dawn (grease fighting dishwashing soap).
- You can make own decorating bags with parchment paper if you prefer over buying featherweight or disposable bags.
- Use Silicone bag tips: use for when you make icing ahead, put on tip to help keep fresh & prevent spillage from bags. This is perfect to use, as well, with Silicone Decorating Tip Covers. When you have your bags filled with icing to decorate, you can use the tip covers to help prevent your icing from flowing out.
- Use Icing Bag Ties to keep your icing in the bag and to help prevent a bigger mess than anticipated.
What about while you are icing your cake?
Here are some things that I learned:
- I learned that I was pretty darn good at doing the practice stars!
- We used ONE (1) pudding cup in between two layers of cake. What about that white outer layer? That, my peeps, is called a “Dam”. The Dam is a layer of icing piped on the very edge of the cake and this basically helps keep the pudding layer inside the cake.
When you are icing your cake, wait at least 10 minutes, until icing isn’t sticky, then use parchment paper to smooth the icing.
I know. I know. It’s not pretty. It was my very first experience with putting icing, with dignity, on top of a cake and still making it look edible.
I was able to smooth it down and get it somewhat decent.
My end result?
I also learned that if you make your icing ahead of schedule and fridge or freeze it, you can still use your icing. Do NOT nuke (microwave) the icing. It will melt your icing and make it manageable. If it is frozen, simply thaw it on the counter, overnight or during the way, but make sure you stir it throughout the duration.
Oh, and what happens if your decorator tips are a bit .. uh.. bent? You can use Wilton’s Tip Saver to help bend your babies back in place.
Restores bent tips to their proper shape and opens clogged tips. Place tip over pointed or cone-shaped end, put on cover and twist back and forth to reshape. Heavy-duty plastic.
Overall: The key of decorating is consistency of icing & pressure control.
More to come in a couple of days!
Mommy Goggles Review and on location Policy: Thank you so much to Wilton for the amazing opportunity to fly to Chicago, IL for this amazing event that will take me through my lifetime! The featured trip for this write up was provided to me, at no cost, by Wilton. I have not, do not and will not accept monetary compensation for reviewing or writing about products or events. All information and opinions are posted is 100% my own. All notes in this posting are taken by myself, Tanya at Mommy Goggles.com, via BlackBerry, iPad and my old fashioned paper and pen. Any images or content taken from this post without permission is not only illegal, but rude and mean. I put a lot of time in to my picture and personal note takings from my events. I am not nice when something is taken from my postings; as you can see here and here.