Recently, I went on a royal icing wedding cake course at Squires Kitchen in Farnham with Ceri Griffiths, TV personality and author of Squires Kirchen’s Guide to Making Icing Flowers. And what an experience.
From start to finish, Ceri was honest, kind and helpful and the techniques he helped us to master are incredible. I think I’ve got a long way to go before I get to his sort of perfection (although he did admit his exhibition and competition cakes take him the best part of a week to complete because he wants to get them perfect. The images could be circulated for many years to come so must be the absolute best), but I was pretty impressed with my final outcome.
So day one was all about covering the cake beautifully and piping the roses. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’ve never piped roses out of royal icing before, you need all the time you can get.
TOP TIP: Make each stage as perfect as you can. If you cut corners at the start, you won’t get the perfect outcome that you set out to achieve.
Covering a cake may not seem like it would take forever to achieve, but it’s harder than it looks and especially when you want to get that perfect wedding cake finish that all brides crave. And on a dummy, it’s even harder than coating the real thing.
TOP TIP: Rub vegetable fat/shortening around the dummy to ensure that the sugar paste sticks.
The royal icing roses are exquisite and so beautiful – on their own, or evenly dotted around the borders. And once we were taught and got into our flow, we all produced some amazing looking flowers.
We had a lot to complete in one day, that is for sure! All the exquisite piping had to be completed by 4pm on a Sunday afternoon – and we didn’t even know the techniques yet. I’d say the real secret that Ceri taught us was templates. Make templates if you want perfectly even distribution of content around your cake. And he’s right – it looks so much better because it’s completely and 100% symmetrical rather than attempting to evenly pipe freehand around the whole cake.
From draping, to shell work, to scratch piping (which is so simple but super effective), we learnt it all. In a day!
If anyone is considering whether to do a class in baking or chocolate work (the most recent winner of The Great British Bake Off: Creme de la creme teaches classes in the same building) then in my opinion, give Squires Kitchen a go.
The classes are informative, small so that you can get one on one treatment if necessary, enjoyable, reasonably priced, and they have a gorgeous and well stocked shop selling all of the equipment and icing you used and could ever need.