cake decorating class { 1 }

cake decorating class | movita beaucoup

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a cake decorating class offered through a major craft store chain. Four two-hour classes to become a master of buttercream. When I registered for the class, I got a 50% discount. Then I was told I would need a special course kit. The kit cost about four million dollars and included a bunch of stuff that I already have and/or might not ever use again.

The day before the class was to start, I thought: I wonder if I need to bring anything else to class? I thought someone mentioned a syllabus… I drove to the craft store so I could get some clarification. The sales associate furrowed her brow.

Salesgirl: Didn’t anyone give you The Sheet of Paper?

movita: No.

Salesgirl: Well, you definitely need The Sheet of Paper. And did you buy The Kit? You need The Kit.

movita: Yes. I got The Kit. I’m glad I asked about the other requirements. The Sheet of Paper seems pretty important.

Salesgirl: (trying to determine my level of sarcasm) Yes. The Sheet is invaluable.

I wait for her to find the sheet. She hands me the wrong sheet.

movita: Should this be for the course I’m taking?

Salesgirl: Yes.

movita: Because this is for a different course… in September.

Salesgirl: Oh my! That would be terrible! We’d be all messed up!

movita: Yes, we sure would be.

The salesgirl hands me a new sheet. Sitting in my car, I learn that I need The Kit, icing produced by the cake decorating company sponsoring the course, food colouring, a damp cloth, pen, paper, sticky notes, scissors, and six plain cookies for decorating.

SIX PLAIN COOKIES FOR DECORATING? Goddamn it. So, I spend part of the afternoon making perfect sugar cookies. I want to set the bar high. You know, show them how seriously I’m taking the course.

The next day, First Class Day, I was ready. My supplies were packed and organized, including a package of extra cookies in case someone else didn’t get The Sheet of Paper. I arrived for class a few minutes early, set up my station at the back of the room, and waited.

The instructor, as it turns out, takes buttercream pretty seriously. I’m a full-time instructor of crap so I know where she’s coming from, but we’re talking about icing here. Class Instructor explained that the start time of the class would be 6:30 pm. Not a second later. She. Will. Start. Without you. I looked up at the clock. It was 6:36 pm when she started the class.

Class Instructor warned us that first class would cover a lot of basics, but assured us that the course would move at an “adult pace.” I don’t mind a good review — you always learn something new. Like, for example, that a large number of people in my class had never made icing before. Or a cake. And some had never used a stand mixer. Or Google.

Everyone seemed very enthusiastic about the buttercream journey we were about to embark on. People scribbled in their notebooks as Class Instructor discussed icing consistencies and various decorating tips. There was a lady at a table up front who seemed to know nothing about everything.

Class Instructor: Now, take out your couplers.

Up Front Lady: Wait. I can’t find it. It’s not in my kit. It’s not in my kit!

Class Instructor stood about 6 inches from Up Front Lady, holding a coupler in her face.

Class Instructor: It looks like this. (moving back to front of room) So, you take out your coupler…

Up Front Lady: Is this it?

Class Instructor: No. That’s not it. There are four in your bag right there.

Up Front Lady: Wait. I found it!

The class breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Class Instructor: So, you’ve got your coupler…

Up Front Lady: Did you say that it’s called a coupler?

Class Instructor: Yes. (her teeth are now clenched) Yes, I did.

That’s how the class progressed. Class Instructor would explain something, Up Front Lady would ask several questions, and then we’d continue. I was really impressed with Class Instructor’s patience. You could hardly tell that she wanted to punch Up Front Lady in the face.

In the last five minutes of class we were told to practice making stars with our #18 tip on our practice sheets, and then to decorate our six cookies. I got one cookie decorated. One. Luckily there was a lady sitting next to me who was there to job shadow our instructor. So I had the benefit of a Practically-An-Instructor right at my table. Practically-An-Instructor gave me some great tips for making the stars, and because I had a lot of naked cookies sitting around, I gave her one to munch on. (I hope that wasn’t against any of the class rules.) Then Class Instructor showed me some special tricks to steady my piping bag because my hands shake SO much. Pretty nice given that she clearly thought I had some sort of alcoholic tremor going on.

cake decorating class | movita beaucoup

As the class drew to an end, Class Instructor told us that in the next class we’d be decorating an entire cake. We were told to bring a prepared cake (2 layers, with a crumb coat of icing) so we could recreate the cake pictured in our syllabus book. The top of the cake in the photo was decorated with a piped buttercream ice cream cone. We were also given a list of an additional four million dollars worth of stuff we’ll need for next week, so I guess I won’t be buying new underwear anytime soon.

As we left the store I turned to a classmate and said, “I didn’t really decorate any of my cookies.”

Classmate: Maybe that’s because we started late and then only had about five minutes to do them. The one you did is very pretty though.

movita: Thanks. My partner will be very disappointed when I get home though. He’s expecting six decorated cookies.

Classmate: Is that his initial on top?

movita: Uh, no. It’s mine.

Classmate: Maybe you could could tell him that the R stands for, “I really ruff you,” and say it in a Scooby-Doo voice.

It’s nice to know someone else in the class is taking things just as seriously as I do..

class 2 // class 3 // class 4


  1. Carol on August 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    This is too funny for words – can’t wait until next week – maybe you ought not drink the night before you go next time!!

    • movita on August 5, 2011 at 8:59 am

      Carol, I’m pretty sure drinking would be against the rules.

      Wait. Unless I was the only sober one… that would explain a lot…

  2. Marsha Sefcik on August 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Love the post. I took the same class a couple of years back as I am one of those moms who MUST bake and decorate the kids’ birthday cakes. The only downside is that everyone else will ask you to do it as well and WTH am I supposed to find time top do that??

    • movita on August 5, 2011 at 9:00 am

      That’s exactly why we don’t have kids.

  3. Lynne on August 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Best. Post. Ever. I mean EVER!!

    I love it!!

    I tried out for two foodie decorating part-time jobs and failed both try-outs. Understand, I bake everything under the sun – at least up until a few months ago when I decided I needed to take some time-out from baking, due to the padding on my body from said baking.

    First one was for a fancy-shmancy cake & pastry store. They let me take home that sad, sad cake. (My kids told me my cakes taste much better – and the fact that my 2 sons w/insatiable appetites LEFT most the cake proved how crappy it was.

    Then there were the cookies – nice local place within walking distance of my home. The woman who owned the business was so nice she told me I could “practice & come back again,” but I never did – felt that perhaps I lack the baked-goods-decorating gene.

    I still dream of becoming another Margaret Braun.

    • movita on August 5, 2011 at 9:01 am

      This is why I’m seriously considering going to baking school. Then I’d be able to jam my finger at a certificate and yell, “you don’t like it?! I have a certificate that says I’m good at this! So you’re going to eat it, and you’re going to LIKE it.”

  4. maudiemaudie on August 5, 2011 at 8:18 am

    I can’t wait for next week! One of the reasons I NEVER sign up for classes in anything is because of the all other dimbos I’m always certain will be in the rest of the class. Perhaps you could just tell us everything and then we don’t need to go.

    • movita on August 5, 2011 at 9:03 am

      It was the same at a needle felting class I took. The thing about common sense is that it’s just not that common…

      Yes. I will teach you grasshoppers.

      Once I figure out how to do it.

  5. Lindsay on August 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I stumbled across your blog (although I can’t remember how I came upon it) about a month ago and have truly enjoyed reading your posts. This post has become my favorite, your unique sense of humor makes me actually laugh out loud! I’ve been thinking about taking the cake decorating course at my local huge craft corporation store for a while now, but your post has convinced me to sign up today!

    • movita on August 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm

      First off, Lindsay, your comment made my day.
      Secondly, I hope that your cake decorating class will be super-awesome. (And totally redonkulous.)

  6. emmalina73 on August 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    So a few things.

    1. That was the best description of a cake decorating course ever. And I should know because in English schools we are forced to read all descriptions of cake decorating experiences ever written. Most of them are dull.

    2. Is it really worth attending a course when the people you are on it with are so unworthy that thrashing them with your superiority is exceptionally easy? I mean, is that really fun? What am I saying? Of course it is!

    3. Using Scooby references in everyday conversation is a mark of comedy genius and if you use the proper voice it is even better. That chick is a keeper.

    4. Do you think it is possible that the woman running the course is actually a criminal genius and that the course is being used as a distraction while her gang tunnel under the store (let’s call it Shmicheals) to a nearby bank, wherein they will blow up the vault and empty it of gold bullion? But you (and your new trusty sidekick) will foil her cunning plan, eliciting the line “I would have got away with it too if it weren’t for those pesky cake decorating course participants!” One can only hope.

    Can’t wait for the next installment. Shaggy!

    • movita on August 7, 2011 at 11:30 am

      1. This is the best and longest comment I have ever received. I think I ruff you.
      2. I will check for an underground tunnel next week. I’ll gas up the Mystery Machine – it will make searching the perimeter much easier!
      3. I was at Ironwood Farm yesterday and thought of you – not because of the sheep poop I stepped in – but because it is so incredibly beautiful there, and they have a big tractor, and because they love the land.
      4. It is possible that I will get in trouble in cake decorating class this week, because we are supposed to bring an 8-inch two layer cake, and I’m pretty sure mine’s going to be more like 10-inches. This is because I don’t have 8-inch round pans, and I’m having trouble justifying the purchase of 8-inch pans on top of the 14 other things I need for this week. I’m also pretty sure that the icing recipe we were given “will cover an 8-inch cake perfectly. It’s just the right amount,” so I might have a little trouble there as well.
      5. In most episodes of Scooby-Doo, the ghost is actually a real person wearing a costume. I guess this is supposed to prevent nightmares and stuff. What do you think would happen if I ripped off Class Instructor’s apron?

  7. Emma S. on August 11, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I took this class last year – and had someone in the class taking it for a second time… because she was so bad the first time, her kids and husband suggested she might need remedial training.

    I refused to use the icing they make, and made my own with butter… Just replace the shortening in the recipe with butter, and the water with a little milk. Then it tastes awesome… And it’s worth it.

    • movita on August 11, 2011 at 10:31 pm

      Oh, yes, I’m all about the butter, don’t you worry!

      Also, I’m betting some remedial training will be in my future as well…

  8. glutenfreezen on August 15, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    LOL! *sigh* You, missy…are hilarious. I have had a weekend from hell and your blog just made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that!

    • movita on August 16, 2011 at 9:27 am

      You’re welcome, lady.

  9. Donalyn on September 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    A totally awesome post!

    • movita on September 6, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      But, but… you’re like… one of my blog idols. This is very exciting. I’ve got, like, four of your recipes bookmarked to try. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. sidiqa on September 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

    loved your write up hahaha! cake decorating classes are always amusing. Enjoy!

  11. sbrylander on May 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    OK I know this post is super old, but it’s new to me. And also RELEVANT. Because I just took a class at a certain craft store lead by a person from a CERTAIN bakeware/cake supply company. I decorate a lot of cakes. It’s my thing. But this was my first class. (Gumpaste flowers/course 4)
    AND. I. HATED. IT.
    We moved at a snail’s pace. I had to buy a gazillion new things that I’ll probably never, ever use again. Also? The instructor creeped me out. She had a voice like the Cryptkeeper.
    Anyway, now I poke around your blog to see how the rest of the class went. Now I’m thinking I should have taken the first class for sheer entertainment value.

  12. Jennie on September 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Movita, you crack me up! Up Front Lady sounds like a real charm.

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