cake decorating class { 2 }

cake decorating class | movita beaucoup

Truth be told, I wasn’t looking forward to my second cake decorating class. No, that’s not entirely true. I was looking forward to it, but the class fell on the last day of a course I was taking at work, and I was exhausted from dancing and shoving information into my brain. Various icings in different colours and consistencies had to be prepared and supplies had to be tracked down and purchased. I struggled to get my cake baked and crumb coated before bed on Tuesday evening. August, for your information, is not for homework.

When I arrived for class, I grabbed a table at the back of the room. I like to sit solo when possible — I’m a spreader. I heard one of the women at a table in front of me turn to her friend and say, “I’ve been so nervous about tonight’s class.”

Nervous? I looked around as people unveiled their uneven cakes in various shades of blue. My classmates looked positively terrified. Now, I’m a graduate of a prestigious ballet school, so I know true terror, and cake decorating class isn’t it. Plus, my cake wasn’t looking so bad. I felt a little more confident. (Yes, genius, that’s foreshadowing.)

Class Instructor began the class with a lesson on how frost cakes using techniques to make them look smooth and elegant. She demonstrated at the front of the room. Her cake was perfect. Then we were told we had 20 minutes to complete the task. This seemed like plenty of time (far better than the 5 minutes we had been allotted in the previous class to decorate six cookies), but it was way harder than Class Instructor made it look. My icing was bumpy. It wouldn’t go where I told it to, it had divots and ridges. I could hear Class Instructor making rounds. She stopped at a table up front. “Did you beat that frosting on medium? Your icing has air bubbles,” she said. “Are you positive? Low speed? Because it looks like you went higher than 2 on the mixer to me.”

I stared at my cake and wondered if I’d get busted for using speed number 4 on my mixer. I frantically tried to smooth my uneven frosting as Class Instructor neared my table, but as the 20 minute mark reared its ugly head, things weren’t looking good for me.

Class Instructor was standing next to my table.

Class Instructor: When you take more than twenty minutes to ice your cake, things will not work out well. The icing becomes difficult to work with and nearly impossible to fix. You have to work quickly, otherwise the icing will start to set, get too difficult to spread, and begin to pull.

I looked up from my cake. She was kind of gesturing to my table. My classmates were nodding and looking at my cake. That’s when I took a good look at the other cakes. How the hell did a bunch of people who claimed that they didn’t know how to bake a cake manage to get their icing so smooth?

Class Instructor: (whispering to me) We can probably fix it a little later.

Class Instructor: (to the class) Now the icing needs to set. I’ll show you how to give your cake a final smoothing effect later.

Class Instructor then taught us how to make dots, poofy lines, zig zags, rick rack borders, and some other fancy stuff. We honed our skills on our practice boards. Then she showed us how to further smooth our awaiting cakes with parchment paper. It’s supposed to make the cake look perfectly smooth but I think that’s based on the assumption that your cake is somewhat smooth to begin with. She gave my cake a good rub with the parchment paper. “See,” she said, “it’s much better now!”

It wasn’t.

Next, we learned how to use piping gel to transfer patterns, and outlined cupcakes on our cake-tops. Cupcake patterns which I thought were ice cream cones. The cherry on top threw me. A cherry on top is, in my opinion, reserved for sundaes, milkshakes and perhaps an ice cream cone. Placing a cherry on top of a cupcake design can be very confusing for some people.

We were then allotted TEN MINUTES to decorate our cakes. I slapped tips onto my icing bags, managed to draw the base of the cupcake design on top of my cake (using none of the techniques we had just practiced because I was in panic mode), and made a half-assed attempt at creating the cupcake’s upper floof. I didn’t get to the cherry. I didn’t get to the border.

Class Instructor stopped by my table.

Class Instructor: You know what this needs? Confetti. It needs confetti.

She shook some colourful confetti sprinkles over the cupcake. I was totally grateful. I mean, Class Instructor was probably thinking that my cake looked like crud but she didn’t say so. Exhaustion paired with frustration made me feel like crying. But then I remembered I was decorating a hideous cake with an ugly cupcake on top and snapped out of it. I mean who puts a cupcake on top of a cake? Jesus.

So, our cakes were supposed to look like this:

cake decorating class | movita beaucoup

And mine looked like this:

cake decorating class | movita beaucoup

Kinda like a hairless cat. You want to love it like a soft, floofy cat, but you can’t.

The woman at the table next to mine set a cake on my table as she cleared her things away.

movita: I like your cake!

Next Table Lady: Um, that one’s not mine. It’s my friend’s. Mine’s over there.

I turned to look at her cake. The situation wasn’t good.

movita: Wow! Yours has… a border!

I could tell she wasn’t convinced by my fake enthusiasm.

When I arrived home, 2.0 met me at the door.

2.0: How did it go?

movita: Okay.

2.0: Not good?

movita: (shoving the cake carrier toward him) I had fun, it’s just that it’s really hard. And I only had ten minutes to decorate my cake. So I don’t have a border. And I don’t have the cherry on top — just some eyeball goop where that’s supposed be. And my icing is bumpy. And we don’t get enough time for the projects. It’s like they WANT US TO FAIL. And… hey! Where’s that pie from?

2.0: I made it.

movita: Okay, don’t tell me.

Turns out my friend Heather had dropped off a blueberry pie for us. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see a baked good in my whole life – especially one I didn’t have to decorate. And I was starving. Starving for anything that didn’t have icing on it. And I guess the sight of it must have soothed me, because I fell asleep before actually eating any of the pie. You see, that’s the magic of pie. It can almost make you forget what a failure you are.

class 1 // class 3 // class 4


  1. lorrielorrieb on August 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I am LOVING these cake stories! Makes me want to go out and decorate something! The Chef and I made our own wedding cake, the decorating was a nightmare, wish we had a class or two! But in the end it turned out beautiful…..cause it was made with love!

    • movita on August 17, 2011 at 12:17 am

      1. I can’t believe you made your own wedding cake.
      2. There wasn’t enough love in the world to save my cake.

      • lorrielorrieb on August 17, 2011 at 9:17 pm

        And as noted on most of the cooking competition shows, being a “Chef” and a “Pastry Chef” are two very different things. Like being a dentist or a heart surgeon, both doctors but VERY different. And even though we had a commercial kitchen to work on it in…let’s just say it’s lucky the wedding still went on. The Chef was late for the rehearsal dinner because he was still trying to “fix” the cake!

        • movita on August 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm

          Yikes! To think I’ve been worrying about cupcakes…

  2. Emmalina on August 16, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Dear Movita, thank you for sharing your story with such brutal honestly and bravery. I’m sure there are many other survivors out there who can relate to your experiences. I know many of us know the horror of a pressurised icing situation but to deal with this in a public place, that is going to leave scars.

    I have faced this particular demon, icing a birthday cake in 35 degree heat, it started to slip off and curdle…well I don’t like to talk about it but let’s just say it took a LOT of pre bought spiderman icing shapes to avert complete shame. I’m not sure the agony will ever really go away *shudder*

    We are with you, you are still our Queen.

    P.S. You might want to try a quick “Look over there 95% off on Martha card and stamping supplies!” and during the ensuing stampede you can swap out your cake for the hideous swot who always does a perfect job. You know there is always one.

    • movita on August 17, 2011 at 12:20 am

      Yah, it has been hard. Thank you for recognizing my bravery.

      Tomorrow night we are learning to make flowers. I can only assume it will go badly.

      Thank goodness Martha Stewart stamping kits are 25% off this week.

  3. maudiemaudie on August 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    God, if you can’t do it, being a famous ballet teacher an’ all with a stick, what chance do the rest of us have? I can proudly say that I have never iced anything, and never intend to. Do you ice Christmas cake with icing and a layer of marzipan underneath in Canada? Yuck, just give me the cake – fruit cake, so you have the icing, I’ll have the cake.

    • movita on August 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      What the? You LIKE fruitcake? Cheesus. You’ve got bigger problems than icing, lady.

      (So, um, no, I don’t ice my fruitcakes. Because they are totally grody.)

  4. lorrielorrieb on August 17, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I must agree. Fruitcake is nasty.

  5. maudiemaudie on August 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I LIKE fruit cake! Give it all to me – you have the sweet sickly icing.

  6. Booksphotographsandartwork on August 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Really your’s isn’t that bad. I know how difficult it can be especially in the class. I took classes also and i found a little stressful wanting it to be exact.

  7. Jennie on September 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    If it makes you feel better, I have trouble getting my frosting smooth, too. I usually deem it as rustic and call it a day.

  8. wee eats on September 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I love your cake decorating story! and *I* think your cake looks lovely, and I’d happily present it on MY table, and then demolish it with my fork. It’s 10,000x better than anything *I* could make. I promise you that. 🙂

  9. Sharyn Dimmick on September 4, 2022 at 3:11 pm

    This is even fun almost ten years later when you may have recovered from the trauma.

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