The third of my cake decorating classes was far more successful than the first two. At the end of the previous class, we were given a long list to accompany the magazine-style syllabus that comes with the course. Class Instructor had carefully listed each of the icings we would need for our third class, and indicated which decorating tips should be paired with each bag. There were nine bags in various colours to be prepared, each with specific consistencies. I prepped the hell out of my icing and cupcakes. It took 723 hours.
Upon arrival, I once again took my table at the back. Our class normally has eight students, but only five showed up. We waited a few minutes. Then Class Instructor told us that one our classmates had broken her leg and wouldn’t likely be coming. She probably broke her leg trying to get all of the icing ready for class.
Up Front Lady was not prepared for the lesson. Some piping tips are easily interchanged because there is a coupler in the piping bag. If you want to change tips, you just unscrew one and put on another. But some of the piping tips we were to use on this particular evening had to be placed directly into the bag without a coupler before filling with icing. Those tips are too big for couplers. So if you have filled the bag without the tip in place at the bottom, you’re screwed. And if you’ve thrown a coupler in there? Equally screwed.
Class Instructor: We’ll start with the bag that has the 1M tip on it.
Up Front Lady: Which one is that? I can’t find it. I don’t think I have it. (rummaging) Yup! I don’t have it!
Class Instructor: (sighing) Well, you should have two bags in front of you with large tips that don’t have couplers. It’s the big star-tipped one.
Up Front Lady: (holding the 1M tip up) This one?
Class Instructor: Yes, that tip, but it should be in the icing bag… with the icing.
Up Front Lady: It won’t fit on my coupler!
Class Instructor: Right. You can’t use a coupler with that tip. The tip has to go in the icing bag first. Remember? We covered that in the first two classes? That tip should have gone directly in the bag, followed by the icing. Also, you’ve got way too much icing in there. It should only be half-filled.
Up Front Lady: Well that would have been good to know beforehand!
I heard a couple of gulps. Everyone just stared at their prepared bags and waited for Class Instructor to go ape-shit on her.
Class Instructor: (teeth clenched) I did tell you. It was on the list that I typed up for you last week. It told you which icing to put with which tip, and it also said not to use a coupler with that tip.
Up Front Lady stared at Class Instructor. Class Instructor looked at me — our eyes locked. I was almost certain that I would finally get to witness a murder. Instead, Class Instructor walked back to her counter. She sucked in some air, calmly picked up a disposable piping bag, walked back to Up Front Lady’s table, shoved her 1M tip into the bag, and then slammed some icing into it. She smiled a fake smile at Up Front Lady. “There you go,” she said all sugary sweet like.
Each and every time Class Instructor told us to take something out, Up Front Lady didn’t have it. Then Class Instructor would walk to her table, show her that she did indeed have it, and proceed. I was pretty impressed with Class Instructor. She really held it together. And if it weren’t for the clenched muscles along her jawline, you’d hardly know anything was wrong.
Class Instructor taught us how to make shells, pearls, leaves and borders. We also learned how to make shaggy mums. Shaggy mums basically look like hair on your cupcakes, so it’s a technique I’ll never use again. Then we learned how to make drop flowers. Drop flowers are insanely cute, and when I was honing my skills, Cake Instructor came to my table.
Class Instructor: Your icing is dry.
movita: Yah. When I go to drop my flower it doesn’t… drop.
Class Instructor: With all of the humidity, a lot of people’s icing is off. YOUR TECHNIQUE IS PERFECT, YOU WON’T HAVE ANY TROUBLE WHEN YOU’VE GOT THE RIGHT ICING CONSISTENCY.
She didn’t yell that, I just wanted you to take notice of the compliment. My icing was dry, but I HAD PERFECT TECHNIQUE.
We had 30 minutes to decorate our cupcakes. I didn’t do much with mine. I slapped a couple of stars down onto some icing and then kept practicing my perfect drop flowers.
At the end of our session, Class Instructor started to review what we would need to bring for our last class. It would be “Final Project Week.” She told us to get out our pens and look in the syllabus for the list of supplies. Then she started going down the list item by item, indicating which ones were optional. We scribbled notes in our books and crossed things out when she told us to. When she was about halfway through the list Up Front Lady put up her hand and asked, “So, what do we need to bring next week?”
No one spoke. Everyone sat very still, staring at their lists. Class Instructor looked into my eyes. I looked into hers. I put my head down on my table and howled.
Guess what? Only two students showed up for the final class: Up Front Lady and yours truly.