Monday, 17 October 2011

Cakes By James: Cupcake Masterclass

I have been hearing a lot about this place in Belfast, Cakes By James.  I follow the twitter feed and last week I saw that they did masterclasses in cupcakes and that there was one taking place in the next few days, so of course I immediately bought a place for the class.  The classes take place on Saturdays before they open and have limited places available.  All of the masterclass details (dates, times etc) are available on the Cakes By James website.

So I set my alarm for that Saturday morning to get up and hop on the bus into Belfast.  Now, when I say I set my alarm what I actually did was change the time, but forgot to actually turn it on...  Luckily I did wake up in time to find an outfit to throw on and make my bus.  The universe was definitely conspiring against me that day, the bus hit every red light and stopped at every single stop on the way into town.  When I finally arrived on Royal Avenue I realised I still wasn't 100% sure of where this place actually was.  Fast forward to me wandering aimlessly up and down Queen Street (which was the only part about the address I could actually remember).  By 10:15am I managed to find it (making me a good 15 minutes late, meaning I had apparently missed tea and coffee, boo!!!)

James and the others were very obliging to my tardiness and carried on after I had joined them at the kitchen table where James had just begun to go through the Italian Buttercream tutorial.  This was the first lesson of the day.  Next up was writing with chocolate.  Now, for me writing with frosting is an issue, I am never happy with how the writing looks on my cakes so this presented a good chance to be shown new techniques, practise the skill and ask some questions.

As you can see, I still have a lot of practising to do.  My writing is still a little shaky, but I do like writing with chocolate instead of frosting (if only because I was very messy and HAD TO lick all the chocolate off my hand, gosh darnit!)

Afterwards we were ushered to the large wooden table in the studio for a quick lesson in piping frosting onto cupcakes.  We each got to take 12 cupcakes (I went for an even split of 6 vanilla, 6 chocolate) and then piping nozzles (Wilton 1M) and piping bags were passed out.

James showed us two different ways to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and then provided us with 3 different flavours of Italian Buttercream to play about with (vanilla, chocolate and raspberry).

Once we had all frosted our 12 cupcakes we were then presented with a vast array of sprinkles, glitters, lustre dusts, dragees, fondants, fondant cutters and flower paste.  After quick demonstrations on how to roll out fondant and flower paste, how to apply glitter and the best way to apply lustre dust we were once again given free reign on exactly how we wanted to finish off our cupcakes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the masterclass and am seriously considering the cake masterclass in which you decorate an 8 inch cake, with more on how to apply fondant to a cake and creating sugar flowers to decorate them.

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