The power of cake – a cupcake decorating masterclass

The reward for being a judge for Tesco Real Food‘s Christmas Cupcake Decorating competition was to attend a masterclass with top cake guru Mich Turner MBE of The Little Venice Cake Company.

Matthew kindly took the day off to look after the boys so I could swan off to the glam Make Lounge in Islington, which was a very welcome prospect after a challenging week with my 19-month-old monster little darling.

So I exhaled as I was handed a glass of fizz and shown a table of beautiful canapes and got chatting to the guests who were a mixture of prize winners, their guests and the judges.

It was great to talk to fellow food foodbloggers @Cherrapeno@ddsdiary and @annecupcake, to finally meet Helen from Fuss Free Flavours – and also have a good old catch up sesh with the lovely Sarah from Maison Cupcake.

Mich Turner arrived and made sure she had a natter with everyone in the room. She’s one of those impossibly beautiful women, totally immaculate, very clever and talented, runs an award-winning cake business, has two young children and is very friendly. I like to call them uber-women – I know I’ll never be one, but I’m in awe when I meet them. Katie Caldesi is another one. Amazing.

Mich Turner MBE in effortless cake decorating mode

Anyway, after the welcome we were shown through to the next door studio where tables had been set up for everything we’d need for an afternoon of cupcake decorating. Bliss!

First off Mich demonstrated how to make a piping bag out of silicon paper. I was all fingers and thumbs at this point after a glass of champers on an empty stomach, so quickly necked a glass of water in order to sober up and not waste this opportunity to pick up some top tips.

Next up Mich walked us through how to make our own cupcake decorations out of fondant icing. Within the space of a few minutes she’d crafted beautiful roses, candy canes and holly leaves and berries.

She then demonstrated different piping effects we could achieve with buttercream.

Up to my elbows in cakes - heaven!

I was totally enthralled as my confidence as a cake decorator is pretty limited. I stick to what I know and don’t dare try much else in case it goes horribly wrong. This was the perfect chance to have a go with the guidance of an expert on hand.

So when we were all given 10 cakes to decorate, I got stuck straight in to making my fondant shapes. The roses were a bit tricky at first, but after a few words of advice I got the hang of it. They looked particularly gorgeous when dipped in some vibrant glitter. The candy canes were pretty easy to make, but looked really effective.

I’d always wanted to be able to pipe a rose shape using buttercream and I did it! What a great feeling that was. Just having someone there to nudge you in the right direction is wonderful. It’s all about using the right nozzle and starting in the middle of the cake.

My 10 decorated cupcakes

The afternoon totally flew by and I could have happily decorated 100 cakes and chatted to everyone. But pretty soon it was time to pack up our precious creations and transport them across London safely home.

We were approaching rush hour so I was quite nervous about the tube ride home. Luckily I managed to get a seat so avoided squashing my little beauties.

It’s funny how suddenly attractive you become when carrying a box of pretty cakes – loads of people stopped me to talk about my cargo and my local bistro were so charmed by them that they managed to find a table for me for dinner which was fully booked when I first inquired!

The cakes also managed to raise a handsome £20 for the cake stall at my son’s fundraising school Christmas Fair. The power of cake – it’s a wondrous thing!

Thanks to Sarah from Maison Cupcake for providing the photos for this post. I rather handily forgot my camera in my dash for the door!

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About Katie Bryson

Katie Bryson is a freelance food writer and blogger. She left a career in online news at the BBC to immerse herself in the culinary world, taking in courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine and an internship at Waitrose along the way. Her family food blog www.feedingboys.co.uk is bursting with recipes and tips for feeding hungry families that’ll help inspire all those frazzled parents out there wondering what on earth to cook for tea! She lives in West London with her two young boys and yes, her firefighter husband.
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6 Responses to The power of cake – a cupcake decorating masterclass

  1. Fabulous afternoon wasn’t it?! I know exactly what you mean about being a total magnet going home with that box of cakes, I’ve never in my life received so many mesmerised stares from strangers!!

  2. Rosemary Hamilton says:

    As Craig would say on “Strickly” fab-u -lous! Well done, can I have a lesson please?

  3. They look amazing. My decorating skills could do with some tweaking. Fancy giving me a lesson?

  4. Pingback: Cupcake Decoration Class | Fuss Free Flavours

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