In the spirit of trying something different and learning new skills, The Pretty Poetic headed a sugar-craft class at facilitated by popular occasion cake-makers, 3D Cakes.
Try Something New
Like many other people out there, when 2017 came around I was full of enthusiasm and positive energy about creating my, “New Year Resolutions.” I love the idea of a new year and a fresh start. I always embrace the idea of resolutions but I do prefer to call them goals or targets – to me it just sounds nicer! When this time of year comes around I am happy to put low points of the year in the past and focus on anything that will make me happier, healthier, a better person, try something new or challenge me.
One of my “goals” was to try and step out of my comfort zone a little more by trying new things and learning new skills. Luckily, several of my friends and family had the same goal and so we are helping each other other in this respect. Together we have signed up for make-up masterclasses, pottery classes and organised trips away. This weekend my friend and I took part in something I had never done before: a sugar-craft class. If you aren’t sure what a sugar-craft class is then it’s where you learn how to mould icing sugar in to shapes for cake designs. This particular class was focusing on ‘3D Animals’ which to us sounded cute, quirky and fun. What else was great was the whole experience was a ‘Groupon‘ offer which gave us a two and a half hour lesson for £20 per person.
This session took place at 3D Cakes in the heart of Glasgow City Centre. This is an award winning company that create wedding and occasion cakes. If you haven’t seen any of their work you should head over to their website now and have a look – it’s amazing! The company have went from strength to strength winning countless awards including the “Scottish Wedding Cake Designer of the Year 2015” at the prestigious Vow Awards
If that wasn’t impressive enough the man behind the company. David Duncan, has also showcased his work in a summer wedding edition of Vogue, Copenhagen Fashion Week and has become one of Europe’s resounding cake designers. This has meant he has created cakes for the likes of J.K Rowling, David Beckham, Bon Jovi, Crowded House and fashion houses such as Chanel and Dior. The company have also completed work for the Royal Family: David was asked to design a Jubilee cake for HRH The Queen and also Prince William whom gifted the cake to Yao Ming (in the shape of a rhino) as a birthday gift. In the bakery studio – in Glasgow – photographs of these impressive achievements can be found on the walls.
The company now operate out of two locations – Edinburgh and Glasgow – offer cake classes and have and online cake supply site.
The Glasgow venue can be found within the “Merchant City” region of Glasgow and nestled away within the illustrious shopping mall, The Italian Centre. The Italian centre is home to many luxurious stores and brands and is a feature of stunning architecture. Designed by Page/Park Architects the space highlights the importance of integrating art with architecture. The sculpture, “Thinking of Bella,” by Shona Kinloch, for example, stands prominently in the centre of the space. This makes for a beautiful backdrop and the store itself can be found snuggled away in the corner. However, it is certainly not a place you can miss as your eyes are immediately drawn to the stunning window display which features an array of beautiful wedding and novelty cakes.
On arrival to the venue we were greeted by Sarah who checked us in and who would later be heading up our class. The waiting area is rather small allowing for four – six people to sit comfortable. However, there is plenty space to move around and whilst we waited we had the chance to peruse some of the fantastic creations produced by the company. The floral and marble wedding cakes were the epitome of elegance and grace whilst others in the form of cookie monsters, minions and hamburgers showed the company’s skills at novelty cakes as well.
Before long we headed down to a basement kitchen with various stations to work on. The space was quite small and once all fifteen of the students attending that day were inside it felt a little cramped. However, once the session got underway it was not longer as noticeable. Materials including icing and cutting tools were ready and waiting for us and before long we were positioned and ready to begin. The focus of the class was creating 3D animal figures from icing and we were given the option of being take through the process for a frog, polar bear, koala bear or rabbit. The class opted to create the polar and koala bears and so the lesson started. Whilst at some points the pace of the lesson felt a little slow, it was great to be doing something hands on, practical and a little bit different. The steps for creating the characters was very clear and Sarah provided some baking tips and tricks as she went along. If you are thinking of going along to a masterclass like this the one thing I would make sure you are aware of is the length of time you will be standing. The class was just over two and a half hours long and we were standing to work for this full time. This wasn’t a problem for me however, for my friend – who can struggle with back problems at times – it proved a little challenging. Nevertheless, it didn’t detract from the day or the fun we were having taking part.
It soon became clear that there was a real mix of people attending this class. Some were young girls with their mums for a “girls day out” whilst others were semi-professional and professional bakers there to top up on existing skills or learn new ones. I certainly wasn’t a natural at this and I soon realised how much skill and patience has to go into the process – by the end of the class I had a whole new level of admiration for their window display. However, I had fun and was really proud of what my friend and I produced in the end.
Here are a few things I have learnt about creating novelty icing animals:
- For the most part characters/figures can be created by forming cone shapes. The bodies, legs and arms all adopt this same core outline and are moulded accordingly.
- There isn’t any need to have oozes of flour on your worktop whilst kneading or shaping your icing. Movies and television shows might have us thinking that we should be doused in powder from head to toe but in fact, too much powder will dry the icing out and make the whole process much more difficult.
- If creating coloured/dyed icing wrap it up (cling-film it) as soon as you have made it; otherwise it will go hard, stale and be un-usable.
- Black dye is more pigmented than any other colour so be careful when using this kind of icing – it tints your fingers and hands and can, if you aren’t careful, dye or discolour other parts of your icing creation.
Overall, I had a lovey day out with a friend trying something new. It is certainly something I would try again – the company offer lots of classes including sugar roses and cupcake decorating. I would love one day to be a “good baker” but often don’t find the time to start. This was a great, fun way to start of the hobby and it has certainly spurred me on to want to learn more!