Monday, January 28, 2013

Craftsy Class Review- Jeweled Wedding Cake

Next up in my series of video class reviews is the Jeweled Wedding Cake class, which was led by Marina Sousa. She seems to be comfortable in front of the camera, and the lesson was really thorough.

She covered the basics of cake carving and putting fondant on the carved cakes, so as far as a how-to it would be fine for someone who had never covered a cake before to watch and still be able to do this class.

The one drawback is that a lot of the things that she does in this video are dependent on using fondarific, which I've reviewed in a series here: http://reviewsbyacaketoremember.blogspot.com/2012/03/fondarific-fondant-review-part-2.html

Fondarific, if you use it and read the ingredients, is obviously a combination of fondant and modeling chocolate. That makes it slow to dry out and it stays very pliable and easy to smooth into itself. If you tried to do a lot of the techniques that she does using regular fondant it will have dried out and it won't behave the same way.

If you're not able to get fondarific, you can use the same techniques in the jeweled cake demos by using a 70/30 (or so) fondant and modeling chocolate mix. That will give you more working time with the fondant and it will make it more moldable, so to speak.

The jewels in this class relied heavily on silicone molds, so you'd have to have some of those. It also uses a lot of dragees, confectioner's glaze and luster dusts, so this isn't the cheapest design to execute that you could choose.

One thing that did bother me was the crookedness of the whole thing. She showed how she evens up the jeweled bands on the tier, but it still ended up slightly wonky. Also, the stacking technique was lacking because she used the tilt-inducing method of evening the dowels up with the cake, not with each other. There were also so many skewers inserted through the various tiers the people at the reception venue will no doubt be cursing the cake person because there is NO WAY they'll be able to take that cake apart to serve it without destroying it.

(If I delivered a cake that was constructed that way the venue would put me on their "no deliveries from that one" list just because of the aggravation of serving the cake. It was seriously ridiculous.)

Also, using melted chocolate to attach the pieces to the cake will work really well unless you have to take the cake into a hot situation. If the cake is going to be outside in the summer you might want to use royal icing instead.

So my overall review:
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Equipment You Have To Have: Luster dusts, silicone gem molds, dragees, confectioner's glaze (but you could use vodka in a pinch)
Sleep-Inducing Level:  Not too bad, I didn't fall asleep.
What it Assumes You Already Know: Not a lot, good for fondant and carving novices.
Unnecessary Difficulty of Methods Demonstrated: Not too bad.
Annoying Host Habits: She seemed to have allergies or something and there was a lot of sniffling and some nose-wiping. The dowelling segment made me want to phone her to tell her that the cake was going to end up crooked.
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: I got some tips about alternate methods of doing things but not a whole lot of "aha!" moments.
Final Verdict: Not bad, some good basic info and good demo of how to cover a cake with fondant. This is not for people who like a sharp edge on their fondant, the rounded edges will make you crazy. This design didn't ask for that kind of treatment so you didn't get that out of it. If you're a beginner at fondant it would be okay at full price, but wait for a sale if your skill level is higher than that.

(FYI- watching Craftsy classes on a PC allows you to see the questions that have been asked by other students. Mobile devices don't always show those.)

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

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