Monday, May 20, 2013

Craftsy Class Review: Advanced Fondant Techniques

This Craftsy class addresses some "advanced fondant techniques," or basic ones, depending on what you've done before. Like most Craftsy classes, this is more of a beginner to intermediate course so don't let the "advanced" description fool you, it's better for beginners. It also seems to repeat a lot of information in other classes, so if you've taken the Colette Peters fondant class you'll have seen a lot of this already.

Marina Sousa teaches this class, and the first 26 minutes consists of her introducing herself, talking about what brands of fondant she uses, what materials you need to work with fondant, and how to add food coloring to fondant.

In the first section she demonstrated how to cover a cake using a rolled piece of fondant and a lid. (And the thanks that she got for that was someone posting a complaint that she didn't properly explain how to calculate circumference. I swear, I hope they pay these instructors a lot because if I had to answer some of the questions that people post I'd go nuts.) She then showed how to use the advanced techniques of hand painting swirls on the cake and use a clay extruder to make an advanced rope border. Then she painted that. Oh, and the advanced technique of how to stick a dragee onto the cake with royal icing.

The second section was actually something that I'd consider advanced-ish, which was stencilling. However, she did it using panels of fondant and a square dummy, so she was able to mess with the stencils on the counter, not on the cake itself. The advice that she gave was that you can use the same technique on round cakes, but I think that it would have been more advanced to show how to apply a stencil using icing to the sides of a round cake that was already covered.

The next lesson showed the advanced techniques of covering a 2" dummy with fondarific, which is what she uses a lot in this lesson, if I'm not mistaken. She said at the beginning that she likes Satin Ice and Fondarific, but keep in mind that Fondarific has modelling chocolate in it so it's stretchier and easier to blend seams etc. There were a few times that I took note of the fact that regular fondant wouldn't behave the way that the stuff she was using would.

So she showed how to cover a 2" square with fondant, then demonstrated the super-advanced technique of cutting out fondant circles and sticking them to the dummy. Are you kidding me?

But wait, don't answer that until you go on to the next advanced lesson...How to cut out stripes and put them on a larger sheet of fondant, then press them out with a rolling pin to flatten them all out. This technique was a very impatient version of the modelling chocolate stripe-wrapped cakes, and the impatient part results in a wigglier version of stripes.

She stops at one point and says that if you want to get things perfectly straight you can actually try, but that she's just doing this fast. So it's not perfectly straight, which is not very advanced. The final cake looks extremely wonky because the stripes aren't even, and she keeps mentioning it so I know that she knows it looks less than excellent.

The following section deals with the advanced technique of cutting out lace pieces then sticking them to the cake and piping over them.

After that we move along to how to make some advanced bow loops, curlicues and ribbon roses. Then you learn the advanced technique of sticking fondant into a button mold to make buttons! Wowza, I wouldn't be able to figure that out on my own!

The last section is 55 minutes of showing you how to stack and decorate the dummy tiers that she was working on in the previous sections.

So you may be able to surmise that I was not a fan of the title of this class since it was pretty much false advertising. I'd rename it something like "decorating techniques with fondant" or some such thing. If you're a relative beginner to fondant and you want to learn some techniques to decorate cakes then go ahead and watch this class. If, on the other hand, you're more experienced and you already know how to make a bow loop and stick circles on a cake you might want to skip this entirely.

My final review:
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate, but mostly for fondant beginners.
Equipment You Have To Have: Cutters, stencils, paintbrushes, etc. Check the materials list, there's a lot involved in this class.
Sleep-Inducing Level: I'm tired anyway but I stayed awake. I skipped ahead a lot because I didn't need to watch her press cookie cutters into the side of a dummy cake.
What It Assumes You Already Know: Not a whole lot...
Unnecessary Difficulty Level Of Methods Demonstrated: Not much, this was pretty straighforward and lacked advanced-ness.
Annoying Host Habits: She was doing a lot of sniffling during a couple of sections, which made me think that she recorded this at the same time as the other class she sniffled through, Other than that she did the "um..." thing a lot but not much else to note.
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: Pfffft....That would depend on your skill level. For me, not a thing, but if you've never decorated a fondant cake before you'll be able to pick some things up. There's nothing advanced about this class, but if you need some decorating basics go for it.


Click here for my Craftsy pattern shop, which has a bunch of freebies in it: A Cake To Remember On Craftsy


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

2 comments:

k parker said...

Kara, I agree with your review. I wish that Craftsy calls you to teach decorating classes for cake and business aspects on it. I would sign up in a minute!

From California,
K

Melinda said...

Wish I had read your review before taking the class! You hit the nail right on the head. :)