Monday, August 12, 2013

Craftsy Class Review: Designer Fondant Textures

This class is a very basic-to-intermediate review of different ways to add texture and pattern to fondant cakes. I say fondant because once again, pattern on buttercream is ignored and fondant is used for everything, sob sob! I would like to see some more buttercream classes, but if you haven't, take the piping basics one. People need to learn to use buttercream.

Marina Sousa taught this class, which goes over six different textures, including sequins, ruching, zebra prints, geometrics, ruffles and fringe. The problem is that some of these techniques need some special equipment that you might not have, including a kitchenaid pasta roller and those new onlay mats that everyone is trying to sell. 

For most of the techniques there's an alternate method given, but it's obvious that they're working with a couple of companies to try to sell their products. I hadn't seen the onlay mats in action, but I'll be willing to say that in the time it took her to get it ready I could have cut the shapes out and attached them to the cake without using the mat itself. I also could have attached the shapes to a buttercream cake, which might not work as well with the mats based on the pressure that you have to apply to the surface to get them to stick.

They also show the designer pattern sheets, or whatever they're called, on a couple of cakes. If you have to take a class to figure out how to stick one of those on a cake just stop right now. I'll safely say that you can skip that section entirely and move on to the things that actually require a modicum of skill without missing a beat.

The section on ruffles is kind of a hot mess. The section on sequins has some interesting stuff about gelatin in it, which I haven't used but would probably try if the mood struck me. The section on ruching doesn't really show you how to do ruching at all, since she's using the term incorrectly. But it will show you how to draw some draping marks on a cake.

Back to the buttercream issue, too. She says that that kind of technique requires fondant or modeling chocolate, but you can do draping and folds on buttercream if you know what you're doing. It's harder than doing it on fondant, so of course people won't want to do it, but it can be done.

So here's my final review:
Skill Level: Beginner
Equipment You Have To Have: A lot, if you want to do every method the way that she does them. There are alternate ways to do these things, but there are sections of this class that are basically commercials for a couple of products.
Sleep-Inducing Level: Not bad but it's a short class.
What It Assumes You Already Know: Nothing.
Unnecessary Difficulty Level Of Methods Demonstrated: It was all pretty straightforward.
Annoying Host Habits: She kind of hesitates when she talks like she's weighing every word before saying it. The cakes that she makes during class also aren't the most "neat" in terms of being symmetrical with the patterns, so that kind of irks me. If I'm paying for a class I want to see a neat result, even though I know it's a pain to do this kind of decorating on camera without time to neaten things up.
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: Fairly basic stuff, and the techniques are pretty specific to one or two effects.

I'd say that this class would be best for a beginner or someone who just wants to learn a few different ways to go beyond a flat design on their cakes. You might pick up a new technique or see a different way to do something, so it's worth it for a sale price.

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 and


Jess Reynolds said...

This review came in the nick of time. I'd already placed the class in my wish list because I wasn't quite sure if the class was for me so felt hesitant. Then your post came along in my mail box whcih directed me here and I read your comments about the class. Thanks for your review. This class is no longer in my wish list :) Have a great day.

Loving Traditions Cakery LLC said...

I love your blogs; you tell it like it is; which is the way I do things as well.
Is there a way you could do a tutorial on draping fondant pieces on buttercream? I have done it a couple of times; but could use some insight.
Thank you so much,

Kara Buntin said...

I can absolutely do that. I was going ot do some youtube videos this week and next week, and that's something that would be good for an action tutorial.

Nea Iacofano said...

Wish I had read this paying for the class ! :(
It is kinda silly...
Well, when I win the kitchenaid on the giveaway I'll forget about the money I wasted :)

Katrina said...

Your reviews are a great public service. I'm addicted to Craftsy and have spent money on classes I wish I hadn't. Like Jess I had this in my wishlist, but think I'll take it off for now.

I particularly don't like how short some of the classes are. It seems like what you get for the same $ varies greatly from class to class.

Lassiesaves said...

This is so helpful when you're deciding to buy a class or not.

I've heard good things about Pretty Witty Cakes, do you think you could do a review of them too?

Kara Buntin said...

I had never heard of Pretty Witty cakes,but the monthly fee is low enough that it would be worth tying out. I'd say that if you pay for a month and watch everything they have on there in a rabid frenzy you'll get your money's worth! ;)