Sunday, May 24, 2015

Craftsy Class Review-- The Perfect Finish: 25 Realistic Techniques

The Perfect Finish: 25 Realistic Techniques covers ways to get realistic-looking fruits and vegetables textures to use on cakes. It was taught by Amber McKenney, who owns Sweet on Cake in California, and who seems to do a lot of wine and cheese cakes.

She covers the fruit and veg textures, and also goes over how to make crackers, wine bottle cakes and the wooden-look fondant boxes for the bottles. Not much of this is new information, but the good thing about it is that she shows you have to do things using some basic tools. You won't have to go out and buy a lot of different tools to make the basic items.

The drawback to the class is that she does the coloring of the fruit and vegetables with an airbrush, so if you don't have one of those you're slightly out of luck. You can adapt the coloring to use with petals dusts or painted-on food coloring, but it won't look the same, and it will be more difficult.

She also uses a torch for the crackers, using the flame to caramelize the gumpaste. Again, is you have a torch you're fine, but if you don't you won't be able to do it this way.

The other drawback to this class was that it might not be the kind of thing that you're going to get a lot of orders for. She said that she's located in the Napa Valley, so she does a lot of wine bottle cakes with the grapes and cheese plates to go with them, but I can count on one hand the number of that type of cake I've been asked to do in the last 16 years. This is the kind of novelty decorating that people do that is cute, but isn't something that you're going to use a lot.

Having said that, you can use the techniques shown to make other things, and they might make you think of ways to do things that use common kitchen tools that you already have.

My final review:

Skill level: Beginners who own airbrushes.
Equipment you have to have: Basic gumpaste tools, airbrush, culinary torch, paintbrushes, etc.
Sleep-inducing level: Not bad at all. They kind of rush through some stuff that's repetitive, so that's actually a good thing compared to other classes I've seen.
What it assumes you already know: Basics of gumpaste.
Unnecessary Difficulty Level Of Methods Demonstrated: She warns repeatedly about gumpaste drying out really fast...She uses so much corn starch it's no wonder it dries out. I can leave my gumpaste out and it will come right back with a little crisco kneaded in, but if I was using as much corn starch as she does it would end up being dry and crusty. 
Annoying Host Habits: She talks really fast, which is okay but started to wear on me.
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: Lots of basics covered with a good number of tricks and tips thrown in.


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

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