12 May 2014

Week 1 at Bonnie Gordon College

Last Friday 2nd May, I attended my orientation session at Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Art (BGC).

I officially began my classes this past Monday and have now completed the first week of my Diploma of Confectionary Art. The strange thing is it feels like I've been there forever!

BGC Orientation Day - Uniform, Tool Kit, Text Book & Work Folder!

Our instructor for this week has been the fabulous Julie Montgomery who is incredibly talented and knowledgable. It's incredible to be learning from such talented decorators! We kicked off Monday with health & safety and our first of many tests throughout the programme. Talk about a stressful first day!

Day 2 let us delve into 'intro to baking' where we whipped up two 'one bowl' cakes. First a chocolate cake which we later masked in Swiss Meringue Buttercream, followed by vanilla cupcakes. The baking was enjoyable, so too was learning how to make the Buttercream. We talked about the science of baking and the ingredients in terms of what they do and how they react with each other.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Masking the cake in buttercream was painful to say the least. While I have done a few buttercream cakes recently, I have never worked with Swiss Meringue, nor have I covered buttercream in fondant or had to make it perfectly smooth with sharp edges. Yikes!

Things started off well, but my perfectionist side got the better of me and the more I tried to improve on something good, the worse it got. In the end, I was the last person still trying to get my buttercream right and had to end up putting it away in the fridge to come back to another day. I'm sure most cake decorators would agree that when you're frustrated, sometimes it's just better to walk away and come back to it later.

Day 3 took us into our 'intro to decorating' - hallelujah! Something I'm good at!

First cake at BGC, practising covering in fondant, crimping and embossing

We learnt about fondant and gum paste, and how to make our own if we wanted. We practised covering dummy cakes in fondant and I am happy to say that this went much smoother than my buttercream adventures the day before. Despite the fact that I didn't have the necessary tools to get perfect 'sharp edges', and I wasn't used to the type of fondant, which is much softer than I'm used to (Bonnie Gordon brand fondant, available to purchase from the college. Very different to Bakels, but I think I like it almost as much!), my coverings were great and my edges were sharper than most.

The rest of our time over days 3-5 were spent learning decorating techniques such as crimping, embossing, ruffles, bows, and some basic flowers. Finally, we finished up our buttercream cakes by levelling the buttercream (and fixing for those which needed it, like mine - desperately!), covering in fondant (my first time at covering buttercream in fondant EVER), and decorating using techniques we'd learnt that week.

First Buttercream Cake I have EVER covered in Fondant - Yippee!

I really wanted to include as many techniques as I possibly could into my cake design, without making it too 'fussy' as I am one who likes designs to be neat and simple, yet effective. I crimped the edge, embossed a fondant ribbon around the bottom, and created a pinch rose for the top. I expanded my pinch rose out with ruffles to turn it into a sort of 'pinch-rose-ruffle-heart'!


The final technique I'd planned to use was a bow to finish off the fondant ribbon, however we quickly ran out of time. Maybe next time!

So that was Monday to Friday - you'd think after such an intensive week I would look forward to sleeping in on a Saturday, right? Well, being the nerd that I am, I decided to volunteer as a Teachers Assistant for the one day 'Intro to Decorating' class that BGC runs on weekends.

I spent another whole day reviewing everything I'd learnt over the past 3 days, plus picking up some extra tips from the amazing Sally Bratt, of House of the Rising Cake!

What a week! I am feeling so comfortable at the college, it's starting to feel like a second home already - and the smell of cookies baking from other classrooms is an added bonus!

1 comment :

  1. SO excited to follow your progress here - looks like you're in your happy place!


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