Cake decorating day at the Natural Gourmet Institute.
I don’t even know where to begin.
I guess at the beginning?
This morning, I headed to school absolutely stoked. I love cake. I love frosting. I love combining the two with OCD attention to detail. I got my decorating kit, headed into the kitchen and pulled the almond torte and vegan chocolate fudge frosting I’d made on Thursday out of the fridge.
Ready to go!
The class started with a demonstration, in which the chef showed us the proper decorating procedures on a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
She showed us how to level and torte a cake (cutting it in half through the middle to create two layers), how to properly smear on the filling, how to smooth the outside for a pretty finish, and how to pipe frosting.
It was like Christmas morning for me. After she’d shown us her skills, we got to try the carrot cake. I wasn’t sold on the cake part (it tasted “healthy” to me, and while I love healthy foods, there is no room for health in my baked foods), but the cream cheese frosting was amazing and the walnuts she’d edged it in added a nice taste, as well.
Then, we got to work on our own creations!
Like I mentioned, the cake I was working with was a flourless almond torte made with ground almonds, maple syrup and lots of eggs. The frosting I was working with was vegan and contained almond butter, cococa powder and maple syrup. It tasted absolutely divine, but I soon discovered that it was a little…runny.
Really runny. Runny enough to run that top layer right off my cake.
I finished frosting and popped it in the fridge in the hopes that it would stiffen up enough to add some pretty piping. No such luck. Even chilled, the maple syrup content in the frosting made it more of a ganache than a frosting. Working quickly, I added some slivered almonds to the sides and fresh raspberries to the top before they could slide off.
I was kind of bummed that I didn’t get to practice my piping skills on the cake, but taste-wise, it was freaking amazing.
Very almond-y in a good way, but also with an incredibly rich taste from the fat-heavy frosting.
Since my lack of formal decorating meant I was done before everyone else, I got to watch them all in action. It turns out there are some very talented cake decorators in my class…
This was a carob cake with a thick carob frosting and a coconut cream filling. I definitely prefer chocolate to carob, but this cake was one of my favorites just because it was decorated so beautifully. And on her first attempt at cake decorating? Skills much?
This gorgeous creation was a fruit cake that somehow stayed super moist- it was one of my favorite cakes overall. It was covered in cream cheese frosting made with maple crystals, then edged with walnuts and tofu cream frosting and finished with supremed oranges and edible flowers.
The filling had some kind of fruit preserve, though unfortunately I don’t remember which kind! I adored the frosting on it, of course.
This was a vegan lemon cake with lemon-tofu frosting, decorated with some of the chocolate frosting I made and fresh blueberries. Pretty, right?
I loved how clean and modern it looked. Almost everyone added a lot of elements to their cakes, and this one looked so polished and elegant in contrast.
Of course, someone had to make a regular chocolate cake!
This was one of my favorites of the day, and I thought the decorations were beautiful, too. It was filled with buttercream and topped with chocolate tofu cream before being edged in nuts and decorated with strawberries and more buttercream.
Love this photo.
Here we have good old vegan vanilla cake, covered in carob frosting and edged with toasted coconut.
I loved how she took our garnishing skills to use and made some pretty sliced strawberries to top it, too!
The inside of this was gorgeous to cut into, too- coconut cream with fresh strawberries. Yum.
This lemon cake was my favorite alongside the chocolate cake. It was coated with nut butter frosting, as well as a mixture of the buttercream and cream cheese frostings, then covered in slivered almonds.
I thought it looked so fluffy and cloud-like, and for some reason it reminded me of Christmas.
I really liked the look of this genoise cake with coconut ganache frosting. It reminded me of the special-order cakes I used to salivate over in the Williams-Sonoma catalog.
Cutting into it looked like that, too, with four individual layers alternated with coconut cream and more coconut ganache.
My station was across the table from this ginger cake coated in Grand Marnier buttercream, so I knew just how much effort went into it.
All that fruit seemed almost painstaking to put on so perfectly, and I have a new respect for any baked good with basket-weave frosting.
The cake itself was amazing, too.
It tasted like one of the least “healthy” ones there, which, when it comes to cakes, is always a good thing. The ginger + buttercream were perfection.
We didn’t cut into this cake, so I’m not sure what was in it, but I know that it was covered in tofu chocolate cream.
Chocolate + strawberries + nuts = good in my book.
And finally, the last cake- a gorgeous pineapple one, topped with cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with coconut flakes, edged in pecans and topped with dehydrated pineapple slices.
This was the last one I tried, so I was kind of sick of cake by that point, but I still loved the sweet, fruity flavor of the pineapple. And how pretty was her presentation?
I swore I wouldn’t want cake for a month after this, but looking at these pictures again is kind of making me crave it…