The first impression one might have is that this is a cute, project based class. But the hidden gem here is that Ms. Gardner provides a range of lessons catering to basic skills all aspiring cake professionals must master. While not all cakes will fall into the aesthetic presented here, the base focus is on fundamentals that apply across the boards. Ms. Gardner starts at the beginning: The cake design and sketch.
Here at the shop we often make diagrams and finished sketches for cakes, not only to show the client what we intend to do, but so we have a clear idea of how it will come together from the start, and so we can adjust if it does not have the proper flow.
She even discusses having several fully worked out concepts so you, the decorator, can chose what design is best, along with a good description of using elements to create a theme and proper blocking of said elements to draw the eye.
One may notice that most of the cakes in this class are brightly colored with bold graphic elements and what we in the business refer to a “accent flowers.” While these are all very popular designs right now and important to master, these same design rules also apply to other concepts.
If you are looking for an all inclusive class that will give you a little of everything, again Ms. Gardner delivers. She covers several vital design elements: Stripes and Graphic elements, metallics, and dots. I do take exception with some of her methods. I have seen people turn cakes upside down before to decorate and rarely see what benefit it has, likewise adding surface details like stripes before stacking the cake (so easy to destroy hours of work) have always seemed counterintuitive. But each decorator has their own approach and the novice will have to keep an open mind when practicing some of these methods. If it's not working for you, adapt.
I try to find now new skill or idea in every one of these classes I review. Here it was hands-down the use of "confetti" as a technique. And not just as a children's party element, no! These are fashion inspired designs! My favorite was the shavings which created really interesting asymmetric textures on the tier. But even the boxed sprinkles are used to great effect!
While the serious sugar artist might want to go right to advanced flowers like the Nicolas Lodge classes provided by Craftsy (reviewed here), I think it's important to know that you do not, actually have to go through such an extensive process to make flowers for a cake, especially if photo realistic flowers is not part of your aesthetic. Ms. Gardner’s flowers are simple enough for the intermediate student who has done little or no floral work yet sophisticated enough to make their way onto a whimsical wedding cake. The cakes here are presented as glamorous party cakes and the flowers suit them perfectly.
The flowers are a nice range from peonies, ranunculus and dahlias to filler such as leaves and billy balls. There is a nice section on making the most of your floral elements through placement, an invaluable skill for sure! I'm a great proponent of learning proper flower arranging as even the best flowers are lost in a design if not used well.
Ms. Gardner explains each topic in a pleasant, easy to follow manner, throwing in some real charm for good measure. An excellent, all around cake decorating class that gives the student the option to try a full range of subjects rather than purchasing classes that focus on only one area. And of course, you can also take the class just to make the cute cakes featured (though there is so much more here than a cookie cutter project class!).
So, let's go make some cakes!
Does Cakes in Full Bloom sound right for you? Purchase it here for 25% Off! Not ready to purchase? Then we recommend starting with one of Craftsy's free mini cake decorating classes!
Craftsy Class: Cakes in Full Bloom
Skill Level: Beginner/ Intermediate
"Must Have" Tools for Craftsy Class
- Ball Tool
- gum paste
- Luster Dust
- petal dust
- Piping Gel
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Anna is a classically trained sculptor and illustrator who started her career in cake decorating with Ron Ben Israel in 2000. Since then she has worked for a number of well known cake studios in the New York area doing complex sugar work and design. Her specialties include freehand painting,...