So, last night we tested the principle of a ‘Bake Club’ – think book club without the book!

The idea is for a small group of people to get together once a month to learn (or practise if you can already do it) a new skill with regard to all things bakey!

We started simply piping buttercream roses onto cupcakes, but tried it 2 different ways.

  • With an open star nozzle
  • With a ‘petal’ nozzle (we used a 104)

What did we learn?

Filling a piping bag

  • Filling a piping bag is sooooo much easier if you first put your buttercream onto a piece of clingfilm. Wrap it up like a sausage and trim the excess film from one end.
  • Insert your adaptor/nozzle into the bag as normal and then pop in the buttercream sausage, with the trimmed end towards the nozzle.
  • Squeeze gently until the buttercream appears in the nozzle.

When you have used all the buttercream, you can simply remove the clingfilm, and the back is clean enough to re-use straight away!

Forget all this folding the bag over a glass and filling it malarkey – I have never been able to do it cleanly! The clingfilm keeps your bag cleaner, so you can get a better grip, thus making it easier to pipe!

Buttercream consistency

This is really important. To get nice sharp edges, you need a fairly stiff consistency. Too soft, and the structures will not hold their shape, but too firm and it is REALLY difficult to pipe!

Practise makes perfect (well, much better than when we started!)

We started piping roses with an open star nozzle onto a piece of greaseproof paper, ‘tacked’ to a chopping board with a bit of buttercream. The first few were not so good! But they improved as we grew in confidence. Once we knew where to start piping and how much pressure to apply, they got a lot better, and then we went for the top of the cupcake!

Flat cakes make easier piping!

Fiona had very kindly made the cupcakes, and trimmed them to ensure lovely flat tops (She even crumb coated them!

I’ve started baking at a lot lower temperature (140oC Fan) for slightly longer and found this helps to give you a flat top. There are lots of other ideas which I will share at a later date………

Piping the petal roses was a bit more taxing………we used flower nails for the first time! Consistency of the buttercream was crucial on these – at first it was too firm and we could not pipe, but as it warmed up in our hands, it became too soft to retain any structure. I personally think it would be best to do these in 2 stages – the central ‘cone’ first, then chill it and add the petals later.

Good Nozzles are important!

We tried both a plastic and a metal nozzle – the metal won hands down!

In addition to taking some cake home……..we also had a really good chat, and considering we did not know each other that well at the start of the evening, we do now!

And that’s really what this is all about – like minded cakey people getting together for a natter and aiming to learn or teach a new skill.

Next month is all about Royal Icing and cookies – it could get messy…….maybe we need some carpet protectors………….

If you are interested in coming along please following the link, and pop me your details so I can be in touch and give you some more information – and I PROMISE, I will not bombard you with lots of emails!