Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend an event put on by Canadian Tire introducing the new Cake Boss Baking Collection designed by Buddy Valastro himself, star of the hit TLC series. The collection includes everything you need to make Cake Boss-quality dessert. I love to cook and bake, but was I going to be able to learn how to make an impressive cake? I was about to find out.
As soon as I entered The Fifth Grill and Terrace, the venue for the event, I was warmly welcomed by waiters offering me sparkling water; being 8 months pregnant things were off to a good start. Individual cake stations were set up on long tables. Each station included an iced white layer cake, 3 colours of fondant icing, a set of circle cutters, a fondant cutter, ribbon cutters with 4 different ribbon heads, a fondant smoother, a fondant rolling pin and a cake turntable. I didn’t know what any of those things were but was excited to start using them and pretending I knew what I was doing.
The event was led by Gabrielle Parisi, a cake decorator at Cake Boss headquarters, Carlos Bakery in Hoboken. Gabrielle led us through the basics of fondant decorating. First and most importantly you need to sprinkle lots of cornstarch under your fondant otherwise the rolled out fondant will stick to your workspace. Wearing all black was not the best choice for this event.
Next you worked the fondant with the base of your hand, folding it, getting it warm so it became easy to work with. Rolling the fondant with the fondant rolling pin into a big circle would create what would eventually become the first layer of fondant icing on your cake. Having help from Gabrielle, I transferred the rolled out fondant onto my cake like draping a tablecloth on a dining room table. Things were going pretty well if I do say so myself.
Gabrielle then taught is to “pull and stretch,” using one hand to pull the fondant while the other hand smoothed it out. You know those beautiful wedding cakes that have perfectly smoothed out fondant on them? That is not what my cake looked like. However, my cake wasn’t a total disaster either. I managed to create a layer of smooth white fondant over my cake with only minimal cracking.
Using the circle cutters and fondant cutters Gabrielle demonstrated how to make bows and flowers with fondant. Given the fact we only had red and blue fondant to work with, and I have two little boys at home, I decided to make a cake with what seemed obvious to me given what I had to work with…Spiderman! Ignoring Gabrielle’s flower and bow lesson I used my circle cutters and fondant cutters to create a body, head, and lots of stripes. Gabrielle made me the spider for Spiderman’s chest. Gabrielle was so great at coming around and helping everyone, making each person feel important and creating a beautiful cake to take home. She could not have been friendlier and loved the fact that I decided to make a Spiderman cake.
I wouldn’t consider my cake “beautiful” but I had a lot of fun making it. Even if your life isn’t overrun with superheroes like mine, I think you would still be able to recognize Spiderman on my cake. Remember, this was my first time!
Now that I have been taught the basics I can practice at home with my Cake Boss Baking Collection tools. I highly recommend these tools to anyone remotely interested in cake and cookie decorating. As proven by me, you do not need to be an expert or have any experience to decorate using fondant. All you need is your imagination!
Thank you to Canadian Tire, Gabrielle Parisi and the team from North Strategic for a fun filled afternoon of cake decorating. My boys loved my Spiderman cake and I loved making it, even if I didn’t learn how to craft bows and flowers out of fondant!