I was lucky enough to be invited along to a special Valentine's Day cupcake decorating class at the Bath Cake Company, which has just opened its doors to a new all singing and dancing cake decorating school. Taught by company owner Celia Adams, we learnt how to make four different Valentine's Day cake toppers, including a classic sugarpaste rose which I've included as a step-by-step tutorial in another blog post here. First we made a simple layered heart topper. Celia showed us how to copy her design, then we chose our own variations and added edible pearls and different shaped embellishments. On a board dusted with plenty of icing sugar, we rolled out some red and white sugarpaste. The pink discs that we put our design on were made a few days in advance and left to dry out a little – this was a great trick as it made it easier to work on and press down onto the cupcake at the end. We used two different sized heart cutters to make a larger red and smaller white heart. It's easy enough to attach them to the disc with a dab of water, but we used edible glue. Then we used button or heart moulds (dusted with plenty of icing sugar) and pressed in a small amount of red sugarpaste to make an embellishment. You have to be careful turning them out of the moulds – even though these ones were made of bendy silicone, I still had to make a few versions before I got one that was just right! I layered all these onto my topper, then used a fine brush to add an outline of edible glue around the smaller heart. You really don't need much here, or else when you press on your pearls the glue will squish out (that's a technical term!) and show up. Add your pearls one at a time, either alternating the colours as I did or using a colour of your choice. Using a piping bag fitted with a large nozzle, we each piped a nice big splodge of buttercream into the centre. Then, when our topper was all dry and set, we pushed it gently on top. And that's the first one made – a really lovely, simple design that you can make in your own style. We did two more designs – which included some exciting experiments with lustre dust spray – then it was time to make our rose toppers. Although they look really professional at the end, they are actually fairly easy to make! I'd encourage anyone to have a go, so pop over to my step-by-step tutorial to learn how to make one yourself. Everyone finished with some truly beautiful cupcakes, so at the end we lined them up and took a photo of them all. We each got four to take home and give to our loved ones on Valentine's Day. And just to prove that they did survive the journey home and weren't scoffed on the train, here they are waiting to be admired (then eaten!) by my partner. Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Want to learn more about the Bath Cake Company? Head over to their website – they've got heaps of PME approved courses (including being able to train for the qualification yourself), and are perfectly situated in the gorgeous city of Bath. Go for a quick class or stay nearby and study for a week – there's plenty of choice and fun to be found. Celia is a great teacher who can help you no matter what your ability, as my not-too-shabby cupcakes prove!
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