A Rose by Any Other Name Smells Just as Sweet...Unless it's a Buttercream Rose

...and then it's just tasty! Well, if you like frosting that is...which I don't (well, to be more accurate, not this kind of frosting). But they sure are pretty! I am now a very proud recent graduate from a Michael's Craft Store Cake Decorating class - I even recieved my Certificate of Merit (whatever that means) from Wilton because the class is based on Wilton's methods. I had been enthralled with a new show on the Food Network called Sugar Rush for the last several months (okay, not enthralled with Mr. Warren Brown himself, but the cakes and the sugar art - so cool), so for Christmas, my Loving Boyfriend, being the Best Boyfriend he could be, did some sneaking and calling around until he found a cake decorating class and proceeding to bestow upon me a reservation in the class and most of the supplies I needed to get started in cake decorating (maybe I should just call him Best Boyfriend from now on?).

So for the last four weeks, I have been spending my Wednesday nights baking up Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines' cake mixes (preferred for the class) and whipping up two batches of Wilton Class Buttercream frosting (read: Tub o' Shortening; EW)...so needless to say, Wednesday nights were busy and I was grumpy. But come Thursday evening, I gathered up all my supplies, trudged off with my cake, my shortening...er, frosting, I mean, and my supplies and went off to learn how to decorate cakes. The class covers pretty things like star and shell borders, two or three different kinds of flowers and leaves, figure piping, writing, and of course, my favorite: roses. Obviously, I still have much to learn, and I don't dare show you my first two cakes, because I had only 10 minutes to decorate them at the end of class each week and they are positively ugly. BUT...even though it's not perfect, I'm very proud of my third cake:

It's like ART, with FOOD. What more could I ask for? I get to use the side of my brain that sits in hibernation for 99.8% of my daily life and I get to play with food. Plus, it's a quick way to make friends - bringing in a cake every week for people to gorge themselves on has people running to your lab (or office) to have some. (Yeah, we eat in lab - don't worry, not off the floor or around the chemicals!). So, here's a big THANK YOU to the BEST BOYFRIEND EVER...and a little pat on the back for me. yay!

We are off to the land of the Gourmet Ghetto (Berkeley, CA) so I won't be posting for a few days...we've got interviews for jobs down there (well, LB does...I'm just "visiting" a lab who has graciously offered to take me in if we move there!) and are visiting friends we've known since we were in diapers (please don't picture that). Have a wonderful first of March, happy cooking and I'll be around to see what you've all been up to when I get back on Monday.


15 comments from you:

cookiecrumb said...

Holy samosa! Things you never knew about someone.

McAuliflower said...

good luck with hunting!

Those flowers are totally cute- your labmates are lucky :)

vlb5757 said...

My goodness you have done it girl. You have consumed the world's most disgusting food; shortening. Oh, but doesn't it make wonderful stuff for decorating? It used to be my job at the bakery to make the frostings for the cake room. I would make frosting in an 80 quart Hobart mixer; one recipe of white and one of chocolate. EW! I can't eat icing anymore, unless a cake passes by me...okay I still eat cake but the scrape the icing off. Your cake looks so pretty. Good luck with your trip and be safe!

MM said...

Girl, you are not a scientist! You're an artist! What beautiful blossoms ... and after just the third class no less! Well done.

Clare Eats said...

Who said science and art don't mix ;)
The cake looks beautiful :) good luck at Berkley :)

rob said...

Michelle, I share your general distaste for this kind of frosting, but your flowers do look fantastic.

Kitchen Queen said...

Your roses are gorgeous! I hope you have fun in California!

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Great job michelle! The cake looks beautiful. I am not a big fan of working with shortening at all. The buttercream frosting is even more delicious when you prepare it with butter. No question about it. Oh yes, Ghetto Gourmet is great. This is a blog where you all can read about what goes on there: http://10isgrlee.blogspot.com/

Have a good trip! Hugs,

Dawn said...

Those flowers look so good. Good job!! I haven't been by in a while, so I'll have to catch up on all of your old posts too! Good luck on your trip. I'll check with you next week.

David Nunez - BlogBurst said...

Hi Michelle,

I couldn't find a contact page on your site, but we thought your blog would be a good addition to BlogBurst.com; you'd get exposure in some large newspaper sites.

If you are interested, please contact me:
dnunez at pluck.com or 512.457.5220x238...


jessica said...

i definitely eat in lab all the time - and i haven't gotten caught by radiation safety yet.

i've been enjoying reading the blog of another geek x food person.

paz said...

What a beautiful rose decoration. I've also been interested in learning cake decoration but only made a cursory research on classes. Perhaps, I need a best boyfriend ever to bestow a class upon me. ;-) That is actually a nice and creative and smart (he reaps the benefits)gift.

Have fun in Berkley and good luck with the interviews.


MC Hungry Hippo said...


Good luck with your Bay Area visit and to LB with his interview.

Over in Eugene, you may not eat off the lab floor, but here in NYC, we've eaten off the lab floor! We'd like to pass it off as being "hardcore", but in actuality, you all are probably smarter and healthier...

michelle said...

Cookiecrumb: thanks! only a foodie could get away with saying 'holy samosa!' i love it!

McAuliflower: i try to be nice to the labmates...most days :)

Vickie: Au contrair, my dear friend! I did NOT consume the yucky shortening! I refused to eat this frosting once I saw what was in it and I always scrape it off cakes too - it's too sweet for my tastes usually and now that I know what goes into it...I just feed it to the labmates :) wow - 80 quarts...that's a lot of frosting! now I want to try playing around with different frostings to see if I can come up with something healthier, or at least tastier!

MM: aw, thank you sweet girl!

Clare: I do find I need to exercise that side of my brain sometimes so that I don't go crazy and that it doesn't just atrophy and die!

Rob: yeah, it's gross! thanks!

Kitchenqueen: Thank you, I did!

Melissa: Thanks for the link! I had a wonderful time trucking around the Ghetto, but I think that the Ferry Street Marketplace stole my heart - I'll post about it soon. I'm excited to start playing around with buttercream frosting recipes since the class is over and I don't have to use this one anymore!

Dawn: yay!! you're back! I'm so glad!! I missed you!

David: Wow - thanks! I'll check it out.

Jessica: Glad we haven't gotten caught yet (or caught cancer!)! I fear the day OSHA catches up with us. We get pretty lax around here about a lot of things - when you're around it all the time it's not as scary! What do you do? and where? Good to know I'm not the only science and food geek out there (there's actually a lot of us - we're taking over...)!

Paz: why thank you my dear! I send you good wishes for a best boyfriend ever to give you cake classes and many other food gifts (I'm still training my own :)

Hungry Hippo - I just can't do it! You're way more hardcore than I am! I thought I was tough looking at a gel and eating a cracker at the same time!!
I figure we've got to go sometime, so we might as well not go hungry!

Kat said...

Congratulations! Your cake is beautiful!