For my mom’s birthday this year, I decided to treat her to a cake decorating class. My mom, the avid cook and baker, loves learning new skills to try in the kitchen. I found a great deal on Groupon for a class at Carlo’s Bakery in NJ and even got an additional $10 cash back because I purchased it through the free Ibotta app.
I knew of the pristine reputation of Carlo’s Bakery from the TLC show Cake Boss and from friends and family who had previously purchased desserts at one of its locations. So I thought, if I am going to treat my mom to a cake decorating class, we might as well learn from the best!
When we arrived at the class, we learned that the class was the first of its type. Previously, the bakery had offered fondant cake decorating classes, but this was to be the first class using buttercream.
The class instructor was enthusiastic and funny. She first showed us how to color the six pounds of buttercream we each got to work with and prepare our piping bags (don’t forget to put the tip in first! She joked reminding us of a time she herself forgot). Specifically we were learning to make an ombre rosette cake. I chose to use shades of pink, whereas my mom chose to do her own thing and use only white buttercream for her entire cake. It was nice in this way that the class could easily cater to everyone’s creative tastes.
We started making our lightest color first, bagged 1/3 of the mixture, made our medium color second and bagged half of what was left and finally mixed our darkest color. We then proceeded to bag all of the remaining buttercream and use a bowl scraper to make sure we didn’t waste a bit!
The instructor made it look so easy to build the four layer cake. With the gigantic piping bag twisted and held by her underarm, she used one hand to squeeze out an impeccable line of icing and the other to spin her cake stand. Connecting the bottom two layers of the cake were the darkest color and we worked our way to the lightest color between the top two layers. Next, we used the darkest color to put a “dirty” layer of icing on the cake. We marked the goal height of each rosette row with our bench scrapers and then we started the rosettes!
The rosettes were by no means easy. My mom and I actually teamed up and one of us spun the cake stand so that we could use two hands to try to make the rosettes. Again we started with our darkest color and worked our way to the lightest. I chose to top my cake with light pink rosettes, but the gentleman decorating next to me chose to make a pattern of rosettes using all three of his icing colors.
And just like that we had iced our first buttercream rosette cake. The hour and a half seemed to fly by. We took some photos of our finished cakes and boxed them up in Carlo’s bakery boxes and transported the decorated cakes home to excitedly show our families!
I really liked the class and so did my mom (it was really one of my best birthday gift ideas). I would highly recommend it. We did purchase the class at a discount, but the retail price of the class was $100 a person, which honestly seems a little steep for the experience.
The classroom was very tight. Twelve people attended the class, but we had to store our buttercream bowls on our chairs or a bench on the side to have enough room to decorate our cakes. We were so close together that I somehow ended up with blue icing on me that the person next to me was using. I’d hope in the future they would cut down the class size or get bigger tables. Given the price tag, I was also a little shocked that they did not have enough large bowls for everyone in the class and that two of us had to reuse our peers’ bowls when they were finished mixing their buttercream.
I also would have really liked to learn more about buttercream in general. It would be helpful to know the consistency and tips for making or buying buttercream so that we could be successful in replicating the skills we learned in class.
It was very cool that we were able to take our finished cakes home though and keep our aprons as a souvenir.
Overall, my mom and I both loved the class and are looking forward to using our new skills for upcoming birthdays and other special occasions. This time however, I will not wear a white shirt and hold a twisted bag of bright pink buttercream under my arm while decorating. I’ll stick to dark clothing.
My dad and my husband were very fond of how delicious the two cakes we brought home from the class were.
Next I am hoping to take one of their fondant classes.