Learning to cook
When I first started out in adulthood, I didn’t know much about cooking, and certainly knew nothing about baking. I had a family to feed, so I needed to at least figure out the cooking part so we weren’t living on fast food french fries and nuggets. There were many trials, and many errors, but there were also quite a few successes. After a few years, I had a pretty good arsenal of edible meals that I was able to recycle week to week.
Why I wanted to bake
Then came the kids. I have two Daughter’s from my first marriage, and a son from my current marriage. When my oldest Daughter turned school-aged, I decided to get a handle on the baking side of things. I wanted to be that Mom that brought in beautifully decorated cupcakes on Birthday’s; to be the Mom that supplied beautiful cake, cookies, and other desserts for bake sales held by the PTA; to bake adorable goodies for teacher gifts for the Holidays and Teacher Appreciation Week.
Learning to decorate cakes
I heard about cake decorating classes that Michael’s craft stores offered, so I decided to give that a try. I started with the beginners class and learned a lot of basic decorating skills. With that knowledge, I began making cakes that were covered in star tips, with an occasional rose thrown in to show off my awesome new skills. I had a few friends that asked for some star tipped cakes, and I began an obsession with looking for Wilton character pans so I can make even more star-tipped cakes. Then it happened…a friend asked for a race car cake that was three dimensional. The design was for the Lowe’s sponsored stock car, which at the time, was driven by Jimmie Johnson, the favorite of my friend’s Husband.
Why I prefer cookies to cakes
I’m a perfectionist at heart, especially when it’s regarding items I’ve created. Have you seen a Nascar stock car? Have you noticed the sponsor logos they have on the cars, like STP, USG, etc? This is where I clearly lost my mind, because I was trying to miniaturize as many as I could to give it that realistic look. I wish I could remember the details of the cake, but this was more than 12 years ago. I remember doing many of the sponsor logos, but got wore out and eventually gave up on doing all of them. That cake took me roughly 8 hours to bake and design. Eight. Whole. Hours. The time it took me to complete the cake, changed my outlook on wanting to bake at all.
Decorating sugar cookies
Then I got to thinking…What if I took the design concepts I learned from the cake decorating class, and applied them on a smaller scale? I found a recipe for royal icing in a Wilton magazine, used to decorate sugar cookies. Of course, it wasn’t easy as I thought it would be, and like everything else in life, it was a learning process. That was back in roughly 2005. My very first attempt at decorated sugar cookies was pink hearts for Valentine’s Day. Nothing fancy at all, just pink royal icing on a sugar cookie. The consistency was off and it was chunkier than it should have been and not very smooth. At that point, I knew nothing of scribe tools, or timing the consistency of the icing viscosity in seconds. Photographing my finished creations was an issue I needed to address as well.
My first ever decorated sugar cookies
Perseverance has paid off. I had to start somewhere, and from that moment until now, I’ve grown my skills, perfected my sugar cookie and icing recipes, and also learned how to take better photos. I still continue to grow, and I still learn new things everyday about creating a beautiful sugar cookie. The process can be challenging, but I love everything about it…except perhaps the dishes.