Monday, March 11, 2013

Cupcake decorating / the best Groupon ever

How was your weekend? The weather is changing very quickly here in Joburg, from summer to autumn, which provided a lovely blend of sun and cool breeze this weekend (and at the moment: a dreary mix of clouds, mist, and cold). And the husband and I went on a date to a new, Thai restaurant (new to us) in Nelson Mandela Square and had such a wonderful time. We needed a catch-up.

Really cool lanterns hanging from the ceiling of Wangthai.

I promised a post on a cupcake decorating class last week and I did not deliver. My apologies. But here it is! :)

Two weekends ago, myself and three friends used a Groupon, purchased long ago, for a cupcake decorating class. The plan was to do a mother-daughter excursion when my mom was in town for our wedding, but things were just too busy. So, I took my mother-in-law along. :) We were all excited about the class but also had no idea what to expect. Well, six cupcakes and almost four hours later, I have to say: this was arguably the best Groupon I have ever bought.

The Johannesburg Culinary & Pastry School is an absolute delight and gives you a true culinary education and experience. The school, owned and run by Kelvin and Jarlyne Joel, provides group courses, couples classes, and exquisite cooking experiences that are fun, practical, and delicious! Our cupcake class, although we reviewed the red-velvet cupcake recipe that was used, focused on decorating. We learned techniques for frosting, sugar details, and chocolate shaping that I can totally do at home! The ingredients aren't exotic or expensive. The techniques take practice, but can be strongly acquired after not much time. Kelvin taught our class - it was an interactive, friendly, and enlightening experience. Also, The JCP School is ANOTHER cool part of town! Who knew downtown Johannesburg was so rapidly chaning?!

Really, I could keep raving, but just look at the pictures or sign up for a class yourself!

Bon appetit!

The JCP School kitchen.

The school also serves cookies and cappuccinos to munch on, while you watch a class or read cooking books.

Nicole and I making red-velvet cupcakes. Kelvin, our chef/instructor, said he first learned of red-velvet cupcakes while working at Hyatt in America. He had never seen them before that; so, he was quite interested to hear what I thought of his recipe - it was great! :) 

Second mom, Michelle, and my mom-in-law, Charmaine.

Kelvin showing us how to create chocolate garnishes. Here, he mixed white and milk chocolate and spread it finely on parchment paper, then left it to harden.

Abstract shapes.

Of course, we had to taste a piece - or two. 

Perfect red-velvet cupcakes!

More chocolate garnishes. Here, Kelvin uses a tool to create squiggles in the chocolate before it dries. Then, when it does dry, you've got chocolate snake-like garnishes. (It's very cool - see cupcake below.)

He also showed us that if you add a certain type of baking "dust", you can add color to your chocolate. Upon letting it dry, you get a matte and a gloss look to the chocolate.

Ok, I don't know what you call this technique, but it's so cool and you end up with the extremely sweet, fishing-line-thin, caramel ball you see at the bottom. 

Three of the cupcakes I decorated. The techniques we learned can give you pretty abstract designs, but I think with more practice, I could create something...well, not so abstract. :)

My cupcakes. :) You must go!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Talk to me. :)