Thursday, May 31, 2012

Let's Talk Cake! with Linda Hansen

With cake decorating TV shows like Ace of Cakes, Cake Boss and Cupcake Wars on heavy rotation it's no wonder why these confectionaries are so popular. The once overlooked cupcake has risen to elite status making appearances at Broadway show premiers (Spider-Man - Turn Off the Dark) and celebrity weddings (Carrie Underwood).

Everyone wants to try their hand at cake decorating. And why not? Its fun, let's you get a little creative and the results are delicious! Linda Hansen, a certified Wilton Cake instructor, offers cake decorating classes at our Monroe store location for the novice and expert. Click HERE to see our classes for this month.

Linda and her rescue cat, Bad Baby

Linda is a well-rounded crafter; dabbling in mixed media, art quilts, knitting and crochet to name a few. She has been teaching Cake Decorating classes here at Ben Franklin since before cupcakes were "all the rage". Here's a short interview with the confectionary queen herself:


Tell us a little about yourself: Hmmm, mom of 3 teens, married to a Quilter (Scott Hansen), and yes that means we have LOTS of fabric in our house! Was born and grew up on Whidbey Island (actually took some college classes in the same building that I was born in ;0) and have always loved creating things.

Apart from creating beautiful desserts, other crafting do you do? I am also a mixed media artist who focuses primarily on art dolls. I have been in a couple of books and lots of magazines. I have a doll that is scheduled to be in the winter issue of Art Doll Quarterly. Scott and I are in a new book that has just come out: "Sewn Hats". I also bead, sew, knit, crochet, draw, paint, garden,  and herd 3 kids, 9 chickens and 1 duck (and 3 cats but they do not take direction well!)

Linda's Etsy Shop, Miss Mabel Studio

One project you are particularly proud of? I made a wedding cake for a friend's daughter(normally turn down making wedding cakes but they were doing it on a tight budget and it was my present to them.). It was a hot day and I had to transport it over railroad tracks. I was stressing out the whole time that the cake would all melt in a big mess but it stayed fine, they loved it and it tasted great too!

Favorite cake and frosting flavor combination? German Chocolate is my actual favorite but that is hard to decorate LOL--probably vanilla with a thick filling of ganache.

Tools you love to use? Right now I am really enamored with the course 4 tools. I am so impressed at how easy they made it to make the gum paste lilies and roses. It is really no-fail.

gum Paste Lily, from Wilton Course 4

Three inspirations: When I feel my creativity well run dry I go look at art books, museums, flower gardens, there are some movies that I find visually stimulating so I rewatch those, and then take out my colored pencils and draw.  Something is bound to start a spark so I always have a small journal with me to sketch out the idea or draw a quick schematic of it.  Funny thing is I get most of my best ideas when I am in the shower--paper gets wet in in there so I have to try and remember it and then write it down on a pad I have in the bathroom next to the shower stall.  Must be all the hot water stimulates my brain ;0)

Any advice for the novice cake decorator?
Good tools--in this case you do get what you pay for. Get good tools and you will get good results. And the old joke--how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice Practice Practice. Take pictures of your cakes and you will see you improvement as time goes on.


We currently offer all four Wilton Cake Decorating courses.
Read below for course descriptions. Remember, you can visit our website
for current class details or give us a call at: 360-794-6745 

Wilton Course 1: Decorating Basics
You’ll understand how to bake a great cake, see how to make and color icing and learn the best way to ice the cake. You will also practice the three fundamentals of decorating, enabling you to approach each technique the right way for great results. You’ll also learn to create icing drop flowers, rosettes, shells, pompom flowers, leaves, shaggy mums, and the ribbon rose. You’ll also decorate cookies, cupcakes … and of course cakes!

Wilton Course 2: Flowers and Cake Design
In Flowers and Cake Design, you’ll explore sophisticated ways to bring your cakes and desserts to life! Linda will teach you to create breathtaking icing flowers such as pansies, lilies and the famous Wilton Rose. Then, you’ll discover the secrets of arranging them in a beautifully balanced cake-top bouquet.

Wilton Course 3: Gum Paste and Fondant
In Gum Paste and Fondant you’ll discover the most exciting ways to decorate a cake. Linda will lead you every step of the way as you create amazing handshaped flowers, beautiful borders and bold accents using these easy-to-shape icings. As you learn each technique – an artful bow, mum, rose, carnation, calla lily, rosebud, daisy, and embellished borders – you’ll be closer to your crowning achievement: A Cake that showcases your skills.

Wilton Course 4: Advanced Gum Paste Flowers
Discover one of the most breathtaking ways to decorate a cake—with realistic-looking gum paste flowers. Linda will lead you every step of the way as you create life-like blossoms, flowers and leaves for floral arrangements that top the most beautiful cakes. You'll be amazed at the artistic quality you can achieve as you craft Gerbera daisies, briar roses, Stargazer lilies and more.

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