Did it BAKE my day? Yes!
We’ve all found ways to keep busy during the quarantine—from redecorating our spaces to starting a new business or even learning a new skill or two. Because as they say, you’re never too old to learn anything.
A little background about myself. First off, being a chef was my culinary dream, but it was something I’ve had to give up in favor of something “more practical”, as my parents would say: business. Well, Legal Management, in my case. But a few detours here and there, and I’m back with the next best thing: being both a food blogger in Fried and Prejudice and a food writer for When in Manila. And as a food writer, I take it upon myself to learn more food-related skills. This includes decorating cupcakes.
In partnership with TELUS International Philippines and M Bakery, I got to attend an online cupcake decorating class. Compared to most face-to-face classroom-type lectures, this one was a bit unconventional, since it was going to be hosted online. Nevertheless, it was a new experience, and I was excited.
TELUS International x M Bakery Cupcake Class
On the morning before the class, a kit was delivered to me—a huge bag filled with stuff that we’ll be using during the class. Inside, there were 6 freshly baked cupcakes (3 chocolate and 3 vanilla), a large sheet to place both our cupcakes and notes, an offset spatula, 6 piping tips, a pastry bag, and 4 bags of buttercream icing in different pastel colors.
The class was held over Zoom and we were taught by a representative from M Bakery how to pipe flowers—hydrangeas, a daisy, a rose, the famous Magnolia flower, little purple flowers with vines, and finally, a cupcake message that says “Happy here.” And yes, I clearly gave up trying to fit the word “here” in mine.
Before actually frosting the cupcakes, we were first given a rundown on the kinds of piping tips, along with how to properly load the bags of buttercream icing in the piping bag. The M Bakery instructor carefully guided each one of us, correcting us along the way. Although difficult since we only had to rely on verbal and visual instruction over hands-on guidance, it was still manageable, since even I, a total beginner, was able to successfully frost 4 out of 6 cupcakes.
Yes, I failed spectacularly at icing the hydrangea and rose cupcakes. But that’s okay. I could always practice and get it right the next time around.
What did I learn from the online class? A lot, aside from how to frost flower icing, of course. These include:
1. Practice Makes Perfect
As a first-timer and beginner, we’re not expected to make flawless, M Bakery-quality cupcakes. Some were born cupcake frosters, but not everyone’s lucky the first time… and really, it’s okay. There was still a lot of icing left over to practice with and since you have both the tips and the piping bag, you can easily work on it after the class.
2. The Icing Needs to Be Pliable, but Not Too Soft
Half an hour before class, we were asked to bring out the icing in order to let them thaw out. That way, they’re easier to work with when we start frosting. Not too hard, and not too soft so they still hold their form. Since we’re working with buttercream icing, which has butter, it can get too hard when left in the fridge. On the other hand, if left outside in the hot sun, it can get too soft or even spoil.
3. You Need to Be Patient
Frosting cupcakes is a careful process. Any sudden movements and you may have a splotchy mess instead of a flower. Instead of focusing on speed, focus on accuracy, and you’re guaranteed a lovely flower art on your hands. The same goes with getting it right. It’s not something you can perfect right off the bat, unless you’re naturally gifted at it, and it takes patience and practice to get it right.
4. You Need a Steady Hand
As mentioned earlier, sudden movements or squeezing the bag a little too hard will result in a mess. As someone who is naturally heavyhanded, this was a struggle. The little details were hard for me—maybe that was why I couldn’t form the rose petals properly. But with a steady hand comes certainty. Hesitating will result in shaky leaves and petals and it’s only when your piping is decisive and steady will you get a well-formed flower.
5. It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
Perfectionists such as myself struggle with the idea of delivering… well, perfection. But obsessing doesn’t produce results. Instead of focusing on the idea of perfection and not doing it, just do it to the best of your abilities. Sure, it won’t be the best you’ve made, but what matters is that it’s done. The cupcake is there—frosted with a flower icing, rather than bare. And from there, you can improve and do better.
Cupcake Icing for Startups
The beauty in having an online class like this is that it not only allows you to learn a new skill, but it helps aspiring home cooks and bakers who want to start their own business.
With the quarantine caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people have been left jobless. To survive in these hard times, the enterprising and innovative nature of Filipinos has been brought out. Thus, many startup businesses and brands have sprouted from the comfort of their homes.
“With our icing classes at M Bakery, we are helping people learn the art of designing cupcakes that will prove a useful skill if you’re a baker or homepreneur looking into catering, gender reveals or even theme parties,” said Stewart Ong, managing partner of Phil Jacobe Ventures Inc., M Bakery’s franchisee in the Philippines.
Through TELUS International Philippines, you can continue pursuing your personal interests and passions like culinary arts, fashion design, foreign languages, or complete diploma programs and short courses with various partner educational institutions. That way, you can further hone your skills and meet new people through these classes and interest groups.
“The need for work-life integration is much needed as professionals try to manage and balance their home responsibilities, personal needs, and professional obligations,” said Carlos Giammattei, Brand, Marketing and Culture Director at TELUS International Philippines. “We continue to develop programs for our team members to help them cope with the current situation, feel a sense of safety and security at work, and allow them to continue achieving the goals they set out for themselves.”
Because yes, the learning doesn’t stop, pandemic or not.
What are the online classes that you’ve attended recently? Share them with us!
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