Christmas Cupcake and Cake Pop Course – April Delights, Nottingham

christmas theme cupcakes from april delights nottingham decorating class fondant sugarpaste work

Last Sunday I spent a truly delightful afternoon over at April Delights in Bestwood (a few miles north of Nottingham city centre) taking part in a cupcake and cake pop decorating class.

I’d paid for the class about 6 months ago through groupon – the price of Ā£23 seemed like a bargain for 4 hours of cake tuition. However by the end of the afternoon I’d realised you can actually book classes directly for the same price – you live and learn!

The class was fully booked, there were about 20 of us in total, and we all had a little workspace with a mat to roll the fondant, rolling pins, and access to all the cutters, tools, colours and glitter we could need.

The owner of April Delights – Adele – spent about half an hour taking us through 3 of the more complicated cupcakes – Rudolph, Santa and the Christmas Tree. Broken down into easy steps they seemed so easy! Then we were set off on our own to try to remember how on earth she’d gone from a big ball of white fondant into these perfect looking cakes.

april delights nottingham cupcake decorating class demonstration

First up was embossing a fondant topping for the cupcakes. We used pre-made vanilla cupcakes, which had a sugar glaze to help the fondant stick. After pressing in an embossing sheet to create the pattern, it was simply a case of using a round biscuit / pastry cutter the same size as the cake to get the perfect size.

embossed fondant topped cupcakes silver wrapper sugar paste

I went for the reindeer first – on the brown base – which was largely a case of rolling and moulding brown fondant into the right shape for the head, before adding eyes, antlers and a nose also made of fondant. Sounds simple but took rather a lot of sculpting to get him right! Everything we made was stuck together with edible glue which is so easy to work with – it stays tacky for quite a while and dries clear, so was perfect for all the little details.

Next up was the Christmas tree. This was simply a brown based, topped with 6 green stars, in decreasing sizes (2 each of large, medium and small), staggered to give the branch effect. I love how simple this cake was – completely different to the Chocolate Brownie Christmas trees I’d made the week before, but equally as effective.

fondant decoration christmas tree cupcake make of stars green

fondant christmas tree cupcake soft pearl gold topper

By this time I was feeling a little more adventurous and loved having an experiment on my other cakes.

The Santa that Adele had shown us was upturned in a big pile of snowballs – but I decided to do mine as “when Santa got stuck up the chimney” – as my mum is forever getting this song stuck in her head at this time of year!

It took a bit of time to shape the chimney and mark in brick lines, but the legs themselves were quite simple. A great tip to create the look of fur (around the edge of the boots) is simply to mottle the white fondant with a cocktail stick or edge of a small tool.

For the wreath I simply used a small leaf cutter, 3 different shades of green, and finished off with a few red berries.

christmas cupcakes fondant work tree holly wreath santa got stuck in a chimney cake sugar paste

For my 5th cake I went for some classic Christmas presents – relatively simple cubes of coloured fondant, with slightly more fiddly ribbon wrapping and bows. I love the black fondant base, but it needed something more to set it off – cue some gold lustre and soft gold pearls.

Finally – and I think my favourite – igloo and penguin. For the base I added some blue gel colour to white fondant, kneading through until it had just swirled into an icy effect.

I tried a number of ways to make the igloo, and in the end settled on chopping white fondant into small blocks and building it up. It certainly wouldn’t last long in the arctic, my construction skills leave a lot to be desired!

But the star of the show – my little penguin! Again he is entirely made out of fondant – a black body, orange beak and feet, white tummy and eyes. By the time I got to the eye pupils it was getting a little fiddly, so I used the end of cocktail stick to paint these on with a little gel colour. I sat him on a blue snowflake for extra icy look.

igloo and penguin cupcake fondant snow flake swirl ice base gel colours christmas theme

christmas cupcakes wrapped presents gifts igloo penguin ice swirl reindeer fondant icing sugarpaste

As if hours of cupcake making wasn’t enough (it took me 2 1/2 hours to make 6 cupcakes – how does anyone make a living out of this!) – we also whipped up a quick set of cake pops.

Using a pre-mixed butter cream/cake combo for the balls, they shaped remarkably well and dried quickly and well-rounded in the white candy melts. Why isn’t it this easy at home! I think my lesson learned here is to have a very thick, almost dry dough to make the cake balls with. They rolled really easily without sticking to my hands, and held their shape and form on the stick perfectly.

cake pop class april delights nottingham white chocolate candy melts

We only had time for quick decoration of the cake pops – some wintry snowflakes, red love hearts, and some gold sparkly sugar.

cake pops red hearts snow flakes gold sugar

Overall I really enjoyed the course. Perhaps just because it was great to spend 4 unadulterated hours making cakes, with all the equipment on tap, or having 6 pretty cake pops and 6 cupcakes to take home, or picking up some new tips and meeting like-minded people along the way. I’d definitely consider going back and will be keeping my eye out on upcoming courses – they do large feature cake courses as well as cupcakes and basic skills.

Before I left I had a quick snoop around in the studio at some of Adele’s amazing creations – and wow!

Wedding cakes table:

april delights nottingham wedding table fondant work cake display

Willy Wonka Golden Ticket Cake:

april delights nottingham willy wonka golden ticket birthday cake fondant work

Giant Octopus – made by a colleague of Adele’s who runs airbrush courses at the same studio:

april delights nottingham airbrush cake octopus

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8 thoughts on “Christmas Cupcake and Cake Pop Course – April Delights, Nottingham

  1. they look amazing! bet you learnt loads! I did a similar course back in Feb, up in Edinburgh. It was so much fun and great to be able to use all the equipment and get to try them out. It ended up coming into it’s own when I got asked to make a wedding cake. I used everything I’d learnt to make sugar paste flowers and make characters with fondant šŸ™‚

    • In fact I’ve already used it – made some fondant santa cakes over the week, post to follow soon, and I think they’re fab personally! Think it’s largely about the confidence and just knowing that the professionals do everything as freehand – just they get a bit quicker at it over time. Would definitely like to try another course – it’s my birthday in Feb so will be on my present list!

  2. Pingback: Christmas Spiced Santa Cupcakes | bakearama

  3. Pingback: The Sound of Music Lemon Cake Pops – with Handy Hints! « bakearama

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