Decorators get some sweet advice

A SMALL group of enthusiastic novice cake decorators got their first glimpse of the cake decorating world on Saturday.

The Tweed Valley Branch of the Cake Decorators Association of New South Wales began its special Christmas cake course for beginners on Saturday. The course will continue over the next six weeks.

Pat MacRae, who has been decorating cakes since 1967, is happy to share her knowledge at the course, which is the first of its kind run by the Tweed association.

It takes hours to decorate a good cake, and for Mrs MacRae the pleasure comes when it sits at the middle of a table at a party.

“You do it for the pleasure of the people at the party and the pleasure of the people who ask for the cake - they know you care enough about them to go to all that effort,” she said.

Mrs MacRae knows the feeling, as she remembers the moment when the president of the Tweed Valley association made her a birthday cake.

“There is no doubt if you have had a cake specially made for you, you feel very special.”

Christmas cake had its own special style of decoration, Mrs MacRae said.

“Everyone knows the difference between a wedding cake and a Christmas cake. A wedding cake is romantic, while a Christmas cake is jolly or religious.”

Learners at the course will cover the cake in almond paste before the fondant icing is laid over the top. It is coloured and decorated in a traditional Christmas way.

“These six weeks are just an introduction and a small look into the world of cake decorating,” Mrs MacRae said.

After years of decorating, Mrs MacRae has created many cakes, to the delight of her husband.

She learned how to decorate at Carlingford in Sydney, but modestly says her talents aren't championship-winning material.

Men usually preferred humorous novelty cakes, while women liked pretty floral designs, Mrs MacRae said.

“It does take practice, but it's an old thing like riding a bike - once you know the skills you don't forget.”

Participants at the course get a membership to the club, which meets once every two months for a demonstration of new decorating techniques.

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