Friday, June 29, 2012

Craftsy Rocks! Class Review Part 2: Topsy Turvy Cake Construction

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This is Part 2 of a little series of posts I am doing on the cake decorating classes currently offered on Craftsy.  Currently there are 4 and I have take all of them!  If you missed my last post, I reviewed the first class I took, Handcrafted Sugar Flowers with Jacqueline Butlter, as well as gave a little overview of how the Craftsy platform works and how great I think it is!  So, on to the second class I took on Craftsy!

Topsy Turvy Cake Construction with Richard Ruskell

I was so excited to hear about this next Craftsy cake decorating course!  I love the whimsical look of topsy turvy cake designs.  My son's first birthday cake was a topsy turvy...  The little cake I designed for my business logo is a topsy turvy!  I know how to make a topsy turvy cake... BUT in this class you learn how to make an "extreme- looks like it's gonna fall over" cake!  I've been interested in learning about more complicated cake construction so that is why I signed up for this class.

First of all, Richard Ruskell is an excellent instructor!  He is very compelling and explains things in a way that even "cake novices" might feel brave enough to attempt this construction.  In the course materials for this class, Richard provides "Instructions" which include recipes for vanilla buttercream (looks to be an Italian meringue buttercream) and chocolate cake, as well as the equation (yes, some math needed for this one) and sketch necessary to build this leaning cake.  Also provided, is the complete list of supplies needed.

I feel like the course was "complete", in that it goes over the supplies and shows how to build the cake, from board preparation, covering with fondant, constructing and embellishing.  Richard is delightful to listen to and has some beautiful cake examples to show.  And if you follow his method, you should be able to attempt one of your own by the end of the class.  However, I personally did not care for the actual design of his finished example cake. But if you are new to cake design the simple cut-outs applied would be fairly easy to pull off.

All in all, I guess I have mixed feelings about this class... I definitely don't regret spending the money on it (I was able to purchase this class at a discount as well because of an email offer).  And I definitely gained the knowledge and confidence to attempt the "extra topsy, not so much turvy" cake.. as soon as I have an occasion to try!  As a cake designer though, I wish he had attempted a more complex, more appealing design... He has a white cake with flowers and some beautiful mold detailing that I would have rather seen... even minus the flowers.  But that, I think, is a rather minor problem because I also would rather not try to replicate another designers creation exactly.  I think in my opinion this class would appeal best to novice-intermediate cake decorators...  You would gain a lot if you were a newbie, and even if you have some experience you will learn a bit about more complex cake construction.  Perhaps even feel courageous enough to dip your toe into "extreme cake construction" after this class... 

The verdict: If you look at the class for it's intended purpose- to teach you how to build this extreme topsy turvy cake, then I think the course succeeded and for that I give it a thumbs up!

Having won Food Network Challenge more than any other cake designer, and being named to both the 10 Best Pastry Chefs in America list and the 10 Best Cake Artists list, Richard Ruskell is certainly a master at his craft!  Check out his website,, to find out more about him and his work (and find some yummy recipes!).
There are new classes being offered on Craftsy all the time!  Some of my favorites are:
In addition to their wonderfully produced online classes, Craftsy also offers some great free resources!
In my next post I will share my review of Modern Piping with Joshua John Russell...

Happy Caking :)

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