Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Craftsy Rocks! Class Review Part 4: Advanced Fondant Techniques

This is Part 4 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 posts, I reviewed the first class I took, Handcrafted Sugar Flowers with Jacqueline Butlter, the second class I took, Topsy Turvy Cake Construction with Richard Ruskell, and the third class I took, Modern Piping with Joshua John Russell.  In this review I will focus on the final class I've taken of the 4 available so far...

Advanced Fondant Techniques with Marina Sousa

Online Cake Decorating Class
Everything I have learned about working with fondant I have taught myself.  Not because I didn't want to take a class but because I felt that I was already beyond what the Wilton classes would offer and the more complex classes are usually to far for me to travel too (especially with a clingy 2 year old at home!).  So when I saw that Marina Sousa (an amazingly talented and hugely known cake artist) had created this "Advanced Fondant" class, I jumped at the chance to take it (at a discount!  Seriously, if you keep an eye out you almost NEVER have to pay full price for a Craftsy course!).

The "Class Materials" for this course include a pdf for "Supplies & Resources." In it, you will find a cake sketch, a supply list for the course, as well as supplies broken down by "section" and a list of online resources so you know where to buy your supplies.  One of the things I found most useful in the Supplies & Resources guide was that Marina calculates how much fondant you need for each part of the class, so you aren't left guessing about what and how much to buy!

In the class Marina demonstrates 5 different cakes, each using a different decorating technique: hand painting, stenciled embossing, applied design, inlaid technique and lace technique.  She also demonstrates how to make different embellishments including bows, multi-loop bows, a couple different flowers, ribbons and pearls.  In the different decorating techniques, you will learn several different methods for covering your cake; enrobing, wrapping, and paneling.  I've never tried wrapping or paneling a cake so these were techniques I was excited to see demonstrated.

I think my favorite of the techniques shown (though all are great) was the embossed stenciling!  I'm so excited to give it a try.  The inlaid technique was also really interesting... these two will give a whole new look to my cakes!  The embossed stenciling uses the paneling technique to cover the cake with fondant.  Marina gives some really useful tips about how to work with the fondant and keep it looking perfect!

Advanced Fondant Techniques rivals Handcrafted Sugar Flowers as my favorite of the 4 classes!  Actually it might be my favorite because the techniques will be more widely used (Handcrafted Sugar Flowers is, of course, a very close second!).  I think this class was well worth the money.  If you are a newbie or relative newbie to the cake decorating world I think you will get a lot from this class.

Marina Sousa is the talented cake artist behind her business Just Cake in Capitola, CA.  She has not only been a repeat competitor on Food Network Challenge (with multiple wins), but she has even been a judge for the series.  Head over to her website to see her amazing portfolio!  Or follow Marina on Pinterest to see what inspires her creative mind :)

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!
There is a recent post on Cake Central about the Craftsy classes... and while a lot of people agree with me that they are fabulous, some people felt disappointed.  I think the classes are great if you are a beginner to intermediate level cake decorator.  I think for the $15-$40 you pay for the class (depending on if you got it on sale or full price) they are an excellent value and tool for expanding your skills.  If you took a class with any one of these instructors in person you would be paying hundreds of dollars, not including any travel fees and lodging if the classes are outside of you immediate area.  I think that it's great that you can interact with the instructors, and from what I've seen they are all very prompt in responding to questions.  Of the four, the Topsy Turvy is the only one I might have be a little disappointed with.  But only because I found the design and final product a little lacking.  That doesn't mean that I didn't learn anything from it...

In my humble opinion these classes are great and I cannot wait to see what else Craftsy has in the works for us cake designers!  I happen to know that one of them will be a sugar flower class with James Rosselle!

Happy Caking :)

DISCLAIMER: The Craftsy class reviewed in this post was purchased by me and all opinions are my own.  Links to Craftsy classes & the Craftsy website are sponsored by the Craftsy affiliate program.


  1. Dear Renee,

    Thank you so much for your Craftsy class reviews! I actually had already booked the piping class (which I really like) before I saw your posts but now thanks to you I am seriously considering taking some more :)

    Love your lovely blog! :)

    All the best, Katja

    1. You are very welcome! I am really satisfied with the courses, I've taken something out of each one. If you've already subscribed to their newsletter, you have probably already seen, but they just loaded an FREE modern buttercream class with Joshua John Russell!

    2. Indeed I have seen it and I have already signed up :))))