Category Archives: Major Learning Project

Chocolat Eh? Chocolat Eh? It’s Been A Slice Y’all!

Here it is folks, here you have it! My final videos of my major learning project. The cake I made today was Turtle Pie Cake

Turtle Pie Cake with Chocolate Cake, Salted Caramel and Pecans”

Turtle Pie Cake – tender and moist chocolate cake layers with salted caramel, toasted pecans, chocolate ganache and pecan buttercream.

I chose to use Tik Tok as my platform for showcasing my work as a continuation from ECI 832 when I first began to explore TikTok. Last time I learned the basics and was exploring the tools. For this class I wanted to use the platform to show my learning throughout the process of this project, and toil with the idea how TikTok could potentially be used in a classroom to show students work. Although at this point I won’t use TikTok with my students until/ if ever there could be a TikTok created that is specifically dedicated to school use only. Wouldn’t that be fun? It could follow all the safety precautions, and be monitored easily, only have access to certain features… a girl can wish!

I broke my final project into 2 stages: the first being baking the cake from scratch which was a whole aspect I did not plan on learning to do when I chose cake decorating but it had to happen so I feel like this project was actually 2 learning projects instead of 1. The second stage was the decorating.  Todays cake was much more extreme than the other cakes I have made. This was required a homemade caramel sauce, chocolate ganache, homemade pecan butter, roast pecans, and then the buttercream; it was a lot of balancing and playing with aspects I haven’t learned much about yet because those come in Cake by Courtney’s Advanced Decorating classes.

I did have to do some more research on my own outside of the beginner class because I wanted to add piping details to the top of today’s cake (which I showcased last week), click on this link if you want to see last weeks piping adventure called I’ll Take You To The Icing Shop, I’ll Let You Lick the Spatula.


Alright here is video #1, I will be honest I had to redo this TikTok video twice because I guess when I did it on Friday it did not upload fully and all I got was 7 seconds, I realized this when I went to create this post… Needless to say that was 2 hours of editing for nothing and another 2 hours to redo, I will be honest it’s not as edited as the last one but it’s all I had left in me and I am super frustrated…

Is it wild to realize that making the TikTok video took longer than actually making the cake?!?!?

Making The Cake:

(I am even more frustrated that it is not posting here properly so all you are getting is a link to this video, sorry team!)

Decorating The Cake:


♬ Live Your Beautiful Life – Gray Griggs



Check out How To Cut A Round Cake Here and How To Cut a Tiered Cake Here

It’s been a slice y’all!


I’ll Take you To the Icing Shop, I’ll Let you Lick the Spatula

Nothing beats licking the icing off a spoon now does it? This posts focus will be on how to fill a piping bag and then practicing my piping skills not on a cake. There was also so many distractions today, not only did I have my children but my sister needed to last minute drop off her children for 3 hours. So throughout today there were moments that I needed to pause; the noise, the questions, the I need snacks, the parenting was all too much!

First on the batting order is How To Fill Your Piping Bag. 

I followed along with the tutorial but realized a few that one thing was missing and I needed to account for; the icing tip. The tutorial never included when or where to place the icing tip so I made an educated guess. Check out my TikTok video below of How to fill my piping bag:


Major Learning Project: How to fill a piping bag

♬ Sugar Sugar – Original – The Archies

After filming the video for filling the piping bags it was time for a break; I could not concentrate, it was getting loud and crazy inside and frustration was setting in. So we went outside played a little basketball, jumped on the trampoline, played with chalk, and dig a little digging.






Practicing Piping Skills

So I found this TikTok video about practicing piping skills without needing to make a cake and thought that was genius! I have a lot going on this weekend so this was handy. Take a look at both our videos:


#satisfyingvideo with #pipingbag #perte #fy #impararecontiktok #cake #pipingskills #cakedesign #pipingtips #torta #tutorial #tutorialcake

♬ In The End – Mellen Gi Remix – Tommee Profitt & Fleurie & Mellen Gi

My attempts:

Now this is a skill all in itself! I clearly am going to need much more practice so I decided that the icing I made today I will put into the fridge and this week if I get an extra moment I will take it out and practice again and again. I may also need to look into piping techniques from other sources. Cake by Courtney has another cake decorating class a more “advanced” one then what I just took and it offers exactly this but it is another $150 USD and I am going to hold off on that for now.


Major learning project: Practicing piping

♬ Dancing In The Moonlight – 苏颜悦

Baking Substitutions

You know I have been there and I am sure other people have too. You are right in the middle of baking and you realize you are missing baking soda but you have baking powder this often happens to me. However through my cake decorating class I discovered you can make other baking substitutions with other items. See the picture below. If you are ever in a pinch you may just have everything you need so that you don’t have to make an emergency run to the store. Real Simple also has some great suggestions for other baking substitutions that I recommend checking out as well.

If I knew You Were Coming I’d Baked a Cake

What a week this was!!! I went to visit my husband in Calgary who was away for some locomotive engineer training and we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary up in the Calgary Tower Sky360 restaurant (I give it 5 stars for sure) , took in the zoo and spent some time in the mountains, it was such a great and relaxing weekend away. When I got home adulting hit me hard, the very next morning our basement flooded from a burst outdoor water tap, then I found a hairline fracture in one of our toilets, one and one of the fridge door compartments cracked…. jeez… you leave for 4 days and the house just decides that was enough… anyways I am back at it and welcome to this weeks major learning post.


This week I made the same Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream as I did the last time. I chose to do this simply for familiarity purposes so I could put more of my time and effort into working on straighter finishes and edges. Something else I did was I made my cakes Friday night and then decorated them on Saturday evening; this made it feel like a less daunting and time consuming task. This blog post at the beginning is primarily “research” I did this week and links/videos of it. At the end you will enjoy my very own TikTok videos of my work (trust me you do not want to miss one of the videos where I am singing at the end because I could not get the song to go longer).

Besides following along with the online cake decorating class I am doing, I also looked up a few other tutorials found here:

Listened to a few podcasts:

Watched a few other tutorials:

From other bakers on how they achieve cleaner lines, I used TikTok & Youtube (I appreciated some connections that I made between the class I am taking and the Youtube tutorials):


Stack a cake #cake #fyp #howto #beginnersbaking #cakedecorating

♬ original sound – Laura Colhoun | Baker


How to get a smooth and clean look with your buttercream frosting. 🍰 Turn up the volume and save for the next time your making a cake 🍰 ___________________________________ #theblondewhobakes #cakedecorating #cake #cakes #food #foodie #baking #foodlover #frosting #cakesofinstagram #cakeoftheday #cakevideo #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #foodtiktok

♬ Sky Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Now here comes my videos of this week! (Don’t miss out on turning your sound on)


♬ Cake – Flo Rida,99 Percent

Crumb Coat:

♬ Cake By The Ocean – DNCE

Final Layer:

♬ If I Knew You Were Coming I’dve Baked a Cake – Gracie Fields


Final Product:

♬ Birthday Cake (Dance Remix) – The Re-Mix Heroes








Go Shorty It’s Your Birthday! We Gonna Make Cake Cause It’s My Birthday

Welcome to my party! What is more perfect to practice the skills I have been learning about then to make my very own birthday cake? Now the lessons I am following called for a funfetti cake I chose to use one of Cakes by Courtneys other cake recipes a Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting ,and yes it was as delicious as you think it would be; seriously you need to try this. YUMMMMMMY! Here was my focus for my first cake because I learned that it is not just about decorating the cake as much as it is also about creating the cake. So today I focused on:

  • What I need to know before starting
  • How to bake the best tasting and looking cake (creating a cake from scratch)
  • Making the best tasting buttercream
  • How to stack and crumb coat
  • Using some of the tools and creating straight and smooth edges

I didn’t get into anything fancy decorating wise today, I wanted to focus on what I thought was just basics but man did those “basics” really take time and some serious learning for me! Straight and smooth edges are no joke; it was hard!

Before Starting

This goes for any cake you are making:

  • Turn your oven onto the required temperature 30 minutes before starting. You want the oven to reach its full potential before you put the cake in. If you put your cake layers in 5 minutes after it says it is done heating up they will not bake evenly, you really want it at full heat.
  • DO NOT use convection bake; it usually runs hot, and then makes your cake dry
  • Use an oven thermometer to see if the internal temperature is actually matching what the oven is telling you. Even if it is a few degrees off it can change the way your cake bakes. Get to know your oven
  • Now this is another big one, get all your wet ingredients out of your fridge at least an hour before you begin baking. You want those ingredients at room temperature and the reason being is that they will be better absorbed by the dry ingredients. It helps your cake rise more evenly
  • .
  • Do not over mix your batter, mix it at a very low speed
  • Use fresh baking soda and baking powder nothing over 6 months old (key)
  • Use cake flour if you can. It is a finer flour and will make a fluffier and lighter cake. Highly preferred



Getting The Best Tasting & Looking Cake

To get started Cakes by Courtney recommends that when making a cake recipe for the first time that you follow it exactly as the author intended for you to. Once you have done it, after that, that it when you can make your substitutions to it. I am a slight rebel but also a rule follower at heart so for this cake I kinda went slightly off the beaten path and instead of making this Banana cake a single layer cake I made it into a 3 layer cake. (oooooooooo such a daredevil I was), doing so didn’t require me changing anything to the cake recipe but it did mean I had to double the buttercream but we shall talk about that later.

  • begin with room temperature butter, add sugar and vegetable oil
  • mix this at a medium speed but after this everything will be mixed a low speed
  • scrape down the sides to make sure it is all blending really well, do this after you add the eggs in as well
  •  For vanilla you can use whatever kind of vanilla you want, it’s all okay
  • Now a very interesting step here was alternating my cake flour mixture and buttermilk (I have never used buttermilk in cakes before so that was something new), starting with your cake mixture and ending with your cake mixture. This helps the ingredients blend more evenly. 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, finish with 1/3 flour.

    blending the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and soda

You can create your own substitute for buttermilk by using 1/2 part greek yogurt, 1/2 part whatever milk you have

  •  Continue to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • If you ever want to colour your cake batter you want to fold the colour in, never use your mixer. Because you do not want to ever over mix. Use a spatula

You wanna know why I love this baker? Especially at this step?  She says you always have to sample. Bon Appetit, says the biggest mistake a baker can make is not taste testing along the way. She said to lick the bowl clean! OK twist my rubber arm!!! I may have had a taste or two but my kids cleaned it right up.


Creating the Perfect Layers

All her recipes are good for 3- 8″ cakes or 4- 6″ cakes. At this step I then decided that I should be okay to make a 3 layer cake just like I wanted too. To ensure the cake batter is evenly shared you need to use a scale. She uses around 16 oz  of batter per cake pan. I found that had more cake batter with this recipe so I just adjusted accordingly.

This helps the cakes bakes even more evenly, when they come out of the oven they will look more even.

Preparing the pans

In my previous cake making I only ever sprayed the pans. Today I used some tricks I learned in the class.

  • Spray the pan including the sides
  • Use parchment paper on the bottom ( I traced the bottom of the pan as you can so slightly see if you really look hard in my picture and then cut it out)

  • Then you spray the parchment paper again in the cake pan
  • Once the cake is in the pans use a spatula to spread it out as evenly as you can

Baking the Cake

  • It is crucial that once you get closer to the baking time being up that you turn on your oven light and pay really close attention to your cakes
  • You will know they are baked perfectly when the top is slightly golden brown and it is not shiny anymore. The sides of the cake are barely pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  • The most important part though is you need to put a toothpick in the center of the cake and when you pull it out you are looking for a few moist crumbs on the toothpick

Something I can’t believe I never put 2 and 2 together is just like meat when you take it out of the oven/grill it is still cooking. Of course DUH that means cakes would do the same… it is still baking for about 5 additional minutes afterwards. Surprise!!

Once the cakes were done cooking I let them cool down for about 15 minutes and then wrapped them up and stuck them in the freezer. Putting cakes in the freezer for at least an hour is a very important step for when you are ready to do the crumb coat.

Making the Buttercream

Everything about about having room temperature ingredients like when you make a cake throw it out the window (her first words in this section) it made me giggle like oooooh kay. You want to have slightly cold ingredients this time. The butter can come out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you begin. This will help get a good consistency in the buttercream. If your frosting ever just falls off the spatual it is because the butter was not cold enough it was too soft and sitting out too long.

Now this is where things got interesting was with her second tip...

Sift your icing sugar… it will help make the icing sugar lighter and fluffier which will help give you a smoother buttercream DO NOT skip this step she said, you will not be disappointed she said… use a big mesh strainer. Well I don’t have a sifter… so I chose to use just my regular strainer like you use for pasta… what a mess!! I do not recommend using a pasta strainer at all, I am sure the metal mesh strainer is sooo much better than this. Now remember earlier I said I doubled my buttercream recipe so that meant 12 cups of icing sugar…

It got my floor, all over my counter, it was just a mess…. I gave up… then my husband walked in and ask what in the world I was doing, so I explained. He said “you know if you use a whisk you can also get the same results a similar one”…. Go away Gord, I never asked you…. UHHHHH.

Another tip I learned is to measure my icing sugar first and then sift which I did.

So now I am at the point where I can add my buttercream ingredients together so off I went following the video and the recipe. My second mistake in the buttercream was trying to double it all at once. What I should have done was make single batches and then combine them after. My mixing bowl in my Kitchen Aid was not even close to being big enough but I tried anyways…. OH MY! Yep this is exactly what happened even mixing on low speed…

So at this point I paused and took a deep breath in. Split what I could in half and tried again in smaller batches then combined them afterwards. Even with these hiccups I will call them, the buttercream still tasted AMAZING! It was light and fluffy.

Stacking & Crumb Coating The Cake

Now that my cake has sat in the freezer for a hour it is ready to begin staking and applying the crumb coat.

  • On the cake board apply a small amount of buttercream in the middle. This helps keep the cake in place and not slide around on the board
  • The first 2 layers put top side up
  • Using 3/4 cup of frosting and the off set spatula, put the frosting in the middle of the first layer and spread it around. Using the turn table move the frosting to the sides coming towards you. Try to keep it really level with the cake. This is an prime opportunity to level out the cake without having the cut away too much. Get eye level with the cake “get into a cake squat”.
  • Put the next layer on and do your best to get it centered and repeat.
  • Pipe a rim of frosting around the edge if you need that support
  • Use a light touch always! If it is too hard to spread around, put it into the mixer and whip it up some more
  • For the last layer, put it top side down, it has the least amount of crumbs on it and also should have a nice smooth top.

Crumb Coat Time

  • Using a crumb coat is key in locking in those crumbs so they do not appear in your final buttercream frosting.
  • Apply a thin layer of frosting. Let it then sit in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This does not need to be pretty.
  • Start on the sides of the cake
  • Use the straight spatula
  • Turn the cake away from you
  • Bring the spatula towards you
  • Go towards the bottom but do not go over the cake board
  • Add a little bit to the top, use the offset spactual on the top.
  • Now using the cake scraper, starting at 1:00, left  hand does all the turning, the right hand holds the cake scraper at a 45 degree angle, and lightly go around it. Only go from 1:00 to 4:00 then go back to 1:00. If you are left handed it’s 11:00 to 7:00. This is to only get 1 scraper line
    • Crumb Coat Completed

    Final Stages of This Birthday Cake

    Mastering the art of straight sides and edges is not joke. I need much, much, much, more practice with this!

  • The top of the cake comes last, start with the sides
  • If the crumb coat ever becomes not cold, put it back in the freezer
  • Spend a couple minutes with a wooden spoon whipping the buttercream up, it helps get all the air bubbles out of the frosting and make it silky smooth.
  • Use the straight icing spatula go around the cake focusing on the top first
  • Begin working your way down your board once the top is done.
  • Wave back and forth as you apply the remaining icing, using the turn table and apply the icing towards you
  • Don’t frost in front of you, it is just awkward
  • Now using the cake scraper
  • Keep your eye on the scraper
  • Use 1/4″ of the scraper. use a 45 degree angle the whole time this will smooth everything out
  • Use a light touch
  • Start at 1:00 and turn the table all the way around
  • Do some spakelling if you need to, to help fill in the holes. Do not add a ton of frosting.
  • Always clean off your scraper
  • Do not over work the buttercream. Get it applied within 15-20 minutes. This is done for a couple reasons: the crumb coat will thaw, and for your sanity
    1. This was huge! Oh man was I getting frustrated it just wasn’t perfect. I need to work on the 45 degree angle part…
    2. There will never be a cake the is perfect all the way around.
    3. Tears are not worth it, cake = happiness.
    4. Each time I make a cake I will get better and better
  • Put the cake back in the freezer in about 15 minutes

TaDa! Here is my first finished cake



I Didn’t Come Here to Party, I Didn’t Come Here to Stay… I Only Came For the Cake

I have always wanted to learn how to decorate cakes and make them “nice”, I have played around with different ideas but never really took the time to really learn what I was doing; I just “winged” it, watched bake offs on tv, or looked up on google ideas. I started wanting to learn how to make cakes when my daughter was born for her birthdays. Below is one cake I have made in the past but never took the time to make an effort to learn what I was doing. Don’t be deceived I truly do not know what I am doing…

So here are my ideas for my major learning project:

  1. I need to discover what kind of cake is the best to bake for decorating
  2. Research and then purchase supplies and decorating tools needed
  3. Research types of icing that is best for decorating and how to add flavours to icing (buttercream, royal icing, gaunche, etc) and then learn how to make them so they are the right consistency for what I need to do
  4. Practice piping techniques before applying to cakes
  5. Learn to add piping techniques onto a cake
  6. Research other decorating additions (fruit, sprinkles, fondant, etc.)