Sometime this year, Z got into the baking shows on Netflix: Nailed it, Sugar Rush and the Great British Baking Show. She also likes watching cake and cookie decorating videos on YouTube.
Since we are a “do it, don’t just watch it!” type of family, I signed her up for two local classes on decorating Halloween themed baked goods: one on cake decorating at Joann Polaris, and one on decorating cookies and cupcakes with Marna Cakes in Sunbury.
Here are our honest reviews!
The Halloween cake decorating class at Joann Polaris was intended for kids, but it was actually quite advanced. In Z’s own words, “Mom, this is a lot harder than it looks on TV!”
Their mission was to decorate a two-layer cake in Halloween style. The class cost itself was quite reasonable ($35 but $25 with coupon), but then there was a long list of supplies one had to either buy or bring from home. The total cost of the class ended up being closer to $100 after we bought all of Z’s needed tools and supplies. Still, I guess now we have them so we can continue baking and decorating cakes at home.
When I dropped Z off for her class with the two layer cake we had baked at home and her big bag of cake decorating supplies, I was impressed with Joann Polaris’ clean, well-lit and spacious crafting space. It’s all glass, so parents and other onlookers can watch from outside, but I opted to leave and run errands while Z and friends got busy decorating.
I returned about two hours later and the neat and tidy space looked like a cake bomb had gone off. Every person, table and object was covered in purple, white and green frosting. But she had fun, the instructor was a good sport and her cake looked awesome. Did it look like the picture they were using for reference? Noooo… but then, neither did the instructor’s. Like she said, it was a tough project!
In contrast to this, our second Halloween-themed decorating extravaganza was with Marna Cakes, a local home-based baker who makes incredible sugar cookies, cupcakes and decorating kits as well as offering how-to classes. Her class was $25 per person and included all materials and tools.
This was a parent and child class, so Z and I both got a spot at the table along with several other kids, moms and even a dad or two. Marna provided her home-baked sugar cookies and cupcakes plus all the colorful buttercream frosting and royal icing we could ever want for decorating. Then, she showed us how to make three different cookies (ghost, bat and pumpkin) and three different cupcakes (ghost, pumpkin and candy corn).
We had a really lovely time at this class – the decorating techniques were simple, her instructions were easy to follow and we felt great about our finished products. Was it too easy? No, because there was room for creative flair and the icing/frosting techniques took a little practice. This was definitely our favorite class of the two by far.
Since that time, we’ve purchased a few blank cookie and icing sets from Marna so we could continue decorating sugar cookies in the comfort of our own home. Now we’re getting pretty good at the royal icing techniques – check out our Thanksgiving cookies up at the top of this page! Can’t wait for Marna to come out with a Christmas cookie decorating set – I know we’ll be eager to give it another go.
Have you taken a baking or decorating class in Columbus, and if so what did you think? I’d love to hear your sweet stories in the comments below or over on Facebook.