Choose Between Two Options
- C$49 for a two-hour Cupcake Workshop (C$199 value)
- C$59 for a two-hour Basic Buttercream Technique Cake-Decorating Course (C$229 value)
Buttercream: A Piece-of-Cake Frosting
The frostings here don’t just look pretty—they’re also sweet, rich, and creamy. Read on to find out what goes into a perfect buttercream.
Sure, things like spices, fruit, and chocolate are nice, but the irresistible power of most desserts flows in large part from fat and sugar. In fact, that’s all you need to make a buttercream frosting. The “cream” part of the name comes not from the dairy product but from the mixing method: for a basic version, you vigorously blend—or cream—a source of fat into powdered sugar. Margarine and shortening may not taste as rich as butter, but their higher melting point can be an advantage, since the frosting will hold up better under heat.
Buttercreams of the World
Whether you get more complex than that depends on the style you’re working in. French buttercream starts with a thick sugar syrup, which is whipped into a mixture of egg yolks and butter, making for a thick, spreadable meringue. For an airier texture, Italians use beaten egg whites instead, and Swiss meringue buttercream takes the shortcut of whisking the sugar and egg whites together over heat. Some recipes may even call for milk, depending on the consistency desired, and any variety can serve as a filling between cake layers or the mortar of your buildings in a gingerbread earthquake scene.
- French buttercreams tend to be least prone to separation because of the natural emulsifiers (substances that help fat and water mix) found in egg yolks.
- Bakers have a trick for producing ultra-smooth buttercream surfaces: the “crumb layer,” which is created by chilling the frosted cake before adding a second layer of frosting to even things out.
Sugar Tiers is a collaboration between sugar-paste artist Rosalind Chan—whom Teresa Kruze of Metro Canada calls "an international superstar in the cake decorating world"—and her former student, experienced chocolatier Evalin Chong. As Chan told Duhlicious food blogger Madalina Paul in 2010, she learned the art of baking from her mother, and left her native Malaysia to study French pastry at the renowned Ritz Escoffier school in Paris. She immigrated to Canada, where she decided to give up a successful corporate career and devote herself to the art of professional cake decorating. Chan then returned to Malaysia to found and teach at the International Centre of Cake Artistry, one of the largest baking institutes in that country.
Chong holds a diploma in food-and-beverage management and is a certified wedding planner. Both women have shared their expertise as Wilton Method instructors, and stay ahead of ever-changing wedding-cake trends. Chan told Sue Kanhai of YorkRegion.com, “Years ago, no one knew what red velvet was—they thought it was a fabric! Now it’s such a hip thing." The popularity of red-velvet cupcakes was also the topic of a 2010 article in the Toronto Star, which mentioned Sugar Tiers' tasty version.
The duo offers baking and decorating courses in at their shop, where they teach students to cover cakes or scratch-prone leather furniture in layers of colourful fondant. They also operate a retail supply store, take-out bakery, and catering operation, handcrafting more than 36 flavours of macarons and cakes such as dark chocolate or moist carrot and pineapple.