Cupcake class at Hello Cupcake

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Setting the table: Ever wonder how pastry chefs make those adorable little icing swirls on $3 cupcakes? Hello Cupcake recently started a series of classes on the finer points of piping buttercream and cutting decorative shapes out of fondant.

What you learn: Frosting dynamics aren't exactly rocket science, so this class is less about instruction and more about hanging out with your girlfriends and making new ones. The giggles commence even before class does.

In a March class on St. Patrick's Day decorations, executive pastry chef Todd Miller taught us how to mix colors of fondant (a stiffer type of icing that can be molded and shaped), roll it out and cut it into shamrock, square or circle shapes with cookie cutters. After we made several decorative pieces, he showed us how to fill a pastry bag with frosting (keeping the bubbles out) and twist the bag so that it was easy to wield. After Miller's demo, we all gave the piping a try, and he came around to help each of us with our form.

Most participants in the seven-person class found this part the most informative. "I've tried to frost out of a bag before, and it didn't go well," said Kara Gregory, 30, of Dupont Circle. Once she learned to hold the bag straight up, she got a much more attractive topper.

Perks: Students leave with a box of 12 cupcakes.

Nice to know: The shop can accommodate people who do not eat dairy, eggs or gluten. Sign up online as early as possible; the classes are small and fill up quickly.

What's up next? Mother's Day cupcake classes, May 9. On June 27, look out for a class on Independence Day-themed cupcakes.

Price: $70 for a two-hour class.

1361 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-861-2253.

-- Julia Beizer

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