Sunday, June 21, 2009

STI: Learn to dress up your cakes

June 21, 2009

Learn to dress up your cakes

By Valerie Wang

By day, Mrs Karen Allan, 33, is the managing director of a branding consultancy.

But at night, 'I do baking and cake decorating at midnight all the time after work. I find it really relaxing', she says.

Her love of baking has led her to sign up for a new professional cake-decorating course that has arrived in town. It is the famous British-based Knightsbridge Precision Machining Engineers (PME) Professional Diploma Course.

Mrs Allan, who is married and lives in a condominium in Novena, is doing one of the three modules. 'I have read many books that mentioned this diploma, so once I heard that it was coming to Singapore, I jumped at the chance and signed up for the Sugar Flowers module,' says the selfconfessed bake-o-holic.

Classes for the three modules will be held on the premises of cake decoration and sugarcraft retail store Bake It Yourself (B-I-Y), located at Bukit Timah. The store has been appointed by Knightsbridge PME to be its first authorised course centre in Singapore.

Knightsbridge PME is well-known among baking enthusiasts as the home of the PME range of sugarcraft tools used by pastry chefs around the world.

The founder and director of B-I-Y, Mrs Cheryl Chee, says: 'This diploma covers an extensive range of techniques that I know enthusiasts like myself will want to learn.'

Half the slots for the classes have been taken up since the course was announced on June 13.

This differs from another course that B-I-Y offers, the Wilton Method of Cake Decorating course.

While the PME Professional Diploma course recommends that participants have experience in cake decorating, the Wilton course has a module specifically for beginners. That introductory course costs $270, much cheaper than the PME Professional Diploma course which is $650 a module.

Mrs Chee says of the Knightsbridge course: 'Beginners may also enrol but they have to keep in mind that it is a professional course. It is designed specifically for anyone anticipating selling cakes either to family or friends or even as a commercial business.'

Ms Malar K. Velu, a housewife who has signed up for two of the three PME Professional Diploma modules, is such a person.

As a mother of two, she thinks setting up a business might be too time-consuming, but that does not stop the 44-year-old from selling cakes to her friends and family.

She says: 'I've been doing cake decorating and baking for the past 10 years and I just wanted to take it one step further by taking the course. I'm not an artistic person so I wanted to prove to myself that I can do well in this prestigious course.'

Pragmatic Mrs Allan has no intention of setting up a business after finishing the course, but says: 'I bake for my own pleasure, but now with qualified instructors teaching me how to use different techniques, I won't have to learn through books anymore.'

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