A few weeks ago, Diana and I braved the nasty, icy evening for a night of cupcake decorating through the Learning Bar. We used to be monthly class regulars at The Chopping Block, but after our schedules started getting a bit too complicated to keep up, we had to take a step back. While we no longer have our regular commitment, our love of trying new foodie classes hasn't faded, so when the Learning Bar popped up on Groupon we knew it was meant to be! Plus, who can resist a night of cupcakes, especially in the aftermath of one of the worst blizzards to hit Chicago?!
The Learning Bar classes are taught by experts in the field and held at various locations around the city. Our class was held in a gallery space at Bru Chicago in Wicker Park - not only was the space perfect for an intimate class, but also it was in close proximity to one of our favorite donut shops (we may have even made a little pre-class donut run... and I may or may not have taken an ugly dive into a crusty snowbank on the way over there and had to be rescused by a cute hipster dude).
Diana and I are no strangers to cupcake classes and we were excited to see that there were individual stations set up for each participant. While the class was far more informal than those we've taken in the past, it was definitely nice to not have to share ingredients or tools with our classmates. The individual setup gave us the chance to take our time and play around with the various methods without feeling pressured to finish quickly.
Along with learning about various buttercream piping methods and tips (we must have collectively piped at least fifty stars!), we also had the opportunity to try our hand at decorating with fondant. This was our first time working with fondant in a class, so we were really excited to discover that the majority of the time was dedicated to learning all of its tricks. We quickly discovered that it's surprisingly way less intimidating than it seems and is soooo much more fun than working with buttercream alone! After the instructor led us through a fondant crash course, we had chance to play around with different colors, cutters, and crimpers. Basically, it turned into a flower free-for-all over in our little corner (can you tell we were so over the ridiculous weather and desperately dreaming of spring that night?!).
The first of Diana's spring-themed cupcakes.
Diana's buttercream and fondant cupcakes.
My first attempt at a flowery fondant cupcake.
My buttercream and fondant layered cupcake (apparently, I morphed into a little kid at some point during the class, as I felt the need to cover the cupcakes with as many flowers as possible)
Overall, we had a fun night [fueled by a combination of buttercream and our natural awesomeness ;-)] and walked away with a new-found appreciation for decorating with fondant. If you're a beginner at working with fondant and enjoy a super laid-back atmosphere, I would definitely recommend checking out the Learning Bar class (Groupon deals are still available).
Next on our list? Another incredible Bruchgasm visit!