These students take the cake

At Jane’s Cakes and Chocolate Supply in Montrose, three women tried their hand at the art of color flow for the first time.

Roberta Fasso-Locke instructed the class, where she learned how to bake and decorate cakes nearly 25 years ago from the shop’s former owner, Jane Johnson.

On a recent Wednesday evening, the three students — Joji De Jesus of Sunland, Connie Ruiz of Burbank and Lori Salas of Granada Hills — would produce decorations for a beehive-shaped cake they had not yet made.

They would use color flow, a method of creating fragile sugary butterflies, dragonflies and bees. The first step entails outlining the insect with black frosting, then filling it with royal icing — egg whites and sugar with water to make it flow.

Using parchment paper bags, they filled every crevice of the insect with color. Fasso-Locke suggested parchment bags over plastic ones, especially in new learning settings.

“When you’re learning, you’re concentrating, and your blood is running and your hands get warm,” she said. “I’ve seen the frosting separate from the color in the plastic bags just because they’ve gotten warm and gooey.”

De Jesus became hooked on cake decorating after taking a beginning class at the shop in June.

“I’ve always baked cakes, but I don’t know how to decorate,” she said.

Sisters Ruiz and Salas grew up in Arleta with a mom who baked and sold cakes. They had recently returned from the annual California Cake Club’s Cake Camp in Las Vegas where they learned to create cake squares, write decoratively and work with rolled fondant.

It was Ruiz’s idea to take the class. She frequents all the cake shops in the area. Salas said Ruiz had more patience and passion for it than she did.

“I’m company,” she joked.

Each student dyed frosting and stored it in plastic with damp paper towels to keep it moist. Then they began outlining insects with color, at which point they fell silent in concentration.

The end product was a tray of neon-green dragonflies, red ladybugs, yellow bees and multicolored butterflies that would need to dry overnight.

The following week, they’d place the sugary décor on a beehive cake.

After every class, De Jesus returns home to send every newly made cake off to her husband’s workplace.

“We don’t keep it at the house,” she said.

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