Fletcher After School Students Discover Cake Decorating Skills

Chocolate squids, frosted fish, decorated eels were all part of a unique after school class in cake decorating in the Fletcher Elementary After School Program. Jamestown Public Schools’ Human Resources Director, Karen Peterson, met with a group of third graders for five weeks. Students learned the basics of cake decorating with frosting, using different types and sizes of decorating tips to practice writing on cakes, and creating borders. Students also spent time creating with modeling chocolate and fondant. Mrs. Peterson talked about color, dimension, texture and scale, as well as, what types of creatures live in the sea to create the “Sea Cake.”

“I worked with the after school program at Love Elementary School about five years ago and had such a great time that I thought working with another group of students would be fun,” said Mrs. Peterson.  “I love students and I love to teach. I did not go to school to be a teacher, but this is my way of volunteering with students and sharing a skill that I have learned. None of these kids may go on and become pastry chefs, but they might obtain sufficient skills that give them a job at a local bakery either as a career or while they are in college working toward some other career goal.”

Besides decorating, students learned about the components of a cake and each week tasted different cakes, frostings, and fillings. The students loved the experience.

“I really liked making a fish out of fondant,” said Fletcher Elementary School third grader Darius Freeney. “I looked at a picture of a real fish and tried really hard to make it look exactly the same in fondant. I like the after school program because you get to try new things and maybe one of the things I try, like cake decorating, will be what I do when I grow up.”

Mrs. Peterson hopes to work with the same group of students next year building on the skills they have already learned such as more advanced sculpting skills and using frosting to create flowers and leaves. Mrs. Peterson asked the students to study castles over the summer, as that will be the theme of next year’s cake. 

“I have to thank my employer, JPS, for allowing me to split up my vacation time to allow me to meet with students for five weeks,” said Mrs. Peterson. “I know the kids enjoyed this class, but I got as much, if not more, enjoyment out of it then they did. It is so rewarding to see them gain confidence in their abilities each week.  During our last class one of my students had to use cake ‘spray paint’ on a fondant starfish. I was busy helping other students and did not have a chance to assist him with the task.  I was so proud when he showed me that he had created a paint booth out of the large plastic lid that had covered the cake, thus preventing the cafeteria tables from being covered in edible paint.  These students love a challenge and thrive on learning new things. I would encourage anyone in the community that has a hobby or skill to contact the after school program and volunteer, whether it be for one visit or several.”

posted on 06/30/2014 - filed under: After School, Middle School, Spotlight, Staff, Students