By Melissa Trevizo
San Jacinto College cake decorating instructor Debra Hodge has been making and designing cakes since she was old enough to climb on a stool and hold a measuring cup.
“My mother loved baking and decorating cakes,” Hodge said. “I was always her ‘gofer’: Go for a mixing bowl or a cup of sugar. She would work me like crazy, and I thought she was working me too hard. It wasn’t long before I realized I loved it.”
As an adult, Hodge entered The Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionary Arts and took as many classes as she could mastering techniques in buttercream, royal icing, fondant, gum paste, and sugar, as well as baking cakes.
“I learned so much from Wilton, and I knew that I wanted to work for them,” Hodge said. “I taught for Wilton for 20 years. Even while teaching I tried to absorb anything I could. I have a love for learning, especially in the arts.”
Now, Hodge teaches cake decorating for the Life Long Learning division of San Jacinto College’s continuing and professional development department. The course is divided into three sections: Building Buttercream, Flowers and Cake Design, and Gum Paste and Fondant.
In the series of courses, students learn to ice and decorate cakes; create flowers using buttercream, royal icing, gum paste, and fondant; create decorative border; cover a cake in fondant; and many more techniques. Each session is two hours long and meets four times.
“I teach students the fundamentals from zero,” Hodge said. “You can come in not even knowing what a piping bag looks like, and I can bring you all the way up to an expert decorator.”
Hodge believes everyone can become a cake decorator if they just apply themselves.
“I love being able to teach someone a skill when they don’t think they can,” Hodge said. “I feel that everyone has creativity in them that can be brought out.”
To learn more about the cake decorating courses and other Life Long Learning courses, visit sanjac.edu/cpd