Meringue powder stiffens your icing. That's what they say in class and this icing is pretty stiff. I might make two batches though next time just to see the real difference. The point of it is so your decorations dry and maintain their shape instead of melting. The cover on the cake above accidentally ran into the roses on top but luckily enough it didn't do much real damage.
If you are going to transfer flowers that hardened on wax paper, use a spatula. At the store I sometimes make a bunch of roses and put them in the freezer until I'm ready for them. Then I pick them up with my hand - gloved, of course, in case any CDC personnel are reading - and place them on the cake. That works pretty well, but they're always sort of smashed. By pulling back the wax paper half way and using a sliding motion with the spatula, they come off a lot better.
Use wax paper on base-icing that has set in order to get out streaks and make it shine. Now for this cake, I used store-bought buttercream just for the base icing to save me a little time at 4:30 in the morning. It's from a can (or plastic jar? plastic can? cylindrical container?) that's been on a shelf and meant to be workable for as long as the shelf life holds, and that's a really long time. So it didn't really set well and smoothing it out was only half-successful. I will definitely try again though - I'm really excited about using this technique!
Buy piping gel. You can use it for "tracing" pictures on to your paper. I can officially create Scooby Doo, princesses, or anything else you want on a cake now. Probably not a picture of your face - it's not that kind of a trace. Wouldn't that be something neat to try though?? You also mix piping gel with your icing for writing, that way when you cut the cake you don't tear all the writing down into the slices. Apparently it keeps the writing in cake and you can have the top half of "hap" on one slice and the top half of "py bir" on another. I am excited to try it next week!
The class is what I thought it would be. Some people are really impressed with my creativity and and how consistently I can decorate. Some things we do I've done for years. On the other hand I am learning a whole lot to help me with my baking from home where I have to make everything myself. So excited to keep learning! Next week is our final day where we learn ribbon roses - I bet if they're easy and I show my manager maybe she'll start helping me with cakes at the store!
I have two choices for classes next month: flowers course or fondant course. In flowers we learn a royal icing recipe which would be helpful, and I could definitely use technique for flowers, but I know very little about fondant and have only tried it a couple times. I think fondant is where you'll find me in April. We'll wait for the May Flowers.