Students add artistic touch

FAIRMONT – Wendi Tonder’s classroom was a flurry of fondant, frosting and flour recently as her class tested its cupcake creativity and expertise.

Each of the 22 students enrolled in the food preparation class were given two cupcakes, said Tonder, family and consumer science instructor at Fairmont Junior/Senior High School. Students could decorate one or both of the cakes, but they only got to eat one of them.

“We make all the cupcakes, the fondant and the frosting in class beforehand,” Tonder said.

Students scooped small portions of frosting from storage containers – actually repurposed ice cream buckets – and added food coloring in various combinations to achieve the desired hue.

Then it was time to create.

Students slathered their cupcakes with frosting in their chosen color. They rolled the fondant, a soft candy, into various shapes.

And the assembly began.

With the intensity and precision of a surgical procedure, the unique designs began to take shape:

o Cartoon figures and Muppets;

o A lake scene, adorned with a fish-shaped cracker;

o Animals, including a sheep, a bear, a pig and a turtle;

o A baseball;

o A sandwich.

“They each spent about an hour on the computer researching designs,” Tonder explained as she moved from one student to another offering guidance.

“All the ‘doodads,’ they had to bring themselves,” said Tonder, indicating a bag of pretzels being used for spider legs.

Finished cupcakes were placed on a plate and labeled with numbers.

“I have four other classes that vote on it,” Tonder said. “The top three will get a Hy-Vee decorated cupcake.”

Autumn Nelson won first place for her turtle. Second place went to Rita D’Allesandro for her dinosaur. Bailey Dulas’ version of Elmo, the Muppet, and Kyle Feltman’s hamburger tied for third.

“This is definitely one of their favorite things to do,” Tonder said.