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Have your cake and eat it

Scotland is known for its cakes and confectionery and this summer our school's home economics department successfully completed the new Scottish Vocational Qualification hospitality intermediate 2 creative cake production course. The course was hugely popular and students' results were highly commended by the moderator. Throughout the year, the whole school was able to view the cakes on the plasma screen in our entrance hall.

In the first unit pupils learned how to make and bake various cakes - Swiss roll, Victoria sponge, Madeira, sultana and rich fruit cake.This section was integrated with the second, which involved learning how to coat the cakes. Students achieved a professional finish using chocolate, buttercream, marzipan, royal icing and sugar paste. The third unit dealt with organisational skills. A practical assignment completed the course.

This required students to carry out research into celebration cakes using the internet, shops and books and to make their own cake. Students' fears that something might go wrong disappeared as they became confident. For example, when trying out unusual colours they ended up with a rainbow of shades they did not want. Rather than waste their efforts, they combined these and created a marbled effect they really liked.

They thoroughly enjoyed being able to have free expression. They became self-critical and developed high expectations of their own work.

Susan Freeman = Principal teacher home economics, Notre Dame High School, Glasgow

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