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Adventures in Higher Learning

Broaden your horizons with classes in glass blowing, trapeze arts and fine cooking.

On a late winter Saturday in Baltimore, students gathered around a pastry table to learn the art of rolling fondant icing. “Turn the fondant as you use your rolling pin so that you have an even layer of thickness to completely cover your cake,” said instructor Amanda Rae, who was teaching a 6-inch cake decorating class. The students carefully followed instructions, making sugar fondant ribbons, flowers and bows. The end result: a half-dozen elaborately decorated cakes that would make Charm City Cake’s owner, Food Network star Duff Goldman, proud.

“We get a lot of students that are Duff Goldman fans and we promise to always make it fun,” Rae says with a laugh. Most students sign up for a one-time class to try their hand at decorating a cake like Goldman, host of Food Network’s popular “Sugar Showdown” and “Kids Baking Championship” shows. Other students have attended a half-dozen classes or more, each time perfecting their technique so they can try repeating it at home.

charm city cake

Charm City Cakes is just one local venue that is offering unique weekend and evening classes for adults wanting to learn something new, and have a little fun while they’re at it.

Another local school aims to give adventure seekers a taste of the Big Top without ever having to join the circus. At Trapeze School New York in Washington, D.C., students of all ages and abilities can take classes in Flying Trapeze.

“There is nothing like embracing your inner circus star,” says Laura Wooster, Fly Troupe Director for TSNY-DC. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see students conquer their fears, embrace new challenges and transform their fitness through flying trapeze and aerial arts.”

Whether you’re interested in flying and flipping on the trapeze or challenging yourself to a class in sushi-making or Dim Sum, these unusual classes promise culture, learning and hours of off-the-beaten-path fun.

Charm City Cakes

2936 Remington Ave., Baltimore
Classes from $65
charmcitycakes.com
Charm City Cakes opened its doors almost twenty years ago, and became known for wild fondant-style cakes that have been served to celebrities around the world, including at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration. The bakery first became famous on the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes,” but the genius bakers at Charm City Cakes continue to churn out intricately decorated cakes that defy believability. 

Classes last between 90 minutes and two hours and are limited to about a dozen participants. Students of all ages are welcomed at their cupcake decorating classes, like the popular unicorn cupcake classes, while adult-only classes focus on 6-inch cake designs. Students who want to test their skills further can sign up for the bakery’s challenging cake-shaping class that teaches students to mold cakes into anything from a hamburger to a purse, complete with designer-themed icing.

 

Flying Trapeze SplitTrapeze School New York of Washington, DC
1299 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C.
Trapeze classes from $50, Aerial from $40
washingtondc.trapezeschool.com
Ever wanted to learn how to fly? At the Trapeze School New York of Washington, DC (TSNY-DC), you can. Opened in 2009 in D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood, TSNY-DC offers aerial classes in Flying Trapeze, Silks, Spanish Web, and Trampoline. For the popular beginning Flying Trapeze Class, students start out with a basic safety lesson, but are soon up in the air doing tricks, all while being attached to a series of safety harnesses. 

Flying Trapeze classes are limited to 10 students to maximize time in the air and no experience is necessary. “Our all-levels classes welcome beginners with any kind of fitness level or athletic background,” says Wooster. Afraid of heights? TSNY-DC also offers on-ground classes like juggling and balancing and acrobatics.

 

Coradetti Glass Blowing Studio

glass blowing2010 Clipper Park Road #119, Baltimore
Mini-workshops from $42; Beginners classes from $225.
corradetti.com
At the Coradetti Glass Blowing Studio in Baltimore, students can learn the ancient art of glassblowing from skilled artisans. Owner Anthony Coradetti opened his studio in 2005 in the Clipper Mill complex in Baltimore after a 30-year career creating glasswork. In addition to his commissions for area homebuilders, galleries and lighting installations, Coradetti now teaches classes to the public. Students can try anything from a one-hour mini-workshop to a more intensive all-day beginners glassblowing class. The flower mini-workshop is an hour-long class where one will learn to shape 2,000-degree glass into an 8- to 12-inch colorful flower. Recent mini-workshops included a glass egg paperweight workshop and a glass heart workshop. The six-hour-long beginners glassblowing class, which covers everything from basic tools and safety to techniques for shaping the perfect piece of glass art.

Baltimore Chef Shop
807 West 36th St., Baltimore
Classes from $49.
baltimorechefshop.com
After many years of teaching at the area’s most exclusive culinary schools, Scott Ryan and his wife, Gwynne, decided to open their own school dedicated to teaching budding chefs of all skill levels. The Baltimore Chef Shop opened three years ago in the heart of Hampden and has been a destination for area foodies ever since.   

Classes range from basics like Knife Skills and Butchery 101, to unique offerings like Dim Sum, Thai Street Food, or a couples Cajun cooking class. Classes are either technique-based or menu-focused. Menu-based classes focus on one cuisine and are followed by a sit-down dinner where students enjoy the fruits of their labor. The school’s immense popularity can be attributed to its diverse class offerings and relaxed atmosphere, where students are encouraged to collaborate, and are even allowed to BYOB.

—Katie Riley

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