Mr. Terry Tuttle, Decorating Our Community One Cookie At A Time


Hey South County community members! In case you didn’t know, we have a celebrity among us! He has participated in baking challenges on the Food Network, WE tv's Wedding Cake Wars, and Cake Boss.

Mr. Terry Tuttle, a third grade teacher at Shady Side Elementary, has also entered several local and state cake decorating shows to share his talents. His Food Network Challenge experience in March 2011 led him and his cake building partner, Jason Kristofer Reaves, a pastry chef for Salamander Resorts in VA, to a huge $10,000 prize.


On Friday, February 3, 2017, Mr. Tuttle held a Valentine’s Day theme cookie decorating class from 4-7 for parents and their children in grades k-5.


The cost of the class was $50. This included three hours of cookie decorating, all the supplies you needed and a take home pack of your decorated cookies.


He is offering a second Valentine’s Day theme cookie decorating class on February 10, 2017. Space is limited.


He is hoping to offer another decorating class in late March for Easter cakes, a Mother’s Day cake in early May, and possibly a Father’s Day creation early June.  Space will be limited. So hold on to those piping bags!


Mr. Tuttle has enjoyed his time entering challenges such as the one on the Food Network.  However, he would rather take his time and really showcase his classic decorating skills. We are lucky to have him teach our community what he has spent most of his life loving to do.

Here is a bit of Tuttle history. When he was 14 years old, Mr. Tuttle wanted to make a birthday cake for his youth leader at church. He enlisted the help of his sister-in-law who decorated cakes. After two lessons, Mr. Tuttle was hooked and continued to teach himself how to create these gorgeous masterpieces.


To prepare for a show, Mr. Tuttle has a sketch book for ideas, uses the Internet and others' past work for inspiration. As with any creative person, the ideas in his head may not translate to real life. In fact, he says sometimes he just has to “fly by the seat of his pants if plans A and B have bit the dust.”

He takes at least a month to create a show cake for an event because of the fine details that judges like to see.

Show cakes are made of styrofoam tiers covered in edible fondant, royal icing, molds, edible colored dust and other sugary decorations.


Fondant is a thick paste made of sugar and has a similar texture to play dough. You can shape fondant into anything you like.  Mr. Tuttle covers his show cakes with fondant for a smooth icing appearance or to give the cake some texture with a drapery effect.

In the “three blind mice” cake, I used fondant to sculpt the mice and their little sunglasses, the fence and cover the cake with “grass.”

Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh Stop! Its’ Cookie Time!

Mr. Tuttle uses royal icing for decorating his cookies.

Royal icing is a meringue based edible icing that hardens and becomes brittle. You wouldn't use royal icing to frost a cake but it's perfect for detailed “string work”  you may see on cakes and decorated cookies.


String work refers to piping an icing mixture on a cake or cookie for dramatic effect. Mr. Tuttle will demonstrate piping icing on to a cookie in the video below.

PREPARATION AND PLANNING TIP:Decorations made with royal icing can be stored in an air tight container for an extended period of time. If you plan accordingly, you can have stress free edible decorations ready for your next big decorating extravaganza.

WARNING:Royal icing decorations can break apart easily. Separating decorations with protective packaging is strongly suggested.

Traditionally, royal icing is made with egg whites and sugar.


Alton Brown, from the Food Network, has a royal icing recipe that I have used before to make small flowers for a Halloween cake. Notice the “flower pots” behind the bride cake. Those “flower pots” are cupcakes topped with flowers made from royal icing. Stiffer frosting will allow for a more precise design.  A softer icing is perfect for filling in empty spaces on a cookie.

WARNING: It’s important that you use pasteurized, properly stored white eggs for your royal icing. The proper storage temperature for eggs is below 43 degrees, which is the typical temperature for any refrigerator. Using other types of eggs may increase the chance of contracting salmonella.

Of course, there are options for those who may want a more fool proof plan against salmonella. Wilton makes a meringue powder and provides a recipe online for the perfect decorating texture.

Meringue powder can be purchased directly from Wilton, Michael’s craft stores and some cake bakeries such as Cakes Plus in Laurel, Maryland. (Love that store!)

Thank you Mr Tuttle for the sweet idea you’ve brought to the community. It is such a fun and creative way to show our loved ones we care, with a cookie decorated with our own hands.

If you have not signed up for Mr Tuttle’s cookie decorating class, don't hesitate. You will have an opportunity to learn from a creative person, bond with your children over a sweet treat and share some love with a cookie you decorated from the heart.