Learning The Art Of Cake Decorating

Decorating By floophs Updated 25 Apr 2008 , 12:29pm by HerBoudoir

floophs Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 8:40pm
post #1 of 18

I have been admiring all the beautiful cakes on CC for months now. I have only taken the Wilton 1 course but hope to take another class in the near future. My question is how did you all learn the art of cake decorating? Did you take classes, teach yourself, etc.? How long were you decorating cakes before you felt like they were good enough to "show off"?

17 replies
TexasSugar Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 8:47pm
post #2 of 18

I always say that when I took the Wilton classes my obsession for cake decorating started. Once you learn the basics alot of people want to learn more and more.

I have learned from alot of things and different ways. I learned from the Wilton Classes, books, message boards, and watching deoms at the ICES conventions.

calynmom Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 8:50pm
post #3 of 18

I'm still very new at making cakes too. I've only taken wilton course I, II.

I have to say that practice, practice, practice. I've found that i'm a visual person but it took me doing the techniques several times to become sometime good at them.

Don't worry things do get easier and you are always learning something new. Especially with the help of other cake makers on this site.

Everyone on here is wonderful.

jmpearl Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 8:53pm
post #4 of 18

I agree with TexasSugar and calynmom. I am just finishing the Wilton Course 3 and will be taking the fondant/gum past class next month. I am looking for more advanced classes. Just keep practicing! icon_smile.gif

floophs Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 8:58pm
post #5 of 18

Out of curiosity, do you learn how to stack cakes using dowels from any of the Wilton classes or do you learn just basic decorating?

jmpearl Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 9:01pm
post #6 of 18

You do in Course 3, your final cake has to be 2 tiers. You can choose to have it stacked or use pillars with a separator plate.

poshcakedesigns Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 9:04pm
post #7 of 18

I havent taken any classes. Everything I have learned has been mostly by trail and error and by reading all the books and magazines I could find along with tutitorials from the internet.

mcook1670 Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 9:22pm
post #8 of 18

I started t really get into cakes last year. I pretty much have taught myself everything through trail and error.. like don't roll the fondant out 20 mins before you want to wrap the cake or it will dry out and crack. Mot classes teach the basics, for the price they're worth the money. You might look into investing in some dummy cakes and practice on them! I think it's a good way to learn decorating techniques icon_biggrin.gif

tonedna Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 9:28pm
post #9 of 18

I just took the WIlton courses!
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

lanibird Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 10:27pm
post #10 of 18

I'm like poshcakedesigns, books and trial and error (lots of errors! icon_lol.gif ). I have yet to take the Wilton courses, just never have the time! But I do have the Wilton Yearbooks & Special Publications which helped with the basics from dowels to some piping. Also I've learned a lot from other members here on CC!

Edited to add: I hope to take some classes soon, if not Wilton or at my local Community College, then at Cake Camp! www.cakecamp.com Still hoping DH got the NUMEROUS hints about wanting that for my birthday! icon_lol.gif

alanahodgson Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 1:24am
post #11 of 18

I learned everything I know from hanging out here. I stumbled across CC last summer and my obsession began. I took a Wilton course last fall and I was teaching the instructor how to do the upside down method. Needless to say, there was not a lot to be learned there that I could not learn at CC...and then some.

floophs Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 1:33am
post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by alanahodgson

I learned everything I know from hanging out here. I stumbled across CC last summer and my obsession began. I took a Wilton course last fall and I was teaching the instructor how to do the upside down method. Needless to say, there was not a lot to be learned there that I could not learn at CC...and then some.

That's funny that you say that because when I took my Wilton class I was telling the instructor and the rest of the students about CC and how great it was and my instructor really didn't want to hear about it. She made it sound as if the Wilton way is the ONLY way. I understood why she acted that way...she was representing Wilton.

I agree...this site has been so helpful. I have always received help when I PM someone. I guess I just need to jump into it and not be intimidated. What's the worse that can happen...so what if I have a not so good looking cake...then I just eat it. thumbs_up.gif Although I did like the advice about investing in some dummy cakes.

Thanks everyone for your encouragement, advice and also for inspiring me!

TexasSugar Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 2:58am
post #13 of 18
Originally Posted by floophs

She made it sound as if the Wilton way is the ONLY way. I understood why she acted that way...she was representing Wilton.

In class Wilton is the only way.

Since I am an instructor I see both sides of things. I do tell my students about non wilton things, but if you have a really eager student that keeps asking non wilton questions during class it makes it hard to teach the class. As a WMI we are suppose to promite the Wilton Method and products.

As far as the instructor not knowing about the upside down method. I totally understand that. WMI are human and average people that enjoy cake decorating and sharing it with others. We learned from the Wilton classes and some people don't ever look outside of that to learn more, while others keep looking everywhere they can to learn things.

I do think websites like these are really great, but some people are visual learners and need/want the hands on. icon_smile.gif

thecreativeone4 Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 3:13am
post #14 of 18

I am self taught. I read a lot...and lurk on CC a lot. I tried to take a Wilton class once, but the instructor saw my cakes and told me not to waste my money.

My mother did teach me a lot about being crafty, so I think her influence helps quite a bit. She was always teaching me something about cakes so I guess it stuck!

Trial and error... and being under pressure. My best work is last minute and rushed! lol

ugetsnun2 Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 3:14am
post #15 of 18

Wilton is a great way to start learning the basics but if you have the passion and enjoy what you do, you'll branch out and try new things until you perfect your own method.

TexasSugar, I'm a fellow WMI and I agree, when non Wilton things are presented in class, it does make it difficult to teach "the Wilton Method."

debrab Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 3:24am
post #16 of 18

Well...I went to a yard sale one weekend and bought a Bob the Builder cake pan for $1.00 and that started it all. I bought some books and just started looking at this and other web-sites.

Last fall, my friend wanted to take a class to learn so I took it with her. I really didn't learn anything since I had already been decorating for 2 years at that time, but it gave me an excuse to make a cake each week. My staff loved it because they knew on Thursday, I would be bringing cake!

Recently, I started working at a local bakery and I have gotten much faster and I learned how to make an Easter flower. Every thing else was from books, the internet and just making it up as I went along! So far, I've loved every minute of it.

amazinggracecakedesigns Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 11:22am
post #17 of 18

I have taken the Wilton 1, 2, & 3 courses. I am going to be taking Fondant & Gum Paste next month. I loved my classes but I believe there is alot of other methods out there to try. Trial & error is what you will do the most. I am excited about the opportunity to teach a class of my own and I am not sure if I want to teach the Wilton method or just wing it on my own. There is so much more out there to learn & teach. icon_rolleyes.gif

HerBoudoir Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 12:29pm
post #18 of 18

I've been baking and playing around with decorating for years - it's just something I've always enjoyed. I love being able to produce something with that "wow" factor.

I went back to college full time in the Fall of 2005, working on a degree in hotel and restaurant management. We're required to take a couple basic culinary courses for that major, and that really sparked my interest in taking my baking to the next level. I ended up taking an intermediate cakes class as an elective, which helped me refine a lot of what I was doing. I learned a ton of stuff there, from chemistry to stacking cakes to basic fondant to frosting a buttercream cake smooth, and so on. We did a lot of different tortes and entremes and charlottes as well. If you can fit taking a college pastry course aimed at professional chefs into your time and budget, I highly recommend it - it was a lot of fun. It would have taken me much longer to work through learning those techniques on my own.

In March, I finally got around to starting to take Wilton classes because I wanted to learn more but I just don't have time for another college course right now. I took Wilton I in March, I'm just finishing up Wilton III right now, and I'll take II next month. I'll probably take the fondant/gumpaste class in the fall.

I'm really enjoying the classes - one thing that they do is get me out there MAKING something, which I do not always make the time to do. Yep, they are there to promote the Wilton name and everything that goes with it, but the flip side is that it's one of the only companies to consistently offer affordable, regular classes as well as products for the home decorator. I may be able to pick up a few Wilton things at WallyWorld more cheaply than the Michaels where I'm taking classes, but the reality is they have the classes to sell the products - with the classes often 1/2 price, they're not making any money there. I figure I'm doing my part to encourage Michaels to continue to offer the classes.

I went to the Mid Atlantic Cake Show last weekend - didn't take any classes as I felt I really needed to at least get through all the Wilton ones first icon_smile.gif Maybe next year.

I have a ton of baking cookbooks (probably close to 100 now if not more), and about a dozen on decorating. I refer to them often but rarely do I copy something exactly out of them. I have a nice mix of European ones (more my style) as well as American.

I don't think you necessarily need the classes to learn decorating. I know for me, they work well because it pushes me to try something new.

Overall, I think that you need to have a willingness to experiment, learn from both your successes and failures, and just have FUN with it. If you can do that, you'll be a-ok icon_smile.gif

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