I hope to one day soon be able to run a cake business out of my home, but I am really new to all of this. I have been taking some Wilton Classes and practicing, practicing, practicing my baking. I'm not working full time right now, so I am using all my extra free time to learn how to bake better, researching decorating ideas, practicing the lessons I've learned, trying to teach myself from various books, etc. There is so much to know about the world of cake decorating that my head spins sometimes. I've thought about going to baking school, but it is very expensive and the only baking program offered in my area is for pastry and desserts and I really just want to focus on cake baking. Anyway, I am rambling here. I would love to hear some of your experiences and how you got to where you are at running your own business.
Do you have formal baking training?
How did you get into cake decorating? Was it a hobby first?
How many of you started out with the goal of becoming a professional cake decorator and how did you get there? (What types of training did you take, etc.?)
Sorry for so many questions. Thanks in advance for any help!
Many highly successful cake decorators are not culinary school graduates. Lessons in various skills are usually very helpful. You can refine recipes for your business, without going to school. If you can learn from books, there are many. there are also great videos from skilled professionals.
But, before you begin investing in lots of equipment (and it seems to grow fast) you need to find out whether or not your state allows the sale of home-baked goods. Some do, many do not. In some states you are required to have a separate, licensed kitchen.
There is no such thing as a " cake baking " program. Since most public universities don't have culinary programs, the most cost effective " education" that will help you if your desire is to be a cake designer is art classes. Learning to render ( since a LOT of requests are can you amke a cake that looks like...) will be very useful as will color theory, sculpture etc.
If you want to be a great baker, but don't care about pastry other than cake, I would suggest saving your money and taking a class at King Arthur Flour ( not expensive but will require travel) or Rose Birbaum, or see if someone i your area would like a baking apprentice.
I hire two kinds of employees. Ones with a talent for baking, and those who I can toss a wad of fondant and say- " Make me Kung Fu Panda from this". I do " bench tests" for all of my new employees, which means I have them come in for 1/2 day that I pay $10 an hour for, and give them three tasks. One baking, one basic decorating, and one painting, sculpting etc. Based on the results of the test, I know whether I want to hire them and what I can afford to pay them.