forthwife Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 1:36am
post #1 of

I have great desire to become an excellent decorator. I'm fairly new to caking (wilton 1 class was in July) and have progressed decently. However, I now find cakes I would have thought were FABULOUS 3 months ago are dissapointing. This is primarily because I desire perfectly straight sides, sharp corners, and flawless fondant. Am I expecting too much of myself? I don't expect myself to be perfect but am disenheartened that every step I take up the ladder, I realize there are ten million more I didn't see before. I did only take Wilton 1 then took Wilton fondant and gumpaste...but found them only to be fair. The instructors were ok...not great. I watched Sugarshack's dvds and was overwhelmed because I primarily disagree with fashion over flavor. I hate, HATE shortening based icing. Is there anyway to have both a generously iced cake, beautiful fondant and AMAZING flavor? Sorry for the rant. By the way, I'd love some pointers on how I could improve. So if you wanna look at my profile and give me tips, I'd be grateful. Thanks a million!!!

31 replies
jammjenks Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 2:34am
post #2 of

I don't know what it is that you don't think is up to par. You have a cake that has 79 favorites for goodness sake. Snap out of it and see that you are doing a great job. It has only been three months since you took your Wilton class. The more you practice, the better you'll get. Chin up.....

jenlg Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 2:38am
post #3 of

Everyone who just starts is always going to want to do better. You've got the normal thoughts of anyone believe me. I've been doing cakes for the past year and still pick at the littlest things...that could be better, I hate the way that looks, why did I do it that way???? Your off to a good start and its good you took the classes. I'd reccommend taking the other ones. I still refer to the books for pointers. Don't get yourself down. Everyone starts somewhere...just practice practice practice. Get yourself some cake dummies if you don't have any already. I bought mine from candylandcrafts website, decent prices and super fast shipping. Hang in there!

Niliquely Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 2:05pm
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*Laughing* So if you are needing a confidence boost just go look at my photos! HA! I only have completed Wilton 1 and trust me, you are WAY better than I am!!! But for me, I am not down about that others are lots better. It is motivation! I want to do this, I am addicted to cake decorating and I am determined to get better! Don't get discouraged - you are doing great!

indydebi Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 2:21pm
post #5 of

Look .... I had been doing cakes for 25 years when I found CC. I thought I was pretty good at it.

Then I start going thru the photos on this site. Talk about a reality check! I'm thinking, "Geesh, Debi, you have some NERVE calling yourself a decorator!" compared to the talent I was being exposed to for the very first time on here!

The positive spin on this is that you've come to the right place to be inspired and motivated.

Heck, I've even added fondant to my cakes .... something I swore I'd NEVER do!! But the folks on here have a way of nudging you outside your comfort zone and making you feel confident enough to do it, all at the same time! They're like the mama birds pushing us out of the nest! Next thing you know, we're flying!! thumbs_up.gif

Susie53 Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 2:29pm
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forthwife, from looking at your pictures I think you are doing an amazing job on your cakes!!!

bobwonderbuns Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 2:33pm
post #7 of

As one big name in the biz once told me, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! I have many cool ideas in my head and my skills are not up to making those a reality yet, but I have to sit down and practice and eventually you will get better. Now there are some things I cannot do to save my life (like piping) but again, practice!! (And piping is my LEAST favorite thing to practice, let me tell you!!) Also, there was one cake pix on here not long ago (can't remember the cake or the artist) but I remember her comment which was that she is new to decorating and she saw a Ron Ben-Israel cake that she wanted to try, so she got the dummies out and low and behold, she made a beautiful cake. She said it was challenging and quite a learning experience but that's how you get from good to better to excellent. Strive to emmulate the best and you will find your own skills creeping up there too. Cheer up! Your pix show great potential! icon_biggrin.gif

rvercher23 Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 2:38pm
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I think that when doing cakes and decorating them, it is important to believe in yourself and know that you can do it. Even if you are not perfect, with time you will get there. I still get discouraged, but I just have to tell myself that I can do it. Hang in there, we are all learning together.

bcake1960 Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 2:45pm
post #9 of

Practice, Practice, Practice and keep taking classes.. I took my first class after 22 years of cake decorating I was self taught.. I bought a wilton book and set of tips and just decorated the heck out of a fliped over cake pan.. I swore I would never do fondant either but now I am hooked.. pretty much all of my cakes now have fondant accents. But when I took a class (not wilton) I took a class from Earlene Moore WOW what a difference! I was doing everything the hard way... when you have the right tools and the knowledge to do it the right wayt its sooo much easier... Hang in there if you really have the desire you will get there... Its called the school of hard Knocks YOU LEARN FROM EVERY HARD KNOCK
It would be nice to just snap our fingers and be perfect. But thats not how it works. Relax, experiment, Heck I got uptight just reading your post.. Cake decorating is FUN!! Your cakes are ver nice... When working with the fondant Work from the top of the cake down..the sides.. and just keep easing fondant away from the side of the cake until you reach the bottom.. your almost there.... HAVE FUN! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

newmansmom2004 Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 2:56pm

We all aspire to have those flawless finishes, perfect flowers, beautiful sharp edges, smooth as silk fondant and fabulous flavor, but you have to remember that many of the guys and gals making those gorgeous, perfect looking cakes have been doing so for YEARS. I've been doing this about two years and still feel that I'm not ready to actually charge for my cakes so I still do "practice" cakes all the time that end up at my husband's office. I learn something new - a technique, a little "tip", a new flavor combination, new icing, etc. - every time I work on a cake so you never stop learning. Keep practicing, read everything you can get your hands on, and don't give up! You have some nice work but don't beat yourself up if it's not perfect. You're new to this and it will take time to hone your skills. If you don't like the shortening based icings, try something like Swiss meringue buttercream or use butter or cream cheese instead of shortening. If your experience with shortening has been strictly using Crisco, try a high-ratio shortening such as Alpine Lace, Sweetex, Super Quik Blend, etc. Check your local bakeries to see if they'll sell you some high-ratio shortening or order it online if you dont' have a local source.

Remember - this should be FUN so don't take it so seriously that you stress yourself out of doing it if you really do enjoy it! I'd look for additional classes with a different instructor since you didn't care much for the one you had. I don't care for the Wilton projects, but I did learn a great deal from my instructor and I couldn't do what I do today without having learned from her. Don't give up...YOU CAN DO IT!!!

marknelliesmum Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 3:03pm

I call it the head and hand syndrome...your head says hell yeah i can do that but your hands are a bit less compliant icon_lol.gif This place is great for really encouraging you with skills and ideas. I am a hobby baker and I make it my mission to make each cake be a bit better and more difficult than the last, or at least practise a new skill. I've never taken any classes but you learn just by doing and asking the experts on here. Keep at it - i love looking back at my first cakes which at the time I thought were amazing and compare them to where I am now and I think oh goodness they were maybe not quite so great after all. If you are aiming to be Collette Peters in just a few months then yeah you will be disappointed - decorating is about fun and enjoyment and satisfaction when the cake is done ( not to mention the rude words used in the 'doing'). Cut yourself some slack and focus on some key skills rather than unrealistically trying to get everything perfect. Fun, Fun, Fun!

Malakin Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 3:18pm

I find faults with every single cake I do. This or that isn't how I wanted it to be. There are always things I tell myself I could have done better, of course after the fact. That's how we learn. If we thought we were doing perfect cakes to begin with, I don't think we would ever strive to improve our skills. Which I hope someday soon I will!!

Win Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 3:26pm

Next year, at about this time, go back and look at what you created over that period. You'll be amazed at where you've ventured! I started playing with sugar again just a little over a year ago after a 10 year lull in decorating --and even back then it was only after a Wilton I course and cakes for my kids as they went through the "character" stages. I can't believe how far I have progressed with the help of these wonderful people on CC, Food Network Challenges and the encouragement and support of my family! Your pictures show you already have the basics you need for success. Patience, practice and time will elevate your skill level. However, I caution, we are our own worst critics and I truly don't think we ever are completely satisfied with our skill level. After all, if we become complacent are we not just settling then and no longer striving, striving, striving?

cakelady31 Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 6:20pm

Ditto... What everyone else said!!

It's so true, we are are own worse critics, I have been cake decorating for over a decade and I am learning all the time. I think there will always be the " I should of" or the "I could have " done this or that but that is what makes us good at what we do. ( The everlasting wanting it to be perfect)

Of course I just recently found this very awesome ,addicting,inspiring site full of helpful, talented people that love to help .

Just keep on cake'n and your skill level will progress along with everyone else here. icon_biggrin.gif

Bonnell Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 6:37pm

I know how you feel. I am also new at decorating even though this is my second try. My first try was 22 yrs ago - took all the Wilton classes and couldn't consistently produce a pretty cake to save my life so I quit out of frustration. A few months back I found myself looking for a hobby since all my kids have flown the nest and decided to give cake decorating another try. I have again taken all the Wilton classes and I still have trouble getting decent cakes every time but they are better than 22 yrs ago!. This time I refuse to become frustrated when I mess up (an there are plenty of those). Instead of getting frustrated I try to pick out a couple of things I learn from each mistake I make and that has helped keep me from giving up. Finding this site was a great inspiration and support to me and I am truly addicted.

Your cakes are very pretty - better than mine are and I've gone through all 3 Wilton levels and am on Fondant and Gumpaste right now. Hang in there.

MacsMom Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 7:31pm

As far as generous icing under fondant goes, I've found out that it doesn't matter how thic your BC is under the fondant because when people peel off the fondant the icing gets pulled off with it. I haven't noticed anyone scraping the BC off of the fondant they've just peeled off.

I do love the taste of my fondant, but most people won't even give it a chance because it's more of a consistency thing - chewy.

Since I've discovered LoRann candy flavoring oils, I use those as flavors for my fondant, exclusively. I almost always use the butter flavor because it gives it a great BC taste, but occasionally I'll match the fondant to the cake flavor with : Strawberry, amaretto, peanut butter, capuccino, etc.

jammjenks Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 7:33pm

Take a look at this thread. Maybe it will help you (if not, at least you'll laugh)....

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopic-595795-0.html

cakemomof3 Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 8:12pm

I just want to say that I think your cakes are great. I have taken Wilton Course 1, 2, 3 and am now taking the fondant and gum paste class. Before starting the cakes I never ever even baked or decorated a single cake before.
My cakes look nowhere near as good as yours. Sometimes I even think I am fooling myself by taking these classes cause my cakes just don't seem to come out right.
I have not even had enough courage to post one of my cake pics yet.

So I think you are doing a wonderful job.

yaadie Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 8:54pm

I feel better now.....whew...here I though I was the only one who felt inadequate, especially after coming on cake central and seeing the quality of work out there....nice to know that even people with lovely cakes feel that way too!! perhaps I am not as bad as I thought...lol...because you are a good decorator yet you don't FEEL that way....thanks...you cheered me up a bit!!

LOL.....don't worry...you are doing quite well.....

dawncr Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 9:36pm

You are doing great, especially for only being at it for a few months! You've got a natural talent, and I'd guess that your cakes would be comparable to the cakes of some of the very famous cakers' ones when they were a few months into it.

If making perfect and beautiful cakes were so easy that it could be mastered in a few months, there wouldn't be any need for us, would there? Nobody would need a cake because they could do it themselves.

Also, one of the great things I learned from CC is that lots of people don't like "American" buttercream (although I guess it's more accurately called "Powdered Sugar" buttercream?). Take a look at this thread---Many of the best cakers here don't use it, either:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-595799.html

liapsim Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 9:53pm

I think your cakes look excellent for just starting in July! You've made excellent progress and just keep your chin up! The more practice you get, the better you get....practice makes perfect!

forthwife Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 9:55pm

You guys are awesome!! I love CC. It gives me inspiration, new challenges and now greater hope! Thank you all for your kind words and help. Normally I'm not so tough on myself...but I was "in a funk" when I wrote the post last night. I do think it's funny that I'm not the only one who imagines AMAZING cakes, then is frustrated when their hands don't comply with what was imagined. Maybe that's how little children feel and that's why they get upset so often. Again, thank you for your words of kindness and encouragement. Also, as a side note. Once you're done with Wilton classes, what's the next step? I know there are LOTS and LOTS of things to still be learned, where do I go? THANKS!!

Susie53 Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 9:59pm

forthwife, I was wondering the same thing, I just finished up with the Wilton courses and was wondering the same thing. I'd love to learn more, but there isn't anything else around that I know of in the East Texas area.

all4cake Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 10:06pm

forthwife and yaadie, ya'll are a trip!!! The cakes ya'll are doing are fantastic! Maybe the work isn't where YOU want it to be but feeling discouraged or inadequate is uncalled for. (I ain't sayin' you don't have a right to feel any way you want...) Oh, my word! Your cakes represent what you have accomplished from ground zero and your potential to do greater things. I wouldn't snub my nose at any of your cakes! I've been decorating cakes for an eternity(or so it seems) and ya'll's cakes far exceed anything I've done. Y'all have a higher level of perfection and a greater desire to reach perfection than I. You both, I believe, will achieve monstrous heights with your work. Cut yourselves some slack and realize what you have achieved.

Keep up the good work!

JenWhitlock Posted 26 Oct 2008 , 11:04pm

forthwife,
I know how you feel... I had a pretty bad one of these funks a few months ago. but seriously, practice, practice, practice...
I have now done the same cake three times for three different people. the first one was cute, but it sagged horribly. happily for me, the third one (a year later) is much better. (although it still pales in comparison to so many here)
keep coming back here and pick some hard cake that you just love and go at it as if is going to work perfectly. icon_wink.gif
I guess, you need to just come up with more reasons to do a cake. did you do a Halloween cake?

also, I stopped using shortening BC, and just use Meringue BC. I still liked Sharon's DVD, and do everything except the retouching. I wish, wish, wish I could make it smoother, but I need more practice icon_lol.gif

when you use a MBC, chill the cake, the BC will set up harder and that will give you a sharper fondant. also, with the pleating...practice, practice, practice. like previous posters said, keep working little by little pulling it out and pressing it down.

finally, I removed some of my lame cakes, but I keep my Wilton one up as a reminder of where I started.

forthwife Posted 27 Oct 2008 , 4:09am

I haven't made a Halloween cake, soley because I already did 3 this week and I'm going out of town and need to pack. icon_smile.gif I love, love, LOVE making cake. It really does make me happy, I just want to be fabulous and am not very patient. You'd think being a mother of 3 small children (who I am very patient with) I'd learn to give myself a break. I am so excited to finally find my artistic outlet. I'm a girl who draws rediculous stick figures and wheel thrown pottery was my hardest class in 4 years of college. So, this is why I am so very invested in it. Oh, off topic, I refrigerate my cakes after putting on the fondant, how can I keep it from going shiney with the humidity? Thank guys, you're awesome!!

MacsMom Posted 27 Oct 2008 , 5:27am
Quote:
Originally Posted by forthwife

Oh, off topic, I refrigerate my cakes after putting on the fondant, how can I keep it from going shiney with the humidity? Thank guys, you're awesome!!




Give it 3 or 4 hours to come to room temp. If it still hasn't dried, the handy-dandy hair dryer works like magic. Just point and shoot! It dries it very quickly. But you can't do this on a cold cake or it will just keep forming condensation until it warms to room temp.

kbw5780 Posted 27 Oct 2008 , 12:58pm

I think your cakes are great!!!! I have the same thoughts, as well! I am new at this, too, and would like to be fabulous eventually. Just when I think I did a great job on a cake, then I look at someone elses and think, 'why can't I be this good?'

pastryjen Posted 27 Oct 2008 , 3:16pm

With each cake you will get better...a little story for you...back when I started I really wanted to do basic string work on a cake. It was awful. I decided to just forget it. Fast forward 9 years (and a long break in decorating) to last month and my friend asked me to make a cake with basic string. Ohh I was dreading it. It was going to look so bad. I finally got to the decorating and it wasn't so bad...I could actually do it! It was pretty easy. All the practice over the years really helped.

With each cake, you will learn something and your skill will improve. Your cakes are great so far so you can only get better.

lkoenig07 Posted 30 Oct 2008 , 2:14pm

Wow, are you kidding me?! Your cakes are fantastic!!! I love the leaves cake... so cute icon_smile.gif I think you're doing a great job. I am the same way you are. I obsess about every little thing that goes wrong; it takes having my hubby with me to keep encouraging me & sometimes helping me when I stress out too much. I am a little bit of a perfectionist, esp. when it comes to cake decorating (not like you'd be able to tell from my pics) but you have to get over that & realize that the person you are making the cake for won't notice the small details that you notice; all they'll see is an awesome-looking cake!!

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