How Did You Learn?

Decorating By Abbiedal Updated 8 May 2009 , 11:58pm by KarenOR

Abbiedal Posted 6 May 2009 , 11:06am
post #1 of 23

Being that I am always in awe of all the cakes I see on here I'm curious how many of you learned your talent? I understand its alot of practice but I don't seem to have any place locally that gives really extensive classes, (unless I go to college but I don't have time to go full time) I've done the wilton classes but I would love to make gumpaste flowers, topsy turvy cakes etc. I'd like to learn the details of decorating. Do the videos people list on here really help or are there certai books you all read?
Thanks Sandy

22 replies
NoahLili Posted 6 May 2009 , 11:17am
post #2 of 23

I learned everything I know from just a handful of sources: first this site of course, and from Sugarshack's DVD's. They truely are amazing. Along with this, just practice, practice, practice. Whenever I see or read about something new, I find an excuse to make a cake to try it.

cylstrial Posted 6 May 2009 , 11:21am
post #3 of 23

I just took the Wilton classes and everything else I've learned from wonderful people on here and just taught myself. Even Mary Maher didn't go to school for cake. It's just natural talent that she took the time to develop. And look at her successful business!

LP4702 Posted 6 May 2009 , 11:21am
post #4 of 23

As one who is still learning, I have done quite a bit of learning right here in Cake Central. I have found that everyone is extremely helpful and have read pages of posts where they have shared what they know. I also did a google search on youtube for gumpaste and have found many great videos, even tho I haven't tried any yet. My daughter and I are lucky in that we have a local cake craft store that offers classes and we've also taken a few of them. Haven't taken the actual Wilton classes, but what they offer is comparable.

Can't offer up any books that would help you, but I'm sure others will come along who can help you!!

Good luck with everything!!!

scoutmamma Posted 6 May 2009 , 11:36am
post #5 of 23

well, trial and error, error, error, SUCCESS!!! I went on youtube and looked at alot of serious cakes tutorials... plus the wilton site. but mostly just practice. if you cover a cutting board or something like it in wax paper, you can practice with tips, and scrape it off and try again... but alot of hours on CC and a love of Caking, thats my story.

tammytamtam Posted 7 May 2009 , 8:27am
post #6 of 23

Basically, I was thrown into the job of cake decorator with no training at all, within the first few days I had enough practice under my belt that I was not afraid to try new things, most of which I learned right here on cake central. icon_smile.gif You learn really quick when you are decorating 30 plus cakes a day. LOL

nicolesprinkle Posted 7 May 2009 , 10:20am
post #7 of 23

I am new also and have been teaching myself and watching lots of Youtube vids! Here are some of my favorites!


I hope this helps!

indydebi Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:22pm
post #8 of 23

When I started 30 years ago, there were no food channels, no internet, no dvd's (heck VCR's were barely in circulation then!), and there were no stores that gave classes. If you wanted to learn to decorate, you picked up a bag, a Wilton book and plugged away on your own.

That's how I learned.

courtney1009 Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:36pm
post #9 of 23

I highly recommend Sharon Zambito and Jennifer Dontz DVD's. They are wonderful! They compliment each other very well too! Jennifer also does beautiful gumpaste flowers. She doesn't have a DVD on them, but she sells all of the supplies to make them and she is super helpful so you don't feel lost when you try to make them. She has helped me a ton!!! I have found that those DVD's have taught me more than any book or other resource I've looked at. The other things have helped, but the DVD's are definitely worth the money. Plus CC is great too.

CookieMeister Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:43pm
post #10 of 23
Originally Posted by nicolesprinkle

I am new also and have been teaching myself and watching lots of Youtube vids! Here are some of my favorites!


I second this! I have learned so much from you tube videos, particularly aine2. She is fantastic!

cakes22 Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:51pm
post #11 of 23
Originally Posted by CakeMeister

Originally Posted by nicolesprinkle

I am new also and have been teaching myself and watching lots of Youtube vids! Here are some of my favorites!


I second this! I have learned so much from you tube videos,
particularly aine2. She is fantastic!

I have to add serious_cakes to the list!! She has some great vids on Youtube!

tx_cupcake Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:52pm
post #12 of 23

Cake Central and YouTube. If it weren't for Tonedna, Sharon, Aine2, and many of the other amazingly talented ladies on this site willing to share their secrets, I don't know where I'd be.

I'm also a big fan of books. I've learned many techniques from Colette Peters, Elisa Strauss and Peggy Porschen just from their books. I highly recommend making a trip to Half Priced Books and picking up any decorating books you can find. is also a great book resource if you're on a budget.

charlene008 Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:52pm
post #13 of 23

don't be afraid of failing, there is no failing, its all trial and error! If you see something in a book or magazine, try it. Thats how I have learned. I grew up watching my mom decorate but when she sees what I do she tells me that she would never of thought of that or even tried it! I love the challange of something new and different and my family loves to eat my practices!!! icon_biggrin.gif Just go for it!!!

jammjenks Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:57pm
post #14 of 23

I took the Wilton 1 course in Oct 2006. I did learn some basics in there, but it was CC that has helped me most. tonedna's youtube tutorial on icing a cake in buttercream, along with the Melvira method of smoothing, have been the most helpful. Sugarshack's art of buttercream dvd was great also.

JenniferMI Posted 7 May 2009 , 1:16pm
post #15 of 23

Books and DVDs are a great learning source.

When I first started, many moons ago, there wasn't internet and much around for me in my little town. I just started with Wilton yearbooks and practiced.

If you ever have any questions I might be able to help you with, just ask away.

Happy baking/decorating!

Jennifer icon_smile.gif

mbt4955 Posted 7 May 2009 , 1:18pm
post #16 of 23

I had my first (hopefully first of many!) gumpaste class this spring, but did gp roses and dogwood on my daughter's wedding cake three years ago. That was when I got into cakes - nothing like jumping off into the deep end. icon_smile.gif I did a lot of research on line and bought books - lots of books. I have since started purchasing DVD's - I have Michele Foster, Jennifer Dontz, Sharon Zambito. What is really great is that they are all CC'ers and have always been willing to answer specific questions and give advice. Nicholas Lodge is an amazing gp teacher and his DVD's are excellent. Of course, CC is an unbelievable resource. I am constantly amazed at how generous these amazing decorators are with their knowledge. icon_biggrin.gif

You might also check around and see if there is a cake club in your area (or a bakery) that holds classes. They are usually affordable and many of them bring in top instructors to teach special classes.


Abbiedal Posted 7 May 2009 , 1:18pm
post #17 of 23

Thank you all so much !!!! I guess I'll be spnding alot of time in front of the computer!!! I love this site

Sabz Posted 7 May 2009 , 7:09pm
post #18 of 23

I came across a link on how to make coral. I thought it was pretty cool:

Sugarflowers Posted 8 May 2009 , 4:03am
post #19 of 23

Like indydebi, there wasn't much available for help. I took the Wilton courses and used any book I could find. Books were limited also. When trying to do a search on-line, the word "cake" brought up porn. This was not helpful or my kind of thing.

For years most of what I learned was from telling a customer, with confidence, that I could make a complicated cake. Then when I hung up the phone I had no idea how to make the cake. So MANY things were made on the fly with only my pea-brain for help.

So I guess like others have said - trial and error, LOTS of trial and even more error. icon_smile.gif


Lee15 Posted 8 May 2009 , 5:01pm
post #20 of 23

I started by taking Wilton classes which were affordable. Then I started buying books and DVDs. I made cakes and donated them to a soup kitchen - they were very happy and never noticed any of my mistakes. I also attend ICES DOS and you get some of the big names in cake decorating offering classes cheaper.

And of course, there is CC - can't say enough about this site.

mariela_ms Posted 8 May 2009 , 5:09pm
post #21 of 23

I"ve never been to a class before. I am learning as I go with practice and most importantly everyone here on CC! I've learned so many things here that I think it would be a waste to go to basic decorating classes. I do love Sugarshack's DVDs though and Tonedna's YouTube Videos! They are awesome!

diane Posted 8 May 2009 , 10:07pm
post #22 of 23

i have yet to take a cake decorating class. everything i know is from here, books, dvds, and practice...practice...practice! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

KarenOR Posted 8 May 2009 , 11:58pm
post #23 of 23

I also just picked up the stuff and started doing it. I did my first cake by the seat of my pants. Then I decided it was really fun and I started reading sites and looking at pictures in books.
I've never taken a class either, but I do have a natural artistic ability that I got from my grandmother and that helps.

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