One of my new years resolutions is to bake at least two cakes per month, and learn a new decorating technique for each of them.
So, what are the things that you find yourself using constantly? flowers, fondant things, bows, colors, etc?
I have taken Wilton class 1, and might go back for class three or fondant and gumpaste. I also want to start doing stacked cakes and tiers and a topsy turvy one in a few months
Well, I'm still learning, but maybe some good things to start with are:
1. Buttercream!!: If you plan to sell them or if you want the REALLY professional look, you gotta get it smooth. Like crazy smooth. If you don't know how to do that, you should look up the Viva towel method and the Melvira method. I've tried the Viva towel method. Works pretty good, but I've heard the Melvira method is better. I'll be trying that on my next bc cake!
2. Torting and Filling: There's a lot of things that can go wrong here.
3. Stacking for tiered cakes
4. Baking the cakes: I haven't had much problems with this, but honestly I've read so much about it here on CC before I encountered these potential problems. lol.
5. If you plan to do fondant, there's plenty of info on here on how to get it "just right."
6. Piping: This is something I'm still perfecting, but from what I understand, its a VERY useful skill. You'll need it a lot!
Well I hope this helps a little. Good luck!
The above is a GREAT list! I'd add as a sub-title under stacking cakes "Leveling", "support systems" (i.e. how to cut a dowel rod level, if that's the system you select to work with).
- Learn different borders. Nothing says "novice" more than a standard shell border that's oversized for the cake.
Believe it or not, this was the hardest one for me to learn. I came "from the day" when the shell border was standard and that was pretty much all that was taught or shown in the magz's. This is an area where it's just hard for me to break out of the box and I'm always looking for great new border ideas.
- Practice a different flower with each cake, be it BC or fondant or gumpaste.
I can whip out BC roses really fast. My daughter thinks I'm awesome because ".....mom makes rosebuds RIGHT ON THE CAKE! " (I just let her think I'm awesome! ) But that's pretty much my flower making expertise. I did figure out how to make a rose out of Tootsie Roll, but I really need to learn how to make a variety of BC flowers and I'd love to find out I have enough talent to hack my way thru making gumpaste flowers. (I watch tonedna's youtube's on gumpaste with envy!)
OP, you should really listen to Ms. indydebi. lol. She's like a walking encyclopedia on all things cake (or from what I've read, anything for that matter. )
Ms. indydebi - I find it hard to believe that there's something YOU have a hard time with. lol. I prefer modeling flowers rather than piping them with bc. I just can't seem to get the famous "Wilton Rose" I need to take the Wilton classes, but it's hard for where we live.
I think I'm actually good at making them with fondant, etc. The bouquet picture in my photos was my first time working with modeling chocolate. They came out really nice. Of course, I learned that working with chocolate works so much better sitting next to a window when it's cold outside as opposed to standing over a stove while a cake is baking. And I prefer makin em free hand rather than using the cutters wilton makes. But that's OT. My apologies.
Agree with all of the above. Wilton classes are really an inexpensive way to learn some of the basics. After that, I bought books and DVDs (and still do) and just kept at it.
I would like to work more with fondant and doing tiered cakes. I also want to be able to make a gumpaste high heel shoe and make a fabulous purse cake.
If I can add my two pence worth, once you feel up to it, you might want to invest in the Buttercream, Fondant and Successful Stacking DVDs by Sugarshack at http://www.sugaredproductions.com/ I promise you won't regret it.
I agree. The things you see recommended in here that have anything to do with Sugarshack, Jennifer Dontz, Tonedna, I'm sure there are others...invest in those methods, equipment and techniques. I have never taken a Wilton class, and have not the slightest clue what a shell border is or how to make a BC rose, but they aren't things I'm asked to do or would consider part of my style (not a hit at people who do, at all, just giving a different view)...you can become a fabulous designer decorator by following what the gals up there do. A few DVD's, some practice, and you're on your way!
I have never taken a Wilton class, but I did look at everything they had posted on their website when I first started decorating. I can't do a buttercream rose either. I then discovered CC and Sugarshack, then Edna and Lorraine. LOVE them all! I search for and research new ideas on this site. Your best tool above all else is going to be time. You need time to perfect any skill or talent. Good luck in all your endeavors in caking!!
Wilton is a great place to start, but as you can see from the previous posts...there is a HUGE world of sugar art out there!!
As you have noticed, each of us has our own little "niche" in that sugar world: I am a 'piper' : I can do stringwork, pipe borders, figures and flowers in bc like nobody's business!
But I totally suck when it comes to doing gumpaste work!
As you practice and learn different techniques you will find your own specialty. And time and practice is the essential ingredient here!
Take the rest of the Wilton classes, if you can. They will form a base of knowledge that you can build on. Learn as much from the gals on this site as you can! Watch the DVD's and tutorials suggested-they are amazing!
I often suggested to my students to take a flower arranging class. It will help you immensly with arranging your sugar flowers!
And of course, I always like to put in a good word for joining ICES (International Cake Exploration Societe). Going to local meetings and conventions, watching all those demos has helped me learn a ton of new skills - not to mention making a ton of "cake friends"!