Should I Be Concerned About My Instructor?

Decorating By Bake-n-4Fun Updated 5 Mar 2010 , 7:47pm by Lorieann55

Bake-n-4Fun Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 6:27am
post #1 of 23

I'm taking a cake decorating class and am wondering just how much my instructor should know about decorating. Asked a question about crumb coating and my instructor said she had no idea what that was. Asked about covering a square cake in fondant and she didn't know how. Asked about mixing Tylose powder in fondant and she didn't know what Tylose was. Am I asking things that most instructors won't know or did I get an instructor who is not up to par?

22 replies
zdebssweetsj Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 6:37am
post #2 of 23

I spoke with a Wilton's instructor about taking classes, never had time to, she pretty much told me they kinda figure things out as they go along. I guess it really depends on the instructor and how much experience she has. I had never heard of Tylose powder, crumbcoating or how to cover a square cake if it wasn't for this site Good luck with your class just remember it will still come down to practice.

noahsmummy Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 6:38am
post #3 of 23

ummm; id be asking for my money back. im a TOTAL newbie and even i know about those things.....=/

Lorieann55 Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 6:39am
post #4 of 23

Sounds like you need to point her in the direction of CC icon_smile.gif

What level of instruction is the class supposed to be?
Was there a class description provided?
Can you get your class fees refunded?

zdebssweetsj Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 6:43am
post #5 of 23
Originally Posted by Bake-n-4Fun

I'm taking a cake decorating class and am wondering just how much my instructor should know about decorating. Asked a question about crumb coating and my instructor said she had no idea what that was. Asked about covering a square cake in fondant and she didn't know how. Asked about mixing Tylose powder in fondant and she didn't know what Tylose was. Am I asking things that most instructors won't know or did I get an instructor who is not up to par?

Welcome to CC your going to love this site

Jeep_girl816 Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 6:45am
post #6 of 23

Wow, I would consider those pretty basic thing in today's decorating world, but maybe that's just it. My Grandmother could put together a wedding cake in an afternoon AND deliver it! but those were the 70's-80's and things we different then. She never "crumb coated" didn't use fondant and also probably never heard of Tylose but she was an amazing decorator for her time. She'd probably be a bit lost now in the currant cake world but she could teach you how to pipe like nobody's business. I would try to take all you can from the classes, mainly basics and piping, check out youtube for fondant and a few tricks here and there and of course become a cakecentral addict icon_smile.gif

Evoir Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 7:00am
post #7 of 23

An instructor should know more than the subject matter of a particular class, IMO. When I have taken classes, students have been able to pick the brains of instructors about ANYTHING really, so long as it didn't interfere with what was being taught in the syllabus.

Having said that - you can still learn from other decorators (not specifically class instructors with a course they're meant to teach) who do NOT have a full complement of skills. For example, I am learning techniques that were popular years ago because the art is gradually dying out with the older ladies who used to practice it! I do not go to these women looking for tips on how to run gumpaste through a cricut machine, LOL! Just like everything else in this world, fashions change and recycle. It would be nice having fine RI skills when everyone else is using cricuts and stencils and silicon moulds and everybody's's cakes always end up looking the same!

Bake-n-4Fun Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 7:04am
post #8 of 23

I should have mentioned that it's a fondant class.

nwnest Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 8:17am
post #9 of 23

I've taken four Wilton classes with three different instructors. It is really the luck of the draw: how enthusiastic the instructors are, how experienced they are, how much research they do outside the basic instruction they received. I know crumb-coating was covered in either course 1 or 2, but with fondant there is typically only one layer of icing, so that's probably forgiveable. You didn't say where you were taking the course. Wilton really sticks to their own products and their own methods, they don't offer "Tylose" but if you had asked about "Gum-tex" she should have known. Typically they are only responsible for the specific steps covered in the course books, though they often pick up "instructor tips" in the workshops they attend when they are learning how to teach. The course book for Fondant and Gumpaste doesn't cover square cakes, all the sample cakes are round, but I know I asked my instructor about square cakes and she was very quick with the answer.

Christen99 Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 8:27am
post #10 of 23

Crumb coating was covered in Wilton 1, right after torting and filling (the very first class!).

I took my classes with a Wilton instructor, but she went to the SF Cullinary Academy and taught us ways of doing things that weren't necessarily "Wilton". She knew a TON of extra stuff that wasn't covered in Wilton, and it was a great experience. She actually created her own kits, and provided higher quality materials than Wilton. I was able to pick her brain and she has been a fantastic resource ever since.

I did however pick up some extra stuff here that she didn't do (Viva method with roller, etc.), but nobody can know EVERYTHING about something. There's always something new to learn!

I would be a bit ticked however if I paid for a class and the instructor knew less than me though. I only paid $15 for Wilton 1, but I did buy all of my materials and ingredients from my instructor so that's where she makes her money (sweetex, satin ice, ateco, americolor, etc.)

auntiecake Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 8:46am
post #11 of 23

I teach classes and have decorated for 40 plus years! I have heard of all those things and feel an instructor should be familiar with them. There is so many resources out there now that anyone who has experience can learn new skills. It is true wilton has there own method and wants the instructors to push their products. I teach at a Community College where we can plan our own classes and teach beyond what Wilton offers. You get more info and hopefully instructors who are more knowledgeable than someone who is taught the Wilton way. Nothing wrong w/the Wilton Way, but there is so much more out there that is not Wilton. I rambling, but I hope I am making some sense.

katies_cakes Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 9:14am
post #12 of 23

I have never taken any classes and am compleatly self taught (with alot of help from my CC family!! lol) im still new to it all and have ALOT to learn. but that being said even i know about all of these things! i thought they were the basics? ialso would be upset if i had paid for a class and knew more than the instructer! i would want my money back, you can learn so much here anyway and its free!

Loucinda Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 1:29pm
post #13 of 23

I have friends that are older wilton instructors (I am also) who do ONLY what wilton tells them to do. That is their job....and to some (especially the generation before me) feel that is what they should do since that is who they are workng for. They are "loyal" wilton instructors. icon_wink.gif And some will not know the products unless they are a wilton product.

Also, the wilton classes are for BEGINNERS - nothing more. They are only there to wet your appetite for cake decorating, not to be a thorough cake decorating course.

If you are looking for more advanced classes, check into ICES - most have local DOS which have pretty cool classes you can take for a fee (usually $50 - $75 for a 4 hour class) when you compare that price to wilton (right now, $17.50 for 4 classes = a little over 5 bucks per class) you can see the difference!

TexasSugar Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:33pm
post #14 of 23

Okay to the OP, is this a Wilton Class with a Wilton Instructor?

If so, then while I do show a crumb coat in my classes (I'm a WMI) I can't actually tell you if the book says anything about it. One of my students asked me a couple of months ago if I dirty iced the cake, this was before I had gotten to icing the cake. I had to ask her what it meant. I had an idea, but wasn't totally sure. So she was like on Cake Boss, they dirty ice. Well apparently that is what I refer to as crumb coat. So somtimes, there is a termonlogy difference. Also with Wilton's cake icer tip, you can get by with out doing the crumb coat, though I like to crumb coat a cake when I am letting it sit out to settle before actually icing it.

About the square cake, well we do that in C3, so I'm not sure why she wouldn't know that one.

And Tylose, I didn't find out about that until I found cake message boards online. Wilton's Gum-Tex is similar to it.

Wilton Instructors are taught to teach the Wilton way. We do have training meetings, but WMIs are just regular people. We don't come with this grand knowledge of all things cakes just because we have been approved to teach the Wilton way. There are ones, that do branch outside of Wilton and learn all that we can, and there are some old school people that are content on what they already know, and if they know the items they are suppose to teach in class, then I don't think it makes them a bad instructor.

Now if this isn't a Wilton class, then I might be more worried about the instructors knowledge. Where are you talking the class?

I'm with Loucinda, Wilton classes are for beginers. I always tell my students that Wilton is just the step in the door. There is so much more out there.

minicuppie Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:41pm
post #15 of 23

I agree with Sugar...Wilton is just a step in the door. Most, if not all, classes are held for a small amt of money at the hobby stores. More of a promotion for the sugar craft department, where you get a discount to purchase all the Wilton tools and books. Good value for beginners.

KarmaStew Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 2:54pm
post #16 of 23

I think I'd be asking for my money back. It sounds like she's a newbie herself and is learning as she goes. Any so-called cake decorating instructor, Wilton or not, who has never covered a square cake or knows what a crumb coat is, well, that reeks of someone who doesn't really know whet they're doing.

psmith Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 4:17pm
post #17 of 23

I am surprised she didn't know about the crumb coat. That is a course 1 topic. Covering a square cake is covered in Course 4. I would be concerned but as long as she is covering everything in the course book proficiently then you should be ok. My Wilton instructor didn't know that anyone besides Wilton sold fondant and she was even more surprised that I actually made marshmallow fondant. Maybe she was just downplaying her knowledge because I know the instructors want the students to buy Wilton products.

metria Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 4:44pm
post #18 of 23

my wilton course 3 instructor gave us the MMF recipe, but i got to give her and the class the tip that it can be made in the KA instead of by hand icon_smile.gif

Larkin121 Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 5:11pm
post #19 of 23

I find that odd, too. I also teach Wilton classes and crumb coating is covered in course 1, gum-tex (same idea as Tylose) used in course 3, and there is a square cake in course 3 as well.

When I took my Wilton classes, my first teacher was just awful, the second was just ok and the third was great. It doesn't take a lot to be a Wilton teacher, just have to take the 3 courses, so if they haven't trained outside of that or learned more on their own, they won't have a lot of extra knowledge to offer. I try to offer all sorts of extra tidbits that I learned on my own. That said, they should at least know what's in the courses they are teaching!

Jack031 Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 5:14pm
post #20 of 23

Yes, I would be worried, since she really doesn't know anything about some of the basics of cake decorating. For Wilton instructors it is the luck of the draw I have meet some that are so sweet and full of knowledge. Then I have also meet some that don't have a clue what they are doing.

JanelleH Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 5:17pm
post #21 of 23

If this is a Wilton class, then you may very well not receive any more help than what is written step-by-step in the books. While many Wilton instructors DO know more than that, in some areas they are not expected to. That said, you can still glean experience from the class, even picking up tips from your classmates. After that, if there are no other cake designers offering classes or apprenticeships in your area, you can still learn from this site and others, from many great books through your library's inter-library loan program, and mostly just by practicing and trying new techniques you'll find on this site. Search the forums for posts related to techniques you want to try, and it never hurts to ask questions!

Jesshibb129 Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 5:23pm
post #22 of 23

OMG that is so crazy! My instructor didn't know what a crumb coat was either! I explained to the class (and instructor) what it was and how to do it. I was very shocked.

Lorieann55 Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 7:47pm
post #23 of 23

To veer a little off topic for a moment..... many years ago I signed up at the Tulsa Tech Center for a cake decorating course. I think it was about $65.
The instructor was to be Kerry Vincent!
I then got a notice that the class was canceled for "lack of interest" !!! No one else signed up icon_eek.gif
I could not believe it.
It was offered three times, I signed up three times, and it was canceled three times due to lack of interest. Holy Cowbells! I even spoke with Kerry about it, she was so nice and apologized even though it was so totally not her fault.

What a bargain that course would be today. I'd probably not be able to get a spot because it would fill up soooooo fast!

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