What Did You Have To Learn "the Hard Way"?

Decorating By The_Sugar_Fairy Updated 15 May 2010 , 4:37pm by saffronica

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 14 May 2010 , 4:01pm
post #1 of 23

Hi all! I'm working on my second wedding cake ever today and I'm having a lot of problems. It just seems like I'm learning everything the hard way! I figured since I'd done a fondant wrap on a cake before that it'd be easy, no way! It keep getting elephant skin and I kept having to redo it (I'm using Satin Ice). Also, for some reason, my fondant was not sticking to my cake very well. I learned today that you can actually take all the fondant off the cake and redo it! Not fun! My hubby actually stayed up this morning after working a night shift (to watch the kids) so I could recover these cakes. I honestly have never been so stressed out in my whole life! I'm not sure if I ever want to do another cake! I don't know how you full-time decorators do this all the time. Does it get easier with each cake? I'm curious what you all had to learn "the hard way" and maybe you can share it with us. Thanks! Love you guys!

22 replies
KHalstead Posted 14 May 2010 , 4:49pm
post #2 of 23

I learned the hard way that skinny pencil like wilton wooden dowels will make a cake fall!!!!
LL
LL

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:59am
post #3 of 23

Oh my Gosh, that's so horrible. This business is just too stressful sometimes!

indydebi Posted 15 May 2010 , 1:49am
post #4 of 23

Oh, KHalstead, someone had to bump that cake or something for that to happen! icon_cry.gif I've used wooden dowels for 30 years and only had one slider (the cake autopsy indicated it was more of a 'too much filling' problem than a dowel problem). I can feel your pain on that one!

to the original topic ..... I'd been doing cakes for YEARS before I heard the term "crumb coat" or heard the concept of "icing it twice". WOw, what a difference that made! I'm still cursing all those years of fighting crumbs in the icing just because I didn't know about crumb coating!

egensinnig Posted 15 May 2010 , 5:35am
post #5 of 23

I'm sorry you had such trouble with fondant, I'ts happened to me too a couple of times. Ususally I've been rushing or I've rolled my fondant too thin.
And yes - it does get easier the more experience you get - lucklily! I'm not as stressed out now as I was in the beginning. I'm also much more organized and prepared now than I was before - that helps a lot!

gscout73 Posted 15 May 2010 , 5:45am
post #6 of 23

Yeah, someone had to have really knocked the table for that disaster. I've used wooden dowels when I have not used push in pillars and have see the tables be bumped with little more than a wiggle. For the cake to be toppled someone had to have been careless and disrespectful.

I'm sorry that this happened to you.

What I had to learn the hard way was waiting too long to use RKT.

Sandy C

CWR41 Posted 15 May 2010 , 6:06am
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

I learned the hard way that skinny pencil like wilton wooden dowels will make a cake fall!!!!




IMO (for what it's worth), I have to agree with the others and disagree the dowels caused your beautiful cake to collapse. The dowels are still upright. My diagnosis is too much filling... there's a lot of red filling in the photo. Perhaps the table was bumped to get it going, but it looks like it only slid on one side of the cake.

noahsmummy Posted 15 May 2010 , 6:10am
post #8 of 23

that topsy turvey cakes cakes in the australian with summer with no air con just dont mix...... not sireee.

CeeTee Posted 15 May 2010 , 6:28am
post #9 of 23

Undercharging for my cakes and doing super elaborate cakes for free or cost of supplies.

I did it for the usual reasons. "I'm a newbie and want to practice and build up a name for myself first before I charge more." Even though I found CC early on and many folks advised me NOT to do it, I did so anyway because I wanted to be "nice" and "not take advantage of folks".

All it got me was every Dick, Jane, and Spot in the Metro area seeking over the top huge cakes for less than Wal-Mart prices. I lost way too many weekends and way too much money learning this lesson.

noahsmummy Posted 15 May 2010 , 6:42am
post #10 of 23

CeeTee, agree with everything you just said, and alos very much so with your quote.. love it.

madgeowens Posted 15 May 2010 , 6:47am
post #11 of 23

When making mmf don't cover it with too much crisco before wrapping it with plastic wrap. Also I learned the hard way to always sift my ps

LisaR64 Posted 15 May 2010 , 10:42am
post #12 of 23

When it comes to time management, I've learned that I need to make my best guess at how long something is going to take me, and then double or triple that and I'm usually pretty close.

KayMc Posted 15 May 2010 , 10:43am
post #13 of 23

Only everything in my life.....

Lita829 Posted 15 May 2010 , 11:43am
post #14 of 23

Too much but with lessons come wisdom. However, the biggest thing I've learned is....

I may be color blind (metaphorically) but the world is not icon_sad.gif

tguegirl Posted 15 May 2010 , 11:48am
post #15 of 23

My lesson- do NOT use mmf in the hot, humid summertime if your AC runs on water pipes and just spews moist air into the room. Use Satin Ice. Or anything but mmf. Your mmf will turn to sticky mud. I just learned this yesterday. icon_sad.gif

foxymomma521 Posted 15 May 2010 , 11:56am
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaR64

When it comes to time management, I've learned that I need to make my best guess at how long something is going to take me, and then double or triple that and I'm usually pretty close.



Oh that is so true thumbs_up.gif Every cake that I think won't take me forever does. Plus with my 4 kids I ALWAYS have to keep stopping for some reason or another. I don't know how you guys with little kids do it. This is just a hobby for me- I really give you guys credit!

Lita829 Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:03pm
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaR64

When it comes to time management, I've learned that I need to make my best guess at how long something is going to take me, and then double or triple that and I'm usually pretty close.




Ditto....I move like molasses when it come to caking icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

LisaR64 Posted 15 May 2010 , 2:45pm
post #18 of 23

Just thought of another...no matter what size cake I make, I now always use at least a 1/2" thick cake board under it (or SPS). There is nothing worse than spending hours to finish a cake, only to have the icing/fondant crack the first time you move the cake.

bobwonderbuns Posted 15 May 2010 , 2:57pm
post #19 of 23

Just about everything I learn the hard way. I take classes, watch DVDs, etc. but it's not until I've done a technique at least three times do I START to get it!! By then I'm sick of it and don't want to practice, hence making me my own worst enemy. icon_confused.gif But the most important thing I learned the hard way is to force myself to take breaks. I like to plow right through from start to finish, and my work always suffers. Taking breaks allows me to work smarter, not harder and that reflects in the final product.

Classycakes Posted 15 May 2010 , 3:27pm
post #20 of 23

When I moved my caking from hobby to professional, I did so with rose coloured glasses. I learned the hard way that it's no longer a fun thing to do, it's WORK! And it's business. It took me a long time to overcome the insecurity of feeling "good enough", of learning good time management, of coping with the stress of doing it for paying customers who expect a higher standard of product instead of family who are grateful for any offering, of saying "no" when I'm overworked or when it's not the right project for ME, of pricing my product so that I feel I'm well paid for my efforts rather than resentful.

I'm still learning each and every day and I feel I'm a much better caker for all my lessons learned.

And, I now know that I'm not alone. That every time I need help, advice or encouragement, I can come here to CC and there's ALWAYS someone to lend a helping hand. I can honestly say that I would never have made it through without Cake Central so a big THANK YOU for your ongoing support. thumbs_up.gif

KHalstead Posted 15 May 2010 , 4:10pm
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41

Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

I learned the hard way that skinny pencil like wilton wooden dowels will make a cake fall!!!!



IMO (for what it's worth), I have to agree with the others and disagree the dowels caused your beautiful cake to collapse. The dowels are still upright. My diagnosis is too much filling... there's a lot of red filling in the photo. Perhaps the table was bumped to get it going, but it looks like it only slid on one side of the cake.




Well, I travelled about 3 miles with the cake fully assembled and when I got to the destination the top 3 tiers were kinda leaning on one side (I think one of the wooden dowels got shifted) so I removed the top 3 layers to try to fix the bottom tier which had cracked wide open by that point, and then a lady did actually knock the top 3 tiers off the counter, but I caught the bottom 2 before the top one flew off and plunked to the ground!

They were able to still serve all but the top layer (since it touched the floor), but the poor bride had a SHEETCAKE( which was to be the "kitchen cake") as her main wedding cake! POOR THING! She was so gracious too about the whole thing, she told me (as I cried to her on the phone apologizing after the wedding/honeymoon were done) "If I let something like a collapsed cake ruin the biggest day of my life, I'd have no business getting married in the first place!" She was truly a one of a kind bride!

Kellbella Posted 15 May 2010 , 4:18pm
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

Just about everything I learn the hard way. I take classes, watch DVDs, etc. but it's not until I've done a technique at least three times do I START to get it!! By then I'm sick of it and don't want to practice, hence making me my own worst enemy. icon_confused.gif But the most important thing I learned the hard way is to force myself to take breaks. I like to plow right through from start to finish, and my work always suffers. Taking breaks allows me to work smarter, not harder and that reflects in the final product.




Ditto to all that Bob said...especially taking a break. You need a mental and physical break when you're working hard on a cake! thumbs_up.gif

saffronica Posted 15 May 2010 , 4:37pm
post #23 of 23

I recently learned the hard way that even though you can usually use your finger to push a tip into the end of a bag (when you don't need a coupler), there are certain tips you shouldn't do that with...namely the large star tip (Ateco 825). Turns out the opening is the same size as my finger, and all those sharp points on the end made it really hard to get my finger back out. Ouch!

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