The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 23 May 2010 , 1:11am
post #1 of

Hi all! Since joining Cake Central, I've noticed that we all do things differently. I thought it might be fun for us all to share with each other what we are using and how we do things. I'll number the questions so that you can just put the number and your answer. I'll answer the questions as well right after posting this forum. Thanks!

1. How long have you been decorating cakes?
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month?
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator?
4. What type of buttercream are you using?
5. How do you level your cakes?
6. What type of fondant are you using?
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant?
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes?
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes?
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site?

72 replies
The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 23 May 2010 , 1:17am
post #2 of

1. about 10 years
2. about 3 cakes a month
3. I love Andrea Blaut from Sedona Cake Couture and also Sharon Zambito and her DVDs
4. Indidebi's
5. with a cake leveller (I hate the large Wilton cake leveller though).
6. Satin Ice and somtimes FondX
7. cornstarch
8. No, I do not refrigerate (use non-perishable fillings)
9. hollow plastic dowels by Wilton
10. already stacked

Aeropanda Posted 23 May 2010 , 1:40am
post #3 of

Thanks for posting this! I am still a baby in the decorating world, so it will be great to learn from more seasoned decorators! For what it's worth, here are my answers:

1. About 2 years
2. 2-3 per week so far
3. Not familiar enough with many other than those on television, but my mother is my most admired so far!
4. Started out with Wilton, but since joining CC and fining it, Indidebi's!
5. Serrated knife. What's leveler would be recommended?
6. MMF
7. Confectioner's sugar and/or shortening
8. No. I also use non-perishable fillings
9. Wilton dowels
10. All of them so far have been already stacked

SugarFrosted Posted 23 May 2010 , 2:09am
post #4 of

1. 22+ years
2. up till the economy went crazy, 20 or so a month, now only about 5 or so.
3. Too many to name
4. homemade, an adapted Wilton recipe, all-shortening
5. with a long serrated knife, usually
6. have never used fondant ever... 2400+ cakes, all buttercream
7. n/a
8. n/a
9. cardboard or foamcore, and bubble tea straws
10. stack on site

Montrealconfections Posted 23 May 2010 , 2:26am
post #5 of

1. How long have you been decorating cakes? Approx 2 yrs
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month? About 3 a week (plus cookies)
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator? Andrea's Sweetcakes on flickr
4. What type of buttercream are you using? Butter
5. How do you level your cakes? Eyeball it
6. What type of fondant are you using? Satin Ice
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant? Cornstarch
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes? No
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes? Wooden dowels
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site? Already stacked

Rylan Posted 23 May 2010 , 4:42am
post #6 of

1. A year
2. I've been slacking lately
3. Plenty
4. I use Swiss meringue buttercream for fillings. Ganache under fondant.
5. Freehand
6. Jennifer Dontz's semi homemade fondant
7. I use all
8. Always
9. Bubble tea straws and a wooden center dowel
10. Stacked

mbark Posted 23 May 2010 , 5:03am
post #7 of

[quote=

1. How long have you been decorating cakes? cranked them out for a grocery store for 2+ years, took a break for 8 years, been doing them now for 2 1/2 years on my own
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month? 6ish a month
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator? Sharon Zambito- super talented & totally willing to share her tips- love that!
4. What type of buttercream are you using? see above haha
5. How do you level your cakes? pat them down with a kitchen towel just after they're out of the oven
6. What type of fondant are you using? satin ice/wilton
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant? cornstarch
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes? if it's not going to be delivered anytime soon
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes? boba straws, center wooden dowel
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site? prefer to travel w/already stacked cake.
Thanks for posting this! FUN! icon_wink.gif [/quote]

sweettreat101 Posted 23 May 2010 , 7:27am
post #8 of

1. 10 years
2. 3 month
3. Rebecca Sutterby
4. Homemade Hi ratio, butter butter cream
5. Knife and dental floss
6. MMF, Fondarific
7. Cornstarch, powdered sugar
8. Yes
9. Stress Free Cake supports
10. Yes

dguerrant Posted 23 May 2010 , 7:41am
post #9 of

1. How long have you been decorating cakes? about 9 years

2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month? 20 or so per month, sometimes more (last month 32) I am a proud mom of 3 and
a full-time Art teacher icon_smile.gif cake is my medium of choiceicon_smile.gif

3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator? not sure

4. What type of buttercream are you using? tweaked wilton recipe

5. How do you level your cakes? in the pan with a long serranted knife

6. What type of fondant are you using? mmf

7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant? powdered sugar

8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes? depends

9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes? plastic dowels, sps for some

10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site?
both, it depends on the legth of travel, temperature, type of cake, size of cake

LaBoulangerie Posted 23 May 2010 , 8:01am

1. How long have you been decorating cakes? 1 year
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month? 7-8/Month
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator? Michelle Bommarito!
4. What type of buttercream are you using? 50/50 Shortening and Butter
5. How do you level your cakes? My cake leveler
6. What type of fondant are you using? Fondx, recently Wilton, too.
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant? 50/50 mixture of CS and PS in a knee high to pat surface
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes? Yes, usually
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes? Dowels
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site? Stack on site

redpanda Posted 23 May 2010 , 8:38am

1. How long have you been decorating cakes?
About 20 years
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month?
Varies. This week, 2, some weeks more, some weeks none.
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator?
I don't really follow the field (don't watch TV or go to events)
4. What type of buttercream are you using?
It depends, but usually all-butter American buttercream
5. How do you level your cakes?
With an Agbay.
6. What type of fondant are you using?
Satin Ice (I've also made MMF and used Chocopan)
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant?
Usually just shortening, but sometimes CS or PS
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes?
I have in the past
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes?
Large plastic dowels/pillars that the cake plate's "spikes" can fit into when possible. Otherwise, Wilton plastic dowels
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site?
Stacked for cakes using the large dowels/pillars and plates that secure to them. Stack on site otherwise

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 23 May 2010 , 12:27pm

Thanks you all for your responses! It's fun to read and see how everone is doing things. Keep it going!

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 23 May 2010 , 12:35pm

Oh, by the way Areopanda: I've heard that the Agbay leveller is the best one out there by far! The small Wilton leveller (with the silver string thing) is great, but the larger one with the serrated knife is horrible!

Mama_Mias_Cakes Posted 23 May 2010 , 12:48pm

1. How long have you been decorating cakes?
1 year

2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month?
Varies, but my average is 1-2 a week.

3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator?
Not any one person in particular. I'm still fairly new so I'm just learning about different decorators. If I had to pick one, it would be Edna (not sure of the last name). I use her tutorials all the time.

4. What type of buttercream are you using?
I use my own recipe that I came up with after testing out a bunch of different ones. I just combined what I liked best about them. It is a hi-ratio/butter one.

5. How do you level your cakes?
I like to overfill my pans a bit so I can make sure all my layers are equal height. I use the Wilton's both large and small levelers.

6. What type of fondant are you using?
I have tried making my own MMF, but the results are never consistent so I have stuck to using pre-made fondant. I prefer Satin Ice, but lately have been using Pettinice too. I like them both and really do not see the difference in them.

7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant?
I use shortening mainly, but will use PS or cornstarch whenever my fondant is too sticky from coloring it.

8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes?
Yes, if I use a perishable filling. Otherwise, I prefer not to refrigerate or freeze any of my cakes before or after decorating.

9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes?
Started with straws and dowels, but now I use Wilton's hidden plastic pillars and the plastic separator plates that have the pieces attached to them to fit into the pillars.

10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site?
2 tiers or less, I will travel. 3 tiers or more, I will stack on site.

Jenn2179 Posted 23 May 2010 , 1:17pm

1. How long have you been decorating cakes?
1st cake I decorated was for my now 6 year old's first birthday.
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month?
Last week I had 5 wedding cakes and 2 groom's cakes. This week 3 wedding cakes, 1 groom's cake, and 3 birthday cakes.
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator?
There are many that I admire. I do have to say I really like Bronwen Weber. I have taken a couple of classes with her and she is sooooooo nice and fun and an amazing teacher. I also have taken a class with Nicholas Lodge and he too is an amazing teacher and so nice.
4. What type of buttercream are you using?
I make one with both hi-ratio shortening and butter.
5. How do you level your cakes?
AGBAY
6. What type of fondant are you using?
Usually Fondx. I use Stain Ice for colors and just got some Fondarific which I haven't even opened yet. If money were no object I would use Massa it is amazing.
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant?
Powdered sugar
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes?
yes
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes?
wooden dowels
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site?
already stacked

Kiddiekakes Posted 23 May 2010 , 1:42pm

Okay...here goes


1. About 10 years
2. 4-5 a week...about 20-25 month
3. Many people.Love SugarChicone,ThanhThanh and Tamivo here!!!
4. Whimisical Bakehouse Buttercream
5. Push down method right out of the oven.
6. Dawn white Decorrice
7. White confectioners sugar all the time!
8. Yes and no depends on the heat which usually isn't a problem here.
9. I use wilton smooth plates and the fat hidden pillars.
10. Travel stacked but not very far...

all4cake Posted 23 May 2010 , 1:54pm

1. How long have you been decorating cakes?
Off and on for the last 37 years
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month?
Average 3 a week (also make candy and other desserts)
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator?
Roland Winbeckler, Cheryl Elder...right now, I can't get Peecheekeeno's cake out of my head...
4. What type of buttercream are you using?
I work with all of them...most requested is basic, shortening based.
5. How do you level your cakes?
With a knife
6. What type of fondant are you using?
Satin Ice for black, mff and mmf
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant?
mixture of cs and ps
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes?
no, not usually but I have. Don't normally freeze them either, but I have.
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes?
bubble tea straws
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site?
stacked

KHalstead Posted 23 May 2010 , 1:59pm

1. Almost 3 years
2. Lately about 15 a week
3. tonedna, adven68, Kitagrl, Rylan, Sugarshack (I like tidy, neat, clean cakes)
4. Sam's club pre-made
5. push down straight out of oven, torte w/ a 14" long bread knife
6. Currently Satin Ice, though I make mmf when necessary
7. Mostly just powdered sugar (corn starch dries it out too quick, shortening makes it sticky)
8. If they have a perishable filling YES, otherwise I don't refrigerate anything!
9. SPS
10. I do both, depends on how much I feel like carrying on that particular day. When it rains I stack on site (water makes EVERYTHING slippery, not good w/ a tiered cake in your hands!)

anasazi17 Posted 23 May 2010 , 2:13pm

Here you go!
1. 7 years
2. 10-15/week
3.Collette Peters/Ron Ben Israel/My Mom
4. Used the 50/50 butter-shortening for 7 years, just switched to Sugarshack & loooove it!
5. AGBAY
6. Choco-Pan
7. PS
8. No
9. Bubble Tea Straws
10. Stack on Site

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 23 May 2010 , 2:59pm

This is awesome guys! Thanks for all the answers! If you all keep this going, after about 50 responses or so, I'll do up the statistics for us (ex. what percentage of us are using a certain type of fondan, what percentage are using cornstarch vs. powdered sugar, etc.)

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 23 May 2010 , 3:35pm

Anyone else?

tesso Posted 23 May 2010 , 3:39pm

1. 8-10 yrs.
2. varies
3. my cc friends
4. mine
5. what's a level cake? ok, usually push down method, or my very special knife when exact precision is needed.
6. MMF - i'm a convert. hooked on the darn stuff now
7. NONE - i have a secret trick, that I will one day divulge to my dear CC friends here. I have one or two more experiments to do first.
8. NEVER
9. foamboard, cake boards, dowels, and soon to try bubble straws, I am all about experimenting.
10. totally depends on the size and weight of the cake. I have done both types of deliveries.

jenscreativity Posted 23 May 2010 , 3:49pm

1. How long have you been decorating cakes? 3 yrs
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month? 1-3 a week
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator? my instructor
4. What type of buttercream are you using? wilton, crisco homemade
5. How do you level your cakes? both push down out of oven / or leveler, depends on baked cake
6. What type of fondant are you using? MMF, but trying DUFF, bought my first tub yesterday..
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant? powdered sugar
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes? sometimes,,depends
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes? wooden dowel rods
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site? BOTH, depends

confectionsofahousewife Posted 23 May 2010 , 3:51pm

1. How long have you been decorating cakes? 1 year

2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month? about 1 per week

3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator? too many to name!

4. What type of buttercream are you using? my own version of sugarshack

5. How do you level your cakes? with the wilton leveler

6. What type of fondant are you using? fondarific

7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant? a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch

8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes? nope unless fillings are perishable

9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes? so far, wood dowels but am going to try the wilton hollow dowels and bubble tea straws

10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site? so far, already stacked but I have a four tier coming up and am nervous about traveling with it already stacked!

menas Posted 23 May 2010 , 4:05pm

1. How long have you been decorating cakes?
I'm a newbie, 6 months!!
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month?
About 4 or 5 a month. Also do cupcakes. This is still just a hobby.
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator?
The great folks on this site who don't mind helping out by sharing their talents! KHalstead, Indideby, Sharon Sugarshack are a few who have helped me out!
4. What type of buttercream are you using?
Lately Sugarshack's.
5. How do you level your cakes?
Push down method. So easy!
6. What type of fondant are you using?
Wilton, just for decorations tho. Hate the taste!
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant?
ps
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes?
no because I don't cover w/fondant. I do however refrigerate my cakes w/buttercream. I like cold cakes.
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes?
Wilton stick-in thingys.
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site?
haven't done either yet!

susgene Posted 23 May 2010 , 4:08pm

1. How long have you been decorating cakes? 6 years
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month? 5 to 10/month
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator? Can't Choose. There are SO many!
4. What type of buttercream are you using? Indydebi's
5. How do you level your cakes? Wilton leveler but I will be ordering an Agbay
6. What type of fondant are you using? Satin Ice; just bought some fondarific to try out
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant? PS and Shortening
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes? Only if perishable fillings
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes? Bubble Tea straws now...
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site? I've done both. I hate a lot of trouble carrying 4 and 5 tiered cakes.

poohsmomma Posted 23 May 2010 , 4:11pm

1. How long have you been decorating cakes?
This last go-round, about 2 years. I decorated for my kids' birthdays about 25 years ago, but that fizzled out as they got older.
2. How many cakes do you make a week or a month?
I'm just a hobbyist-maybe one or two.
3. Who do you most admire as a cake decorator?
I've learned so much from all the decorators on CC.
4. What type of buttercream are you using?
I use Indydebi's recipe.
5. How do you level your cakes?
I usually cut off the dome before I even take them out of the pan.
6. What type of fondant are you using?
I just use fondant for decorations/figures. Satin Ice for stripes, bows, etc. Wilton for figures.
7. Do you use cornstarch, powdered sugar or just shortening when working with fondant?
Mostly shortening
8. Do you refrigerate your fondant-covered cakes?
N/A
9. What do you use as a support system in tiered cakes?
Just straws and a center dowel. But I've only made one cake over two tiers.
10. Do you travel with tiered cakes already stacked or stack on site?
Stacked.

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 23 May 2010 , 6:11pm

Well... the results are in (using the answers from 22 people):

Buttercream:
22% use 50% butter and 50% shortening
17% use all shortening
9% use all butter
17% use Indidebi's
17% use Sharon Zambito's
and 17% use something other than above

Levelling:
38% use a leveller
38% use a knife
and 25% use the pat down or push down method

Fondant:
32% use Satin Ice
25% use MMF
7% use FondX
14% use Wilton
and 21% use another brand other than above.

I'm going to continue this in another reponse because I'm running out of room.

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 23 May 2010 , 6:17pm

While working with fondant:
35% use powdered sugar only
20% use half cornstarch and half powdered sugar (together)
15% use cornstarch only
15% use shortening only
10% use powdered sugar AND shortening
and 5% use all

Refrigerating fondant-covered cakes:
32% do refrigerate
32% don't refrigerate
21% refrigerate only if filling is perishable
and 16% sometimes refrigerate

Support system in tiered cakes:
36% use bubble tea straws
18% use wooden dowels
14% use plastic dowels
9% use SPS
and 23% use another method not listed above

Cont. in another response

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 23 May 2010 , 6:20pm

Travel stacked or stack on site:
52% travel stacked
14% stack on site
33% do a mixture of both

Well, I hope you all enjoyed reading the results. It shows that we really all do use different methods while decorating.

If anyone else would still like to answer the questions, go ahead, then at a later date, I'll tally the answers again and let everyone know the results. Thanks everyone!

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