Get My Cakes Looking As Neat As All Yours!

Decorating By stiffalus Updated 25 Jun 2010 , 11:26pm by KayMc

stiffalus Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 11:17am
post #1 of 32

i have just started baking cakes for my family and they all love them. i would love to do it professionally but my cakes are nowhere near good enough. how do you get your cakes looking so neat and perfect. i always use fondant. and i use a yellow cake mix that tastes really good. but i want them to look as good as they taste. would be really grateful if you have any hints and tips that you have all learned along the way. i seem to be buying so much cake decorating supplies but never get the results i want! eg the crimper toll for fondant looking a mess, cutting fondant and keeping its shape as you pick it up to put on cake etc... just want an overall neater finish! icon_sad.gif
thanks for reading. x

31 replies
sugarlicious Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 11:53am
post #2 of 32

I know how you feel, I get discouraged with all my cakes they don't look as nice as other members cakes, but I tell myself that with lots of practise and new tips I pick up here everyday will gradually my cake decorating will get better and better. My fondant is really soft too could be have to wait a bit before applying it to our cakes or different fondants that are used could be the issue, I always use MMF fondant and if I want to make gumpaste I add tylose to the fondant. The members with the cakes that look flawless have been decorating for many years so with patience and time and lots of practise hopefully will be as good as them someday. By the way I looked at your cakes and they are really good.

KHalstead Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 12:09pm
post #3 of 32

it takes lots and lots of practice! I'm one of those people that STRIVES to have clean work (I'm not there yet)........I think that is the BIGGEST cue about how "good" a decorator is (IMHO anyhow), not necessarily the difficulty of the technique but how precise and clean the technique is done says so much more for me.

As for your fondant pieces, don't be impatient. cut them all out, then ice your cake, by the time you're ready to put them on the cake they will have firmed up a bit and won't stretch out and lose their shape when you pick them up.

The busier I am with cake orders it seems the cleaner my work has become.....I think it must be all the practice!

bobwonderbuns Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 12:20pm
post #4 of 32

One word -- PRACTICE!! That's how we all got there! Learn your tools, learn your techniques and then play, play, play. The speed and clean work come with time. And remember, if you're not having FUN, you're doing it WRONG!!! icon_lol.gif (Believe me, that WILL show in the final result!) Hang in there! icon_biggrin.gif

JulieMN Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 12:51pm
post #5 of 32

Practice, practice, practice....and then practice some more....

erinalicia Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 1:15pm
post #6 of 32

Try Sharon Zambito's (aka Sugarshack) DVDs. They are a wealth of information. You won't be sorry that you bought them. www.sugaredproductions.com

Marianna46 Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 1:16pm
post #7 of 32

It's true: the more you practice, the better you know how things will behave (like what happens when you pick up your fondant, how stiff your icing needs to be, how hard it will be to get something to stick on the side of your cake, etc.) and the better your cakes will turn out. I've only been doing this seriously for about a year and a half, but I've gone from seeing the final version of my cakes be a total surprise (and usually not a particularly pleasant one) to seeing them turn out very close to what I had envisioned in the first place. Don't get discouraged - even a cake wreck is a learning experience - and, above all, remember what bobwonderbuns said about having fun!

cupcakemkr Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 1:25pm
post #8 of 32

I second getting sharon's videos - she has some really great tips that will help you on your road to perfection. The dvd's she has made are worth EVERY penny!

http://www.sugaredproductions.com/_catalog_85116/Instructional_DVDs

NJMOMMIE Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 1:29pm
post #9 of 32

Practice does make perfect when it comes to cake decorating. I have been getting better these past few months but Im thinking of purchasing Sharons DVD.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 1:55pm
post #10 of 32

I tell the same to all the people I train at the grocery store. There is no magical method or technique to make the cakes look really nice. It just takes practice. The more you work with it the more you are aware of the frosting/fondant/cake/all that. If that makes sense. I can't explain it any better. Like when I'm frosting the cake, the newbies always have issues with crumbs. I tell them it's only after frosting a couple hundred of these that you start to be able to tell how thick your layer of frosting is so you don't get the crumbs. You start to learn how you should hold the scraper, how firm your grip on it should be. After time you also learn little shortcuts that work for you. Like I've learned that when I make a bc rose, mine always turn out better if I build the base, then pipe a strip around that base before I start building the rose. Make sense? Check out my tutorial in my siggy and you'll see what I mean. Not everyone does that little strip but I do because it works for me.

Like riding a bike. You just have to do it over and over again.

Marianna46 Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 2:26pm
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rose_N_Crantz

I tell the same to all the people I train at the grocery store. There is no magical method or technique to make the cakes look really nice. It just takes practice. The more you work with it the more you are aware of the frosting/fondant/cake/all that. If that makes sense. I can't explain it any better. Like when I'm frosting the cake, the newbies always have issues with crumbs. I tell them it's only after frosting a couple hundred of these that you start to be able to tell how thick your layer of frosting is so you don't get the crumbs. You start to learn how you should hold the scraper, how firm your grip on it should be. After time you also learn little shortcuts that work for you. Like I've learned that when I make a bc rose, mine always turn out better if I build the base, then pipe a strip around that base before I start building the rose. Make sense? Check out my tutorial in my siggy and you'll see what I mean. Not everyone does that little strip but I do because it works for me.

Like riding a bike. You just have to do it over and over again.


Great tutorial, Rose_N_Crantz! I may just be going back to making roses!

adventuregal Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 2:50pm
post #12 of 32

just keep coming back here-there is a wealth of info icon_smile.gif Also like the other posters said it just takes practice. Try to take your time (when I first started I'd not give myself very long and then I'd get stressed). Also cornstarch is your best friend for fondant. It keeps your decorations from sticking to the mat or your rolling device while you work AND its easily dusted off icon_smile.gif

debbief Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 3:46pm
post #13 of 32

I'm one of those who are in the practice practice stage right now. I think I learn something new with every cake I do. I also read a lot of these "how to" threads and look at lots and lots of pics of other cakes and just kind of study them. I think the most important thing for me...besides practice, is patience and pay close attention to detail. I try to give myself plenty of time to make the fondant and gumpaste decorations so when it's time to put the cake together, I have fun assembling it and not feel too rushed. However, with that said...I've spent many hours putting finishing touches on a cake at 2 or 3 in the morning. But I think that is because I also work full time and have a two year old grandaughter living with me who can't seem to find better things to do while I'm cake making icon_biggrin.gif I'm still not getting the results I want but I am seeing improvements. Baby steps!

Marianna46 Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 3:53pm
post #14 of 32

In five or six years, debbief, your granddaughter will be an invaluable kitchen assistant, so just think of this as a prolonged apprenticeship for her. She'll soon be able to crack an egg and stir things together with the best! Just ask me how I know...!

Uniqueask Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 3:59pm
post #15 of 32

I have to agree with Erin and cupcakemkr, Sharon's dvd's are the best, and then practice of course.

bobwonderbuns Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 4:18pm
post #16 of 32

I had a class with Sugarshack once upon a time and we were talking about her work and I made a comment on the clean look of her cakes and she told me she just takes her time and does a good job on it. I agree, her work is awesome! icon_biggrin.gif

debbief Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 4:19pm
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marianna46

In five or six years, debbief, your granddaughter will be an invaluable kitchen assistant, so just think of this as a prolonged apprenticeship for her. She'll soon be able to crack an egg and stir things together with the best! Just ask me how I know...!




LOL I'm sure you're right about that. Right now she just likes to eat fondant. She says she wants to "make stuff" but as soon as I give her a little ball of fondant and her own little set of tools, she waits until I turn around and that little ball suddenly disappears. icon_biggrin.gif

carmycakes Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 5:15pm
post #18 of 32

I feel the same way. I make a bunch of things for work and people think I should sell professionally but I do not think my work is that great compared to what I see here. I am thinking about taking some classes. I am interested in working with fondant. Is store bought good or should it be made from scratch?

Tiffany0481 Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 5:55pm
post #19 of 32

Personally I think that the Wilton store bought is horrible tasting, but Satin Ice is good. I typically make my own MMF, but for colors that are hard to get like red and blank, I will buy Satin Ice.

JennasNonna Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 6:16pm
post #20 of 32

Practice, practice,practice and reading threads here on cake central. In fact, I just learned something by reading this. I tend to lift my fondant way too soon after I roll it out making it sometimes stretch and break. I thought if I left it, it would harden and be no good. Learn something new every day!

carmycakes Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 6:39pm
post #21 of 32

I only have the Wilton fondant in the store by me. Where can I find the Satin Ice?

LuvLyrics Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 6:55pm
post #22 of 32

Practice and don't compare yourself to others, use them as inspiration. That's what I had to teach myself !!! and we are blessed with some awesome cakers here, I've learned some much here. And have fallen in love with the talent and kindness of everyone in this group !

carmycakes Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 7:08pm
post #23 of 32

Hi Rose_N_Crantz

As a newbie, how do you keep the crumbs out of the frosting. It drives me crazy! icon_cry.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 8:19pm
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmycakes

Hi Rose_N_Crantz

As a newbie, how do you keep the crumbs out of the frosting. It drives me crazy! icon_cry.gif




Crumb coat -- works like a charm!! icon_biggrin.gif

stiffalus Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 8:28pm
post #25 of 32

i have to say thankyou so much for all of you kind words and advice. i am truly inspired by all of your amazing cakes. i think i will buy the dvds you suggested and keep coming back to my new favourite website for inspiration. i am loving the cake community here.

adventuregal Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 9:39pm
post #26 of 32

carmycakes:
I started out with home made MMF (you can find the recipes here) and it worked pretty good-way better than Wilton (which tastes super funky-though I heard the taste has improved). I've also heard some bad things about Satin Ice on these forums. Satin Ice and Fondx can be ordered online as well as Fondariffic. Right now I'm using either homemade (because its so cheap!) or Duff fondant. Duff is made by Fondariffic so if you like one you'll probably like the other. I found Duff's fondant to be very easy to work with and its tastes amazing. The only down side is its a little soft so for figures I've been mixing in gumpaste. HTH icon_smile.gif

lecrn Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 9:55pm
post #27 of 32

I usually do things WRONG the first time, then figure out how to do it better the next time. I'm by no means a professional, but I feel like my work is getting cleaner each cake that I do.

sugarshack Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 12:08am
post #28 of 32

as everyone said... practice practice practice...

and having the patience to take the extra time it takes to have really clean work.

learn as much as you can from forums, books, mags, videos and trial and error.

cake decorating is a skill that takes time and perseverance to perfect. But you will!!

carmycakes Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 1:46am
post #29 of 32

My frosting seems very tacky. It comes off as I move the spatula over the cake. What went wrong?

Kellbella Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 2:57am
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmycakes

My frosting seems very tacky. It comes off as I move the spatula over the cake. What went wrong?




Sounds like it's too stiff maybe detective.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%