Very Discouraged After Last Cake... Need Help Please!?

Decorating By rkei Updated 30 Oct 2010 , 9:45pm by rkei

rkei Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 11:11pm
post #1 of 16

I tried to do a fall cake. = FAIL. I have been decorating cakes for about two years now. I have had exactly two come out okayish. The rest either made me want to cry or throw them out. What am I doing wrong?

I just ordered a bunch of Wilton Cake Decorating books from the library. They got here, and I have been looking at them. Every single cake looks PERFECT!!! Is cake decorating just now for me or what?

I want to try a few more times before I give up. Here are my questions:

Big cake or small?

Round or Square?

1 tier or two

How much BC to use?

What kind of easy flowers or designs?

Should I try a bit of gumpaste?


Thank you in advance for your help! I know I sound REALLY whiney, but I guess I'm tired of working for hours on a cake and getting a piece of crap.

15 replies
cocobaby Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 11:31pm
post #2 of 16

FYI - when I took my Wilton course the teacher said the photos are retouched for the magazines! Don't give up! The best advice I can give is to use sugarshack's recipe for buttercream (the key is to use hi-ratio shortening) and the viva paper towel method. It has made a vast improvement in my cakes. I would also recommend getting some of her DVD's - she's amazing!!
HTH
Wanda

n_edge Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 11:39pm
post #3 of 16

When making cakes it is like drawing a picture. When you close your eyes what do you picture??? Big small round square whatever you visualize. I know that my first few cakes we not my favorites but i started doing what you were saying. Look through all the books and magazines. Gather some idea's. Never compare your cakes to other cakes though. Always compare your cake to your cake. Is it the best cake you can make?? Is it the best designs you can do. Never be negative also. I found that the more you put down about your cake the worse it looks. Maybe try and look at it and decide what you could do to make your cake better. My cakes may not be the best but I do know that i try my best and if I continue to pursue that, they will get better and better the more I try. If you are truely passionate about making cakes then you can do it. That is a promise.

tokazodo Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 12:05am
post #4 of 16

I think it's kind of like math. First we learn how to add. Then subtract, then multiply. After we practice our times tables and know them, we start doing fractions, decimals and percents. Before you know it, they start throwing letters into the equations to totally confuse us!

Decorating cakes is a lot like learning math. We have to have some strong foundations to build on. Like learning times tables, sometimes we have to do something over and over again before we learn the correct way to do it. It can help if we have someone around to ask questions. It's up to us to do our homework.

For me, learning how to do cake means having my hands in it, working with it over and over again. If something doesn't work out right the first time, try a different way to do it.
If you like what you are doing, then keep going. You're going to have to make alot of cake and I see where you mentioned you are 12. Well, I think being 12 and taking on this adventure is commendable, Keep up the good work! With all this practice, you should have a ton of new friends at school, when you try to find someone to eat all this cake! icon_wink.gif
Youtube has a lot of good videos on it, I'm sure I don't have to tell you how to use youtube! icon_lol.gif
Just don't give up and keep going. I looked at your cakes and I don't think they look too bad.
You just may be the new Ace of Cakes!

cdgleason Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 12:25am
post #5 of 16

There are a lot of incredibly helpful and FREE tutorials on the internet, youtube, for example, is a great websight for intructional videos.

you can learn EVERYTHING about cake decorating, from baking a level cake, leveling a cake, making bakery quality buttercream, frosting a perfectly smoothe cake, simple decorating techniques, like piping, stacking cakes, and my favorite, fondant techniques and gumpaste flowers!!!

I became really interested in cake decorating about 3 years ago, and I've learned about 99% from the internet! I took an over priced class on gumpaste flowers, and I regretted it! I learn so much more from tutorials that I watch on cake central, youtube, flickr....

I've also invested a little bit of money in a couple of DVD's..... I have found that learning the basics has helped me tremendously! after all, it doesn't do much good making fabulous 'decorations' for a cake that is messy, or lop sided, or doesn't have proper supports!

I've found that my particular interest is in gumpaste flowers, so I love watching anything associated with gumpaste flowers. If you LOVE, lets say, buttercream decorations, then watch as many videos/tutorials as you can! I can't stand piping on a cake, but I tried to learn the basics because I knew that I would have to do it at one point or another!

Good luck with what ever you decide to do!!

Kitagrl Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 12:40am
post #6 of 16

Yep magazine pix are definitely retouched! Just like models in magazines haha.....I know I'll never look like a gorgeous Victoria's Secret model because they're all airbrushed and made over and photoshopped anyway!

Same with cakes...they photoshop them and erase mistakes...

Keep at it!

DeeDelightful Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 12:45am
post #7 of 16

You are in the right place! Read as much as you can on here and you will learn more than you can imagine.

Unlimited Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 1:19am
post #8 of 16

You're so young, don't give up. You've got so much time to practice your hobby, and while you're learning you'll get better.

Start small, keep it simple with easy round cakes or sheet cakes, make drop flowers or rosettes. Keep reading those Wilton books, and don't attempt to make a two-tiered cake until you view the instructions on how to construct one! (I'm sure your family doesn't think your work is crap... that's the nice thing about cakeyou get to eat it whether it's a mistake or a masterpiece!)

Can you take a class? When you're older, if you can get a job at a bakeryyou won't regret the experience that you'll gain. (I started decorating when I was 12 by reading Wilton books.)

adventuregal Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 1:27am
post #9 of 16

I think you definitely should master the basics before you try anything too difficult otherwise you will feel discouraged! I think no matter how good my figures look, if I put them on a poorly iced cake it will look bad. I think learning to level and ice the cake is going to be your biggest feat. After those are mastered you can learn to do some piping such as roses, different tips, etc. After those I would pull out the gumpaste. A cake needs a good, clean foundation to look good in the end. Don't get discouraged or expect yourself to be as good as the wilton covers-it will come with time and practice.

saapena Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 1:56am
post #10 of 16

Just keep making cakes!! The only way to get better is to keep practicing. I have only been decorating cakes for 2-1/2 years but I can see an improvement in each cake that I do. I truly love decorating cakes--it is my passion and I would do it 24/7 if I could. Of course, if I could only figure out how to actually post my pictures online icon_confused.gif Just have fun with it! thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 7:58am
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokazodo

Decorating cakes is a lot like learning math.


wow, this is the best analogy I've ever seen! thumbs_up.gif

To the OP, I can already see a subtle difference between your 1st posted cake and your brother's birthday cake. The icing for the borders/flowers/etc look a little shiny, which indicates to me it may be a little thin. Can you thicken the icing up a bit by adding some more p.sugar to it? This may make it easier to work with. The heat from your hand holding the piping bag may be 'melting' it a little too.

Dont' try to master everything at once. none of us can do that! (except maybe Edna! icon_biggrin.gif ). You can practice with icing on cardboards, on overturned cake pans or on a piece of wax paper. Then scrape it all up and do it over again.

read absolutely everything on CC that you can. When I first joined, I wasn't doing anything in fondant (with no plans to ever "touch that stuff!" icon_rolleyes.gif ), but I still read every thread about it. So quite by accident, when I wsa literally thrown into doing my first fondant cake, I was shocked at how much I knew just by reading! The cake turned out pretty good and I only had to make 2 panic calls to a CC friend to get me thru it! icon_lol.gif But read, read, read on here. You'll be amazed how much you'll learn just by reading about it. thumbs_up.gif

Jen80 Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 11:17am
post #12 of 16

Give fondant a go. I am soooo crap at buttercream. Every time I try I end up covering it in fondant anyway icon_lol.gif .

Just try a small 1 tier round cake to start off with (those square cakes can be tricky).

Yes definitely try Youtube, that's where I started.

Mikel79 Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 12:14pm
post #13 of 16

Don't give up. Some of those magazines using royal icing to ice the cakes. Onced dried, they can "sand" them to a perfect finish. Just like a model magazine that shows an attractive women or man....they get retouched and retouched some more!

For every 1 decent cake that I have been able to get there has been at least 3 cakes thrown out in the garbage.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

thumbs_up.gif
Michael

MsLinda57 Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 12:43pm
post #14 of 16

Hi Just remember we are our worst critic. After 30 years I still am. Don't give up. The key word is practice, practice and more practice. Rememer most people cannot do this and will think you have done a wonderful job. icon_smile.gif

cabecakes Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 12:46pm
post #15 of 16

rkei, this is my suggestion to you. I started this whole cake designing thing about a year ago. I had always baked, but my decorating skills were terrible. This is what I did...as many others on here have suggested. 1) First get you a large 3-ring binder notebook. In it put divider tabs with the following tabs...instructional info, baking, icing, fondant,cake ideas, my cakes 2) Gather information.READ, READ, READ. And watch the youtube videos, ask questions. First I gathered information like Pan sizes, and batter amounts to use, icing consistency, icing amounts for the size of cake, baking times for the size of cake, serving for the different sizes, the different types of cakes and icings available. All this went under the instructional info (anything construction the cake). Then the info I gathered to help in the actual baking went under the baking tab, step-by-step instructions for icing went in their tab, fondant the same and so on. All you have gathered up the basic information, start with your cake (I will probably get comments about this, but here goes, I would just start with a box mix) this will allow you to concentrate on the baking it right without all the guess work of a scratch mix. You get more consistent results. Learn how much batter to use in each size pan, how long to bake, how long to cool, to wrap or not to wrap, resting time, then go on to icing...when to ice, what consistency, how thick...well you get the picture. But always take pictures of your cakes good or bad. I'm sure as you go you will see a definite improvement based on the amount of knowledge that you gain. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can just jump right in with both feet and be able to do this. It's like learning to play the piano, the more you practice the better you get.

rkei Posted 30 Oct 2010 , 9:45pm
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cabecakes

rkei, this is my suggestion to you. I started this whole cake designing thing about a year ago. I had always baked, but my decorating skills were terrible. This is what I did...as many others on here have suggested. 1) First get you a large 3-ring binder notebook. In it put divider tabs with the following tabs...instructional info, baking, icing, fondant,cake ideas, my cakes 2) Gather information.READ, READ, READ. And watch the youtube videos, ask questions. First I gathered information like Pan sizes, and batter amounts to use, icing consistency, icing amounts for the size of cake, baking times for the size of cake, serving for the different sizes, the different types of cakes and icings available. All this went under the instructional info (anything construction the cake). Then the info I gathered to help in the actual baking went under the baking tab, step-by-step instructions for icing went in their tab, fondant the same and so on. All you have gathered up the basic information, start with your cake (I will probably get comments about this, but here goes, I would just start with a box mix) this will allow you to concentrate on the baking it right without all the guess work of a scratch mix. You get more consistent results. Learn how much batter to use in each size pan, how long to bake, how long to cool, to wrap or not to wrap, resting time, then go on to icing...when to ice, what consistency, how thick...well you get the picture. But always take pictures of your cakes good or bad. I'm sure as you go you will see a definite improvement based on the amount of knowledge that you gain. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can just jump right in with both feet and be able to do this. It's like learning to play the piano, the more you practice the better you get.





Thank you! And everybody else! I think I'm going to buy SMALL cake pan, and just try to get a smooth covering of icing, and a rossete border on the bottom. That it. I hope it goes well, and I REALLY like the ^above^ suggestion! Debi, you are totally awesome! I looooove your advice.... not to mention your cakes! Thank you all!!!!!!!!!!

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