I'm new to cake decorating and everything I've learned thus far has been self taught, trial and error. However, and I know this will sound crazy, but I own nothing. Oh wait...I do have a rolling pin. Everything I've used, I've borrowed from a friend of mine who has done cakes for years. I'm to the point now where I'm ready to purchase my own items. What do you all suggest for someone just starting out to purchase immediately? What items are must haves and go to's?
Also, as far as fondant, gumpaste, etc etc, how much do you keep on hand?
I'm ecstatic that I found this site and I look forward to learning from the best of the best.
Pans, magic line, if you can, would be at the top of my list!
Hey there...Welcome Andrea!
IMO, the things you need to get going is a good basic kit:
* A set of gumpaste tools, buy a cheap set, because if you end up doing this on a more full time basis you will want to buy better ones later on, and there is no need spending loads of money up front.
* A good board for rolling and cutting GP
* Edible glue
* A non-stick mat for rolling fondant
* Small rolling pin(s) in silicon
* A floppy mat for covering rolled GP while you work on it
* About 1 - 2 pounds of GP to have on hand.
* Maybe 2 - 4 lbs of fondant to start with (a simple cake)
* A set of basic concentrated gel colours (get primary colours first)
* Powdered sugar
* Crisco or similar
* Vodka or similar for thinning colours etc.
* Cake cardboards and cake boards for when you have a cake
* PLENTY OF SPACE!!
* Containers to store odds and ends and supplies
* Small paintbrushes
* An exacto knife
* As many books, magazines and online resources you can get your eyes on (not necessarily purchase)
* As you develop interest in one area or another you can add in cutters - numbers, letters, flowers, flower parts, geometric shapes etc.
* When you want to make GP flowers, you will need stamens and additional little things.
Everything else is pretty much buy-as-you-need it, and not essential to develop your skills. There are a LOT of things on the market to entice cake decorators, but be a bit wary of paying a lot of money for something you don't know if you will use much or at all. Many decorators have wasted hundreds of dollars on faddish systems etc and regretted it. Buy what you can via eBay if it is cheaper for you. And if you have a cake decorating supply store near you, try to develop a good relationship with them, and take on any classes they may offer as a way of furthering your skills and gaining millions of helpful hints and techniques, as well as networking!
Good luck and enjoy!
I just started out myself and like you really only had a few basics. I've added here and there and here are some things I love and use a lot and felt important. Also I make MMF so I don't ever buy it at a store and keep on hand. I usually make a batch or 2 on Thursday to get me through my weekend caking.
-Turntable.....I bought a $13 one made by wilton and love it!
-A good stand mixer, I have a 5qt Kitchen Aid and love it.
-The Mat made by Sweetwise, Inc. It is for rolling fondant and I seriously think it has saved my fondant sanity LOL
- I also have the Wilton fondant mat for rolling and cutting. I got this bc I discovered the Sweetwise Mat. I am glad I have both bc Sweetwise I use ONLY for rolling to cover cakes....wiltons I use for all other fondant work....details, decorations, etc
- Piping tips, a variety of them....cheap and your pretty much going to use them A LOT!
- Icing/piping bags......disposable are great but get costly so you can get washable ones
- Offset spatula, my mom bought one for me and I never thought I would find sooooo many uses!! Icing cakes, spooning into icing bags, sliding under cake boards to help loft and place....endless I tell ya lol
- Viva papertowels....they are making a fortune off of us cakers LOL...use them smoothing buttercream to perfection
- Good Pans....this is definitely something you have to go good on, the ones from the grocery store or whatnot just won't cut it IMO which comes from buying them and crying at horribly cooked cakes.
- Extracts....clear vanilla is your friend
- Exacto knife
Stopping now bc I'm getting long winded LOL
Ok so those are some of my favs......oh a luxury.....cake stands!! I have an obsession with cute and unique cake stands.....they don't help make a great cake but man they are so cute!!!! Lol
Welcome and good luck
Oh and I meant to put in there
* Basic set of piping tips, piping bags, disposable piping bags, and some recipes for basic buttercreams, and royal icing to practice with. Also get a tip-cleaning tool!
that's pretty much a great beginners list- I'd probably focus more on icing, piping, writing and just all around experience time with buttercream before diving headlong into fondant-land