Where To Begin?!?!

Decorating By Nick153452 Updated 30 Jan 2011 , 11:32pm by FromScratchSF

Nick153452 Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 7:23am
post #1 of 11

Ok, basic topic, I know!! But there is just so much to be overwhelmed about! I have always been obsessed with desert, especially cake and donuts, and I have finally decided to start doing it all! The problem is, I don't know where to begin, with which recipes, with which cake set, where to find out the tips on decorating, coloring, what frosting goes good with which cakes. What the ingredients I am adding to the cake do to the cake. EEtc.. haha, I know this is a broad topic, but here does one begin?

10 replies
Pitchers_Bakery Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 8:04am
post #2 of 11

Simple as this, trial and error. Start buying books, start buying tips, and helpful guides. Grab a laptop and you tube it up! Watch all the tv shows, youtube videos, read all the magazines, collect family recipes, and then TRIAL AND ERROR!!!

I began by just making some friends cakes just because. I would ask what kind of cake and icing... eventually i would find one or two recipes that EVERYONE wanted more then the others. Next thing I knew I had the recipes I needed, the cake flavor I liked and all the tools to do it!

Its not cheap, its a lot of hard work, but if your willing to try try try and try again, then good luck! Have at it!

zespri Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 9:33am
post #3 of 11

Personally, I find I need projects to direct me in my learning. So find a project, then you will know what you need to do. For example, let's say you have a baby shower coming up. Tell the hostess you'd like to make a cake as your gift, and if she says yes, you have something to focus on. Find out how many people, then you know how big the cake needs to be. Start looking here and on flickr for photos of baby sh ower cakes, then find your favourites, and realy LOOK at them to see if you thing it's possible for you to accomplish them. Do you already have recipes you like? You don't want to be doing too many new things to begin with, so if you already have some things sorted, it's less stress for you. Now that you have picked your design, you know which colouring to buy. Take a photo into the cake shop and ask them what tools you need to make this cake.

THEN, give yourself plenty of time, up to a week. In the begining, do the things you can do before hand. Make the cakes, freeze them (keeps them moist and fresh). Make the buttercream, it will keep in the fridge for two weeks if you put a clean damp towel on the surface. Colour the fondant if you're using it, wrap it up nice and tight in plastic and put it away. Make any accents/decorations that are possible beforehand.

Since you are new, I'd also suggest having a backup cake in the freezer, just in case something goes wrong and you need it!

scp1127 Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 2:19pm
post #4 of 11

Zespri, I do projects also. I think it is more educational because to have to please someone besides yourself... the public.

Pitchers_Bakery, there are two different skill sets to learn... baking, and yeast goods. For the yeast doughnuts, you need to start with reading to research the whys of yeast because so many variables go into every batch. Some colleges and adult ed programs offer intro to yeast products. This site is great for answering your baking questions. For yeast, here are a few books on yeast baking that can get you started.

Baking by James Peterson
I'm Just Here For More Food by Alton Brown
The Art and Soul Of Baking from Sur La Table
The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

None of these books specifically address doughnuts, but they are good resources for acquiring the skill.

Don't forget youtube for great tutorials.

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 2:19pm
post #5 of 11

Consider taking some Wilton, or other basic classes. As other have said, You Tube videos are also good. Spend lots of time on here just browsing the forums and you will figure out a lot that way too. Start with the 'How Do I' forum.

Here are the basics you will need. I've listed the basic brand and the better stuff. You may have to order from a place like Global Sugar Arts, or another online store (Amazon has a lot, too) if you don't have a cake decorating store in your area. You can get the Wilton stuff at Joann's, Michaels, or WalMart.

Cake Pans, 2" deep
Better: Magic Line, or Fat Daddios (if you are doing square, get Magic Line, the corners are sharper.)

To make your life easier, you should get 2 of whatever size pan you need.
Basic Sizes: 8" and 10"

Food Coloring
basic-Wilton (sometimes they have issues)
Better- Americolors
Colors to start off with would be: Super Black, Super Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Copper (to make skin tones). If you can afford it, just get the starter pack.

Spatulas-rubber and metal

Piping Bags-disposable or washable.

Metal Tips
basic: Wilton
Better: Ateco


Cake Boards-get the same size as the pans you buy.

Leveler or Long Knife: totem and level the cakes before icing.

Sorry, I've got to get ready to go to church now. Maybe someone else can finish the list for you. Have fun!

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 2:21pm
post #6 of 11

Oh, and the library is your friend. You can borrow tons of cake decorating and baking books before you decide which ones to buy.

scp1127 Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 2:26pm
post #7 of 11

SecretAgentBaker, I went through the index of my library online and I have checked out every baking book. It took about a year, but it was fun. That is in addition to about 200 cookbooks I own. I am in a constant state of learning and improvement in my baking skills (fine cooking too). I have a very happily fed family.

Nick153452 Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 6:38pm
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by SecretAgentCakeBaker

Cake Pans, 2" deep
Better: Magic Line, or Fat Daddios (if you are doing square, get Magic Line, the corners are sharper.)

To make your life easier, you should get 2 of whatever size pan you need.
Basic Sizes: 8" and 10"

What is so bad with the 3" and 4" deep ones? Wouldn't leveling a 2" cake make it really thin for each level?

kathie-d Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 7:11pm
post #9 of 11

I personally find that that the deeper pans tend to make for a drier cake. I use 2" pans with baking strips ( wilton makes them) and then there is little if any to level. I then torte each 2' layer one, and put the two layers together ( with mire filling in between) for one 4" layer...your result will have 4 layers of cake with 3 layers of filling.

zespri Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 9:56pm
post #10 of 11

I have never seen 2" pans for sale here, so 3" is all I have ever known. I just make one cake, level it, and cut it in half. People here don't like cakes to be 4" high, I did that twice now and got complaints both times. Cakes are handed out on serviettes and eaten with your hands. 4" is too high to get your chops around! But I know in the U.S. it's expected that cakes will be 4". I have often wondered about having two small tins though. Filling is again something people aren't used to here, so having two tins doesn't really have much advantate. But I suspect it will catch on, so eventually we'll have smaller tins available for sale.

FromScratchSF Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 11:32pm
post #11 of 11

Digital food scale. I'd be dead without mine.

Candy thermometer/oven thermometer

Decorator's turntable

Parchment Paper

Viva paper towels

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