Self Taught?

Decorating By SophisticatedSweets Updated 6 Mar 2011 , 7:41pm by carmijok

SophisticatedSweets Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 3:03am
post #1 of 16

I have never taken any formal/Wilton classes or else wise in terms of cake decorating. While friends, families and clients act all gobsmacked by my cakes I come on here, browse through galleries and think about how much I DON'T know about cakes and/or decorating. I am quite OCD and have a tendency to begin randomly sobbing when creating cakes because I just don't have the know how or don't know how to fix what I am doing wrong. I am hoping to attend the upcoming Wilton classes at our local Hobby Lobby...but do you all have any other suggestions? Any books or DVDs you can refer me to? I recently resigned from my FT job and have been laying out the plans for a bakery/deli but just don't feel like my skills in terms of customized cakes are up to par. I have the imagination just not the hard skills. :p

Thanks you for your help!

15 replies
indydebi Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 5:48am
post #2 of 16

I've been doing cakes for over 30 years and I've never taken a class. "Back in my day ......!" icon_rolleyes.gif , we had no choice. You bought a wilton book and taught yourself and that was the ONLY way you learned how to do a cake unless you had a friend who was willing to share secrets.

That said, when I found CC, I will say that I've learned more on here than I did in 25 years of hands-on doing it.

So the good news is you've come to the right place.

Psst! I have a daughter with OCD tendencies so I understand a bit about that .... but cake is the one place you should try to let go. While we put our heart and soul into each and every one, at the end of the day "its just cake". Its suppose to be for our fun and enjoyment! thumbs_up.gif

sebrina Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 6:25am
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SophisticatedSweets

I recently resigned from my FT job and have been laying out the plans for a bakery/deli but just don't feel like my skills in terms of customized cakes are up to par. I have the imagination just not the hard skills.




Par? Who sets the par anyway? We do, YOU do! As long as you are happy with what you do & people are liking you cakes, sounds to me like you have SET the par! thumbs_up.gif
Besides, (unless you are making it for a fellow decorator) I always think - They wouldn't know what I don't know! LOL!

platinumlady Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 7:16am
post #4 of 16

SophisticatedSweets...I know it can be a little intimidating looking at some of these cakes & wonder how your gonna learn how to make something similar. I would say get some dummy cake & start experimenting. Your customer's happiness is what matters when you make your cakes.

I am a WMI & we only teach the basics. You will be bored in the classes. I looked at your cakes & the techniques taught in the Wilton classes you already know. Even though I teach the classes I still buy DVDs go on YouTube to help me with different designs and techniques. As far as your cakes being up to par ... Yes they are definitely up to par. You do great work

Coral3 Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 8:08am
post #5 of 16

I've never done a course. I'm quite sure there is loads I could/should learn from courses, but I'm happy just figuring out how to do things as I go along. I find it more fun & more satisfying that way. Plus these days you can learn just about anything you could possibly want to learn from youtube anyway.

jenniemar Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 2:58pm
post #6 of 16

I have learned just about everything from these guys here. If I don't know how to do a technique I just SEARCH here or go to Google (which just about ALWAYS brings up CC posts). You Tube is an invaluable tool also for the visual learner.

Of course, this is place is almost information overload- I just save stuff for later cakes and try to get off of here so I can get back to the kitchen---did someone say somewhere that this site is addictive?????? I have butter on the counter softening.....gotta go!
icon_biggrin.gif

sugardugar Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 3:54pm
post #7 of 16

I have never taken a class. When I first started decorating (2 1/2 months ago - LOL) I watched a lot of youtube and even bought a little Wilton book. Spent $200 on basic supplies: first pastry bag, 5 tips, 4 pans, and not a whole lot more LOL.

I did ok on my first cake (the wreath cake in my gallery) over Xmas and was quite proud. Since then I joined CC and have to say - I feel I have come light years. I went from not understanding what a crumb coat was to sitting here writing while a sugar bottle is setting up on my counter.

CC is the most amazing resource on the internet that I have encountered. It is large and KIND. I have never seen a site where you could feel comfy PMing anyone or posting a crisis that needs fixing within 10 mins and getting a positive, helpful, response.

I LOVE CC!

Sorelle Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 4:12pm
post #8 of 16

I took all the Wilton classes back to back, it took from mid Sept. to mid Dec to finish. I met some sweet ladies and made some friends but I will tell you I have learned more from reading forums here on CC than all those classes.
Youtube is my other teacher. So many decorators are generous with their knowledge. Edna de la Cruz has lots of free tutorials on youtube and she is a great teacher, check her out.
I suggest you save your money for good supplies and forget Wilton. Wilton classes are commercials for their products which aren't all that great. imho

Occther Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 4:37pm
post #9 of 16

If you can afford it, consider attending an ICES convention. I went to the one in Chicago and found it an invaluable source of ideas. There are also several really good teachers who offer courses throughout the country (definitely better than many Wilton courses.) Jennifer Dontz and Sharon Zambito are two that come to mind.

carmijok Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 5:28pm
post #10 of 16

Well as a fellow CC'er who is also self-taught and always looking to improve, I am going to be honest with you...you definitely have the potential...the imagination is there for sure, but as with most of us on here (and I am certainly NO exception), there's areas of improvement that will make a big difference in your cake presentation.
First, learn to smooth your frosting better. It takes practice but there are so many YouTube videos (plus great tips on here) on how to achieve it, you will be perfecting that in no time.
Next, lose the foil covered boards. Either buy finished boards or cover them tightly with white plastic Freezer Wrap (in the Foil section of your grocery store). Foil gets crumply and doesn't look professional IMO. I would also make them a bit thicker. You can always finish a board edge with a complimentary ribbon to help it look more cohesive. I myself have not attempted to do a fondant covered board...yet...but I plan to...and i will turn to CC for help when I need it. Hope this helps. You've got a great future ahead of you for sure--and everyone at CC will be happy to help! They've certainly helped me! thumbs_up.gif

marydelle Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 5:31pm
post #11 of 16

I never took any formal lessons. The internet in general is my teacher. I learned through research on recipes and video tutorials and of course CC. I know I still have a a lot to learn and I thank everyone on here in CC.

I am still thinking of enrolling on classes to get a certificate but my hubby says he can make myself a certificate of cake decorating lol...

SophisticatedSweets Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 5:56pm
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I've been doing cakes for over 30 years and I've never taken a class. "Back in my day ......!" icon_rolleyes.gif , we had no choice. You bought a wilton book and taught yourself and that was the ONLY way you learned how to do a cake unless you had a friend who was willing to share secrets.

That said, when I found CC, I will say that I've learned more on here than I did in 25 years of hands-on doing it.

So the good news is you've come to the right place.

Psst! I have a daughter with OCD tendencies so I understand a bit about that .... but cake is the one place you should try to let go. While we put our heart and soul into each and every one, at the end of the day "its just cake". Its suppose to be for our fun and enjoyment! thumbs_up.gif





I always tell myself that the medium is meant to be eaten. If the cake is for a friend or family member, and I know there isn't as much judgement, I have so much fun with it! But once it is a purchased cake I freak over the small things. Ridiculous! I keep telling my husband that I wish more people would order cupcales. LOL

BTW- I looked at your photo gallery. Such beautiful cakes!! I am definately going to look around CC and see what I can find to help me out. icon_smile.gif

SophisticatedSweets Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 6:05pm
post #13 of 16

Thank you so much to everyone for all of the tips and advice; it is greatly appreciated!! I signed up for CC back in 2005 or 2006 when I received my first Wilton kit but never really read through anything as I never thought I would take decorating to this extent. Now? It is the crack of all internet domains. icon_smile.gif I am going to start reading through more articles and work my way through some processes...I'm sure I can find plenty of friends and families to judge, and of course eat, the creations.

SophisticatedSweets Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 6:12pm
post #14 of 16

Occther- Thank you for the information! I am checking into ICES now. icon_smile.gif

Carmijok- Thanks for the honesty! Smooth buttercream def is not my forte. I've tried making a smoother buttercream as well as the hot spatula routine, but in the end it thinned my icing out too much and under certain lights I could see thin spots. :p Ick. You, and so many other awesome ladies, have suggest YouTube. I go there for funny videos but never thought to seek out cake decorating tips such as this. icon_smile.gif

Where do all you ladies buy your cake boards or how do you make them? It seems around here there aren't many options in terms of purchasing locally. A few week backs I started having my husband cut wood boards to size and I would cover them with freezer paper or a themed wrapping paper and then the clear basket paper so they would be more durable. This proves to be somewhat pricey and I just don't think it looks as professional.

aubasmif Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 6:40pm
post #15 of 16

I just discovered mycakeschool.com and love it. She has instructional videos, forums, etc. I just joined ($30 annual fee - well worth it) and have learned so much. Just thought I would share. Good luck!

carmijok Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 7:41pm
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SophisticatedSweets

Occther- Thank you for the information! I am checking into ICES now. icon_smile.gif

Where do all you ladies buy your cake boards or how do you make them? It seems around here there aren't many options in terms of purchasing locally. A few week backs I started having my husband cut wood boards to size and I would cover them with freezer paper or a themed wrapping paper and then the clear basket paper so they would be more durable. This proves to be somewhat pricey and I just don't think it looks as professional.




Cake boards can be bought at Michaels or Hobby Lobby in their cake section, or a cake supply store if you are lucky enough to have one in your city. You can order online too. You can make them out of Foam core (also at most places that sell poster board)...just cut to size. It depends on what kind of cake I'm doing...sometimes I buy the thicker ones, already pre-covered for convenience. Mostly I make them. Get your cardboard rounds and tape together to make as thick as you want and then cover with the Freezer Paper (gloss side out). If you're cutting rounds, cut the paper at least an inch wider and wrap by cutting slits all the way around (up to the edge of the board) and then tightly pull up and over the board and tape...I usually do 2 or 3 tabs at a time. use lots of tape. If your edges have a jagged look just hot glue a ribbon around it..I like to do that anyway since it can complement the cake. But do check out YouTube. Your mind will boggle at the tons of cake decorating info out there.

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