Minimal Experience, How To Start & Gain Experience? Inte

Decorating By weidertm24 Updated 17 Jun 2011 , 4:14pm by weidertm24

weidertm24 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 2:29am
post #1 of 17

Hello all!

Im 20 years old and decided that I want to decorate cakes for a living. However I have minimal experience, just a few cakes I've done for family. What can I do to gain experience? I'm not great, but like I said I've only done a few cakes. Right now I can't even take the 3 Wilton classes because they coincide with my current work schedule. I REALLY want to take these classes but they don't offer them during the day or on the weekend near me. I've thought about buying the student kits they offer not sure what everyone thinks about them. I've asked about interning and the response I got wasn't great. Just about everyone didn't like the idea and said they didn't have time to teach someone with no experience. So not sure what to do.

I would really love everyones ideas and suggestions.

16 replies
nanefy Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 2:41am
post #2 of 17

OK - I wouldn't panic about not having taken any classes or anything. I haven't taken a single class, for anything even related to cakes and I don't really need to (some people might disagree). I have learned everything I need to know from either books or the internet - but the thing that has taught me the most is practice practice practice. I've started out with cupcakes and at that time I wasn't even interested in doing wedding/celebration cakes and now I am an addict and tbh would happily give up doing cupcakes. I'm not saying that classes aren't good, because you would be able to learn things a lot faster, but it's not essential. In fact I'm pretty sure that Elisa Strauss is completely self taught as well.
With sugar flowers etc, there are some great online and book tutorials and once you've mastered a few flowers, the rest you can pick up fairly easily.

However the most important thing you can do is practice!

Hope that helps icon_smile.gif

sugarandstuff Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 3:00am
post #3 of 17

What state are you in? Maybe you could find an intern possibility through someone on here.

tiggy2 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 3:01am
post #4 of 17

Sugarshack has some good videos for beginners. www.sugaredproductions.com They cover stacking, smoothing BC, covering with fondant, etc. Check out her website.

VaBelle Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 3:04am
post #5 of 17

I would say maybe buy the course book, but not the kits. Start with the Basic course and then look each lesson up on the Internet. There's great videos out there. There's a woman on here, Edna, who has a website, Design Me A Cake, and she has lots of video tutorials, even how to ice a cake.

I took the Wilton Basics class and fondant class (the instructor never completed the last class) and got the basics, but have learned everything else I know from here, other websites, TV, and practice.

If you have any cake supply stores near you, give them a call and ask if they have a club that you can meet with.

Hope that helps and good luck!

weidertm24 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 3:05am
post #6 of 17

I'm in SE Wisconsin. I'll have to look into video tutorials. I wish someone would make one of the tips you use the most. I'm having a hard time figuring out which works best for which. It would be nice to see a video that shows the most used ones. I've watched plenty of tutorials on how to make roses but that's about it. And of course torting, icing and stacking among others. Just not sure the best way to go about it.


Thanks again!

KoryAK Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:42am
post #7 of 17

Practice practice PRACTICE and take photos. Then go to a bakery with your shiny new portfolio (printed on card stock or photo paper) and see if they have any internships available. Also, if you have any other art-type experience or portfolio work show that. Art classes go a long way in pretty cake world, could you find some of those that coincide with your schedule?

Unlimited Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 6:32am
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by weidertm24

I wish someone would make one of the tips you use the most. I'm having a hard time figuring out which works best for which.




This might help:
http://www.wilton.com/store/site/department.cfm?dc=4.6&killnav=1&lid=sb_tips

For starters, I'd recommend you get several open tips for writing, dots, or bead borders:
#2, #4, and a #10
Open star tips for shell borders or stars:
#17 or #18, and #21 or #22
Leaf tips for leaves or ruffles:
#67, #68, and possibly #74 for long skinny leaves
Grass tip for grass or filling in areas you want textured:
#233
Basketweave tip (ribbed on one side/smooth on the other side) for ribbons too:
#47
Petal tips for flower petals, roses, ribbons, or flat ribbon borders/swags:
#104 and #124

Have fun practicing! When you feel confident that you have what it takes to do it for a livinggo get that job! You'll never regret the learning experience that you'll gain from working in a bakery.

michel30014 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 12:59pm
post #9 of 17

Ok, well, I've never taken any classes. Though, I admit my mother who is a cake decorator in Texas taught me the basics before I moved to Georgia. She is too far away to teach me anything now. So, I had to learn on my own.

Read everything you can get your hands on about cake decorating. Here on Cake Central you can learn a whole ton..... This is where I've gained the most information. Also, Youtube!! There are many tutorials on that website. Sign up for youtube, if you're not already on there, and save the tutorials to your favorites. I often reference back to them when I need to.

In essence, Read, watch tutorials and then practice, practice, practice!! I'm still not perfect at this but I LOVE it! So, I keep practicing.

Check out the profiles/photos of people on Cake Central for inspiration. Good luck!!

Dani1081 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 1:29pm
post #10 of 17

weidertm24 you might try mycakeschool.com. . .it's a website that offers tutorials on how to do everything from very basic beginners techniques to advanced techniques. She charges $30 for a years membership, but really has alot of great info for beginners and it's cheaper than buying some of the dvds out there. youtube is great, but I get irritated spending all my time searching and sifting through the bad videos to find the ones that are useful.

ycknits Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 2:01pm
post #11 of 17

I'd always wanted to take the Wilton classes, but didn't have time. Finally, I signed up for one and ended up taking all of them back to back. I was never able to attend all of the sessions for any of the classes, but the classes were small and the instructor worked with me to give me homework to do for the classes that I missed and to catch me up at the next session that I could attend. For some of the later classes, there were only two or three of us. For me, seeing her do things the right way really helped it all 'click' for me. From that point on, I used cakecentral.com (gotta LOVE it!), on-line tutorials - especially youtube.com, books, DVD's etc.

I have lots of family members and friends to decorate for, but what helped me most with practicing different techniques and larger cakes has been volunteer baking for Birthday Cakes 4 Free. I hooked up with a large private organization for which I provide two cakes each month for a kids birthday celebration. I bake one girl's cake and one boy's cake each month to feed about 50 people. This also could provide you with word-of-mouth references and photos for a personal portfolio.

Here's the website link for Birthday Cakes 4 Free...
http://www.birthdaycakes4free.com/

HappyCake10609 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 2:24pm
post #12 of 17

I agree, that taking actually classes in not absolutely necessary. I haven't taken any classes (although I really want to, but now I have a better idea of what classes I would want...), anyway. When I started "playing with cake" I was afraid that to get practice I would be making a lot of cakes for my husband to take to work (testing recipes) and dummies to practice techniques (I picked up A LOT of info online, YouTube, this site, books and DVDs). However, once my family and friends saw what I was doing everyone wants a cake! I average 2 cakes a month for people I know, so I'm getting LOTS of practice and developing quite a portfolio. I'm in the process of starting my business, so I think they'll all be a little unhappy when I can no longer give them all free cakes!

I try to use a new technique every time I have a cake to do (or at least every time I have free reign over the design). I recommend start by figuring out what smoothing technique works for you, and look at LOTS of cake pictures, start a list of what you want to learn and research and practice those techniques. My library doesn't have a lot of the DVDs but they do have a lot of books! Also, check out the How To section of this forum, there is loads of information in there!!

Good Luck!

TinkerCakes Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 2:26pm
post #13 of 17

I always say I feel like I am in school with all the research I am doing about cake decorating. There are sooooo many tutorials, soooo much to learn online! I practice for my friends and family, I hope one day I can be good enough (and confident enough) to sell.
I wish I would have started when I was the OP's age!!!! Best of luck to you!!!

dchockeyguy Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 2:41pm
post #14 of 17

There are tons of demos on You Tube on how to do different things. Do some searches there, and you could learn a lot. Then just practice!

rpaige Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 3:01pm
post #15 of 17

Hi, I am also a beginner and have found that school teachers will give you plenty of "practice" work! Once teachers discover that you will make a cake for the classroom, they are thrilled to have your help. You gain lots of experience, you can take photos of your work to build a portfolio and the classroom recipients will not complain or ask for their money back -LOL! The teachers and the kids are thrilled with your efforts and never worry about your mistakes. I simply ask that the teachers make their request known well in advance. I can then bake around my current schedule. Once I know the subject matter, I can do my research - youtube, CC, library, etc. If I see an idea that requires a new talent then I do more detailed research. Every holiday for me is booked and I always try to do something new to challenge myself each time. My work is only a hobby and I give my cakes to others as a gift or donation. I do not sell cakes - but maybe one day!

shanney54 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 3:13pm
post #16 of 17

Another good place to check out are blogs! I find loads of inspiration, recipes, and new techniques from them. icon_smile.gif

weidertm24 Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 4:14pm
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by weidertm24

I wish someone would make one of the tips you use the most. I'm having a hard time figuring out which works best for which.



This might help:
http://www.wilton.com/store/site/department.cfm?dc=4.6&killnav=1&lid=sb_tips

For starters, I'd recommend you get several open tips for writing, dots, or bead borders:
#2, #4, and a #10
Open star tips for shell borders or stars:
#17 or #18, and #21 or #22
Leaf tips for leaves or ruffles:
#67, #68, and possibly #74 for long skinny leaves
Grass tip for grass or filling in areas you want textured:
#233
Basketweave tip (ribbed on one side/smooth on the other side) for ribbons too:
#47
Petal tips for flower petals, roses, ribbons, or flat ribbon borders/swags:
#104 and #124

Have fun practicing! When you feel confident that you have what it takes to do it for a livinggo get that job! You'll never regret the learning experience that you'll gain from working in a bakery.




Thanks so much, Just what I was looking for. Well close. [= I actually bought both the Deluxe and Master set because I got them both for $30 shipped. [=


Thanks again to everyone else with suggestions. Now I just gotta get it into my moms head that I don't need to go to school because she's set on me going to school. To be honest, I hate the baking part. I wish someone would just bake my cakes for me and let me decorate but for now I'm suck doing both. icon_smile.gif

Thank you!

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