evans000 Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 7:52pm
post #1 of

Hi guys i am just curious and thought it would be nice to all share how we all started out.

What made you all get into cakebaking and decorating?

Have you been on a course? or have you taught yourselves?

Do you do cake decorating as a full time job or still manage your old job, or just a hobby?

I started out as firstly i have always liked the thought of cake decorating, i am artistic anyway (thats all i could do in school maths, english, science, no way!!) also i am getting married next year and to save on budget i decided i would do it myself so ive enrolled on a cake decorating course. I have completed beginners level 1.

I work part time as have 2 young children but when i am more experinced i would like to have my own business wether it be from home or a shop.

Helen

28 replies
Shelley51708 Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 8:07pm
post #2 of

For years I loved the art of cake decorating, however, unlike you, there ISN'T an artistic bone in my body, lol, so I put off learning for 20+ years. I finally decided to take a course at Michael's and LOVED it! I have taken 3 or 4 other courses since then, but now I am just learning on my own and from others. I am part of Ocala Cake Club and they are AWESOME about helping out. I work full time and have 2 little ones (5 & 7 years) at home, plus a senior in HS, so unfortunately, I can't make this my full time projects, lol

TexasSugar Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 8:08pm
post #3 of

I do cakes for family and friends.

My grandma always made our cakes growing up and somewhere along the way I started playing with icing and the tips. I have some pictures of cakes I made back when I was in high school.

In 2001 I took my first Wilton course and that is when I say my obsession began. I've been teaching the Wilton courses for 7 years now, sharing my love for it with others.

I've been to 6 ICES conventions, where I watched demo's on many different things, and last year was able to take some hands on classes at the convention. I've also been to a few Days of Sharing Events. And took a Sugar class with B. Keith Ryder.

The internet, books and such are always a great source of information, but I still think it is great to see things in person, have someone give you pointers or instruct you on what you may be doing wrong.

I'm so excited that I'll be spending the weekend in OK City with Ruth Rickey learning more gum paste flowers and her dusting techniques. icon_smile.gif

peg818 Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 8:20pm
post #4 of

I started cause i had two babies at home and no money to buy nice cakes for them.

I work full time and decorate as a hobby its been nearly 20 years now since i first picked up a decorator bag, i still have alot of room for improvement but i feel i can make a decent cake.

CakinKimi Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 8:25pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelley51708

For years I loved the art of cake decorating, however, unlike you, there ISN'T an artistic bone in my body, lol, so I put off learning for 20+ years. I finally decided to take a course at Michael's and LOVED it! I have taken 3 or 4 other courses since then, but now I am just learning on my own and from others. I am part of Ocala Cake Club and they are AWESOME about helping out. I work full time and have 2 little ones (5 & 7 years) at home, plus a senior in HS, so unfortunately, I can't make this my full time projects, lol




*not to hijack the thread or anything*

But, hi! I live in ocala too! I had no idea there was a cake club! I might have to look into that.


Anyway, on topic, I am just starting out (within the last few months) and haven't taken any courses yet. Everything I have learned has been from youtube and CC mainly. I really hope to take some courses next summer when I have finished college and have some spare time. LOL

bakingatthebeach Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 8:27pm
post #6 of

Been a nurse for 28 years and have been decorating for 23 years. My roommate got me started. Just a hobby baker, love the challenge to see if I can recreate things. All self taught (roommate taught me to ice and do icing roses, the rest I taught myself through the years).

mandyloo Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 8:28pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by evans000


What made you all get into cakebaking and decorating?

Have you been on a course? or have you taught yourselves?

Do you do cake decorating as a full time job or still manage your old job, or just a hobby?




I started caking right about the time of my daughter's first birthday. I've always hosted the parties for my niece and two nephews and after I left work to raise my daughter, I couldn't really afford to buy everything for the parties, so I started trying to learn how to make things.

I've never taken any classes, but would love to. ANYTHING.

I cake only as a hobby to provide cakes for family events.

LNW Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 9:18pm
post #8 of

I got married back in 2003. We couldnt afford much (wed just bought a house) and I was making everything myself. Id been watching wedding week on Food Network and thought hey that looks easy I bet I could make my own cake! So I googled and ended up on Wiltons message boards. I asked those ladies for help in making my cake and they were hateful to me. Basically I was an idiot for even attempting such a thing without any experience at all. That put the fire in me lol. I figured it out and made my 4 tier, basket weave iced wedding cake all by myself. And except a small dome in the very top tier that I was afraid to cut off it was perfect. I went back to that message board, posted a pic of my cake and blew raspberries at all those haters icon_razz.gif

Looking back though I wished Id listened to them and let someone else make it lol. I did save a ton of money but boy the stress was horrid.

After that I decided to take the Wilton courses and became certified and now Ive been doing it for 8 years for friends and family mostly. I do take some stranger orders every year but not many. I do have a degree in art history and I am very artistic so cake decorating is kind of an outlet for me. But to be honest Im a much better painter, sculptor, drawer then cake decorator so being artistic in other areas does not mean youll naturally be talented in cake decorating. Its soooooo different.

My full time job though is mom to 3. And Im the CFO of our other two businesses but really I dont do much but mess with paper work, talk to renters, contractors and the occasional banker. Most of my time is spent playing with my children. Or on here icon_redface.gif

theresaf Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 9:41pm
post #9 of

I've always loved to cook and bake but didnt get the decorating bug full force until about a year ago. I am all self-taught with help from youtube, tv, and CC! And most of all, what started me back again was my mother's old Durkee coconut book, that had little rhymes and cakes cut into different shapes with colored coconut. Oh how my brother and I used to love reading that minibook when we were little. My mother's been gone almost 30 years but I have nothing but fond memories of things she'd make. So I made my niece the butterfly coconut cake around 3+ years ago and made it so big it looked like Mothra! I've sized it better since and in fact, don't even use coconut but that's my start. Fondant - I am learning as I go and just taught myself a marbling look (posted) this weekend. And who hasn't started making cakes because they like EATING cakes! I have a v stressful day job so decorating is a great hobby and release for me (the cakes never talk back but they can give me a hard time) and I enjoy thinking of the shapes and kinds of cakes that would fit the person I am making it for. And I enjoy seeing what kind of work others do on here!

MamaDear Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 10:01pm

Well I have always loved to bake (thanks to my Grandma) and got my first Wilton Cake Decorating Kit for my 11th or 12th birthday, Raggedy Ann/Andy. I loved making all the little stars and had lots of fun with it but got into other things (I have crafted almost anything you can imagine except for knitting).

One of my hobbies was flower arranging for proms and weddings but after I had my daughter at 24 I just had to learn how to decorate cakes again so I could do her birthday cake. So I got my first Wilton Yearbook, read and reread it and taught myself. Her first birthday cake was just a sheet cake with a half sheet on top and clowns with plastic pic heads holding cookies that spelled her name and other cookies on the bottom that spelled out Happy Birthday. Last year, her birthday cake was Nightmare Before Christmas Themed and had 4 double bundt cake pumpkins with a 13 x 9 sheet on top featuring a graveyard with baby pumpkins and the trademark "Burton Swirl" on top. In the past 17 years of being a mom, I have come a long way (still not a pro) doing cakes for my various family members and friends.

The neatest cake I ever did was a speaker box that had real speakers embedded in it and was hooked up to an MP3 player for a grooms cake and the hardest one I ever tackled was a Tow-Mater sculpted one (which makes me shudder every time I see that toy in the store even to this day). My favorite cake has no icing at all, its a butterscotch pound cake that my Grandma taught me to make (and its the only pound cake I will eat).

I would love to take some of the advanced Wilton Classes but the Michael's Instructor where I live won't let me take the advanced ones without taking them all and I work full time and can't fit it into my schedule cause I would have to drive 60 miles to take the classes anyway. Maybe one day when I retire I will look into that but until then I will just use the MamaDear self-taught Wilton classes in my head!

Happy Caking!

belle76 Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 10:06pm

my obsession started just before my daughters first birthday. i had wanted to do her cake, but because we would be away from home it turned out to be too hard to arrange. so it carried on til her second birthday. and the obsession has only grown! she will be 4 this fall. I did my son's first birthday cake in April (it is the puppy dog cake in my photos) I have recently finished Wilton 1 and have started wilton 2. Right now it's a hobby, but maybe someday when i have a decent sized kitchen (mostly to store the amazing amount of cake paraphernalia that i still want to buy!!) and when my kids are in school, i might do it more as a business. but right now, i am just trying to learn by doing cakes for friends and family and by all the great info i get from this site! this site really has been an amazing place for information! and i watch youtube videos. i just bought the new wilton year book and my head is about to explode! LOL

carmijok Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 10:48pm

I'm a hobby baker and I've always wanted to decorate cakes for as long as I can remember. I would see the magazine pictures and follow the instructions but it never came out the way it was supposed to.

Fast forward to my daughter's impending wedding 2 years ago when we went for a tasting at a bakery that had been my advertising client. I wasn't working at the time and just for fun asked if she needed any help part time and surprise...she did! Not baking or decorating, but helping at the front and cleaning etc.

I worked there for a year and during that time I observed and learned how to do things right. I asked questions and got to help a little with coloring fondant, rolling cake balls but that was about it.

After I left the bakery, I got the urge to do a real cake for my SIL's birthday. So for my very first cake I did a Tiffany box (in my photos). I also learned I could do a much better bow than my previous employers! LOL! Then I did a zebra cake with hot pink bow...and from then on I was hooked. I get advice from CC'ers, YouTube and practice. Lately I've had a LOT of cakes requested by friends now more than family and I'm having a blast!

chrisviz Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 11:17pm

Same for me as a lot of you... always liked to bake and make desserts. About 13 years ago I threw a bridal shower for one of my good friends. At the time, at least in my area, everyone always just did sheet cakes. I really wanted to have mini 'wedding cake" for the shower so I ordered a two tier cake from a custom bakery. A. The request was greeted with a "huh?" and B. When I picked it up, I was like I paid What? for This? I can do better than this! lol. From that day on, I have never looked back. I took a couple of Wilton courses, which were so-so. Good for the basics. Made quite a few cakes for family weddings/events and then kinda burned out. I was working full time with two little kids when my three year old son was diagnosed with Autism. For years I was too overwhelmed to even think about making cakes.

But my son has drastically improved over the years to the point about three years ago, I became interested again. I dont cakes very often, but I am once again obsessed with them. I try to self teach myself new techniques by getting the right tools and the help of this site, you tube, books and other tutorials others so generously share. It is fun to come here to share ideas and stories. icon_smile.gif

JWinslow Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 11:50pm

I have always appreciated beautiful cakes and gardening has always been a hobby but about 3 years ago the company I worked for went under. I was unemployed for almost 1/1/2 years. In between job hunting and interviews I started taking some Wilton classes. After taking the fondant & gum paste class. I was hooked. I have made cakes for family & friends only.

My husband recently accepted a new job in Erie, PA. So being new to the area and not knowing anyone or where much is I started doing more research on the computer to learn new techniques. Finding CC has been the best ever, from the advise given by the pros to all the tutorials, I am trying new things all the time. Would love to take more advanced classes and had plans to attend the ICES convention this year but the moving expenses have gotten in the way - Going next year for sure!

JSKConfections Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 12:32am

Sounds like a lot of us have the same story...when my oldest turned one 32 years ago, I had no money for a fancy bakery cake, and I happened to be at a garage sale where for a quarter someone was selling a brand new Raggedy Ann Wilton cake set...the pan was foil, the bags and tips were plastic...well I read the directions, practiced making those stars on a cookie and a I was hooked! My kids and grandkids have never had any cakes but mine...weddings, showers, anniversary's...I do them for friends and family and just started for strangers...I get way too nervous too that they won't like them, but they do...love it and love learning new things...now my youngest daughter who is 25 has started learning for her boys, and she is very artistic and we make a good pair...I do the baking, crumb coat and piping and she is very good at creating out of fondant. We are getting way too busy now with me still working a regular full time job as a legal asst. When I retire this may be the venue to keep me from being bored.

Love this website!!

Lita829 Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 12:35am

I started teaching myself baking when I was 12 years old. One day I picked up my mother's 1948 Betty Crocker Cookbook and started leafing through pages. The very first cake I baked was from scratch and lo and behold....the darn thing came out right! I decorated my first cake when I was 13 for my little cousin, Mark's, birthday...it was an 8" square layer cake with a giant clown made of stars stretched across the top and down the side. I got the idea from a Wilton Book. All of the ideas I used in High School were from Wilton's books....we didn't have cable and the internet wasn't even a glint in it's creator's eye. I kept making cakes and started baking other things (cookies, brownies, pies, cheesecakes, sticky buns...etc) all throughout high school, while dealing with a life less ordinary for a teenager (I was essentially the adult in my household (long story that I don't care to go into here)) and working at Sbarro's (yes...I can cook, too).

Because of the demands and traumas of life, I took a 10 year hiatus from baking and decorating but came back into it and took some Wilton Classes back in 2003 and 2004. After another hiatus because of the traumas of life...I got back into it in 2007. I took my last Wilton Class in 2009. After that...it's been CC (thank Heavens for this website icon_biggrin.gif , the internet, and books).

I am now on the verge of creating a business plan for a home based business. I'd like to eventually own a small B&B with a Bakery attached.

jennifercullen Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 10:44am

I made my first cake in September 2008, it was a fire engine for my son who was obsessed with fireman Sam and I couldn't find a fireman Sam cake anywhere. At the time I thought it looked good but looking back it probably looked terrible lol. After that I never made another cake until march this year when I was looking for something Moroccan themed for my mums birthday, but couldn't find anything nice and within my price range, so I made her a cake and piped on a pattern. I enjoyed that so I asked my cousin if she wanted me to make one for her sons birthday about a week from then, i made a lightning mcqueen and I thought it turned out really good. After that I somehow became 'the cake person' amongst my friends and family so they started asking me for them, and now many of them have come to just expect them from me for birthday presents etc lol. I've even had to buy a diary to write in my requests for cakes.

I've never done a cake course as they rarely run in my area, and now the one that is starting up (which is only a 3 session 6 hours total) only covers what I already know! I love cake decorating as a hobby because I like to make things. I tried my hand at sewing, knitting, soap, but found it hard to find people who wanted that stuff. EVERYONE likes cake in some form!

I have 2 young boys (4and 2) so I only have the evening for cakes. I don't think I could do it as a full time job just yet I'd get too frustrated! As it is, I charge people for the ingredients, sometimes if its not a close friend or family member I add five or ten pounds on to put in my holiday fund. Unless I offer to make it then its free. Such as the cake for my sons nursery I'm making right now! icon_twisted.gif

Dreamster Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 1:16pm

I wanted a fab cake for my son's 1st bday in 2009. I did a 2 tier cake, iced in fondant and thought it was brilliant - it tasted fine but I can see all it's imperfections now.

I have made a few cakes since, following tutorials on youtube and gaining ideas/advice from forums like this.

I really wanted to do a cake course in 2009 but was too late signing up and now I feel I won't have as much to learn as I have learned so much online.

I won't ever be able to do it as a business as I work full time but I am enjoying it as a hobby.

tonyap Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 1:46pm

Just my opinion, classes can always help. I had picked up cake decorating by watching my mom, but decided to go ahead and take all the wilton classes even though I knew alot already. To my surprise the teacher we had, showed us little tricks the advanced people knew or short cuts. And even held classes at her home to teach other things that Wilton didnt have a class for at the time. So you might want to attand a class or two. You never know what new thing(s)might be waiting for you.

sccandwbfan Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 6:01pm

I took the first wilton class 20 years ago, and then kind of fell out of it. I kick myself in the butt everytime I think about where i could be know if I had pursued it. I've taken all of the Wilton courses now and learn a magnitude of things online (mostly CakeCentral).

LNW Posted 20 Jul 2011 , 8:25pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyap

Just my opinion, classes can always help. I had picked up cake decorating by watching my mom, but decided to go ahead and take all the wilton classes even though I knew alot already. To my surprise the teacher we had, showed us little tricks the advanced people knew or short cuts. And even held classes at her home to teach other things that Wilton didnt have a class for at the time. So you might want to attand a class or two. You never know what new thing(s)might be waiting for you.




ITA with this thumbs_up.gif

In my course 1 class there was an older lady (late 60s probably) who was a self proclaimed cake genius. She spent much of that very first day bragging about how awesome she was and had brought in pictures of cakes shed made over the years to show off. They looked alright. Ill be nice icon_wink.gif

The second day of class when we were learning how to thin icing and pipe etc. it became very obvious this cake genius didnt know squat about cake decorating. Even though she bragged shed been making cakes for several decades (and judging by her age I believe it) and was the official cake maker for her church. Sometimes its those little things, like learning what consistency of icing you should use to do a certain technique, that really matter. You gotta crawl before you walk and all that. And you learn all those little basic things (that you might think youre too advanced for) in the classes. Or you can do trial and error but I found the classes much more fun. And I dont work for Wilton or am I affiliated with them in any way. Well besides owning a ton of their pans and cake decorating junk.

I was lucky enough that my Wilton teacher was a very well respected and well known bakery owner in our city. So I got to learn from a pro who owned a successful business. I learned a lot more then just how to make sweet peas and shell borders from that woman.

Lita829 Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 12:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by sccandwbfan

I took the first wilton class 20 years ago, and then kind of fell out of it. I kick myself in the butt everytime I think about where i could be know if I had pursued it. I've taken all of the Wilton courses now and learn a magnitude of things online (mostly CakeCentral).




I know exactly how you feel.

secondbase Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 6:23pm

Pretty new to cake decorating and have not taken any courses yet. I would love to start with the basics, and then head into the unknown (buttercream?! yikes!). I have never really been very artistic or crafty, so it's crazy to think that I'm interested in something like this!

Lita829 Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 6:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by secondbase

Pretty new to cake decorating and have not taken any courses yet. I would love to start with the basics, and then head into the unknown (buttercream?! yikes!). I have never really been very artistic or crafty, so it's crazy to think that I'm interested in something like this!




Even though I am the first to admit that I am no where near Decorator Extrordinaire, I felt the same way when I got back into it 4 years ago. Two years ago I didn't know what fondant was and GUMPASTE.....I was even more ignorant of icon_eek.gificon_redface.gificon_eek.gificon_redface.gif I now make both FROM SCRATCH....just like my baking. I had never decorated a cookie with RI before 2 years ago and now that is one of my favorite things to make.

Having an interest, being willing to pursue that interest, and being willing to learn about that interest are the first steps to unlock the potential you have icon_smile.gif

melonball Posted 23 Jul 2011 , 8:28pm

Has anyone taken any decorating courses in the UK?
I love piping and want to get better at it, and learn gum paste flowers.

Any suggestions?

CheChe18 Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 8:09am

I'm still new to cake decorating. My interest peeked when I worked in a store front bakery. The GM would always ask me if I wanted to cake decorate and told the manager, when we'd have down time to teach me some things. We had very little down time, but She did show me how to make a rose using a stick. The two other cake decorators showed me how to ice and smoothe cakes. I never got around to taking the class because I eventually had to quit. I had clinical rotations in school that wouldn't permit me to work. I honestly wish I woulda stayed.. Anywho I've taken Wilton class 1 so far. The suckey part is due to the time frame of that these classes are offered (usually 6 to 8pm) I'm hesistant to take the other 2. I work Night shift and those are prime hrs for me to sleep. I took a leap out for the basics class and needless to say it wasn't my best idea. I'm pretty much geared to learning on my own. I purchased the wilton instructional books for class 2 and 3 (even though I prefer class as I can be taught other tips and tricks) so between the books, CC, and the internet.. I will be learning on my own.

Vestrup78 Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 9:11am

I'm about to take a cake-course in Denmark in September and October - and I look so much forward to it! The one is "Sugar flowers - big party roses" and the other is "Partycakes - fondant 2".

I started my cakedecoration for about 2 years ago, because I wanted to make my stepdad a speciel cake.

I can still be better and is not always satisfied with my cakes. But a lot more practise will do it better icon_smile.gif

Gerle Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 11:06am

I've always loved to bake and have done it for years. When my own 2 boys and nieces and nephews were younger I use to decorate cakes just for the fun of it. I had a nephew who was really into tractors and farming type stuff, and I use to make his cakes based on that theme. Other than that, I just baked and frosted cakes, but always loved it. Last year for Mother's Day, my grown kids treated me to a cake decorating class at our local cake supply shop. I really enjoyed it and took the second class. I really didn't think I'd bother with the fondant one because I'd always heard that so many people didn't really like fondant, but took it any way because of the decorations that could be made with fondant. I've loved it ever since and enjoy learning all the new techniques. I'm too old to start a business doing cakes and don't really want to tie myself down like that since my husband and I are both retired, have a cabin in the mountains, and spend lots of time up there, but I have fun doing it for family and friends. I didn't realize how costly cake decorating could be until I got into it and didn't realize the time it took to decorate cakes. I have never ordered a custom cake but use to think they were too expensive. Now that I'm doing some of it myself, I most certainly understand where the cost comes in and don't hesitate to tell others when they complain about how expensive it can be. It's an expensive hobby, but one I really love. If I had gotten more into this when I was younger, I would have tried really hard to make a living at it because I love it so much.

mplaidgirl2 Posted 25 Jul 2011 , 12:51pm

I was literally afraid to cover a cake in fondant. I saw the wilton course for Fondant to get my nerve up. I'm looking to take some professional classes... There are so many here in NYC I don't even know how to choose. For now I'm just experimenting. I've only been making cakes about a year but I love every minute of it!

I did go to Art school too... and sculpture class really really helps in cake decorating.

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