After starting to post on the forums of CC, I found it interesting the variety of people on here, professional bakers, bakery owners, people who bake from home, and the people who's hobby is making cakes. I would love to know how you all got into baking!
I am 22 years old, I just graduated from a university in Wales, I studied stop motion animation! Nothing to do with cakes right? I have always been interested in baking, just cakes, not any other type of cooking. My family doesn't do "buying" a birthday cake, myself or my mother always make them. Although making cakes isn't my career right now I'd love it to be some day! I'm addicted to Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes!
Doesn't anyone else have a short story?
I wanted a really cool birthday cake for my son and couldn't afford to buy one (or maybe I'm just to cheap, as I've said before...I'm a girl who makes her own laundry soap, I'm not going to pay for a custom cake!) So I decided to do it myself and the addiction was born!
Mine started with, of all things, bundt pans! I was fascinated with bundt pans and the shapes that you could make cakes into. That lead to a lot of cookbook and internet reading, which led to cupcakes and any other cake novelty I can try. I've kind of gotten away from the bundt cakes, (although my husband says we need another shelving unit to hold all my bundt pans) and now I love to experiment with cupcakes, cake pops and cake push pops. I can't decorate a regular cake to save my life, but I love baking and can make a decent tasting cupcake!
I was about 16 when I got into decorating. I'm almost 30 now. Not sure what made me get interested...but I remember every summer looking forward to the new Wilton Yearbook. I took my first Wilton decorating class at Wal Mart and then the second course at the local bakery.
My career has nothing to do with baking and decorating but I wish I could do cakes more often. If I'm doing a wedding cake for someone I usually have to take a whole day off because I am not fast enough to knock one out in a few hours. As I get older I wish I could devote more time to caking (even possibly do it full time) but I'm afraid I would get burned out and not enjoy it so much.
For me, I became tired of making plain old 9x13 cakes for my kid's birthdays. I enjoy watching the various programs on The Food Network about cakes and I just decided one day that I could do that too and so it started. It's just a hobby for me but I truly enjoy it.
In eighth grade, there was an option for the girls to take "cake decorating" as an extra class, while the boys had an extra P.E. class (and any girls who didn't want to make something tasty and pretty). So I chose cake decorating. It was taught by one of the secretaries at the school who made some of the most beautiful wedding cakes I'd ever seen.
After that, I made cakes during high school for fun, for friends, and then all through college to make extra cash when I wasnt going to class or working for a Las Vegas superstar (and I'm not kidding there). After college I had a chance to work for my best friend from middle school's family bakery, and while I didn't get to decorate cakes (I made cookies!! woo!!), I had a fun time helping my friend and keeping her company while she built the cakes.
Now that I live in the middle of Minnesota (I'd never even visited Minnesota before we moved here last October) I just make cakes for friends, though I'm building my business plan and hoping for my own bakery soon... very very soon.
Its great hearing how other people became decoraters and bakers!
Keep them coming!
I have always been a baker. I can remember going through my mother's copy of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book when I was little. Very little. I don't remember exactly when I learned to read, but I remember reading that book when I was in Kindergarten, so I was about 5.
I would put the cookie dough together and my Grandmother would man the oven. We had a wall oven and it was over my head, so she would take care of the baking and I would sit on a stool in front of the oven and watch them bake. I usually had burns on my fingers and mouth because I could never wait for them to cool!! She also taught me the old cake recipes, One-egg yellow cake and Two-egg white cake. Yes, those were the names she called them, from her mother.
I have baked ever since then. When I was in chemistry class in high school I learned about baking as a science, and I started to experiment with recipes. My mother would NOT deviate from the recipe, no matter what. But I always wondered what WOULD happen if you put in an extra egg, or used oil instead of butter!!??
Anyway, my love of baking and my love of animals was equal, but in High School I was sat down and told by my Guidance Counselor that cooking and baking are only professions for rich men. Rich because you have to travel the world and know how to speak French if you will be a professional cook and only men are professional cooks/chefs. Yup, in 1984 I was told NO, you are a woman.
So college took me to Animal Behaviorism and Equestrian studies. And by the time I was 22 I was burned out in the horse business. I also enjoyed Accounting, and if I could wear work boots, flannel shirts and work outside I would be an accountant today. While studying accounting marriage took me away. For years I had been competing in the local fairs in the baking competitions and I was doing quite well. I taught myself the basics of cake decorating so that my products were polished and nice looking. After I had my first baby I took my first Wilton lessons, in a craft store over an hour away. While my son slept I would sit at the table and decorate it like a big cake, over and over.
Meanwhile I was working a factory type job and someone mentioned that they couldn't get a certain popular character on their child's cake. I piped up and said that I could make a cake with that character and boom. I became the go-to girl for cakes at work. Needless to say that the business went under (company closed to break the union) and I was able to get funding for school.
My husband urged me to apply to Culinary School, and I wasn't sure, but he kept at me. I applied, got in and it was where I belonged all along. I realized that on the first day. Even though I love cooking and I'm very good at it, I can't work on a commercial stove. In one week over a 10 burner range I had second degree burns on my face and neck. My skin is just too sensitive to the high heat. And......my true passion is baking, it always has been. The Culinary program had baking classes, but only the basic levels. They now have a full baking program, but I don't have the $20,000 needed to take it. Plus I live in an area of grocery store bakeries and I have already exhausted local employment. So, I'm on my own now and I'm trying to do it from home legally. Money is tight now that I'm not working, but it's happening, slowly.
I've always been a crafty person. I was told when I was little that I can't draw, so I'm not ever going to be an artist. When I grew up I learned that art comes in many forms. It's funny, because I'm most known for the pictures I put on cakes!! No, I'm not a drawing sketch artist, I'm a textile artist, potter and baker. My house is a very eclectic art medium!! Right now it's rugs. I'm making a set of geometric stair treads so my Pug won't slide down the stairs.
Art is everywhere, if you only take the time to look.
@Baker_Rose - Tami
thankyou for taking the time to write your story!
I think I always had it in my blood. I remember wanting to do a two layer 9x13 for my mom's birthday when I was in middle school, and it just fell apart. In high school, I'd always try to smooth the store bought icing in cans, but would give up. I always had fun baking a cake for no reason at all.
But, that was generally it.
Then I used to frequent a blogging community (Xanga). This one girl on there was self taught and always posted pictures of these amazing cakes. I always looked forward to seeing her most recent.
Then I started dating my boyfriend. It was his birthday a few months after we started dating. It was a sleepless night, so I just let my mind wonder and then I came up with the brilliant idea to make a 3D Rubik's Cube cake from scratch...
So I made his first cake (which I don't think tasted very good and am amazed that it did not collapse as I knew nothing of supports... hour and a half drive in June heat). I didn't really do much that year because everything I tried just did not work out, but once I started making progress, it just kind of boomed from there.
But, in the end, I have to say I got into cakes by being inspired by another caker and wanting to impress my boyfriend lol And now I just can't stop.
It's funny you posted this topic. I was just going through some old birthday pics this weekend and was thinking about how I ended up being into cake decorating. I have always been the "family" baker when it came to holidays and special occasions but it was always pies, breads, cookies and an occasional cake. My interest in cake decorating was actually started because of a messed up cake I got on my daughter's 8th birthday. The bakery had put the wrong colors, wrong name and wrong birthday number on her cake. So I grabbed some tubes of frosting, plastic tips and took the cake home to fix it. I told my husband that I could do a better job. A few weeks later I signed up for Wilton classes with my mom. I took all four courses and here it is about 5 years later and now I teach Wilton courses for Hobby Lobby. I am thoroughly enjoying the hobby that turned into a part time job for me.
I have benn baking since childhood ever since my mother baked pies using apples from our tree in the back garden. Then when I had my kids I baked all their birthday cakes. A few years ago I had cancer and during chemo I would bake and deocrate each week trying out new things to take my mind off how awful I felt. I was too ill to eat the fruits of my labour but my family were very pleased with all the cakes and cookies. Following my treatment my husband was diagnosed with cancer and he died three months later leaving me with three kids to raise.
I began making cakes for friends and family to help make ends meet. Suddenly more orders began to come my way.
My cake making and decorating have given me a purpose, an income and most of all so much enjoyment. Cake making is my passion in life I just love it so much.
Thanks for the post, its interesting how people got started!
@Sugarcupcake, your story brought a tear to my eye, its incredible how something simple like cake baking can bring you from the dark into the light, good luck!
To be honest I can't remember when exactly I got into cake decorating specifically.
Growing up my mum did all of the cooking and baking in our house and I always enjoyed helping and getting involved. Christmas was always a great time with huge big bowls of fruit cake that I used to have to mix for aaaaages with a wooden spoon and then there were the mince pies and puddings too. She always made really good birthday cakes for us too, I remember a lion cake and pirate ship cake specifically that were so amazing to me as a child So the baking side is something I grew up with. With the decorating side, well everyone in my family is artistic in one way or another (think artists, jeweller's, textiles and clothing etc) and so I guess the decorating side is just my artistic side coming out.
I am a very restless person, sitting still is not something I can do for a great length of time and so baking and decorating has been a bit of a godsend in that regard because I find it calming yet challenging at the same time. I've had a hell of a year personally and really struggled with enthusiasm for decorating for a while because I really didn't *want* to be making wedding cakes for my friends but because I'd already committed to them I *had* to do them; but I couldn't ever really give it up and the creative flair and excitement I get when thinking about a new project is fully sparked again and while wedding cakes still make me a little sad, I still enjoy the whole process of seeing a cake come together. I don't think I will ever do this as a business, I like the creative aspect too much and doing cakes for friends give me total free reign over the design aspect. Plus I do everything from scratch (apart from making fondant at the moment) I wouldn't have the time to do it as a viable business.
I get that feeling too, I feel as if I can do lots of things, but I'm not really "good" at any of them
I do stop motion animation, cakes, chocolates, arts & crafts, paper crafts, needle felting, wool craft, and I'm just no good.
Like I said in my OP, my background is art and animation (just graduated) though I feel I'm not good enough to make a career out of it, even though I've been studying it for 3 years!! ............
Sorry about the mini vent, a bit depressed today.....
I'm sure things will come good - I understand the frustration and wondering whether you made the right career choices though.
Personally I found that there are so many areas of cake decorating that I just really decided to settle into a bit of a niche and try and develop that a little rather than trying to provide every skill.
I still challenge myself - I go on day courses if I can for new things like cupcakes, chocolate making, flower making and I read and experiment a lot and use my colleagues and friends as guinea pigs whenever I want to try new recipes or techniques but in terms of what I offer to people for big events like their weddings and birthdays I know where my particular strengths are and steer them in that direction. My abilities are gradually becoming more wide and varied but in the meantime I know that what I deliver is something that is well within my capabilities so lessens the stress which is after all one of the main reasons I do this
Some of my oldest memories are watching my Dad bake. He used to make the best chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal and corn flake cookies. I got a Betty Crocker cookbook for Christmas when I turned 8 and used to watch Julia Child on Saturday mornings.
In high school I spent 2 years taking Culinary Arts, however, one bad experience working at a restaurant and I decided that it wasn't for me. I went to college and studied Anthropology for 3 years. I dropped out after my Mom was diagnosed with cancer and stayed home to help take care of her. Before I had a chance to finish, I got married and moved to Germany. After my son was born (literally like 5 days after he was born) I started planning his 1st birthday party and wanted him to have an awesome cake. So I started baking again and playing around with stuff. His 1st birthday cake(s) were incredibly sad but I was hooked! After my daughter was born I decided to give fondant a go so that she could have a cool birthday cake too!
So here I am! I did the Alvin and the Chipmunks cake for my son's 2nd birthday this year and am still trying to decide on a theme for my daughter's upcoming 1st birthday party so I can start planning her cake!
aww! Its lovely you spend so much time planning their birthday cakes!
I totally hate shop bought cakes, they're not personal and mass produced! Until I was "The Cake maker" in the family my mum used to make the cakes, but on my 18th birthday she decided I was to have a proper birthday cake and bought me one!!!!
Yuk! I hated it!.........just don't tell my mum that!
I've always loved baking but it turned totally crazy for me when my twins were diagnosed with food allergies when they were 6 months old. In a nutshell, they are allergic to milk, soy, and nuts and I have a niece that is allergic to eggs. I wanted them have nicely decorated cakes for their birthdays without fear of them dying from trace ingredients so I took a class at my local craft store, starting testing recipes, and waaallllaaa, an addiction was born. I do miss butter and eggs though, but I've discovered some great allergy free recipes along the way.
WOW! It must be difficult with all those allergies to consider, its great you can now make them some great allergy cakes!
I've always been baking, to a certain extent, for as long as I've been able to use an over, supervised. My grandmother was also a baker, and took cake decorating classes, so she would teach me what she learned. I even Started making gum paste flowers when she bought me a kit (I've forgotten how to do it by now).
By my senior year of highschool, I knew I wanted to cook, specifically, pastries, so I went to culinary school, in the regular culinary program. I would do cakes and cupcakes for my family, but that was mostly because people needed a cakes or cupcakes more often than any other pastries.
I worked as a pastry cook at a fine dining restaurant, then a large, historic, hotel. I then went on to be the pastry chef at a bakery, which meant I was doing cakes much more often.
I eventually started working at my current bakery where I Learned all I know about decorating cakes. I could frost a cake without issue, at my other job, but doing the kind of decorating I do now was new to me.
I always baked with my mother when I was growing up and when I got to be old enough that I could do everything myself, the baking and decorating was my job! Of course, taking home economics in school helped also...great class!! I would always bake cakes and decorate them and also do cookies, but not as elaborate as some of them here. My newest obsession is making the beautiful decorated cookies that I have found all over the web on blogs and here to.
For me I really got started and interested in cakes a few years ago when I wasn't working. I did some then didn't. Then I found cake boss on TV and it was oh my god....I have to do that!!! I just finished taking the Wilton Courses (not to long ago). I have made a few cakes but nothing to elaborate. My newest creation is a purse cake which I just made this past Saturday(and I must say it looks really good). A new cake supply store opened not to far from me and she has classes twice a week so this past week she was doing a purse cake. I signed up and away I went. I absolutely loved the class and everyone there. I have such fun when I am decorating cakes and thinking about what I want to do.
I really hope to be able to do the cakes and cookies legally in the very near future but until then I will just be playing around with decorating and experimenting.
Yeah I'd always been interested in making and decorating cakes too, but watching Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes brought it out even more!