I've been baking for a about 7 years, and I've learned a lot along the way. I've always wanted to do cakes but decorating wise I've never really been taught. (I can torte, ice, and decorate a generic shell bordered cake with roses.)
I want to start progressing to more professional wedding cakes, but 1. How do I get started into that type of decorating? 2. I love to practice my skills, but my own family is sick and tired of cake every week XD.
I would love to hear your stories and any advice for me thanks!
You can use styrofoam cake dummies.
You can use styrofoam cake dummies.
What kind of techniques should I be perfecting? Fondant covering? IDK im so lost >.<
Take some cake decorating classes. I had been doing cakes for family and friends for about 7 years when I decided to take the classes offered at Michaels. They were pretty informative. You can also get instructional dvd's or watch tutorials on youtube.
You can do anything with a cake dummy, except for eat it of course lol! This way you can practice whatever you want without having to waste time making cakes that your family is tired of eating.
It is good to take basic cake decorating classes. I took one a long time ago when I was about 17. Back then there were only three Wilton Courses. I think I only did the first and second.
As for what techniques to practice, that is solely up to you. It will depend on your decorating style and how you want to develop your skills. I think it's good to have a little bit of everything under your belt. A lot of us are buttercream only decorators, some mostly work in fondant, and others do both. I am a buttercream with fondant accents decorator.
It is good to get some experience in a lot of decorating mediums (fondant, buttercream, royal icing, modeling chocolate, etc.) because you never know when one of those will come in handy or when a particular design will call for one of those mediums.
I think the best approach is to get some dummies and make a batch of the crappy Wilton "buttercream" and practice (the best part is you can re-use it over and over again). Wilton makes, or at least used to make practice boards on which you could practice piping. I still have mine. Wilton fondant is gross but it's cheap at Michael's with a coupon and you can use it to practice covering your dummies.
I think taking some of the Michael's art classes wouldn't hurt either. Or something simple from your adult education school. Seems like the better decorators have lots of artistic skills.
I think one of the best ways to focus on learning new techniques is to pick a cake design you like and try to duplicate it. Don't try to learn everything all at once. If you focus on one cake design you can hone in on what to do and what you need for that particular cake...supplies...techniques etc. and then go from there. You can ask specific questions here on CC...go on YouTube for tutorials...get the information you need to gain basic knowledge so you can advance to other techniques.
I personally would start with a buttercream cake with fondant accents. It's good to learn how to smooth your buttercream as well as learn how to work with fondant before trying to cover a whole cake with it . I still don't cover my cakes with fondant because I tried once and it was terrible. I am, however going to take a basic fondant course this month to hopefully learn how to do it properly! I feel I can handle it now.
Just enjoy learning and don't get discouraged if something doesn't turn out perfect. Oh...and if you need to get rid of cake, think about giving it to a nursing home, or give to someone to take to their office. People love freebies! Good luck!
I agree with carmijok, pick a challenging cake and try to do it- that's what I did with my very first cake (a superhero cake) - I learned how to work with fondant, cereal treats, and piping all in one cake! You tube is very helpful to me as well - as I am still a beginner, I will be taking the Wilton classes at Joanns to learn the basics -b/c I just jumped in w/o knowing anything!
But as far as who to take cakes to....definately donate a couple- that is what I do, I will donate practice cupcakes or cakes to offices- I take them to my work- which has over 300 people, I send them to work with my stepdad-he works a state job with lots of people- I send them to school with my son's....and believe it or not- I actually get orders this way- free advertisement!!
I haven't worked with a cake dummy yet- b/c I don't know what to do with it afterwards but I would definitely pick a challenging cake that has nothing to do with buttercream roses or what you are used to- and learn by doing!
The first tiered, and first fondant cake I did was my daughter's 4 tier castle wedding cake. Talk about a learning experience! It wasn't a beginner cake, but I'm pleased to say that it was beautiful, but I wouldn't advise doing something like that.
If you have the basic baking under your belt and you've conquered buttercream then you're ready to move on to modelling chocolate, fondant, royal icing. Pick a small project - - it doesn't even have to be a cake - - and practice until you feel comfortable with it. When I first started doing flowers, they were everywhere! Some I used, some I didn't.
Good luck and don't be afraid to ask for help - - we've been there!
When your dummy is decorated, let it hang around the house for awhile until you get sick of looking at it. Then wash it, let it dry thoroughly, and store it somewhere until you're ready to use it again.
I quit doing free cakes because I was losing out on inputs money. Also I was not learning fast enough because each time I asked for feedback it was always positive comments. People are always nice when they get free cake. I just started advertising and got requests of way different cakes from what I was practising on dummies. The first feedback for paid cake was that cake was too dry. Made me research more on better recipes and other factors. Every order has had its own demands which made me learn much faster. My cakes have low prices and those who order know that. At least I recover ingredients money with a little profit. Those who have ordered more than once comment on improvements. I sometimes offer to do cake for some close people occasions where they give me inputs money only. I will increase my prices with time. I would not have learned so much in 6 months if I was doing donation cakes.