sweetnlow30 Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 5:53pm
post #1 of

I am a self taught, fairly novice, cake decorator. I have been dabbling with cakes for a few years and I always get complimented on my designs. I don't have any formal training but I have always been crafty so it seems to come naturally. I don't think I will ever be able to do cakes on a professional retail level since I am disabled and I am not able to stand on my feet for long periods of time. A lot of my cakes have been decorated on my card table while I rest in my recliner. It is a labor of love LOL. I find that if I am stumped on a technique, I can usually follow a youtube video or come here. I have been a lurker here for awhile now. icon_biggrin.gif

I noticed that a Wilton course is being offered at Michaels. I wonder if anyone has taken the course or if you recommend it? What sort of techniques do you learn? I would hate to pay for a course if I would have the same results by following my online resources thumbs_up.gif

24 replies
Goreti Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 6:31pm
post #2 of

I took classes at Michael's. You are taught the basics. If you already know the basics, then you are not really going to get anything out of the classes. The class I liked the best was the gumpaste class but again you learn very basic flowers. I did not care for the roses taught in the class and now make them using Edna's tutorial. I think they look more realistic. Although I enjoyed the classes and it really made want to try my hand at cake decorating, I think I have learned a lot more by watching videos, reading tutorials & reading books. In decorating basics, you learn how to ice a cake, how to fill a cake, piping gel pattern transfer, drop flowers, rosette, shell, leaves, pompom flower, shaggy mum, writing & ribbon roses all in buttercream. In flowers & cake design, you work with royal icing. Flowers in royal icing-rose, apple blossom, primrose, rosebud, violet, daffodil, lily. In gum paste & fondant, you learn calla lilies, roses, carnations, daisies, mums, & ruffle borders and how to cover cake in fondant & cakeboard.

soledad Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 6:51pm
post #3 of

Hi sweetnlow!! Welcome to CC you are going to love it here and learn lots of things, just ask. In reference to the Wilton courses, I like them, as a matter of fact I am a Wilton girl I say that because I took the four courses and bought almost everything Wilton and to tell you truth some of their products are not good quality, but I have gone past that. I have taken some more classes with other sugar professionals(very expensive but worth it) Going back to the subject the classes at Michaels, if you are lucky enough to get a good instructor they are very much worth it, why?? You ask, because it gets you out of the house and you get to be with people that also love cake decorating. You get to share ideas, recipes and remember we always learn something from someone. Best of all you get to make new friends!!! Just beware of their products some of them are very good like the new molds and others are just not so good, so before buying check the reviews of their products and take it from there.
I have also seen a lot of you tube tutorials but since I am very visual and hands on learner I felt that I had to take the classes.
Good luck and enjoy!!! thumbs_up.gif

CIAO

lilscakes Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 7:02pm
post #4 of

depends. I think it's ok for basics, but then the pressure is on you to purchase all the Wilton supplies for a one time use. If you know some basics, you can learn a lot from here, the internet, and books. I'm 99% self taught from these methods and learn something new each time I visit CC. Welcome to the forum. It's an Awesome place!

dawnybird Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 8:20pm
post #5 of

I agree with Soledad. Like you, sweetnlow, I was self taught, have been making and decorating cakes for my family for years, faking my way through. I took the first 3 Wilton courses and was pretty disappointed with how basic they are. I already knew a lot of the stuff, and some of it I didn't really like their method. However, I enjoyed the classes b/c I loved my instructor and the women who were in the class with me. We had fun "talking cake" and sharing stories. If you can get the classes when they're offering half price specials, and they do pretty often, it's probably worth it. I was disappointed in the quality of a lot of their products, though.

LNW Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 8:30pm
post #6 of

I didnt know anything really about cake decorating before I started the courses. I made my wedding cake based on info some sweet ladies at Wiltons website gave me through pms and stuff I read in cake decorating books. I loved the classes. Not really because of the information learned but really because I got to get out of the house, hang out with a bunch of other ladies with the same interest as me and just have fun.

Plus my instructor was like the cake goddess of our city. Anyone who was anyone in cake decorating knew her and she was very respected. So I studied under and pro who practically taught all the other bakery owners in the city how to do what they are doing. I thought that was pretty cool and I like to brag about it every now and then (especially since she no longer teaches).

But there really isnt anything in the classes that you couldnt learn from YouTube or here for free. But the fun and experience of it all is what makes the classes worth it. If you need a night out with the girls that is. Otherwise just keep on doing what you are doing. I learned a lot more from here than I ever did in the Wilton classes.

MarianInFL Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 9:27pm
post #7 of

I had never decorated a cake before I took the Wilton course. After finishing the four courses, I was obsessed with cake decorating and found Cake Central, where I learned sooooo much more!

When Wilton revamped their classes, I took the classes again. While I learned a couple of new things, I felt I knew way more than they were teaching me. It was hard for me not to blurt out hints and things I had learned on CC while in class.

But the best thing I got out of the class were the friendship of my great instructor and a few in the class. We still get together once a month for our "Cake Club." We pick a theme and each decorate a cake. It's just so much fun, so I never regret taking the Wilton classes.

cheatize Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 9:43pm
post #8 of

I took a course last Fall. The teacher allowed me to skip the basics course since I already knew all that. I took the flowers course (gumpaste flowers, royal icing flowers, basketweave, the almighty rose, etc...) b/c that's where I have difficulty. Yes, I knew pretty much everything already but there's a difference between knowing and doing. It was great to see first hand the correct consistency, to have someone who will slow down to show you a particular movement again, who will look at your hand position to confirm if it's correct, and to generally supervise you so you know for sure what to do and if you're doing it correctly.

I had zero pressure to buy Wilton products. As long as I had what was needed, my teacher didn't care about the brand. She brings extra tools so, for example, if you don't have the flower press, you can use her's. I'm looking forward to their new flower course that starts next month!

sweetideas Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 9:55pm
post #9 of

I guess it just depends on the person. I was totally new to decorating, and I took 4 wilton classes. I would probably go to Chicago for the more professional classes if I could afford it. But I think I learned more here, and from various videos (Mike's Amazing Cakes video, SugarEd productions, Aine2 tutorials among others). I love Jennifer Dontz, too. If you have a local ICES, they are a valuable tool, also. They have days of sharing and classes from professionals (Michigan has some amazing classes coming up in March). I don't decorate any cakes but my kids so thats like 2 cakes a year. I am not skilled, but I love learning and love caking. Plus, if meeting people who are as into cakes as you are thru Wilton classes means anything to you, it might be nice. They are certainly affordable and you don't have to buy everything, I did because I went crazy, but realized later I wished I waited and purchased other stuff. icon_smile.gif

DeniseNH Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 10:16pm

They teach you the very basics and it looks like you already know that. Then it's usually held at a craft store with their shelves stocked with Wilton items. The teacher of our class lead us down the cake aisle and pointed out what we needed ...............I bought it.................90% of which I didn't really need after all. They hold classes in craft stores so that you'll learn a little, but buy a LOT. Look on line for a good DVD and play it at your leisure - and often. That's the best way to learn if you can't get to a top rate class by one of the more well known decorators.

sweetnlow30 Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 10:25pm

Thank you for the welcome icon_biggrin.gif I didn't consider having to buy all the supplies in the cost of the course. I don't know why I overlooked that, it seems so obvious now icon_redface.gif I think that I will probably wait and try some more techniques on my own. I will admit that I have never made a flower and I don't even own a flower nail haha. I think I would probably benefit from the flower making course maybe in the spring. So far, I have focused on themed cakes for birthdays and by request from relatives. Some how, I find basic cakes with flowers a bit boring but I am sure I will be asked on make one at some point so I better start learning now. I am having a great time making this fishing cake for my grandfathers 90th birthday but I can only work for an hour or so at a time which makes it harder for me. I modeled some items from MMF enhanced with gum tex today for the first time and I am really proud of how they look...please don't fall apart on me! I will post some pictures when the cake is done on the weekend.

Rusti Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 10:27pm

I think you would enjoy the classes for the same reasons soledad said. You will always learn something at class either from the class itself or other students. If you don't like them you don't have to take them all but the fondant and gum paste flowers are fun.

Unlimited Posted 22 Jan 2012 , 11:19pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetnlow30

I will admit that I have never made a flower and I don't even own a flower nail haha.




You really don't need a flower nail unless you're making roses the Wilton way. You can learn to make them on a stick instead.

sweetnlow30 Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 3:01pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetnlow30

I will admit that I have never made a flower and I don't even own a flower nail haha.



You really don't need a flower nail unless you're making roses the Wilton way. You can learn to make them on a stick instead.




Neat, I will have to look for a tutorial for that icon_smile.gif

BlakesCakes Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 3:07pm

If it's in your price range & you'd like to spend a few hours a week with some like-minded people, you WILL learn something--even if it's something you DON'T want to do. You're not obligated to buy anything.

I took Wilton 1 & 2 many years ago, but had little time to do cakes. About 7 years ago, I re-took Wilton 2 & finally was able to do Wilton 3. I had a superb instructor who helped me to see that this was a talent that I should work on to develop. I haven't looked back.

I've taken classes at the Wilton School in Darien, IL--just wonderful--as well as classes with all types of instructors--most of whom began decorating by taking Wilton classes.

I learn something from every class I take & from every person I talk with about cake.

I think the $10-25 I spent on each one of those classes was some of the best $ I've ever spent on my avocation.

Rae

Unlimited Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 5:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetnlow30

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetnlow30

I will admit that I have never made a flower and I don't even own a flower nail haha.



You really don't need a flower nail unless you're making roses the Wilton way. You can learn to make them on a stick instead.



Neat, I will have to look for a tutorial for that icon_smile.gif




I made a videoclick on the link in my signature below.
v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v

TexasSugar Posted 23 Jan 2012 , 5:22pm

http://www.wilton.com/classes/local_classes.cfm

This will give you an over view of what is taught in the courses.

kendra_83 Posted 24 Jan 2012 , 12:20am

I learned everything I know from youtube, cake central, and google. Also, trial and error. Mind you, I have no idea how to use most of the piping tips but most of my work is in fondant anyway.

TexasSugar Posted 24 Jan 2012 , 3:19pm

I think there are great resources out there for learning, but I also think it depends on the type of learner you are.

Some people can read a book or see pictures and do it right away. Others benefit from having someone there that says this is how you hold your bag, this is how you do this, and maybe you want to try doing this instead.

While I have learned alot from the internet, I have vauled my class time but the Wilton courses, and the non Wilton courses I have taken.

As a WMI, there is nothing more exciting for me, than to watch a students face light up when something clicked with them and they made a wonderful rose or what ever it was they were struggling with.

I've also had students come in with years of experince, in one case I had a lady that started decorating around the time I was born, and said after the courses, they still learned something, picked up a trick they didn't know and so forth.

Alot of my students also enjoy the time away from the rest of their lives, those 2 hours a week that is their time doing something they enjoy with people that have the same interest.

While I don't think you have to take the Wilton classes to be an expert, I do think there are benefits to taking them as well. icon_smile.gif

Debbye27 Posted 24 Jan 2012 , 3:45pm

I have been going back and forth on taking the classes as well- all this info was very helpful! I am going to take them -I already have tons of supplies- so not sure what else they would want me to buy- but I would love to learn the basics- as I just jumped into more complex stuff when I startedicon_smile.gif Plus it would be nice to meet other people who like to decorate cakes....and share recipes and stuff

*One girl I know who took the class said she didn't realize how much time and money it would be even outside the class- she said they wanted her to bring cupcakes one day, frosting another, two 8 inch layer cakes...buttercream....and that was hard for her to do. ------I make cakes all the time, so whipping them up is no big deal- but for others it might seem like a lot of extra time and money for ingredients -something to think about as well.

cheatize Posted 25 Jan 2012 , 2:56am

You no longer bring a cake to class every week. The course I took only required one cake and that was for the final class.

TexasSugar Posted 25 Jan 2012 , 3:49pm

In Basics you bring cookies to lesson 1, cake to lesson 2 and 4 and cupcakes in lesson 3. On Flowers & Cake Design and Gum Paste & Fondant you only do 1 cake per course in lesson 3. In the new course, Advanced Gum Paste Flowers, there is no cake at all.

Yes it is work outside of class. But the cakes are to help you practice and learn. Doing something over and over on the practice board is not the same as doing something on a cake. Same thing with icing. If you came in and used icing that was sitting there for you every week you wouldn't learn how to make the icing, and how to adjust it if need be.

sweetideas Posted 26 Jan 2012 , 3:41pm

And there was no obligation to purchase anything but the class kit, which I used coupons on---I just got the cake bug and went crazy. For me, the time to do something for myself was worth it. And that's where I learned about cakecentral so that made it worth it!! ;0) I mean, no one else I know cares about fondant and icing the way cakers did in class--and I found out about a cakeclub while I was there, too.

obsessed Posted 26 Jan 2012 , 4:12pm

I was brand new to cake decorating so I took all of the "old" Wilton courses. I definitely learned some things. That being said, we also had a terrific instructor who did not push us to purchase product and who also brought her own tools to share (and we shared amongst ourselves too). I religiously collected and used 50% off coupons for everything that I did actually buy so it wasn't too bad...plus for as much as I make cakes (hobby baker), most of what I ended up with is still useful and "good enough" for the amount that I use it. A final note, I know a few gals who bought a styrofoam cake dummy for classes (we did have to bring cake every week) and only had to make icing when they needed it. I also enjoyed the weekly "night out" and still keep in touch with some of my "cake friends"...even if it is only to recommend them to others.

Apti Posted 26 Jan 2012 , 5:49pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarianInFL

I had never decorated a cake before I took the Wilton course. After finishing the four courses, I was obsessed with cake decorating and found Cake Central, where I learned sooooo much more!

When Wilton revamped their classes, I took the classes again. While I learned a couple of new things, I felt I knew way more than they were teaching me. It was hard for me not to blurt out hints and things I had learned on CC while in class.

But the best thing I got out of the class were the friendship of my great instructor and a few in the class. We still get together once a month for our "Cake Club." We pick a theme and each decorate a cake. It's just so much fun, so I never regret taking the Wilton classes.




MariannInFL~~You sound just like me! The classes are SO much fun, and, like Soledad said, you will have 3 hours of pure, distilled cake fun and will learn something, no matter how much you already know.

Take the classes! You will NOT be sorry.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%