vgcea Posted 26 Feb 2012 , 7:01am
post #1 of

Hi everyone.
I need help trying to decide which route to take in order to expand my decorating skills. So far I have the basics (very basic) of fondant and buttercream down but one can never have enough practice right? Most of my learning has been through trial and error (thanks to God and the awesome cakers at CC).

At this point I need a more efficient way to learn things along with the trial and error.

I have the option of either taking a couple of decorating classes (not Wilton, more advanced) OR investing the money in instructional videos. As much as I would like to do both, the classes will run me about $400-600 not including tools and supplies, and videos aren't cheap either so for now it's either one of the two options. Also, I am enrolled in a Pastry Arts program but the focus is not so much on cake decorating as it is on becoming a pastry chef. My point is, I have limited funds so I have to choose one.

I want to learn things like arranging gumpaste flowers and attaching them properly to the cake, how to stack a wedding cake using different "mediums" (not sure what to call them) like using dummy cakes to separate the tiers, bows and swags, carving cakes/3D cakes, using stencils etc. What's most important to me are those things that set the hobbyist apart from a serious caker for example: dowels vs SPS, things that I wouldn't know if I didn't spend so much time on CC.

Which route would you recommend? If videos, any suggestions? My ultimate goal is to specialize in wedding cakes.

Thank you.

15 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 26 Feb 2012 , 7:35am
post #2 of

It depends on how you learn and what you want to learn. For me, I want to learn to make extreme cakes and super real-looking sugar flowers. So for the 1st time I have actually enrolled in 2 classes coming my way and dropping a fistfull of cash on both because I know it's instruction from world class artists I'd never get any other way. But all my other skills I have learned from trial and error, watching You Tube, stalking CC, and asking lots of questions from pals I've made in the cake world. And I practice. A lot.

scp1127 Posted 26 Feb 2012 , 8:42am
post #3 of

Remember youtube is free so learn everything you can for free, then fill in with what you can afford. Like FromScratch pointed out, if you have the opportunity to learn from the best, do it. Not having that opportunity in my area is probably what holds me back the most with wedding cakes.

vgcea Posted 26 Feb 2012 , 8:08pm
post #4 of

Thank you for your responses FromScratchSF and scp1127. It seems that there is no way around the trial and error phase, putting in the time to dig up information, and practice, practice, practice.

I'm going to hold off on making a decision right now.

In the mean time I will take y'all's advice and try to soak up as much free info as is available to me, ask a lot of questions, practice a lot, and be on the look out for one of a kind classes rather than dumping money on classes for the basics.

Rusti Posted 26 Feb 2012 , 8:40pm
post #5 of

Jennifer Dontz has a DVD on arranging Gum paste flowers, it's very good. I have a number of DVD tutorials and think that is an excellent way to go. Most of them are set up to you can jump to the different flowers and if you forget something you can just play it again. Edna's tutorials are great as well.

kakeladi Posted 26 Feb 2012 , 10:54pm
post #6 of

I agree w/fromscratchSF. It depends on you. Some people can look at a book or video and have great luck but when I was learning looking at & reading books just did not make sense to me. I do much better w/actually seeing someone do it in person. There are soooo many helpful hints that come out when one is with an instructor - not only from the instructor but from the other students. I found it was very helpful to have someone much more knowledgeable show me what I was doing wrong. You don't get that from videos icon_sad.gif
After you have the basics and some advanced training it probably would be just fine w/videos.

sillywabbitz Posted 27 Feb 2012 , 1:43am
post #7 of

I love SugarShack's DVDs. I prefer videos to classes in most cases because I like that I can go back and re-watch them whenever I need a refresher. You can order her DVDs at wwww.sugaredproductions.com. I highly recommend the Perfecting the Art of Buttercream. The rest are all fab too but that's an absolute must have.

That said I did register for an airbrush class because I felt tha was a skill I would better learn with hands on help.

Price Posted 27 Feb 2012 , 1:58am
post #8 of

I agree Sharon Zambito's DVDs are some of the best. They are very thorough. I also think if you have the opportunity to take classes in the area you are interested in do it! Nothing beats hands on learning.

vgcea Posted 27 Feb 2012 , 2:33am
post #9 of

Thanks for all the responses. I keep hearing about Sharon Zambito's Buttercream DVD. I'm curious, what makes it a must have? I read one Amazon review and the person stated the entire video is about icing ONE cake. I'd like a caker's perspective.

vgcea Posted 27 Feb 2012 , 2:47am
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

I agree w/fromscratchSF. It depends on you. Some people can look at a book or video and have great luck but when I was learning looking at & reading books just did not make sense to me. I do much better w/actually seeing someone do it in person. There are soooo many helpful hints that come out when one is with an instructor - not only from the instructor but from the other students. I found it was very helpful to have someone much more knowledgeable show me what I was doing wrong. You don't get that from videos icon_sad.gif
After you have the basics and some advanced training it probably would be just fine w/videos.




Thanks kakeladi. I totally agree with the advantage of having a teacher right there to speak with, and you're right, the classroom setting makes it easier for tips to slip out every now and then. So far though, I think I have done better with videos and books than actual class instruction (just looking at all I have learned so far) I just LOVE the opportunity to get instant feedback and answers-- that's the main draw of the classroom for me.

So many pros and cons of each option. I'm weighing them.

Price Posted 27 Feb 2012 , 2:52am

Have you looked at her pictures? She is on here as Sugarshack. One look into her gallery will explain why her DVDs are a must. Her cakes are perfection. She has a great sense of humor and a wonderful way of teaching. She keeps
her DVDs interesting. (Believe me I have purchased some DVDs from other Decorators that are pretty boring!) I was able to win first place in a competition because of valueable information I gained from her Boxes and Bows DVD.

sillywabbitz Posted 27 Feb 2012 , 3:06am

Haha! Yes the entire video is icing one cake and that is exactly the point. It is step by step, you see every single thing she does. To me that's what makes the better videos and tutorials. No skipping and saying just repeat step 5.

What really makes it a must have for me is the following:

A cake before I had the DVD
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1640742/physics-ms-graduation-cake

A cake after watching her DVD and using her buttercream recipe,

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1959305/christening-cake

I also love her flawless fondant and stacking DVD. Not to mention her boxes and bows. The Red Queens house in my pics was my competition piece and I applied techniques I learned from 4 diff SugarShack videos.

vgcea Posted 27 Feb 2012 , 6:03am
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywabbitz

Haha! Yes the entire video is icing one cake and that is exactly the point. It is step by step, you see every single thing she does. To me that's what makes the better videos and tutorials. No skipping and saying just repeat step 5.

What really makes it a must have for me is the following:

A cake before I had the DVD
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1640742/physics-ms-graduation-cake

A cake after watching her DVD and using her buttercream recipe,

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1959305/christening-cake

I also love her flawless fondant and stacking DVD. Not to mention her boxes and bows. The Red Queens house in my pics was my competition piece and I applied techniques I learned from 4 diff SugarShack videos.





icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

WOW! Such a HUGE difference. Just WOW!

sillywabbitz Posted 27 Feb 2012 , 6:32am

Yep icon_smile.gif It's a big difference and since I don't do cakes every week, I re-watch the video the morning before I frost as a reminder. My computer lets me watch DVDs on a slightly increased speed so I get a quick refresher before I get into the cake.
The cakes where I get lazy and I don't watch the DVD again, always cause me frustration.

LisaPeps Posted 27 Feb 2012 , 11:34am

You can subscribe to this tutorial library for £10 for 1 month ($14ish)

http://www.designer-cakes.com/online-cake-decorating-tutorials/

Once you've paid, cancel the paypal subscription and you have it for 1 month. I have subscribed and find it very useful.

vgcea Posted 28 Feb 2012 , 9:16pm

Thanks for the link LisaPeps.

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