TheAmateurBaker Posted 8 Jan 2013 , 3:39pm
post #1 of

AHello everyone

I'm basically in need of some advice. I'm currently 19, have completed my alevels and am on a gap year. I currently hold a place to go university this October, although I feel that it is a subject I will do well in but will not be beneficial to me in the long run (schools more or less force you int applying for any degree and so I out down Media and Communications as I have no idea what I want to do in life). I've been interested in baking and cake decoration all my life, and was wondering in how to take it further. I have recently visited two local cake decoration shops to ask if I could do a few hours a week or even for free just to see if I like it enough to pursue it further as a career, though unfortunately both shops turned me down. Sorry this post is very whaffley, I'm just at a loss on what to do! Since I'm quite young, I don't have friends as such that will ask me to make a cake for them, and I don't feel I have enough experience to start offering cakes to my parents friends ect. All I can think of is either taking me place at university, and come out with debt and a degree that is more or less useless in today's world, or forget about uni and find another route down cake decorating while taking the risks that I may be crap at it or not like it! (I doubt the latter somehow :) ) Sorry for going on and on again! Many thanks to any replies Alex

32 replies
sewsugarqueen Posted 8 Jan 2013 , 3:57pm
post #2 of

Too bad about the cake shops.... what did they say about refusal?  Have you offered just to wash dishes, sweep and clean just to get your foot in the door?  That is a bit of the reality of the work world today.  Have you taken any classes in cake decorating.  Sounds like you are in Great Britain and I know there are a few places that offer wonderful classes.  Why not invest in taking a week or two class.  It will teach you basis and maybe you can contact someone who is willing to take on an apprentice. Art classes will help as well and they don't have to be professional university level... craft and interest level will do as well.  Why can I decorate???? Because I did porcelaine and watercolour classes and was able to apply the ideas not to mention the patience needed to sugar and royal icing.  Invest in a few good books and practice on your own... start a photo portfolio of what you do and maybe keep going back to places.

  I have heard over and over professionals with shops who are fed up with people who come in and refuse to do even basic cleanup.  You need to impress people with your committment and work ethics.  Good luck because if this is your passion you are at a perfect age to start.  I always had to put it on backburner as I had a family to support so now very late 50's and I finally can work in a bakery but find the physical labour taking a toll. 

  Did you ask for suggestions from cake shops as well on how to get started?  Good luck!

-K8memphis Posted 8 Jan 2013 , 4:03pm
post #3 of

i have a son who is a former chef, started as a busser, did culinary school now in a different field

 

i've been in food service all my life one way or another--i love it

 

my suggestion is to go to school go to school go to school for that 'useless' degree

those seemingly useless degrees come in handy later on

 

you can always bake cakes and learn and learn and learn

 

you'll get good enough to be a big hit

 

i mean give your projects to local agencies like fire and police , hospital nursing stations etc.

 

you can always bake

 

you cannot always re-arrange your life to go to university

 

you sound like you need time to make up your mind--take it!

 

go to school AND keep baking--like fellow students won't love to see you coming????

carrying a box of goodies!!! talk about being the hit of the campus are you kidding me

 

you got a school full of guinea pigs salivating at your feet--do both is my suggestion and i wish you the best!

TheAmateurBaker Posted 8 Jan 2013 , 5:45pm
post #4 of

A

Original message sent by sewsugarqueen

quote

The first I went to was unfortunately closing, and the second said she has been struggling for orders for a couple years and sent me away. I did offer to go in for free and help clear up ect just so I could observe the types of things they would be doing but she still said no - something a bit odd about that one! This evening I have emailed another place which is a little further out but looks great, though on closer inspection with google I think it's a home business so I doubt there will be much luck there. I have been looking at classes, especially the PME ones though unfortunately it would mean me having to travel further out (I live in Leeds) to a city like Manchester, which would also mean me having to pay the more expensive price of a week intensive course and accommodation, since I won't be able to afford travel expenses if I did the course over a number of weeks. The other course I found is at a local college which is part time but runs over a year, meaning I would either carry on with that part time and drop my uni offer or the other way round. Interesting you mentioned art classes - I had thought of that early but doubtjt would benefit me since I'm more of a hand-y sort of person than painter or drawer. I have bought two books by Jane Asher which look great and I plan on working through them just like you say to build up a portfolio, though the only issue is buying ingredients since I'm just working part time right now. Thank you so much for our reply, I just hope I take the right route and not end up messing everything up :D One shop mentioned the college course and the other shop didn't mention anything.

Original message sent by -K8memphis

quote

Thanks for the reply. I never thought of looking at university as a bunch of guinea pigs - haha! What an image :) I also loved your suggestion of giving away the cakes. This is handy since my mum doesn't want me 'practising too much' as she is very weight conscious and would think we would have to eat it all! She also works part time at a hospital so I will try asking her if I could make a cake once a month that she can take in for the staff :)

DanaG21 Posted 8 Jan 2013 , 8:24pm
post #5 of

Get a degree in business (w/accounting, legal etc.)  - you'll need those skills just as much as decorating to be a successful baker if that is what you want.  Education is never a waste if you give it a 100%.  Also, look at Craftsy for some great online classes - they have a few free ones as well.  Good luck!!!

Spuddysmom Posted 8 Jan 2013 , 8:42pm
post #6 of

I vote for business degree, seems much more practical if you truly want to pursue baking as a career (or business in another field), but that's because a degree in "media and communications" sounds sort of like a liberal arts degree in the US.

You wrote that you've been interested in cooking all of your life - have you cooked/baked/decorated or just thought about it? The classes on Craftsy are not expensive and you will learn a lot with no travel expenses. I probably missed it, but are you basically unsure of what you want to pursue in life or is caking your passion? If you are not clear, could you take some type of aptitude tests before college to help you narrow your focus? Best wishes whatever path you choose.

jason_kraft Posted 8 Jan 2013 , 8:59pm
post #7 of

AI also vote for a business degree, geared toward entrepreneurship. A good background in marketing, finance, project management, process design, accounting, and verbal/written communication will be useful for just about any career.

Dayti Posted 8 Jan 2013 , 11:52pm
post #8 of

I would spend the next 9 months practicing your caking and decorating at home, get as many free courses as you can (someone already mentioned Craftsy.com) and maybe check out your local, or not so local, adult education centre. Look again to see if there is anywhere else to do the PME classes. But start with more basic ones first. Use YouTube till you get square eyes. Try and scrape together the cash to buy your ingredients and give your cakes to anyone who will take them...most people love free cake! Birthday, Valentines, any other celebration...ask for cake decorating stuff as presents. You can practice decorating on dummy cakes too, remember to take pictures each time before you remove any decorations and start again. And then go and get your degree, but keep on caking.

 

A girl I know, and most of Spain now knows, studied media and communication for her degree. She started making cupcakes in her free time a couple of years ago. She blogged about it. She now rents a place where she gives classes and sells them in literally 5 minutes after she publishes the dates on her Facebook page. She sells utensils and stuff in the place where she does classes, and is about to open a shop right next door for that purpose alone. She has written a book on cupcake decorating and has sold loads of them, been reprinted I don't know how many times and is now going on sale in Latin America and will probably be translated into English at some point. She has done TV programs, a series of her own shows. She does charity stuff too. Although her personality is what really makes her popular, she really knows how to get herself out there, and I am 100% sure it's because of the degree she chose.

 

Business degrees are ok, I found mine to be boring as hell. But you can pick some of that stuff up as you go along, or take specific classes for what you are particularly weak on.

 

Best of luck!

Texan Aunt Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 12:12am
post #9 of

I'm adding my own question to this thread if ya'll don't mind:) I also am a teenager that decorates and will have to be making some decisions in the next 2-ish years about what kind of education I should go for after high school. I first started decorating when I was 9 and am now 15, child labor laws will not allow me to work in a bakery until I'm 16 and I don't turn 16 until the summer is over. And I doubt that regardless of pictures of the cakes I have made that any place would actually want to hire me. Texas does have a cottage food law but I have looked at what it would involve and I don't think that I could balance school and a business and not go insane; neither would it make sense to set up a business and dissolve it at the end of summer break. I currently make almost of my cakes for family and friends events/birthdays and my church. I would love to do something with cakes this summer but I'm not sure what I can do other than endless practice cakes which my mom also does not like having a lot of and I also absorb the cost for ingredients. If ya'll can help me it would be much appreciated.

kikiandkyle Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 12:12am

AI would highly recommend still going to university, but switching to business, or even something culinary/hospitality management related. Trust me, as a 35 year old without that 'worthless' degree, you'll regret it later if you don't do it now while its so much easier. Paying off that debt when you're 21 is much less painful than trying to scrape the cash together for tuition when you've got 2 kids and are unemployable.

If you're really not that interested in university what about training to be a pastry chef? The college would probably help you find some work experience too.

vgcea Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 9:32am

If you want to do cakes as a business then a business degree would be a great asset to have. The downfall of many entrepreneurs (cakers included) is not necessarily the activity they love that got them interested in going into business in the first place but realizing that they were unprepared to do business. No matter what you go into business for, the business side of things is just as important as, if not more important than, the activity itself.

cazza1 Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 11:35am

I could be wrong but I would presume that England is very much like Australia and will have local area groups for a national cake decorating association that meet weekly or monthly.  These groups are a wealth of information for both beginners and advanced alike.  Our group meets monthly and someone always demonstrates a technique, which we then all get to try.  We also get in guest demonstrators on occasions.  If we get newbies someone is always willing to  go through the basics with them.

I would suggest you do a search of your local area and see what you can come up with as this will be much cheaper for you if you are short of money.
 

kikiandkyle Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 4:58pm

AAnother thought I had was whether your local supermarket does cakes, because they're more likely to be hiring even if your local family owned bakeries aren't. Of course you won't get to do a lot of the more fun stuff but you will learn a lot of useful stuff, and get paid!

TheAmateurBaker Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 5:50pm

AThank you all so much for the replies! I contacted yet another shop today but unfortunatly the owner is recovering from a broken shoulder and isn't ind action till mid feb, but says I can go see her then. The business degree idea is a good one! I've never though about it before since learning about business has always sounded slightly dull to me but I can really see the benefits in it now. My chosen uni do well supported degrees in it too, so I'm currently looking at when the next open day is so I can go check it out. The last poster recommended working at a super market or something - I'm currently working st Waitrose now but my contract is soon coming to an end (ill find out this week if it will be extend for not). While working there I did get a chance to look st he petisseri section though unfortunatly absolutely everything comes in a box, ready to put on a shelf (I can't even out a dollop of icing on there!) I'm currently planning on making a cake for Mother's Day since that's the next 'occasion' so to speak.

I'll keep you all posted :) thanks again

-K8memphis Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 5:55pm

valentine's

 

first day of spring

 

april fool's day (make a 'spaghetti' or 'meatloaf & potatoes' cake :)

BakingIrene Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 6:05pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmateurBaker 


The first I went to was unfortunately closing, and the second said she has been struggling for orders for a couple years and sent me away. I did offer to go in for free and help clear up ect just so I could observe the types of things they would be doing but she still said no - something a bit odd about that one

Sorry but there's nothing odd with that shop owner.  It is not permitted for people to work for free in most shops--the minimum wage act prohibits it.

 

Interns are classified as "trainees" but there might still be a requirement to pay them the minimum wage.  You would look online for your local labour regulations.

 

I sympathise with your mother in not wishing to have sweets in the house when she gets the third degree from her doctor every time she goes...

 

Keep looking online for bakeries and cake shops that show a "careers" button on their website, because they always have detailed info about how to get hired. 

Relznik Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 6:23pm

Thinking about it from the shop owners' point of view - why would they let you work in their shop - pick up training, hints and tips just for you to go away and start up a business in competition?

 

I don't mean to sound mean...  just putting forward why they may have turned you down. 

 

Having said you're doing A levels, I presume you're in the UK?  Where about are you?  I know that Mitch Turner (Little Venice Cake Company) has interns...  I have no idea how often, and I would imagine that places are very highly sought after.  It might be worth seeing if other large businesses do the same.

 

But thinking about all the well known cake makers here in the UK - not only are they good at what they do, but they have obviously got a very canny business sense!  A degree might not seem the obvious route for you if you want to start your own cake business, but I don't think it will hurt if you got some sort of business and marketing behind you!

 

Very best wishes to you!

 

Suzanne x

BakingIrene Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 6:58pm

How did I start my own cake business? I learned from the Wilton books published 1970-1979.  They are available for little more than the cost of shipping on ebay.  ALL the patterns from 1977 onwards are on the Wilton website (button says "pattern locator"). 

 

I practised with non-edible stuff.  I found this weird old recipe who-knows-where, using powdered laundry detergent and water whipped into the right consistency.  Piped with that onto old cake tins, dumped it into the washing machine when done.

 

You can also mix a batch of practise icing with white shortening, sugar and water.  It tastes AWFUL but you can pipe and scrape off and pipe again.  Keep it in a closed tub at room temperature, and pipe onto tins. Spend a half hour every day piping--you will learn quickly enough.

 

I couldn't get a job in a bakery, but I did get hired to make sandwiches and assemble desserts.  That was a good paid intro to foodservice. Food safety rules, how to deal with customers, how to deal with rush orders, even a job with a catering company or at a grocery store deli counter will train you in the biggest essential of all--how to NOT waste perishable food.

 

So I did eventually start making cakes for friends, and then for friends of those friends. The word got out that I could make not-so-sweet scratch cakes and then I had all the business I wanted.

 

You WILL need to get a food handlers certificate or whatever they call it in the UK.  It's generally an 8-hour course and the certificate is good for 3 years.  Then  you will need to follow local board of health regs for home kitchens which can be the biggest barrier of all.

kikiandkyle Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 10:37pm

AYou'll also find it easier to get business loans later on if you have some business education behind you, and a few years more in age. Are there are other supermarkets in your area that do cakes? Having Waitrose as work experience will surey help you there, I presume it's still considered one of the nicer chains as it was back when I lived there!

BakingIrene Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 10:43pm

http://www.lvcc.co.uk/job-opportunities.asp

texascakebaker Posted 9 Jan 2013 , 11:08pm

A business degree will help you learn the basics of accounting, business law, and marketing- concepts and skills that will benefit ANY entrepreneur. There is absolutely no reason that you can't go to school and earn a degree while running a small cake business. That's what I do. In fact, people at school who saw my cakes were my first customers! Yes, everyone loves free cake. Give some cupcakes away just to let people see how great your cakes look AND taste, and you'll be receiving orders in no time! The advantage of starting small is that you can learn as you go (highly recommend reading the Wilton course books for starters and other cake decorating books as well as the Craftsy classes); you'd be surprised what you can teach yourself. In the meantime, you can still earn that degree which you will have for the rest of your life. Selling cakes can give you a little extra money while you earn your degree. (As a side note, look for scholarships!!!) 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can have your cake, and eat it, too! icon_biggrin.gif Best of luck whichever route you choose!

gemmal Posted 10 Jan 2013 , 4:57pm

I live in London and I just finished a beginers type course through the council, as I'm a resident in the borough it cost £77 which is much cheaper to start learning the basics than some of the bigger schools, I found out about it through the library. Bar that, the library is great for books at least for the basics. I'm lucky enough to have a boss with a sweet tooth so always gets me to make the cakes for his familys birthdays etc when I know he would be better off in Waitrose (plus the discount, his daughter works there!) but knows I want the practice. Gifts are always welcome, maybe for your friends make little 4" cakes or some thing. I know a baker that practices piping with toothpaste and sugarpaste modelling with play-doh. See if you can get a cake dummy covered in cling to practice on and work out the best recipes on smaller cakes so you don't spend much on ingredients. You should be more confident about giving away your cakes to your parents friends in no time! Theres also always hanging about when your parents friends are over and dropping into conversation how you loooove making cakes [big sigh] theres just not enough events to make cakes for to practise and oh it would be so good to make cakes for other people to know what its like to deal with requests like flavors and how to translate designs... [bats eyelids a lot]. Oh and Youtube, totally always Youtube.
 

TheAmateurBaker Posted 10 Jan 2013 , 8:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

valentine's

 

first day of spring

 

april fool's day (make a 'spaghetti' or 'meatloaf & potatoes' cake :)

 

Thankyou for the ideas :) I never though of using april fool's day as an excuse to bring the whisk out - genius! 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by BakingIrene 

Sorry but there's nothing odd with that shop owner.  It is not permitted for people to work for free in most shops--the minimum wage act prohibits it.

 

Interns are classified as "trainees" but there might still be a requirement to pay them the minimum wage.  You would look online for your local labour regulations.

 

I sympathise with your mother in not wishing to have sweets in the house when she gets the third degree from her doctor every time she goes...

 

Keep looking online for bakeries and cake shops that show a "careers" button on their website, because they always have detailed info about how to get hired. 

 

Thankyou for the reply! I never really looked at it that way, especially now you have clarified the legalities. Unfortunately my local bakery are not hiring, as are the two local supermarkets. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Relznik 

Thinking about it from the shop owners' point of view - why would they let you work in their shop - pick up training, hints and tips just for you to go away and start up a business in competition?

 

I don't mean to sound mean...  just putting forward why they may have turned you down. 

 

Having said you're doing A levels, I presume you're in the UK?  Where about are you?  I know that Mitch Turner (Little Venice Cake Company) has interns...  I have no idea how often, and I would imagine that places are very highly sought after.  It might be worth seeing if other large businesses do the same.

 

But thinking about all the well known cake makers here in the UK - not only are they good at what they do, but they have obviously got a very canny business sense!  A degree might not seem the obvious route for you if you want to start your own cake business, but I don't think it will hurt if you got some sort of business and marketing behind you!

 

Very best wishes to you!

 

Suzanne x

 

Thankyou for your reply! Similar to Irene, I had never thought of the situation that way :) Your thoughts along with the legalities mentioned above completely make sense - sounds like I was being very optimistic by the sounds of it ;) Yes I am in the UK, up north in Leeds. Irene posted further below a link t Mitch's internship but unfortunately I don't meet the requirements she asks for (I don't have the 2 year experience/qualification, nor am I training under any recognised scheme). It sounds like a fantastic opportunity though. Doh! Thankyou for your input - greatly appreciated :) I am heavily considering the business degree route, I cant belive it never crossed my mind before!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene 

How did I start my own cake business? I learned from the Wilton books published 1970-1979.  They are available for little more than the cost of shipping on ebay.  ALL the patterns from 1977 onwards are on the Wilton website (button says "pattern locator"). 

 

I practised with non-edible stuff.  I found this weird old recipe who-knows-where, using powdered laundry detergent and water whipped into the right consistency.  Piped with that onto old cake tins, dumped it into the washing machine when done.

 

You can also mix a batch of practise icing with white shortening, sugar and water.  It tastes AWFUL but you can pipe and scrape off and pipe again.  Keep it in a closed tub at room temperature, and pipe onto tins. Spend a half hour every day piping--you will learn quickly enough.

 

I couldn't get a job in a bakery, but I did get hired to make sandwiches and assemble desserts.  That was a good paid intro to foodservice. Food safety rules, how to deal with customers, how to deal with rush orders, even a job with a catering company or at a grocery store deli counter will train you in the biggest essential of all--how to NOT waste perishable food.

 

So I did eventually start making cakes for friends, and then for friends of those friends. The word got out that I could make not-so-sweet scratch cakes and then I had all the business I wanted.

 

You WILL need to get a food handlers certificate or whatever they call it in the UK.  It's generally an 8-hour course and the certificate is good for 3 years.  Then  you will need to follow local board of health regs for home kitchens which can be the biggest barrier of all.

 

Hello again. Thankyou for the Wilton tip, especially the patterns! I currently own one of the very early Jane Asher books and will attempt a couple designs from there but i'm pretty sure my next book will be a Wilton one. Thats a good idea too (the laundry detergent concoction). (reading on) I really like the fake icing idea too - at least then i can get a feel of how similar it will be to piping using real icing I guess. Thanks for the last tips too. I'm not really thinking about gathering food handlers certificate and what not until I have a year or so under my belt. As mentioned earlier, I currently work at waitrose and am thinking of asking if there is a chance of me being trained to work at the patisserie counter - even though it all comes straight out of a card board box! Its all experience I suppose :) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

You'll also find it easier to get business loans later on if you have some business education behind you, and a few years more in age. Are there are other supermarkets in your area that do cakes? Having Waitrose as work experience will surey help you there, I presume it's still considered one of the nicer chains as it was back when I lived there!

 

I never considered this, thankyou very much! Haha it is indeed :) I'm just a shelf stacker at the moment but plan on asking for some hours behind the patisserie counter within the next week or so :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene 

http://www.lvcc.co.uk/job-opportunities.asp

Thanks for the link and all your help Irene.

Unfortunately, I don't fill any requirement to apply. What a fantastic opportunity for anyone else interested though! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by texascakebaker 

A business degree will help you learn the basics of accounting, business law, and marketing- concepts and skills that will benefit ANY entrepreneur. There is absolutely no reason that you can't go to school and earn a degree while running a small cake business. That's what I do. In fact, people at school who saw my cakes were my first customers! Yes, everyone loves free cake. Give some cupcakes away just to let people see how great your cakes look AND taste, and you'll be receiving orders in no time! The advantage of starting small is that you can learn as you go (highly recommend reading the Wilton course books for starters and other cake decorating books as well as the Craftsy classes); you'd be surprised what you can teach yourself. In the meantime, you can still earn that degree which you will have for the rest of your life. Selling cakes can give you a little extra money while you earn your degree. (As a side note, look for scholarships!!!) 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can have your cake, and eat it, too! icon_biggrin.gif Best of luck whichever route you choose!

 

How interesting! I guess your proving the earlier theory mentioned of uni students = guinea pigs :D  Thankyou for the post, its very encouraging :) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gemmal 

I live in London and I just finished a beginers type course through the council, as I'm a resident in the borough it cost £77 which is much cheaper to start learning the basics than some of the bigger schools, I found out about it through the library. Bar that, the library is great for books at least for the basics. I'm lucky enough to have a boss with a sweet tooth so always gets me to make the cakes for his familys birthdays etc when I know he would be better off in Waitrose (plus the discount, his daughter works there!) but knows I want the practice. Gifts are always welcome, maybe for your friends make little 4" cakes or some thing. I know a baker that practices piping with toothpaste and sugarpaste modelling with play-doh. See if you can get a cake dummy covered in cling to practice on and work out the best recipes on smaller cakes so you don't spend much on ingredients. You should be more confident about giving away your cakes to your parents friends in no time! Theres also always hanging about when your parents friends are over and dropping into conversation how you loooove making cakes [big sigh] theres just not enough events to make cakes for to practise and oh it would be so good to make cakes for other people to know what its like to deal with requests like flavors and how to translate designs... [bats eyelids a lot]. Oh and Youtube, totally always Youtube.
 

Sounds like all my friends/family are receiving cakes for the next couple years as gifts *woopwoop*. Haha, if the bating of eyelids fails i'll just go with an old fashioned flash ;)

I never thought to look in my local library - nice idea there, thank you!. 

 

Thanks for all your replies, opinions, advice and tips guys - its encouraged me a lot and given me much to think about :) However, I now blame you all for my lack of sleep since i'm so excited :P 

Relznik Posted 10 Jan 2013 , 10:04pm

Well, it sounds like you've got a few ideas there to consider.

 

Just one minor thing that sprung to mind...  I haven't seen any of the Wilton books, so I don't know what sort of cakes they do, but bear in mind that the UK market is more sugarpaste (that's fondant in the USA!) orientated.  I know that a lot of customers in the USA still prefer buttercream, so if the Wilton books are geared more towards buttercream, they may not be ideal.

 

If you want some suggestions for books, I'd be happy to give you some ideas.
 

TheAmateurBaker Posted 10 Jan 2013 , 10:09pm

A

Original message sent by Relznik

Well, it sounds like you've got a few ideas there to consider.

Just one minor thing that sprung to mind...  I haven't seen any of the Wilton books, so I don't know what sort of cakes they do, but bear in mind that the UK market is more sugarpaste (that's fondant in the USA!) orientated.  I know that a lot of customers in the USA still prefer buttercream, so if the Wilton books are geared more towards buttercream, they may not be ideal.

If you want some suggestions for books, I'd be happy to give you some ideas.

 

I got the same idea given that most YouTube videos I've seen are American/Australian based too. So far, my cakes have had jam filling and either covered in jam before placing rolled fondant, a failed ganache (will have another go At that) or nothing in between since I have only used rolled fondant which doesn't taste nice anyway, so it worked fine as my family could peal the cake away easily :3 I haven't been able to find 'gum paste' in supermarkets nor hobby craft for models and the like though. Do people tend to make it them selfs and colour as needed? I suppose that's a question for different thread really ;) Oh about the books - if you don't mind can you inbox me the names? That way I won't lose them easily :p

ShelbySmith Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 12:01am

Hi Alex,

I am 18 and I started baking cakes this past year. It all started on its own if you will; sort of found me. I wanted to be a lawyer all my life :/ eesh!

I live in Louisiana and we have quite a few cupcake shops open recently. I found myself baking cupcakes A LOT! I decided to enroll in a class at "Party Time" which is a class that is based on what Wilton teaches. I loved it! I have jump started a little business since then. My boyfriend's cousin asked me to make a cake for his little boy and it all went from then on. I am now doing about three cakes a week, while attending high school, and working at a restaurant. It keeps me busy, but I enjoy it. To help myself develop further into the culinary industry, I am going to attend the Louisiana Culinary Institute to become a Pastry Chef. I have taught myself a lot by talking to bakery owners, and reading cake decorating books. The hardest part about starting fresh is that "You have to build one to know how to build one." I have made lots of mistakes, but each one has taught me something about baking and leads me to the proper way.

So, If your interested in baking, I suggest taking some leisure classes, keep trying to get a little job at a local bakery, and maybe start doing cakes for free maybe deliver them to a nursing home, hospital, or a friend who needs something to brighten their day,  to get people to see that you actually do them. USE FACEBOOK and any other media site to really boost your business. It is an extremely helpful little tool.

I hope you find your calling.

-Shelby-

kikiandkyle Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 4:05am

AI saw gumpaste for sale at cakekraft.co.uk, not sure if its a reputable site but at least that means it is available there. It's listed under Flower Paste, the brand is Wilton.

texascakebaker Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 6:29pm

A

Original message sent by Relznik

Well, it sounds like you've got a few ideas there to consider.

Just one minor thing that sprung to mind...  I haven't seen any of the Wilton books, so I don't know what sort of cakes they do, but bear in mind that the UK market is more sugarpaste (that's fondant in the USA!) orientated.  I know that a lot of customers in the USA still prefer buttercream, so if the Wilton books are geared more towards buttercream, they may not be ideal.

If you want some suggestions for books, I'd be happy to give you some ideas.

 

I just took all four courses this past summer. Course 1 deals with buttercream, course 2 deals with Royal icing, course 3 is fondant and gum paste (deals w/ covering a cake in fondant), and course 4 is gum paste flowers.

I find that a lot of things I learned in the Wilton class can be tweaked to create some unique cakes- not just ethe example cakes they give. I know Wilton sometimes gets a bad rap, but honestly I think it's pretty awesome for the beginner! I took some Craftsy classes as well and have read quite a few other books, but I find that I really already know a lot of what is covered just because of the Wilton courses.

If you don't want to pay for the courses (they are reasonable, however), you can buy the course books online and follow the directions! There are a lot of pictures, and it's pretty straightforward. You will be well on your way!!!

Relznik Posted 12 Jan 2013 , 10:57am

I must admit, I've not actually heard of any Wilton courses here in the UK. :) 

wswanliz Posted 12 Jan 2013 , 11:55am

You might want to take a cake decorating class in your area to see if you would like this as a career.  Please check out my listings at http://www.cakedecoratingclasseshq.com/cake-decorating-courses-in-yorkshire/

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