Sassy74 Posted 11 May 2013 , 4:14am
post #1 of

I feel like I've improved as a caker so much in the last couple of years.  Thanks to CC, YouTube, Pinterest, and dvd's (Sugarshack!), I feel way more confident and competent.  But I know that no matter how accomplished I may feel in certain areas, there will always be others where I feel so intimidated and clueless.  There are skills that I don't have that I don't necessarily want to perfect.  For example, my figure modeling is pretty lame, but I'm not terribly worried about that.  I don't really WANT to make fantastic life-like figures, kwim?

 

I feel totally confident that I can bake, level, torte, fill, and ice a cake perfectly smooth, I can stack tiers, I can apply and smooth fondant.  But the one thing that scares me, the one thing I think I pretty much suck at, the one aspect of the whole process that makes me wish I could just take a pill and fix it is...design and inspiration.  I feel like I can not, regardless of how I try to twist my brain, just come up with a totally original and awesome cake design out of thin air.  

 

And I'm totally lost when I hear ppl say they got the inspiration for a cake design from a separate element, like a piece of fabric, the venue, a dress, etc.  My thinking is so dang concrete that it's hard for me to see how others do that???  It's so frustrating to WANT to be better at something, but not know HOW to improve.  Unfortunately, I don't think that there's a YouTube or dvd out there that teaches a person how to be inspired haha!

 

So, what's one area of caking that you REALLY REALLY want to be better at, but you still find challenging?  

24 replies
Elcee Posted 11 May 2013 , 4:30am
post #2 of

The thing I don't really care about is air brushing. When it's done well, it's great and I admire the skill it takes to do it really well but it's just not for me.

 

What I'd really like to be better at is piping. Right from the get-go, I struggled with icing consistency, it always seems to be too stiff or too thin. I'd love to pipe writing and beautiful scrollwork. I know I need to practice but never seem to get around to it.

Annabakescakes Posted 11 May 2013 , 4:57am
post #3 of

AFigure modeling and procrastination kill me! If I could just get on a schedule and follow it, I think everything else I do would fall right in line, because I would have plenty of time. I have never practiced anything in my life! If I need to pipe a design on a cake I have never done before, I scribble on my table really quick, see what NOT to do, then whack away.... If I need a figure, I bang it out real quick, dry it in a warm ish oven and Plop it on the cake! It is lucky that I am as good as I am, but I know I could much better. I am doing myself and my clients a disservice, for real.

cazza1 Posted 11 May 2013 , 6:26am
post #4 of

I would love to be able to  make a realistic looking rose.  I can make passable roses but they always look a bit strangled, with the leaves too tight.  I have bought the Nicholas Lodge Craftsy class but I don't hold high hopes.

jennicake Posted 11 May 2013 , 6:38am
post #5 of

I wish I had better vision.  If someone designs a cake and asks me to make it, no problem!  But if they just have an idea and I need to come up with something creative, I'm in need of serious help lol

Tanya13 Posted 11 May 2013 , 8:42am
post #6 of

Up till Feb this year i had only been baking very basic sponges.

In Feb i decided i wanted to do more and made my grandson the number 1 cake all by hand, this weekend i done a makeup bag cake for my daughter.

 

I wish i was better at covering cakes with fondant/icing, though now have brought "the mat" so fingers crossed things will improve icon_biggrin.gif

cazza1 Posted 11 May 2013 , 10:14am
post #7 of

I meant to say petals not leaves above.

 

Tanya my coverings improved out of sight after I bought the mat.  I love it.

JWinslow Posted 11 May 2013 , 11:21am
post #8 of

I wish I had better butter cream piping skills.  Making pretty scrolls (mine are wonky) and writing on cakes is difficult for me.  Currently you won't find either on any of my cakes.  I would love to know how to use all those tips I have.   It makes me feel inadequate cause I have problems with the basics :(

Norasmom Posted 11 May 2013 , 11:41am
post #9 of

I'm not super good on the inspiration side either, but I usually see the work of others and take elements of that work for my own design.  So I don't copy the work of others, but that's where my inspiration comes from.

I wish I were better at pricing!  I'm getting there though!  

costumeczar Posted 11 May 2013 , 11:42am

I want to work on more sugar stuff, blown sugar etc. But it's not like people want to pay for that kind of thing, so it's an on-my-own-time activity.

SugarExplosion Posted 14 May 2013 , 2:56am

I wish I was better at getting my BC smooth and flawless

kimmisue2009 Posted 14 May 2013 , 3:53am

AStructure. My cakes are wonky no matter what I do. Crumbly, uneven. And this an instance where practice isn't making perfect it's making bigger britches.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 14 May 2013 , 3:57am

Put me down for piping as well.

ShannonDavie Posted 14 May 2013 , 5:23am

I would have to say piping as well. I have absolutely no skills in piping!! I also just wish that I was faster. I feel like no matter how well I plan and try to make things ahead of time I am always scrambling until the very last second to get things done!

Nin55 Posted 14 May 2013 , 10:12am

I struggle with inspiration as well.  That is why I love Cake Central.  I am truly amazed at all the ideas fellow decorators come up with and their skill levels.  The one thing I would like to perfect is stringwork.  Some of the stringwork I have seen on cakes is very challenging to me.  I don't use it on cakes because I just can't seem to make it look professional.

Gerle Posted 14 May 2013 , 2:07pm

Well, all of you have hit one thing or another that I'd like to improve on:  inspiration, piping, string work....I love to look at beautiful cakes and would love to make one that I feel that good about, but it doesn't happen.  And so far, I haven't had time to practice, which is what I know is needed.  I'm a hobbyist, though, so it's just something I'll have to work on as time allows.

kikiandkyle Posted 14 May 2013 , 3:28pm

I'd love a steadier hand when piping, and I wish I was just neater overall. And I wish I was better at managing my time...I spent most of my wedding anniversary last week doing a cake that was not for my husband

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 14 May 2013 , 4:14pm

Regarding my previous comment, well, I can pipe, but if you look at my Leland Awards cake,

 

Cake for 2012 Leland Awards

 

you can see that the lowercase "l" is quite a bit heavier than the stems on the other letters in "Leland," and the x-heights of the letters get shorter towards the end of the word (the "e" is taller than the "a," and the "n" and the bowl of the "d" get progressively smaller).

 

And I've yet to even attempt to learn how to pipe a rose; the closest thing I've done was to pipe the outline of a rose onto my Mother's Day cake from last year.

jgifford Posted 14 May 2013 , 5:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl View Post

Regarding my previous comment, well, I can pipe, but if you look at my Leland Awards cake,

 

Cake for 2012 Leland Awards

 

you can see that the lowercase "l" is quite a bit heavier than the stems on the other letters in "Leland," and the x-heights of the letters get shorter towards the end of the word (the "e" is taller than the "a," and the "n" and the bowl of the "d" get progressively smaller).

 

And I've yet to even attempt to learn how to pipe a rose; the closest thing I've done was to pipe the outline of a rose onto my Mother's Day cake from last year.

 

Oh, come on - - I thought the writing was part of the transfer.  Just messy enough not to be too stuffy. 

 

I can't pipe my way out of a wet paper bag and my ds gave me a 52-piece set of Ateco tips for Christmas!  I still have hopes that I'll find time to practice enough to use them all.

sixinarow Posted 14 May 2013 , 5:38pm

Piping. Not so much designs but the writing...or stringwork. Ug. I need to practice but I would much rather be sculpting something.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 14 May 2013 , 5:39pm
Quote:
Oh, come on - - I thought the writing was part of the transfer.  Just messy enough not to be too stuffy.

 

While there would be no trouble at all to add a background tint to edible hardcopy, I'm not sure I'd be able to match it to (or with) maple-cinnamon BC. And cutting and applying each letter individually would take longer than the piping did. (And you should be able to surmise from my having left the frosting around the images as "rustic stucco" that I was a bit rushed, towards the end; if I'd had time, I'd have either applied "The Family Pattern" around the edible hardcopy, [as I did with the 55th anniversary cake below], or at least done a better job of troweling it smooth.)

 

55th Anniversary Cake

kearniesue Posted 14 May 2013 , 6:26pm

Absolutely, all of the above - piping and time management being my worst enimies....

Sassy74 Posted 19 May 2013 , 3:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cazza1 View Post

I would love to be able to  make a realistic looking rose.  I can make passable roses but they always look a bit strangled, with the leaves too tight.  I have bought the Nicholas Lodge Craftsy class but I don't hold high hopes.

You prolly have, but have you checked out Edna's rose tute on YouTube?  Also, this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYkPhb-_gDg was REALLY helpful.  Haven't seen Mr Lodge's rose tute, but I did buy his Classic class and it was a-MAY-zing.  I don't feel like my roses are particularly realistic looking, but they def improved after a ton of trial/error and YouTube vids :).

Sassy74 Posted 19 May 2013 , 3:46pm

Oh Lawd, piping is another of my pet peeves.  I avoid it if at all possible.  I've invested in several sets of Tappits, letter cutters, ANYTHING to keep me from having to pipe something on a cake or board lol.

dawnybird Posted 19 May 2013 , 3:59pm

Oh my gosh, how can I stop at just one thing? How much space do I have to list all the things! Of course, I'm a hobby baker so don't get nearly enough practice. About The Mat: it has helped me with rolling out and moving the fondant to the cake, but it doesn't help with smoothing it. I can't for the life of me figure out where all of the folds and excess fondant are supposed to go! I chase them round and round the cake until they crease into permanent pleats at the bottom. I've watched videos until I'm blue in the face, and it looks so easy, but it never works that way for me!!

 

I would love to make a video of myself putting fondant on a cake and have someone tell me "What am I doing wrong????"
 

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