Where To Start?

Decorating By newbe86 Updated 12 Jun 2013 , 5:49am by auntginn

newbe86 Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 11:20pm
post #1 of 22

I've always enjoyed baking cakes and for a while have wanted to get into decorating them as well.  I finally purchased the Wilton Ultimate Cake Decorating Kit and will have it on Monday.  I also ordered the "starter" book by Wilton.  My main question is where do I start? Should I play with my new "toys" at home or should I sign up for a cake decorating course?  I'm pretty decent at icing a cake, but I've never used fondant or gum paste and would eventually like to everything available to me. 


Any advice from seasoned bakers/decorators (and new ones too) would be great.  My goal is to eventually bake for friends and family and maybe make a little extra money too.

21 replies
punkin90 Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 11:28pm
post #2 of 22

I have been decorating cakes about 3 years. So I am fairly new. I took all of the Wilton classes. It helped me get started. I am not sure how much you need to learn. I could bake a cake and frost it but didn't know how to get the icing smooth. So for me they helped me. There was still a ton I needed to learn after I finished. The classes introduced me to things I didn't know how to do. So for me they got me started.

Omas Cakes Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 11:44pm
post #3 of 22

ATake classes, read/watch tutorials on the web, and practice, practice, practice. There are online class that are well worth the money and can be done on your schedule. Craftsy.com has some really good classes. Good luck on your venture! Ask questions if you need help, the decorators on here are excellent!

nikileebakes Posted 7 Jun 2013 , 11:54pm
post #4 of 22

ATaking a few classes could be helpful. At the moment I am taking the Wilton classes and so far I already know how to do a lot of the stuff but it is still good to be able to practice and learn a few things I didn't know! Online classes could work just as well. I would also play around with your set at home. You will never get any better or know how good you are until you actually try. The reason i know a lot from the wilton class is because i just mess and try to learn new things at home as well. That being said known that i am still newer to cake decorating And don't forget practice makes perfect. Or least to as close as perfect as anyone can get.

newbe86 Posted 8 Jun 2013 , 12:31am
post #5 of 22

Thank you all! I feel like a kid on Christmas waiting to open gifts as I wait for this delivery! I have done a lot of research on decorating classes and the Wilton course seems pretty good, from what I can tell I will at least be introduced to the different "mediums" used decorating cakes.

auntginn Posted 8 Jun 2013 , 5:45pm
post #6 of 22

WElcome to CC, that's how we all feel when we first get started.  Some people want the help of working thru a class setting while others are comfortable on their own.  There are a ton of tutorials here for you to browse thru. I suggest you start with the basics such as borders, flowers, etc.  and move on.  Fondant is so much easier to use than most people realize. Especially for embellishments.  Let your imagination lead you.


We are all still learning regardless of how long we have been decorating.  It never ends.


Good Luck, post pics and ask for help when you need us, we're here for you.

newbe86 Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 3:23am
post #7 of 22

AAnother question... Since I've ordered the decorating kit, what are some other essentials that I should invest in? Nikileebakes, I read your blog and I'm certainly going to sign up for the wilton classes. I've never used tips before soi know I'll benefit from the course. I'm just curious as to what tools and such I should invest in.

manddi Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 3:30am
post #8 of 22

AThe wilton classes are a great place to start but just to give you a heads up, the instructor will probably talk about how great wilton products are and you'll probably want to rush out and buy every gadget wilton makes.


I know this because I did it. I wasted a bunch of money :(

newbe86 Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 9:44pm
post #9 of 22


Original message sent by manddi

The wilton classes are a great place to start but just to give you a heads up, the instructor will probably talk about how great wilton products are and you'll probably want to rush out and buy every gadget wilton makes.


I know this because I did it. I wasted a bunch of money :(

I purchased the Ultimate Decorating Kit, for a few reasons, I read very few bad reviews, I got it 50% off, and it seems to have most of the things I will need to start. I'm definently not going to get roped into buying all their stuff. I'm just curious if there is anything else anyone could suggest that could help me get started... Like what another baker/decorator couldn't live without. And what's with the Viva paper towels?

manddi Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 10:02pm
post #10 of 22

AThe ultimate kit is great for taking the wilton classes(especially since you used a coupon). I was referring to all the other gadgets like their fondant rolling mat (useless) and the gumpaste tool set (there are much better sets available). In fact, go to the clay aisle in your craft store and get a metal ball tool (quite possibly the best gumpaste tool I own).

auntginn Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 10:09pm
post #11 of 22

There are very few things made by Wilton that are of any good value.  Like cake pans, unless they are character shapes than don't buy them,  round and square should be of better quality, Yes you will spend a little more but so much more worth it in the long run.  Buy, Magic Line, Fat Daddio's or Ateco.  


I just bought the water pen because I heard such great reviews.  I should know better, what a waste of money.  Having a coupon does not make the purchase or the product wasting your money on it.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 10:28pm
post #12 of 22

Funny: I have, so far as I'm aware, exactly two Wilton pans. One is an 8x8 square, which I bought specifically because it was the only 8x8 square that wasn't either (a) nonstick (which I try to avoid for anything other than Bundt molds), (b) ridiculously expensive, or (c) both, and because I needed an 8x8 square for my "Innsbruck Dream Bars" recipe (it's much closer to exactly half the area of a 9x13 than a 9x9 would be).


The other (I only think it's a Wilton) is a 9x13 with a fitted plastic cover, which I find useful for any decorated 9x13 in-pan, especially with edible hardcopy.


Neither has given me any trouble at all, except that the 9x13 is now somewhat scarred because the first cake I baked in it was cut with a carving knife (I prefer to cut cakes with an ordinary table knife).


My piping bag tips are both (yes, at present I have exactly two) Wilton, as are the fittings, but if I need a piping bag, I just snip the corner off a freezer-grade (or storage-grade, but definitely not sandwich-grade) zip-top bag.


As to some of the pans I've seen in Sur la Table, well, some of the brands mentioned above give me sticker-shock, while others, well, I look at the folded corners, see places that would be impossible to clean, and go back to something that's either stamped or hydroformed.

Cookie2807 Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 11:11pm
post #13 of 22
Originally Posted by manddi 

The wilton classes are a great place to start but just to give you a heads up, the instructor will probably talk about how great wilton products are and you'll probably want to rush out and buy every gadget wilton makes.


I know this because I did it. I wasted a bunch of money icon_sad.gif

 I agree ! Hold your horses before your buy too many Wilton Products. There are so many cake supplier out there , the selection is huge. Pick careful . Read reviews on Amazon . 

Norasmom Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 11:18pm
post #14 of 22

Wilton courses are a good start.  This website is great, and web-based tutorials are the greatest!  

I must admit, I like the Wilton tips and disposable decorating bags.  I could never get the hang of doing it with plastic ziploc bags.  Wilton is definitely for the beginner as well as someone who only bakes once in a while.  I will say though, Wilton has excellent customer service.  One of my products from them broke and they sent me a free replacement.

kkmcmahan Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 11:27pm
post #15 of 22

I am also very new, have been making cakes just over a year and have found the craftsy classes to be very helpful along with the wilton classes.  I will say though that I am fortunate enough to live in the area of wilton headquarters so I am able to take the classes directly through them and not from a craft store.  They do not promote their products in the classes (although they don't need to, while taking the class you are right at their store and what else are you going to do on the breaks icon_smile.gif) and as I get more experience I will say I am finding better tools and using less and less wilton products. Play around with what you have and take advantage of the youtube videos and you will see lots of other products that you'll want to have.  Love my agbay and magic line pans!  Good luck and have fun.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 11 Jun 2013 , 12:07am
post #16 of 22

Of course, I'm not saying that Wilton isn't overrated. Any supplier that enjoys a near-monopoly for as long as they have, and succumbs to the temptation to use their name, and the reputation they developed with the products they do really well, to branch out into things they don't do so well, is going to end up putting out a lot of overrated products.

remnant3333 Posted 11 Jun 2013 , 12:12am
post #17 of 22

Here is the site for serious cakes videos below. Watch all of them and you will learn a whole lot. She has not made any new videos lately but her videos will teach you. I am a hands on person and once I actually see how to hold the tips and make the flowers then it is easier to do. You can also check out you tube videos and type in things such as butter cream flowers, butter cream borders, butter cream tutorials, cake piping, etc.


hbquikcomjamesl Posted 11 Jun 2013 , 5:43am
post #18 of 22

Well, THAT was a surprise:

It seems the 9x13 with the fitted cover and the too-easily-scratched surface is a Nordic Ware! I admit that it's as heavily built as I'd expect from Nordic Ware, but I would have expected it to have been a bit more heavily anodized.

And we've got a Wilton non-stick 9x9 that's never actually been baked in, and a Wilton cookie sheet, and a Calphalon non-stick Bundt mold, and the rest of our cake pans, at least the ones I can find, and make out a logo on, are all by Mirro.

Could have sworn that we had at least one pan by a manufacturer with a name like Chicago-something.

newbe86 Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 3:41am
post #19 of 22

OH WOW!!! So I opened my wilton 177 piece kit today and I am over-whelmed to say the least! I am pretty neurotic about organization but since I don't know what everything is used for and nothing came with labels (I do know what somethings are) I have no idea how to organize all my goodies.  Any suggestions? Does anyone have a method to their madness of organization? I'm sure I will figure out my own rhythm once I know what all these pieces are used for, but any suggestions for now?  Also, I have figured out that I need a good serrated-edge knife, new pans and a cake board that spins.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to other items I should add to my collection?


Thank you for all of your help, this site is amazing! icon_biggrin.gif

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 4:01am
post #20 of 22

Toolbox? Tackle box? Small parts cabinet? Does "The Container Store" have a location near you?

I have so few that all I need for my piping tips and fittings is a zip-top bag. I keep candles in one little compartmentized box from The Container Store, and keep candleholders (the classic flower-spike style I grew up with) in another.

newbe86 Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 4:06am
post #21 of 22

Thankfully the kit came with a case. My list of purchases seems to be getting longer...

auntginn Posted 12 Jun 2013 , 5:49am
post #22 of 22

WE never complete our wish list, :) something new comes out and there we go.. As we acquire new skills, there we go.  Its always something.  Have fun!

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