Stuck On Dummy Designs

Business By ericapraga Updated 9 Aug 2013 , 10:53pm by ericapraga

ericapraga Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 1:38pm
post #1 of 10

I am trying to build my portfolio of tiered cakes. I have purchased the dummies, fondant, I have all the ingredients to make buttercream, it is just that when it comes time to actually decorate, I am stuck on design!

I originally thought I would start with a basic design (such as a smooth iced design, with a border of ribbon) take photos, then add on decoration, like flowers or piping.

But I get stuck! I ask myself, should I bother with basic designs? Should I do something fancy? Should I get creative? Should I use colors? I want to get as much bang for my buck and not waste ingredients.


I think I should just make one. Then i get down on the idea that I am going to spend a couple of days decorating a dummy, and then scrape it all off and start over, without even getting a piece of cake! And the icing is yuck (I don't add flavor, to keep me from eating it), so I can't even sneak a taste of that.

At least when I get a chance to do decorated sugar cookies or cupcake bouquets for practice, I can eat them!


I think I am just having decorator's block. Does anybody have suggestions on how to overcome it? blargh......

9 replies
therealmrsriley Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 2:06pm
post #2 of 10

I think your original thought is a good idea to start with. Beginning with a basic design and increase the level of detail and design as you continue. Maybe begin with a basic two tier design, then add a third tier. If you just want to have some simple items in your portfolio, maybe cover the dummies in white fondant and add ribbons, flowers, scrolls, etc. If you google there is a world of designs out there to give you inspiration.

Stitches Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 2:15pm
post #3 of 10

No I don't think it's a block...............that is perfectly natural! I do the same exact thing! It's hard to choose 1 cake design to make, because everything is possible. There's just too many cool options..........and unless your rich no one wants to throw away ingredients.


So what helps me get moving is making a list to narrow down my choices.


1. I start with what kind of cakes I want people to buy, what do I want to be known for doing? For me, my goal is to only do simple wedding cakes... in volume.


2. Than I have to choose my design. I narrow that down again by what I want to be known for.


So I'll start with a stack of photos or drawing I've made and one by one I keep eliminating designs that don't meet my goals until I narrow down my choices to a couple of designs. For those couple idea I choose the design that most represents the kind of work I want to get.....and I'll do that cake design.


I also set time goals like I MUST do two designs completed and photograph them in 1 day. With those 2 designs I do try to photograph them with multiple floral arrangements. If you look at my web site you'll see what I've done.



as you wish Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 2:19pm
post #4 of 10

AI keep an "inspiration" Pinterest board. There are no pictures of cakes on it, it is all sorts of other things that give me ideas of things I would like to try. To get some fresh ideas try looking at photographs of things you enjoy or even background and wallpaper collections.

kaylawaylalayla Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 7:21pm
post #5 of 10

AI've heard of people decorating the front and back in two different styles. That could help you get the most bang for your buck and time.

therealmrsriley Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 7:47pm
post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by kaylawaylalayla 

I've heard of people decorating the front and back in two different styles. That could help you get the most bang for your buck and time.

I never thought of that. That's actually a really good idea.

ericapraga Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 8:45pm
post #7 of 10

Stitches- your website is actually one that I was thinking of when i got the dummies!


I would like to do more wedding cakes and I was thinking that I would like to have a portfolio of different designs with basic pricing that brides could see and order from.

I do usually try to give myself a time line, I just have gotten stuck. Maybe that will be my goal for next week- to cover both my round and square cakes with fondant and put a design and/or ribbons on them and photograph. I think I will get some fresh flowers to decorate with (as well as make me feel better, it has been a rough couple of weeks!!!)


Thanks guys!

Smckinney07 Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 9:33pm
post #8 of 10

AI can't remember where I heard that (I want to say CupADeeCakes but I'm a blog/pinterest junkie lol) but I decorate one side one way and another the other way, rip that off and redo it.

There are so many styles I want to try and designs floating in my head it's difficult to pick one, so you're not alone! Stiches had some great suggestions. I've covered three tiers in ivory fondant, wrapped in ribbon added flowers and stuck in a Gumpaste initial, photographed then changed the ribbon and's a lot of money and ingredients to waste! I know! You've got the right idea about leaving out the flavoring to keep costs down and it's great that your practicing on dummies rather then customers cakes ;)

Something else I do is sand my dummies down so I can use a thinner layer of fondant and skip any icing. I've heard of people using royal icing to cover then sand down, for holes-it's a pain.

Giving yourself a timeline or x amount of cakes per week is a good idea. Also, any flowers you make can probably be salvaged and saved.

kaylawaylalayla Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 9:50pm
post #9 of 10

AOh man I am such a pinterest junkie. And I love stitches website and the modest concept. Is there a specific talent that you would like to showcase in your portfolio? Perhaps your lace piping skills? Or flower sculpting? how do you feel your current portfolio covers your skills? Any holes there?

ericapraga Posted 9 Aug 2013 , 10:53pm
post #10 of 10

yeah, my holes are that I just started tiered cakes! :) I have a few sheet cakes and reg 9" rounds, but I would like more tiered cakes.  I am just starting on the flower skills, but my piping and fondant work are pretty good.


I think my goal will be to get the simple/modest cakes done. I can do ribbon, and different piped borders, then start adding on piping accents. That should get me through the next month or more, along with regular business and going back to "my real job"-teaching.

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