Honestly have have no cake experience other than baking a cake and slapping some frosting on it for at home. Granted I can do so without using boxed cake or frosting but I'm sure that anyone who can follow a recipe can.
I make my first actually decorated cake a few weeks ago for my DD's 7th birthday. She wanted a dragon cake and with DD out of work for a few weeks I sadly couldn't order a $200 3d cake for her. i think it went pretty well for my first and only one. Boy did it take forever and I had to watch youtube videos to figure out how to use the tips.
Anyhow I decided that I should learn how to do things properly and signed up for the Wilton beginners classes. Really hoping it can give me a good start and I can learn some techniques and build up skill from there. Everyone has to start somewhere right?
Has anyone else taken the Wilton classes? Was it worth it? What did you like most and what did you dislike about the classes?
Oh and I know I have to take gel colors to the class. I already have a bunch of Americolors that I use to color royal icing for cookies. Will they be displeased if I use those instead of buying Wilton. I know those classes spend a decent amount of time trying to get you to buy more Wilton brand products.
Hoping that after taking the classes I can make a really nice Cheerios box cake for my DS 1st birthday party and maybe make some cakes for family events. i know It would take some time to develop enough skill to start selling cakes. Maybe one day though :)
Here is a pic of the dragon cake. It is far from perfect but it wasn't bad for a first try :)
I just did my best to replicate a cake my DD saw online. Here is the link to what I tried to copy so they can get credit for the idea :)
AI did a wilton one, it was good but old fashioned. You'll learn some good techniques. They are all on craftsy now by the way as well as other fab classes. For your first one though hands on is best!
I took all of the Wilton classes.
When I first started taking them they were more instructional than a sales pitch for Wilton. I took my first 2 in 2000, I took the last 3 in 2010, the last 3 had me buying a boat load of Wilton supplies just to complete the class, that was the downside. I spent a fortune on Wilton products that I really don't care for.
I also had some other brand colors and tools as well and I used them, my instructor did not have an issue with it.
I did learn how to level a cake, how to get the right consistency buttercream, how to pipe borders, how to make basic buttercream,royal icing and fondant flowers. How to use fondant, how to support and stack a cake...the basics.
They are great for hobby decorators, they are a great place to start, you will learn core techniques and basic decorating.
From there I watched you tube video's, followed decorators blogs, bought Sugar Shack's DVD series, taken Craftsy classes and attended classes at our local colleges and trade schools.
Don't buy everything they want you to, you'll end up with drawers full of stuff you'll never need or use! ;)
First of all, excellent job! I love dragons :)
Regarding the Wilton classes, I took the first one over the summer because, even though I've been baking for ages, I wanted to learn the "right way" to do things. I thought the first class was a little basic for me: "this is a pastry bag, this is a decorating tip, this is how to put frosting in the bag" kind of stuff. Which was probably fine for other hobby decorators, but I wish I had started with the second class.
I also felt that it was mostly a "buy Wilton products" thing, and I felt a little ripped off when the class kit didn't include many of the extra items. You can certainly learn the same (and more) from youtube, etc.
HOWEVER, the craft store where I took the class was offering the classes at half price, so it wasn't a huge investment and I had a good time for those four weeks. It was great practice. I still prefer to do things the way that feels most comfortable to me, but if you are looking for something basic and something fun to do, I would say wait for them to go "on sale" and do it :)
They were "onsale" so I am getting course 1 and 2 for less than the normal price of a single course. The instructor I have doe'[t try to sell us anything and actually gives us tips on how to save money. She just says each time that we didn't hear it from her. So far I am enjoying it.
The first class was too basic but the second class I did pick up a few things and today's class is flowers which I have never done. It at least gets me out of the house!
Just like any type of instructions, if you deviate from the recommended tools/ingredients you may have different results. As far as using Americolor instead of Wilton color, that would not change the outcome of the class, except your flowers might be a different color. No biggie.
If you choose to bring different tools, just be respectful of your instructor, don't go into a speech about why your tool is better/cheaper. Also, if your substituted tool doesn't allow you to follow the instructor's method, do not ask for a sidetracked one-on-one lesson on how to use your alternate tool.
That said, in course one you can substitute most of the tools for another brand with no consequence.
When it comes to the lesson on cake leveling, I don't recommend you buy the Wilton cake leveler, you will get better results with a 14" serrated knife, I use the Fat Daddios one.
I would buy the practice board though, it's not expensive and is useful for GP flower making later on.
Have fun, Wilton classes are a great place to learn basic skills and meet other people with similar interests.