I live in the Northern Jersey area and am looking to learn about cake decorating. Where is the best place to begin? Should I look into a class (recommendations?) or attend events?
Looking forward to hearing from everyone.
My best suggestion is to start with Wilton! They have classes just about everywhere. I took the classes and loved every minute of it!!! There is so much to learn, so many new techniques..the classes are just the beginning! Check out their website for a wealth of information. Happy Baking, Missey
All Michaels and most stores like Michaels offer Wilton classes. Many cake supply stores offer training.
My word of caution.... Wilton classes can be very misleading. Take the class. But always remember they are only a stepping stone on the very basics. They are not end all be all, as they would like you to think. If they don't carry a product, the instructor is not allowed to talk about it and many times will act as though the non-Wilton product just doesn't exist.
But they are a great catalyst to get you started. Just don't let them convince you they know everything and the cake world starts and stops with them.
I took one Wilton course (I believe they offer three levels) and I took 1 private teacher's (anti-Wilton [she hates Wilton]) course. But honestly, once I got passed the basics.... I learned the most useful items from these forum/message boards.
I agree with the previous comments. Not all Wilton instructors are equal either, sometimes they hire people as those people finish the courses. That doesn't mean they aren't good, but some are not knowledgeable or experienced. Some have no baking knowledge, no experience with wedding cake construction or things like that. Some give bad advice - I have seen it many times. Some are fountains of information. I guess that sometimes it is a crapshoot signing up and not knowing the level of the instructor. However, you will learn something - possibly if only from those around you.
I agree that some instructors are not allowed to discuss or recommend different manufacturer's. Another issue I have is the selling of the massive cases of tips and the recommendations that you really need to have all of these. Most really professional experienced decorators could do almost anything with between 4 and 6 tips. Sure it is nice to have more than that and to have a few specialty tips, but Michaels and Wilton are in business to sell product.
So any courses that you can find, any books that you can look at, any cake sites that you can join - all of these are good places to start and build on. The Wilton yearbooks help keep you aware of new products and designs and so do many cake supply sites. This is an ever-growing ever-changing medium - it sometimes becomes a challenge just to stay current.
Cake sites like this one, are excellent resources to get answers to questions you may have and to to learn about new methods and also tried and true methods.
cali4dawn, just wanted to say that you provide an excellent ongoing resource as you always share information so generously, as do others on this site. I just noted your cupcake cake instructions and they will prove to be useful to many.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes
Candyand Crafts is in Somerset and well worth the drive to central NJ. They have tons of supplies. I took my classes there and the owners (they don't give the classes, someone else does) are very helful with any question you might have.
I took all three of the Wilton Classes and I did learn a lot. Presently I am taking a class with a local bakery and am learning even more, especially shortcuts. Like SquirrellyCakes said, Wilton and Michaels are going to try to sell you their stuff. The class that I'm taking now tries to incorporate those items that you have on hand so you don't spend a fortune. This site is wonderful, I"ve learned so much from here!!
I took all three Wilton classes and they did open my eyes and teach me the basics so that is where I would start. I also took two classes at the local community college and they were taught by a man who has a catering company which also does wedding cakes. His classes were amazing and I learned so much. I can't wait to take more classes. When I get out of the Navy I am hoping to go to the Wilton Mater class and do some of the estra classes offered there with the visiting instructors. Just using this website will help you so much. I have learned more than I ever thought possible just from this board. Thanks Ladies and Gents!
I was reading this topic when I noticed it's over a year old! Is "Bogie" still around? It said she had only posted once. So "Bogie" are you out there? If so, what'd you end up doing?