Class Or Self Taught?

Decorating By Reneaz Updated 29 Jul 2008 , 7:16pm by RobzC8kz

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Reneaz Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 3:30pm
post #1 of 27

Hello everyone,

I am a new member, been "lurking" for a while icon_cool.gif

I was just wondering if, when you first started out, if you took classes (Wilton) or were just self-taught from books/friends, etc.

I have this *crazy* urge to learn how to make the beautiful cakes I see here, and have thought about buying the "how to" books, but wanted to get some expert opinions!!

Thanks everyone - and you all make incredible cakes!!! thumbs_up.gif

(oh, I do kind of worry about gaining weight during the learning process! I just love cake (who doesn't?) Guess I could take my creations into work and let THEM gain the weight!) How do you restrain yourself from all the yummy cakes? icon_lol.gif

26 replies
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Pookie59 Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:05pm
post #2 of 27

I've taken several Wilton classes and would like to take some more - probably will this fall. I keep coming back to this cake thing; for me it's just a hobby/sideline. I tend to bake for family and friends. The firm I work for sponsors a Ronald McDonald House meal once a month, so I almost always donate a cake. And yes, co-workers are always more than glad to eat your experiments and those samples often generate cake orders.

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terrylee Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:12pm
post #3 of 27

I have been decorating cakes for over 30 years. I'm self taught and I'm still learning.

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jennifer7777 Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:15pm
post #4 of 27

I am self taught. Took Wilton course 1 just to learn how to do the rose. I have lots of books that I learn techniques from.
If you want some good videos to learn a variety of basic techniques try these:
Cake Decorating Made Easy, Vol. 1 & 2
(purchase at

Darci Decorates (

Happy baking & decorating!

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MikeRowesHunny Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:16pm
post #5 of 27

I'm completely self-taught and as for avoiding weight gain, well my hips, butt & thighs will tell you that it's been impossible (for me anyway!)

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loucarp Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:17pm
post #6 of 27

I'm the same as terrylee...Self taught and decorating for over 30 years..and most definitely STILL and ALWAYS learning!!!

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Cyndi1207 Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:19pm
post #7 of 27

I'm self-taught. Almost everything I learned here on cakecentral....there's a lot of great information on this site.

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chovest Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:21pm
post #8 of 27

I'm also self taught. No classes, just lots of practice and books (I'd suggest the library for starters, if you find a book you really like, then buy it.) Most of what I have learned has been through trial and error, and of course THIS site. The forums and how-tos are great. Also, I have found most everyone is eager to offer advice and answer questions if asked. Welcome!

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beachcakes Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:25pm
post #9 of 27

Basically self-taught. I took one class many years ago that was similar to Wilton one, icing a cake, roses, shell border. Other than that, I learned it all here!! icon_smile.gif

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linda2530 Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:27pm
post #10 of 27

Been decorating 23 years, self taught but have learned lots since I discovered CC! I always take my "extra" to work or send it with my DH.
His co-workers love it!

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Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:28pm
post #11 of 27

I'm relatively new to CC, as well. I was self-taught and did a few cakes for my children's birthdays. Then a coworker told me she had signed up for Wilton Course 1 and I decided to take it with her because it sounded fun and I figured I was sure to learn better and easier ways to bake and decorate cakes.

Concurrently, I joined and became addicted to Cake Central and I checked out every cake decorating book from the public library.

You can learn a lot from books and Cake Central and even YouTube, but I strongly suggest that you take at least one course, Wilton or otherwise. To me there is no substitute for hands-on learning in an interactive environment. Not only do you learn from the instructor, but you also learn a lot from other students who have often been doing cakes for years and have their own tips and tricks. It's also a great way to make new friends with similar interests.

Good luck and welcome to Cake Central!

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something_sweet Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:28pm
post #12 of 27

I took the Wilton courses, but it is hard to learn a lot from them. I was doing cakes on my own before that, and the courses taught me some basics, but everything else has been self taught. You can learn so much through this website and with books and things... there are plenty of resources to teach yourself!

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SugarMoonCakeCo Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:31pm
post #13 of 27

along with masses of helpful advise from people here!
been in business since January 2008
and still learning as I go!

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stsapph Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:40pm
post #14 of 27

I am relatively new to cake decorating, and have taken Wilton 1. While it was great for basics, I have learned the most on my own in my kitchen, here on CC, a few books and some friends who have been doing this lots longer than I have. As for the gaining weight, I found cake decorating as a stress release for planning my wedding, so of course I was trying to lose weight, not gain it!. So I took my creations to work, where I quickly became the most popular employee. It helped keep the weight off, and got me a new job at a local bakery who would come and see my work! icon_smile.gif Welcome and I hope you learn as much here as I did!

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SOULLA13 Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:41pm
post #15 of 27

also self taught, i have never taken a class so far learned everything from this site and books borrowed from the library. the warning on this website is very true "it is highly addictive". I find myself checking this website at least 5-6 times a day!!!! a huge welcome to your new family!! lol

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Briniga Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:44pm
post #16 of 27

I took 3 wilton courses, loved it. After that I'm just learning by myself & from this site & the internet, to do everything else.

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eneq Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:45pm
post #17 of 27

self taught too. icon_biggrin.gif
Cake central was my online instructor. I really grew a lot just from reading forums and learning tricks from the pros here. I thought I could keep learning just by browsing the web until last week when i took a class on whimsy cakes and it was FUN! Now all i need is a cash cow that can give me money so i can take those fun classes icon_smile.gif I really want to do those sugar flowers. There's something about being in a class and doing hands on stuff that videos and books sometimes lack.

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doreenre Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:46pm
post #18 of 27

I'm self-taught and keep saying that I'm going to take the Wilton classes.

Trial & error and a lot of Cake Central are how I've learned pretty much everything I know.

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SweetResults Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:46pm
post #19 of 27

Decorating since I was 7 and am self taught (30 years now as well). I took Wilton course 1 when I was in 5th grade, but there wasn't much in the class that I wasn't already doing and back then there were no other classes to continue to.

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Cakenator Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 9:58pm
post #20 of 27

Self taught. I was never very good in a classroom setting icon_smile.gif

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sugarshack Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 10:09pm
post #21 of 27

basic non Wilton course 20 years ago or so.

A long hiatus from cakes, and then discovered the internet, magazines, books

learned tons from message boards, and then some specialty classes, days of sharing, advice of other decorators, and experimenting!

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catin Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 10:28pm
post #22 of 27

I'm also self-taught . I've been looking around for classes in my area but since I live in a small community they don't offer then very often . I have found that i have improved alot since I found this site with all the good article and know how from all the pros.

Thank you again ,

I'll keep on trucking (LOL) and get better with everday . icon_razz.gif

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margaretb Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 8:34am
post #23 of 27

Self taught mainly from instructions in Wilton yearbooks. My aunt taught me how to make a rose when I was 16 or so and told me that no flowers in nature are perfect, so I wouldn't stress so much about getting it perfect. I don't make the lump on the nail before making the rose (well, a little one, but I do it with the rose tip). I am the kind of person who likes to read instructions, so learning from books/websites is fine by me.

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PatricesPieces Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 8:57am
post #24 of 27

I was ten years old and swapped hobbies with a lady. I taught her to crochet and she taught me to decorate cakes, but never got around to showing me how to make a rose, so I took a wilton class when I was 26. So, i'm mostly selft taught. Read a lot of books and then I found CC....holy crap... has my decorating skills improved.

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missmeg Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 1:34pm
post #25 of 27

I started out with Wilton Course I back in 2003. Everything I have learned since then has been self-taught.

I am finally taking Course II as we speak; I can do most of the flowers taught in this course, but wanted to see it from the Instructor's point of view.

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DollyCakes Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 6:43pm
post #26 of 27

We took the Wilton I class. We learned a couple of tricks, but for the most part we're self-taught and have learned A TON of stuff here. You Tube videos are great, too, for figuring something out. icon_smile.gif

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RobzC8kz Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 7:16pm
post #27 of 27

I've been decorating for well over 20 years. I'm 33 now. I started by helping my Mother and Grandmothers. My Mother and her Mother took the Wilton classes back in the 50's and 60's. My Dad's Mother was a fully accredited chef who specialized in all food, but would have me and my Sister come over for all the holidays and make cookies, candy, pies, cakes, etc. All of them did wedding and birthday cakes, and I would help out by crumb coating, filling, stacking, and pretty much whatever prep work needed to be done.

It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I started doing it on my own. My Mother has already said that I've surpassed anything she was ever able to do, and that makes me feel pretty confident. Unfortunately, both my Grandmothers passed well before I started, so they never got to see what I've done with the skills they've collectively taught me.

My Sister does cookies and chocolate. That's her area of expertise you could say. She used to do cakes, but once I started, she started referring her friends to me...again...another great compliment!! I in turn send her cookie and candy orders.

But I guess you could say that I'm more than "Self" taught, but never really "formally" trained. I never took a class in my life. Not to say that there aren't a bunch of techniques I wouldn't love to learn, like sugar art and chocolate sculpting!!

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