Would I Be Limiting Myself?

Decorating By FairyPoppins Updated 7 Mar 2009 , 4:42pm by sugarcheryl

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FairyPoppins Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 7:37pm
post #1 of 15

I kind of already know the answer to this question but I'm going to ask your opinions anyway.

I love working with fondant and I'm happy with what I can do with it. Most of the cakes that I love on this site are fondant covered.

However, most people I have spoken to really dislike the taste and/or texture of fondant so they are not as in demand as buttercream only cakes.

Thing is, I just cannot get my BC smooth. I've bought Sugarshack's dvd's (and I love them) and I've spent hours watching how-to' on YouTube but every time I make a cake covered in BC I'm really disappointed with it - so much so that I feel like I shouldn't bother cake decorating anymore. I would much rather cover it with MMF or fondant.

I know the owner of a bakery who would employ me to make wedding cakes but there's no way I could accept with my lack of BC skills and he said no one is really asking for fondant cakes.

So, should I accept the fact that I don't do BC (a la Ace of Cakes, Cake Nouveau) and perfect my fondant/gumpaste skills or just keep plodding forward with BC?

Thanks for your input!

14 replies
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kakeladi Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 8:23pm
post #2 of 15

Well I'm a b'cream gal icon_wink.gif I don't understand people having so much problems w/it. It's what you learn I guess.
If it's what makes you happy - using fondant and not getting the job - then be happy w/your decision.

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amy2197 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 8:32pm
post #3 of 15

Have you tried different buttercream recipes?

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CakeDiosa Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 8:41pm
post #4 of 15

I agree with kakeladi. It's not so much limiting but maybe you will just "specialize" in fondant. There's nothing wrong with honing a skill in one area. I felt exactly like you and dreaded buttercream. In fact, I spent almost an entire night watching the how to's on you tube prior to attempting the next day to ice my class cake and let me tell you sister, I literally spent ALL DAY icing an reicing that cake until it fell apart and I had to bake another. That night Sugarshack's DVDs were delivered and they changed everything. Using her technique I have to be careful not to cut myself on my edges... icon_lol.gif . So, now I'm fully confident with BC. You really do have to practice, practice, practice before you call it quits. Maybe if you take the job at the bakery then the day and day out of working with BC will force you to improve.

But, whatever is going to keep you satisfied with your results is what you should pursue.

Good luck!

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stsapph Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 8:41pm
post #5 of 15

I would definetely try out some different recipes if you haven't yet. I can not smooth cream cheese buttercream to save my life, (btw if anyone has a great cc bc recipe...please!! icon_biggrin.gif) but I can smooth SMBC like nothing else. That BC recipe actually got me out of doing all fondant cakes! I wouldn't give up yet, play around a little more and see what you can learn. If you still aren't feeling the BC then go with your skills and what you feel comfortable doing.

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jamiekwebb Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 8:50pm
post #6 of 15

Here is the recipe that I use and it calls for CC.

1 stick softened butter or margarine
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 cups shortening
2 lbs. powder sugar
and some flavor

Use the viva method on this and it works great. I think that edna has a youtube video on how to.
it doesn't take long at all to crust enough to smooth, not evn 5 minutes

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indydebi Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 9:20pm
post #7 of 15

I'm with kakeladi .... when I started making cakes (probably before most of you were even born! icon_biggrin.gif ), fondant didn't exist, so if you couldn't figure out BC, you didn't make any cakes. I see many threads where folks lament over spending "hours" trying to smooth a BC cake and I feel bad for them, because from my chair it's so easy.

But I"ve been doing it for 30 years and when I started, you had no choice. It was do or die.

So 30 years of practice, and I think I've got it down! icon_biggrin.gif I believe the recipe is a factor, the tools you use is/are a factor, your confidence level is a factor.

If you haven't tried the Melvira method, get that one. You'll never go back. Bench scraper and Melvira ... piece of cake (as we say in the trade! icon_biggrin.gif )

To answer your question of whether you are limiting yourself or not ... yes you are but that's not necessarily a bad thing. That makes you the unique one in your area, it makes you the resident expert. Sometimes it's a Catch-22 .... no one orders fondant because no one works with it, and no one works with it because no one orders it. At some point, you gotta break the cycle.

If the local bakeries aren't doing fondant, maybe they could refer folks who are looking for fondant over to you.

But I encourage you to keep trying. Get a do-or-die attitude about it. Who's gonna win that battle .... you or that BC! icon_twisted.gifthumbs_up.gif

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armywifebryan Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 9:51pm
post #8 of 15

Have you taken any classes yet? Maybe you need someone standing over your shoulder to say "oops. not like that...try this way". It took me a while to get the hang of buttercream too. Stick with it!

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MichelleM77 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 11:07pm
post #9 of 15

I agree with what other posters said. You are limiting yourself, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. After not much response for fondant cakes (they won't spemd $3 for cake, but they will spend $3-4 for cokies!), I'm now working on my BC skills big time. I absolutely hate smoothing BC, but Sharon's DVDs have helped me soooo much. Practice, practice, practice. I will be practicing all weekend so that I can start advertising my BC (cheaper) cakes. I'm even starting to do sheet cakes. Gasp!

Do what feels right to you. I choose to only decorate my cookies with fondant, so that limits me, but I don't like working with RI, so that's what I do and it makes me happy. icon_smile.gif

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kake4me2 Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 11:29pm
post #10 of 15
Originally Posted by CakeDiosa

Maybe if you take the job at the bakery then the day and day out of working with BC will force you to improve.
Good luck!

AGREED and best of all it will be PAID practice!!! icon_biggrin.gif

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__Jamie__ Posted 6 Mar 2009 , 11:44pm
post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by stsapph

but I can smooth SMBC like nothing else.

Ditto! I use Sugarshack methods up until the point where you smooth with Viva and computer paper....but, I wouldn't need to anyways, I can get that SMBC flat and smooth as a piece of glass! thumbs_up.gif

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Kiddiekakes Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 12:15am
post #12 of 15

I am a Buttercream Queen myself as I can't cover a cake in fondant if you paid me....Fondant isn't well like here either so BC is the only one I do...You just get used to doing what you like and eventually you will get better.

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FairyPoppins Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 2:50am
post #13 of 15

Thank you so much for your replies. I really do want to improve my skills so I can be more versatile and offer both BC and fondant. I also don't feel comfortable selling a cake to someone if I'm not happy with it.

I have taken all the Wilton classes and I also took a wedding cake class yesterday which resulted in the pink and white disaster I posted in my photos! I might go back and take the classes again just for the practice. In fact I met the bakery owner at the Wilton fondant class (as he had never used fondant!) and he saw my work and offered me a job. We then lost contact but I saw him again recently.

It's the annual carnival at my daughter's school next week and they need cakes for the cake walk. Perhaps I'll make a bunch of different frosting recipes and try them out on some 6" cakes. If it's not perfect it won't matter.

As you have all said practice makes perfect and I know I have to spend time doing it rather than reverting to fondant every time.

Once again thanks for taking the time to post your wise words. Hopefully I'll be posting some improved cake photos soon!

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mamacc Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 2:53pm
post #14 of 15

Well....I think you would pick it up pretty quickly if you were working at the bakery. I really don't like doing BC cakes, but I work PT at a bakery where I sometimes have to do them, and they also do fondant but I've had to get used to working with whatever is ordered that day.....fondant, reg BC, IMBC. I've learned a lot and it has only improved my skills in lots of different areas.

I hardly ever get any BC orders...just about everyone orders fondant from me. That's my specialty...and it took a while to get going, but if that's what you really want to do then you can find the clientele. There are people out there who will pay for specialty fondant cakes.

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sugarcheryl Posted 7 Mar 2009 , 4:42pm
post #15 of 15

Well for all who do not have trouble with buttercream that's great. But from experience like FairPoppkins working with buttercream did not come easy. I had the hardest time getting it smooth. That's when I decided I would just do fondant. But being the person I am I vowed that I would get my buttercream cakes. I've come a long ways I can get by for now but I want it to look like fondant knowing that it could look like it. It just have to keep at and don't quit. Find a technique that will work for you it will come. Now I can say why did I have so much trouble.

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