Decorating By RetiredNavyChief Updated 4 May 2009 , 6:21pm by Reimagining_Confections

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RetiredNavyChief Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:09pm
post #1 of 51

Hi All I am new to the site and cake decorating. I have a few pictures the baby cake i just did last weekend. I have done other cakes just never took pictures of them. Anyway my question or topic is. How many here on CC are self-taught? I have had no classes, just reading books and looking at pictures and learning from my mom. I believe this is something i want to do as a hobby/side job.
Have any of you used clay to practice fondant figures? I was just thinking since clay is reuseable. Or do any of you have suggestions on the best books to learn from, or tricks on how you taught yourself? thanks i didnt mean to go on and on.

50 replies
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JustABite Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:22pm
post #2 of 51

Hi, I am also a self taught junkie! I just love to do these things. I am so inspired by all the talent I have found here! My hubby just chuckles at me when I start to talk about the inspiration I get.

I am doing all my baking for events I have hosted, family and friends. Most of the time I will do something I just want to do and give it to someone or a business.

Good luck in your venture! Would love to do as a side job, just so many no no's as I have seen here. (being a home baker)

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pianocat Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:22pm
post #3 of 51

There are a lot of tutorials here and on youtube that show you how to work with fondant/gumpaste. Try Aine2 for bears, will give you a good start. BTW my husband is a retired Navy Chief. I did take all 4 Wilton classes, but the figures and decorations I make are self-taught other than the tutorials. Also toneda is great on the flowers. Her tutorials are on Youtube.

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suzyq0204 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:24pm
post #4 of 51

I am a self taught decorator myself. I decorate as a hobby and my family is my test group. As far as inspiration and instruction I have found this website to be the best. Some videos you may want to invest in are from Sugarshack. I have Mastering the Art of Buttercream and Flawless Fondant. Both are well worth the money. They have alot of great tips in them. Most of all just keep everything practice makes perfect.

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smitakasargod Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:24pm
post #5 of 51

I am completely self taught. I got all my tips from this website and absolutely nothing else. This place is an amazing resource of information and somebody is always willing to help. I knew nothing about cake decorating before I stumbled upon this website after googling how some cakes managed to look so good and smooth (did not even know the word "fondant" then.) I was always into polymer clay and do pottery on the wheel so fondant seemed a natural fit. Good to hear stories from people about how they got started and inspired.

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Starkie Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:25pm
post #6 of 51

Hi! I'm pretty much self-taught, too. I did take a few Wilton courses last summer, just to get an idea of how to make the different flowers. But I have learned SO MUCH MORE on this site than I have ever learned in a classroom! With all the CCer's backing me up, I have no problem trying something completely new and unusual!

I did buy a few clay figure "how-to" books so that I could work on that with fondant/gumpaste, but I haven't done any of it yet. The consistency of clay is pretty similar to gumpaste, so that's a good idea.

There are tons of books out there, all with different styles and elements. I usually buy the books for the pictures and ideas they provide, more than the actual instruction. (Maybe that's part of my problem?) I'm sure there are plenty of CCer's out there who can give you a good list of books to start with.

Welcome to the wonderful world of cakery!!!

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bakermommy4 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:31pm
post #7 of 51

I too am self taught...after I learned the basics from Youtube and books I went on to take Culinary classes. I've had 1 wilton class and I'm going to go back because I think Wilton Courses are great. There are so many tutorials on techniques on youtube.

Pianocat mentioned toneda...her tutorials are absolutely the best. I've learned so much from her its crazy....I just found out she was here on CC. Ummm, I guess that's all.

Just have a lot of fun when you're doing this.

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Kel1222 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:32pm
post #8 of 51

I too am self-taught. Like most of the other gals have said, this site, with its forums, which I am still learning to navigate provide so much information. Many people will lead you to different links, like on youtube that help tremendously. I used to go to Wilton for ideas and help, but rarely visit the site anymore. I am honestly addicted to this site. Hey, they warned me!

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michellesArt Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:34pm
post #9 of 51

i am a very visual learner and am self taught. i have most of the wilton yearbooks dating back to 1995ish and though they have been a great help, this site has by far been the best help/tutor/guide. i have watched enda's youtube video's for gumpaste roses and am blown away by her extreme talent and willingness to share!! as well as to everyone else here on cc for answering questions or providing beautiful pics for inspiration. i have developed my talent in leaps and bounds through cc and look forward to where i will go from here icon_smile.gif

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patticakesnc Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:35pm
post #10 of 51

Guilty.....self taught here too. Learned what I know from here and just reading books and other sites.

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TeriO Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:36pm
post #11 of 51

I am also a self taught decorator. I finally took the Wilton classes after making cakes for 13 years. I have used ideas from Debbie Browns books and also this website.

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aligotmatt Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:37pm
post #12 of 51

I would say I'm self taught-ish. I've never attended a class, but I've bought a bunch of DVD's, watched a lot of online tutorials, read every how to on CC, and asked a lot of questions. I have probably 20 cake books with different techniques.

SO, if it came down to it, I've been taught by Margaret Braun, Colette Peters, Nicholas Lodge, Sharon Zambito, Edna, Debbie Brown, Elisa Strauss, Martha Stewart, Toba Garrett... I think you get the point. As much as I can say I'm self taught, it's not like I sat around and just figured it out all on my own, ya know? Plenty of awesome resources.

I hope to one day be able to take a class, it seems like they always fall where I've already booked a cake...

Happy Caking!

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sweetjan Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:38pm
post #13 of 51

I just play around and make cakes for friends and family, but I love it and look forward to each experiment! I did take all of the Wilton classes and recommend doing the same. Gives you a very strong foundation. Like someone said earlier, definitely Sugarshack's DVDs on buttercream and fondant; actually the back of the Wilton Yearbooks have a lot of step-by-step instructions on basics that are quite good; I recommend the book, Two Hour Party Cakes by Carol Deacon (2004) because it has lots of basic how-tos as well. And finally, Toneda's youtube tutorials.
And...have FUN!!!!!!

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Price Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:39pm
post #14 of 51

I too am mostly self taught. I took Wilton 1 & 2, but I have fallen in love with making fondant figures. When Aine2 came on CC and I saw the work she does I was amazed. I had never even heard of fondant figures! Most of my learning has been from tutorials, dvd's, clay and fondant books and CC. If I hadn't happened across this website I don't think I would be the cake junkie I am today! I am thrilled to say I will be taking a class with Aine 2 in October! I can't wait!


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RetiredNavyChief Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:40pm
post #15 of 51

Wow thanks everyone, nice to know i am not alone. I have learned alot on this site so far, great pictures and forums. I have even posted a sketch i drew up for my sisters 50th birthday. I bought the Marzipan Magic and the 150 Fabulous Fondant book. My mom had bought me a biginners cake decorators set years ago, now i cant stay out of Hobby Lobby and ebay. So many CCer's have inspired me.

Pianocat: When did your husband retire? I retired last year Apr. 23 years. Once a chief always a chief. tell him hi, from a fellow chief.

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Debluvs2bake Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:45pm
post #16 of 51

My Mom was a fantastic decorator, Wilton trained and could bake and decorate ANYTHING. I learned a lot from her, I've taken a Wilton class but what I'm doing now, with fondant, is all self taught. Books, videos, U-Tube, and Cake Central have been crucial to what little I do know about caking. Just when I tink I have a good grasp on the whole process of cake decorating, I read something on this site that takes me to a whole new realm and I learn something I never imagined. Love CC!

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Kerry_Kake Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:56pm
post #17 of 51

I am completely self taught (or as I tell people...I'm Youtube taught!). But now I am also CC taught as I have recently discovered this site. I have never bought a book or a dvd in cake decorating. Everything is from the internet! I guess I inherited my mom's skills since she used to do our cakes when we were kids.
I have only started cake decorating since September 2008. I have a lot to learn yet!
Thank you Cake Central for all the inspiration, help and kindness!!! icon_biggrin.gif

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lostincake Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 6:04pm
post #18 of 51

I am self-taught almost completely by CC. I have a few books (Cakes to Dream on by Colette Peters & Confetti Cakes by Elisa Strauss and a few others), but mostly they are for inspiration rather than technique. I have watched a few you-tube videos which does help tremendously and I plan to watch more. I also find Food Network is a great source with it's caking shows - Ace of Cakes & Food Network Challenges.

But I find the best place for advice is CC and the forums. As mentioned by a PP, a lot of members will share links and other sites or tutorials or how-to pages they've found. No where else will you get answers tailored to your specific problem or concern because if you can't find it, you can ask it!

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pianocat Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 6:14pm
post #19 of 51

RetiredNavyChief-my husband retired after 20 years back in the 70's. He was a radioman on nuke subs.

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doreenre Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 6:22pm
post #20 of 51

I'm also self-taught. I keep meaning to take the wilton classes to see what I might learn in addition to what I've learned by chance, but just haven't gotten around to it.

CC has been the most helpful in my learning, but I also follow several blogs that also offer tips and ideas for cake decorating.

This is a hobby I hope to someday turn into a business, but in the meantime, I'll continue to cake for family, friends and coworkers.

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Cathy26 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 6:28pm
post #21 of 51

im self taught from books and the net, there are no good classes near me - wish i lived in the USA and could go to classes Nicholas lodge and Kerry Vincent but i just have to make do with their books! would really love a good sugarcraft flower course icon_sad.gif

all the best with your caking!!!!

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CourtneysCustomCakes Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 6:41pm
post #22 of 51

I am also Self Taught. My mom took Wilton classes and I got to watch her practice. Then I started trying myself when i was in 7th or 8th grade. I didn't really start getting into decorating until I was in my early 20's over 10 years ago. I by all the magazines I can get, And watch all the shows I can watch to get some inspiration and watch some others tecniques. I also ask ccr's what they do when I 'm really stumped.

A couple years ago I did a little apprenticeship for a fellow CC'r, and learned some things I wouldn't have thought of. And other things that I was making too difficult. I tell you what that although it was too short lived was one of the neatest experiences I've ever had. She made everything look so easy and was so forthcoming with advice.

I hope someday to take some classed with maybe Bronwen Webber or someone, I'd love to learn to do gumpaste flowers. And Eventually I'd love to be the cake goddess of Southern Idaho. But until then I'm just gonna keep strumming along practicing and practicing.

GOOD LUCK and welcome to the best addiction anyone could ever have.


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bashini Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 7:51pm
post #23 of 51

Hi, I'm a self taught decorator as well. I learnt to bake from my mom as she used to do our b'day cakes as well as our neighbours. And also I'm a visual learner as well.

I bought lot of book and "The International School of Sugarcraft! is really good. There are 3 books on that. And I bought aine2's online tutorials to learnt how to make models. Also I bought sugarshack DVD's and all the money that I spent woth every penny! icon_biggrin.gif

My weak point is flower making. So I took some flower making classes from Alan Dunn and I have learnt so much. icon_smile.gif

And I never cannot thank enough the inspiration and the help that CC have given. There is no end for learning! icon_smile.gif

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poohsmomma Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 8:32pm
post #24 of 51

Another self-taught here....did have a friend show me how to make shells the Wilton way about 30 years ago....I bought some Wilton yearbooks and took it from there. Have lately become interested in fondant work with the help of CC and the world wide web, I'm still learning!

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RetiredNavyChief Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 8:50pm
post #25 of 51

icon_eek.gif this really started a great forum. I have looked at some your pictures I hope to be as good as all of you all. I guess being self taught isnt bad at all when i look at the work you all have on your profiles. This is great. They are right this is a very addicted site and craft. I plan to order the DVD on Sugar shack and i have some other books on the way. And i love the cake shows. So do most of you use fondant or stick to just buttercream. I really want to find a receipe that is not so sweet.

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becky27 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 9:54pm
post #26 of 51

well i had a lot of help from my mother...she used to decorated back in the day...and well since then i just picked it up and ran with it....i took a couple of wilton classes and read alot...purchased a couple of dvd's and now my mother says i surpassed her and now she won't even help me...i have to beg her....hahahahahahah its nice that the tradition goes daughter now sits and helps me....

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bobwonderbuns Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 9:58pm
post #27 of 51

I've had no formal training. I didn't go to chef school or anything like that but I have taken classes, have DVDs and books and practice practice practice. icon_biggrin.gif

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tripleD Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 10:04pm
post #28 of 51

self taught also. I would love to go back to school. I now know how important it is. I was inspired by a Holly Hobbie cake my aunt decorated for me way back when. I have baked and decorated ever since. I am my most happiest when I can make people smile.

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ColeAlayne Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 10:07pm
post #29 of 51

I'm self taught as well, but some skill may have been passed down in the genes. I didn't find out until about 6 months after I started decorating that my Grandmother used to decorate cakes for extra money back in the day. I found CC when planning for my 1st wedding cake, which is the casino/gambling cake in my photos. This website has been my main tool for learning skills and trying new ideas. Love it!!!

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Texas_Rose Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 10:46pm
post #30 of 51

I'm self-taught also. I bought a Wilton yearbook about ten years ago and started practicing with it. I didn't really get into fondant until a year ago, and now it's pretty much all that I use because it's more practical with the heat here (besides, now that I discovered lorann butter rum flavoring, even my mom likes fondant). When I make cupcakes, I use Indydebi's wonderful buttercream recipe and it withstands the heat and humidity pretty well.

I wouldn't practice fondant figures with clay because I wouldn't want to use my fondant tools on clay...but you should try making up a batch of marshmallow fondant. It will be enough to play with for a while, and it doesn't cost much to make. It dries hard too, so you can keep what you make.

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