Newbie - Help Please :-)

Decorating By K_A_M_2015 Updated 19 Dec 2015 , 10:53am by Showstoppers

K_A_M_2015 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
K_A_M_2015 Posted 16 Dec 2015 , 9:32am
post #1 of 7


I love baking and I'm a SAHM so I have decided I'd like to try making cakes as a living. I'm starting with my sons birthday cake and going to try and build a portfolio from there, so I'm making a cake topper (elephant) for the top of his cake and I'm wondering what I need to use as I keep reading all these different things and to be honest I've not got a clue, which is why I've joined here a I've got a few books on order as I'd like to teach myself. 

I know you cover a cake with icing/fondant but what would I make the topper out of? I've been told flower paste? Also what brand is best and where is the best place to get all my cake supplies and tools from? 

Sorry for all the questions! Tia xx 

6 replies
costumeczar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
costumeczar Posted 16 Dec 2015 , 12:30pm
post #2 of 7

You really need to take some classes (even online ones would help) and learn the basics before you open a business. If you're asking these kinds of things you're probably not ready yet. Don't sell anything before you've checked out the legality of it for your area, what licensing you need, inspections, etc. Some places have cottage food laws so you might have different laws than someone who lives in a state where you need to use a commercial kitchen, but you need to know before you start selling food.

You also need to understand how to price your products before you sell them, or you'll end up earning less than minimum wage, that that isn't fun for you. Honestly, the business side of running  a business is 90% of it, not the cake decorating part, but you still need to learn the basics of both if you're going to sell anything. If you've ordered some books that's a good start, there are tons of videos on youtube where you can learn things, but if you're not sure how to make a topper you probably shouldn't be selling them yet.

You can use any brand of gumpaste for toppers, ti just depends on what you like. I make my own, so you don't have to buy it, you can make it too. Are you in the US? Where you get your supplies will vary depending on where you live.

K_A_M_2015 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
K_A_M_2015 Posted 16 Dec 2015 , 1:13pm
post #3 of 7

I'm not planning on opening a business tomorrow or sell them... This will be years down the line hopefully, everyone has to start somewhere  

Like I said in my original post I just want to try and start making a portfolio. I probably should of stated that I'm just going to be practising as I'm learning.  I may not be very good at it or enjoy it so I'm just going to start baking for family and friends and obviously I wouldn't be charging anything. 

I've not got a clue and was looking for help. 

Webake2gether Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Webake2gether Posted 16 Dec 2015 , 1:52pm
post #4 of 7

Doing a search for the information you are specifically looking for is a good place to start. I'm not sure if the search function on here is working but anything you want to know google it with cake central at the end and it will pull up all the threads related to your search. 

I make my own fondant and also purchased many different brands of fondant as well. I like making my own but I also like having some store bought fondant on hand as well. You just have to buy and or make it and decide which works best for you. As far as supplies there are many stores and brands  as well and it varies from baker to baker who likes which brand. wilton is the most popular brand sold in most craft stores and wlamarts  but I don't purchase them. Baking is a very expensive hobby. If you do happen to like it and are good at it and want to turn it into a business learn as much as you can about the business side of it  bc like costumeczar said its more business than baking and decorating. I spent more time balancing my books, contacting customers arranging my schedule and managing accounts than I did baking and decorating yesterday  so you have to like the work involved in that too :) 

i started by accident actually and we discovered quickly that this would be a good business venture for us however making a living off of it is years away for us bc it is a huge investment and the expenses of operating legally are high. Im a stay at home mom and I homeschool my two boys and there is definitely a lot of work involved in making sure the balance between home and the bakery (we have a commercial kitchen in our home) is in a good place. 

There are tons of resources available online for free. I'd watch and read as much as you can. In decorating and using fondant and gum paste there are many techniques to achieve what you want. In not sure there if there is any one right way to do something. Different things work for different people :)

FlourGirl73 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
FlourGirl73 Posted 16 Dec 2015 , 1:53pm
post #5 of 7

I watch a lot of videos online. They are helpful. I've had lots of fails so expect that as well. I started by taking a Wilton's class at JoAnns. I took all four classes. They are very helpful in that they demo how to do the basic stuff plus there are people there, in real time, that you can ask questions as they pop into your mind.

I also took a class from the local community college on basic beginning/managing a business. It was very basic and was more about the laws of the area I live in and how to go about permits. The class was very helpful plus I made great contacts to help me in the future.

Hope this helps some.


prettycupcake Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
prettycupcake Posted 16 Dec 2015 , 2:32pm
post #6 of 7

Hi there!

I make most of my decorations/toppers out of Gumpaste, I use Satin Ice brand and always shop at There is also a very informative website that you pay $35.00 per year membership but it is a fountain of tutorials and information and it will teach you everything you need to know for a beginner its called

Hope this helps! 



Showstoppers Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Showstoppers Posted 19 Dec 2015 , 10:53am
post #7 of 7

Congratulations on the start of an exciting and creative venture. So many of us begin just like you and with your children still young,  you will provide some very precious birthday memories for them! Also you will have fantastic access to "clientele" at school and social clubs. I suggest using just the fondant icing you buy to roll out from the supermarket and invest in a small tub of Gum Arabic from your local cake decorating shop. Kneading a little gum arabic into the fondant will make it more pliable and suitable for modelling- the cake shop will answer any questions regarding this. You will also need to buy a few basic colours to knead in- buy the pastes as these are nice and concentrated. These are expensive, but much cheaper in the long run compared to pre-coloured modelling dough. Think what colours you really need- eg, pink can be achieved by using a tiny bit of red and you can make it peachy coloured by adding some yellow to the pink you made, etc. Start with your red yellow and blue and check out a colour mixing wheel on the internet if you are not sure how to combine colours.  This is a much cheaper alternative and you can spend some time playing around and getting confident. As has already been said- there are sooo many tutorials on youtube and the internet there is no need to buy expensive books. If you are imaginative this is the best start you could possibly have. I have evolved from decorating now and just sell printed edible images. Try combining techniques... I integrated a lot of my own customised edible icing sheets which is now where I focus the majority of my work for other decorators.  I began just like you and please see where I am now a few years down the line... best of luck! x Please take a look at my work- the majority are my own cakes xxx

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