Yippee! Get To Teach Cake Decorating In Adult School! Any Tips?

Lounge By Apti Updated 14 Oct 2016 , 5:06pm by -K8memphis

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Apti Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 2:52am
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A friend from my Cake Club had her work hours change and asked me to take over her cake decorating classes at a local Adult School.  I am SOOOO excited!  I love teaching and have done about 10 demonstrations at various events and have invited people over to my home play with cake and chocolate. 

The classes are September 7, 14, 21, 28 for Cake Decorating I, and October 5. 12, 19, 26 for Cake Decorating II.   They are held in a large room with a kitchen, a working area with a mirror above, fridge/freezer, sink, older Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  There will probably be about 20-25 students for each class.  The classes are held on Wednesday nights from 6-9.    The first class on September 7 I will need to bring all supplies for that evening.    Handouts for what to bring to the other classes will be provided at the first meeting.

There will also be a special, one night only, 3 hour class for Chocolate in Nov and Dec.    The chocolate classes will have all things supplied by me.   (Chocolate is my favorite!!!)

My friend has said she roughly follows the Wilton course outlines for class content. She also said although it's a ton of fun, I won't be getting rich, lol....

Any suggestions out there in Cake Land???? 

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Apti Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 2:53am
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p.s.  Since I can't edit, here's a link to my photos so you can see my level of "cakeness"


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jchuck Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 4:12am
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Congrats!! Hope you enjoy. My cake club leader took over for a colleague for a year at our local community college. But she has a busy full time cake business, and it got to be too much. She decided she had to drop the teaching. 

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cakebaby2 Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 10:04am
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your cakes are real pretty Apti (nice to put a face to a name) You will find their skill level after the first class and be able to tailor future classes around that.  Best of luck and enjoy! I once did flower arranging classes for "beginners" and had to work smart when I cottoned on many of them were already into garlands and climbing a range nets. Luckily I had my Japanese style up my sleeve to WOW them lol x

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cakebaby2 Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 10:06am
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Aarrangements that should read I am on my grandsons I pad and its trying to spell for me!

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-K8memphis Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 12:48pm
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clap.pngoh i'm so excited for you and for your students! i have to ponder this and maybe i'll think of something -- I'm on my way out the door right now just wanted to say 

giant congratulations! clap.png

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jchuck Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 12:58pm
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I meant to say in my post that your cakes are lovely and your very skilled. I'm sure your students will learn much from you, and enjoy your classes. Kind of nice too there's no set ridgid class outline, like the Wiltin classes. You can set your own classes based on your students, using Wilton's as a loose guideline.

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theresaf Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 2:11pm
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Congrats Apti!  I have no suggestions at the momo but I am happy for you!



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Apti Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 3:25pm
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Thanks everyone.  I learned so many tips/tricks the hard way, that I will be able to help my students avoid a lot of the newbie mistakes I made in the beginning. 

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-K8memphis Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 4:31pm
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i just hope you get to teach some trompe l'oeil cakes-- spaghetti and meatballs is a classic, a purse cake, a puppy or something like that -- those to me are the funnest --

i'm excited for you 

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Apti Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 6:23pm
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The spaghetti cake is a great idea!

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theresaf Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 6:55pm
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Haha the spaghetti cake in my gallery was my first 'fooler' cake - K8 makes it sound all Frenchy!   I love those kind because they are a conversation and it gets people talking about how to incorporate different elements.  My last one was a cheese board with real cheese and cake cheese.  I'm not sorry to say that there was confusion at the table lol!

I can see how some of those kinds of cakes would be verrry entertaining in a class! Wish you were near me!


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cakedout Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 7:32pm
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Congrats!  I taught Adult Education classes for several years at a local high school.  I also taught loosely based on Wilton.  I actually purchased the Wilton class books for them, but also included a number of my own hand-outs for other skills/decorating hints not included in the course books. 

One of my most popular hand-outs was a mixing chart of "how-to-make-this-color", and one with a list of various baking and decorating hints I've gleaned over the years.  Another popular one covered some very basic principles of flower arranging that can be adapted to cake decorating. (there is NOT much out there on this subject!) Unfortunately I no longer have a copy of these hand-outs.  :/ 

Anyway- just remember to be patient; be encouraging; introduce them to other cake decorating sources and organizations like local cake clubs and ICES, and even encourage them to enter their local state fairs!  :) 

Encourage your students to bring a large zip-lock baggie: they can place their dirty bags and equipment into the bag to take home, rather than try to clean everything at the classroom sink before they go home.  Too many people and it takes too much time for that! 

That's what I can think of for now.....  good luck to you!  And have fun!

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Apti Posted 17 Aug 2016 , 9:23pm
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Thanks again.

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MBalaska Posted 19 Aug 2016 , 2:25am
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Hope it all goes well for you @Apti and you have fun with your class.  Congratulations!!

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-K8memphis Posted 19 Aug 2016 , 9:12am
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cakeout -- putting stuff in a bag to take home to wash is a great idea -- save a lot of class time --

apti, random idea for you -- what I like to do first in a class is have them do drop flowers and rose buds, daisies are just wagon wheels piped w/the rose tip -- if they pipe a larger shell or just remove the tip and pipe a blob that tapers on one end and cover it with tiny drop flowers you got lilacs-- four flowers quick as a wink with simple movements  -- then stems, leaves then borders -- borders are necessary and cool but flowers are of course major bang for the buck  -- I show them baby booties at this point too but whatever --

i like to incorporate/capture the wow factor -- why creep up on it -- it's powerful motivation -- simple to accomplish by themselves -- the atmosphere in the classroom sharpens and the confidence levels soar --

to me, once they have that confidence that they can make some gorgeous flowers there's no stoppin' 'em --

but there's no substitute for an enthusiastic teacher like you so y'all will have the time of your lives however you plan it --

best & most wonderful classes to you!!! can't wait to hear about it

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Apti Posted 19 Aug 2016 , 5:01pm
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@cakedout and K8memphis  -- this is exactly what I'm looking for!   Keep 'em coming!

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gscout73 Posted 21 Aug 2016 , 12:45am
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I do a lot of training for my local Girl Scout council, have been a trainer for decades. One very important tip I can give is to be genuine when giving compliments or praise. It must be realistic and sincere. If a student does well, do not say it is the best you've ever seen, unless it is truly the best you've ever seen. If you are disingenuous, the student(s) will pick up on it and you will loose credibility and trust. Be encouraging, but do not exaggerate.

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gscout73 Posted 21 Aug 2016 , 12:46am
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PS - Congratulations, and I wish you much success!!!!

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-K8memphis Posted 21 Aug 2016 , 10:04am
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royal icing cleans up infinitely easier than buttercream

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cakedout Posted 24 Aug 2016 , 4:53pm
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Students don't have the funds to purchase a practice board?  Just wrap a length of waxed paper around a 9x13 cake board, pull it taut and tape down in the back.  :)

Best hint: use the disposable bag/double bag method when doing figure piping or doing flowers....or whatever!  Cut the tips off of two disposable bags.  Put your icing into the first bag.  The second bag becomes your 'coupler' bag - - insert your desired tip and then drop your icing bag inside of it, making sure the open end of the icing bag is firmly seated inside the decorating tip.  Viola!

While this is a great decorating hint for home use- disposable bags are not recommended for class use because the practice icing is used over and over again - and the heat of your hand is transferred more quickly than with the regular pastry bags, so your icing will break down more quickly.

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gscout73 Posted 25 Aug 2016 , 1:40am
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I've used sheet protectors for practice sheets. You can change out the sheets for different techniques.

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gscout73 Posted 18 Sep 2016 , 7:39pm
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How are the classes going?

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Apti Posted 19 Sep 2016 , 12:18am
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Thanks for asking, gscout73.  First class I took in 2 white cake layers, raspberry filling, frosting, and 26 pre-filled frosting bullets.  and demo'd cake pan prep and how to assemble a 1M rose cake.  Every student and 3 staff each received a piece of the cake to eat.   There were 22 students.   These are my outline notes: 


DEMO: How to level cake layers in pan -- Remove from pan -- Place cake on cake board with frosting, Mix and apply Dam, -- Apply Raspberry Filling, -- Frost middle of cake, -- Place 2nd layer of cake, -- Frost sides, -- Frost top, -- Smooth Frosting, -- Decorate with 1M tip, -- Apply pearl sprinkles, -- Do Cake Cutting Demo with gloves/spatula/knife ,

The last hour I let them play with a piping bag, frosting bullet, different tips and told them the homework was to make 2 cake layers at home and a double recipe of B/C for next class.    Each week I will give them different cake recipes and frosting recipes and ask them to practice making the new recipes at home.

Second week there were 17 students and I did a chocolate Spaghetti and Meatballs Cake (thanks @K8memphis), cut/served to class.  I let the class stack and fill and do a crumb coat of their cakes and then let them decide if they wanted to produce a 1M rose cake like the previous week's demo, or do their own thing.     Everyone left with a fully finished cake to take home and most did a fantastic job.

This was my outline for the second three-hour class: 


Recipes: Sour Cream Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Buttercream, Cream Cheese Choc Buttercream

Practice assembly and crumb coating of 2 layer cake. Practice making 1M tip decorations on cake.

Practice making frosting colors and separate stiff consistency frosting for a filling 'dam'

Dots and lines with round tips. Writing Small to larger dots Printing “Happy Birthday”

Practice making leaves with tip 352. Also great for sunflower with mini-Oreo center, poinsettia.

Flowers with open star tip #18 or #21: Rosettes. Spiral rosettes for a border. Star flower. Hydrangea. Shell Border.

* * * * *

I haven't shown them how to finish the final coat of frosting over a crumb coat, but may do that in lesson 3.     For this Wed., lesson 3, I've asked them to bring parchment squares, flower nail.  I'll show them different buttercream flowers.

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Apti Posted 19 Sep 2016 , 12:21am
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p.s.  next week I asked them to bring cupcakes instead of cake layers.

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-K8memphis Posted 19 Sep 2016 , 10:34am
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you're welcome of course -- so cool, apti! you know they all had to feel great doing a whole cake -- and very good that you are presenting the basics so efficiently/importantly -- covering all bases -- 

best of the best to you -- great job!

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gscout73 Posted 20 Sep 2016 , 2:41am
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I'm so glad it's going well for you. I've been wanting to ask but have been so busy  with moving. 

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Apti Posted 11 Oct 2016 , 11:29pm
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Hello again, everyone!    I've been so busy lately, I've forgotten I'm retired.

The Cake Decorating Beginning Course 1 went very well.  Every Wednesday evening for 4 weeks, 3 hours per night, for a total of 12 hours in front of the class.   Now mind you, the PREP took about 6 hours for each class.....hmmmm....

Had a blast as did the students.  The fourth and final class was sparsely attended due to unexpected civil unrest near the school, but the 8 students who came left with fabulous cakes and big smiles.   The other students who missed the final class had enough information to be just fine even though they didn't attend the final class.  

Cake Decorating II Intermediate was cancelled because only 5 people signed up.  I was NOT disappointed !   Whew...this teaching and all the prep is hard work; not to mention expensive. 

The weekend before the final class was the weekend of horror.   I had an absolutely horrific experience with a 3 tier square wedding cake and the accompanying groom's cake.  [FYI--the wedding party and guests had no idea--they were fine with the cakes and had no idea I was ready to poke spatulas in both eyes prior to arrival at the hall.]   I was so despondent that I was ready to sell everything and tell the school I would meet my class commitments for the 2 single night chocolate classes in Nov and Dec 2016, then I was through.     However, I persevered for the prep (baking/frosting/etc.) for the final class and my optimism and faith in the joy of cake decorating was greatly restored.

Now that I have a 4 week course under my belt, the next spring semester will be MUCH easier.   I have all my notes, class outlines, timing, etc. down to the minute.  

Too busy to take a single photo, but made an 8x4 1M "wedding cake" with Sour Cream White Cake, an 8x4 Spaghetti Cake with Meatballs with Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Cake, and about 30 red velvet cupcakes with b/c flowers/leaves/designs.   Also brought in a lemon cake, not decorated, for tasting.   Altogether the students were able to see the decorating process, the cutting/serving/plating, and eat up each cake/cupcake flavor. 

HUGE thanks for the ideas, support, and encouragement! 

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gscout73 Posted 12 Oct 2016 , 2:29am
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Congratulations - on your successful classes and pulling through on the wedding  and grooms cakes catastrophy. I am so happy for you.

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Apti Posted 12 Oct 2016 , 5:20am
post #30 of 31

@gscout73 -- Thank you darlin'

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