Sitting here icing cakes this morning and watching the cows amble across the hill and greeting the new calves born yesterday. I would much rather be on my tractor feeding them their hay but after 40 years of farming I've slowly turned to decorating cakes. Does anyone else sit and wonder how your doing cakes came to be?
I started baking at a young age, my mom did not like to bake. My life took a different path, I became an engineer in love with baking. It wasn't until I moved to the US that I was able to go to pastry school, that was a dream come true! That was 13 years ago, the rest is history. I do cakes because I love cakes!
I’d love to see that scene you painted Never been on a farm except for an hr or so I know how I started — though I had an interest for some time never had the few people who decorated willing to help me learn One loaned me a book but it was all “greek” :) For oldest daughter’s wedding I was talked into making “a homemade cake w/ cream cheese icing”; 3 days later asked to help make another small wedding cake for a gal who’s plans fell through at the last second then 3 weeks after that another request— for this one I was asked to make just the 3tiers but come wedding day There was trouble in paradise & the gal who was supposed to put it together couldn’t so I had to By this time I had fallen in love with this sweet passion so started taking lessons That all started in 1980 Ended up being forced into retirement around 2007 when hubby became ill needing care 24/7 — had to close my bakery:( Sure miss it! That’s why I work the cake sites — my way of keeping my hands in sugar:)
I've been baking cakes, pies, cookies, cornbread and biscuits (all of the required food group!) since I was knee high to a grasshopper, but I started decorating in ernest after I retired.
I grew up on a farm too, not a real working farm because my daddy had an outside job, but we did grow corn, cut hay and raise a big garden and tobacco. We also raised chickens commercially a few times because the house and equipment was on the farm when we bought it. I still leave deep in the country and could not live any other way.
I got a decorating kit for Christmas when i was 10 and have been hooked ever since.
I also grew up on a dairy farm in Tillamook Oregon, that was a great time in my life!
I "live" in the country, not leave!
My first experience was watching my Mom decorate our cakes with one of those "plunger tube things" where you put the frosting in and then push the plunger to make it come out. Do you remember those? Sorry it's hard to describe. She didn't make real fancy things just writings names, swirls etc. Mom was such a good cook and she cooked on a wood stove, she was afraid I would get burned, so I didn't get to do much cooking but learned a lot by just watching her. I only stated decorating cakes when I became an adult and helped a friend in her catering business. Later I began decorating on my own, loved it and first thing I knew I was in business working out of my home, never had to advertise just word of mouth and I'm still at it..
Betty, I remember my grandma cooking on a wood stove. Since we didn't have electricity until after I started to school, I guess my mom also cooked on a wood stove, but I can't remember it. Mama always used one of those metal plunger things to decorate and I had one until the late 70's. I very well remember making a cake for my daddy's birthday and writing his name using one of those things and, the frosting being much too stiff, I broke the nerve in my thumb (the one doing the pushing). It broke right at the base of my thumb, where it connects to the hand and it took about six months to grow back. I think that was the last time I used the plunger decorator, lol.
Oh !!! that sounds painful. I think Mom's plunger thing is here somewhere and I see they now have something similar on the market. I use pastry bags now, mostly the disposable ones from Wilton. There strong & works fine.
It was painful, Betty! I use pastry bags and tips, have for many, many years. You would think by now I would have learned to use them.
I see those plunger things in $ stores still or maybe they are different? It’s a 3 or 4” metal tube comes with 4-5 tips usually No one in my family ever did any decorating & not much baking either —no idea where my love for it comes from I have little family history — mom was orphaned at a very young age & neither she nor dad talked much about their past life:(
You all have such wonderful stories. I started decorating cakes because I was tired of going to bakeries and stores and not finding what I wanted. I hated the plastic flotsum and toys on cakes. When I moved from San Francisco to MIami in 1984 I had a neighbor who decorated character cakes (only) and said I should take classes. It was not until 1991 that I actually got the nerve to finally do it at the JC Penny's. I eventually took the level 2 and then self taught the rest. I love cake decorating. And I really love the fact that pros have been so willing to share their tricks of the trade and give great advice to hobbyists like me. I discovered this site in 2007 and the rest is history. So sad to see the downward spiral. I am no pro. But I do want to do my best and always improve.
Guess I missed this post. Like Sandra, I started baking very young with my Mom. Made my first pie at 13, all by myself. Crust wasn’t the best, but was proud of my effort. My Mom also had one of those push/plunger thingys too. I remember Mom doing simple decorating on a cake and writing Happy Birthday. I baked cakes a lot with my Mom growing up. As for decorating, I took a 8 or 10 week course with a local decorator when my kids were really small. All buttercream, no fondant then. We had to bake a cake each week and bring in. I remember all the different buttercream flowers we had to make and bring to class. Fast forward, I went back to work, and cake decorating went on the back burner. Then my niece was getting married in 2006, and I offered to make her wedding cake. Nothing like jumping in with two feet. Fondant was new on the scene. I had experience rolling out pastry, so figured, how hard could it be to roll out fondant. I did take a quick 4 wk course on fondant at Michael’s. I found and joined CC in 2006. My daughter got married in 2007, so the fondant course, and forums on CC were very helpful. Pretty much self taught, with the exception of a 4 week advanced fondant course probably 15 years ago. I google everything, watch YouTube. I have several Craftsy classes, now Bluprint, and embarrassed to say, I’ve never watched a video series all the way through. I’m just too impatient...
I've never had any classes, just started with Wilton books, now the miracle of YouTube and Craftsy/Bluprint. I absolutely LOVE the tutorials on Bluprint! For the past many months, I have been watching the artisan bread and patisserie. Love learning new things.
Never heard of blueprint Tell me about it
Bluprint started life as Craftsy. The sold tutorials on all kinds of crafts, cake decorating being my area of interest at the time I discovered it. The classes last from 2 hours to 5 hours and once purchased, belong to you forever. You watch at your own speed, whenever you wish. The classes could be purchased when they ran one of their frequent sales for $19.99, some even less.
Bluprint purchased Craftsy about two years ago. They still have the classes for purchase, but I don't know if they do the sales. Without the sale price, classes are around $40 each. The difference is, you can become a Bluprint member, monthly, bi-annually or annually, and watch any class you wish, any time you wish. This is my second year to be a member. I think it is $85 for a year membership. Last year, much to my surprise, for being a Bluprint member, I got 12....yes 12....free Craftsy classes to own forever. I love watching the classes in which I am interested, then using my free codes to "buy" the ones I like best and want to own. That is much, much cheaper than buying classes. Another bonus is that they have free shipping to members. Their store includes all kinds of cake decorating tools, petal dusts, King Arthur Flour stuff, tons of stuff.
Blueprint is awesome, great teacher many different techniques and great business ideas
I’m not a fan of the new Bluprint. When it was Craftsy, you could buy whatever class you wanted, have forever, period. There were always sales, and freebie recipes, tutorials on the Craftsy site as well. When Craftsy became Bluprint, it automatically became a, monthly, yearly, pay as you go. And in American currency. So would be over $100 a year for me. I just wouldn’t access the site enough to justify that kind of $$$. Of course, I still have my classe on Bluprint, always will unless they go belly up. And since I bought classes from Craftsy, in hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it again. Absolutely everything on the site can be found by googling. University of YouTube. And if If I couldn’t find something, decorator friends, personal, and fb groups usually could help. And Sandra, Bluprint is constantly sending me incentives for half price classes, or if I get someone to join, receive free classes etc.
I used to go to my grandmother's house after school until my parents got home from work. She always had cake and frosting mixes and I loved to make them but decorating wasn't a big deal. Then in high school, I made a couple of pies. When my dad said they were better than my mom's, she informed him that from then on, he could get me to make his pies. That's when I really got into baking.
The first time I got into decorating was my daughter's first birthday. I followed the directions in a magazine and made her a circus themed cake with elephants made out of marshmallows. I was amazed how well it turned out and I was hooked! But the first wedding cake I made was also for her so there was a lot of time there that was just birthday cakes and candy. I really got into the filled bonbons, etc., and I had close to 400 molds. Still have them in storage somewhere.
Researching that first wedding cake was when I realized that there were a lot of cake decorators out there. We had just gotten our first computer and I discovered the on-line world and now I could look and ask questions and wasn't learning strictly by trial and error anymore.
3 kids and 2 restaurants later and now I'm back to just doing little items since my oven is teeny-tiny. I'm thinking dessert tables are my next project. I really enjoy making mini cakes and petit fours and truffles and cake pops and cakesicles and white chocolate bowls filled with mousse. I made maple bacon and candy cane truffles, and peanut butter and dark chocolate raspberry fudge for Christmas gifts this year and people at work went nuts over them. Can't go wrong with chocolate and bacon! We're on track to pay off both vehicles and our house this year so I'm thinking next year would be the perfect time to start a new business. I'm really sad that CC won't be here - at least, not the way it used to be. But, as others have said, YouTube is still going strong.
June, Bluprint still has all of the free tutorials, recipes, etc. The only thing I do not like as well as Craftsy is the site is harder to navigate, but they are aware and trying to make it more user friendly. I probably do not get half price ads from them because I am a member.
I agree, TerraCottle, Bluprint classes are fabulous. I have not watched a single class with a teacher who was less than first rate and a lot of them are funny.