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Has anyone learned cake decorating from a book?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi. I am wanting to learn cake decorating. The local stores offer the Wilton classes in the evening which I can't attend because I work in the evening. Has anyone taught themselves how to decorate a cake from a book? Could I purchase the Wilton class books and learn from there? I would appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks,
Cecilia
Thank you to the person that inspired this cake.
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Thank you to the person that inspired this cake.
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post #2 of 15
I really enjoyed my Wilton classes, but I believe that if you are unable to attend them, you could probably teach yourself the techniques from the book. I have taken Wilton I and Wilton III, and plan on taking Wilton II this month, but already knew how to do many of the techniques presented in Course I by practicing some of the techniques out of the Wilton Yearbooks. The instructors where I have taken my classes mainly go step by step on what the book says, so I don't know why you couldn't do it yourself. Just my opinion.
Joanie
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Joanie
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post #3 of 15
We don't have wilton classes here, so I learn everything from internet. It's possible! icon_smile.gif
post #4 of 15
I just picked up the Wilton book, The uses of the most Popular Decorating Tips. It's great! It provides step-by-step techniques for using decorating tips. The pictures are actual size so you can see how large the flower or or decoration should be.

Also, you can pick up the Wilton practice board. It's an indispensible tool for the learner. The board allows you to place a practice picture underneath so you can practice the shape on top.

Good-luck!

princess.gif
post #5 of 15
Yes, 30 years ago I taught myself cake decorating from the wilton yearbook, everything from borders to roses, drop flowers...etc.. I have continued to teach myself from the yearbooks, and here on the internet. I have taught cake decorating quite a few times, the first course usually taking 6 weeks, and did use the practice boards in the classroom for the borders and writing technique- they are a tremendous help! Have fun...just give yourself lots of time and don't mind making a mess, you will do just great!
post #6 of 15
I finally got the chance to take the Wilton classes (I'm in the 3rd class now), and I have really enjoyed them. However, I think all but a few of the techniques I could have taught myself from a book (some just because I had a hard time visualizing the pictures in the book as 3D, like the rosebud).

In your situation, I'd say go for it. You've got nothing to lose just to try. The people on here are incredibly helpful with any trouble you might have.

Also, I've found a section on Food Network's website with some videos of how to do some techniques (like the rose & basketweave)
http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/ck_dm_baking
Their rose starts slightly different, but the videos are very helpful.

If all else fails, maybe you could drop by a local cake supply store and they could help you out if you get stuck...or get the number of the instructor at your local store that offers classes and call to see if you could do an individual class that fits in your schedule. It never hurts to ask, the worst they can say is no!

Good luck!
post #7 of 15
You can definitely learn from a book. I was dissappointed in the Wilton classes in my area so I started using books for ideas and practicing the techniques I saw there. I started decorating just over a year ago for fun and have been doing very well. It's amazing what you can find on the web too. If you want to do it it is definitely doable! Good Luck!
post #8 of 15
I took a several week class from a homeschool mom back when I was 11 (13 years ago), which taught some basic Wilton techniques. Everything else I learned on my own through books, pictures and now through forums and internet information. It's amazing how much TIME teaches you. I stopped decorating for 7 years through college and getting married and having my first baby and just started again last May. Even with 7 years off, the quality of my cakes is so much higher now, it's amazing...and inspiring to do more! I'd like to get into doing wedding cakes, and put my name and some feelers out, but now I am due with my second baby in May (18 months apart), so that may not happen for a while. Anyway, good luck with learning on your own! Maybe one day I'll figure out the rosebud...that has me stumped! icon_smile.gif
Mom to three busy boys!
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Mom to three busy boys!
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post #9 of 15
I have taken one Wilton class, and started another b/c I realized I could learn the same thing from books and the net. I have been very successful. I just did a basketweave cake w/royal icing roses (never made RI before) and it turned out great. If you practice A LOT I am sure you can do it. I highly recommend a dummy cake for practice.
post #10 of 15
Most definately can you learn from a book. I did, and I know a bakery in New Jersey (though I cant remember the name) that got started with the owner self teaching herself the Wilton method and through their books!
post #11 of 15
i could never find the time to go to one of the classes, so i started with the wilton videos and practiced, practiced, practiced!! it's the next best thing to being in the classroom!
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
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Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
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post #12 of 15
I didn't even really learn from a book, much less a class or video. I bought myself one of the student kits about three years ago, played around with it for a while, got bored and shoved it into the back of a closet... but now I'm back with a vengeance, baby! (Just ask my fiance, I'm driving him nuts with my cake habit.)

I've got several things in my collection... my suggestion is to buy the course books, and don't worry about the practice board if you've been thinking about it. The pages that come with the practice board are also printed in the back of the course books; just copy them (if you don't want to cut them out of the books) and slide them into page protectors. Works much better than the practice board.

I would also recommend, if you can find them for a price that you feel is reasonable, to get the 3 volumes of the 1970's Wilton Way encyclopedias. You may not be interested in anything but Vol 3 at the moment - tips, flowers, recipes in the back, cake directions - but you may want #1 eventually. #2 is on its way to me at the moment, so I can't suggest it either way. I laid out $96 for my three books, and during the lean spell on ebay a few weeks ago when I bought them, that was *cheap*. icon_cry.gif

Devour pictures like it's an addiction. Seriously. I've spent about 60-80 hours in the past two weeks finding pictures of cakes, not just for composition, but for tip use examples. It's helped a huge amount, because I have the photo resources now to check what I'm doing against examples from every skill level there is.

I personally, at the point where I am now, justify spending the money for classes. Between the course books and the online forums, I don't think there's a single thing that they could teach me that I don't already know. Practice, on the other hand... icon_lol.gif


Sorry for being so wordy... bad habit of mine. icon_smile.gif

Illy
post #13 of 15
I have searched and searched for a place to take classes in my area. The local college offers a cake decorating class every once in awhile but not all the time. But by reading the other post, I found alot of encouragement to continue trying. I've been practicing for about a week and I made my first cake this afternoon. If I would have had a camera I would have posted the pic. It turned out ok icon_rolleyes.gif But I'm having a problem with my cake layers being thick enough....It seems like they are flat. I used one box of cake mix for a 2 layer cake. I'm also having a little bit of problem trying to figure out what the right consistency is for roses and trim. I know it's suppose to be stiff. But for someone like me.....it's kind of hard to tell. But I just wanted to say I appreciate everybody's help and encouragement....everyone has been so kind to me.
post #14 of 15
Cecilia, in this day and age, I think one could learn just about anything without attending classes in that subject. Between books, magazines, videos, catalogs, online message boards, online discussion forums, the many great photos and tutorials and websites online, and all the many people out there that the Internet now makes it possible to "meet"--Well, gosh, there's a whole world out there just brimming with "free" information, and you can go at your own pace this way *and* get a lot of support from others learning the same things. Go for it! icon_smile.gif I can't take the classes right now either, so I'm teaching myself everything--or shall I say "learning from everyone and everything I can find." icon_smile.gif Good luck. icon_smile.gif
post #15 of 15
I've learned from books. Wilton sells manuals for classes 1-3 and I picked up[ basic techniques there, at wilton.com, and other internet places. I suggest you go to a barnes and noble and browse through cake decorating books for ones that match the cake styles you like to do. Also check your library for books! Good luck!
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