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Newbie with time constraints...where should I start?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone! I have baked from home before, doing brownies, cupcakes, muffins, breads and box cakes, but I really would like to learn cake decorating and do more advanced projects, not just stuff out of a box. However, I'm really new to this and don't know where to get started.

I have both A.C. Moore and Michael's in my hometown, but I work afternoons and evenings at my job (I work from home), and the Wilton classes are always during my work hours or smack in the middle of dinnertime. I also don't have a car, so that makes things even more complicated. I'm off from my job on Fridays and Saturdays, but of course there's no classes on those days and haven't been for awhile. icon_sad.gif The local community college has a class coming up, but again, it's right during my work day/dinnertime.

I have thought about picking up the Wilton books/kit and just going through them myself, but I'm so confused. Should I just buy the kit that goes along with each lesson book or get one of the bigger kits (like the ultimate set or the 53-piece one) and go from there? I'm still interested in the Wilton course, but I'd also like to learn non-Wilton ways of doing things. It seems like they're the best starting point, though.

Any suggestions? I work full-time right now, and I'm not exactly getting rich from my job...I do have enough to spend on hobbies, but I'm not going to be launching a business anytime soon. Right now, I just want to start this off as a hobby and see where it goes. I have goals to work in my field (writing/communications), but the market has been so bad that I've thought about doing the pastry chef/cake decorating thing as a backup plan (I've done food service jobs before, and yes they were stressful, but I have the bug I guess). However, I have a long way to go before I even think about that.

What should I do?
post #2 of 9
Well, I just stopped by Sur la Table, and picked up a couple of tips, and a 4-pack of fittings to attach them to piping bags. And my piping bags of choice are ordinary 1-qt. zip-top bags (storage or freezer grade, NOT sandwich grade, or you'll have blowouts!).

I've never taken a single decorating class, but I do OK for my own purposes.

For frosting, I just use the cold-process buttercream recipe that's been on the back of the C&H powdered sugar box since before I was born (probably since before most of the people on this list were born, too.) And while I've used Wilton paste food coloring on occasion, I usually just use a few drops of McCormick liquid food colorings, as needed.

The recipe on the sugar box can, of course, be scaled as needed; I recently developed a chart for making less-than-full-box amounts (down to as little as one ounce of powdered sugar). If there's demand, I can make a PDF of my "frosting page" (which also includes strawberry, maple, and maple-cinnamon variations), and stick it on my web site.

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

Reply

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

Reply
post #3 of 9
You tube has some great video tutorials. I've never taken the Wilton courses, I took classes at my local cake shop. But I would think buying the student kits and working your way through them would be a good way too start. And also asking here is a great resource. When I 1st started this was my biggest go to place for just about everything. Everyone is so helpful and the forums has lots of posts that might just answer a question you have, just do a search.
post #4 of 9
Hi there and welcome to cc. I have gone through the first course of the wilton classes but that was 12 years ago so i decided to finally sign up and take the next class so when i went to sign up the instrucktor told me that being that it had been so long since i had taken the first class that i should just start all over again and i decorate all the time but i signed up for the first course and it starts next week. Anyways yes i learned alot from the course but i also have improved through time and lots of practice i dont think that i would personally buy the course sets that they sell not if im not taking the class along with it and buying the large set is just crazy thats alot of money even with a coupon. Like i said i have been dacorateing for 12years now and have learned alot along
post #5 of 9
My suggestion is Youtube. I have learned so much there. Also there are many good tutorials here. There are places you can buy DVD's and watch at your leisure.
Go to the Library if you can and read, read, read. Visit this site as often as you can and ask questions.
post #6 of 9
Sorry post got cut off so anyways i just found this web site last week and have learned a ton in the last week just by reading everyones post i did invest in the web site called My cake school.com and found very helpful she has hundreds of vidoes to watch and teaches you along the way and if you have questions you just post them and she will answer it the cost of it id $30 but i feel it was well worth the money i did just learn that high rastinal sp? It is high fat shorting in making buttercream makes a hugh differnces i just bought my first tub of it yesterday at the cake store its very expensive but well worth the money i made cupcakes last night and used the shorting without
post #7 of 9
I have never taken a cake decorating course of any kind. I know - scary, right? I started doing cakes about 15 years ago and bought my tools and equipment as I made cakes that required them. When I wanted to learn to make flowers, I bought the Wilton kit and taught myself as I went. I didn't have anyone to answer questions or give advice so I figured it out as I went. I found CC last summer and WOW! - - what I have learned since then.

You don't have to have specific tools for everything you do. I used a pizza cutter to trim the fondant on my cakes until last year - - sometimes I still use it. I had made candy for years and found the best bowl to melt almond bark or candy melts is a 3-lb margarine container. It's thick enough not to melt, but thin enough to bend for pouring. And, it comes with its own lid. thumbs_up.gif

I guess what I'm saying is that you don't need classes or several hundred dollars' worth of tools and equipment to get started. You'll need to just practice, practice, practice at first anyway. And if you're expecting to make any money at this, you'd better be very, very good.
post #8 of 9
My post keeps getting messed up sorry. Anyways my family ate the cupcakes and everyone of them asked what i did different with my bc it made a huge differance i also like the web site Design me a cake.com she too has viedoes to watch about how to make bc and how to frost a cake and so on and yes there is U tube and this wonderful site is so informative anyways sorry to go on and on but just thought i would put my 2 cents in practice practice practice have fun try not to stress out if you are practicing and its not working out it just takes time Have fun its a hobby at least for you right now it is the second you start doing cakes and the such for people and they pay you for it it can become very stressful because you want perfection than but anyways dont get down about it have fun with it enjoy enjoy enjoy
post #9 of 9
Watch the youtube videos by tonedna1 and serious cakes. They both have a bunch and are really well done.
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