With a little experience under my belt, six years baking professionally to be precise, I feel I have a lot to offer. I love to share any bits of advice I think useful and I often share recipes and tips and tricks. So here’s another post with Five Top Tips for Cake Decorating Beginners.
Essential Equipment list
Fancy equipment can be purchased later, but a few tools are essential; a good selection of cake tins, silicone rolling pin (large and small), a turntable, smoothers, cake boards and drums (the same size as your tins), piping nozzles, piping bags, modelling tools, serated knife, food gels, and I love these Lakeland Nesting Plastic Mixing Bowls.
I also couldn’t work without weighing scales, large and small and offset spatulas plus parchment circles
Learn as much as possible
I was already a good baker when I started selling cakes professionally, and I suspect if you’re reading this then you will be too.
When it came to the decorating part I wasn’t that great and whilst always a bit ‘arty’ I really needed to perfect my finish. I watched YouTube clips all the time, read magazines and joined forums. If it’s within your budget then why not take a cake decorating class? I’m slightly biased as I teach cake decorating but nobody ever leaves disappointed and every student is always impressed with their work at the end of the day. If you’re not sure where to start then I’d suggest a simple but fun buttercream piping class.
Practice, Practice, Practice
And just in case you missed that – PRACTICE! No, seriously. If you’re not confident with something then keep trying until you are, cake decorating skills do not develop overnight. I would never take an order on that I wasn’t comfortable doing. You must be honest with your customer as well as yourself. Buy dummy cakes to cover and decorate as you can strip them easy enough when finished to have another go with.
Give yourself lots of time
Cake decorating isn’t for the impatient type. You need to set lots of time aside to perfect your work, even more so in the beginning when you will take longer.
Cake decorating designs
You will no doubt receive images from your customers asking them to recreate a cake. In my book this is totally fine as it’s actually very rare to find a completely original cake, but as a polite gesture you should always just give that cake decorator a quick message to let them know about it. It’s no biggie, just be polite. I learnt the hard way and was once treated like I’d actually broken into their house and stolen their cake or something – not cool, but lets not focus on the negative sides of the cake world in this post, if you do want a nosy at what happened you can read it here.
I recently recreated this cake from Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design and Emma didn’t mind in the slightest. In fact I think it’s quite flattering when someone asks me! If you can then put your own little spin or twist on the cake – make it yours!
If you have any questions about cake decorating or need any help or advice please do contact me. I totally don’t mind and try to answer all emails or comments received. You may also enjoy How to Price your Cakes and Make a Living, or Tips for the Perfect Naked Cake