This past fall, I enrolled in a 6 week cake decorating class. Lots of people have asked me about this… wanting to know how they can take a class like this too, so I wanted to share my experience and thoughts on cake decorating.
Obviously, even after the class, I’m no pro, but I’m good enough to make a pretty cake for doing my family members’ birthday cakes.
- Where did you take the class?
I took my class at a local cake supply company, Cake Craft.
- How much did it cost?
The class was $75 for a six week course. I was responsible for furnishing my supplies, so add roughly an extra $60 on top of that for specific new pans, the right food coloring, tips and bags and other items
- What did you learn?
You were expected to know how to frost a cake– no problem from me there. I love to bake and had frosted probably 100 cakes before this class.
The first week was dedicated to just going over the syllabus and we made a rose. For the rose, we used a flower nail and learned the motion. It was surprisingly tricky, but once I got the motion down, it was all just about practice!
The second week, we practiced making roses and little drop flowers. We also learned how to make little flourishes using little design presses. I absolutely loved the drop flower technique!
The third class was all about design transfers. For this, we took a printed image (really just an outline, and put it under wax paper. We quickly piped the outline onto the wax paper and placed it frosting side down onto the cake. You can see my outline in yellow. I then used a star tip to fill in the pumpkin shape. I’m glad I learned this technique, but it wasn’t really my favorite.
The fourth class was all about making different kinds of flowers (no cake, just flower practice). You can see a lot of those different kinds of flowers in the final project cake. In fact, I made all of those flowers in advance and dried them so they could just be placed on the cake in the last class!
The fifth class was about figure piping. So, most people in this lesson did clown figure piping, but I thought the clowns were kind of creepy, so I elected to pipe snowmen and pine trees. I thought they were cute, but I doubt I’ll put this technique to use!
The sixth and final class was a flower basket cake! I love how this project ended up! The basketweave was kind of tricky and I had too much frosting in the bag so it really hurt my hands by the end of it. I think to the untrained eye, though, it looks pretty good! Like I mentioned before, I made all the flowers in advance (I think there are about 30 flowers on the top of the cake!) and let them dry so that I could just place them on top of the cake.
I think you can definitely see my skills progress week by week, but it is not something I have continued to keep up and practice. I have some issues with my joints (Undifferentiated Mixed Connective Tissue Disease) and I found decorating to be really taxing on my hands in a way that I hadn’t experienced with something like knitting or cookie decorating.
So while I have and will continue to use the skills I’ve used, I don’t think cake decorating is something I’ll keep working at. On top of that, one thing I found interesting was that despite loving to bake, I found it really taxing to have to have a cake ready each week. And inevitably, something would go wrong. There were a couple weeks that I had to redo the cakes and it was stressful! And then one other thing… I HATED cleaning up my mess. I hated cleaning out the tips and washing the frosting off things, sticking your hand down into an icing filled bag… yuck.
- How can I learn how to decorate cakes?
There are lots of classes you can take online, but I recommend that you take a look and see if you have any local cake supply companies that offer classes. Even big box stores like Michael’s might have a local class. I found it really useful to have instructor feedback as I was practicing so that I could learn more proper technique.