Question about Practicing Cake Decorating Techniques

I know that my question my sound strange, but what is the best way to learn cake techniques and did you all learn them in any particular order. How often do you practice and when practicing do you always use real cakes or foam cake dummies? Please give me your suggestions, I am just getting started with cakes and would like to know how some of you learned all the many techniques. For you cakers with fulltime jobs please let me know how you get it all in. Thank you!!!

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11 Replies

SarahBeth3 ...

Books from the library, youtube videos, and great tutorials on cake blogs and awesome sites like this one. Of course you can sign up for classes at a Hobby Lobby or Michael’s and other places. Covering a cake in buttercream and fondant I would think would be the first techniques you would want to learn and practice and then some piped borders, but beyond that, I personally just learned whatever interested me or a technique someone was requesting on a cake. Dummies are a great way to practice but if you start doing birthday cakes for everyone in your family and your friends you’ll soon have lots of practice on real cakes. (I prefer doing it on a real cake, even though I really don’t enjoy the whole baking process. That’s just me though.)

cakes by khandra ...

the best way to learn to me is youtube videos and i have always practiced on real cakes but i started off with cupcakes because i think they are eaiser to work with and easy to fix mistakes on. I also watch a lot of cake shows thats what really inspired me

Alecia ...

I started with some Wilton classes, which is nice since it’s so interactive. If you are having trouble with a technique, you can ask them right there to help you. But after that, youtube is a great resource. I also recommend practice your icing borders on a huge piece of wax paper taped to the counter. Then you can scrape the frosting off, fill your bag again, and practice some more!!

Prima Cakes Plus ...

I do all my practice cakes with real cake and just take them into work on Mondays. I also have a full time job so I do them on the weekends. Like SarahBeth3 I did techniques that interested me at the moment. I also did the Wilton classes and now I look at tons of youtube videos and forums and facebook pages.

Lisa ...

Hi there…..I am teaching myself at the moment and the only advice I can give is there is not a format for learning, do what you can and feel comfortable doing and when you are in the right frame of mind – be daring too, you might surprise yourself!!!

Kara ...

I practice on dummies…I started with the basics of piping, then learned some gumpaste and fondant, then just used books and hands-on practice. The best way to learn is to just do it yourself and figure out what works for you.

Nikki Belleperche ...

I have taught myself everything I know. I use books, tv shows, the internet. If there is something I can’t quite figure out I google it, there are likely tons of tutorials and videos out there for any technique you are looking to learn. Beyond that, practice! practice! practice! I always have practiced on real cakes. Small cakes that you can give away or let your family eat up when you are done are perfect. I have read that decorating/covering a dummy cake is not like decorating/covering a real cake so I have always stayed away from them unless I need an actual dummy cake.

ArtisticIcingCakes ...

When I practice piping, I practice on the side of my cake pans :) However, piping is a struggle for me… :/

LaWanda ...

I have learned how to decorate cakes by watching video, such as youtube. Wilton cake book are very good at telling great tips and techinques on how to decorate with buttercream and fondant icing as well. Just keep practicing and you will be amaze on what you can do. I usually practice on a dummy cake or wax paper(when it comes to piping). Micheal’s has a amazing cake decorating class as well. Good luck, and remember to have fun with it.

Jessica ...

There really is no right or wrong way to learn that’s the beauty about it! Here are some tips I can offer you that maybe some others didn’t (sorry didnt read every response):

1) Pick up a dummy round to practice on, practice piping on the counter (shells and other tips). You will need some work on some real cakes to to get a real feel of how to decorate.

2)I also take any extra batter I have from cake orders and bake off any cakes I can with it for practicing later. Stick them in my freezer and pull out when I got extra time. I do the same with left over buttercreams and fondant. I bake different varieties of shapes but my mini cake pans get the most action with left over cake batter. ALOT of my cakes are practice cakes, that’s when I try a new technique I really been thinking about or work on something that I need more practice with. I dump these cakes after I’m done playing around, I just pretend I baked them for Oscar the Grouch so I dont feel as bad for dumping them in the trash right after. :)

ANd I agree with everyone above, the internet is a great source to learn from, practice and pick up some books to if you can! HTH and good luck!

Kendra Hicks ...

I’ve had no training but I have, however, watched tons of youtube videos, researched on CC and read through countless tutorials. I’m really not a “piper” and I prefer to work with fondant. It can be pretty tricky, especially at first so you need lots of practice. Really the only way to learn is by jumping in and doing it. I made lots of ugly cakes before i got the hang of it. You could even buy a set of dummies to practice with. Any video or tutorial from Edna de la Cruz is fantastic – just Google her or anything else you’d like to know, starting with the basics like making buttercream and stacking tiered cakes. Royal Bakery on Facebook has some great tutorials on detailed things as does Torta Couture, plus they post links to other great pages with tutorials. Surprisingly, many bakeries are forthcoming with their techniques and they post them on Facebook.