How Did YOU Get Started?

Forum: Cakes & Cake Decorating

If you don’t mind me asking, I’d love to hear how some of you became interested in cake/cupcake decorating and how you got started.

As for me, I was in 4H for 1 year when I was probably about 14. That year I took a cake decorating class, which was more just them explaining to us what the did there at the bakery that we visited. They did show us how to do some of the basics: cover a cake in butter cream, filling and using a bag & tip, make a shell border, and that’s about it. But that peeked my interest. I did some cakes after that and then life got busy, as it does as you start to grow up. I didn’t touch a cake decorating tool for probably 7 years, and then one day a friend of mine reminded me of how fun it was. She introduced me to fondant and I haven’t looked back. I have checked out every book at my library on cake decorating at least twice and have looked at and watched lots of tutorials in the last few years. I love trying out new things and even though it never seems to come out right the first time, I love seeing the progress I can make if I just keep at it.

So, how about you?

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Prima Cakes and Cookies - Jennifer ...

I started baking with my best friend in HS. Every weekend we would find cool recipes to try out. Then I went off to college to study graphic design (my other passion). After years of being a graphic designer my career took a shift to being a programmer. I always watched Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, Food Network Challenge cause I loved to bake and it just fascinated me to see what they could do.

About 2 years ago I decided to take the Wilton decorating classes. I absolutely loved these classes. Whenever I had a chance to make a cake I would. I still continued to bake every chance I got. Then about a few months ago all my coworkers said I need to start a business… so off I did and now I have combined my 2 passions. Baking and Graphic Design. :)

Sandra's cakes ...

I made my first cake when my son was 1 year old, 25 years ago, it was awful, covered with glace icing (icing sugar & water) and coconut, looked dreadful, I was determined not to give up so by his 2nd birthday had bought some books & read up on how to do it properly, his 2nd cake was so much better, got so many compliments then I got the bug, everyone got a cake for their birthday! everyone got christmas cakes as gifts, then people started asking me to make cakes for thm, so I began to advertise & it became a business, I worked from home wwhen my son was young making around 5 or 6 a week. Then decided I wanted a qualification, so went to college once a week for 2 years, I didnt learn anything I didnt know, in fact a lot of it was very old school, royal icing etc, but I got that qualification I wanted!
When my son was 10, I had my daughter, then 2 years later my youngest son, didnt have time for cakes, and started working as a home based child minder, of course I still made family cakes, and got the odd order but I was way too busy for any more than that.
I moved from London to east sussex 8 years ago & no one here knew I made cakes, so apart from the odd cake for my kids I had done nothing for almost 8 years, then last year I posted my daughters cath kidston style birthday cake on ebay & that was it, suddenly everyone knew, but I didnt have much time as I was now working 8-6 shifts in a nursery, but I had to have a hysterectomy last december, and was desperate not to go back to work, which I hated, so I didnt! I got registered again as a home based child carer (child minder) and am now doing that and making cakes in my spare time!! I love it, so much has changed whilst I have been away!!!

LadyTangerine ...

I began at age 6 when I watched my mother bake cakes and decorate them when guests came over. It wasn’t until one day when I decided to take matters into my own hands and tried to bake a cake by myself when no one was around, decorating it with coolwhip (LOL) while it was still hot out of the oven! Although the results were far from amazing, I kept going over the years! I learned everything I know from Youtube, books and my own experience! :) And the best part is that I still continue to learn everyday! With every new cake project I take on, I feel like I’m teaching myself something new! That, and it’s a great way to pay off my tuition since I’m only just finishing a Bachelor’s degree :D

SarahBeth3 ...

Great & interesting stories y’all! I love reading them. I think I’m going to try to find the photo my mom took of my first cake and post it on here.

cookiedoescake ...

I have always had a flare for making things look pretty. I have always known how to bake….but one day I came across a recipe for red velvet cupcakes and I made them. I took them to work with me and people loved them. I decided to take a cake decorating course at Michael’s and I married my flare and my baking skills. I have learned so much from the internet and from fellow cakers like you. I love putting smiles on people’s faces. CAKE IS LOVE!

cupcakeluv ...

I took the complete Wilton cake decorating course with my friend. I wasn’t too keen on it, but I wanted to support her. So we went to a couple of classes and before I knew it we had completed the course and I was hooked! I quickly realized I really enjoyed decorating cupcakes and making the entire thing edible was the best part!! (And they tasted so much better than the ones bought from the local grocery store.)

My background as a creative director really helped get me inspired and I’m constantly finding videos and other resources to learn even more cake decorating skills.

Now we are taking orders from friends and family!! Just goes to show that you should try everything at least once :)

Kim Dickerson ...

My Grandma (who is now 93 years old) was a very successful cake decorator for about 40 years. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t around cake decorating. Grandma taught me a lot, but she sent me to my first “official” class when I was 14 years old. For 28 years I did it as a hobby, just once in a while for family and friends, while I got married, had kids, was a military wife and mother, etc etc…..until this year, when two of my girlfriends sat me down, looked me in the eye and said, “Look, you have an awesome talent, you need to be sharing it more, God has blessed you, you need to start a business.” So…..the rest is history, and in April, my business was born! I’m making preparations to move to a storefront, hire employees and see what happens…it’s grown in 8 months to more than I can handle by myself. :) God’s AMAZING blessings. :)

SarahBeth3 ...

Wow. Good stories! I think its so neat that some of you have moms and grandmas that passed on their talent to you and inspired you! I hope someday I can do the same for a little girl.

cupcakeluv: Just goes to show that you should try everything at least once :)


cakesbykim:God’s AMAZING blessings.

Amen! Thanks for giving Him the glory!

Mary ...

I got into making cakes/cupcakes because as we were approaching my son’s 2nd birthday – I was talking to a friend at work and told her I wanted something different than your average store bought cake. She told me I should make his cake! I had probably a million questions for her, but I ordered my Wilton pan of Blue’s Clues on e-bay, read the directions a million times, and bought all of the icing colors, tips, and bags I needed and I was on my way. I made my own frosting, made the cake using a box mix and took on the task. I LOVED it! I even decided to make cupcakes and freehanded paw prints with buttercream on top. The cake was the hit of the party and I was elated. I had another friend at work who saw pictures asked if I made them and I told her that it was my first one and she asked if I would try making her nephew one. I was dying to try it again so I agreed and again was WOW’d with how awesome my spiderman came out and my freehanded matching spider cupcakes. It honestly took off from there. I wanted to try more and more and then wanted to try fondant because I loved the look. I was hooked!

I was always artsy & crafty and loved working with my hands. I wanted to learn more, but really wasn’t interested in the classes offered in my area (plus I had no one to go with me!) I decided to do some research on the internet and to my surprise – there is tons of information out there! I have learned so much just from doing my own research, reading tutorials, and watching how to videos on youtube.

I still love to this day going back and looking through my pictures from when I first started out and seeing how far I’ve come and how much I learned through this amazing cake journey! :)

Valley Kool Cakes (well half of it~Tara) ...

I always liked baking, I did my first “fancy” cake for my 2nd daughters baptism just because I had seen nice cakes and tv and wanted to try. I was off on mat leave so I had more time to do it. It was the first time I had used or made fondant and also the first time I had made a tiered cake.

This is it. I have only been able to do it in my spare time which is usually from 11pm-2am when then my eyes are to tired to see straight lol. Three kids under 5 full time mom, wife and nurse (48 hours a week) doesn’t leave much time, hopefully I will be able to learn and improve over this maternity leave.

Fun Fiesta Cakes ...

I’m just getting my feet wet in this business and I LOVE IT… Four months ago, I took the Wilton courses and developed a craviing to start a home-based business. The tutorials on YouTube have been an enormous help, plus I’ve taken several courses with established teachers. As with all new ventures, it is difficult to get started – most of my cakes have ended up with a family member (LOL), or have been donated. However, I’m working on a website and have a few good ideas to get my name out there. Bakers are great and most of them don’t mind sharing their “secrets” for a great cake. I love being a part of this world and I look forward to a great and successful business.

This is my first RKT turkey topper and sugarpaste pilgrims –

Jillycakes ...

Wow!! Great stories!! I got laid off in July from the “corporate world” and I reeeeeally wanted to get out of that environment that I had been in for 20 years (and loved for a long time). I had been an art major in college for a time (before I changed my major) and have always been creative. A few months ago I totally accidentally stumbled across the show Amazing Wedding Cakes at 2 am….I watched 3 or 4 episodes in a row…the time flew by and I was mezmorized by everything in the show!!! So I just figured watching these “cake shows” was my new favorite pastime:-). After a couple of months I thought, give it a try!! (i certainly had time n my hands…lol) Wouldn’t it be wonderful to do something fun and make people smile while making money?? So I made my first cake for a Christmas party last month, made my niece a Christmas cake and I am currently making my brothers birthday cake. (3 tier covered in fondant with lots of fondant decorations). I am taking classes and seem to have a talent for it….I LOVE IT!! I am watching as many tutorials, reading as many blogs and asking as many questions as I can!! I purchased my domain name and I am fortunate that one of my best friends is a web designer and is going to do my site and another very good friend is a graphic designer and is doing my logo. I did a Facebook contest that is (happily) forcing me to make and decorate 24 6" 2 tier cakes, all a different theme, for the 24 “winners” and deliver them myself to their homes or offices….the drawing is Feb 1st….I can’t wait to officially get started!! I have loved everything about the “cake community” so far!!! Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories:-) xx

SarahBeth3 ...

Love your story, Jillycakes…and your zeal! Thanks for sharing.

Nikki Belleperche ...

I have always loved to bake, for as long as I could remember I was the one to bake birthday cakes for the family and frost them. I always tried to make them pretty. It wasnt until 2010 that I started watching cake boss and seeing all the incredible things that could be done with cake, I had no idea! I had never seen fondant before or gumpaste flowers or anything other then a grocery store cake! The more I watched those decorating shows the more I knew I had to try this for myself so with my birthday money that year I bought my first decorating kits and fondant and started to play around. I fell in love immediately and continued to practice and try new things with every chance I got. The better I got the more I loved doing it. I started getting requests from family and friends and once word got out that I made cakes I built up a decent client base and my tiny business is growing every day :)

Rene' ...

I had just finished up my Master’s degree in Food Science way back in 1990 and my best friend at the time, who is very crafty, ‘dragged’ me to a Wilton class at JCPenney’s. She bought everything and I bought the minimal things because I was not sure if I was going to ‘like’ this cakie thing. Turned out that she did not like it but I went on and took the other Wilton classes by myself :-)!

I worked as a scientist for many years and cake decorating was my creative outlet. In 2000, I became a Wilton instructor. I was very understanding with those students who purchased minimum product because I knew what could happen if that spark ignited and if that happened then they too would own a lot of cake stuff like I did ;-)! I always loved my cake teaching job because that was my ‘fun’ job! I then moved over to the culinary department at our community college and have taught their beginning and advanced cake decorating classes as well as a baking class and the Food Sanitation and Safety class. All of this time I have made cakes for family and friends.

My health (hence my business name Dizzy Dame) has created a different path for me these days, I am no longer in the lab or the classroom, although I do teach the online Food Safety class. So I spend my days experimenting with baking recipes as well as selling cakes and baked goods from my home (AZ finally enacted a Cottage Food Law!). My focus has shifted to playing with baking. But don’t get me wrong, I still love to decorate and LOVE to look at others’ cake creations :)! I am happiest with a piping bag in my hand even though I will work with fondant when ‘pressed’,,,sorry I could not resist the pun ;-). Gumpaste flower making and modeling are my second favorites.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my wordy post! And thank you for posting pictures of your beautiful creations! They are awesome! I know how much work, time, and effort go into your creations so know that I am over here clapping for you!!

Happy Baking and Decorating all!