Covid-19 has affected so many people and businesses in so many different ways. Many had extra time during the lockdown period so chose to turn their hand to more recreational activities, that they would otherwise never had time for. This led to a huge increase in demand for information surrounding Cake Decorating for Beginners.
Leisurely cake decorating and baking have been on the rise recently. For many coming into the industry, there is just so much choice with demos, courses, Facebook lives, tutorials and amazing cakes coming from all directions. So where does the beginner start?
Like everything you start in life, you have the best chance of making the most of it once you have decided upon exactly what it is you want to achieve. Some starting out, might just be looking to master the art of baking and simply decorating a cupcake. But for others, this could be the opportunity to start a new career in the cake industry. Clearly, two completely different directions, but both need to start with a solid grasp of the basics.
There are many resources to help beginners to Cake Decorating. CakeFlix provide the full package of over 1000 tutorials, community and the dedicated support 365 days a year, that any beginners will need. With a huge range of FREE Cake Decorating Tutorials any budding cake decorator can get the foundations in place.
The key things to learn are:
- Baking - Make sure that your recipe is delicious, moist and easy to carve, especially if you plan to create shaped novelty cakes. There are a plethora of recipes to choose from, but no matter which ones you choose, always ensure that you know the best before dates and optimum storage areas for your cakes. CakeFlix provide a Cake Calculator to help you re-size any recipe you have as well as a wide range of approved recipes in the Baking Category on CakeFlix including:
- Paul's Chocolate cake
- Madeira cake
- Vanilla sponge
- Carrot cakes
- Fruit cake
- Rich fruit cake
- Coffee and walnut
- Red velvet
- Banana cake
- Lemon and poppy seed
- Toffee cake
- Rainbow cake
- Red velvet and white chocolate mud cake
- Mint chocolate drip
- Gingerbread and salted caramel
- Buttercream or ganache? - The two most used mediums used to layer the cake and provide to covering between the cake and sugarpaste/fondant are ganache or buttercream. Ganache is chocolate and cream mixed together and buttercream is a mix of butter and icing or powdered sugar. Buttercream is softer and cheaper to make, while ganache gives the cake a more sturdy structure due to the higher melting temperature of the chocolate. If you are looking for a sharp edge finish, then ganache is the product for you. Both are easy to make, but ganache has different proportions depending on whether you are using dark, milk or white chocolate and the climate that you are working in. Paul has a complete set of Free tutorials regarding the making and applying of Chocolate Ganache.
- Preparing the cake for covering - Whether you are using buttercream or ganache, it is important to achieve a smooth neat finish. Consider this the foundation upon which you are going to place the sugarpaste/fondant. This is perhaps the most important part to learn for any budding cake decorator. This is where to spend time to refine your skills here before moving on. Although this gets covered up, any lumps, bumps or unevenness at this stage will be exaggerated when the sugarpaste/fondant is added. More than often you will want to strip the sugarpaste/fondant off and have to start again from the very beginning. TOP TIP: always refrigerate the cake just before adding the sugarpaste/fondant. This ensures that the edges will remain firm during the covering process.
- Covering the cake - If the ganache or buttercream layer are the foundations, then covering the cake is really where the finesse needs to start. However, it doesn't matter how skillful or experienced a cake decorator you are, your finesse will only work if the foundation has been properly laid. There are a number of choices when covering a cake. What sugarpaste/fondant to use is often a key decision. You should be looking for a flexible sugarpaste/fondant and one that allows you time to roll and prepare without drying out. The cake decorator's nightmare is an elephant skin covering. It is so called because when the sugarpaste/fondant dries out it will start to crack and as it is stretched to cover the cake an elephant skin effect is created. There are a number of good quality pastes out there, but Paul's preferences are The Sugar Paste TM and Massa Ticino Tropic. These will give maximum elasticity and you have the best chance of avoiding the dreaded elephant skill finish. There are a number of ways to colour your sugarpaste/fondant:
- Decorating the cake - This is where the magic starts and you can start experimenting and exploring all the amazing designs that our out there. You will get a huge amount of inspiration from CakeFlix Library of over 1000 feature length cake tutorials. Each course is graded Easy, Intermediate or Advanced so you can pick off the easy designs to build your confidence and experience. The key thing is to get the building blocks in place by building up your skills and experience slowly, tackling a more challenging design each time. Remember, even the top cake artists make mistakes or have bad days, so if you feel that things aren't going so well on a particular design, put it down to experience and move on. You may also want to start thinking about your niche or specialist area. There are so many different areas and expertise levels, but here are some of the listed categories on CakeFlix:
- Sugar Models
- Sugar Flowers
- Seasonal - Easter - Halloween etc
- Royal Icing
- Making profit from cake decorating - When you are ready, you might want to start making some money from your cakes. This is when your skills, efforts and endeavours become rewarding and most importantly, profitable. Anyone can sell their cakes, but sadly, all too often, those that are boasting about how many they are selling, probably aren't making much of a profit, if any. Cake Decorating is just link any other business, knowing how the business side of things works is every bit as important as the quality of the cakes produced. So many cake decorators spend so much time focused on refining their cake skills, but so little on learning the key business competencies to ensure that their business is a success. 97% of businesses that fail do not have a business plan. Crazy, isn't it! All you have to do is complete a straightforward business plan to be in amongst the 3% of businesses that succeed. The two key components of the business plan are to identify your dream, goals and objectives and work out a plan to get enough customers, paying the price required in order to reach your dream. CakeFlix have a library of Business tutorials taught by cake industry experts as well as digital marketing consultants, professional photographers, a chartered accountant, lawyer and our business coach. This is the 'A' Team when it comes to helping you achieve your cake dreams! Here's a short video to get you started on pricing your cakes...