Essential Guide to Learn Cake Decorating

Essential guide to learning cake decorating

Ways to learn how to get into cake decorating and achieve your cake decorating ideas...

Do you like learning?  Are you researching how you can get into cake decorating?

I am always looking up new things, there are some great downloads, tutorials and blogs that have helped me to freshen up my cake decorating skills.

Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to know who to learn from and what is actually available or out there. I thought I’d put a summary of the basics in one place, so my students (or anyone else) could use them as a reference point.

There are amazingly talented cake decorators who are sharing their tips and tricks – you just must know where to look.

So, here’s a bit of a roundup. 

All the various options you can explore – to get started with learning and be successful at cake decorating.

It is a long post – consider pinning or bookmarking this page so you can come back to it.

Note this download does have affiliate links where some examples are given.

Share this page if you feel it would benefit someone else. 

Learning guide – for a Beginner Decorator

  • Step One – Focus on your goals know why you want to start cake decorating
  • Step Two – How to learn about cake decorating
  • Step Three – Understanding about Online cake decorating – Tutorials – Classes – Membership Sites – Free Stuff
  • Step Four – Cake decorating supplies – Where to get your cake decorating supplies online
  • Step Five – Creating your business – How to get started with your cake business
  • Step Six – Other Inspiration – Get inspiration from other art forms
Cake for the bride

Are You A Bride Wanting To Make Your Own Wedding Cake? 

If you are wanting help from the beginning to the end, consider getting a course for this very purpose.

If you follow me on Pinterest I have a board called Cake for the Bride.  A collection of ones I love.  There is a section called DIY Wedding Cakes – some ideas to easily pull it off.

 


Step One - Focusing on Your Goals in Cake Decorating

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”  

 Francis of Assisi

How to get into cake decorating and cake decorating ideas

As you begin your cake journey, you will find that having goals helps to get you started, keeps you focused and moves you forward to each new skill.

When I started, I was very young and all I could think of was making a wedding cake, but there was a lot to learn to get to that point. Having that goal, pushed me to keep learning, and that is exactly the reason you need to set some goals right from the beginning.

  • So, what is your cake-goal – what do you want to be able to make and decorate at the end of your journey?

Next, you need to break your goals down into manageable steps.

  • To get started with that goal, what do you need to start learning now?
  • What do you know?

Are you already well known for your baking? If so that’s great!

Ideally, you want to gain momentum, moving from one skill to the other.

I do recommend courses or tutorials that cover the foundation of your cake…

There can be no harm learning this from several different sources, often you can pick up on great tips and suggestions, new ways and ideas – so always learn with an open mind.

For example, if your goal is to master the latest mirror cake trend – a video tutorial that starts with baking the cake, or that shows how they put the icing on – will give you a clear idea how they got the cake to the point where it was ready to decorate.

This allows you to recap on the things you know and adds to your knowledge base bit by bit.

In this learning process, keeping notes on all the things you come across, will help you to be a better decorator, who uses time wisely. Not a note taker? Use Pinterest to search for that same idea and then pin it for a later time.

Whatever path you choose to learn cake decorating – start by doing what’s necessary.

 

Start By Doing The Basic Things

Each of the above has mini goals that you could break down and work on perfecting.

But learn with intent – get results.   

Cake decorating, as you will soon learn; is time-consuming. You can spend a lot of time on a cake. No… really you can!

If you just need to learn a few basic skills, you certainly won’t need to buy an online course or a complete cake decorating tool kit!
But if this is a hobby you are dead set on pursuing, then you are going to need the right tools and skills to accomplish your goals.

In Summary…

  • What is your ultimate cake-goal? 

Where do you want this to lead to?

Making a three-tier wedding cake?

Starting your own cake business?

Making a cake for Granny?

Know your goals.


 

Cake Goals

The following information will cover many aspects to cake decorating.  I do hope you will find what you need to keep moving forward, to gain success!  Please feel free to use the comment section for any other suggestions.

 

 


How to learn about cake decorating

Step Two – How to learn about cake decorating

It’s time to discover how you learn best!

There are a number of ways to learn cake decorating, which is great because that means there are options.

Recently I found a free learning test (click where it says new users), that helped highlight my strong points and showed where my weaker points were. A great reference and guide. Once you know where you are strongest, you can make a better decision about how to learn and where to spend your money.

Does it matter?

Yes, I think so. For example -: If you are not social, a bit of a shy person, who doesn’t do so well in groups. Then attending decorating classes would not be the best option for you, self-consciousness and nervousness would prevent you from getting the most out of this learning environment.

And the opposite is true too. If you need to have someone show you, guide you step by step and cheer you on, then you really need to find a class you can attend!


Online cake decorating – Tutorials - Classes - Membership Sites - Free

 Step Three –

Online cake decorating – Tutorials – Classes – Membership Sites – Free Stuff

Now you have an idea of:

  • where you are going with your cake decorating
  • have found out how you learn best

– you can now choose from the following options and get started!

Getting started online with your cake decorating

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to learn cake decorating is to do so online. There are many options out there, so you can be confident you will find a good fit.

Do you remember when you were at school and there were some teachers you loved and others not so much? You will find the same with online cake decorating instructors.

The good news is that many well-established instructors have free material that you can view, so you can see if you like them. There is nothing worse than a droning voice that drives you dilly or if the pace is so slow you are totally bored after a few minutes. Generally, though, the quality will be high if the material is paid for.

What to choose?

This is where your goals will come into play.

Do you need a full course, a particular tutorial or quick video?


Decorating Courses what you need to know

A complete decorating course

If you want to get serious right from the start, a full-on course is probably the way to go.

Usually, such courses have many lessons within the course, each building on the previous ones.  As it is a course, there will be no gaps in your learning, which sometimes can happen with other learning methods.

After payment, email contact is usually made outlining how you can access the material.   Some online courses even offer certificates, but to make cakes and run a cake business, this is not a requirement.






Individual Tutorials what you need to know

What is a single cake icing tutorial?

Individual tutorials, lessons or classes are just that – it’s only the one lesson on a chosen topic.


Like for example – you want to learn how to make a giraffe cake.  This is what will be covered in the lesson.  It can be broken down into mini-lessons, but at the end of it, you have made a giraffe cake.

3D Giraffe Cake

This lesson is almost 2:45 hours in length

Is broken up into 22 mini lessons

It costs 34.95

Includes a blueprint download


Here’s another example of an Elephant Cake tutorial – very sweet.  This particular one has 17 mini-lessons.

Tutorials can be downloaded to your computer and phone or will remain on the website, and when you log in, you will have access (usually for life) to that bought product.

One thing to note about individual lessons or tutorials is that often the cost of one is the same or even more than a full months subscription, where you would be able to access the whole tutorial library.

Craftsy is another platform you can explore with exciting options both for free and paid tutorials.



Online cake decorating – Tutorials - Classes - Membership Sites - Free

Free lessons are easily found on YouTube – I am a fan of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes.  This is a sped up version – they are usually in real time and step-by-step.

This is a fantastic way to learn and it’s free!  There is a need for caution though… YouTube has many versions of similar lessons.  The danger? You spend a whole afternoon watching one after the other, (can’t find the one you actually liked) then end up watching other stuff – and, you still have a cake to decorate…

  • Have a clear goal what you need to learn.
  • Decide how long you will search and watch.
  • Use the knowledge straight away – or take notes.

Membership Sites what you need to know

Joining a cake decorating membership site

While we are covering online learning, membership sites are a good one to look into.  Many cake decorating instructors offer tutorials and have a membership option too.

How does this work?

To gain full access to their awesome tutorials or lessons, you pay a monthly fee.

It’s often less or the same as what you would pay for a single tutorial, and could work in your favour, as you then have a variety and range of skills you could learn at your own pace.

The forum sections are a wealth of information and help is never far. Some membership sites, allow you to set up your own profile and share your photos – of results achieved by using their material – or your own inspirations.

Before joining be sure it’s something you will benefit from.  One thing there should always be, is some free content, videos, tutorials and downloadable content. So if you aren’t sure what would be a good fit, try a few sites and check out the freebies.


So who has cake decorating membership sites?

Yenners way

  • Free – videos and recipes to try out.
  • 2 new tutorials are added each month.
  • Each tutorial has reference images, blueprints, templates and stencils that are downloadable.
  • You can purchase tutorials/courses as you go and have access to them forever.
  • You can subscribe to :
    • Monthly plan at $24.95
    • Six-month plan at $124
    • Annual plan at $224 – (this gives you access to all premium tutorials 24/7)
  • Courses are purchased individually.
  • Tools are available to make your life easier.
  • You do not need to be a member to purchase a tutorial or course.

Ready to try them out?


Attending Classes what you need to know

Classes by Tracy

Looking for a cake decorating class to attend

If this is the best way for you to learn, how can you find a cake decorating class near you? One way I found helpful, was to type into google – cake decorating classes in – and then your town and the country.

Do you live in Victoria Falls?  Contact me to set up your personalised classes.


Learning from books

Cake decorating books

Books are golden!  I remember being given my first cake book when I was eleven – The Merehurst Cake Book.  I still have this book – it’s my companion for all my cake projects. I’m surprised how timeless it is!

There is a huge choice out there, from numerous cake artist.

Remember to keep focused.  Your goals will help you narrow things down a bit.

EBooks and PDF downloads are the new books and are worth looking into if you learn best with books.  They can download them on to your phone and you are good to go.

It’s a good idea to have a cake book that has recipes that have been perfected and that work for anyone. Have a look at this one, it’s a good example of a cake decorating guide.

 


Your goals are going to help narrow things down a bit here.  So don’t get overwhelmed with choices.

This website has over 140 different cake books.  Search “cake decorating” and find something to get started with.  Use the coupon to get a discount.  You are also able to preview quite a bit of the content – some books I’ve checked out had as many as 20 pages to view!

Another website with a great selection is here at the Cake Decorating Company.


Cake Decor Magazines

Magazines on cake

Keeping up is important in the caking world! What is trending today, may change tomorrow. When I did my first classes, royal icing was at the heart of most decorations. It’s a whole new ballgame today!

So how do you keep current?

One way is to get a subscription to a cake magazine or pick one up from the magazine stand regularly.

What will you find there…

  • Inspiration
  • let you in on the what’s new
  • new tutorials or how to’s
  • learn about other cake decorators
  • success stories
  • cake competitions
  • awards are given
  • advertisers products and reviews

Here are a few examples of different cake decorating magazines.


Cake decorating supplies – Where to get your cake decorating supplies

Step Four

Tools of the trade

Ok, so there is definitely a need to have the tools of the trade for cake decorating.

In fact, many of the latest sharp edges and corners are not possible without the proper tools.

You know what skills you are building, so get what you need as you go. If you are definitely going to make this your hobby or career, then for sure a kit is the way to go. Where can you get these supplies?

Online cake decorating shops

Local decorating shops

Online decorating Kits

 


Keeping up with new trends and available tools and accessories – is essential!  Knowing about these could save you HOURS of time.  Visit this page often to find out what’s new.


Have a tool list for various skills and techniques.


By now you have:

  • some goals
  • a learning plan
  • and have an idea where to get tools for various skills.

What’s next???


Cake decorating supplies – Where to get your cake decorating supplies

Step Five

Turning your skills into a business

As you progress and achieve results, you may decide its time to make this a full-time career.

So what do you need to know?

How to legally start a cake business

How to niche your cakes

How to price your cakes

How to sell your cakes


How to set up a cake website?

Building your cake business may then take you to the next logical step, building a website. Here are a few options that will guide you to achieving this next step successfully.

Free options – that can be upgraded in time.

Have you thought of a name for your cake business?  Check if it’s available below it’s free.

Help, I don’t know how…

Perhaps you aren’t so techy, it would be good to get help to learn what’s what in the website world.  This kind of stuff requires hand holding and you need good support and training.  Cake – is a piece of cake in comparison! lol!

Where can you learn?

I know a few like this platform – I don’t use it myself

Or you will get a good foundation for your website here – you can thank me later.  🙂

This is an essential keyword tool that I would not do without.


Other Inspiration – Get inspiration from other art forms

Step Six

Be open to inspiration, it could come from anything!

Be observant other crafts, art mediums and of all the things around you.

When something strikes you as beautiful, unique or you get excited by the thought of how you could turn this into a cake decoration – note it down.  Or better yet, get working on it straight away.  This is how you find yourself a niche in this industry.

Find what you love, and make it yours.


So, for now, this is my list.  I will be updating and adding to it regularly, so bookmark this page.

Wishing you all the best in your cake decorating journey!

Please leave a comment I’d love to hear your thoughts.






26 Comments

  1. Great article, you are really a profeional in this field it can say itself. I have been looking for the best online site for cake decoration for my wife. In my town there is no one offering such a course. I think that’s the only surprise I can  give her this christmas. So what your #1 recommendation online platform for complete biginners in cake decoration?

    1. Hi Ngonidzashe,

      I am so happy that you enjoyed the article.

      My number one recommendation is Yenners Way.  I say so, because I find that his lessons are very well thought out and clear.  The tips are practical and time saving.   

      The second platform, I can recommend is Craftsy – there is variety here and scope for learning a variety of skills that can make cake decorating so unique.

      I hope your wife enjoys her gift!  

      Glad you stopped by.

  2. I never thought I would be able to sell cakes. A niche cake site? I’ll have to look into that. I like how the steps you outline, with a little tweaking, can be used for a whole number of problems, or ideas we might have.

    I am interested in knowing whether these cake decoration tutorials go into colors. I’m not good at matching colors. Is there one course that is better than others that shows how to best fit different shades of color together?

    1. Hi Cyrus,

      Yes, a niche cake site with travel!  It took a little figuring out, but I like how it’s coming together.  I am glad it has inspired you with other ideas.

      That’s an interesting question you ask there.  Matching colours is an important part of any art form.  I haven’t come across a course on this particularly in cake decorating – maybe I will create one!  I think it’s a fantastic topic to delve into.  As a rule of thumb, I tend to either keep all the colours warm or all cool.  So that would be either yellow tones or blue tones.  I came across a cake decorator the other day, who only uses 2 base tones and a metallic colour like gold or silver.  Such a beautiful concept and her work is stunning!

      Well, I appreciate you taking the time to comment and all the best on your niche website ideas.

  3. Thank you, for advising me to bookmark this article as it is long. Lots of great motivation on cake icing and what courses to look for. It is such an amazing skill.

    I did cake icing many years ago. Taking lessons from a dear friend who was excellent. It really is a long process, first to bake the cake (it was then all fruit cakes, which take an absolute age to bake and cool etc.). Then came the exciting part, deciding how to decorate it. This was to be a Christmas cake and it was such a shame to see it cut up and eaten after all that work.

    I am not saying it was the most beautiful cake in the world buy what a job I had with it. 

    Think on-line courses would be perfect for shy people, as you say but working in a group is such a lot of fun.

    It amazes me to see the wonderful cake decorations there are available now, very tempting.

    1. Hi Jill

      Yes, bookmark it!  I will update it regularly.

      I do mostly fruit cakes too.  In Zimbabwe, fruitcake is the preferred wedding cake flavour.  It does take an awful long time to bake!  I baked a large 14″ for almost 8 hours on low heat.  However, I do like the smell of fruitcake baking.  The warm smell of spices and fruit are very heart warming.

      I know!  Cutting it all up and eating it seems to make the art form so pointless!  But, I still love decorating cakes and get a thrill every time I get started with a new cake.

      Group learning is fun!  I had a group of little girls the other day – it was an experience to say the least.  But, we all had a marvelous time and I keep hearing from them about another lesson… 

      The cake decorators out there are just amazing!  I have to pry my way off of Pinterest, as once I get pinning all those beautiful cakes I just can’t seem to stop!

      Thanks for sharing your experience with cake decorating Jill.  I wish you all the best.

  4. I must say that this is one very informative and helpful article about decorating cakes. I enjoy to make cakes and sweets but I must admit that I really don’y know how to decorate. My mom is an awesome decorator and I think that she would like to read this so I will bookmark this for her. Thanks a lot! 

    1. Hi Daniel

      That would be great!  I hope your mom will enjoy the read, it is a long article with lots of links to examples so bookmarking it is a good idea.  As your mom is an awesome decorator already, she may find the last two steps to be of more benefit. Starting a cake business and website and the last one getting inspiration.

      I love cakes and sweets – I am sure your mom appreciates your efforts.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. OMG …. my wife loved this article with all her heart.

    She has always dreamed of making beautiful decorations in different kind of cakes, but she could never have the confidence to do it, so since she can not find a design according to what she wants to reflect. I have shown her this post and she told me that she has loved because besides from giving you very good ideas you also share your personal experience and that is what gives this article more touch. In the section of making your own wedding cake it has been brought to her head that she wants to make our cake for our wedding for the church next year.

    She thanks you infinitely for all the good ideas, she says that you has helped her to put things better and to have more calm and patience.

    So big thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Emmanuel,

      That makes me so happy to hear that your wife enjoyed the guide.  It can be tricky and overwhelming to know where to start. 

      I am sure she is going to do a great job on your wedding cake!  She should try to get the course suggested, it’s only $15 and will definitely get her on the right track.  If she has any questions you can get her to leave them here for me.  I really don’t mind helping out.

  6. Hi and thanks for the beautiful site and helpful content. I have a friend who’s mum loves decorating cakes and is actually really good at it. I can’t believe some of the creations she come up with. I will definitely show her this great site as she will certainly want to pick up some tips. Thanks Kenny

    1. Hi Kenny

      Aren’t our mom’s just tops!!?  When they love cake decorating the family get cake… lots of it.  I know my family certainly don’t complain.  Wish I could see some of her work.

      I hope your mom enjoys the read.  She might want to pin it for future reference as it is quite long.

  7. Oh my word that wedding cake is absolutely stunning! I would love to be able to decorate beautiful cakes like that but I am still learning how to make just the cake so it will be a while before I get to that stage. A friend of mine does buttercream flowers and the most gorgeous things. I am so envious of her skills. She actually gives courses so I plan on joining one day! Thank you for this guide, I will use it when I am ready to start learning!

    1. Hi Lynne,

      Well, remember we all started at the beginning.  I just wrote a post on finding a scratch cake recipe, you might enjoy reading that.  Can I suggest you bookmark or pin this page?  You don’t want to loose track of it.  I will update it regularly.

      I wish you all the best on your buttercream lesson!  How fortune you are to have a friend who can guide you along.

  8. I have always liked learning, it was the only thing I like about school other than that I pretty much could stand going to school as a child!

    I myself am not a cake designer nor am I looking to be but I can respect the art form being a graphic designer and this would be a good reference for my girlfriend.

    My girlfriend, on the other hand, is a really good cake designer and she is always looking to perfect her craft!

    I will definitely pass this post on to her… Great Article! Enjoyed reading it and maybe I can now be a better assistant when she is decorating a cake.

    Any suggestion for the assistant, lol!

    1. That’s wonderful Salvatore,

      Every cake decorator needs helping hands in the kitchen. 

      Hope your girlfriend enjoys the tips! 

      Happy baking together. ????

  9. One of my closest friends is downright incredible at cake decorating. She’s made it into a side job and does pretty well for herself with it. Seeing all the things she does gets me super inspired to try something myself, but also intimidates me a little.

    Breaking everything down into manageable goals would be a good start for sure. Since being around others while I’m learning anything new just gives me added stress, I’ll definitely start at home. I love all the options you list for tutorials! I’ll check out a couple Youtube videos to start with and pick something simple enough to start out with 🙂 Thanks a bunch.

    1. Hi Avareth,

      Thanks for sharing that!  How wonderful to have a friend who would be there to help if needed.  Do you get lots of cake samples?  My family love that part!  

      Starting at home is a good idea for you.  It can be stressful if you aren’t too confident in groups.  YouTube has some great tutorials.  Just choose wisely and don’t waste time there.  Remember to note down things as you go, or play the video as you work with them.  Yenners way has some great foundation lessons.  And so does Paul Bradford – start with the cake.  You are going to do just fine.

      Get in touch if you would like some more help.

      All the best.

  10. I like making cakes and was going to make my own wedding cake until my mum felt sorry for me – having to cope with making it and decorating it, she ended up buying it for me. If she hadn’t have stepped in, I would’ve definitely sorted out my own. I was at that stage where I didn’t even care if it turned out wrong or a mess. You never know I could be a pro now if I’d have done it.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Mums are awesome aren’t they!!!  But you are right.  Sometimes when you are thrown into the deep end and oblivious to the challenges ahead, you actually learn so much better (doing it the wrong way usually lol!).  So, yes, you could be a pro by now.  But maybe you will get into baking cakes for your kids or relatives. There is always an excuse for cake – always!  But use the six step guide to get started when you are ready to try. 🙂  Or share this page with anyone you know who would benefit.  Thanks for sharing your experience.  I hope you loved your wedding cake!

  11. This is a great article, i love all your work and this post as well. I really love doing crafty things with baking and cooking and cake decor is another superb idea to do. I am going to be your regular reader from now onwards and will share it too…:)

    1. Author

      Hi Sarah,

      Oh that’s lovely thank you. If you are creative you will love cake decor! I also am into crafting, you know you can use your knowledge of that skill, in cake decorating? I have seen a number of cakes that have been inspired from the crafts! Hope you find your way to learn here and challenge yourself to make a crafty cake! Come back and let me know. 🙂 All the best!

  12. My sister is a cake decorator. She took multiple classes. But when she tried getting into the business side and websites she got kind of lost. I think I’ll send her to your site.

    1. Author

      Hi Amanda,

      Oh, that would be awesome!!!

      I can totally relate, and have seen the same thing with folk I get to help. Let’s hope she will find her way forward here with this learning guide. The key is to get results quickly and to learn practical and time saving tips. Wishing her all the best. So glad you stopped by for a read 🙂

      Tracy

  13. Now this is a rare find learning how to decorate cakes. Many people can excel at cooking them but decorating them is a separate art form. Many a times i have stopped and looked in the window of my local delicatessen and marvelled at the art form of the latest novelty or wedding cake. Thank you for showing this to the world as it will definitely become quite popular.

    1. Hi there Andrew,

      You are right!  Decorating cakes is a separate art form.  Once you get learning it’s hard to stop! I do hope that this information will help anyone looking into cake decorating – sometimes an overview is exactly what you need to see that whole picture.  It’s not just anyone thing, but often an accumulation of skills and inspiration.  Knowing from the beginning how to start learning, better prepares you for what’s involved and gets you achieving your cake goals faster.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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