Ups and Downs in Cake Decorating...

by Susan
(Westfield, MA)

Hi Lorelie!

I'm so happy to have found your website and even more happy to see that we're neighbors...I live in Westfield, MA!

I just started my own cake decorating business, and made my first wedding cake a few months ago for a gift for my friend. Since then, I have been asked on several occasions to make commission cakes, and it seems that my name is getting out there with simple advertising...mostly just on Wedding Wire, my website, and word-of-mouth.

Baking and decorating cakes is such a humbling experience. Just when I think I have my baking and decorating techniques down to a science, I fall into some situation which knocks me down a peg or two.

For example, last night I had to decorate a little cake for a baby's first birthday, to be delivered this morning. It was the baby's own personal cake, a 4" and 6" double layer with an apple filling and frosted in buttercream.

The mom requested an egg-free cake, and to my surprise, the baking part of it went fine (I've never tried baking an egg-free cake before). The frosting was another story! No sooner did I have the cakes filled and frosted smooth, that I go and put my clumsy fingers into the cake as I'm stacking. I fixed this to the best of my ability, but it's just frustrating to see people pop those cakes right on top of the other effortlessly.

I proceeded to decorate this cake with rose buds, and some stringwork which went okay~I'm still perfecting my strings and making them uniform~and a nice shell problem at all.

Then the simplest thing, like adding leaves to my rosebuds turned into a frustrating task! I have never had an issue with making leaves was always incredibly easy for me using the leaf tip.

Last night, however, as I'm still awake at 2 am obsessing over my work...I could not for the life of me, make a leaf. I would pipe it out okay, then release pressure, as I pull towards me, to form the end of the leaf..the pointy tip...and I just couldn't get it to make a point! The very end just kept splitting apart, instead of staying as a single unit. I have no idea why it did this but it was so frustrating to me.

All in all, the woman was very happy with the cake, and actually gave me a little extra money because she loved it, but it amazes me how things that aren't an issue one day, become ridiculously difficult another day!

I would love to have a lesson with you, or tag along with you a day or two while you're making a wedding cake, to see the process from start to finish. I've taken a few Wilton courses but think that observing and learning the tricks of the trade would be so incredibly beneficial.

If you're interested in seeing some of my work, my website is Any and all feedback would be incredibly welcomed and appreciated!

Thank you so much for providing all of the helpful information to us newbies just starting out in this crazy venture!

Best Wishes,

Susan Forest

Hi Susan, Thanks for the compliments on my wedding cake website. From the looks of the cakes on your website you do a very nice job but if there is some aspect that I can help you with then I would be happy to give you a lesson. I imagine you are an hour or two away?

Cake decorating is always a challenge no matter how long you have been doing it. It does get easier but in order to keep up with the latest techniques we have to constantly be learning, which is a good thing.

Frosting, filling and cake baking are sometimes difficult because environment and temperature changes affect the ingredients.

It sounds like your frosting for the buttercream leaves that you were making was a little stiff. I have had that happen also, or the tip may need to be manually opened a little with a knife. Sometimes the tips get a little banged up.

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