Cake Decorating Information

Insider Info

dotIf the old axiom of having your cake and eating it too fits your lifestyle, then this is for you! Cake decorating is the act of creating edible art. Some people do it for fun as a hobby, while others turn their cake decorating skills into deliciously profitable businesses.

"Cake decorating is an expression of yourself. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Every cake is an example of art -- edible art," says Nicholas Lodge. He is a cake decorator.

dotMany cake decorators work at home. This includes those who have turned their cake decorating talents into home businesses. Other professionals work in their own specialty shops or bakeries.

In any case, cake decorating is usually done in a nice, warm and clean environment. It's an area always filled with the wonderful scent of baking!

dotCake decorating is done on so many levels that it's really impossible to guess how many people consider themselves cake decorators. The International Cake Exploration Societe (ICES) has over 4,000 members worldwide.

ICES members include men, women and children, from beginners to professionals. Most of them are from the U.S. and Canada. There are probably thousands of other cake decorators who do not belong to organizations.

dotLike any creative art, cake decorating is always evolving. People involved are always looking to improve and do better.

"The cake decorating industry is constantly changing. In England, they used rolled fondant and gum paste for a number of years before it became popular here in the United States," says Joseph Ash, a cake decorator.

"Roll fondant and gum paste give you a much smoother icing. However, most people still prefer the standard butter cream icing for eating."

dotSince cake decorating is basically edible sugar art, it's definitely not for the faint of heart, calorie-wise! Most recipes involve sugar, and lots of it. Creams, milk, butter, and chocolate are often in the mix as well.

However, it is possible to create low-cal frostings. You just have to look for the recipes.

Getting Started

dotIt doesn't cost very much to get started in cake decorating. All you need are some basic tools and ingredients.

"Cake decorating is just like any other hobby or business. You can start off with just a few basics and as your desire and talents grow, so can your list of equipment," says Lodge.

"One of my associates started decorating cakes about 10 years ago and the original investment was about $40. The more specialized you become in a particular area or aspect of cake decorating, [the more you] will usually require...more specialized tools and equipment."

Probably the most important ingredient you need is patience! Creativity and imagination rank high as well.

"I have always felt that most anyone could learn to do cake decorating," says decorator Carolyn Lawrence.

"Unless you have a natural talent for it, you need many hours of practice to perfect it to the point of being a good decorator. You need a good level of stress tolerance if you do it on a continuous basis or have a home business. You need to have good stamina because many mornings you are up early to get orders done or up late to finish orders."

dotCake decorating can be an ideal hobby for people who are physically challenged. It just depends on one's particular limitations. People bound to wheelchairs can do this with little help as long as they have full use of their arms and hands. Cake decorating can also be an excellent recreation for people who are hearing impaired. This would not usually be suitable for people who are visually impaired.

dotCake decorating is not a dangerous activity. But Ash says there are a few things you should be aware of. "At times, having to lift the larger cakes, such as wedding cakes, one should be extra careful lifting them," he says.

dotMany people who start decorating cakes as a hobby take it a step further. Home cake decorating businesses are quite common, and many do very well. Others take their skills and find work in commercial bakeries. Some people become teachers. Once you get good at cake decorating, the sky is the limit.

dotLook up cake decorating sites on the Internet. There are many excellent sites filled with tips, tricks and wonderful recipes. As well, pick up a few books or magazines. You may also want to see if there are any cake decorating schools in your area.

"The average person can take a cake decorating class for about $20. There are also schools where you can take more in-depth classes," says cake decorator Marida Binsted.


The International Sugar Art Collection
Learn from cake decorator Nicholas Lodge

Wilton Industries
Get advice and information from a cake decorating school

International Cake Exploration Society
Check out the photo gallery