Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

I've done a lot of baking and always enjoyed it. But never really was a decorator ... Until now. I've realized that this is what I really love. Baking. I just feel at home when I'm in the kitchen getting my bake on. And I've got an itch to learn decorating. I've started collecting recipes for all kinds of cakes/cupcakes/cookies/etc. Going to get a new printer to start printing them all off so I can put them into a binder.

I'm planning on taking the cake decorating classes at one of the craft stores near me, just not sure which store yet. And that won't be until July or so.

So until then, it is all things to do a home. Making cakes/cupcakes and learning to decorate them myself. But, I have NO idea what tools to get. I was thinking about the Ultimate Caddy Kit for Wilton. Which is still a chunk of change for me, since I am on a SMALL budget.

But, I also need pans. I've got three small round pans, and a bundt pan. I have three cupcake pans (one makes 12, two make 6). And I don't even own a cookie sheet. =[

What would you suggest for the total newbie?

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I personally love the air bake cookie sheets.  When it comes to cake pans, go aluminum!  It is worth it.  Forget those crappy Wilton pans (except for shapes).  I like Fat Daddio & Magic line.  I recommend having a 6" round & a 9" round to start.  You'll also need 2 cookie sheets.  I let one cool while baking on he other.

I have the Ultimate Caddy.  It was a great start but now I use it to hold my less used tools.  Really, the best investment I made was shirt size plastic containers from target.  I also love my "tool kit."  In the craft section, you can find a really neat bag.  I think it is meant for scrapebook stuff, but I use it when I deliver & set up cakes.  The best part is it has a little turn table housed in the bottom pocket.  It's rather small & very lightweight.  It holds everything I need for delivery.

Wow Laney -that's a great list!  Just might have to print it off :)

Thanks for the list!

Where can I find Fat Daddio & Magic at? I've only heard of Wilton. That is all I have ever had access to unless it was a random pan in my Mom's pantry. And they are all so old with no makers mark, I have no idea where they came from.

I have invested over $5,000 in supplies over the last 30 years but I still have my stand by go to tools... my Ateco Mat ( I do a lot of fondant work) my Wilton fondant roller, my Ateco Bench Scraper, a small angled spatula, Viva paper towels (to smooth buttercream) but my all time best investment over time has been my 6 qt Kitchen Aid.  I have a small one and my big one but I'd never be without my kitchen aides.  And my fat daddios turn table too.  These are all pretty spendy items I know but I have bought the cheaper ones and have a few boxes in my garage that I am going to get rid of!  As for sets of tips... I would not invest in complete sets if I were you... I bought a set years ago and I am pretty sure there are tips in there that I have never used! I have a bunch of small plactic snap & loc containers that I use for my supplies.  The bins all snap together and are super easy to see what is in them.

 

I purchased my Fat Daddio pans from cooksdream.com.  I like the ones with removable bottoms.  I also use them for cheesecake so they are perfect.  There isn't much price difference between these & the regular ones.  I like to use the bottoms instead of cake rounds when smoothing the edges.  

Instead of purchasing an expensive turntable, I use a lazy susan.  I found a great $30 set by Food Network.  http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/landingpages/foodnetwork_new/entert...  I agree with Jeri about the Kitchen Aid.  It was one of the best investments I have made!

It is really worth checking out e-bay.  I recently bought a Kenwood for £26, abeit second hand, but it works like a dream.  I have also bought most of my cutters and modelling tools off e-bay for a fraction of the price I would have had to pay in the shops. 

I too am quite befuddled by the huge range of tools etc that are available now-a-days!  So I've kept things simple and cheap.  I'm not sure which side of the pond you're from, but in the UK we have cheap Pound shops.  I've bought piping sets for £1.  They are made of plastic but if you just want to practise they are ideal.  I use them when decorating my cakes because I haven't needed anything else.

Jeri C - I would be very interested to know which tips you would recommend as the most useful?   There are so many out there and I'm not sure where to begin!

As for different sized cake pans - I use foil trays that I buy from the Pound shop.  These include round and rectangular.  I've got a mix of metal and silicon pans for some sizes as well. I've even picked up some of them from the Pound shop as well, eg 4" round.

For some of the cakes I've made I've used foil roasting trays (again from the Pound shop) because they are large rectangles that I can then cut into shapes.  I would hold out investing in getting lots of cake tins until you know you are going to need a particular size a lot.  (If you are in the UK 'B and M' also do low cost baking stuff.  They do a giant cupcake silicon mould for £5 - just remember to oil it well before pouring in the cake batter!)

The tips I use most are the string tips... I don't have the numbers all in my head but anywhere from a 0 to size 10 I use them all the time and most often the 3 & 5.  And the MOST used for cupcakes is my 1M tip.. love love love it.  I don't make a lot of buttercream flowers etc so don't use the rest much.  It depends on what kind of decorating you do... Used to make the buttercream flowers but now I use gumpaste. 

I got my fat daddio's turn table on sale on Amazon a couple years ago for $24.99... and the shipping was going to kill me so if I spent over $50 (I think that was the amount) the shipping was free so I ordered 2 of them and something small and got 2 turntables, and a little item for right at $50.... killer deal for sure!

If you don't watch out, buying cake decorating tools can become like buying shoes - you never have enough! The more you look, the more you'll want. If you focus on the skills you want to hone and make sure you have the basics to accomplish those, you can keep the addiction somewhat under control... maybe :)

You can spend all you want on Cake tools that is for sure. Something that I have been able to do is get some of my pans at the thrift store. I love a good deal and sometimes your specialty cake pan that normally runs 12-15 can be had for a dollar or two. I also down load coupons for Michaels and Hobby Lobby before I go. Also as a member of Cakes We Bake they will occasionally have a deal offered to its members that is well worth it. If you really get involved in making cakes I have heard from different decorators not to skimp on the cake leveler. I wish I could remember the brand (hopefully someone will mention it).

If you are on a small budget, be careful or it is easy getting carried away with things you might be able to use someday.  If you end up not liking it, you will have spent money on things that you will just need to get rid of.  And if you stick with it you may not even like those items once you get into it.    Just start with an icing bag, some tips and a coupler.  Pick up a cheap turntable (like what you use in your cabinets) at a thrift store or for cheap.  Buy a cheap pastry/bakers blade for the sides of the cake.  Some dollar stores have them.  Bake in whatever pans you have.  That is really all you need in addition to basic things you should have in your kitchen already.  Pick an icing recipe and start practicing.  For free go to youtube and check out the videos by seriouscakes and tonedna1.  They have excellent videos.  If you get the Ultimate kit, about half are for buttercream, half of the tools are for fondant.  I have made the decision to only work with buttercream to limit the costs and storage, etc of fondant supplies.  I was just on the Wilton site.  http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?id=3E30B20E-475A-BAC0-...  I think Michaels, etc carry this, get it with a 40% off coupon and you are good to go for under $10.

I just re-read your post.  I wouldn't even bother printing all your saved recipes.  What you will most likely find is that you find a good recipe for icing, etc and will stick with that one.  Just print them as you try them.  I started saving a few recipes that were recommended on the forums, found one I loved and that was that.  No more trying new ones for me.  So save the ink and paper till you need it.  Just my two cents.

Well you have got some great advice. I also have a KA mixer, good investment. But if you don't have one, you can manage, I did before I had one. I wouldn't go & spend a lot but start with the basics. If you have a Michael's or something similar, use coupons to get your supplies. Start with a couple of piping bags, couplers & some basic tips. Round, star tip. You might even find some of these items at WalMart. I actually bought my pans, tips etc. as I needed them, either for a course, or a cake I had to make. Like a earlier post, if you buy a huge set, like the Wilton, there maybe tips, & other things you will never use. When buying as needed, I have found I haven't wasted my money, that with a few exceptions, I use all the tools I have. That goes for pans too. Your a baker, so you probably have some basics already. Rolling pin, wire racks, etc.
Hope this helps.

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