Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This week has been really hectic with lots of fantastic developments & cakes! Margie and I will be appearing on the Morning Show tomorrow (Channel 7) at around 11am to do a cupcake demonstration and chat about the new Planet Cake Cupcake book! It should be fun; I hope you have the chance to tune in.

This Week at School

Today and tomorrow Jessica Pedemont is teaching Basics 105 (2 T Stencil). Jess is only new to teaching this class but the results so far have been outstanding. Jess herself said to me that this was the best class she had ever taught and she enjoyed it immensely, there will be photos to follow, but if the last class was anything to go by I know they will be brilliant. This is one teacher who is exciting to watch!

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday Linda Harden will be teaching Basics 106 (springtime), the grand mother of all workshops, this cake transforms students into colleagues as they complete the odyssey of designing, constructing and executing this monster cake shape. This includes covering a 3 tier base, making roses and peonies, using a centre pole and most importantly managing time! Linda is a kind and patient teacher and a talented cake decorator, I know that students will enjoy this class.

Self Confidence

Every week I try to take the opportunity to offer my thoughts about the questions I get asked most often. This week I wanted to talk about self confidence. This is an issue at all levels, and it is lack of confidence that I find is behind most of the problems brought to me such as pricing, business success, dealing with request from friends and family etc.

Newbie’s to cake decorating almost always feel self conscious as it can be daunting to be in classes decorating in front of others and having their work ‘judged’.

Professional cake decorators starting their own business often loose confidence as they go from being a serious hobbyist to charging money for their cakes.

Senior professional decorators often feel insecure that their work may be compared to other very talented decorators or that they may fail when working in a genre that is not their strength, for example novelty

There is not a decorator alive who has not has periods of insecurity about their abilities, their cakes prices or their areas of technical weakness. But from my experience there are a number of ways to build confidence and keep it.

1. Invest in proper training: Planet Cake, Online Video, Via Books etc. Continuous training will empower you with knowledge, skills, techniques and feedback. Every single great cake decorator I know continually reinvests in their training.

2. Join a community: Online, Tea Party at Planet Cake, Flickr, Facebook, Set up a group or join a group in your area. I know that through the T-Party a group has been organized and is flourishing in Brisbane.

3. Do not compare yourself, EVER to other cake decorators; it’s a waste of time. The only opinions that should matter to you are yours (most important) your teacher and your customers. If those 3 are satisfied there is no need to compare yourself to the Angelina Jolie’s of the cake decorating world, it just makes you feel awful!

4. Focus on what you are good at, if you are hopeless at making figurines just tell people you don’t make them and refer them to a cake decorator that does. If you love piping then make sure all of your designs are piped. Always direct your cake designs where you are strongest. There is not a single cake decorator at Planet Cake that does every cake brilliantly, in fact some are down right awful with some cakes and they would be the first to admit it.

By the law of probabilities someone is not going to like your cake and a customer will complain. Understand that not everyone has taste and that we should feel compassion for those that have no idea about our wonderful world…yes arrogance helps. Then go to your community and commiserate, get some more training to build confidence and use your judgment to work out whether it was a subjective opinion or whether your cake was lacking. Just know that you are not alone and don’t let is ruin the joy of cakes!

I love to hear what you think so you can email me paris@planetcake.com.au or just make a post here. It is always you guys that give me the ideas for the next big THING!!

Enjoy making your cakes, make them for you, inspire yourself, take time to smell the cake and taste the cake, languish in icing colors, have fun, create whimsy and smile! Your cake will be making someone very happy and as such you will have done a noble deed, one more for your karma bank!


  1. What a great post about self-confidence. It's hard not to compare yourself to others (especially when we see the amazing things Planet Cake creates!) and I love your advice to concentrate on your strengths! Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the great reminders Paris!

  3. Thank you Paris, I have been having a "bad cake week" so really pleased to see you write about the topics you have lately - cake design borrowing, confidence etc.