Do you have the skills in decorating and baking? Are you artistic and dream of decorating delicious pastries and cakes for a living? If you have the passion and interest to decorate and bake, becoming a cake decorator might be the career you are looking for.
Cake decorators are cake artists that create designs, decorate and make delicious and dazzling cakes. They can create from simple to sophisticated cake designs according to its purpose. If this seems like something you want to do, you might wonder how to become a cake decorator
There are several career options that you can choose towards your journey as a cake decorator. There may not be a specific path that you should take in order to become one, but many have begun their journey by taking formal trainings and apprenticeships. Here is a list of some options you may take in order to start your career as a cake decorator.
Complete a Training Program
Why take a formal training program?
1. Since there is no specific training required for you to become a cake decorator, acquiring a professional training will expose you to various baking and decorating techniques that will help you hone your skills to bake and decorate.
2. This will add credentials to your career. If you wanted to start a small business in pastry and cake decorating, you can have something to show to your potential clients.
3. Formal training will also give you an edge above those who are also aspiring to land a job in the industry.
- Before taking a formal training program, you must first secure a high school diploma or its equivalent.
- Most cake decorators have started by enrolling in a cake decorating, baking, cake frosting and icing or pastry arts program. A lot of community colleges, culinary schools and technical institutes offer these programs.
- The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is an organization that accredits several pastry programs across states. They provide training programs and grants certifications for qualified cake decorators.
There are also several course options that you may take depending on your abilities.
a. If you are a total beginner in decorating cakes, you can choose to take a basic decoration course that will teach you on the simple methods and forms of basic cake decoration. This course will focus more on baking and handling preceding the frosting process. This also includes tutorials such as crumbling cakes, application of icing, creating rosettes and other basic flower designs.
b. If you already have the skills and wanted to enhance your skills more, you may take a more complex course that includes the use of fondant and gum paste in order to create figures, flowers and designs, creating complex patterns and outlines that are usually in demand compared to typical cake decorations.
Obtain Practical Experience
After obtaining a professional education for your cake decorating career, you will then have to obtain an on-the-job practice. Having formal education will give you knowledge, but practical training will make you apply what you have learned in school, which will help you enhance your skills.
- There are several culinary schools and associations that provide training through apprenticeship for aspiring cake decorators. The ACF is one of the professional organizations that offer these trainings.
- On-the-job training is paid, hands-on experience which is completed under the supervision of an expert culinary artist, which may include in-class lessons and usually takes two years to complete.
- Most beginning cake decorators perform simple tasks and shadow skilled cake decorators. After gaining essential skills and experience, you will then be assigned to do more complex tasks.
- This training will help you observe how things are done inside and out of a cake decorating business. This will also help you in the future if you decide starting your own pastry and cake business.
Get a Certification
Why is it important to be certified?
- Obtaining a certification is voluntary. Similar to other profession, certifications will provide you credentials and verify your knowledge and skills as a cake decorator that will definitely increase your job opportunities and income.
- Most restaurants and hotels require a certified cake decorator to work as a baker or a pastry chef. If you desire to work in hotels and restaurants, having a certificate will make you land that job.
- The Retail Bakers of America (RBA) offers a cake decorator certificate to qualified decorators. Here are the criteria and qualifications:
a. Must have gained at least 4 years of experience in decorating a wide range of cakes applying diverse baking and decorating techniques, preparing icing, specialty cake designing and performing customer service in a commercial or retail bakery.
b. Must be knowledgeable about sanitation. You must have completed and able to present documents that will confirm you have passed an approved food sanitation course from a school, organization or government agency.
c. The certification costs $300 for members of the RBA, and $450 for non-members.
d. You must pass the 1-day practical examination in order for you to get hold of your certificate.
Other Career Opportunities
After acquiring a cake decorator certificate you can then apply for positions like pastry artisan, baker and cake designer and decorator
After obtaining necessary education, experience and skills, there are lots of options and career opportunities you can choose from.
- You can start your own cake decorating or bakery business, given the sufficient funds.
- You can work as a full-time cake designer or decorator in any cake design firms, bakeries or catering services.
- Work as a pastry artisan or chef in prestigious hotels and restaurants.
- You can also join in cake decorating competitions.
a. Aside from working as a cake decorator in cake design firms, bakeries, hotels and restaurants, you may also display your skills in cake decorating by joining competitions.
b. These activities will provide you a sense of competitiveness and provide other job opportunities for you.
c. You must also complete additional trainings in order to keep up with the latest baking and decorating techniques.
Because of a vast competition in the food industry, having a formal education, training and experience will be the best investment you can have in order for you to start your career as a cake decorator.
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