Finding Your Style

When you first start Cake Decorating, like most of us,  you will have followed the customers brief, maybe even faithfully recreated a grainy image of Aunt Cecily’s Wedding Cake for their Golden Anniversary.

But what happens when or if you want to find your own style?

Maybe you want to take the Cake world by storm with a whole new design style like Katherine Sabbath, or maybe you want a signature style, like Cotton and Crumbs.

Either way, it can be hard to separate your true loves, from what you happen to be good at, especially if you don’t have the time to experiment for yourself.

So how do you know what you LOVE, and what you are just good at?

What Do You Like?

A great way to find your own flair, is to think about what or who you like.  If you’re anything like me, you probably like tons of cake pages, and seem to scroll through pages of the same cake.  Sometimes, there will be a design that is so perfectly executed, that you just have to stop and admire the awesomeness, even if it’s not a cake style you would normally look at, or want to create.  That’s a testament to a true artist, someone who can engage an unwilling audience, and captivate them anyway.

Have a think about what drew you to it.  Was it the lighting? The colour? The Design?  Captivating an audience is a skill that all artists NEED to learn, and it may even have you considering techniques or styles that you hadn’t previously knew existed.

Now think about the aspects of cakes that stop you in your tracks. Do you seem to always gravitate towards pastels or bold colours? Do you like more detailed or abstract designs? Remember here we’re talking about your STYLE, not your CURRENT SKILL LEVEL, so don’t think in terms of what you can already do, but what you would LIKE to do.

From there, think about other designers and artists you may have seen (not just Cake Artists, but any creative avenue). Is there aspects of what they create that you would like to see in a cake? Do you love a fashion designers gold collection? Or a magazine’s “what’s hot” section? All these ideas can help you find what sparks your creative interest, and from there, get you thinking about what you would like to start creating.

My Style

So how did I find my style?  Well, when I first started decorating, all I saw everywhere I looked was ganache, and sharp edged fondant.  Was that all there was out there? No, but it was all I could focus on, because I was looking at what I didn’t like, rather than what I did like. This got me down, because I don’t enjoy working with fondant, even though I can really appreciate the incredible work that comes from it.

I loved looking at the pastel mastery of Cotton and Crumbs, the striking artistry of Shannon Bond, and the clean elegance of Shawna McGreevy, but knew it wasn’t quite right for me.

One day, in my Youtube watching, I stumbled across a video by Chef Alan Tetreault of Global Sugar Art, and he was teaching how to pipe a Buttercream Rose.  I was mesmerised.  I wanted to learn that. I NEEDED to learn that.  So I tried it. And I sucked at it. My first, second and twentith attempts, did not resemeble any form of floral known to man.  So did I give up? Nup.

While I had zero ability to create a Buttercream Rose, I knew I had found my ‘thing’.  This was my home.  Buttercream.  I became (and stayed!) obsessed with Buttercream art, what had been created? Who was making it? What were they doing? As it turned out, not much of what I really wanted to see.  Now rather than be discouraged, I thought, well then i’ll just make what I want to see!

So, inspired by the work of fondant Masters, I began creating my own style, in Buttercream.

So where’s your heart?

Take your thinking cap off for a minute, and reflect.  If you have Facebook, you can check your ‘Activity Log’, by clicking on the little drop down arrow in your top right hand corner of your desktop Facebook screen.  Your activity log shows you what you have ‘liked’, commented on and shared recently.

Have a good look at what moves you, be it family, friends, or general whimsy. What can you take from that? Do you see photos of your family at gatherings and want to create, or recreate scenes or moments? Do you like a particular celebrity, and want to create something inspired by their latest role? Do you see abstract ideas, rather than actions, and want to create something using those feelings or colours?

You already inspire yourself, you just don’t realise it.

Viva La Buttercream xx



0 thoughts on “Finding Your Style”

    • I’m so glad to hear that Judy! I think people can easily get trapped in the ‘comparison game’, and not only is it not healthy, but it stagnates art. I’m much happier in my Buttercream home 🙂

      Kerrie x

  • I love buttercream too and this article is just what I needed to read. I’m in LOVE with buttercream flowers and have been practicing for a few months now. The most time consuming part is coloring the buttercream but from there it’s so much fun :).

  • Thanks so much for this Kerrie, this is just the guidance I needed. I have been struggling to come up with my own style for ages and yes we do get stuck doing others designs as that what most clients want as they go off existing images on the net. I like so many styles of cakes but your suggestion to check out our activity log on fb is fabulous…its so easy when somebody tells you to look right in front of you. For me its Pinterest…just had to look at all my saves objectively and there it was…you are the best. Thanks so much for writing this…I feel enlightened 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this. I’m a old school decorator living in a fondant world. I love working with buttercream. It is nice to see and hear I’m not alone.

  • Thank you Kerrie. Love your work! I do 99% of my cakes in American buttercream. If fondant is called for, its in embellishments only.I have been noticing the “clear liquid” seeping out below the buttercream after cake is iced. I have used cornstarch, as suggested, to “bind” the ingredients, 9Tbl to a triple batch, and it seemed to help a little, didn’t change the taste or workability. Do you have any feedback on the problem? I use all shortening, please sugar, vanilla and water. Thank you so much! Marcia

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