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Durham, NC, United States
My name is Veronica and I own Southern Gold Leaf Cakes. I opened my home-based business in 2008. I am a licensed and inspected home bakery specializing in custom cakes. Since all cakes are made to order there are no frozen cakes here, only fresh and only home made. I am a self-taught baker but I have a strong art background with years of baking experience. It is the most rewarding feeling in the world when you can apply your skills to do something you love. To see my cake creations and view our yummy menu visit us at www.southerngoldleafcakes.com!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Forums and advice

I know this has been touched on a lot lately and recently by my friend Kara at http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com but I felt the need to put in my two cents worth. 

Here's my gripe: there are some fairly popular forums out and at least nine out of ten posts are about "How do I...?"  That in whole would not bother me.  I have often had to consult more experienced decorators and ask they opinions and advice for something I've never tried or to see if my own theory is at least on the right track.  But these "how to" questions are almost always, and I mean 99% of the time, about the most basic things. 

Like what, you might ask?  Well here is a short list off the top of my head:
Where do I buy pans? 
How do you make frosting?
How many tiers make up a cake?
I've never baked but....

And this is my favorite one that makes me shake my head the most. 
I am making my first (fill in the event blank) cake and I've never done it.  It's this Saturday (post being on Wed) and I need help.  Where do I start?

This takes me back to the finger pointers that say, "See, home based bakers don't know what they're doing."  

But back to my original point that these are the types of questions being asked in forums where you may get 100 responses but some of them are as inexperienced as the person asking the question.  These are the things you either take the time to learn on your own, before volunteering to accepting a client or you take classes.  Most public libraries are full of books in the baking section that cover baking, decorating, how to, etc. that the most inexperienced baker can learn.  You can find books on recipes only to try your hand at, you can find basic decorating books, you can find advanced books on full dessert tables and it won't cost you a thing.  Heck, in this new world of video media you can Google just about nay topic and get dozens of Youtube responses back where people have actually made tutorials. 

Forums are wonderful.  I have several bookmarked.  I read several blogs.  But as it's previously been said, you need to know that the people you are getting advice from are experienced enough to know what they are talking about and credible enough to trust.  You can get the same advice from your next door neighbor as you can someone in a forum and it may be as accurate.  And just because you get a dozen people telling you the same thing, depending on who they are, doesn't make it right. 

If you're new to baking and just want to see what you can do, take a class or borrow a cook book, get a tutorial and have a fun in the kitchen.  It really is the best place to start.  If you've ever been to a craft store you know they all have a cake section where pans are sold.  If you feel you've got a knack for baking then find a good class.  These are the places to ask those basic questions and for heaven's sake take notes.  You can always research what they've said and validate the advice. 

I love forums and they are great places for people to share ideas and how tos and so forth but if you're really at the first step of the process and you really don't know what to do first, please, look into a local class where you have an actual person to answer all these questions for you; face to face, hands on, personal interaction is the best way to learn the very basic beginning stuff.   Teachers/instructors are there for that very reason and then consider the forum's as extra credit reading!

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