Are you a fan of cake? Or maybe cupcakes? Or maybe desserts that are so beautifully decorated that all you want to do is take pictures of them? We filmed a series of cake decorating classes with Emily Tatak of the Wilton Test Kitchen
Behind the Scenes with Emily Tatak of the Wilton Test Kitchen
Where do you live?
Western suburbs of Chicago, IL
Do you have any adorable pets/kids/life partners we need to know about?
I have two crazy kitties that contently keep me on my toes, Oliver and Hobbes. I’ve had Oliver since college and Hobbes just joined our family last Christmas.
How (and when) did you get into cake decorating?
I always called myself a baker, not a decorator. It wasn’t until I went to culinary school that I really became more interested in cake decorating. Now working in the Wilton Test Kitchen I am surrounded by everything related to cake baking/decorating – it’s like being a kid in a candy store!
What’s the toughest part of cake decorating?
Having patience! It takes time to learn a new technique or how to use a new decorating tool, but practice makes progress! The more you practice the better you are going to get.
What advice would you give beginners in this field?
Don’t sweat the details. If your cake or cupcake doesn’t come out looking exactly like it looked like in your head it’s okay! People will still be amazed at what you did. And of course, practice! No one wakes up an amazing cake decorator, it takes time, patience and practice.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration online. Pinterest is one of my favorite sites to go to, but I also look at online magazines and blogs. Apart from that, I draw inspiration from everyday life. I look around to see what is trendy right now in clothing, interior design, patterns, color palettes and textures. I feel like the mix of all these things help keep my cake and treat designs fresh, trendy and interesting.
How do you make time to craft?
I don’t craft nearly as much as I would like to. I mainly tend to bake and decorate for special occasions and events – or if I have some really brown bananas that are begging to be made into banana bread. I’ve also enjoy painting with acrylics and crocheting, but again those types of activities mainly fall on the weekends.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
It really depends on the project and what kind of mood I’m in. For small, quick things I like to use buttercream. It is just so easy to whip up a batch of homemade buttercream and pipe it on a cupcake. For larger, more extravagant projects I like to use fondant. Fondant cakes always look super impressive and once you get comfortable working with it, you can do almost anything.
What is your most favorite thing you’ve ever made?
I don’t know if I can choose a favorite cake or recipe. I love developing recipes for Wilton’s sister site: treatology.wilton.com. All the recipes on this website are completely flavor-driven so I get to experiment with interesting and unique flavor combinations. Although I do have to say, I love the royal icing drop flower cake in week 4 – it’s so beautiful.
Be honest – how much fun is it to film these Creativebug classes…or at least getting to hang out in SF for a little while?
I had a blast shooting with the Creativebug team. Everyone was super friendly and we had a great time! And this was my first trip to San Francisco so I was super excited to do all the touristy stuff like see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
Best and worst/hardest parts of filming a class:
Best part: Sharing my knowledge with the world. I really enjoy teaching and showing others that although a project might look intimidating, once you break it down it is really easy. Hardest part: Talking for 8 hours straight. By the end of the day I felt like I couldn’t think straight! We were out to dinner on the last night and I was talking about seeing Alcatraz and I called it Azkaban.
Do you like being in front of the camera?
I do, but even after 4 days of taping I still got butterflies before the camera started rolling.