My first passion is my grandchildren. So last year when my 14 year old granddaughter, Anni, wanted to take a Wilton course, I signed up with her as a way to spend timetogether. We took course 1 &2, which covered working in buttercream, making buttercream and royal icing flowers. My granddaughter then moved onto other "14 year old" things, but my interest was peaked. I started researching "all things cake" on the internet and practicing. What started out as an opportunity to have "bonding time: with a busy granddaughter, has turned into a second consuming passion.
A few months ago, I entered the South Carolina 2010 State Fair in the Children's Novelty Professional Category and in the Wedding Professional Category. I won first place in both of those and overall 1st place in the professional division. These things are confidence builders and help keep me both motivated and inspired. Also, I find that there's always something "new" to learn and a new tool to try. I love talking to and sharing with other people with the same obsession. My friends just get that glazed look on their faces when I talk "cake" or suggest going into a bakery supply store.
Working with hospices to provide special birthday cakes for terminally ill children, allows me to use my talent for more than just making money. Many of the families could not afford something like that because their finances have been depleted by their child's medical expenses, so it is great to see their faces light up when you are able to give them a cake specific to their interests. That is a satisfaction that money or awards can't give.
For those who are just beginning, don't be too critical of your own work. I am a perfectionist and at first any tiny "flaw" would drive me crazy. I am still working on "letting go" and realizing that it is just cake and most people don't see the tiny flaws. When you go to a competition, look at the other cakes with the same critical eye that you use on your own cake and then you will realize that few cakes are perfrect. Also, don't under value your time when pricing your cakes; be confident in your pricing and talent. And last, have fun and enjoy!