I'm in a similar position to you OP. would love to go on a day course some time next year - can anyone recommend one (pref in the north west)?
I too recommend using two smothers though. I usually use one but borrowed one for the last cake I made and it made a big difference.
I also find using the right tools (cutters, sharp craft knives etc) makes a huge difference. I bought a set if craft knives off amazon for about £2.50 and they're great (poor quality but good enough for this job). I buy cutters etc from home sense / tk maxx which usually has a good choice and is cheap.
I find that ensuring the work surface is properly non stick, using either icing sugar or trex helps re getting things to keep their shape when cut out. Also using a palette knife to lift them.
I also apply a little trex using a small paint brush to the finished cake to clean off marks (icing sugar finger prints etc) and also apply a little shine (eg to the holly berries on my Xmas cake).
As I said, I am just learning myself, by these are things I've picked up so far.
Hi, I've made quite a few cakes now and I think I have some quite nice ideas. Nothing special, but decent. My problem is that they are always just a little bit ragged around the edges. For example, I decorated a Christmas cake last night. Red base with different size and bright colour circles on it. But the red base wasn't completely smooth even though I did a marzipan layer underneath. The circles had rough edges at the bottom and when I gently lifted them from the work surface to put on the cake, they distorted a bit.
How do I learn to do things just that little bit better? Are there any good websites to learn these tips? Are there courses that people go on to learn this stuff? Or am I just too slatternly to do it properly? I've got 2 more cakes to do before Christmas and I'm fed up of only seeing the mistakes.