Self-Directed Learning or Classroom

Do you feel it too? That nagging need, that incessant drive to learn all about baking?

When you’re no longer satisfied with pulling out the boxed mix or driving by your favorite bakery to pick up a treat. You’re hooked.

Maybe you’ve gotten the compliments, you’ve tasted the sweet satisfaction and now you want NEED to make it yourself.

It’s a slippery slope, my friend. You can pretend you are just warming yourself by the oven, but I think we both know what’s going on here. You’re thinking about commitment, this might be more than just a fling. 

Seriously Learning How to Bake or Decorate

When you get serious about baking or sugar decorating and are ready to level up your baking skills, you have two choices.

You can:

A) Dig deeper on your own and be willing to suffer through the trial and error of learning alone. 


B) Enroll in classes… and be willing to suffer through the trial and error of learning in front of a group.

I’m sorry, I wish I could skip that one part. The part about “trial and error.”

Sadly, I have found no way around the trial and error of learning. So, if you are serious, settle in and be excited to start your journey! It’s a sweet adventure.

How are you going to learn all you want to know?

There are advantages and disadvantages to self-directed learning and taking classes. If you ask a room of 50 people which is best, you will get their very assertive opinion, loud and clear, and it will be based on what worked best for THEM.

People love to tell you that what worked for them will work splendidly for you.  However, after teaching for 20 years, (Whoa… letting THAT number sink in…)  I can tell you that the best way to learn is the whatever really gets you doing it.

Since I LOVE visual aids, here is a comparison of the pros and cons of self-directed learning vs. a taking a class.

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There Really Isn’t a “Best Answer.”

There is only your answer. I know of great bakers and cake decorators who call themselves “self-taught” and great bakers and decorators who went to very prestigious culinary schools. The one thing they had in common is that they did it.

They put in the work to become great at what they are doing now. It wasn’t an easy path and they got frustrated and failed many times, but they kept going.

Personally, I went the self-directed route in baking and decorating and ended up running a home bakery, teaching cake decorating classes, and creating this online resource to share what I have learned. I even surprised myself!

Let me also add this thought: You can do both! You can learn on your own and take workshops or short classes as they fit your life.

It’s such an amazing time! You have so many options, I know you can do this! I am happy to help in any way that I can.

Questions or comments?

I hope this helps you with your decision to self-direct or sign up for a class. If I left you with any questions, please shoot me an email and I will do my best to find you an answer.

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About Mikel Ibarra

Mikel Ibarra holds a BFA in painting, is a certified cake decorator, teaches baking and cake decorating classes, and frequently combines her passions for the sake of art. Sweet Bytes is where she shares everything she knows about the art of baking and running a baking business.