Debra Stockford of Pandora offers cake decorating lessons to students of all ages and skill levels at The Frosting Studio in Bluffton. Classes start with Whats a Spatula? and progress to more skilled lessons such as Here Comes the Bride! (Photo by Randy Roberts)


BLUFFTON — If you have ever yearned to turn a plain cake and a bowl of buttercream into a beautiful creation, Debra Stockford can help.

The Pandora woman has opened The Frosting Studio, where she offers cake decorating classes for all skill levels.

“It’s taking something that is an average item and making it beautiful,” she explained. “It’s all about the smiles. Cakes make people smile.”

Stockford has been decorating cakes for 32 years.

“I remember being probably 8 or 9 years old and my mom had a girlfriend come over to the house. They were just having coffee or whatever, but she was showing pictures of cakes she decorated,” she recalled.

Back then, she said, Wilton cakes were the craze.

“And I just remember looking at that going, ‘Oh wow, that is just so cool,’” Stockford said. “So even back then I had this passion for it.”

It was a demonstration in home economics class, however, that really sparked the interest of the then-high school sophomore.

“I saw what she (the teacher) did and I was like, ‘I can do that’. So it’s a God-given talent. I mean, I saw what she did and I was just able to pick it up.”

Stockford honed her skills along the way and has since made “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cakes” to celebrate everything from birthdays to holidays and weddings.

“I like to take them above and beyond what you would find at a grocery store,” she explained. “I want to make it my creative outlet to make people happy.”

Seeing similar businesses in larger cities prompted Stockford to offer the classes locally.

“And I’m getting a lot of good response from everybody from the 4-Her’s to even the senior center,” she said.

Stockford enjoys teaching cake bakers from all skill levels.

“You can start off as a beginner and not know a thing, even what the equipment is called, your spatula, whatever. And that’s why my first class is called ‘What’s a Spatula?’ It’s for the beginner,” she said.

This two-hour session focuses on the basics like cake assembly, crumb-free buttercream icing techniques, color mixing, simple decorating tips and making scallops, border designs and basic buttercream flowers.

Another class introduces fondant work, and one focuses on basic 3D designs and basketweave. In “Here Comes the Bride!,” students turn out a two-tier wedding cake masterpiece. There’s also a cupcake class called “‘Tis the Season.”

Participants must be at least 7 years old and able to follow directions. Classes are limited to about seven people in order to provide one-on-one attention.

Everything is provided, including the cake or cupcakes, tools and frosting. And the item the student decorates goes home with them.

Stockford recently held an open house, during which a cupcake decorating station prompted excitement from the younger children in attendance.

“Oh my gosh, they just like lit up and they were so excited,” she said. “And they’re like, ‘Mom, I want to do this, I want to learn’. And that’s what gets me excited because it’s like, those are the people I want to teach, people that are hungry to learn.”

The Frosting Studio is located in Tommy’s Plaza at 142 E. Jefferson St., Bluffton. A detailed list of classes is available at

Wolf: 419-427-8419
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