Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Corporate Cakes


As a cake decorator incorporating an edible image corporate logo can make the decoration simple and resulting in a clean looking product. Having dabbled into different facets of the cake decorating industry there are a number of pros and cons to consider in the various markets of cake:

Wedding Cakes

Pros 
  1. Glamorous - Love the idea of making the beautiful wedding centerpiece for a magical wedding
  2. Simplicity - Typically wedding cakes are elegant and simple in terms of design and styling.
  3. Financial Return - At about $4 a slice this can make for a decent return on your delivered product

Cons
  1. The Stress - It seems the hefty price tag might be more related to the stress induced by preparing someones dream wedding cake.  Where if anything happened to it between the time you start baking, decorating, and delivering... it could mean your business!
  2. The Expectation - Brides have big dreams... and with that come BIG expectations with their cake.  You might find yourself trying to make cake decorating miracles happen!
  3. Your Weekends are taken - Weddings typically occur on the weekends.  If this is your side job prepare to have your Friday's and Saturday's booked!

Birthday Cakes

Pros

  1. Fun - Birthdays are fun and everyone is happy to share a fun party together while eating your marvelously decorated cake!
  2. Common Themes - With common themes you have a good idea what would be a nice cake design for the birthday boy or girl.

Cons

  1. Sizing - Birthday cake portions are typically larger than (say) wedding cake portions.  Expect to make larger cakes than expected for a birthday party.
  2. Financial Return - Birthday cakes budgets are a lot smaller than wedding budgets (yes there is a LESSER willingness to pay), however, design can be more intricate and more involved (mostly due to color changes).  This is also the market where your decorated marval competes with that yummy sticky chocolate cake from Costco for less than $20.

Corporate Cakes

Pros

  1. Consistent - If you succeed in getting a corporate cake account you can expect consistent business as long as you keep your client happy.  A win win!
  2. Standardized - Your products can be standardized to your client saving you time and money when it comes to planning the decorating.
  3. Financial Return - A company who is using your product for their customers or staff members are willing to pay a good price for your good product.  They are also giving you financial stability as you are their only go to person for your product.
  4. Dates & Times - Corporations tend to be fairly flexible when it comes to dates and times.  Unless it is a special event, most thank you or customer cakes have flexibility in the delivered dates and times.

Cons

  1. Repetitiveness - Creativity might be suppressed as you repetitively produce your clients product.  
  2. Booked - A pro or a con?!  With consistent standardized cake orders you may not be able to take on that fun birthday party cake without upsetting your routine schedule.
Thanks for reading and Happy Decorating!
Christie

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Taste Talk

Cake Tasting



Cake tasting is one of a brides anticipated fun activities.  I had fun with this weeks tasting by making mini cakes or as my little one liked to call them 'Baby Cakes'!  This particular bride was looking for a very moist cake.  So with a little research, trial, and error, here is a list of five ways to get your cakes more moist:

5 Ways To Increase Cake Moisture

1.  Wrap and Freeze - My sister Robyn taught me this one.  After you take your cake out of the oven wrap it in plastic wrap while it is still in the pan and cover with foil.  Place in the freezer until it is cool.  The trapped heat goes straight into the cake making it more moist.

2. Use Butter - Nicole from Cakes Done Wright told me about this technique.  Instead of using oil in a cake recipe use butter.  Cake holds on to moisture when fat and sugar are present.

3. Add Pudding - These days, if you use a box mix, and if there isn't already, add one box of pudding (mix).      You can try adding chocolate for chocolate cake or white chocolate in white cake.  You can play with flavors such as white chocolate in white cake or french vanilla in Devils Food.

4. Do not Overbake - Bake your cake just until it springs back at the center.  Overbaking dries out your cake big time.  Refer to the Wilton cake chart for estimated baking temperatures and times.  I like to bake most cakes at 340 or 345 degrees.  It takes a little longer, but your cake will turn out less dry and rise more evenly.

5. Use Milk not Water - Since it is fat content that helps cake retain its moisture, use milk in place of water in your recipe.


Taste Style

I ran into my first issue with client cake satisfaction.  The client wanted 'anything' when it came to their cake.  So I took this as an opportunity to make a somewhat artsy cake.  Two days before cake day, however, the client asked for a color change... making it a little bit uncertain in the actual direction of cake design.  So I came up with the cake on your right.  I thought it was simple and beautiful.  However, my client said they were disappointed that it was 'very plain looking'.  I was crushed, mostly because I thought it was beautiful and cute, and they disagreed.  I finally accepted the fact that not all people have the same taste when it comes to celebration cakes.  Some of us appreciate simplicity while others will prefer something withe more intensity.  Well, in terms of serving clients properly, I came up with 3 design rules for a cake client:

Design Rules for Cake Clients


1. Do Not Accept 'Whatever'  - If the client has no idea what design they are interested in ask them what kind of cake style/design they have liked in the past.  Showing them pictures of cakes can also give you a clue of their taste.

2. One Week Limit - Give your client at the least one week prior to cake date to change their mind on design or color.  Extend the limit if you must.  You want to give yourself enough time to shop for the necessary materials at the cake shop.

3. Maintain your Integrity -  If you see that your client is just really not happy with their cake accept that YOU, the cake decorator has not done your job as you should have.  Do not accept any payment from the client and follow these rules to do a better service for your clients in the future!

Happy Decorating!
Christie