Baker Sylvia Weinstock demonstrates how to make the perfect chocolate cake.
Wedding cake designer Shinmin Li started baking wedding cakes after training in fine art. It’s not that jarring of a change, if you think about it. Li owns I Dream of Cake in San Francisco, and spends her time obsessing over cake consistency, design details, and whether her clients will eat the finished product.
If you’re community does not permit you to have legal cake businesses at home, then renting a commercial kitchen is the best way to get started. Here’s a story from the Augusta Chronicle about a group of related businesses shares a space.
Debbie Spangler had a novel idea to cut her business costs.
Five businesses under one roof — it was thrifty enough to work.The owner of Edible Artistry rents space to four tenants at her wedding cake business. In return, she gets assistance with her building fees and benefits from a tight-knit community.The 2,400-square-foot facility … was bigger than she needed. Tenants pay a flat-rate rental fee, including all utilities and Internet service.
Sweet Creations, Cordially Invited, David Russell Photography and Salads on Wheels pay a flat-rate fee to share space with Edible Artistry in a 2,400-square-foot building. Not a bad idea. If you’ve been struggling to find a place to start a cake business, what about partnering with others?
If you are in the early stages of planning a wedding cake decorating business or even if you’ve been in business for a while, it is important that you ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are my competitors?
- What customer needs and preferences am I competing to meet?
- What are the similarities and differences between their products/services and mine?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of their products and services?
- How do their prices compare to mine?
- How are they doing overall?
- How can I compete? Offer better quality services? Lower prices?
- How am I uniquely suited to compete with them?
These questions are all part of a competitive analysis. Often we think about these questions, but perhaps only in general or vague terms. We know a little bit about our competition or we think ” I don’t need to know what my competitors are doing because it won’t change my business…” or some such argument. Unless you sit down and take the time to answer these questions (on paper), you are sticking your head in the sand and wasting a valuable opportunity to improve your business and ultimately make more wedding cake sales….
I often take a look at WeddingWire.com to provide a simple list of vendors in the US. Check out what the cake vendors are doing in cities near you. What are cake decorators doing in other cities that you find interesting?
Go out and do that competitive analysis you may learn something about your own business by looking at the competition.
Here’s an article from The Daily Gleaner, Brunswick News that examines in a high level overview, the scientific principles of cake baking.
Baking is a very “scientific” process… in which all the
ingredients are building blocks that interact, causing chemical
reactions to create the structure of the cake.
Of interest to beginner cake bakers is the notion that it is very important to understand the terminology in a recipe.
For example, Hofner says, no matter how hard you beat a butter cake,
you can’t hurt the batter. But with a sponge cake, if you stir the
other ingredients into the egg whites instead of “folding” them gently,
you’ll stir all the air out of the eggs and the cake will fall.
This is a great little article to remind us that its not all magic and art in the kitchen! There is a great deal of study and know-how required to make the best cakes….
dailygleaner.com – Let them eat cake
The amazing Anne Heap of Pink Cake Box was featured on CNN’s Small Business Segment and gave some simple, practical advice to starting her business. This successful small bakery business been featured in People, Modern Bride, and several other publications.
Worth noting here is how they’ve harnessed the power of the web and social websites such as Youtube.com and their own blog, to market their business worldwide. The design is consistent from their cakes, to their photography to their website graphics. If you are thinking of starting a custom cake business, look no further than Pink Cake Box. Anne even gives some advice to her fans!
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WOW! This is an AWESOME collection of Wedding Cake Sidework Designs, posted by the cakery:
This is a great collection of cake to bookmark and use for reference.
From real and original thecakery owner: ”… If you are a bakery and would like to contact me for ‘how to’s’ you may email me jeannie at the cakery dot com …” .
The art and science of cake decorating, I believe is seeing unparalleled popularity and interest. With this popular awareness we have seen talented sugar artists command higher prices for their cakes. While I think it is awesome that cake decorators are making more money per slice I think it’s important in building a business to address the needs of your community and offer a range of products that can meet any budget.
As we wrote a few posts back, many brides are often looking to save some money on their wedding and the cake is one place where she can still demonstrate elegance and style while cutting costs.
While there’s no way to make a cake LOOK bigger, there are ways to get more servings for less money.
Centerpiece cakes: instead of one large wedding cake, a smaller one for the couple, as well as a small cake at each guest table. Centerpiece cakes can also replace the floral arrangement — another savings.
Sheet cakes: A smaller display cake and simpler sheet cakes with the same flavorings. Everyone enjoys the same cake. Moreover, sheet cakes can accommodate unexpected guests.
Simple yet elegant cakes: There are some very beautiful classic designs that don’t require significant handwork. The trend towards custom cakes, sugar work and even fondant in wedding cakes is great for cake decorators but can be costly for brides.
Couples on a budget should consider alternatives to fondant work and gum paste.Brides can choose buttercream smoothed to look like fondant and use fresh, organic, edible flowers to decorate their cake.
Cupcakes: Cupcake wedding cakes are gaining in popularity for weddings. Aside from their convenience, they can also be a less expensive alternative. We often see brides choose a small traditional decorated cake with a wedding cupcake tree – some brides even choose multiple flavors for their cupcakes.
Offering a range of products is for most home bakeries the key to success and profits. More on this to come….
How many of you watch Ace of Cakes? For those of you who don’t know, Ace of Cakes is a reality television show airing on the Food Network.
Now the question I keep hearing about Duff is: Do his cakes taste as good as they look? For most of us having our own television show is not an option so making great tasting cakes is just as important as how they look. In fact, for budget conscious couples having a large reception, there are often two cakes — a small, beautifully decorated cake out front at the reception, and a larger sheet cake in the back (kitchen).Most guests are served from the sheet cake. It is the same kind of cake, but much less expensive for the couple as it is not decorated.
Given that some of your business will come from referals — people who’ve tasted your cake at a wedding, make every cake GREAT!