Questions On Getting Started With A Cake Business

Business By Shablair Updated 24 Jun 2008 , 9:20pm by monkeychow4u

Shablair Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 6:49pm
post #1 of 22

I have a couple of questions for anyone who may wish to respond. I am new to the idea of starting a cake business. I work full time and this will be done part time. One question I have is how many of you use a "commerical" cake batter. I mean use a "store" bought batter as opposed to making it from scratch. What brands seem to be the best. Also, how do you get your name out there and really begin making money? I have only done close friends birthday cakes and they love what I am doing. I am afraid to advertise too much because I don't feel I am experienced enough to do weddings and such. Last question is has anyone just started a cake business without actually having all the decorating classes? It is hard for me to go to any because I live in a rural town and I would have to drive about an hour for a class. I am excited about this new business but scared at the same time. I have posted a photo of one of my cakes.

21 replies
southerncake Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 7:13pm
post #2 of 22

I think it is pretty 50/50 as to how many here use scratch versus mixes. Do you know if you can legally bake from home in your area? If not, check the state-by-state listing in the articles to see if it is possible in your home state. I wouldn't do any advertising until you know you're legal!

For the classes, I too am in a small town. Years ago I did Wilton I, II, and III and had to drive about 45 minutes each way to get to the classes. It was a lot of time on the road, but I really enjoyed it and learned a lot!

Shablair Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 7:43pm
post #3 of 22

I am from Alabama.

Do you think that one should go to the classes or are there videos and books that teach just as well?

How long have you been doing this and are you just working from your home? icon_smile.gif

So to use a "store" bought batter does it save money? They do seem to taste better.

gottabakenow Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 7:53pm
post #4 of 22

no tips for you but just wanted to say that i love that cake! your handwriting... its so perfect. icon_biggrin.gif

JoAnnB Posted 19 Jun 2008 , 10:21pm
post #5 of 22

Currently, Alabama does not permit home bakeries. You may be able to have a second commercial kitchen but you will have to contact zoning and the health departments for licensing info.

jewelykaye Posted 20 Jun 2008 , 2:30am
post #6 of 22

I use cake mixes as a base and doctor them up. I honestly don't know if it saves money as I have not compared the pricing.

If you are good at learning from books then give it a try. If you are more of a visual learner then I would suggest the classes.

I takes a while to really begin making money. Mainly for me it took a while because I didn't have a lot of the pans and supplies so with all the "profit" I was having to buy supplies for the next cake.

Definitely make sure you are licensced and legal before you start advertising. Word of mouth is really the best. Also if you area has any kind of bridal show those seem to work as well.

Good Luck!

eiyapet Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 5:08am
post #7 of 22

Last question is has anyone just started a cake business without actually having all the decorating classes?

I have never had a class and I have only been doing cakes for about 8 months. And I own my own shop and am getting ready to expand. If you have a good art background that will help. This is a link to a picture of a wedding I did today.
I have found "Ace of Cakes" to be more helpful than Wilton books, but there are some great how to videos out there.

Mike1394 Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 11:41am
post #8 of 22

Would you open an accounting firm w/o taking any classes?


indydebi Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 7:46pm
post #9 of 22
Originally Posted by eiyapet

Last question is has anyone just started a cake business without actually having all the decorating classes?

I've never taken a class in my life. Totally self-taught.

That said, I encourage you to take classes, just so you are at least familiar with different styles and techniques. You can pick and choose which ones work with you and your style. THere are many times that I feel limited by what I can do simply because I've not been exposed to different techiques and styles..... .until I found CC, of course!! thumbs_up.gif

eiyapet Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 9:17pm
post #10 of 22

With gas prices being what they are and you living a distance from any classes, it would be cheaper to buy a dvd or book on the subject.

Shablair Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 11:38pm
post #11 of 22

Please tell me if you know of any good DVDs to watch. Right now I am self teaching myself. I am a visual learner and can pretty much do it if I can see it. I have always loved to paint on canvas so I find decorating cakes very fun and a way to express my creativity. I love working with my hands.

Cakenicing4u Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 12:16am
post #12 of 22

icon_lol.gif You need to scope out Youtube.... you can find lots of videos on there to watch.... like Edna's Calla lilly course, which I totally appreciated!

Just search for fondant, or gumpaste, or icing, it's the keywords that will get you the videos. Some are silly, but many are worth saving icon_wink.gif

monkeychow4u Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 12:39am
post #13 of 22

I just wanted to tell you to hang in there. I started out doing cakes for my niece and daughter. Last year my best friend and I took the Wilton classes at Michaels Craft Store. It taught me a lot of things that I didn't know about or that I was doing wrong. I now have done 3 wedding cakes and countless others. Just by word of mouth. I use store bought mixes but make my own icing. I too am hoping to open my own shop, but right now I work full time and in the process of building a new house. So good luck to you!

KoryAK Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 7:00pm
post #14 of 22

I think store bought mixes cost more than baking from scratch. Those boxes basically contain the flour, sugar, leavener, and flavorings (plus preservatives) and you still have to add all the expensive ingredients: egg, oil, milk and some ppl do sour cream and pudding. I'm a scratch baker and I think my cakes are lighter, tastier, and sturdier than boxed stuff. Truly comes down to personal preference, but pretty black and white on the cost issue.

Shablair Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 8:05pm
post #15 of 22

Can you pass along a good scratch recipe? I haven't found one that is really white and moist. I haven't found a chocolate one that I like either. I want it melt in your mouth. If you have any good recipes, please let me know. THANKS!!

tiggy2 Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 8:22pm
post #16 of 22

3 very valuable DVD's would be the Perfecting the Art of ButterCream, Flawless Fondant, and Successful Stacing from Sugarshack. Here's the link to her web site They are very inexpensive and she takes you through every step you will need. They aren't exactling decorating videos but contain very neccessary information to complete a quality decorated cake.

leah_s Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 8:25pm
post #17 of 22

Before you get so caught up in scratch versus mix, I think you need to look at some basics.

Does your zoning, deed restrictions, covenants even allow you to have a business at home?

Does your state/city Health Department license home bakeries?

Do you have insurance (not just your homeowners policy) to cover your business liability?

Have you registered for federal and state taxes as a business?

Making food for the public is serious business. If you don't have all the above in place first, and get caught without a license or without liability insurance, you are putting your bank account, car and home on the line. I don't think I would sleep well at night causing my family that much risk.

snowynight Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 8:42pm
post #18 of 22

I took one wilton course and that was it. The rest I am self taught. If I see something I'm not sure of I just keep practicing until I get it right. I am licensed by the state and for years all my business was by word of mouth. It's just this past year I have started advertising by other means, and I'm glad I waited. If you want to change your business name I would wait just a little while until your customers get used to the new faces.

malishka Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 9:28pm
post #19 of 22

To be honest with you, i think that wilton gives you the hands on experience if you are a visual learner. I took all 3 coarses and now i surf utube and the CC for more. I think Wilton gave me a base to start with. I have never heard of fondant and didn't know anything about icing a cake before I took the classes. Like I said, It gave me a base to start with. Plus, when you are doing something wrong, the teacher is always there to help you. It wasn't that big of an investment and I think it was well worth my time. I had to go thru a lot of sh$#@ to go to these classes. But I desided that aside from the full time job, the kids, the boyfriend, the house, etc..... this was "ME Time" and I at least owed myself that much.
good luck!!! I have learned sooooooooo much from the kind people here on the CC.

alanahodgson Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 1:31am
post #20 of 22

I found CC last summer and got hooked. I took a Wilton class shortly after and I was teaching the instructor things. I've learned so much from hanging out here at CC. You'll find all kinds of advice and other places to look for even more information. If taking classes is not going to be convenient for you, then spend some time becoming familiar with CC, absorb what you can, and then see what more you need to learn. After that, then look into DVDs and books. (Though I hear you can't go wrong with the ones tiggy2 recommended).

monkeychow4u Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 9:20pm
post #21 of 22

I also would like to try out some scratch mixes. But I have not found anything good yet. So if anyone has any scratch recipe's please pass them along, it would be appreciated. Thank you!

monkeychow4u Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 9:20pm
post #22 of 22

I also would like to try out some scratch mixes. But I have not found anything good yet. So if anyone has any scratch recipe's please pass them along, it would be appreciated. Thank you!

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