Drawbacks Of Owning Fondant Only Cake Business?

Business By SweetAsLemmons Updated 4 Sep 2008 , 8:11pm by FromScratch

SweetAsLemmons Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 3:58pm
post #1 of 57

I have always thought of opening a cake shop in which I do fondant cakes only. I am just looking for feedback.

Thanks

56 replies
justme50 Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 4:09pm
post #2 of 57

It wouldn't work for me. There aren't many people who want fondant on an every day basis. It's great for wedding cakes, but it's just not that popular here. Besides, while I like playing with fondant, I'm a butter cream decorator at heart!

It just depends on what the market demand is in your area.

mommy_of_3_DDs Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 4:13pm
post #3 of 57

I will tell you that is what I started out doing now I do more buttercream cakes than fondant. I use a good crusting butter cream and smooth with a VIVA paper towel after they have crusted for at least 30 minutes. I am going to add a little Meringe powder to my next batch to see if I can get a good crust faster... I am actually starting to like using butter cream...

So I guess the drawback is in my area people just don't want fondant cakes... though the ones that I gave fondant to were surprised it actually tasted good, they had only eaten Wilton crap.

My advise is to try it and be open to venture into butter cream if needed...

Good Luck!

tonedna Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 4:19pm
post #4 of 57

The majority of the people that go to our shop dont like fondant. There is another place in town, and even though she makes gorgeous cakes, people dont always want to get an only covered fondant cake. One for flavor, another one is the expense.

Edna

cakemaker61 Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 4:22pm
post #5 of 57

I don't even mess with fondant at all. My customers don't seem to want it anyway or pay the extra price. Personally, I think it's gross....even the MMF is way too sweet. I have tried that on a small cake just for an experiment. I know the cakes are so smooth etc., but I won't let any of my cakes get a bad reputation because of the fondant. Just my opinion, it's buttercream or Rich's whipped frosting for me. Dana
www.cakekeepsakes.com

-K8memphis Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 4:42pm
post #6 of 57

I think Duff is all fondant.

krissy_kze Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 4:56pm
post #7 of 57

Just stress to all your customers that there is yummy buttercream underneath. Even offer to give them some extra buttercream to spread on the cake after they peel the fondant off. I do 99% fondant and my customers don't have a problem with ot once I explain that fondant allows me to be so much more creative with my cakes and they are sturdier in travelling. I also tell them that it's like the wrapping on a gift. You can take it off and the good stuff is underneath icon_smile.gif

I also tell them that they really don't have a choice. I stink at buttercream decorations and I can't create the things I do without using fondant. I have never had a customer not order just because I use fondant.

-Krissy

tonedna Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 6:22pm
post #8 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

I think Duff is all fondant.




The only cake I have seen in tv that was buttercream made byt them, look like a storm went thorugh it...Not very well done.

Edna

pinkbiz Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 6:34pm
post #9 of 57

i understand the drama with the fondant that people don't like it heck i don't even eat either but like krissy_kze said you work better with it, and travels better... her advise is great just tell them that. i think they look way better because some people just do really crappy jobs with the buttercream and i think it looks awful but then again there is people that do a buttercream job that looks like fondant its all in your skill so just do what you do best!

PinkZiab Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 6:38pm
post #10 of 57

In my area (NYC metro) fondant is pretty much the standard for high-end cakes. Some shops will do buttercream if requested, but generally most work in fondant as the rule, buttercream as the exception. My partner and I essentially work only in fondant, land we do plan on opening a shop in the relatively near future.

littlecake Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 7:08pm
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

I think Duff is all fondant.



The only cake I have seen in tv that was buttercream made byt them, look like a storm went thorugh it...Not very well done.

Edna




making a smooth buttercream cake is a whole other skill...that norman dude had to make a layer of his cake on one of the challenges buttercream, he didn't bring enough fondant....it looked awful too.

i like buttercream with fondant decorations...

edna, i was just curious what the price difference is between all fondant, and buttercream with fondant accents is, at your shop?

-K8memphis Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 9:05pm
post #12 of 57

It really is a whole nuther skill to do a smooth buttercream cake. I call them bare naked cakies. I do cakes intermittently these days and whatever I knew about getting a cake real real smooth evaporates out of my head in between cakes. I mean like a faux fondant cake--no edges--all smoothie pretty. I can do all smooth with an edge.

You gotta have a great harmony between your buttercream recipe and your technique.

I am waiting breathlessly for the Jenna Bush cake method to be all the rage --texture texture texture, random cakey spatula texture. Yes?

mommy_of_3_DDs Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 10:53pm
post #13 of 57

Oh if you want to discourage butter cream cakes charge MORE for them, when asked explain the extra time/ skill required to make them flawless. I bet they will be fine with the fondant...

SweetResults Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 11:11pm
post #14 of 57

I just did a BC cake this morning and I hated every second of it!! I frosted in BC and planned to do Ernie and Bert in BC as well. Started it and hated it - refrosted the top, then did Ernie and Bert in fondant instead.

I am seriously thinking that I will not offer BC only cakes anymore - I just don't like working with it as much. I can only do so many cakes and I'd rather spend the time doing ones I really like doing.

superstar Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 11:13pm
post #15 of 57

I love fondant & I now make JenniferMI's chocolate fondant, it is fabulous & I can roll it to less than 1/8" so it is really thin, I put a normal layer of BC under the fondant. It is wonderful. I offer both, all my decorations are sugar paste/gum paste or fondant.

ladyonzlake Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 11:33pm
post #16 of 57

As a new business owner myself I would never consider restricting myself to "fondant" only. I can't afford to turn business away. I even have a $100 minimum and if someone comes to me and can't spend that much and I have that day open I will break my $100 minimum rule.

Once you own a business you may think differently?

stampinron Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 11:52pm
post #17 of 57

Off topic, but I was trying to find JenniferMI's chocolate fondant recipe. Is it listed here inthe recipe section, I can't seem to find it?

loriemoms Posted 24 Aug 2008 , 11:57pm
post #18 of 57

It wouldn't work for my customers..Last year I did about half fondant cakes, this year I did about 10%. I already see as I do tastings for next year that people want buttercream.

I actually prefer buttercream myself...fondant is more expensive, doesn't taste good and is a pain to store. I also can do a buttercream cake faster.

If you don't like working with buttercream, just practice. Figure out that method that works best for you, and you wil find you love it. There is just nothing like a piece of cake with the icing melting in your mouth!

jules1719 Posted 25 Aug 2008 , 12:07am
post #19 of 57

Why limit yourself?

karensue Posted 25 Aug 2008 , 2:31pm
post #20 of 57

I recently made my buttercream cakes the same price as my fondant cakes (I found that it takes me as much or more time to get the smoothness that satisfies me on a buttercream cake.) Every client since then has chosen fondant.

spring Posted 25 Aug 2008 , 10:45pm
post #21 of 57

At the beginning of this year my shop became fondant only. Mainly because we like working with fondant better than buttercream...just a personal preference. Have only had 1 bride go elsewhere because she couldn't get buttercream

Minette
www.minetterushing.typepad.com

FromScratch Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 1:32am
post #22 of 57

Jennifer's fondant is taught on her DVD.. it's not in the recipe section.. icon_smile.gif

I love fondant, but I wouldn't not offer BC as a finish on a cake. I can get a BC cake nice and smooth.. I don't mind making half naked cakies.. love that icon_lol.gif.. I do prefer the look of fondant though.

DesignerCakes Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 3:03am
post #23 of 57

I own and operate a fondant-only custom cake business. I am booked solid until the end of October. I use top notch ingredients, including imported fondant. If a client has reservations about fondant, I let them try various brands. Nine times out of ten, they are pleasantly surpised. I have lost three customers to date because they wanted buttercream. It is important to note that money conscience brides will want buttercream over fondant to save money. Those are not the brides I cater to.

I believe that while there is a market for buttercream cakes, the high end brides are going with fondant. It's stylish, trendy and featuired in all the bridal magazines. They watch the FN shows and that's what they see. I am living proof that a fondant-only business can sustain itself and thrive even in today's economy.

jules1719 Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 11:38am
post #24 of 57

Again, why limit yourself? Do you not know how to finish a buttercream only cake or do you just not know how to be creative with buttercream. A large percentage of what I see done in fondant can easily be done in buttercream. So why do you limit yourself?

Why the hardline "I'm fondant only"? icon_smile.gif

mellormom Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 12:05pm
post #25 of 57

I'm just starting out as well and I wish I could offer only fondant. Unfortunately I have to take every order I can get. It's out of my home and I don't plan on making a ton but I at least need to get a few orders.
Jen...

CakesByJen2 Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 12:11pm
post #26 of 57

It's really going to depend on your area. If you are in a large metropolitan area with a significant high-end market like NYC, you could easily have a fondant-only business, and many do in those type areas.
But, if you live in less metropolitan area, people are going to be more traditional, less trendy, and have less money to spend on a cake.

In my area, it would never work. People here are very traditional; fillings are still a new thing to them, and they do not like fondant. Everyone loves the look, but hates the taste. Plus they do not want to pay extra for it. I offer both, but I'm rarely asked to do fondant, particularly since the economy has gotten so bad. I can do fondant, but I prefer BC. I just don't see the point of paying that much extra for something that's just going to be peeled off and thrown away, and neither do the people here. Usually the first thing my brides tell me when I ask them if they have any ideas about what they want or don't want for their cake, is "Well, I know we don't want that rolled fondant stuff...". Of course there are some techniques you can only do in fondant, and it does make the cake more sturdy and easier to handle, but a lot heavier, too! To my knowledge, there are no all-fondant cake people here.

If I were you, I think I would at least start out offering both, and just try to really encourage the fondant if that's what you want to do. Charge the same for both, but maybe not quite as high as normally for fondant just to get things going and get more fondant cakes out there for people to be exposed to. Then you can gradually taper off the BC and go to all-fondant and raise your prices if you see that it will work in your market.

DesignerCakes Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 12:20pm
post #27 of 57

I choose to offer fondant only for a variety of reasons. I wanted to do upscale cakes for upscale clients. I love the look of fondant and good quality fondant is delicious. I had to convert alot of people at first. Now they actually know what it is and seek me out.

The profit margin with fondant is alot better, although an elaborate cake can take a good amount of time to decorate. Then again, you can charge more for that. I don't have a set price for my cakes. I tell the client the price per serving is based on how elaborate their design is. I can calculate how long a cake will take to complete and price it accordingly.

I don't regret 'limiting' myself. I think of it more as offering a very unique and specialized product. I've built quite a niche for myself. It didn't happen overnight, though. It took me about a year. Also, one other important thing...I network with several other bakers and send them all my buttercream business, sheet cake orders, etc. In turn, they refer all their fondant business to me. These days I even get referrals from my competitors! When they are booked, they send me their overflow because there aren't many people around who specialize in fondant work. If they want quality work, they know they're safe referring their clients to me.

It also helps to be in a metropolitan area. Brides are better educated about fondant and are far trendier. They want the best and are willing to pay for it. I live and work in different counties. The county I live in is still quite behind the times. They are happy with a Duncan Hines straight up box mix with icing from the can. The next county over is quite the opposite. They are much more affluent and modern. There is a world of difference between the two areas and they are only 30 miles apart!!

loriemoms Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 12:21pm
post #28 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakesByJen2

It's really going to depend on your area. If you are in a large metropolitan area with a significant high-end market like NYC, you could easily have a fondant-only business, and many do in those type areas.
But, if you live in less metropolitan area, people are going to be more traditional, less trendy, and have less money to spend on a cake.

In my area, it would never work. People here are very traditional; fillings are still a new thing to them, and they do not like fondant. Everyone loves the look, but hates the taste. Plus they do not want to pay extra for it. I offer both, but I'm rarely asked to do fondant, particularly since the economy has gotten so bad. I can do fondant, but I prefer BC. I just don't see the point of paying that much extra for something that's just going to be peeled off and thrown away, and neither do the people here. Usually the first thing my brides tell me when I ask them if they have any ideas about what they want or don't want for their cake, is "Well, I know we don't want that rolled fondant stuff...". Of course there are some techniques you can only do in fondant, and it does make the cake more sturdy and easier to handle, but a lot heavier, too! To my knowledge, there are no all-fondant cake people here.




I have found this true in my area too. I offer fondaont at all my tastings and the brides will taste it, and go Wel, its not bad! but they still don't want it. Its nothing to do with the cost, they just love buttercream!! I have found the same thing with fillings too! I offer so many neat fillings and they look at me funny and go "do I have to have a filling"? Then they start to play and discover and have fun with it but it is funny how they first react. But if you have an area that can handle a fondant only cake business, then go for it!

PS Duff does offer buttercream cakes, there are a bunch of his web site..but they just don't make interesting shows for TV.

vickymacd Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 12:50pm
post #29 of 57

I'm not a professional, but when I took my first fondant cake into work from my Wilton class, the vultures at work ate the cake and spit out the fondant. Since then I have started to make MMF. The first time I took a MMF cake one in, I had to convince them it was yummy!

But just that one bad experience with fondant and they refused to eat fondant. Now they love it cuz they know it's MMF. Just my opinion.

P.S.....I love how my co-workers are so opinionated when it's free!!!

FromScratch Posted 26 Aug 2008 , 2:27pm
post #30 of 57

Fondant in of itself isn't nasty.. Wilton fondant is nasty.. OMG.. and Satin Ice I even don't like much. It smells like vanilla play-doh to me. There are delicious fondant brands out there. Choco-pan is good.. Fondex is good too. I like making fondant (and not MMF which I find very chewy when it dries and sickly sweet). You can make real fondant for the same cost and it's way better IM(not-so)HO. icon_lol.gif I recommend Michele Foster's Delicious Fondant recipe. I would love to only offer fondant cakes for the simple fact that you can transport and handle them easier than BC cakes. When people insist on picking up their cakes I will insist on fondant since I use SMBC and it doesn't crust and it is VERY easily marred.

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