Lots Of Help Needed- Do Not Know Where To Start

Decorating By Mom2ANC Updated 6 Sep 2008 , 6:40pm by Mom2ANC

Mom2ANC Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 8:17pm
post #1 of 24

I have started selling cakes to friends and acquaintances. I have found this site to be a tremendous help, and I thank you in advance for your help.
I am feeling very panicky about the cake I need to do for this weekend. I have made three cakes for this person before. She has liked them all. I did one for her the weekend before last, for 20 people. It was for a baby shower that the guest of honor was a friend of mine, and I was actually going to the shower, so I did a two tiered cake with a fondant bow on it for just 40 dollars, considering part of it as a gift.

Anyway, I sent her an email asking for details on the cake. I listed possible flavors, and sizes. The sized I offered were 8 inch round or square or 9 inch round, because I thought she had said before that she was expecting 20 people, and the shower last week had 20 people and they only ate half the cake. I asked for colors.

She responded and said she wanted the same size I did for the shower last week. (one 8 inch round and 1 6 inch round.) She said the mom liked gerber daisies ( I put fondant daisies on the cake last weekend) and that she wanted turquoise, pink, orange, and cream.

I have only ever done cakes with two, maybe three colors, one of which has been white.
Also, I had nightmares about transporting that cake. I only had to go 10 minutes. She will need to pick it up from me Sat, and then refrigerate it, and then transport it 30+ minutes on Sunday, in bad weather. I would like to avoid two tiers. I think she likes the impressiveness of the two tiers. But I don't know if she will be able to store it/transport it. So, what size can I suggest to her? I know she does not want a sheet cake, really.

I am such a novice. I am asking about size, shape, and color/design ideas, as well as how to transport. Also, the filling has to be refrigerated, and it is pretty humid here, so it has to be refrigerated, and I am nervous about fondant in the frig for an extended period of time.

Thanks so much!

(and how to gently bring up the pricing, maybe, if I do have to do the stacked cake. )

23 replies
TooMuchCake Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 8:30pm
post #2 of 24

Hi!

To address the stacking question, how about using the Wilton hidden pillars and putting the top tier on one of the Wilton separator plates? I do that if someone needs to stack a cake that they've picked up.

Cut the hidden pillars the same height as the cake (measure ONE point on the cake, then cut all the dowels to that height). Use the separator plate to lightly mark where the pillars should be inserted. Then, insert the pillars but DON'T press them all the way in. That way, when the customer gets where she's going, she only has to set the feet of the plate into the slightly-protruding hidden pillars (there's room enough for her to get her fingers out, that's the important part) and let gravity settle the upper tier down for her.

You can start the pricing discussion by explaining how easy it will be for her to assemble the cake with this set-up, how much easier it will be to drive with it, how much easier to refrigerate it, blah blah, BUT the pillars and plate are more expensive than without them....

HTH,
Deanna

pinkbiz Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 8:42pm
post #3 of 24

is the cake going to be fondant?? if so DON'T refigerate! its horrible your fondant will get sticky believe me i tried it once and it was horrible here in puerto rico is very very humid so i understand you...recently i had a customer order a cake and i told her not to put it on the fridge and she did and then told me " i shoud have listen to you because it was super sticky."... so thats about the fondant and about the sizes just do what she told you but like toomuchcake said add pilar or wooden dowels and give it to her separate and just tell her to stack them herself remember after that cake leaves your hands anything that happends its their fault just give them good directions good luck!!

Mom2ANC Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 8:52pm
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TooMuchCake

Hi!

To address the stacking question, how about using the Wilton hidden pillars and putting the top tier on one of the Wilton separator plates? I do that if someone needs to stack a cake that they've picked up.




Also, if the customer puts the top layer on, then the cake won't have a border around the bottom of the top tier. I don't know if I can do a good enough job not to need one.
Maybe if I tell her she can stack it herself, she will change her mind and just want a larger one tier cake. icon_smile.gif

pinkbiz, the cake will be buttercream w/ fondant accents. I guess.

tonedna Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:17pm
post #5 of 24

Don't be scared..is only sugar..If you dont try it ever you wont pass this stage. 2 tiers are not too bad for first timers. You can use straws if you are doing a six on top of an eight. And then cut a dowell, sharpen it and pass it through both cakes. Remember the top tier has to have a cardboard covered in wax paper on both sides and should be cut the size of the cake, then give it a second coat.

Give yourself some time for fixing anything you have troubles with. Anything can be fix. and starting over is not a bad thing cause practice will make you better. Frustrations will dissapear as soon as you get used to doing it.

And remember..we love to answer questions here in CC..you are not alone..
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

summernoelle Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:25pm
post #6 of 24

Edna-I know you are awesome, so please don't take an offense-I am completely aware of your awesomeness! But, I really have to disagree with the straws.
I would not use straws if you can help it. I've had issues even when the cakes are that small, and for a first timer, you might just want to look into SPS. It will make the transport and assembly fool proof, even if you are a new to stacking. PM leahs for info on it-she is super helpful.

For pricing, just say my price is XX per serving, which comes out to XX. Trust me, it gets easier everytime you do it! It used to be tough for me, but now I think nothing of it.

NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER refrigerate fondant. The filling should be fine under the fondant.

Good luck!

TooMuchCake Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:27pm
post #7 of 24

You can put a border on on the top tier and give it to her separated. With the room for her to get her fingers underneath the tier to set it on the pillars, she can pull her fingers away without disturbing the border. I've done that before and it works. If she is worried about disturbing the border, she can always opt for the sheet cake. OR, you can set the top tier on a larger separator plate and then it won't be an issue.

icon_smile.gif

Deanna

tonedna Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:45pm
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by summernoelle

Edna-I know you are awesome, so please don't take an offense-I am completely aware of your awesomeness! But, I really have to disagree with the straws.
I would not use straws if you can help it. I've had issues even when the cakes are that small, and for a first timer, you might just want to look into SPS. It will make the transport and assembly fool proof, even if you are a new to stacking. PM leahs for info on it-she is super helpful.

For pricing, just say my price is XX per serving, which comes out to XX. Trust me, it gets easier everytime you do it! It used to be tough for me, but now I think nothing of it.

NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER refrigerate fondant. The filling should be fine under the fondant.

Good luck!




I only suggest straws for small cakes. A 6 on top of an 8. 7 straws , no less..But everybody has it's way of doing things..I respect that.. thumbs_up.gif

Edna icon_biggrin.gif

tonedna Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:46pm
post #9 of 24

Double post...

By the way foam core is great too.
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

MacsMom Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:46pm
post #10 of 24

I do the same thing that Edna does, except that I use foam core board insteda of wax covered cardboard. I use a knife to cut it the same size as the cake pre-BC. I use straws for small cakes, I've never had a problem (I've had more trouble with wooden dowels!).

If you are afraid that one dowel hammered through the whole cake won't be stable enough, then use two! I use two dowels for my topsy-turvy cakes. I glue 3 foam core boards together as the base and hammer the dowels all the way down into them to keep them stable.

Mom2ANC Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:52pm
post #11 of 24

Thank you for the information.

I have done three other cakes for this person and I have always charged her 40 dollars. She was the first acquaintance to ask to buy a cake from me, and that is what she offered to pay me and I said yes. So, that is what she has paid me. I did not mind the bigger cake for my friend's shower, because that was for a friend. But, I feel badly telling her now that I want more money. It is too late for her to find another cake.

I am still confused about the stacking.... what is an SPS? Edna, what do you mean my covering them and then putting another layer on?

I did not think of putting a border on the top tier before I give it to her. That is a good idea. I wonder if she will be willing to stack it herself....

I still have no idea how to actually decorate the cake, either. Those colors... icon_eek.gif

I have refrigerated cakes with buttercream and then fondant decorations without trouble in the past. Have I just gotten lucky?
The filling is just butter, conf. sugar, and jam. How can I not refrigerate that for two days? I do not want to change the filling on her, that is what she wants.

MacsMom Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:56pm
post #12 of 24

I forgot about pricing...

When you give her the price and she questions it, simply explain that the previous cake was discounted as a gift.

cakesbyamym Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:56pm
post #13 of 24

DON'T PUT FONDANT IN THE FRIDGE! icon_eek.gif I delivered a wedding shower cake to one of our local country clubs back in the spring and specifically warned them to NOT put the cake in their walk-in cooler. What did they do? Put it in the cooler. The fondant basically turned to mush, and the fondant bow was crap. The filling will be just fine inside the fondant overlay as long as it's kept in a cool place.

As for the two tiered cake option...go for it. icon_biggrin.gif 90% of my cakes are two-tiered, and people pick them up all of the time without incident. I dowel my cakes really well to insure that they won't fall or tip over. Another suggestion, have her to bring along a towel or something to place the boxed cake on during transport. It will help to keep the cake from sliding, too.

You can do it! thumbs_up.gif The more than you do, the more comfortable and second nature that it will become for you. Good luck!

MacsMom Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 9:59pm
post #14 of 24

Hmmm... I've never had a problem with puttin gmy cakes in the firdge, and ALL of them have been in and out of the fridge as I work on them.

It takes 2 to 3 hours for them to dry, but they dry just fine. Take note, however, that I don't live in a humid area icon_wink.gif

Texas_Rose Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 10:00pm
post #15 of 24

If your fondant decorations were flat...polka-dots, stripes, flower cutouts, etc...then the fridge wouldn't really hurt them. But if they were dried with a form, like the gerbera daisies will be, the fridge may make them lie down on the cake.

I think if I were working with those colors, I would make the buttercream the cream color, then make the flowers in the colors, pipe green stems going up the sides of the cake and stick the flowers on the stems every so often. Vary the height of the flowers. Then for the top, a few leaves piped in the center and three gerberas kind of leaning on each other, so that they stand up from the cake.

Mom2ANC Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 10:03pm
post #16 of 24

I appreciate the encouragement so much!!!
You all are so helpful and give me confidance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbyamym

DON'T PUT FONDANT IN THE FRIDGE! icon_eek.gif I delivered a wedding shower cake to one of our local country clubs back in the spring and specifically warned them to NOT put the cake in their walk-in cooler. What did they do? Put it in the cooler. The fondant basically turned to mush, and the fondant bow was crap. The filling will be just fine inside the fondant overlay as long as it's kept in a cool place.




I am icing it in buttercream, no fondant covering, and then the only fondant will be probably the daisies. Can I still get away with not refrigerating it? Two people have said the filling will be fine under the fondant, but it won't be covered in fondant.

I have seen pictures of what happens when fondant cakes are put in the refrigerator. I would not want that to happen!! I see we are in the same state, amym, so you know how humid it will be here. It makes me nervous, but I will trust you if you say it will be OK.

MacsMom Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 10:04pm
post #17 of 24

Hmmm... I've never had a problem with puttin gmy cakes in the firdge, and ALL of them have been in and out of the fridge as I work on them.

It takes 2 to 3 hours for them to dry, but they dry just fine. Take note, however, that I don't live in a humid area icon_wink.gif

leah_s Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 10:08pm
post #18 of 24

You know, SPS was originally designed for bakeries that didn't offer delivery. It's perfect fo "cilivians" who want to transport their own cake. And it's easy to use, although you probably don't have time to order it for this cake. Who knows, though, you might find it in one of your local cake supplies stores.

tonedna Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 10:13pm
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2ANC

Thank you for the information.

I have done three other cakes for this person and I have always charged her 40 dollars. She was the first acquaintance to ask to buy a cake from me, and that is what she offered to pay me and I said yes. So, that is what she has paid me. I did not mind the bigger cake for my friend's shower, because that was for a friend. But, I feel badly telling her now that I want more money. It is too late for her to find another cake.

I am still confused about the stacking.... what is an SPS? Edna, what do you mean my covering them and then putting another layer on?

I did not think of putting a border on the top tier before I give it to her. That is a good idea. I wonder if she will be willing to stack it herself....

I still have no idea how to actually decorate the cake, either. Those colors... icon_eek.gif

I have refrigerated cakes with buttercream and then fondant decorations without trouble in the past. Have I just gotten lucky?
The filling is just butter, conf. sugar, and jam. How can I not refrigerate that for two days? I do not want to change the filling on her, that is what she wants.




If you are not sure of stack a cake..dont let them do it either..it would be a mess. Better use colums instead or stay with a one tier.

When you use cardboard in the second tier, the carboard needs to be cover in wax paper so it doesnt soak the grease on both sides
I first give a crumbcoat to my cake. then i cut the cardboard to the size of the cake before I do a second coat. Check this link.





Edna thumbs_up.gif

Mom2ANC Posted 2 Sep 2008 , 10:13pm
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

You know, SPS was originally designed for bakeries that didn't offer delivery. It's perfect fo "cilivians" who want to transport their own cake. And it's easy to use, although you probably don't have time to order it for this cake. Who knows, though, you might find it in one of your local cake supplies stores.




Does Micheal's carry it? What is SPS?

kakeladi Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 12:20am
post #21 of 24

........Does Micheal's carry it? What is SPS?........

SPS = Single Plate System
There are 4 pillars that go into the cake. These are similar to Wilton's "Hidden Pillars". The cake goes on a plate which locks onto the pillars making deliveries safe.

hammer1 Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 12:57am
post #22 of 24

what kind of filling....before you do not refrigerate, make sure you are not doing somekind of mousse filling.

we do not refrigerate buttercream unless a mousse filling.

why a two layer cake, that serves more than 20?

How about a 2 layer 8 inch cake elevated with cupcakes around it with baby items on the cupcakes or the flowers. look at my pictures there is a cake like this but larger and for a graduation. Just an idea.

If the central cake is elevated it still makes an impressive presentation.

Mom2ANC Posted 4 Sep 2008 , 2:23am
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer1

what kind of filling....before you do not refrigerate, make sure you are not doing somekind of mousse filling.

we do not refrigerate buttercream unless a mousse filling.

why a two layer cake, that serves more than 20?

How about a 2 layer 8 inch cake elevated with cupcakes around it with baby items on the cupcakes or the flowers. look at my pictures there is a cake like this but larger and for a graduation. Just an idea.

If the central cake is elevated it still makes an impressive presentation.




The filling is raspberry buttercream. The recipe is 1/2 c butter, 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, raspberry jam and vanilla flavor. I was going to refrigerate because of the butter, and because she is picking up the cake Sat and her event is Sunday.
What do you all think?

I talked to her and made three other suggestions for larger two layer cakes, and told her about the stacking/transporting. She said she wants to risk the stacking, so *sigh*

I did not mention any price issues, though. I have no backbone. Where is the banging head icon?????
This will be my 4th cake for her in 2 months. If she calls me again, I will tell her since I am now busy with homeschooling my 3 children and with a pregnancy that is really tiring me out, I am going to have to up my price!!!

Mom2ANC Posted 6 Sep 2008 , 6:40pm
post #24 of 24

Thanks for the stacking tips.
I think the stacking job is good, and I have a box for it and everything.

The cake, however, is u-g-l-y.
It looks terrible icon_cry.gif
Pink, orange, cream, and turqouise - I did not do a good job pulling it together and is the single worst cake I have ever done.
I tried doing the gerber daisies out of fondant, and they looked terrible and kept breaking, so I just did stripes on the bottom and regular fondant daisies on the top. It looks awful. I kept hitting the cake, and there are too many colors.
I hate that I worked so hard on a cake to get these results.
icon_sad.gif

I did eat cuttings, though, and at least it tastes good.

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