Hi all, I have a potential client, (a big one because she is an event co-ordinator and would refer a lot of clientel to me if she is happy) who prefers all organic. This is a big step into the unkown for me. The ingredients that I use are through the bakery that I work with and are all purchased in bulk, and as far as I know, there are no organic food stores near me.
My question is this. Do any of you have experience with organic cakes or fondant? Is there any way that I can guarantee flavor/quality, especially since this is not something that I am familiar with? I don't have the capital to do much experimenting. I've found organic marshmallows online, but not sure how the recipie would affect making them into fondant. She found organic colorings, but I am definitely not comfortable with those.
Should I just tell her that this is not what I do, or try to accomodate her as best I can? I'm at a loss and need some advice from others who might have been there before.
I don't think organic ingredients would change the recipe/taste/texture as they are the same ingredients, but are processed differently. No chemicals fertilizer are use for exemple. The only thing that would change is the price!! And I would say that you can charge her 2X what you charge a regular customer... those ingredients are PRICEY + the time you have to shop to find them. I would tell her that doing her cake organic would really cost her first. Then if she still want it...
Check with the larger chain grocery stores, you may find an organic section that you could find your ingredients. I know here the larger stores all have a special health food section that carries the organic foods.
The other place to check is if you have a local health food store they should carry it too. You might have to travel to a larger city to find one.
I've never seen ready-to-roll organic fondant, but you could certainly make it from scratch using organic ingredients if you can source them!
Organic flour is easy to find in supermarkets, free-range organic eggs also. Pure vanilla extract. Butter. Sea salt. Organic cocoa is available as is organic cark and milk chocolate...so I think you have a lot you can do FOR THE RIGHT PRICE!!
Re: colours, don't be afraid of natural colours, but do warn the customer that the every shade may not be achievable.
I think I could do a chocolate or coffee cake using all organic, with ingredients from my local supermarket. When you start talking about fondant and gumpaste though...needs more research.
I don't know if you have a Martin's or GIANT near you, if you do, they have an organic section that carries organic cake mixes (if you don't do completely scratch) you can get white, yellow, and chocolate... Also organic extracts, and I think they have organic flavorings as well.. I have a healthfood store near me, that also carries organic flavorings/colors etc. However, something to think about, if she wants organic, she will more than likely want natural flavors too..
Definately charge double the price! However, I would not worry about the organic products tasting "worse" than your current products, because Organic products taste natural.
Thanks for all of the great input and advice, it has definitely helped allevieate some of my anxiety. I will be looking at my local Kroger (the largest chain in our immediate area) and see what they have to offer. If they do not have what I need, I've found a couple of things on-line, and the client has replied saying that even if I can do mostly organic that is fine too (thank goodness!).
Hey, I live in Hurricane too! Small world! Kroger has a pretty full line of organics now, especially since they finished the remodel last week. I've also found the manager to be really good about special-ordering items upon request. Just go up to the front counter and ask to speak with the Nature's Market manager. Also, if you go to the Drug Emporium in Barboursville (next to JoAnns), they have a Healthy Life Market inside that has an excellent selection of organic and natural foods.
So where do you work? I didn't realize there was anyone around here that did fondant cakes. I'm always getting asked to make cakes, but since we can't legally bake from home here I always turn people down. It would be great to have someone to refer people to! PM me if you'd like!
I would not do this for decorated cake. It's challenging enough to produce a beautiful creation. I would be completely limited in what I could do if I went all organic.
Organic products will not perform the same way. You know what happens when you change one teeny weeny seemingly harmless thing--worlds can collide.
I could do a great cake with organic but I could not make it like usual.
I offer an all-organic line, and have no troubles at all with the recipes, since I bake from scratch anyways. I have not used organic box mixes, so I don't know how those compare.
As mentioned, do keep in mind the higher cost and shopping time, and there may be some color limitations, but you can get organic coloring through India Tree. Strawberry juice, etc. can also make pastel colors.
If you do anticipate many orders, you can get bulk supplies through United Whole Foods (you may have a co-op in your area) or try asking at local farmers' markets for leads on local, free-range organic eggs which are often less in cost than the gorcery-store line (ask if the chickens eat organic, feed, however, and check with your client as to her preference). Bulk organic supplies are often not all that much more than non-organic, but, here, bulk is the key. The small packages -- whew! -- I agree, quite pricey.
I use mostly (sometimes ALL) organic and vegan and I don't feel limited. It can be more expensive, so you may need adjust your price for that cake. I even use Sugarshack's BC recipe. You can find organic powdered sugar at the heath food store, or you can grind your own using organic sugar and a bit of cornstarch. Colors may be an issue only because they are VERY expensive unless you do them using fruit juice, etc. The colors just won't be as intense.
For fondant, there is organic vegan gelatine (not sure about regular). It can be a process to find these things in a hurry.
edited to add~ I also bake from scratch and get my organic dutch process cocoa in bulk at a low cost... yes, buy in bulk if you can.
It can be done, but it's not cheap. Good luck.
I use a lot of organic ingredients and am not limited either. Organic flour and sugar will perform the same as regular flour and sugar... organic vanilla too. India Tree makes natural food colors and, while they more expensive, they certainly work well. I think the trickiest part will be the fondant, and even that isn't a huge hurdle with a little detective work. If you go with the organic mix it will be even easier, though I'm not sure one the flavor. I'd go organic with as much as you can and "natural" with the rest of it. Organic baking powder isn't something you'll find, but I use Bob's Red Mill aluminum free baking powder and baking soda. Salt is also something you are't going to see labled as organic, but use fine ground sea salt. Organic powdered sugar is pretty readily available and Spectrum Naturals makes organic shortening (I'm sure they aren't the only ones, but that's what my local grocery store sells). Using organic ingredients is not a hindrance. You can make the same recipe organic if you can find the same ingredients in organic varieties and it will taste and act the same.
Definitely charge more though... it's not cheap to find organic ingredients.
What I mean by me being limited is that I could not use a gum paste rose from a previous cake. I could not intermingle decorating mediums unless all my stuff was organic. No pearl dust, no candy clay, no air brush color, other coloring may or may not clog my airbrush etc. To me, sugar is not organic.
"Not sure on the flavor" is not how I operate.
When I decorate I use all of my expertise--I would not want to put any of it on the back shelf because I could not certify it as organic. Like I said I could make a dynamite cake but I could not make a dynamite cake the way I wanna make it with all my 'powers & tools' intact.
We had a house fire that destroyed my cake pans and to this day when I'm doing a cake I start planning with those pans then go to plan b--I don't like that. I'm not gonna limit me on purpose. I mean I might get an epiphany and then have to stop and figure out the organic means to do it--I'm not into it. It would limit me.
The state has limited me effectively to not being able to have a home shop I'm not gonna limit me any further.
So I'm glad y'all are not limited--but that's what I meant.
Right... I do get it. There are a lot of things that just can't be organic... but I believe she said (a few posts down from the original) the customer would be okay with mostly organic, so it isn't as huge of a deal as going 100%. I'm willing to bet that she is mostly concerned about the ingredients for the cake and icing.. that is easily interchanged.
What I would do is tell her that going 100% organic will severely limit her decor choices. That if she wants to compromise that will make things much easier on you (and her wallet as well).
edited for some spelling errors... tired typing is bad...