Question: Cake Decorator Doesn't Bake Her Own Cakes?

Decorating By slopokesgirl Updated 28 May 2009 , 6:43pm by JanH

slopokesgirl Posted 25 May 2009 , 4:56pm
post #1 of 190

Ok... I spoke with the health department and they told me that I can decorate cakes in my home as long as I purchase the cakes from a wholesaler. The cakes have to be pre-made, labeled, packaged, and frozen.

I'm not to happy about not being able to bake my own but this will help me get my business going till I can build out my kitchen in my basement.

So here's my question..

I remember reading somewhere that there was a cake decorator in the east coast that didn't bake her own cakes. Does anyone remember who that is?

Or: Does anyone know a wholesaler that I can contact?

189 replies
en-passant Posted 25 May 2009 , 4:59pm
post #2 of 190

Here's my two cents... and it's not pretty.

As a consumer, I wouldn't purchase a cake not made by you. You may be the best decorator in the world with the coolest cakes and competitive prices, but if you didn't make it yourself (i.e., purchased cake mass-produced by a wholesaler with whatever preservatives etc) I would never order from you.

slopokesgirl Posted 25 May 2009 , 5:48pm
post #3 of 190

En-passant: I appreciate your candor. However, if you read my post carefully, you would see that I am not 100% happy with buying my cakes ready made.

I just have not choice at this point. I was laid of from my job two months ago and I was ... ahem.. encouraged to pursue my passion as a business.

So, would it be better to bake from home illegally? Or... would it be better to buy the cakes already made?

I can not afford to build out my basement at this time... I don't have a sugar daddy (pun intended) that I can persuade to give me the money, and I choose to do this the right way.

Do you understand my predicament now?

en-passant Posted 25 May 2009 , 5:51pm
post #4 of 190

I understaood your predicament from the beginning. Just adding my voice as a consumer icon_smile.gif

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Cheyanne25 Posted 25 May 2009 , 5:55pm
post #5 of 190

I don't really have any info to help you, but I've got to say that's a strange stipulation from the Health Department, at least from my point of view. If they are all for letting people decorate (I'm assuming that includes making the icing with which you will be decorating) why the need to order pre-made cakes? Why is it okay to make the icing but not the cake? Strange world....

hensor Posted 25 May 2009 , 6:03pm
post #6 of 190

I find this to be a very strange request from a Health Department since I work at one in another state. While we do not license home bakers, the Department of Agriculture does. You might want to check and see if there are other agencies or laws in your state. So if you were making homemade salsa to jar and sell would you have to buy the tomatoes from somewhere else too?

Minstrelmiss Posted 25 May 2009 , 6:04pm
post #7 of 190

Ok, so this post starts with some of the same details that you are talking about but them drifts away in a completely different direction by the OP. However, she might be able to help you.

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopic-632761-0.html

I also would not buy a fantasticly decorated assembly line frozen cake. Just wouldn't. Good luck icon_smile.gif

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 25 May 2009 , 6:06pm
post #8 of 190

it's the same OP

leily Posted 25 May 2009 , 7:05pm
post #9 of 190

I would imagine you can contact your local restaurant supplier. Such as Sysco (i can't remember other ones throughout the country)

I know that Wal-mart and sams cakes come from Pillsbury. Maybe you can contact them directly? Or if you have a sam's near you, you can purchase cases of the cakes. Only problem is they only get white chocoalte, marble, and yellow.

slopokesgirl Posted 25 May 2009 , 7:27pm
post #10 of 190

leily: Pillsbury huh? Sweet.. I'll try that out. Thanks for your help.

leily Posted 25 May 2009 , 7:42pm
post #11 of 190

hope it works out for you.

TantalizingTreats Posted 25 May 2009 , 7:50pm
post #12 of 190

could you not rent a kitchen from one of your local community centres...... thats what I did... granted you still have to licence yourself as a business and get the right permits and such... but it's legal and your not buying your cakes wholesale.

LisaR64 Posted 25 May 2009 , 8:03pm
post #13 of 190

When it comes to sculpted cakes, etc., most of my family & friends seem to care more about how the cake "looks" than how it tastes. Personally, I like the taste of Costco cakes, so I wouldn't have any problem if the beautifully decorated cake I purchased started out as Costco type cake.

Taste is important, but I think it's the design and decorator skills that turns $25.00 worth of ingredients into a cake that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for. Just my 2 cents, and I wish you the best of luck.

Uniqueask Posted 25 May 2009 , 8:04pm
post #14 of 190

All the cakes that we purchase for school, from sysco are already decorated, or they are cheese cake, or such so I do not know if they sell plain cakes, but Best of luck to you.

But as some of the other people said, I would not buy a frozen decorated cake either (No Offense) we can buy those from Walmart, BJ's etc

gailsgoodies Posted 25 May 2009 , 8:05pm
post #15 of 190

Just curious...are you going to TELL people you aren't baking the cakes? If so, will they get a cheaper price as an incentive? I wish you all the luck in the world and happy decorating to you!

Gail

Uniqueask Posted 25 May 2009 , 8:09pm
post #16 of 190

By the way, when I called my HD he told me that I needed a separate Kitchen, but if I am making 1 or 2 cakes a week I can make them from my own kitchen and he does not need to know about it, because it is a grey area, you are usually supposed to be license bu the Dept Of Agriculture, and I still do not want to take the chance, so I am Looking for a kitchen, to rent from and it is really hard in my area to find one,

3GCakes Posted 25 May 2009 , 8:18pm
post #17 of 190

I think if it's the only way you can do it, then GO FOR IT!! What have you got to lose? If people ask, tell them. If not, if they like it, then you still have all the ingredients listed. You're not lying about it.

When I worked for TCBY we got all our cakes frozen from Sara Lee. Of course, we never un-froze them. People loved them.

You will be giving them something better than Wal-Mart and Sam's, especially if you are making your own icing and creating something that looks fantastic.

If Pillsbury doesn't work, maybe check out Sara Lee. I think it's fabulous you can still find a way to do it legally.

sayhellojana Posted 25 May 2009 , 8:38pm
post #18 of 190

It's not the best circumstances, but do what you have to do. Just get really good at flavoring cakes with soaking syrups, perfect your icing and filling recipes so that they are out of this world, and you can make those cake's good.

slopokesgirl Posted 25 May 2009 , 8:54pm
post #19 of 190

Yea, the cards I've been dealt are crummy. But you know what? I have to do what I can with what I have.

I am contacting Pillsbury and Sara Lee and anyone else that will listen. Then, I am going to let my cakes build my business.

My start may be difficult, but my ending is going to be spectacular. icon_smile.gif

I just need to keep positive people near me. And the occasional nay sayer will only encourage me to prove them wrong. icon_smile.gif

Will I tell them that I use pre-made cakes? Don't know. I guess my answer to that is: if they ask, I will tell them.

BTY: I am going to make sure that I taste the cakes before I order from anyone.

I know that taste and appearance go hand in hand. And I hate having to give one up. But I'll be darned if I'm going to let this glitch (and lack of funds) to take this passion from me. And a money source from my family.

Thank you all for your direction.. after all, that is what I was looking for when I originally posted my question.

sayhellojana Posted 25 May 2009 , 8:56pm
post #20 of 190

sounds like you've got the right attitude! It's an extra hurdle but so what? You'll make it work icon_smile.gif

icer101 Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:02pm
post #21 of 190

i wish you all the luck.. yes, stay around positive people.. the non positive will get you down.. your attitude is great..

indydebi Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:07pm
post #22 of 190

GFS sells baked, frozen cakes, un-iced. I found this out when I was in their store and they were giving cake samples. I tasted it and said, "Well, your icing sucks, but the cake's not bad." Then they told me, "You can buy them un-iced."

To me, this is no different than sub-contracting out some of the work. It's the old "scratch vs. mix" debate; it's the silly idea that some people have about ALL restaurants and bakeries make everything themselves, when in fact they buy a lot of it frozen and in a heat-n-serve condition. (My sister wanted to ARGUE with me that her favorite restaurant made this one soup special just for them .... so I brought her a frozen container of it from GFS as a Christmas present to shut her up!)

Some people on here openly say they buy their icing in tubs from Sam's; others openly say they make their cakes from the 50-lb bag of "just add water" commercial mix. Some make their gumpaste flowers..... some buy them from a supplier.

If I bake cakes ahead of time and put them in the freezer .... or if I buy cakes pre-made and keep them in the freezer .... what's the difference?

I don't see any big signs hanging in big-box-grocery-store-bakeries that proclaim "Our cakes are baked across the country and shipped in already baked and iced!"

labmom Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:11pm
post #23 of 190

Most people won't ask if you bake or don't bake your cakes. As long as you purchase a good brand cake and your icing and decorating are good people will remain happy. Don't tell them unless they ask any questions.

I know some bakers that would be better off with a purchased cake to decorate. One is so bad that a reception hall refused to serve her cake it smelled so bad of mold or something. We think it is because she lives on a farm with very poor well water.. thus it transfers into her baking. She doesn't notice because she lives with it 24/7.

You might check with a local church hall to use there kitchen. I found a small cafe that only served breakfast and lunch and opened the kitchen to me anytime from 3pm on, and all day sunday and monday when they were closed. They had a great walk in freezer and fridge, and everything that I could ask for. Unfortunately the building just had structure problems and I am once again doing cakes out of my home. Due to health problems, I am only baking occasionaly so I am waiting to search out yet another kitchen. *oh yes, check with your local real estate company. There have been many commercial kitchen rentals listed in our local paper in the last couple months. That is how I am going to check once I am back on my feet.
Best of luck to you, husband out of work 30 years ago is how I got into cakes full time, now were back with him out of work again.

Best to all of us right now!!

Win Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:19pm
post #24 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

GFS sells baked, frozen cakes, un-iced. I found this out when I was in their store and they were giving cake samples. I tasted it and said, "Well, your icing sucks, but the cake's not bad." Then they told me, "You can buy them un-iced."

To me, this is no different than sub-contracting out some of the work. It's the old "scratch vs. mix" debate; it's the silly idea that some people have about ALL restaurants and bakeries make everything themselves, when in fact they buy a lot of it frozen and in a heat-n-serve condition. (My sister wanted to ARGUE with me that her favorite restaurant made this one soup special just for them .... so I brought her a frozen container of it from GFS as a Christmas present to shut her up!)

Some people on here openly say they buy their icing in tubs from Sam's; others openly say they make their cakes from the 50-lb bag of "just add water" commercial mix. Some make their gumpaste flowers..... some buy them from a supplier.

If I bake cakes ahead of time and put them in the freezer .... or if I buy cakes pre-made and keep them in the freezer .... what's the difference?

I don't see any big signs hanging in big-box-grocery-store-bakeries that proclaim "Our cakes are baked across the country and shipped in already baked and iced!"




Almost verbatim to what I was thinking as I read this post...

BCJean Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:25pm
post #25 of 190

I used to work for a bakery here in California. The company had two bakeries, in different towns. They also had a wholesale bakery. They baked breads and cakes, which they used in their two bakeries. They also sold to many other bakeries, including Safeway. The cakes which they sold in their own bakeries were double the price Safeway charged for theirs, .....same exact cake. We used a lot of fresh fruit fillings, our whipped cream was real cream, our buttercream icing had real butter in it and the decorating was custom decorating. We never had customers complain or tell us the cakes tasted the same as Safeway.

If you find a company with cakes which taste good.............you can make it into something spectacular. I would not volunteer the information that you do not bake your own cakes, if the customer asks then tell them, the cake itself is baked by a professional baking company. Many people use fillings which they purchase premade.....do they tell the customers, by the way I do not make my own fillings, I use premade ones. What about fondant, most do not make their own, does that make it inferior? For those who use Bettercreme, same thing. Is using a cake mix better than having a baking company bake cakes for you?

If you check you can find baking companies who make very good cakes. Your decorating is spectacular, I would buy from you.

slopokesgirl Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:27pm
post #26 of 190

I just contacted GFS. Thanks indydebi

sweetiesbykim Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:29pm
post #27 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by slopokesgirl


So here's my question..

I remember reading somewhere that there was a cake decorator in the east coast that didn't bake her own cakes. Does anyone remember who that is?

Or: Does anyone know a wholesale that I can contact?




Since I live on the east coast, I get to have classes with many top names in the biz, some on food network challenges -new and old. I found this out while being around them. In NYC, many decorators do not have a bakery on their premises, but have a contract with a wholesale baker to make the decorator's recipes and not give them out or sell them. They are from scratch, freshly baked, etc. in a clean, inspected kitchen. In NYC all decorators don't have the space luxury to bake themselves.

I would LOVE if I could do just the decorating without the time and energy put into all the mixing and baking. So much so, that I've thought of hiring a small bakery in my area to do it for me. Especially if they need the business in this economy, and I could do more cakes since I would have more time from not baking. I also don't have the large ovens and 20+quart mixers they have to bake tons of cake in an efficient amount of time. I would personally go this route and forget about the frozen cake idea icon_smile.gif

slopokesgirl Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:30pm
post #28 of 190

I'm feeling better by the minute.. Thanks guys

indydebi Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:35pm
post #29 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetiesbykim

So much so, that I've thought of hiring a small bakery in my area to do it for me.



Way back in the day, when I was first starting out, I would 'hire' the local bakery to do my cakes during heavy volume months. They baked and base-iced them; I decorated them. Worked great in the day when I had a small single oven in my home. (It was before the internet ...... legal? licensed? Health Dept permit? you needed those things? No kidding? Huh! Whadda ya know! icon_eek.gif )

For those who "think" they are buying products made on-site by the owner/baker, I suggest you subscribe to "Modern Baking" magazine (it's free) ...... you'll be enthralled at all of the bakery products being used by "real" bakeries! You might even recognize your personal favorite item! thumbs_up.gif

jeking Posted 25 May 2009 , 9:42pm
post #30 of 190

Go for it!! You can always do some special things...like flavored icings, brushing liquers onto the cake for special flavors, etc.

Save your $$ and pretty soon you'll be baking up a storm in your newly expanded kitchen...legally.

There are some cake purists here on BYC....and I think that's fine. But everyone's situation is vastly different. Sometimes we have to do what we don't want to do for a while.

I used to be a scratch only baker...until I started as a contract decorator for someone with a huge wedding cake business. She does bake all her cakes....but they aren't from scratch...and we won a tasting contest with one. That was up against competition from a couple of 5 star hotels. Taste is important, but I think a beautifully decorated cake just seems to taste better!!

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