My First Cake Order

Decorating By jvanhorsen Updated 19 Jun 2009 , 10:39pm by cylstrial

jvanhorsen Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 6:53pm
post #1 of 50

So after months of lurking on the boards, and speeding through all the Wilton classes in couple months, I have finally taken on my first paid cake gig.

I figured, in the spirit of the forums, and this being my first post, I would try my best to capture the process from start to finish, and maybe asking for help and suggestions along the way.

Here is the concept I presented to my client.


This will be needed to serve around 75 guests, though they are expecting fewer will actually show up. I am going with a 12", 9", 7" with a WASC cake, raspberry sleeve filling, sam's club but-r-cream, and satin ice fondant. Text and stripes will be fondant, with some additional piped accents that I have not completely determined. I might change up the bow as well, but I have not decided.

I am really approaching this project as a self promotional piece. The client said do whatever you want, just try not to make it look like a wedding cake. I am charging $2.50 a serving, so it comes out to around $200.00 based on wiltons serving charts for my pans. I am not expecting to make any profit, though I am buying some new pans, and stuff, which is where a bunch of the profit is going.

This should be an exciting, learning adventure, and hopefully the start of a profitable hobby!


Van Horsen Design

49 replies
CakesbyCindi Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 6:57pm
post #2 of 50

Congratulations... It is a beautiful design. Make sure to post pics when done.

emlashlee Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 8:04pm
post #3 of 50

How exciting! I'm sure it will turn out great. It seems like you have certainly done your homework. What program did you design the cake with? Good luck!

jvanhorsen Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 9:46pm
post #4 of 50

Thanks! I did the cake design in Adobe Illustrator.

My day job is graphic design, so after building a sketch on paper, I did what I would do with any of my other design or illustration, and brought it into the computer. The client really loved being able to get a clear picture of what I was aiming for, and I have a clear idea of what I want to achieve.

cylstrial Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 12:17am
post #5 of 50

Wait! I don't think that you can use But-r-cream under fondant. I think it makes it shrink and wrinkle the fondant. I'm not 100% sure that it was but-r-cream but it was something like it. I'm going to try to thread where this happened to a lady a few months ago.

cylstrial Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 12:21am
post #6 of 50

Ok, I can't find the thread. But I figured out who it happened to. It was "Shill" on here. So you can contact her and ask her what she used under the fondant. She took the photo the night before delivery and it looked great! And then the next morning, she woke up and it had just shriveled up. It still looked good, but it looked so much better without the elephant skin. Anyway, just PM her before you use that under fondant!

nightmoon Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 12:29am
post #7 of 50

Wow, Josh, that's totally awesome. I drew up a cake I want to make for a friend for the end of the month and was dying to get a 'real' looking picture of it but didn't know how. I'll have to ask my daughter if she can help me. BTW who is Principia? Good luck with your project. It sounds delicious.

jvanhorsen Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 1:22am
post #8 of 50

Whoa, thanks for the heads up Cylstrial! I will drop her a note and see whats up. That would really be an unpleasant surprise. Thank you.

Nightmoon, The Principia is a private school in Missouri.

jvanhorsen Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 1:36am
post #9 of 50

I found the thread regarding Shill's fondant issue.

So my question is this: Are Bettercreme, and the bakery But-R-Cream the same thing?

I will just rethink my buttercream, and probably go back to making my own, was just trying to cut a corner and save some time, but there is no way I am going to risk any problems.

Elise87 Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 2:23am
post #10 of 50

Hey, i do grahic design too! Illustrator can be so helpful with cakes at times icon_biggrin.gif I think it looks great, good luck!

chassidyg Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 2:29am
post #11 of 50

Bettercreme is a whipped topping, I'm not sure if it'd work under fondant. That's a beautiful cake!

honeyscakes Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 2:37am
post #12 of 50
Originally Posted by jvanhorsen

I found the thread regarding Shill's fondant issue.

So my question is this: Are Bettercreme, and the bakery But-R-Cream the same thing?

I will just rethink my buttercream, and probably go back to making my own, was just trying to cut a corner and save some time, but there is no way I am going to risk any problems.

Or perhaps you can make the tried and true Sugar Shack Buttercream recipe.She has a video on youtube showing how to make it.
It is awesome!!! You will definitely LOVE it.It looks like fondant when you smooth it icon_lol.gif
Oh, BTW,the cake design is BEAUTIFUL!
to save you some money,you can try finding cake supply stores around your area ,and ask if they rent cake pans.In our area,there are two stores who rent professional quality pans for $1 for like week or something icon_biggrin.gif definitely saves some money.
plus, you can use craft store coupons when you purchase foam core boards,flavoring etc.
P.S here is the link to the post where some of us were talking about the buttercream and I think sugarshack posted her links
Good luck!

paulstonia Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 2:38am
post #13 of 50

No, you can't use bettercreme under fondant. I've never heard of but-r-cream so I don't know. Beautiful cake by the way.

Megan72382 Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 2:40am
post #14 of 50

Your picture of your cake design is awesome. I'm currently in school for Graphic Design and my Illustrator skills are virtually non-existant. I hope that I can use what I learn for some type of a cake business someday though. Good luck with your first paid gig! thumbs_up.gif

Elise87 Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 2:47am
post #15 of 50
Originally Posted by Megan72382

Your picture of your cake design is awesome. I'm currently in school for Graphic Design and my Illustrator skills are virtually non-existant. I hope that I can use what I learn for some type of a cake business someday though. Good luck with your first paid gig! thumbs_up.gif

I'm not a professional yet but i have just finished my diploma in graphic design and at the start which was about 3 years ago i didn't even know about illustrator or how to use it and now i can use it confidiently to do jobs etc. You will be suprised how much you learn by the end compared to the start icon_smile.gif

abra526 Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 2:47am
post #16 of 50

I have used But-r-cream under every fondant cake that I've made, and have no problems what so ever. They have all turned out pretty good (any mistakes were simply due to my novice fondant skills) icon_smile.gif

DakotaDesigns Posted 11 Jun 2009 , 2:51am
post #17 of 50

I would highly recommend making a 9x13 "test" cake to play around with when it comes to the fondant. I have always done a very thin crumb coat of homemade buttercream icing and laid my fondant over it. I personally have never had a problem using this technique as it also helps to adhere the fondant to the cake. Also the climate that you live in can affect the fondant. I live in northern California so I am usually dealing with a lot of heat. The buttercream underneath has saved me a couple of times with helping to keep the fondant moist without drying out the cake. Play around a bit and see what you come up with. Can't wait to see pictures!!!

jvanhorsen Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 5:17am
post #18 of 50

So, I decided to take a break from the sea creatures I am creating for our friends daughters first birthday cupcake party, and tackle the logo detail for this cake.

Being such a fine wordmark, with some very thin strokes, and the fact that I am going to try and fit this on a 9" round, I knew I had a challenge ahead of me.

I printed out the logo at about 7" wide, knowing that would give me almost enough thickness to cut it out of the fondant/tylose mix. I traced the logo from the printout, onto a piece of parchment, and then laid that out over my fondant. With an exacto knife, I painstakingly cut out each letter, and then after a short dry, I paint each one with an alcohol / gold luster dust "paint". (I actually used peppermint extract, because I don't drink and didn't have anything else with a high alcohol content.)

Here is a shot of the final letters. I put the piping tip so you have a sense of the size of these little bastards.


Because of the humidity here in St. Louis, I have this in a box, sitting a foot away from a dehumidifier in the basement. I am hoping this will allow the fondant to dry hard enough, that I can touch up the edges of the letters enough to have a nice clean finish.

Anyways, that's it for now. After this part, I am considering breaking out my old airbrush and getting it working to spray the gold on the bow on the top. There is no way I can hand paint that, to time consuming.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, here is a snap of the fondant sea creatures I am doing. I have a few more I need to finish before Saturday, but I think thy are really going to love them.



Van Horsen Design

txsteph Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 5:27am
post #19 of 50

Nice job on the letters & the sea creatures are so cute!! Nice job so far.

Cjusarmy Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 5:32am
post #20 of 50

thumbs_up.gif that is really cool. . Lovin the starfish. . Cant wait to see the finish product. .

honeyscakes Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 5:38am
post #21 of 50

Oh my God Josh!
The letters are really TINY!!! but they are perfect,Good job! thumbs_up.gif I bet your fingers are tired.But you are doing AMAZING.
The sea creatures are so adorable...Now whenever you are done with the cupcakes and have some free time.PLEEESE share how you made these darlings! icon_lol.gif I'd really appreciate that.
Can't wait to see the cupcakes and the cake!
all the best.

jlynnw Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 5:43am
post #22 of 50

I love the octopus! May I recommend alphabet tappits for your letters? Place them on your wish list. I have mad mine and wonder what is was like before. Your roll out your fondant, let it set out, cut your letter, tap it out and your are done. Perfect letters every time. Highly recommend them. Your cake design is great. I can't wait to try your program on my cake sketches. My drawings look like I am in kindergarten icon_redface.gif

jvanhorsen Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 1:01pm
post #23 of 50

Great tip jlynnw, I will look into those.

Unfortunately, these letters had to be based on the school wordmark that was designed over 100 years ago. No real shortcuts here icon_cry.gif

Honeyscakes, I will take a couple process photos tonight as I finish up the sea creatures. As I have never done anything like these before, so I am probably not doing anything the "right" way, but maybe there is something hidden within my makeshift technique that would be helpful to others on the forums.

stampinron Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 1:29pm
post #24 of 50

I see your letters are flat going on a round cake. Since they are so tiny, this may not matter, but I'll give you my 2 cents anyway. I would have dried the letters on the circumfrence of the actual cake pan you will be baking in prior to painting, so they would be flush against the cake at all the little letter's tips. Does that make sense? Since the letter are so small, it probably is null, but just for future reference...there you go, you just seem like a detail oriented person. The letters look awesome so far.

jvanhorsen Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 1:57pm
post #25 of 50

Thanks Stampinron! That totally makes sense. I had thought about it, but like you said, because of the size of these letters, I thought it was probably not a huge issue. However, now that you've mentioned it, I should probably go place the letters against my pan and see how they lie, to avoid any surprises when I start decorating.


jvanhorsen Posted 18 Jun 2009 , 4:51am
post #26 of 50

Well after quite a few "oh crap!" moments, I have finished the cake.

There are some minor cosmetic issues due to cracking, but all in all I am very happy with how this came out.

Now I just need to deliver it tomorrow. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it.



bakermommy4 Posted 18 Jun 2009 , 5:02am
post #27 of 50


cheatize Posted 18 Jun 2009 , 5:19am
post #28 of 50

It's very lovely!
I laughed a little when Tappits were suggested for you- but only because my son is studying to be a graphic designer. He would be horrified by the thought of using just one font for everything. Every day he comes home and comments about a font he saw and why that person shouldn't have used it.

Off-topic, but for those who are studying or have their degree in graphic design, what school do you recommend? My son is currently getting his Associates at a technical college and he is starting to look into colleges for his Bachelors. He is leaving tomorrow to go visit the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Again, you did a wonderful job on the cake! My first paid cake didn't look nearly as lovely.

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 18 Jun 2009 , 5:50am
post #29 of 50

That is just... woah! Beautiful!

Elise87 Posted 18 Jun 2009 , 5:52am
post #30 of 50

i agree i think the design came out fantastic! And i LOVE that blue colour!

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