Ok, let's assume you have all your ingredients, and the ideal kitchen, and are making your own fondant, your own buttercream, and your own cake. What is your process? I know there's variations between people, and I'm wanting to try to find one that fits me best. What do you make, when do you make it, how long do you let it sit, do you refridgerate it, etc. Do you do decorations while waiting on anything? Like making flowers while waiting for the cake to be cooled enough to come out of the pan? Etc.
I am a hobbyist with a full-time job and it takes me FOR-EV-ER.
I have to do bits and pieces whenever I get a chance, usually on the weekend. I make and freeze my cakes and icing at least two weeks in advance and start working on my candy clay decorations as soon as I know what I need.
I would like to hear what others have to say....
ok I'll jump in here... When I do a wedding cake I give myself plenty of time. i usually bake 3 or 4 days out, wrap the layers in saran. the next day i make any filling, icing and fondant i will need. Day 3 i fill and crumb coat my tiers. The night before the wedding i ice or cover the tiers with fondant. Day of wedding i assemble and put on final decorations. I do all of my work after i get out of my regualr 9-6 job at another bakery. And they use pretty much the same system. Cakes stay good for awhile, and if you think they are getting dry, brush some simple syrup on them when you fill them, it will help.
The brides still think I was up all night working on thier cake... what they don't know won't hurt them. : )
First, welcome... you seem relatively new to CC, this is a fun place to learn!
Second, you are going to get many different variations on this as some people are bake-ahead and freeze type people, some are day before... etc., etc., etc.,
For me, a (planned) cake starts out at least a week in advance. I make a check list and tick off "to do" items as I go. I bake and freeze the cake(s) a week out. Even if you are not a proponent of freezing, the cakes should be made the morning before so they have time to settle, etc. In the days leading up to the final product, I make the fondant decorations, gumpaste flowers, figures, or whatever is planned for that particular cake. I make fondant (Michele Foster's) all the time, so I usually have that on hand. If not, it needs to be made at least a day ahead so it has time to rest. (Marshmallow fondant is not as rigid in the rest requirements.) Buttercream is made the day ahead as well. If I am covering a cake board in fondat, that too, is one to two days ahead. Two days before cake is due, I remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the fridge. Day before, I fill it, crumb coat it and allow it to settle overnight. Day of, I correct any bulge that might have resulted from settling, finish the buttercream coat, cover in fondant and go from there in terms of decorations. If it is a cake that has a lot of little pieces of cut-ot fondant, I would have made them the day before as well (for the most part) and would have kept them under plastic to keep them pliable.
Even then, cake day/evening is a long one for me as I am slow and meticulous. I don't do this professionally, so I really admire the folks who can produce two and three beautifully covered cakes in a day!
This is all really good information. Thanks for the Welcome! I'm really excited to have found CC. Actually my wife found it and brought me here. I'm looking forward to what everyone has to say on their processes.
i work at home in a small kitchen. with one fridge. If I have a cake on friday and on saturday I know i'm going to pull an alnighter. Because the friday cake will be picked up on friday, then the fridge will be open for the second cake. I hate back to back cakes. Normally takes 8-10 hours start to finish. Sundays make for a very cranky girl.
Mondays-Icings (I try to keep on hand plenty of my basic stuff for last minute "emergency" cakes)...this would include fondant too.
Get started on any decorations that require dry time or steps to complete.
Tuesday-Bake (I do bake extras of more common sizes for above reason as well as my own possible F-Ups). They remain in their pans, covered with parchment, overnight.
Work on any decorations.
Wednesday-empty cake pans. Wrap and freeze them overnight for orders (I don't know the science of it, but they are, without exception to flavor, better tasting if frozen then thawed).
Make any required fillings.
Work on any decorations.
Prepare base drums/boards.
Thursday-Thaw. Split. Fill. Crumb coat. Allow the crumb coated tiers to rest overnight at room temp (I am a home-based decorator and am not allowed to use product that requires refrigeration so no filling worries there). If I'm able to get this done early enough on Thursday, I'll go ahead and continue on to Friday's to-do list.
Work on any decorations.
Friday- Base ice tiers
Check. Double check. Triple check orders.
If base icing is able to be done early enough in the day...Friday night, I'll dowel for assembly....decorate the tiers...assemble
Saturday- Deliver cakes.
As someone said, you'll get lots of answers because of the different methods, techniques, environments, experience levels, cake style being done that day, etc.
This past weekend was interesting for me because it was the first time in a long time that I could actually time myself on a cake.
I arrived at the shop at 9:30 a.m. and pulled the naked cakes from the freezer (uniced)..... a 4-tier cake and a groom's cake (laptop cake) made with a 12x18 and a 11x15 cake; put them on the counter to thaw while I made a double batch of icing. (Double batch to me is about 15 lbs of powdered sugar .... two of the 7-lb bags that you buy at Sam's, plus a little extra as needed).
I trimmed/leveled the tiered cakes, filled, crumb coated, iced, assembled, and decorated (more piping than normal ... vines with small flowers). Iced both sheets; placed the 11x15 on the 12x18. Rolled the fondant to make the keys for the laptop cake; piped the letters on the fondant keys and placed on the cake.
Done by 3:00, including clean-up and I took 1/2 hour to watch Andy Griffith and have some soup for lunch.
The baking process was under 2 hours from mixer to freezer.
Now back in the day when I used a home kitchen, this would have taken me WAY longer. I would have had 6-8 hours just in baking time in a home oven. 15 lbs of icing would have been 7 or 8 batches in my Kitchen Aid. This cake was all white cake so I was able to mix the whole thing in one batch in my big mixer. In a home environment, it would have taken 7 or 8 batches in a KA.
So the environment you're working in makes a BIG difference in how much time it takes. And if you also have a full time job, you're going to move a little slower because you're just flat out tired and you can't even get started until after 5:00 or 6:00 at night, after you get home.
I would like to add that most days don't get started until 8p.m.....after my grandson gets picked up and I pick up the trail of shtuff he's left behind.
Im glad to hear that people feel it takes a long time in a home kitchen Im also a hobbyist and its taken me weeks to plan two cakes I have due on Sunday - admittedly working a little at a time. I had to make a batch of fondant, color it, make figurines. I had to make 6 cakes but three of them would not turn out because it was a new recipe so I had to make it twice and now I have to make more MMF. For me coloring the fondant is one of the most time consuming processes.
I'm also a hobbyist, and here's what I do for a Saturday cake (all in the evenings):
Monday - bake cakes, make base board
Tuesday - make fondant and buttercream
Wednesday - make any gumpaste models, figures or flowers necessary
Thursday - Thaw, fill and crumbcoat cakes, then put in fridge overnight.
Friday - color fondant, decorate and assemble cakes
Saturday - Finish up decorating if necessary and deliver cakes.
To sum it up - it takes FOREVER LOL.
It's interesting to hear everyone's process! This past weekend, I had my largest cake order to date. 200 servings for church. A 3 tier 14-10-6 and stacked 12x18 - 9x13. And I do this at home for fun?!
I made the gumpaste plaque, dogtags a week ahead of time. I used WASC, and sifted all 12 mixes Monday/Tuesday evenings (ouch) and put all the dry ingredients together by batch. Wednesday I cut/wrapped boards. (Thursday I had another cake order to bake/decorate)
It took 9 hrs baking time alone. I started Friday at 6pm when i got home from work. Sat. morning i made 3 batches of BC - biggest batch i can get in the KA- 4 lbs of powdered sugar each. Levelled, filled, crumbcoated, iced, stacked. My mother came to help, so it took a little longer than normal. All told, it took 24 hours! I was up 'til 1AM each night and i had pre-planned!!