3 Tiers..how Long Does It Take You To Do?

Decorating By tinygoose Updated 29 Jul 2009 , 12:29pm by JenniferMI

tinygoose Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 1:29am
post #1 of 86

So I'm curious.

How long does it (or should it) take to:

1. Ice and stack a 3 tier buttercream (not including additional decorations)

2. Ice, fondant and stack a 3 tier fondant cake

When you get good at it.

85 replies
sweetcakesbydesign Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 1:45am
post #2 of 86

It depends on how long you have been doing it and how fast you can make a cake that size. For me it would take about5-6 hours, but i have only been doing it for about a year icon_rolleyes.gif. Laying the fondant though icon_eek.gif that would take me ..afew hours icon_redface.gif as i have only done it a few times.
Hope this helps,
Sweetcakesbydesign

costumeczar Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 2:13am
post #3 of 86

Maybe a couple of hours for buttercream and three hours for fondant? I always figure about three hours per cake, then depending on how lazy I'm feeling it will probably take a little longer if I'm moving slowly. icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 3:48am
post #4 of 86

I'm in costumeczar's range ... 2 to 4 hours for a 3 tier, depending on the design.

Unlimited Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 5:05am
post #5 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinygoose

So I'm curious.

How long does it (or should it) take to:

1. Ice and stack a 3 tier buttercream (not including additional decorations)

2. Ice, fondant and stack a 3 tier fondant cake

When you get good at it.




What??? Are all of these replies serious? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think perhaps everyone misunderstood the question(s) or included additional information. Since you didn't ask to include decorating time (baking time, or mixing icing time), to complete...

1. Ice and stack a 3 tier buttercream
(including a support system!)
(regardless of what typical 3 sizes)
(using the most primitive tools & equipment)

it shouldn't take any longer than 20-30 minutes for a newbie with very little experience unless they just like playing with the icing.

costumeczar Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 11:32am
post #6 of 86

I am including decorating time in that, actually. To just ice stack, etc, I don't know how long it would take. It doesn't take 20-30 minutes to ice, dowel and stack a whole three-tiered cake, though, unless you're slapping it together and not making any effort to smooth out the icing.

indydebi Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 11:44am
post #7 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I am including decorating time in that, actually. To just ice stack, etc, I don't know how long it would take. It doesn't take 20-30 minutes to ice, dowel and stack a whole three-tiered cake, though, unless you're slapping it together and not making any effort to smooth out the icing.


I also included decorating time and I totally agree with costumeczar.

You might be able to crumb coat, and stack 3 tiers in 20-30 minutes, but to crumb, ice, stack in 30 minutes? That sounds like a grocery store bakery environment slap it together, who cares what it looks like job.

Unlimited Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 2:27pm
post #8 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

It doesn't take 20-30 minutes to ice, dowel and stack a whole three-tiered cake, though, ...




No it doesn't take that long, it can be done in significantly less time.
(and you don't need to play with the icing to get it smooth if the icing is smooth enough to begin with.)

Unlimited Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 2:59pm
post #9 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

You might be able to crumb coat, and stack 3 tiers in 20-30 minutes, but to crumb, ice, stack in 30 minutes? That sounds like a grocery store bakery environment slap it together, who cares what it looks like job.




I didn't include anything about crumb coat. (I don't get the purpose of taking this extra step unless it's for people who can't ice the cakes the first time without getting crumbs in their icing--hence the name.) I've never seen a truly productive professional bakery environment take this extra step in over 30+ years... never even heard of it until recently.

If it does get "slapped" together, it doesn't matter how much time it did or didn't take to do it, as long as the end result is still professional quality.

momg9 Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 3:32pm
post #10 of 86

I guess I'm one of those who can't ice the first time without getting crumbs because I always use a crumb coat. Also I make very smooth icing (Sugarshacks recipe with a few variations) but I take some time to smooth it on the cake. It would also take me 2-4 hours to complete a 3 tier. I use Sugarshacks method and there are a few steps involved, but the results are well worth the time.

costumeczar Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 4:33pm
post #11 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

You might be able to crumb coat, and stack 3 tiers in 20-30 minutes, but to crumb, ice, stack in 30 minutes? That sounds like a grocery store bakery environment slap it together, who cares what it looks like job.



I didn't include anything about crumb coat. (I don't get the purpose of taking this extra step unless it's for people who can't ice the cakes the first time without getting crumbs in their icing--hence the name.) I've never seen a truly productive professional bakery environment take this extra step in over 30+ years... never even heard of it until recently.

If it does get "slapped" together, it doesn't matter how much time it did or didn't take to do it, as long as the end result is still professional quality.




Well, you're obviously faster than 98% of the people who do cakes, then. Most people I know do a crumb coat, so that would increase the time a little. I don't use a pastry bag with a big tip to cover my cakes, so I probably take longer than people who use that. It does depend on what type of icing I'm using as to how long it takes to smooth it out, so that varies.

As far as professional or not, professionals who have done this for a while will obviously be faster than someone who's just starting.

I do think that it's unfair to tell people that you can ice, dowel and stack a cake in less than 20 minutes if you're a "newbie." That's setting up a lot of people for unrealistic expectations and some disappointment in their own abilities. It takes practice to get faster, everything takes longer at first. On behalf of noobs everywhere, it does take longer than that for most people!

indydebi Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 4:46pm
post #12 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I do think that it's unfair to tell people that you can ice, dowel and stack a cake in less than 20 minutes if you're a "newbie." That's setting up a lot of people for unrealistic expectations and some disappointment in their own abilities.




But czar!! All the wedding magazines tell cake-civilian brides they can make a wedding cake themselves the night before their wedding in this kind of time! You mean it's not true? icon_surprised.gif I'm shocked! icon_surprised.gif

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

momg9 Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 4:53pm
post #13 of 86

20 - 30 minutes is less than 10 minutes per cake! No way a newbie could do it in that amount of time or like costumeczar said "98 % of us"

costumeczar Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 4:55pm
post #14 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I do think that it's unfair to tell people that you can ice, dowel and stack a cake in less than 20 minutes if you're a "newbie." That's setting up a lot of people for unrealistic expectations and some disappointment in their own abilities.



But czar!! All the wedding magazines tell cake-civilian brides they can make a wedding cake themselves the night before their wedding in this kind of time! You mean it's not true? icon_surprised.gif I'm shocked! icon_surprised.gif

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif




Oh, I forgot about that! Maybe I should brush up on my helpful tips in wedding magazines before I ice a cake, it might make me work faster! icon_rolleyes.gif

Unlimited Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 5:23pm
post #15 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I don't use a pastry bag with a big tip to cover my cakes, so I probably take longer than people who use that.




No, you've got the right idea. I don't use it either, it's an extra step or so to fill the bag, use the bag, refill the bag, and so on until all the cakes are covered. Anything other than using your icing directly on the cake is going to take more time.

costumeczar Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 5:40pm
post #16 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I don't use a pastry bag with a big tip to cover my cakes, so I probably take longer than people who use that.



No, you've got the right idea. I don't use it either, it's an extra step or so to fill the bag, use the bag, refill the bag, and so on until all the cakes are covered. Anything other than using your icing directly on the cake is going to take more time.




Yeah, I think that I tried that once and it takes so much icing to do it with the big tip, and filling the bag up every two minutes, it wasn't worth it.

woodruffbn Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 6:04pm
post #17 of 86

Hi!! Newbie here!!! It takes me WAAAAAYYY longer than 20-30 mins to ice cake. A 3 tier cake would probably take me 3 hours to do!! If that's all I was doing! icon_redface.gif

Unlimited Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 6:36pm
post #18 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by momg9

20 - 30 minutes is less than 10 minutes per cake! No way a newbie could do it in that amount of time or like costumeczar said "98 % of us"




Yes, less than 10 minutes per cake... not unrealistic.
(and yes, when I was a newbie I consistantly worked at this pace on my own without having anyone to watch, and that was before I had yet to learn about more productive ways.)

This is how long it used to take me at different experience levels...

Newbie: First wedding cake = 12+ hours
(to complete, don't know ice & set-up time only)

Professional: Three months later = 30 minutes.

Production Professional: Nine months later = 5 minutes or less.
(Before you tell me this is unbelievable, I agree... it sounds unbelievable, but it is possible using the most-productive custom-fabricated tools and equipment. As within any industry, it's all about the best tools to use.)

I'll break it down a bit... I ice an 8" round cake in 8.5-13.5 seconds each (that's a little more than 4 per minute minimum).

Vary the sizes, 6" (still less than 15 seconds), 8" (still less than 15 seconds), 14" (no reason why 30 seconds isn't long enough, it's now 3 cakes per minute to allow for the larger size instead of 4 smaller cakes per minute). Let's say I also have to fix a bald spot and it takes another entire minute to do that (which is too long), the ice portion is still fewer than 2 minutes of the entire process.

Set up with support system, or pegs and dowels of your choice including separator plates or cardboard cake circles... takes me no longer than 3 minutes total (I would think this is average for everyone... is there a way to do it slower?)

It's only possible that I can do this part of the wedding cake process in 1/6 of the time that it used to take me because I learned how to ice cakes productively. It cannot be done using the same old primitive equipment that has been available to the public for what... the last 80-100 years?!

Normita Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 7:11pm
post #19 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by momg9

20 - 30 minutes is less than 10 minutes per cake! No way a newbie could do it in that amount of time or like costumeczar said "98 % of us"



Yes, less than 10 minutes per cake... not unrealistic.
(and yes, when I was a newbie I consistantly worked at this pace on my own without having anyone to watch, and that was before I had yet to learn about more productive ways.)

This is how long it used to take me at different experience levels...

Newbie: First wedding cake = 12+ hours
(to complete, don't know ice & set-up time only)

Professional: Three months later = 30 minutes.

Production Professional: Nine months later = 5 minutes or less.
(Before you tell me this is unbelievable, I agree... it sounds unbelievable, but it is possible using the most-productive custom-fabricated tools and equipment. As within any industry, it's all about the best tools to use.)

I'll break it down a bit... I ice an 8" round cake in 8.5-13.5 seconds each (that's a little more than 4 per minute minimum).

Vary the sizes, 6" (still less than 15 seconds), 8" (still less than 15 seconds), 14" (no reason why 30 seconds isn't long enough, it's now 3 cakes per minute to allow for the larger size instead of 4 smaller cakes per minute). Let's say I also have to fix a bald spot and it takes another entire minute to do that (which is too long), the ice portion is still fewer than 2 minutes of the entire process.

Set up with support system, or pegs and dowels of your choice including separator plates or cardboard cake circles... takes me no longer than 3 minutes total (I would think this is average for everyone... is there a way to do it slower?)

It's only possible that I can do this part of the wedding cake process in 1/6 of the time that it used to take me because I learned how to ice cakes productively. It cannot be done using the same old primitive equipment that has been available to the public for what... the last 80-100 years?!



WOW...I'm shocked as to how fast and productive you can ice these cakes!!! I have been decorating cakes for about 10 months, still consider myself a newbie, and I take about 45 min to an hour to ice each of my cakes depending on size. I do not use a crumb coat but I use the VIVA method and the computer paper method with fondant smoother as shown on Sugarshacks videos to get that BC smoooooooooth and make it look almost like fondant. And this process can take about an hour for each tier. I am curious to see if you could post a you tube video on how you can ice in less than 30 seconds per cake?? I, along with the majority of CC'ers are in complete shock as to how icing a cake, which in my opinion, is one of the most important steps in decorating and the lengthiest, can only take somebody 30 seconds.

alvarezmom Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 7:19pm
post #20 of 86

All I can say is WOW! I've been making cakes for about a year and I still cant ice a cake in under 45 minutes. I do crumb coat and this helps me allot. I also use SugarShack's icing, Indi's, and the Wilton---just depends on what mood I'm in.

I sure would like to see a UTube Video on how you can ice a cake in such short amount of time.

I am currently decorating a cake. It's the Rose cake that LisaMae has done and I've worked on it for the past 3 days and have put about 12 hours into in. Just 6 hours along last night putting the fondant strips (for the petals) on the cake. And I was only decorating a 6'' and 8'' torted cakes.

I still consider myself a newbie, and I would tell anyone do not compare yourself with ANYONE else because you will only get discouraged.

icing_fever Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 7:19pm
post #21 of 86

I'm sorry.... I don't usually respond to this. But Unlimited, what type of equipment do you own? Is is a machine that spits out icing on to your cakes perfectly everytime???

Are you sure you aren't using the cake mania game? I just can't imagine working this fast... and it looking good.

snarkybaker Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 7:22pm
post #22 of 86

Tizzerts in Charlotte teaches a 4 minute base icing technique. ( They are a higher end bakery that sells wholesale to Dean and Deluca). My standard for a regular B-day cake including decoration is 20 minutes to torte fill, ice and decorate. A three tiered simple ribbon around bottome fresh flower on top cake would take us right around an hour.

cakedesigner59 Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 7:53pm
post #23 of 86

Gosh, I've been making cakes for like 30+ years and I still agonize over getting my icing smooth. The wedding cake I made today took me 5 hours to ice, stack and decorate.

costumeczar Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 7:56pm
post #24 of 86

That's a good point, are you filling or torteing these cakes that you're icing so fast? If you do anything to them it would add time. I still find the times you've listed as unbelieveably fast, but if you're using special equipment I guess it could be done. I'd like to see it in action...Are you by any chance one of those machines they use to speed-ice the frozen cakes at Costco icon_wink.gif

hilly Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 8:00pm
post #25 of 86

Deleted.

snarkybaker Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 8:15pm
post #27 of 86
costumeczar Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 8:16pm
post #28 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker

Unlimited in action...
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8937991495472322653





Ha ha ha, snarky minds think alike!

hilly Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 8:19pm
post #29 of 86

Yeah but even the machine takes longer than 8 seconds icon_biggrin.gif

icing_fever Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 8:23pm
post #30 of 86

Wow, some of those look like the machine is having a bowl movement.... sorry just my awful mind at play icon_razz.gif

But could you imagine having those things at your disposal... I could be putting out a wedding cake every hour.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%