Job Offer Update: I Have To Audition! I'm Totally Nervous!

Business By tsal Updated 8 Sep 2010 , 4:28am by Maurita

tsal Posted 5 Sep 2010 , 11:50pm
post #1 of 31

I posted yesterday that I was offered a job at a local bakery after showing the owner a picture of my farm cake (in profile). She told me to talk to her partner.

I just did and he said that before he can offer me anything, he has to see if my work fits with their bakery. He wants me to go and do a cake for them on Tuesday. I guess it's an audition!

I'm totally nervous now and I've looked at their site a million times and it seems that the bulk of their cake business is sheet cakes with licensed-toy toppers.

I'll be practicing my shell border piping tonight. Any advice, words of wisdom, encouragement?

Ack - I wish I could ditch this nervousness!!!!!

30 replies
GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 12:20am
post #2 of 31

You do such beautiful work! I'm sure you will do great. Try to go in confidently and just do what you know how to do and the rest will fall into place. Good luck!!! thumbs_up.gif

Redsoxbaker Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 12:22am
post #3 of 31

tsal, Just do what you do best and it will be a piece of cake. They should be so lucky to have you! Good luck even if you don't need it!!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

HobbyCaker Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 12:41am
post #4 of 31

Best of luck to you. Your cakes are beautiful. You will do great! thumbs_up.gif Keep us posted!

Unlimited Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 12:51am
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

I'll be practicing my shell border piping tonight. Any advice, words of wisdom, encouragement?




Are you left-handed or right-handed? I see on two of your cakes, your borders go from right to left, and on two other cakes they go from left to right. Does one way seem more natural, or can you really decorate with either hand?

While practicing your borders tonight, you might concentrate on consistancy with the shape and size of each shell. Sometimes it helps to not think about it and just get into a rhythmic motion while applying pressure at the right time. Speed comes with experience, but they'll be more impressed if you are consistant and fast at the same time, especially since they whip out lots of sheet cakes.

They'll probably want you to finish an entire cake from icing it, to adding a border, stems, sweetpeas, roses, leaves, and handwriting (not printing).

Since your farm cake photo impressed them, it may be helpful to bring along more photos from your portfolio.

Have fun practicing and best of luck at the interview!

Motta Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 1:09am
post #6 of 31

wear your hair up and remember to wash your hands before you begin. Good luck!!!

imagenthatnj Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 1:22am
post #7 of 31

Be confident, trust yourself. I know that those bakeries usually do a lot of sheet cakes, but you can offer to bring those sheet cakes to a new level. They can really be better than cakes with plastic toys on top, using fondant decorations instead. And you can show them that it can be done.

Some ideas:
http://www.sugaredproductions.com/sheet-cake-gallery.htm

You can do it. Good luck!

tsal Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 1:35am
post #8 of 31

Unlimited: I totally agree with you about the consistent size of my shells. I usually do my shells at the last minute and my bc is somewhat soft. As I was practicing I found that it is easier when I do not think about it!

My handwriting is my Achilles heel. I don't think I let my icing get thin enough. How do you know when it's thin enough?

I'm mainly nervous because my cakes are mostly fondant with minimal piping, and the majority of their cakes are sheet cakes with piping and writing.

My shells are looking much better. I think I'll practice with an all-shortening icing so it isn't affected by the heat of my hands. The bakery is dairy and nut free so I imagine that's what they use.

Unlimited Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 2:12am
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

My handwriting is my Achilles heel. I don't think I let my icing get thin enough. How do you know when it's thin enough?




IMO, it doesn't much matter unless you write on cakes all day long, then you want it thinned so it doesn't hurt your wrist from squeezing all day. You can thin it down with water or piping gel to your liking. If you are a fast writer, it can be so soupy that it leaks out from the tip without squeezing at all!

If your icing is stiff, you can still write with it, but you need to apply more pressure or use a larger tip.

So, are you a lefty or a righty, and have you decided in which direction you'll go (on the border) during your interview?

tsal Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 3:18am
post #10 of 31

I'm a righty and I guess I started one cake in one direction and the other in the other direction - I didn't even notice that!!

I'm more comfortable working from left to right. I've been piping shells on a square pan to practice and have been working from left to right tonight.

I just did some handwriting and it was VERY leaky at the tip (as you said - it just sort of leaked out). My cursive was not terrible though. Now on to roses and sweet peas...

Thank you for the link!!

sullymel13 Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 3:33am
post #11 of 31

What came to my mind is to work to your strengths! Since it seems that they don't do much fondant or custom work, don't worry so much about doing what they do already, but what new things you could offer, so their business could go to the next level! Don't focus on writing on a cake, but making a design that would be unique and fun!

If getting the job is most important, then you might want to practice doing their style of cakes. If you really want to keep doing the style you have, wow them with something that you would want to be doing day in, and day out!

Good luck!

Unlimited Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 4:04am
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

I'm a righty and I guess I started one cake in one direction and the other in the other direction - I didn't even notice that!!




I asked because I couldn't tell... you had two of each!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

I'm more comfortable working from left to right. I've been piping shells on a square pan to practice and have been working from left to right tonight.




Lefty's typically work from left to right (on borders) so their hand isn't in the way to see what they're doing. It doesn't much matter which direction for sheet cakes, but if you can get in the habit to go from right to left, it's easier (and faster) with round cakes on a turntable (or in this case, you're probably actually decorating in the direction away from you, if that makes sense).

tsal Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 4:05am
post #13 of 31

Thanks Sullymel!! I got the impression from that they are looking for a decorator to fit into their mold (so to speak). Funny thing is that I was not planning on going back to work, but I just live the idea of decorating part-time.

I will definitely try to work with my strengths! Honestly, their style of cake is not my style, but i'd love to learn about the business from inside a successful one.

cakesnglass Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 4:11pm
post #14 of 31

If experience is what your looking for and learn the business an established bakery is the place. First thing to remember is that they need to make a profit. Remember this is not your personal name on each cake like you would do in your home. You must have some speed and try to keep your work as "clean" looking as possible. Nice crisp borders and smooth icing on cake. Make sure you try to keep your work area clean and orderly as you work...bags, together, tips together etc. And never, never lick those fingers LOL !! (You won't believe how many people do this out of habit, big no,no... Have fun and good luck.

mpetty Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 4:43pm
post #15 of 31

Not to hijack the thread, but I have a question about working in a bakery - do you normally do cake designs that are already established by the bakery, or are you expected to come up with new ones? I ask because a local bakery has an opening but they do mostly bc sheet cakes, and I'm not the best or fastest at coming up with sheet cake designs.

Thanks,

tsal Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 7:02pm
post #16 of 31

Mpetty: I was wondering that as well, but more for my interview. I wonder if they are going to give me one of their designs to replicate, or if they'll just put me on the spot and say 'let's see what you can do '

cakesnglass: luckily, I never lick my fingers - ever when I'm caking so I should be okay. I hope I'm quick enough for their liking. I've never worked with dairy-free icing before, so hopefully they'll give me a few minutes to get used to it. I'd better read up on how to smooth crusting buttercream without Viva towels since we don't have them here in Canada!

tsal Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 7:04pm
post #17 of 31

Oh, and I have short nails that are painted a very pale pink - I should remove polish, right? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

VentureSister Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 7:19pm
post #18 of 31

I would remove the nail polish (you don't want it chipping off into the cake).
Since you don't have Viva try the parchment paper to smooth or, my favorite, the Melvira foam roller. Everytime I smooth buttercream icing, I am so thankful that Melvira came up with this awesome method.

tsal Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 7:28pm
post #19 of 31

I don't think they'll let me bring anything in. They are VERY strict. I'll just have to hope that their existing decorator has one!

khoudek Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 10:15pm
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

I'm a righty and I guess I started one cake in one direction and the other in the other direction - I didn't even notice that!!



I asked because I couldn't tell... you had two of each!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

I'm more comfortable working from left to right. I've been piping shells on a square pan to practice and have been working from left to right tonight.



Lefty's typically work from left to right (on borders) so their hand isn't in the way to see what they're doing. It doesn't much matter which direction for sheet cakes, but if you can get in the habit to go from right to left, it's easier (and faster) with round cakes on a turntable (or in this case, you're probably actually decorating in the direction away from you, if that makes sense).




I'm left handed, and have been decorating for 28 years and have never gone from left to right. I start from right and go left and my hand doesn't get in the way. I think the important thing is as you said...find the way that is comfortable for you and practice that way till you are consistent in skill and speed.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 10:35pm
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by khoudek

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

I'm a righty and I guess I started one cake in one direction and the other in the other direction - I didn't even notice that!!



I asked because I couldn't tell... you had two of each!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

I'm more comfortable working from left to right. I've been piping shells on a square pan to practice and have been working from left to right tonight.



Lefty's typically work from left to right (on borders) so their hand isn't in the way to see what they're doing. It doesn't much matter which direction for sheet cakes, but if you can get in the habit to go from right to left, it's easier (and faster) with round cakes on a turntable (or in this case, you're probably actually decorating in the direction away from you, if that makes sense).



I'm left handed, and have been decorating for 28 years and have never gone from left to right. I start from right and go left and my hand doesn't get in the way. I think the important thing is as you said...find the way that is comfortable for you and practice that way till you are consistent in skill and speed.




I definitely go from right to left too!!! for borders that is. icon_biggrin.gif

Unlimited Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 11:17pm
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by khoudek

I'm left handed, and have been decorating for 28 years and have never gone from left to right. I start from right and go left and my hand doesn't get in the way. I think the important thing is as you said...find the way that is comfortable for you and practice that way till you are consistent in skill and speed.




So sorry! You are absolutely correct... thanks for catching that (it's not what I intended to type... I'm an idiot!). At least I described the direction going away from you, which I did mean to type... my written descriptions stink! (so, please swap what I said because I'm too late to edit it!)

mpetty Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 11:46pm
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

or if they'll just put me on the spot and say 'let's see what you can do'




Well put. I've got my fingers crossed for you; good luck tomorrow!

cakesnglass Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 11:49pm
post #24 of 31

The bakery I worked at had it's regular "quick designs" that fill the case for those last minute pick ups some customers need. Then when orders come in you were allowed to come up with your own ideas. Seasonal cakes we usually were given pictures for the basic cakes for that season (to keep cost and decorating time appropriate). Make sure you don't have any jewerly rings, watches, bracelets. This is a requirement of Health Dept. inspectors and yes clean trimmed no polished nails are a plus. I think the most important thing when looking for a new employee is not always going to be what you already know but your willingness to learn there way and most importantly " A Personality that will mesh well with there established employees may be more important than decorating skills- those will just get better with practise and they know that. icon_smile.gif

VentureSister Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 11:53pm
post #25 of 31

Good luck! Let us know how it goes. We are pulling for you.

JulieMN Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 2:28am
post #26 of 31

Best wishes!

hausofcake Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 6:28am
post #27 of 31

How exciting and nerve racking! You will be great just pretend your at home and you don't have a few people critiquing you over your shoulders.
Good Luck!!!

vtcake Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 6:19pm
post #28 of 31

Good luck! Just be sure to realize that you may not be able to use artistic license. If you can, great, but if not it may frustrate the heck out of you.

cylstrial Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 7:31pm
post #29 of 31

Well, let us know how it goes! Hope you get the job!

BCo Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 8:06pm
post #30 of 31

Make sure to keep your work area clean and neat as you are doing your test cake...we had someone come in the other day to do a test cake and they just had them ice a single layer 1/4 sheet cake. They gave them white buttercream and then a few colored bags and wanted them to just do whatever they wanted but I think they were looking for your "basic" sheetcake design, shell border, roses, leaves, balloons, etc... then they made her write on it! She had left the workstation pretty messy with icing all dripped down the front of the cabinet and all over the table so I know that's something they were looking at. Not that you have to be completely neat but just don't leave a big mess when you leave icon_smile.gif Good luck. I would assume too that they want to know that you can decorate in "their style" even if it's not your own preference since that seems to be what they sell. Once you get in there I'm sure you'll learn things about the business and high volume decorating if that's what they do it is a lot different then what you do at home or in a more custom shop.

Just my thoughts....good luck to you!

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