How Long Does It Take You To Decorate A Cake?

Decorating By zespri Updated 5 Dec 2010 , 9:52am by mom2twogrlz

zespri Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 2:25am
post #1 of 19

I just finished my very first three tier cake. I just sat down exhausted on my front porch covered in sugary bits, and calculated in my head it took me about 21 hours all up, not including baking the cakes. oh. my. gawd.

I know it's my first one, I know I did a lot of things for the very first time, but that seems like SUCH a long time.

How long can I expect it to take me after I get some more experience? I'm kinda blue about how long it took!

18 replies
mygirlssweet Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 2:33am
post #2 of 19

My first three tier wedding cake took me 15 hours plus baking in September. So don't feel bad. I just do it for a hobby, which is good since with the time it takes me it would be really bad for the bottom line. When I do a cake for someone, I schedule the whole day. Granted, I am extremely picky and paranoid about how it looks. Better to do one a day well, then three sloppy for me. icon_smile.gif

AmysCakesNCandies Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 2:34am
post #3 of 19

For me it really varies greatly depending on the design. I have a few super simple wedding cake designs that I can decorate in under 2 hours, but it has also taken me upward of 12 hrs for some more complex ones. I would say my average 3 tier cake takes me about 4/5 hrs. I definately got faster the more I did, you get more tricks up your sleeve as time goes on. Don't let it get you down, I still remember what someone told me when i had my first job at 16 "speed comes with patience"

Apti Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 3:22am
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by zespri

I just finished my very first three tier cake. I just sat down exhausted on my front porch covered in sugary bits, and calculated in my head it took me about 21 hours all up, not including baking the cakes. oh. my. gawd.I know it's my first one, I know I did a lot of things for the very first time, but that seems like SUCH a long time.
How long can I expect it to take me after I get some more experience? I'm kinda blue about how long it took!




No worries, mate. The first time you do anything in cake, it takes a LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG time, but that's ok. I've been doing this since March of this year (9 months), and I'm finding that as a rule, after I do something the 1st time, it takes about 1/2 to 1/3 the time the 2nd time. I make a lot a mistakes the first time; "learning the hard way".

I just did my very first gingerbread house using pre-made gingerbread in a kit: "Wilton Giant Gingerbread House" [excellent kit by the way]. It took me 15 hours to assemble and decorate, not counting the wait time for the royal icing to dry. Now that I've made my mistakes and learned, I'll bet I can finish an identical kit in about 4-6 hours. You can see my gingerbread house at christinascakes.shutterfly.com

BTW, I remember your work because I saved the Kiwi/Canada cake--I LOVE that cake.

indydebi Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 7:15am
post #5 of 19

That's about normal for your first one so congratulations on being right on schedule! thumbs_up.gif

My first one took an entire day ... not counting baking .... PLUS the whole day that I spent making BC roses to COVER this cake. I'd never made a BC rose before in my life but I became an expert by the time I was done with this cake!

Yes, it does get faster. Keep reading CC and you'll pick up lots of little tricks and tips that will streamline your process. thumbs_up.gif

sccandwbfan Posted 3 Dec 2010 , 6:51pm
post #6 of 19

I haven't made a wedding cake yet, but I'm looking forward to doing one if someone will ever trust me to do it. icon_smile.gif

zespri Posted 4 Dec 2010 , 5:34am
post #7 of 19

Thanks ladies, it's good to know I'm just not a slow poke! The biggest time sucker was putting the fondant on the cake. Each cake took me about two hours of rolling, fondant breaking or sticking, starting again... ground hog day. I still don't know what I did wrong, very frustrating.

Apti, your gingerbread house is amazing!!! A work of art, no mistake.
Indydebi, as always you are such a kind soul, bless!

Here is the end result of the cake, btw. It was collected from my house, and met with an unfortunate accident icon_sad.gif I am going to create a seperate post about that, to see if I can't figure out how it could have been avoided. A bit sad to see it in that state.

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1883781

Apti Posted 4 Dec 2010 , 5:41am
post #8 of 19

zespri - Well Done! Looks like you've done 8 or 9 3 tier cakes! (and thank you for the wonderful compliment)

So sorry it fell over, but, hey, that's why you take pictures BEFORE you transport! Did you dowel the cake? If so, how did you dowel--that may be why it fell over.

zespri Posted 4 Dec 2010 , 5:59am
post #9 of 19

thanks Apti, even though it didn't look professional, I was still really pleased with it icon_smile.gif It was for family, so all good.

I used wooden dowels, inserted one in the centre, then turned it upside down and marked it with a pencil, level with the cake. My husband cut the dowels for me, all the same size as that first one, even though I wasn't convinced the cake was perfectly level... lol.. So there was one dowel in the centre of each cake, then the other dowels were spaced evenly around it. Maybe they weren't far enough out towards the edge. They weren't close to the middle, but not on the edge either. No centre dowel. I asked here on the forums and it seemed to be a 50/50 split on whether to centre dowel or not. I think it may have helped if I'd done it.

Sweet_Toof Posted 4 Dec 2010 , 6:12am
post #10 of 19

I always forget to time myself though it does interest me, because time is money, and I need to be charging enough to make my profit worthwhile.
I've only done a handful of cakes but my last cake was a 2 tier fondant covered.. I always bake and freeze, so its one less thing I have to worry about on the decorating day.
The cake ended up taking me 5 hours - this involved ...
layering & covering a 6" & 9" in ganache
covering the bottom tier in green fondant (which I had to kneed through)
covering the top tier in white
decorating the top tier in cut out circles
the bottom tier had stripes and a chocolate fondant bow
Also dusted some areas in lustre dust... a really nice looking cake but 5 hours appeared to be a long time when I stood back to look at my job.
Hopefully it takes me a lot less time next time, and all I can say is make sure you over-estimate decorating times!

mom2twogrlz Posted 4 Dec 2010 , 6:23am
post #11 of 19

Geez, I have been decorating cakes as a hobby for friends and family for about 1 1/2 now, and I average 10-12 hours a cake. The one I did today only took 8 hours, so I am getting better. Dang zebra print, they take FOREVER!!!! My friends keep asking when I will open a shop, and I tell them, when I can get more than one cake done a week!!!! I would never make a profit at this rate!!!! LOL!!!!!!

Apti Posted 4 Dec 2010 , 2:34pm
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2twogrlz

Geez, I have been decorating cakes as a hobby for friends and family for about 1 1/2 now, and I average 10-12 hours a cake. The one I did today only took 8 hours, so I am getting better. Dang zebra print, they take FOREVER!!!! My friends keep asking when I will open a shop, and I tell them, when I can get more than one cake done a week!!!! I would never make a profit at this rate!!!! LOL!!!!!!




Isn't it a crack-up that everyone who loves you immediately says, "You've GOT to start selling these and do this for a living!!!" You're like, "Well. Let's see, I've spent about $3,000 on supplies and training. I've invested about 800 hours (at $7.25 per hour MINIMUM wage, that's $5,800). If each cake only took 10 hours from start to finish, including baking time, that would be 80 cakes. So $8,800 divided by 80 cakes is $110 a cake.
(Not counting self-employed health insurance, business liability insurance, licensing fees, taxes, capital expenditures, electricity, hot water, etc.)

Now if you've spent the amounts of $$ and time above and have only made 30 cakes like me, that would make each of my cakes "cost" $293.

OOOPS! Think I'll keep my day job.

zespri Posted 4 Dec 2010 , 8:02pm
post #13 of 19

I know!! After my very first clumsy attempts my lovely people were telling me I should be selling them. What a crack-up, if I tried to charge someone for my lumpy cakes they'd laugh at me. And I would be living on the streets because I wouldn't be able to pay my mortage given how long it takes me. It's just a hobby for me too, I'm afraid!

mom2twogrlz Posted 4 Dec 2010 , 10:32pm
post #14 of 19

Yep, they all think it's so easy. UUGGG!!!

microbiology1 Posted 5 Dec 2010 , 3:18am
post #15 of 19

Lol. My cakes normally take anywhere from 2-60 hours. So I probably can't help you! I'd say I average around 8-12 for more detailed cakes but I tend to be overly critical of my own work. That slows things down quite a bit!

CandyCU Posted 5 Dec 2010 , 4:38am
post #16 of 19

Hi zespri!

I just finished and delivered my first three tier cake too along with some cupcakes this morning!

One thing I keep in the forefront of my mind when I finish a cake/order is that OK, this one took me a while but the next one will be quicker and turn out better! So don't stress, your cake turned out beautiful (I bet she was still thrilled despite the sliding incident!), and you WILL get faster and your cakes WILL continue to get better as you go along!!

Hhhhmmm, I think this cake took me probably about 18-20 hours (over a couple of nights and all day yesterday) plus baking time plus 3 hours this morning preping, baking, cooling and decorating the 30 cupcakes this morning. WOAH! That is a lot of time for a cake, although I do work pretty slowly because I like to get things right (I had to strip and re-ganache and re-cover one of the cakes because one of the tiers developed a massive air bubble overnight under the fondant that was too much of a mess to hide/cover up - Doh!).

I am now totally exhausted also! Several late nights and on my feet all day yesterday - I think I'll go have a cuddle and a nap with my 2yr old son! Hahaha!

I've just posted the pics up in my photos too!

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1884672

Well done again zespi!

Cheers!

cakesrock Posted 5 Dec 2010 , 4:44am
post #17 of 19

I calculated with everything it takes me an average of 8-20 hours per cake. I like to try new things each time and do a lot of detail. Plus, I make and color my own fondant. It can take a lot of time just to get the color right. Re-rolling fondant and fixing errors is very time-consuming too. I figured I would have to charge at least $300 for most of my cakes (which aren't anything spectacular) to even make it worth my while. Sadly, I'm keeping my day job too!

indydebi Posted 5 Dec 2010 , 6:08am
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2twogrlz

My friends keep asking when I will open a shop, and I tell them, when I can get more than one cake done a week!!!!


You tell them, "As soon as one of best friends, who keep telling me to open a shop, writes me the check for $50,000 so I can get started!"

As comedian Ron White says, "That'll shut her up!" icon_lol.gif

mom2twogrlz Posted 5 Dec 2010 , 9:52am
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2twogrlz

My friends keep asking when I will open a shop, and I tell them, when I can get more than one cake done a week!!!!

You tell them, "As soon as one of best friends, who keep telling me to open a shop, writes me the check for $50,000 so I can get started!"

As comedian Ron White says, "That'll shut her up!" icon_lol.gif




That is my other response!!!! One of these days someone will go for it!!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

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