vgcea Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 9:09am
post #1 of

I've noticed some posters use exclusively this or that, for example meringue butter cream only or fondant only as a signature for their products. I even read yesterday that someone doesn't offer square cakes. So these got me thinking... Is your business known for anything in particular? Do you use one type of medium exclusively (or at least 90%). Any quirky things you do that others don't. I want this to be a fun thread where we can brag about what sets us apart (no bashing others' preferences please). I'd love to read what everyone has to post.

I'm pretty new with caking and all, and I've decided in building my business image I am going to use mainly fondant, and IMBC (more than SMBC--I can't seem to get it right-- and American BC). Since I'm in the hot south, I'll still be using crusting BCs in the summer. I am yet to find a business that offers IMBC/SMBC in my area so I figured it would set my business apart from the awesome competition out here-- we have some very talented cakers around here, I've got to give them their credit. Another thing I'm probably not going to offer: sheet cakes.

Ok, you're next!

23 replies
DavidIM Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 11:07am
post #2 of

We don't advertise the fact, but as a general rule we stick with fondant for cakes. That being said it isn't a hard and fast rule, we will bend depending on the situation.

The one thing we have as a part of our business model, is that we want our cakes to not only look amazing but taste amazing too. We have heard so many stories from other places like 'the cake looked awesome but was dry and bland'. We definitely have set a standard on the cake itself and this is reflecting in the feedback which we post on our site.

AnnieCahill Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 2:04pm
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I do buttercream cakes only, with fondant as accents. I prefer IMBC, but for children's cakes I do regular American BC. I also work a lot with marzipan.

jgifford Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 2:19pm
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I prefer to do fondant/modeling chocolate since it gives me such a smooth, clean finish. And I love doing the oddball flavors: Moravian Spice, Black Magic Chocolate, Prickly Pear Buttercream. And every wedding cake I do has a little red heart on it somewhere. icon_wink.gif

nikki1201 Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 4:40pm
post #5 of

The bakery I work in only uses Whipped Cream for our wedding cakes. And my boss never touches fondant. Our cakes are not elaborate, but they taste amazing! Also, our most popular cake filling is cannoli! We are an Italian bakery, it's only natural =] Our layers of yellow sponge are brushed with rum, stacked/filled with homemade cannoli filling, and iced with homemade whipped cream... and they are to die for.

jason_kraft Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 5:44pm
post #6 of

The bakery I started focuses on cakes made without common allergens...we are completely peanut-free and nut-free, everything is dairy-free except our cheesecake and cream cheese frosting (which are available dairy-free) and based on the customer's requirements we can also make cakes gluten-free, egg-free, and soy-free.

Considering how many people have nut allergies alone, the nut-free aspect is a huge competitive advantage for this niche market.

vgcea Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 9:12pm
post #7 of

Wow! I'm loving these responses. Thanks for sharing everyone. Isn't it awesome that the cake decorating world is big enough to accommodate each person's unique choices?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

I prefer to do fondant/modeling chocolate since it gives me such a smooth, clean finish. And I love doing the oddball flavors: Moravian Spice, Black Magic Chocolate, Prickly Pear Buttercream. And every wedding cake I do has a little red heart on it somewhere. icon_wink.gif


icon_eek.gif Those are some awesome flavors I can't imagine what moravian spice tastes like but it sounds divine! So do you put these flavors in the cake batter or use a multitude of fillings/syrups?

@nikki1201 Only whipped cream? I bet they tasted great but how on earth did y'all manage in the summer? I can totally see myself on cake wrecks if I attempted that icon_lol.gif

vgcea Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 9:16pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki1201

The bakery I work in only uses Whipped Cream for our wedding cakes. And my boss never touches fondant. Our cakes are not elaborate, but they taste amazing! Also, our most popular cake filling is cannoli! We are an Italian bakery, it's only natural =] Our layers of yellow sponge are brushed with rum, stacked/filled with homemade cannoli filling, and iced with homemade whipped cream... and they are to die for.




nikki1201, just plain rum? I've heard of rum + simple syrup but never plain rum.

jgifford Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 9:17pm
post #9 of

The Moravian Spice I found in a collection of Civil War era recipes - - I'll post it tomorrow. The Black Magic I found online - - don't remember where. The Prickly Pear is actually cactus fruit that I gather and process myself. You can find it other places, but I don't know how careful anyone else is to get rid of all those pesky little cactus spines.

mfoxx9 Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 9:29pm

I almost exclusively cover my cakes in buttercream rather than fondant. I made a choice early on to work on my smoothing skills rather than learning fondant. I do use fondant accents on some cakes, though. I also make mostly baby shower and children's birthday cakes. However, this is mostly due to the stage of life that I'm in and where word of mouth has taken my business, rather than a choice that I made. I'd love to get into wedding cakes soon, but that will take some additional advertising.

nikki1201 Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 10:57pm

vgcea- Rum+simple syrup, sorry i wasn't completely specific on that one! =]

We have a small decorating room with it's own air conditioner and a vinyl shower curtain "door". And before delivery, we cart the cakes into the freezer for a quick hour or so. no major issues to date!

tamimccloud Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 11:13pm

I only do cupcakes. I use Butercream icing and only a few times do I do fondant. My customers prefer taste over decoration so I focus on yummy flavors and not so much on elaborate decorating. I pipe the icing for a more attractive presentation but no need for a lot of fancy work.

Spuddysmom Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 12:24am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

The Moravian Spice I found in a collection of Civil War era recipes - - I'll post it tomorrow. The Black Magic I found online - - don't remember where. The Prickly Pear is actually cactus fruit that I gather and process myself. You can find it other places, but I don't know how careful anyone else is to get rid of all those pesky little cactus spines.




You actually harvest and process your own Prickly Pears for Prickly Pear flavor? Sorta adds a whole new dimension to the term "scratch baking".... ooooh, bad pun... but seriously, there has to be an easier way to win the "unique bakery feature" than combing the dessert in your chef's apron, warding off scorpions with your oven mitts while plucking prickly pears!

scp1127 Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 1:49pm

My business model is based on using only the finest ingredients in artisan scratch cakes. Because of this, it is considered a small batch bakery where all desserts are made to order. This really ups my cost over the competition, but I have no direct competitors for this market. Obviously this is a much smaller segment of the market, and you have to be able to directly reach them for success.

I am almost ready to open a small retail shop soon that will carry these products.

MsGF Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 2:18pm

I strictly bake and decorate Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free. I also accommodate Dairy-Free & Corn-Free. I can by special request make Grain-Free & Refined Sugar-Free which is good for Diabetics.

All my recipes are made from scratch, using recipes I've perfected over years so they are not the typical dense, heavy, yucky gluten-free cake. Mine are light and yummy. People are always really surprised by the cakes. And people who are not gluten-free can't tell the difference. And that is my goal. Yummy cake fit for all.

There are so many food allergies and intolerance's today, and I fill the gap for those people. Because we love cake too.

jgifford Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 2:18pm

You actually harvest and process your own Prickly Pears for Prickly Pear flavor? Sorta adds a whole new dimension to the term "scratch baking".... ooooh, bad pun... but seriously, there has to be an easier way to win the "unique bakery feature" than combing the dessert in your chef's apron, warding off scorpions with your oven mitts while plucking prickly pears![/quote]

That presents a picture! icon_lol.gif Actually, around here prickly pear jelly is very popular, and that's why I started gathering them. The juice is such a beautiful dark fuschia that I thought it would make a gorgeous frosting. It turns out to be a pretty pink, so I'm working on how to get the color without diluting it with powdered sugar, etc. So every October, I'm out with my thick gloves and tongs. icon_rolleyes.gif

GarciaGM Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 2:26pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki1201

The bakery I work in only uses Whipped Cream for our wedding cakes.




Wow, whipped cream exclusively?? How do they alter the recipe so that it's stable at room temperature for the duration of a wedding reception? Just intrigued, since I'd love to offer a homemade whipped cream that can go without refrigeration, without having to resort to something like Bettercreme.

EDITED: Sorry Nikki...I continued to scroll down and saw that you already answered this question!

momvarden Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 3:47pm

I typically do what the customer request, Butter cream or fondant. I have done others but living on the coast of VA the weather can really play games with frosting's and decorations so i try to stick with my butter cream and homemade fondant. I do a lot of carved cakes so at times i have to say fondant is the only way to get the design. I have done a quilting pattern on a wedding cake with butter cream on it and no fondant in site. that was frustrating but very rewarding.

sweetflowers Posted 9 Feb 2012 , 7:11pm

My dad harvests our prickly pears for us, we have hundreds in the back yard. He is pulling stickers out for days afterward (uses thick gloves and tongs also). My mom makes prickly pear jelly too but I never thought to use it for filling, how yummy is that?? The hard part is having anything left after getting out those stinkin pits, there are tons of them!

The bakery near me doesn't do sheet cakes, and our other bakery only does non-dairy whipped frosting.

nikki1201 Posted 9 Feb 2012 , 7:27pm

garciam- yes... we do not like bettercreme. We have a few customers we have to order it for that always request it, but we do not use it otherwise.

Brides love that we do whipped cream cakes. IMO, they are light and elegant. here is a link to our bakery's facebook page so you can see what i mean when i said they are not 'elaborately decorated'... whipped cream is not exacty a drwam to work with but my boss does an amazing job with it.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.240362982650919.59815.116023751751510&type=3

vgcea Posted 11 Feb 2012 , 11:59pm

nikki1201 those cakes are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing the pictures.

GarciaGM Posted 12 Feb 2012 , 5:00am

nikki1201, those are beautiful cakes!! I do a lot of whipped icing because my family particularly likes my recipe, but when they are for family I can always control the environment and be sure they are in my refrigerator. Does your bakery add anything to the recipe to give it greater stability? For example, I add unflavored gelatin to mine.

nikki1201 Posted 12 Feb 2012 , 10:54pm

I don't have an exact recipe... but when i make it for her, "1/2 gallon of heavy cream, 2 scoops of sugar, and one scoop of stabilizer" (her words lol) go into the mixer. i believe the sugar is 10X, the stabilizer- i have no idea, i never actually looked at the label! and if i had to guess, i'd say our "scoop" is about a half a cup.

GarciaGM Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 3:11am

Sounds like I'll have to experiment with stabilizer! I LOVE whipped icing. Thanks for the info!

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