I just do cakes for a hobby. I don't plan on ever doing it for a business. Although my "orders" do seem to be coming on a regular basis right now. I have a scary 25th anniversary cake coming the end of this month. Then a fun graduation cake after that. The thing is, I know I still have a ton to learn. This last anniversary cake was stressful, although it did turn out great - there would be many flaws to be seen to the experienced cake person.
So - this scary cake that is coming up - my friend wants it to be a stacked gift cake. BC. And when collecting ideas, he mentioned that their wedding flowers were peonies.
Ok - I have stacked, I have done sheet cakes, but never perfect edged "boxes", and I've only done bc and ri flowers - never gumpaste. And my experience with fondant was a thickly done mmf. So. What should I do? I have a bunch of Sharon's dvds, but not the gumpaste flowers set or the box and bows dvd. I put them in my shopping cart and then left them there... it seems like an awful lot of investment for a hobby, but to even think of doing boxes or peonies, I know I will need some help! So what would you do - would you spend the money or ????
Only do what you are comfortable with. Only spend what you think you will get a good use out of. Its for fun - dont let it become something that is not fun. It they really want YOU to make the cake then they will allow YOU to do what YOU are comfortable with. Good luck!!! But, never stop learning!!!
I would tell your friend that you cant do that kind of cake and that they should find someone else. One thing it wouldn't be fair if they are expecting a wonderful cake for an important party and you didn't live up to their expectations ,
Another why should you have to be stressed out for a hobby . Hobbies are supposed to be stressful.
Just say Sorry Im not experienced with that form of sugar art You'll have to find a different baker and Laugh it off .
Are you doing these cakes for free ? Just wondering ,
Yes, for free - they are good friends and I said this was their gift. He didn't say I had to do the flowers - it was just thrown out as an idea - and he'd probably be happy if they were silk too, it's just that I thought this would be a good time to push myself to another level. I love art/sculpting too, so I thought it might be fun to "wow", if I could pull it off. I'm probably the most worried about the boxes... just getting them to look more crisp.
Have you searched Youtube for tutorials? They have TONS of them and I've learned an amazing amount of techniques from that site. BTW - just made a gift box as the top layer of a four layer stacked cake - so easy if you cover it in fondant!
You can always buy the flowers. www.avalondeco.com
If it is something you want to progress to or improve on anyway, how about the friend buy you the DVD's that would allow you to make the cake he would like? You get the videos to learn from and an excuse to practice a new technique. He still gets a gift worth way more than if you just spent the cash on something and wrapped it up. Just let him know that it is a new technique and may not be up to your usual level. If the peonies aren't coming along well enough then you could use silk as a backup.
The thing is, they don't have a lot of money at all. Their 25 years have been very difficult - their first child was born with birth defects and died at 10 mos. And within this last year, his wife has been hospitalized several times - the first time she nearly died. So he's doing this as a surprise for her - and she's been a good friend for many many years. So I'm happy to do it, but I don't want to ask for anything from them.
I will definitely look on youtube. The flowers will be the fun part! Then the bows... as far as the cake/boxes - could the upside down method be used with a sheet cake size or is that more difficult? That will be the most challenging part of all of this - keeping the icing from sliding, the cake from bulging - and keeping nice crisp edges.
I'm wondering though - this last cake I did seemed to wind up bulging slightly at the bottom - even though the frosting seemed to stay put and it was refrigerated. I'm wondering if it wasn't because it was a super moist carrot cake? Does it help if you have a more stable cake?
....Just say Sorry Im not experienced with that form of sugar art You'll have to find a different baker and Laugh it off .....
I agree w/that advice.
.......last cake I did seemed to wind up bulging slightly at the bottom - even though the frosting seemed to stay put and it was refrigerated. I'm wondering if it wasn't because it was a super moist carrot cake? Does it help if you have a more stable cake?....
If a cake is properly supported it will not bulge. It has nothing to do w/how moist a cake is! You just did not have enough support &/or the cake was not level. Also you might have used too much filling. Those are the things that will cause a cake to buldge.
Study any/all info about using supports in a cake. Use thick plastic straws - like are available at fast food places such as McDonalds (as reference Taco Bell uses thin straws). If you are still concerned then put dowel rods(wood) or sucker sticks into the straw for aditional support but it really isn't necessary. Check out my pix - almost all of my tiered cakes use straws for support.
I had used the sps and I know it was actually just above the cake (it was fine since the top was smothered in bc roses). so it wasn't the weight of the top cake. And it didn't bulge at the filling - it was at the bottom. That's why I wondered if it wasn't the cake itself settling. Or the bc flowing down. I will experiment.
I've already responded but since it seems you would like to do this nice gift ....
First.the average person has no idea how much time ,expense and sometimes aggravation goes into baking and decorating cakes.
Just because he ask for that exact cake doesnt't mean you have to provide it .
A gift is just that a GIFT. If someone tells you they will pay for your lunch on your birthday you dont Telll them you want to go yo he most expensive restaurant in town when they are thnking a chain steakhouse .
Explain to him that this cake will cost you $$and lots of time to perfect .Tell him that type of cake is more diffcult and costly than you what to do .
He may have no clue .But then there are some people whe you say free and they expect the moon.
Im sure he will understand . YOU need to TELL HIM what you are willing to make as the gift you are giving . If he
doesnt agree then he can pay you or find another baker.
When we talked last week I asked him if he was expecting it to look like the picture - and he totally knows that I would have my own take on it, that he just wants my interpretation of that idea. I do know that there's no way he could know what would go into it - and the fact that it was done by Taste of H*** (in case I'm not supposed to mention them) probably made him think it was easily done. After talking to him I know he's just really wanting to do something nice for his wife - and whatever I do I think he will be happy with.
It's ME that wants to do it to my best ability. Even though it makes me really nervous, if I don't push myself I won't do bigger things. I've gotten a lot of good suggestions and I will check out tutorials. If the flowers don't work, that isn't a huge thing - that's just something I'd love to include (when people tell you that they thought your scruffy bc flowers were real, it's so tempting to want to wow them with really awesome flowers!)
......It's ME that wants to do it to my best ability. Even though it makes me really nervous, if I don't push myself ....
Of course you want to do your BEST. I think we all do
I'm sure it will turn out just lovely. I also sounds like he understands it won't be perfect.....I don't think any cake is
They will love whatever you create. Until I finish setting up my biz, I'm strictly a hobby baker, too, never charge, so I only do cakes that I give as gifts. I know many people who spend a LOT on their hobbies (for some reason men often don't feel guilty about the money they spend on themselves as women do....unless we're talking shoes....). If you have not purchased Sharon Zambito's "Perfecting the Art of Buttercream" dvd - it is probably the best dvd investment. You will learn a lot of basic stuff such as how to do those nice square edges, etc. Have fun.
Go for it. Surprise yourself. Take yourself to its up most level and challenge it. You still have a lot of time so you can practice, practice and practice. I think your cake would be an extremely sweet gesture for both the sick wife and the husband and I'm sure it will lift both their spirits that in spite of all of the hardships they're facing they're still together and celebrating it. Investing on the dvd would mean investing on yourself. I'm sure you'll do wonderful with gumpaste flowers specially that you Love sculpting.
I remember when I took the royal icing flower course, one flower was a nightmare for me, no matter how hard I tried to do the Apple Blossom flower right, it would never come beautiful, even, and it would always have 6 petals instead of 5. So as frustrated as I was, I went back home, practiced over and over and over again. At the final day of the course I made a cake with over 70 beautiful ABF and everyone was impressed even my instructor loved my cake and flowers
I believe that "what could be your weakest point now could be your strongest tomorrow".
Good luck, I'm sure you'll do well <3
Thank you for your sweet comments!
Thank you for your sweet comments!
Sharon Zambito (sugarshack) from this site, has great dvd's on boxes. Really on all phases of making and decorating cakes. hth
I do have some of her dvds - but not the boxes or the sugar flowers. They are good.... just expensive when you don't have a business.
You go for it , I was trying to post from my cell phone last night and having trouble editing and posting . what I was trying to say make a comprise with him .
Im sure there are some you tube videos . Good luck and Im sure the cake will be beautiful !