Customer Asks How Long In Advance Do You Bake

Decorating By Pearl645 Updated 9 Sep 2012 , 2:42pm by Pearl645

Pearl645 Posted 2 Sep 2012 , 11:02pm
post #1 of 19

I met with a bride and groom and they sampled my cakes and loved them. The bride asked how long in advance do I bake my wedding cakes. She said her cousin's wedding cake was very dry and wanted to make sure hers wouldn't be. Now, most people would never want to hear that their cake is baked one week before their wedding, frozen, thawed then decorated. What do I tell her? I bake my cakes on the Saturday and freeze and use the three day rule for all my cakes like vanilla, chocolate etc. How would you calm a worried customer who thinks her wedding cake will be dry just like her cousins?

18 replies
Occther Posted 2 Sep 2012 , 11:07pm
post #2 of 19

I always bake ahead and freeze. Then I ice with buttercream while cake is still frozen - touch up the buttercream the next day if necessary. Never had a complaint about "dry" cake. I would explain that the texture/moisture of the cake is dependent upon the skill of the cake baker. If they were pleased with your samples, they should like their cake. If you have never had complaints from clients, let them know.

costumeczar Posted 2 Sep 2012 , 11:08pm
post #3 of 19

If you did the samples the same way that you do your cakes you could tell her that.

Pearl645 Posted 2 Sep 2012 , 11:17pm
post #4 of 19

Ok thanks these response are a relief to read. Thanks for the support and boost.

Apti Posted 2 Sep 2012 , 11:21pm
post #5 of 19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

I bake my cakes on the Saturday and freeze and use the three day rule for all my cakes like vanilla, chocolate etc. How would you calm a worried customer who thinks her wedding cake will be dry just like her cousins?




You do exactly what Costume Czar suggested:
"If you did the samples the same way that you do your cakes you could tell her that."

IF you think this may come back to "bite you later", then you may wish to simply advise her to locate a cake decorator who makes cakes without freezing them.

Pearl645 Posted 2 Sep 2012 , 11:26pm
post #6 of 19

Thanks Apti for the boost in confidence. I was a bit nervous as how to respond. No one here really freezes cakes or at least say they do. I only learned this from CC and realized it worked out best.

costumeczar Posted 3 Sep 2012 , 12:30am
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl645

Thanks Apti for the boost in confidence. I was a bit nervous as how to respond. No one here really freezes cakes or at least say they do. I only learned this from CC and realized it worked out best.




A lot of people here say that they freeze...I don't freeze anything, but I do this full time so I don't have to time things out a week ahead, and I don't have freezer space anyway icon_rolleyes.gif

Apti Posted 3 Sep 2012 , 4:41am
post #8 of 19

You are welcome, Pearl. Some bakers AND customers think that unless a custom cake is "fresh baked", that it is not good. Personally, I do not ascribe to that theory, nor do a lot of other people. However, if someone feels strongly that their cakes need to be scratch and/or non-frozen, that's ok too! It all depends on your specific feelings about baking. (Kinda like the scratch vs. doctored mix debate.) Both sides have the opportunity to bake and sell and market their products in the way that works best for them.

As a hobby baker, there is no way I could finish a 3 or 4 tier cake in one session unless I had baked and frozen my cakes ahead of time. My family and friends and members of the large Cake Club where I have a membership, all gave my "doctored box mix", pre-frozen, cakes high marks during a recent anonymous Taste Test at the Club.

CWR41 Posted 3 Sep 2012 , 7:19am
post #9 of 19

I'd tell her the truth and explain that even if you could make her cake in less than an hour, it's not necessarily the best way to get the best results. Freezing the layers adds moisture, cakes need settle time to avoid bulges, they can't dry out once iced, and the longer the icing has a chance to meld with the cake the more moist it will be.

You might mention that her cousin's cake could have been dry if it was overbaked or stored in the refrigerator, which you don't do.

MimiFix Posted 3 Sep 2012 , 12:11pm
post #10 of 19

Pearl, most customers think their cake was pulled out of the oven five minutes before they cut into it. The brief explanation by CWR41 is very good, the best one I've seen. If you think the customer would benefit from this knowledge, then explain your process. Otherwise, I would simply tell them their cake is as fresh as possible. Which is the truth.

Pearl645 Posted 3 Sep 2012 , 9:33pm
post #11 of 19

Thanks Mimi, CRW and Apti for advice. I emailed the customer based on what you guys said. I did tell her most likely her cousin's cake was over-baked. This is the 3rd bride I have met with in two months that asked me why their brother or family member's wedding cake was hard and dry. Thanks again. Knew you all would come through for me with how to respond.

KoryAK Posted 3 Sep 2012 , 9:46pm
post #12 of 19

You can also stress the distinction between "using" and "abusing" the freezer. That usually makes them understand a little better.

Pearl645 Posted 4 Sep 2012 , 12:55am
post #13 of 19

True Kory. Thanks for that little piece of info there.

BakingIrene Posted 4 Sep 2012 , 4:39pm
post #14 of 19

How far in advance do you bake? "Only as far in advance as necessary, depending on the order".

A carved cake MUST be chilled overnight after icing it together and before carving...a fruitcake MUST be aged for a few weeks at least...

Is it even possible to deliver a cake baked the same day? NO NO NO regardless. It MUST cool down to at least 60F and then the icing requires time to settle. And then the decorating starts...

scp1127 Posted 5 Sep 2012 , 8:14am
post #15 of 19

There is another side of this situation. Cakes don't necessarily need freezer time and melding with the buttercream to be a good cake. Cakes can stand on their own and be the right level of moisture based on the recipe and method.

I am another baker that does not freeze. There is a market for scratch and unfrozen. If someone chooses to have this business model and capitalizes on it, it will cause the client to ask the question as she is shopping. This is where honesty and a brief explanation comes into play if you practice another method. Skirting the issue or a clever dodge of the answer will not look good. Anytime a baker has confidence in her work, it will make the customer feel more at ease with that baker.

There is not one method or one type of recipe. People prefer all kinds of cake.

Pearl645 Posted 8 Sep 2012 , 7:08pm
post #16 of 19

Thanks for the advice Susan. I got the wedding cake job and explained my process to the customer. Was most relieved. She said she was okay with it once her wedding cake won't be dry like her cousin's red velvet wedding cake. The cupcake samples she had were frozen for a two days before I pulled them out and thawed them for her so she knew the quality was still good.

scp1127 Posted 9 Sep 2012 , 4:50am
post #17 of 19

Hi Pearl, you just need to find what works for you and your schedule and make the best product you can at your price point. There is room in the market for all types of baked goods. For me, I will always have to charge a higher price, meaning that many people will find my prices too high. Every decision on processes and ingredients will affect the final price and there is a market at all price points.

I have tried freezing cakes and it does alter the outcome. Since I worked hard making them the way I wanted without freezing, I don't like the end result of freezing. All of my products are made the night before serving. I will make my buttercreams two days out, leaving me time to bake. This, to me, means that cakes designed with freezing in the plan can be made the right consistency to come out better after freezing.

vgcea Posted 9 Sep 2012 , 5:24am
post #18 of 19

When discussing freezing vs not freezing OR baking well in advance, I think it is also important to pay attention to what types of designs or cakes a baker/decorator is producing.

Cakes that are minimally decorated, single tier, non-3-D can be done the way scp1127 describes. But when you have a 4 tier wedding cake with super complicated decor or 3-D carving like BakingIrene described, baking the night before delivery is not a smart move.

These are 2 completely different models. It's comparing apples and oranges.

Pearl645 Posted 9 Sep 2012 , 2:42pm
post #19 of 19

True. I can bake one tier and simply decorated cakes the day before but 3 and 4 tier wedding cakes I can't work as fast and rush everything in a few days which is why I bake and freeze the week before. In this cake, this is a 3 tier wedding cake plus 2 large kitchen cakes. I work on my own these days since I let go my other worker so I pace myself.

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