MustangMollie Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 1:17pm
post #1 of

AI'm just wondering how many folks here make everything from scratch. I know some of you make fondant, scratch cakes, etc. so far I've only baked from mixes and used commercial fondant. But I have made various buttercreams, ganaches, and tonight I made a double batch of modeling chocolate and a double batch of whit chocolate ganache. Do you really make a lot of thus from scratch? I'm just wondering because it takes me forever (especially the modeling chocolate).

Currently, I'm a serious hobbyist who's new to the game. However, I am considering the option of turning pro so I'm testing out techniques, brands of fondant, mucking colors, and recipes. Considering what I've seen folks price cake at on here, I can't imagine how it's possible to make a decent hourly rate making it all from scratch. Am I confused or dud I miss something?

I know this can be a sensitive subject for done folks and I'm not trying to start an argument. Us like to get some opinions straight from the horse's mouth. Thanks so much. As always, you guts are awesome!

24 replies
cakealicious7 Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 1:41pm
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AIts a good question, im just a hobby baker also but i make most things from scratch. Things like fondant and gumpaste i buy, i did try and make homemade MMF but it didnt turn out right, so i gave up lol. Everything else i do make because its more satisfying to know that i created that, but i suppose if you run a business then some people just dont have the time to make everything themselves. I've yet to make modeling chocolate but i cant wait to try it :-D

sixinarow Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 1:48pm
post #3 of

I think the better question to ask yourself is, can YOU handle making everything from scratch? If you have a high volume and go through pounds of fondant quickly or have last minute orders, will you have enough time to make it ahead of time or will your order get there in time if your local store doesn't carry it?  I like making my own gumpaste, fondant, modeling choc...BUT if I know I'm going to have a crazy week of orders and other life..I'll buy it to save my own sanity or make a huge batch ahead of time so I won't run out. Pre-made can save you time, but sometimes you get bad batches, so don't wait until last minute to open the package and try it out. You just have to figure out what works for you, regardless of what other people do!

 :-D 

BrandisBaked Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 1:52pm
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AI don't make my own fondant or ganache. Everything else is scratch.

justdesserts Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 1:54pm
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I make all my cakes, fillings, frostings, ganache, and fondant from scratch, at this point I haven't really done anything with modeling chocolate or gumpaste to have experimented with recipes or storebought for those. You should get a lot faster once you have made the same recipes a gazillion times, as well as if you have a larger volume of orders you can make all the buttercream or filling (if it's the same) for the week at once, that sort of thing. I really need to work on getting faster, because I know I dawdle and take too much time. I way underestimate what it really takes me, but I try to estimate the time it would take if I was at a decent pace.

MustangMollie Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 2:16pm
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AThank you all for the thoughtful responses! I don't think I will go down the path of making my own fondant, but I do like making other things from scratch. I do find it more fulfilling and I like that my baked goods look and taste how I want them to.

I really like Six's idea of making ahead of time. Does anyone know how long modeling chocolate and buttercream will keep for in the fridge? Also, can I mix all of the dry ingredients for a cake and quadruple it so that the next time I need to make a cake I have my own "mix" and I just add the wet ingredients?

I think JustDesserts is right too, I'm just starting out so I'm slow with everything. Once I figure out what works best for me and do it a couple of dozen times I'll hopefully get faster. I've also just signed up to do a 12 hour cake decorating course. It starts in late October and meets on e a week for four weeks. I'm really looking forward to that!

Thanks again!!!

liz at sugar Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 2:42pm
post #7 of

Yes, I do because it is part of my USP (unique selling proposition).  However, I don't do fondant covered cakes, so I can't help you in that respect.  I think homemade/marshmallow fondant tastes terrible, though, so maybe you could look into the higher end fondants if you will be purchasing.

 

Liz

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 3:03pm
post #8 of

I make everything except my own fondant, I use Carma Massa for that. I will occasionally buy my gumpaste, but I usually make that as well.

I actually had no idea you could buy ganache, except in small quantities.

 

Modelling chocolate can be frozen for up to 2 years or so. I make a huge batch, make some basic colours, wrap up and freeze in smaller packages. I only make it about once or twice a year.

 

I made a box cake the beginning of the year and it actually took me longer than my scratch ones, lol, the speed just comes with practice.

-K8memphis Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 3:21pm
post #9 of

everyone does it different of course and fwiw--bakeries large and small, specialty and common will be the same as us--some use commercial mixes and some mix it all up from 'scratch'--i know fancy schmancy places that buy bulk duncan hines from wal-mart on the sly (their choice to be discreet about it)  and i know some that labor over the tiniest ingredient detail with amazing results--so there's that too--and like sixinarow sagely said upthread-- feel free to do things your way for what's best & comfortable for you

 

Stitches Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 3:26pm

I CAN  and do make everything from scratch. But I prefer not to make my own fondant and gum paste.

 

Making things from scratch is usually cheaper than purchasing the product and that off sets the time spent making everything.

 

The hardest part is investing the years it takes to find and perfect your recipes. I can see how it would be painful to a new baker to start at the beginning. I was blessed to be a working pastry chef, so I was being paid while I learned and perfected things.

jason_kraft Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 3:28pm

AEverything from scratch except for fondant, primarily due to food allergy concerns. Luckily Satin Ice is nut-free, vegan, and gluten-free.

lindseyjhills Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 4:42pm

Like others here I currently make everything from scratch except sugarpaste/fondant. I can make my own sugarpaste and did years ago when I was learning, but I just don't have time these days as the majority of my cakes are sugarpaste covered. When you factor in the cost of my time, it actually doesn't cost me much more to buy it than make it and the brand I use is not too bad flavour-wise.

The main reason I started making my own modelling chocolate is that I can make it for a tenth of the cost of buying it. Also in the UK you just can't buy it in large quantities. However, I don't really find it time-consuming to make at all. I mix up and cling-wrap the ingredients in the evening (which takes about 30 mins for 5kgs) and leave to rest on the counter. The next morning it's ready to use or store.

Like with anything, time management and planning are key really when you want to do everything from scratch.

However, I don't think there is anything wrong with using ready-made ingredients - it's always worth knowing how to make them in case you get stuck though.

For example, puff pastry is the most tedious thing to make ever. I forgot to buy some last Christmas and had to make vol-au-vents. Ended up making it myself.
Puff pastry is now at the top of my shopping list this year! ;)

kikiandkyle Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 4:47pm

AI also make everything from scratch right now but I don't know if I would continue to make my own fondant when I start my business, it will depend on how busy I am. I'm not really a fan of mixes, I know a lot of people run very successful businesses with them though so it's obviously something that works for some. Same goes for pre-made buttercream and fillings.

ellavanilla Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 8:39pm

I CANNOT make a tender vanilla butter cake from scratch to save my life. the flavor is good, but it's so crumbly, that I'm afraid my customers will think it's stale, so, much to my shame., I use a mix for that. Wouldn't you know, Vanilla is the most commonly ordered flavor?    Grrrr.

 

I make everything else from scratch. 

morganchampagne Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 9:00pm

AI bake everything from scratch. But here's the thing. I spent ALOT of money testing stuff. I'm talking about making stuff and testing it and throwing it out sometimes. I was fortunate to be in a place where I could do that.

I would say that if you don't have time to extensively test. Commercial mixes are better

Relznik Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 9:13pm

I bake from scratch.

 

I make my own buttercream from scratch and - on the occasional times I use it - ganache.

 

I buy jam if I'm using that in a filling.

 

I buy marzipan and sugarpaste.

 

I make my own royal icing and modelling chocolate.

MustangMollie Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 9:52pm

AThanks again everyone! I'll keep working away at it. Like most of you, I think I'll eventually only buy fondant and gum paste.

Lindsey, I haven't found modeling chocolate available in large quantities her in Australia either. And one of the brands here is ridiculously sticky. The other brand is often sold out. Which is why I mad my own last night. The recipe I have says after mixing chocolate with corn syrup to pat it out to a 1/2" thickness and let sit out for an hour. Next, knead it all into a ball and cover with saran wrap for at least 4 hours. It took me so long to knead 1kg of modeling chocolate into a ball :(

MustangMollie Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 9:56pm

A

Original message sent by scrumdiddlycakes

I make everything except my own fondant, I use Carma Massa for that. I will occasionally buy my gumpaste, but I usually make that as well. I actually had no idea you could buy ganache, except in small quantities.

Modelling chocolate can be frozen for up to 2 years or so. I make a huge batch, make some basic colours, wrap up and freeze in smaller packages. I only make it about once or twice a year.

I made a box cake the beginning of the year and it actually took me longer than my scratch ones, lol, the speed just comes with practice.

Thanks Scrumdiddlycakes!!! How do you color your modeling chocolate? The powdered coloring?

MustangMollie Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 9:58pm

A

Original message sent by jason_kraft

Everything from scratch except for fondant, primarily due to food allergy concerns. Luckily Satin Ice is nut-free, vegan, and gluten-free.

Good point Jason! My husband has a nut allergy so I have to be extremely careful with the products that I buy.

ApplegumPam Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 10:03pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by MustangMollie 

Thanks again everyone! I'll keep working away at it. Like most of you, I think I'll eventually only buy fondant and gum paste.

Lindsey, I haven't found modeling chocolate available in large quantities her in Australia either. And one of the brands here is ridiculously sticky. The other brand is often sold out. Which is why I mad my own last night. The recipe I have says after mixing chocolate with corn syrup to pat it out to a 1/2" thickness and let sit out for an hour. Next, knead it all into a ball and cover with saran wrap for at least 4 hours. It took me so long to knead 1kg of modeling chocolate into a ball icon_sad.gif


C'mon girl !  if you want to succeed as a cake decorater you gotta work those muscles! LOL

It sounds like you are looking for all the shortcuts - just remember ALL those things that you are paying somebody else to do for you..... eat into the amount of money you can keep for yourself.

Modelling chocolate shouldn't take time to make...... AND aren't you in Darwin.... imagine how us poor girls down south manage! haha

I am all for purchasing things like fondant when the time it takes you to make it is much better spent doing something else.  BUT it is always a PLUS to know HOW to make it - how it reacts in your climate etc - I have seen many a decorater freaking out because fondant was 'out of stock' - YES this happens nearly every Xmas - Bakels don't increase their production to take into account Wedding Season, more decoraters!! and Xmas orders.

As fara as your cakes and other things go - work on your recipes - it WILL give you a distinct competitive advantage.

When it comes to making money out of cake decorating ...... IF you think there is an easy way...... its probably best to reconsider your career choice!   haha

 

Cakespirations Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 10:09pm

I make my own gum paste, modeling choc, fillings, cake ..etc. Only thing I bring in is fondant. I believe in the power of slow food :)

MustangMollie Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 10:15pm

A

Original message sent by ApplegumPam

C'mon girl !  if you want to succeed as a cake decorater you gotta work those muscles! LOL

It sounds like you are looking for all the shortcuts - just remember ALL those things that you are paying somebody else to do for you..... eat into the amount of money you can keep for yourself.

Modelling chocolate shouldn't take time to make...... AND aren't you in Darwin.... imagine how us poor girls down south manage! haha

I am all for purchasing things like fondant when the time it takes you to make it is much better spent doing something else.  BUT it is always a PLUS to know HOW to make it - how it reacts in your climate etc - I have seen many a decorater freaking out because fondant was 'out of stock' - YES this happens nearly every Xmas - Bakels don't increase their production to take into account Wedding Season, more decoraters!! and Xmas orders.

As fara as your cakes and other things go - work on your recipes - it WILL give you a distinct competitive advantage.

When it comes to making money out of cake decorating ...... IF you think there is an easy way...... its probably best to reconsider your career choice!   haha

 

You are SO right! Aside from having control over taste, the other motivating factor for doing everything from scratch is the cost of buying it. A tiny packet of modeling chocolate is so expensive. I saw a tutorial for a mermaid cake that called for 3.5 kg of modeling chocolate, there's no way I would buy that much.

I think cake decorating is better for my arms than going to the gym! Hahaha

Thanks so much for your advice, as always it's wonderfully helpful!!!

P.S. I'm in Adelaide :)

lindseyjhills Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 10:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustangMollie 

Thanks again everyone! I'll keep working away at it. Like most of you, I think I'll eventually only buy fondant and gum paste.

Lindsey, I haven't found modeling chocolate available in large quantities her in Australia either. And one of the brands here is ridiculously sticky. The other brand is often sold out. Which is why I mad my own last night. The recipe I have says after mixing chocolate with corn syrup to pat it out to a 1/2" thickness and let sit out for an hour. Next, knead it all into a ball and cover with saran wrap for at least 4 hours. It took me so long to knead 1kg of modeling chocolate into a ball icon_sad.gif

My process is slightly different. Once the ingredients are mixed I pour it onto the cling wrap and wrap it into a flat parcel (I actually double wrap it to guard against leaks). I then leave it over night (I've never actually timed it to see how long it takes to set as I'm asleep ;) ). The next day it has set hard.

 

I chop it up with a large knife into roughly two by two inch squares and then start squishing and kneading a couple of pieces together and then gradually bring the other squares in. Probably takes about 5 mins to do 1 kg ? Once that's done I either use it or vacuum pack it onto 250g & 500g quantities.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 2 Oct 2013 , 11:47pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by MustangMollie 


Thanks Scrumdiddlycakes!!! How do you color your modeling chocolate? The powdered coloring?

Nope, I just use regular gel colours, and knead it in like you do fondant.

cazza1 Posted 3 Oct 2013 , 1:24am

Mustangmollie keep in mind when you see prices that they are generally not Australian and that certainly in the US the minimum hourly rate is far lower than ours, just like the cost of their ingredients is.  You CANNOT compare what they might be making there to here.  I say good luck to those who can actually make a living out of it here in Australia.  Most people I know use their cake decorating as a supplement.  I know I could earn just as much as a checkout chick at coles than I could cake decorating.

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