Do You Have To Carve Shaped Cakes To "make It" In This Business?

Business By nancylee61 Updated 4 Feb 2014 , 6:49pm by nancylee61

nancylee61 Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 1:04pm
post #1 of 14

AHi all, I love all of your specialty cakes, the carved ones, the Barbie figures, etc., but I know from my pottery that I am not a sculptor. I just can't see it and then make it. I'm sure I could learn, but I don't really have that much motivation to do so. Can a baker have a successful cake business without those skills? Like how much of a percentage of your business is that type of cake?

Could you also share what percentages of your business are wedding cakes, birthday cakes etc.? I would assume most carved and character cakes are birthday cakes for kids and adults? I am honing in on being my area's scratch and mostly organic baker, and while I do like to use fondant and sugar flowers etc, I can't see myself enjoying spending hours making characters and carved cakes.

Any info would be greatly appreciated! Nancy

13 replies
LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 2:07pm
post #2 of 14

No, you don't have to do shaped cakes to have a successful custom cake business! We do them, but they are a very small percentage (I'd say less than 10%) of our business. What we find is that most people aren't willing to pay for them, so they opt for a round cake with decor in their theme instead.

 

Now some people do a lot more of them, but it's by no means a must have. Most people are happy with traditional round (or square) cakes.

 

As far as weddings versus birthdays/other party cakes, it's about 50/50 for us. For others, they do a lot more weddings than party cakes, and some bakers don't do weddings at all. It just depends on what you want to focus on.

 

Focusing on scratch and organic is very popular right now, and I think you can do pretty well focusing on that aspect. Good luck!

morganchampagne Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 3:58pm
post #3 of 14

AIt does no good to try and compete if you're work is sub par :). I quickly learned this myself. Everybody has their strengths, carved cakes isn't mine. So I dont do them. I refer them to other bakers.

Focus on what you feel you're good at and then be THE BEST at that. I don't do do carved cakes and I'm doing pretty good right now. It took me a long time to find what I'm good at and finding my style.

lorieleann Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 7:41pm
post #4 of 14

I have found that about 10% of requests for quotes are for carved cakes.  I have positioned myself as a wedding cake baker, and have done some sculptural work, but for the most part, people want the 3D cake, but do not want to pay for it.  I list my minimum for 3D work on my website, so perhaps that keeps the requests down.  I think your carved, novelty cakes are going to be more in demand in markets that can support that level of luxury purchase, ie your larger cities or upscale towns with affluent clients.

embersmom Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 9:19pm
post #5 of 14

Quote:

Originally Posted by lorieleann 
 

I have positioned myself as a wedding cake baker, and have done some sculptural work, but for the most part, people want the 3D cake, but do not want to pay for it.  I list my minimum for 3D work on my website, so perhaps that keeps the requests down.  I think your carved, novelty cakes are going to be more in demand in markets that can support that level of luxury purchase, ie your larger cities or upscale towns with affluent clients.

This :nodding:  The licensed home bakers I know do little to no sculpted cakes because their market area won't support such.  Basic cakes (round/square/sheet) and the occasional wedding cake are their bread and butter.

nancylee61 Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 9:25pm
post #6 of 14

Thank you all for sharing what you do! I really don't think this will ever be my thing. I really am concerned with healthy eating, at least as healthy as you can get eating pure butter and sugar,so that is going to be my niche, I think. It makes me very comfortable, to talk about fresh ingredients and the fewest chemicals possible!!

 

Thank you!

Nancy

reginaherrin Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 11:10pm
post #7 of 14

I actually do quite a bit of 3-D cakes but I also market myself at a 3-D cake artist.  It also works for me that not a lot of other bakers do 3-D and especially some certain types like alcohol bottles.  I find that the cakes I do are mostly for adults and fewer for kids, especially for bachelorettes and guys birthdays.  Only about 30% of my orders are for weddings but that is steadily growing and I think I would want it 50/50.  I defiantly agree with morgan, if your 3-D cakes are good then don't do them and market yourself in a different area which it looks like you are doing so I don't think it is a big deal you don't do them. 

costumeczar Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 11:40pm
post #8 of 14

AI do mostly wedding cakes, with the occasional groom's cake. They usually want something carved for those, but if I didn't offer them at all it probably wouldn't affect my business at all. You definitely don't Have to do them if you don't want to.

nancylee61 Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 2:09am
post #9 of 14

Thank you for all of your information!

Nancy

LeanneW Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 8:41pm
post #10 of 14

I think the most important things are to represent yourself accurately to your customers, if carving and 3d cakes aren't your thing, then don't put them in your portfolio. truthfully, carved cakes aren't my strength either, I did like 99% wedding cakes.

 

Every time I had a carved cake, I wouldn't charge enough, I would underestimate how long it would take, I would stress like crazy that they would hate it. So I just stopped doing them.

 

Of course, just because you aren't good at something doesn't mean you should stop doing it. Maybe you want to sell carved cakes, so in that case, you should practice until you feel confident selling them to paying customers.

 

But I just cringe when my nephew wants a lightening mcqueen cake, why doesn't he want a teapot with flowers, that I can do!

Claire138 Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 8:54pm
post #11 of 14

I'll just add that just bc you can't do pottery doesn't mean you can't carve cake - I was thrown out of art class in school for in my teachers words "wasting her time" (she was 100% right) and yet I am a beautician by profession (specialized as a make up artist) and a few years ago changed over to baking & decorating cakes. Every art specialty is different. 

I agree with all the others though, I rarely do 3D cakes. It doesn't seem worth it to me and most clients won't pay for it.

FromScratchSF Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 10:26pm
post #12 of 14

No I don't think it's necessary. Lots of people ask me to make figures and I generally turn then down.  I hate them and think mine look so terrible and am embarrassed of almost every one  I've ever made (although we are our own worst critic, no?)

 

But actually at least having some knowledge of how to carve cakes and what goes into them is very handy to have in your tool box so just knowing a little bit, even if you don't want to sell carved cakes, could be useful for regular cakes.

 

Best of luck!

cakealicious7 Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 10:58pm
post #13 of 14

A

Original message sent by Claire138

I'll just add that just bc you can't do pottery doesn't mean you can't carve cake - I was thrown out of art class in school for in my teachers words "wasting her time" (she was 100% right) and yet I am a beautician by profession (specialized as a make up artist) and a few years ago changed over to baking & decorating cakes. Every art specialty is different.  I agree with all the others though, I rarely do 3D cakes. It doesn't seem worth it to me and most clients won't pay for it.

Omg me too!!

nancylee61 Posted 4 Feb 2014 , 6:49pm
post #14 of 14

Thanks for the information and encouragement!! I don't know - it sure seems like sculpture to me!!! :)

Nancy

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%