nancylee61 Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 1:51pm

AIn an ideal world, bakers would make great tasting cakes and they would look great! I'm newer to decorating, and won't make any cake that I can't do. I am practicing and practicing, testing a few new recipes that I don't yet have, and taking a cake decorating class at the CIA. My cakes taste good. I have baked for 40 years, just haven't decorated for long.

So my question is: how do you know when you are ready to put your products out there for sale? At what point do you say: OK, I'm taking out an ad, or dropping cakes off to a reception business. I dropped some cakes off, and the feedback was very positive. I wouldn't take any cake I can't do, design wise. But since it is very hard to judge your own work, how do you know when a design is ready to go?

Thanks, Nancy

13 replies
BeesKnees578 Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 2:35pm

I guess it depends a lot on your competition....do you know of an area biz that has fabulous tasting AND fabulous decorating?  Are you able to offer something they are not?

 

Are you taking pics of all your work to keep a portfolio?  How do you think you compare to others in your area?

 

Just some thoughts...I will take a look at your profile to see if you have any pics!

Crazy-Gray Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 2:38pm

AFor me I never truly ‘knew it was time’ just like I’m still waiting to stop feeling like a big kid!!

It all just gradually evolved for me; I made undecorated bakes for family and sometimes friends then I played about with fondant, and then my designs got gradually more and more adventurous…

for a long time I made what I wanted for free, if people insisted on giving me something towards costs I’d reluctantly take it but my aim was to improve (and a little to show off if I’m honest!)…

When friends began asking for cakes and requesting specific designs though it became time to do things properly; register with the health department, register as a sole trader for taxes and charge.

People began asking for business cards when I delivered cakes so I got some printed and I set up a free website for the cards to point them to, now when I find/anticipate a lull in demand I take out an ad or do a promo – or (more often) I bask in the delight of a break!

If you think it feels like time to step things up a bit go for it! I’m sure you’ll be able to practice on presentation without impacting on taste!

Maybe start by setting up a free website- check out moonfruit, and design it for what you’re comfortable making now and evolve it as you move onto new things once you're happy to add them for sale.

All the very best of luck!

Gray

BeesKnees578 Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 2:40pm

I looked at your profile...you cakes are pretty darn clean!

 

Design/Style/Composition could use some improving.  The decorations look kinda just slapped on there.

 

Go to the craft store, get some cake dummies and some scrapbooking or wrapping paper that inspires you.  Create some AWESOME dummy cakes and get some great pictures.  Let people know what you CAN do.  It's hard to feel inspired sometimes when you have no particular reason to create (an order).  But do some over the top stuff that makes you stand out.

 

Advertise those...and don't forget to do your market research so that you are properly priced for your skill level.  Advertise where your ideal market is. 

 

Good luck!

BeesKnees578 Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 2:48pm

And so something about those boards, those types of boards are for Walmart dessert cakes....what's with the rocks in the pictures?

 

1/2" thick boards, whether glued together or purchased 1/2" drums.  Cover nicely...cake on top!  Don't skimp on presentation.

 

You are off to a great start!

nancylee61 Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 2:53pm

AThanks! I live in a very outdoorsy area, and most clients will be visitors. I think I'll lose the rocks! Great suggestions, thank you! I have just been practicing being clean, now I'll concentrate on sticking the designs on and better designs! Do you sketch stuff first? Nancy

Crazy-Gray Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 2:56pm

AI always always sketch - I can't see what I see till I see it!

BeesKnees578 Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 3:09pm

I do sketch....because sometimes I get an idea in my head, make all the decorations, go to put them on the cake and it doesn't turn out the way I planned because there were too many variables in my head.

 

I find that if I sketch, it so much more concrete.  Things can still be changed if needed...like if I made an element too big or too small, or it just doesn't fit on the cake or look just right.  I'm not really one to measure things precisely so sometimes I miscalculate!

 

Also, as far as composition, things to keep in mind - especially with flowers is:  Odd numbers (3, 5, 7, etc.) work.  You want flow and balance...you want your eye to follow a path from decoration to decoration for some cakes (traditional). 

 

Others are very precise and symmetrical...totally just depends on the style of the cake.

nancylee61 Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 3:12pm

AT

Original message sent by Crazy-Gray

For me I never truly ‘knew it was time’ just like I’m still waiting to stop feeling like a big kid!!

It all just gradually evolved for me; I made undecorated bakes for family and sometimes friends then I played about with fondant, and then my designs got gradually more and more adventurous…

for a long time I made what I wanted for free, if people insisted on giving me something towards costs I’d reluctantly take it but my aim was to improve (and a little to show off if I’m honest!)…

When friends began asking for cakes and requesting specific designs though it became time to do things properly; register with the health department, register as a sole trader for taxes and charge.

People began asking for business cards when I delivered cakes so I got some printed and I set up a free website for the cards to point them to, now when I find/anticipate a lull in demand I take out an ad or do a promo – or (more often) I bask in the delight of a break!

If you think it feels like time to step things up a bit go for it! I’m sure you’ll be able to practice on presentation without impacting on taste!

Maybe start by setting up a free website- check out moonfruit, and design it for what you’re comfortable making now and evolve it as you move onto new things once you're happy to add them for sale.

All the very best of luck!

Gray

Thank you, Gray! I appreciate your advice, will read it a few times and take notes! Nancy

JWinslow Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 3:54pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeesKnees578 
 

I do sketch....because sometimes I get an idea in my head, make all the decorations, go to put them on the cake and it doesn't turn out the way I planned because there were too many variables in my head.

 

I find that if I sketch, it so much more concrete.  Things can still be changed if needed...like if I made an element too big or too small, or it just doesn't fit on the cake or look just right.  I'm not really one to measure things precisely so sometimes I miscalculate!

 

Also, as far as composition, things to keep in mind - especially with flowers is:  Odd numbers (3, 5, 7, etc.) work.  You want flow and balance...you want your eye to follow a path from decoration to decoration for some cakes (traditional). 

 

Others are very precise and symmetrical...totally just depends on the style of the cake.

 

Such great advice!  I too sketch now because the great ideas in my head didn't always translate very well on cake.  I certainly am no artist but can sketch enough to be able to tell if my idea is workable.  BTW - Your other advice is wonderful!   Good for all to read.

BeesKnees578 Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 4:52pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by JWinslow 
 

 

Such great advice!  I too sketch now because the great ideas in my head didn't always translate very well on cake.  I certainly am no artist but can sketch enough to be able to tell if my idea is workable.  BTW - Your other advice is wonderful!   Good for all to read.


Thank you!  Sometimes passing out advice, I feel like I sound like a know-it-all!

 

I am soooo not.  For instance, I baked two cakes yesterday (same flavor).  One, I used parchment.  The 2nd, I did not.  Wouldn't you know it, the 2nd one stuck and had to rebake everything today!  I have been doing this for over 10 years....you'd think I would know better!  Almost EVERY time I make a cake, I make some crazy rookie mistake! 

 

Funny thing, I can TOTALLY predict when/why it's going to happen, but continue on anyway!

 

I look at other artists here and think I have no talent - you can separate the true Artists from the talented Crafty people.  At least in the way of competition-ready cakes.  A lot of that is because it's hard to find people willing to pay for such elaborate decorations. 

 

Take every opportunity to learn.  And even when we think we are an expert at something, someone comes along and shows you a new way to do it and it becomes a total time-saver.  You just smack yourself and say "that's sooo obvious...why didn't I think of that?"  You are always learning!

nancylee61 Posted 11 Feb 2014 , 11:31pm

AThank you! You have been very nice and helpful, Nancy

cakebaby2 Posted 27 Feb 2014 , 8:11am

A

Original message sent by BeesKnees578

Thank you!  Sometimes passing out advice, I feel like I sound like a know-it-all!

I am soooo not.  For instance, I baked two cakes yesterday (same flavor).  One, I used parchment.  The 2nd, I did not.  Wouldn't you know it, the 2nd one stuck and had to rebake everything today!  I have been doing this for over 10 years....you'd think I would know better!  Almost EVERY time I make a cake, I make some crazy rookie mistake! 

Funny thing, I can TOTALLY predict when/why it's going to happen, but continue on anyway!

I look at other artists here and think I have no talent - you can separate the true Artists from the talented Crafty people.  At least in the way of competition-ready cakes.  A lot of that is because it's hard to find people willing to pay for such elaborate decorations. 

Take every opportunity to learn.  And even when we think we are an expert at something, someone comes along and shows you a new way to do it and it becomes a total time-saver.  You just smack yourself and say "that's sooo obvious...why didn't I think of that?"  You are always learning!

You are not a know-it-all (well compared to me you are......in a good way) I love reading your posts and the other folk who've blazed the trail already. I've made dozens of real good cakes from scratch over then years for my kids in laws and friends so I know I can bake but I am a florist not a pro baker and I have my daughters wedding this year for a 4 tier cake literally dripping fondant flowers. I am terrified. Why? Because it's the first 4 stacked cake I've ever done. I'm practicing weekly with dummies but I know I won't feel good till that cake is in the middle of the room. I'm taking no chances just a tried and trusted recipe , now is not the time to be adventurous.

JWinslow Posted 27 Feb 2014 , 6:01pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by cakebaby2 


You are not a know-it-all (well compared to me you are......in a good way) I love reading your posts and the other folk who've blazed the trail already. I've made dozens of real good cakes from scratch over then years for my kids in laws and friends so I know I can bake but I am a florist not a pro baker and I have my daughters wedding this year for a 4 tier cake literally dripping fondant flowers. I am terrified. Why? Because it's the first 4 stacked cake I've ever done. I'm practicing weekly with dummies but I know I won't feel good till that cake is in the middle of the room. I'm taking no chances just a tried and trusted recipe , now is not the time to be adventurous.

 

Congratulations to your daughter!  Practicing with dummies is always a  good idea but in the case of a 4 tier real cake, have you given any thought to a support system?  Four tiers is very heavy and you sure don't need anything shifting on you so you can enjoy the wedding.

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