Trends Vs Industry Standard (Poll)

Lounge By TwoThumbs2 Updated 28 Jun 2016 , 4:07pm by theresaf

TwoThumbs2 Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 4:48pm
post #1 of 39

So, I'm familiar with the 4 inch tier as an industry standard, and I understand that it's easier for cutting and serving...BUT it seems like more and more "Pinterest" cakes have the loftier look of a 5 or 6 inch tier. So my questions are:

1. To what extent do cultural preferences inform industry standards (ie; is 4 inch really still the standard)?

2. What is your personal preference or default?


I'm a friends-and-family hobby baker,  I enjoy it and it keeps me out of trouble, so I don't charge ( I let them reimburse me for ingredients and supplies). But I'm trying to find my "norm" and so far I feel like I'm doing something a little different each time (2 torted layers, 3 untorted layers, etc). I'm considering purchasing the SPS for the next cake I do, but it requires knowing what I'm planning ahead of time, rather than a seat-of-my-pants approach!


I know there have been threads like this in the past, but honestly they seemed pretty old, and I'm curious if folks' opinions and practices have evolved. :)

38 replies
Jinkies Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 5:41pm
post #2 of 39

My cakes are generally 4" tall but sometimes I do 5" because I feel it looks better for the design.  I also sometimes do 5" when I'm trying to give a client a little more cake (like they want an 8" for 25 people).

It's really just personal preference though.  Sometimes, especially with tiered cakes, depending on the design, a taller tier just looks more pleasing to the eye.

I don't do formal wedding cakes, but I've heard that caterers don't like the 5" tiers for the plating issue.  I'm not sure if that's the norm.

Don't forget, a lot of the cakes you see on pinterest, are not real cakes.  They are made specifically for photo shoots and magazines.

-K8memphis Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 5:50pm
post #3 of 39

the industry will never abandon the 4" tall tier as the standard because it is too efficient -- the industry involves way much more than the cakes on Pinterest of course -- you typically do not increase your servings by much with a taller tier because footprint determines that number --

my favorite is to make my tiers look proportional -- the bottom tiers need to be taller than the top tiers -- so to achieve that you either bake more cake off or fudge on extra boards under the cake iced to conceal them as all one tier

for example two 5" tall cakes say a 15" and a 10" -- the first one looks shorter because it is only a third as tall as it is big around but the 10" will look taller because it is half as tall as it wide --


carolinecakes Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 5:55pm
post #4 of 39

What Jinkies said...........

Hobbists here, also if I want the height but do not need so much cake, I will use a foam core, to get the height I need. So if i make a 10", I will sit that on a foam core round same size, 2"- 3" in height. There's a Vegetales Cake in my gallery, the bottom is foam core.

hippiecac Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 6:09pm
post #5 of 39

My standard cake height is 6". Three layers of cake (baked in 3 pans because I hate torting) each about 1 1/2" high. 

I've never been good at following rules or society's standards stuck_out_tongue.png


Gingerlocks Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 9:37pm
post #6 of 39

I tend to make my cakes towards the taller end; 5" to 6" just because a lot of customers really like that look. They see the photo's on Pinterest and they don't want the 4" version; they want it to look like the photo; I've even had customers tell me they like "how high my cakes are".

MBalaska Posted 24 Jun 2016 , 11:41pm
post #7 of 39

4 to 5 inches tall cake slices fit most desert plates.

Jinkies Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 12:25am
post #8 of 39

You know, I did a graduation cake a few weeks ago and it was one 10" tier that was about 5 1/2" tall.  I did one today for my daughters graduation party and it's only 4" tall and, I gotta say, it doesn't look as nice as the taller one, undecorated.  Luckily it has a book cake on top and a topper so it's not an issue.  Just saying that, depending on the design and size of the cake, taller does look better, i think.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 12:34am
post #9 of 39

I do three 1 1/2 inch cake layers so my final cake is about 5 1/2 inches tall.  I like the taller look too, plus I do a lot of cake with the spreadable lace...and most patterns are a bit taller than 4 inches, so the taller tiers work better.

Apti Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 2:36am
post #10 of 39

Agree with K8memphis.    Many of the non-custom cakes out there in the USA are pre-made by one of the huge food firms:  Dawn Foods, Flowers Foods, McKee Foods.  They are going to be 1" or 1-1/2" or 2" pre-made, ready-to-decorate, layers.  

Dawn Foods Ready-to-Finish Uniced Cakes & Cupcakes

http://www.dawnfoods.com/products/ready-to-sell-ready-to-finish-bakery-products/ready-to-sell-ready-to-finish-cakes/ready-to-finish-un-iced-cakes-cupcakes

Store bakeries similar to Publix or Walmart may choose to purchase some frozen, pre-made cakes that only comes in certain [industry] sizes. 

I've tasted some of these 'pre-made' cakes and cupcakes in vanilla and chocolate and they are not bad.  They are not great, but they are not bad.   Some are actually quite good with a fine crumb. 

You probably won't see a lot (or any?) of the mass-produced, non-custom cakes on Pinterest.  Come to think of it, how many ugly, plain, or boring cakes do you see on Pinterest?    Pinterest (and the gorgeous creations on CakeCentral) are usually a reflection of the "best of the best" to which we can aspire.

If you are a hobby baker (like me) and want to get the WOW Factor, then a taller cake will probably be a great start.

"Dawn Foods Ready-to-Finish Uniced Cakes & Cupcakes"
Read more at http://www.cakecentral.com/forum/t/831572/trends-vs-industry-standard-poll#uymmeQ3A7HI5mZIq.99






costumeczar Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 2:54am
post #11 of 39


Quote by @MBalaska on 3 hours ago

4 to 5 inches tall cake slices fit most desert plates.

This is what I was going to say too...The venue directors that I've spoken to about the taller tiers don't like them because they're more difficult to cut and fit on the plates.

-K8memphis Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 9:41am
post #12 of 39

exactly -- if you want to build a business you make nice with the peeps who refer you to their clients -- I accidently left my little flat wilton plastic cheapo turntable at a reception once and the venue director loved me because they could cut the cake so much easier -- easy enough to bring it every time -- points for k8t :)


-K8memphis Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 9:45am
post #13 of 39

high five, apti

theresaf Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 1:05pm
post #14 of 39

Wish I could hit a "like" button here  ! Interesting topic!

CTD1 Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 2:04pm
post #15 of 39

I'm a hobbiest, so I can't speak to industry standard.  My cakes are on the tall side (6 to 8 inches) because I just like the look of taller cakes.  Even a very simply decorated cake appears impressive when it's tall.  I'll use 3 to 4 layers of cake and then lots of filling and icing.  

@MBalask, you are correct about plate size.  More often than not, I need to use salad or luncheon plates to serve.  

-K8memphis Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 2:57pm
post #16 of 39

so how many use 6" and taller tiers that are 12" and bigger in size --

I'm sure if you made one that size it's impressive and beautifuly elegant --

in my mind the nice tall tiers are for the smaller sized tiers? to me the look of a 14" 16" tier that tall would look like a mountain, the incredible hulk -- don't be offended if you do these big giant tiers -- this is just my thoughts for what I would produce --

i'm sure if you made one that size it's impressive and beautifuly elegant --

I'm just adding a dimension to the discussion


CTD1 Posted 25 Jun 2016 , 3:11pm
post #17 of 39


Quote by @-K8memphis on 2 minutes ago

so how many use 6" and taller tiers that are 12" and bigger in size --

I'm sure if you made one that size it's impressive and beautifuly elegant --

in my mind the nice tall tiers are for the smaller sized tiers? to me the look of a 14" 16" tier that tall would look like a mountain, the incredible hulk -- don't be offended if you do these big giant tiers -- this is just my thoughts for what I would produce --

i'm sure if you made one that size it's impressive and beautifuly elegant --

I'm just adding a dimension to the discussion


That's a very good question!  

My tall cakes are usually 8 inches or under.  I think I've made a few 9 inch diameter tall cakes, but the proportion seemed off - could just be my perception and what I find visually appealing, or maybe just those particular cakes.  

I don't make too many 10" or above, but when I do, they're standard size (personal preference of not wanting to work too hard).

 

hippiecac Posted 26 Jun 2016 , 1:15am
post #18 of 39

A few weeks ago I had an order for 4 - 12" high (6 layer pink ombré), 12" round cakes. They were massive! I have no idea how the venue served them - I guess on dinner plates? 

Apti Posted 26 Jun 2016 , 2:28am
post #19 of 39

To those who make tall cakes:  Do you place a cardboard at the 4"-5" mark then keep building up the tier?

When the tall (8" or taller) tiers are cut, do the servers just cut down to the cardboard until all of that "layer" is gone, then remove the cardboard and keep cutting the bottom 4"-5"?

Do you give specific cutting instructions to the staff for these super-tall cakes or do you do the cutting?

-K8memphis Posted 26 Jun 2016 , 12:04pm
post #20 of 39

my last wedding cake had tall double tiers and I told the catering staff there were 2-tiers inside with the cardboards in between  I used to work w/these folks -- the cake cutters were good fast & efficient so impressive -- I've never included a cutting chart -- 

but I impress on the bride at the consult exactly what she is purchasing -- that her cake cutters need to know what they're doing -- that one serving is approximately the size of a cupcake plus the fillings -- that if they get their twin twelve year old cousins to cut and serve they need to buy extra servings to accommodate for their inexperience -- so then I ask if they want to buy more -- they never do -- but they remember to get a good cake cutter to protect their investment

TwoThumbs2 Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 2:51pm
post #21 of 39


Quote by @carolinecakes on 2 days ago

What Jinkies said...........

Hobbists here, also if I want the height but do not need so much cake, I will use a foam core, to get the height I need. So if i make a 10", I will sit that on a foam core round same size, 2"- 3" in height. There's a Vegetales Cake in my gallery, the bottom is foam core.


I like this idea!!! what kind of foam core do you use? Is this a pre-made round or something you buy in a sheet and cut to your preferred size?



Quote by @-K8memphis on 2 days ago

the industry will never abandon the 4" tall tier as the standard because it is too efficient -- the industry involves way much more than the cakes on Pinterest of course -- you typically do not increase your servings by much with a taller tier because footprint determines that number --

my favorite is to make my tiers look proportional -- the bottom tiers need to be taller than the top tiers -- so to achieve that you either bake more cake off or fudge on extra boards under the cake iced to conceal them as all one tier

for example two 5" tall cakes say a 15" and a 10" -- the first one looks shorter because it is only a third as tall as it is big around but the 10" will look taller because it is half as tall as it wide --


I think all of your points are quite right...I've noticed that effect on tiered cakes. I've even gone to re-measure because all the tiers I thought were the same level look completely different when stacked together!!!  What 




Quote by @Apti on 2 days ago

Agree with K8memphis.    Many of the non-custom cakes out there in the USA are pre-made by one of the huge food firms:  Dawn Foods, Flowers Foods, McKee Foods.  They are going to be 1" or 1-1/2" or 2" pre-made, ready-to-decorate, layers.  

...

You probably won't see a lot (or any?) of the mass-produced, non-custom cakes on Pinterest.  Come to think of it, how many ugly, plain, or boring cakes do you see on Pinterest?    Pinterest (and the gorgeous creations on CakeCentral) are usually a reflection of the "best of the best" to which we can aspire.




I agree with both of you, and I think the point you made kind of goes to the heart of my original question. Yes, the mass-produced cakes are still 4", but most of us (even the hobbyists) would probably cringe at the thought of being associated with the mass produced product! And most of our customers (paying or otherwise)  probably don't troll through Pinterest pinning cakes that look "average". So, although the cake/baking industry as a whole still has particular standards, I wonder if the whole custom/boutique cake industry is differentiating itself more and more as a separate entity which is partially defined by breaking the rules? (like hippiecac!)


Quote by @hippiecac on 1 day ago

A few weeks ago I had an order for 4 - 12" high (6 layer pink ombré), 12" round cakes. They were massive! I have no idea how the venue served them - I guess on dinner plates? 


WOW! I kind of can't even imagine that much cake! It does sound like a mountain!




I do agree with everyone that said that you don't want to make the people made who will be serving your cake!


TwoThumbs2 Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 2:55pm
post #22 of 39

Can't edit my post for errors, but at the least I will remark that the last line should be "mad" rather than "made", lol.  There are other mistakes, too, but y'all are smart enough to figure them out. :)

kakeladi Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 4:32pm
post #23 of 39

..........Can't edit my post for errors, ................

Aahh but what I have learned to do is to copy the post I want to change, paste it in a new reply, make the corrections & submit that, then delete the original post.


-K8memphis Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 4:37pm
post #24 of 39

i do not cringe at mass produced cake nor 4" cakes, nor 9x13's in the pyrex pan, nor sheet cakes nor any of the other ones discriminated  against -- hahahahaha -- I LIKE CAKE  I Ike all of 'em heart_eyes.png

-K8memphis Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 4:38pm
post #25 of 39

and I got the cellulite to prove it hahahahaha stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye.png

AAtKT Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 5:28pm
post #26 of 39

K8... I have the cellulite to prove I don't discriminate on the cake aspect either... I do however discriminate on the frosting... I only eat the frosting that I like the taste of... (I am not a frosting girl... my mom on the other hand always would eat my frosting that I didn't...)



TwoThumbs2 Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 5:33pm
post #27 of 39

LOL, K8! To tell the truth, I eat it all, too. and AAtKT, my love for cake is only eclipsed by my love of frosting!  I feel like I need a Cake Anonymous group. :) But I do like cake for an event to at least be cute.  :)


and Kakeladi, great tip! Obviously I have much to learn (and not just about caking!)

theresaf Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 6:29pm
post #28 of 39

K8 you sound like a page from Green Eggs & Ham!

I would eat cake in a boat I would eat cake in my moat  (sorry that's a horrible example!)

The same rhyme holds true for frosting for me btw

And I do not discriminate against cake made by others - it's still cake. I am happy to eat it! Unless it's carrot cake WHICH IS NOT A CAKE to me.  It's carrots.  Call it something else and I might feel differently.  I know that may start a firestorm but I draw the line at carrot cake.  Sorry all you 'but I make the best carrot cake and I'm sure my recipe would change your mind' - even if you were RBI (although I would be intimidated by the thought!)

kissing_heart.png

Theresa

-K8memphis Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 9:53pm
post #29 of 39

bwuwahahahhaha stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes.png

kakeladi Posted 27 Jun 2016 , 10:38pm
post #30 of 39

Buttt......theresaf do you eat zucchini or green tomato cake?  And what's wrong with carrots??  They are soooo good for you - they help you see (good for your eyes).........

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