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Advice for a young'n - Page 2

post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmateurBaker View Post


The first I went to was unfortunately closing, and the second said she has been struggling for orders for a couple years and sent me away. I did offer to go in for free and help clear up ect just so I could observe the types of things they would be doing but she still said no - something a bit odd about that one

Sorry but there's nothing odd with that shop owner.  It is not permitted for people to work for free in most shops--the minimum wage act prohibits it.

 

Interns are classified as "trainees" but there might still be a requirement to pay them the minimum wage.  You would look online for your local labour regulations.

 

I sympathise with your mother in not wishing to have sweets in the house when she gets the third degree from her doctor every time she goes...

 

Keep looking online for bakeries and cake shops that show a "careers" button on their website, because they always have detailed info about how to get hired. 

post #17 of 33

Thinking about it from the shop owners' point of view - why would they let you work in their shop - pick up training, hints and tips just for you to go away and start up a business in competition?

 

I don't mean to sound mean...  just putting forward why they may have turned you down. 

 

Having said you're doing A levels, I presume you're in the UK?  Where about are you?  I know that Mitch Turner (Little Venice Cake Company) has interns...  I have no idea how often, and I would imagine that places are very highly sought after.  It might be worth seeing if other large businesses do the same.

 

But thinking about all the well known cake makers here in the UK - not only are they good at what they do, but they have obviously got a very canny business sense!  A degree might not seem the obvious route for you if you want to start your own cake business, but I don't think it will hurt if you got some sort of business and marketing behind you!

 

Very best wishes to you!

 

Suzanne x

Inside this fat body, there's a thin woman screaming to get out...... but I can usually shut her up with chocolate!
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Inside this fat body, there's a thin woman screaming to get out...... but I can usually shut her up with chocolate!
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post #18 of 33

How did I start my own cake business? I learned from the Wilton books published 1970-1979.  They are available for little more than the cost of shipping on ebay.  ALL the patterns from 1977 onwards are on the Wilton website (button says "pattern locator"). 

 

I practised with non-edible stuff.  I found this weird old recipe who-knows-where, using powdered laundry detergent and water whipped into the right consistency.  Piped with that onto old cake tins, dumped it into the washing machine when done.

 

You can also mix a batch of practise icing with white shortening, sugar and water.  It tastes AWFUL but you can pipe and scrape off and pipe again.  Keep it in a closed tub at room temperature, and pipe onto tins. Spend a half hour every day piping--you will learn quickly enough.

 

I couldn't get a job in a bakery, but I did get hired to make sandwiches and assemble desserts.  That was a good paid intro to foodservice. Food safety rules, how to deal with customers, how to deal with rush orders, even a job with a catering company or at a grocery store deli counter will train you in the biggest essential of all--how to NOT waste perishable food.

 

So I did eventually start making cakes for friends, and then for friends of those friends. The word got out that I could make not-so-sweet scratch cakes and then I had all the business I wanted.

 

You WILL need to get a food handlers certificate or whatever they call it in the UK.  It's generally an 8-hour course and the certificate is good for 3 years.  Then  you will need to follow local board of health regs for home kitchens which can be the biggest barrier of all.

post #19 of 33
You'll also find it easier to get business loans later on if you have some business education behind you, and a few years more in age. Are there are other supermarkets in your area that do cakes? Having Waitrose as work experience will surey help you there, I presume it's still considered one of the nicer chains as it was back when I lived there!
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post #20 of 33
post #21 of 33

A business degree will help you learn the basics of accounting, business law, and marketing- concepts and skills that will benefit ANY entrepreneur. There is absolutely no reason that you can't go to school and earn a degree while running a small cake business. That's what I do. In fact, people at school who saw my cakes were my first customers! Yes, everyone loves free cake. Give some cupcakes away just to let people see how great your cakes look AND taste, and you'll be receiving orders in no time! The advantage of starting small is that you can learn as you go (highly recommend reading the Wilton course books for starters and other cake decorating books as well as the Craftsy classes); you'd be surprised what you can teach yourself. In the meantime, you can still earn that degree which you will have for the rest of your life. Selling cakes can give you a little extra money while you earn your degree. (As a side note, look for scholarships!!!) 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can have your cake, and eat it, too! icon_biggrin.gif Best of luck whichever route you choose!

post #22 of 33

I live in London and I just finished a beginers type course through the council, as I'm a resident in the borough it cost £77 which is much cheaper to start learning the basics than some of the bigger schools, I found out about it through the library. Bar that, the library is great for books at least for the basics. I'm lucky enough to have a boss with a sweet tooth so always gets me to make the cakes for his familys birthdays etc when I know he would be better off in Waitrose (plus the discount, his daughter works there!) but knows I want the practice. Gifts are always welcome, maybe for your friends make little 4" cakes or some thing. I know a baker that practices piping with toothpaste and sugarpaste modelling with play-doh. See if you can get a cake dummy covered in cling to practice on and work out the best recipes on smaller cakes so you don't spend much on ingredients. You should be more confident about giving away your cakes to your parents friends in no time! Theres also always hanging about when your parents friends are over and dropping into conversation how you loooove making cakes [big sigh] theres just not enough events to make cakes for to practise and oh it would be so good to make cakes for other people to know what its like to deal with requests like flavors and how to translate designs... [bats eyelids a lot]. Oh and Youtube, totally always Youtube.
 

post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis View Post

valentine's

 

first day of spring

 

april fool's day (make a 'spaghetti' or 'meatloaf & potatoes' cake :)

 

Thankyou for the ideas :) I never though of using april fool's day as an excuse to bring the whisk out - genius! 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by BakingIrene View Post

Sorry but there's nothing odd with that shop owner.  It is not permitted for people to work for free in most shops--the minimum wage act prohibits it.

 

Interns are classified as "trainees" but there might still be a requirement to pay them the minimum wage.  You would look online for your local labour regulations.

 

I sympathise with your mother in not wishing to have sweets in the house when she gets the third degree from her doctor every time she goes...

 

Keep looking online for bakeries and cake shops that show a "careers" button on their website, because they always have detailed info about how to get hired. 

 

Thankyou for the reply! I never really looked at it that way, especially now you have clarified the legalities. Unfortunately my local bakery are not hiring, as are the two local supermarkets. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Relznik View Post

Thinking about it from the shop owners' point of view - why would they let you work in their shop - pick up training, hints and tips just for you to go away and start up a business in competition?

 

I don't mean to sound mean...  just putting forward why they may have turned you down. 

 

Having said you're doing A levels, I presume you're in the UK?  Where about are you?  I know that Mitch Turner (Little Venice Cake Company) has interns...  I have no idea how often, and I would imagine that places are very highly sought after.  It might be worth seeing if other large businesses do the same.

 

But thinking about all the well known cake makers here in the UK - not only are they good at what they do, but they have obviously got a very canny business sense!  A degree might not seem the obvious route for you if you want to start your own cake business, but I don't think it will hurt if you got some sort of business and marketing behind you!

 

Very best wishes to you!

 

Suzanne x

 

Thankyou for your reply! Similar to Irene, I had never thought of the situation that way :) Your thoughts along with the legalities mentioned above completely make sense - sounds like I was being very optimistic by the sounds of it ;) Yes I am in the UK, up north in Leeds. Irene posted further below a link t Mitch's internship but unfortunately I don't meet the requirements she asks for (I don't have the 2 year experience/qualification, nor am I training under any recognised scheme). It sounds like a fantastic opportunity though. Doh! Thankyou for your input - greatly appreciated :) I am heavily considering the business degree route, I cant belive it never crossed my mind before!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene View Post

How did I start my own cake business? I learned from the Wilton books published 1970-1979.  They are available for little more than the cost of shipping on ebay.  ALL the patterns from 1977 onwards are on the Wilton website (button says "pattern locator"). 

 

I practised with non-edible stuff.  I found this weird old recipe who-knows-where, using powdered laundry detergent and water whipped into the right consistency.  Piped with that onto old cake tins, dumped it into the washing machine when done.

 

You can also mix a batch of practise icing with white shortening, sugar and water.  It tastes AWFUL but you can pipe and scrape off and pipe again.  Keep it in a closed tub at room temperature, and pipe onto tins. Spend a half hour every day piping--you will learn quickly enough.

 

I couldn't get a job in a bakery, but I did get hired to make sandwiches and assemble desserts.  That was a good paid intro to foodservice. Food safety rules, how to deal with customers, how to deal with rush orders, even a job with a catering company or at a grocery store deli counter will train you in the biggest essential of all--how to NOT waste perishable food.

 

So I did eventually start making cakes for friends, and then for friends of those friends. The word got out that I could make not-so-sweet scratch cakes and then I had all the business I wanted.

 

You WILL need to get a food handlers certificate or whatever they call it in the UK.  It's generally an 8-hour course and the certificate is good for 3 years.  Then  you will need to follow local board of health regs for home kitchens which can be the biggest barrier of all.

 

Hello again. Thankyou for the Wilton tip, especially the patterns! I currently own one of the very early Jane Asher books and will attempt a couple designs from there but i'm pretty sure my next book will be a Wilton one. Thats a good idea too (the laundry detergent concoction). (reading on) I really like the fake icing idea too - at least then i can get a feel of how similar it will be to piping using real icing I guess. Thanks for the last tips too. I'm not really thinking about gathering food handlers certificate and what not until I have a year or so under my belt. As mentioned earlier, I currently work at waitrose and am thinking of asking if there is a chance of me being trained to work at the patisserie counter - even though it all comes straight out of a card board box! Its all experience I suppose :) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle View Post

You'll also find it easier to get business loans later on if you have some business education behind you, and a few years more in age. Are there are other supermarkets in your area that do cakes? Having Waitrose as work experience will surey help you there, I presume it's still considered one of the nicer chains as it was back when I lived there!

 

I never considered this, thankyou very much! Haha it is indeed :) I'm just a shelf stacker at the moment but plan on asking for some hours behind the patisserie counter within the next week or so :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene View Post

http://www.lvcc.co.uk/job-opportunities.asp

Thanks for the link and all your help Irene.

Unfortunately, I don't fill any requirement to apply. What a fantastic opportunity for anyone else interested though! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by texascakebaker View Post

A business degree will help you learn the basics of accounting, business law, and marketing- concepts and skills that will benefit ANY entrepreneur. There is absolutely no reason that you can't go to school and earn a degree while running a small cake business. That's what I do. In fact, people at school who saw my cakes were my first customers! Yes, everyone loves free cake. Give some cupcakes away just to let people see how great your cakes look AND taste, and you'll be receiving orders in no time! The advantage of starting small is that you can learn as you go (highly recommend reading the Wilton course books for starters and other cake decorating books as well as the Craftsy classes); you'd be surprised what you can teach yourself. In the meantime, you can still earn that degree which you will have for the rest of your life. Selling cakes can give you a little extra money while you earn your degree. (As a side note, look for scholarships!!!) 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can have your cake, and eat it, too! icon_biggrin.gif Best of luck whichever route you choose!

 

How interesting! I guess your proving the earlier theory mentioned of uni students = guinea pigs :D  Thankyou for the post, its very encouraging :) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gemmal View Post

I live in London and I just finished a beginers type course through the council, as I'm a resident in the borough it cost £77 which is much cheaper to start learning the basics than some of the bigger schools, I found out about it through the library. Bar that, the library is great for books at least for the basics. I'm lucky enough to have a boss with a sweet tooth so always gets me to make the cakes for his familys birthdays etc when I know he would be better off in Waitrose (plus the discount, his daughter works there!) but knows I want the practice. Gifts are always welcome, maybe for your friends make little 4" cakes or some thing. I know a baker that practices piping with toothpaste and sugarpaste modelling with play-doh. See if you can get a cake dummy covered in cling to practice on and work out the best recipes on smaller cakes so you don't spend much on ingredients. You should be more confident about giving away your cakes to your parents friends in no time! Theres also always hanging about when your parents friends are over and dropping into conversation how you loooove making cakes [big sigh] theres just not enough events to make cakes for to practise and oh it would be so good to make cakes for other people to know what its like to deal with requests like flavors and how to translate designs... [bats eyelids a lot]. Oh and Youtube, totally always Youtube.
 

Sounds like all my friends/family are receiving cakes for the next couple years as gifts *woopwoop*. Haha, if the bating of eyelids fails i'll just go with an old fashioned flash ;)

I never thought to look in my local library - nice idea there, thank you!. 

 

Thanks for all your replies, opinions, advice and tips guys - its encouraged me a lot and given me much to think about :) However, I now blame you all for my lack of sleep since i'm so excited :P 

post #24 of 33

Well, it sounds like you've got a few ideas there to consider.

 

Just one minor thing that sprung to mind...  I haven't seen any of the Wilton books, so I don't know what sort of cakes they do, but bear in mind that the UK market is more sugarpaste (that's fondant in the USA!) orientated.  I know that a lot of customers in the USA still prefer buttercream, so if the Wilton books are geared more towards buttercream, they may not be ideal.

 

If you want some suggestions for books, I'd be happy to give you some ideas.
 

Inside this fat body, there's a thin woman screaming to get out...... but I can usually shut her up with chocolate!
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Inside this fat body, there's a thin woman screaming to get out...... but I can usually shut her up with chocolate!
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post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relznik View Post

Well, it sounds like you've got a few ideas there to consider.

Just one minor thing that sprung to mind...  I haven't seen any of the Wilton books, so I don't know what sort of cakes they do, but bear in mind that the UK market is more sugarpaste (that's fondant in the USA!) orientated.  I know that a lot of customers in the USA still prefer buttercream, so if the Wilton books are geared more towards buttercream, they may not be ideal.

If you want some suggestions for books, I'd be happy to give you some ideas.

 

I got the same idea given that most YouTube videos I've seen are American/Australian based too. So far, my cakes have had jam filling and either covered in jam before placing rolled fondant, a failed ganache (will have another go At that) or nothing in between since I have only used rolled fondant which doesn't taste nice anyway, so it worked fine as my family could peal the cake away easily :3
I haven't been able to find 'gum paste' in supermarkets nor hobby craft for models and the like though. Do people tend to make it them selfs and colour as needed?
I suppose that's a question for different thread really icon_wink.gif
Oh about the books - if you don't mind can you inbox me the names? That way I won't lose them easily :p
post #26 of 33

Hi Alex,

I am 18 and I started baking cakes this past year. It all started on its own if you will; sort of found me. I wanted to be a lawyer all my life :/ eesh!

I live in Louisiana and we have quite a few cupcake shops open recently. I found myself baking cupcakes A LOT! I decided to enroll in a class at "Party Time" which is a class that is based on what Wilton teaches. I loved it! I have jump started a little business since then. My boyfriend's cousin asked me to make a cake for his little boy and it all went from then on. I am now doing about three cakes a week, while attending high school, and working at a restaurant. It keeps me busy, but I enjoy it. To help myself develop further into the culinary industry, I am going to attend the Louisiana Culinary Institute to become a Pastry Chef. I have taught myself a lot by talking to bakery owners, and reading cake decorating books. The hardest part about starting fresh is that "You have to build one to know how to build one." I have made lots of mistakes, but each one has taught me something about baking and leads me to the proper way.

So, If your interested in baking, I suggest taking some leisure classes, keep trying to get a little job at a local bakery, and maybe start doing cakes for free maybe deliver them to a nursing home, hospital, or a friend who needs something to brighten their day,  to get people to see that you actually do them. USE FACEBOOK and any other media site to really boost your business. It is an extremely helpful little tool.

I hope you find your calling.

-Shelby-

post #27 of 33
I saw gumpaste for sale at cakekraft.co.uk, not sure if its a reputable site but at least that means it is available there. It's listed under Flower Paste, the brand is Wilton.
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post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relznik View Post

Well, it sounds like you've got a few ideas there to consider.

Just one minor thing that sprung to mind...  I haven't seen any of the Wilton books, so I don't know what sort of cakes they do, but bear in mind that the UK market is more sugarpaste (that's fondant in the USA!) orientated.  I know that a lot of customers in the USA still prefer buttercream, so if the Wilton books are geared more towards buttercream, they may not be ideal.

If you want some suggestions for books, I'd be happy to give you some ideas.

 

I just took all four courses this past summer. Course 1 deals with buttercream, course 2 deals with Royal icing, course 3 is fondant and gum paste (deals w/ covering a cake in fondant), and course 4 is gum paste flowers.

I find that a lot of things I learned in the Wilton class can be tweaked to create some unique cakes- not just ethe example cakes they give. I know Wilton sometimes gets a bad rap, but honestly I think it's pretty awesome for the beginner! I took some Craftsy classes as well and have read quite a few other books, but I find that I really already know a lot of what is covered just because of the Wilton courses.

If you don't want to pay for the courses (they are reasonable, however), you can buy the course books online and follow the directions! There are a lot of pictures, and it's pretty straightforward. You will be well on your way!!!
post #29 of 33

I must admit, I've not actually heard of any Wilton courses here in the UK. :) 

Inside this fat body, there's a thin woman screaming to get out...... but I can usually shut her up with chocolate!
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post #30 of 33

You might want to take a cake decorating class in your area to see if you would like this as a career.  Please check out my listings at http://www.cakedecoratingclasseshq.com/cake-decorating-courses-in-yorkshire/

http://www.cakedecoratingclasseshq.com - find a cake decorating class or event near you
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