How Long Does It Take You To Make A Cake!?

Decorating By jdogga Updated 31 Aug 2005 , 5:03am by SquirrellyCakes

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jdogga Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 2:28am
post #1 of 35

I feel like I am taking forever to make my cakes...I am a bit of a perfectionist and I fuss over things that others cannot even see but I really think that I'm taking WAY too long to do a cake! It's like a full time job, without the full time money! haha

34 replies
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melissablack Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 2:39am
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It takes me forever to make a cake too. I don't have doubles of most of my pans, so I have to bake 1 layer at a time, wait for it to cool, wash the pan, then bake the next layer, so it usually takes me a good 3 -4 hours just baking time, then up to an hour mixing & coloring my icing, probably another hour to make fillings, torte & fill and stack the cake, THEN I can start decorating, which takes me anywhere from 3 - 7 hours, depending what I'm doing. The last cake I made was a two-tiered basketweave with roses cascading down the sides, it took me 10 hours total to make, 4 hours the night before and 6 hours the day of.

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Seester Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 2:47am
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It takes me awhile too. Usually a few hours here and there over three days. Mix frosting and color, bake and crumb coat/frost, decorate. The decorating still takes me forever but I think part of it is I'm still so new I'm nervous to rush anything. I notice little things have started to get faster, like making and coloring frosting, the time it takes to frost and smooth a cake.

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ntertayneme Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 2:47am
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FOREVER!! lol ... It's nothing for me to spend 3-5 hours and more just w/the decorating part of the cake .. that' excludes all the baking, cooling, crumb coating of the cake ..

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 4:12am
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Heehee, well like my youngest that used to work decorating cakes always says, none of use would ever be hired by a bakery, haha!
Gosh, I vary a lot, sometimes, like for a Barbie cake, I can do it in about 20-25 minutes for the decorating part and the baking and making the icing is about 1 1/2 hours. Character cakes usually less than or around 1 - 1/2 hours. But wedding cakes, well I spend way more time on those. Plus if you make gumpaste or fondant flowers, they can take many days to do.
Buttercream transfers, well I can be slow at those. All of that mixing the colours and lttle areas to fill in and such. Plus I make separate icing for it and usually do it ahead and freeze it at least overnight or a couple of days or weeks.
I find some things easier to do, others harder. Plus if you are doing a lot, you need to take breaks because your arms do get tired.
Don't feel bad, it can take a long time to do a cake. So we might not be able to work in a bakery and we may be working for peanuts, as long as we are happy with the results, right?
It is the darn cleanup afterwards that takes forever and it is just what you feel like doing, right, haha!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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crp7 Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 4:26am
post #6 of 35

I agree with Cheryl, it takes me forever to make any kind of cake. I think a big part of it is that I have not really made a ton of cakes and I have been trying different things so there is the learning curve. I also have not done enough cakes so that I have a good feel for the best way to go about creating the picture in my head or the most efficient way to use my time. I think a lot of it is practice and experience.

On the bright side, I can only get faster!


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SquirrellyCakes Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 4:33am
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Well I wouldn't worry about how much time it takes you, the main thing is to do as good a job as you can so that you are happy with the results. I know of a lot of folks that can turn out cakes in minutes but if they took a bit more time they would have better results. I think that some people are more perfectionists than others and that is fine, we are all different!
And you are right, you do get faster as you get familiar with what you are doing. Everytime you do something different, it will take more time. If you did exactly the same cake 20 times in a row, you would be faster as you go along because you would be familiar with what you were doing.
If you don't do cakes for awhile, it takes longer and you tire more easily too.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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KimAZ Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 5:29am
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Phew!! I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one spending hours and hours on my cakes. 'icon_razz.gif' As I've been doing more and more this past month, I'm gaining speed and organization skills that really help. I've been baking the cakes and making all the frosting and coloring it usually at night, then decorate the next day if the time allows. If not, I do it all in one day but usually spend 6-8 hours start to finish. It really does help me to have all my decorating supplies layed out and ready to go which includes having my bags filled with tips on, hot soapy water in the sink to wash as I go, some music playing and my kids in school. LOL!

I'm kind of getting a routine down so I know it'll get faster as I go. But like some of you, it's still pretty much an all day event just to do one cake. I am really looking forward to making a wedding cake someday but man...the pressure! EEK!!


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traci Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 5:40am
post #9 of 35

I have literally been in the kitchen all day!!! I just finished cleaning up the HUGE mess!!!! I made several cakes today...I did the wilton butterfly on top of a 12x18 sheet, wilton wonder mold on top of 11x15 sheet(rock climbing cake), 12x18 sheet first birthday, 6 inch round first birthday smash cake, and 2 dozen cupcakes!!!! I am really glad I am done and I hope I did not forget about anyone's order!!! I better check my book to make sure!!! icon_smile.gif

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jdogga Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 1:27pm
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I really like doing it and I like the final product...I just don't know how anyone makes a living out of it! I'm glad I'm not the only one...I thought I was just really slow at it! haha

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llj68 Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 2:57pm
post #11 of 35

I have actually gotten WAY faster at the decorating part. The wedding cake I made I decorated the whole thing in about 45 minutes. All 3 layers.

The baking takes a while becuase of my oven size and just the time it takes to bake things off. I don't really "count" that too much when I'm not actively making batter or cleaning up. I try and do my icings when the cakes are baking.

I need to get a bit faster at my smoothing. I'm getting there and I've cut my time in half with the smoothing.

Now--my quick time is for cakes that I've diagramed on paper or have a good idea in my head of what I want to do with it. If I'm out of ideas or don't know quite what I want to do---that's another story altogether! lol!

At this point, if I know where I'm going with something, it's just a matter of executing my plan.


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IHATEFONDANT Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 7:11pm
post #12 of 35

Time varies with each cake...I do sugar work and it depends upon the kind of flowers, amounts needed etc.

The Rememberance cake I did took about 60 hours total time.

You will get faster with the baking and icing as you do more cakes...when I first started I took forever at it too.

I've learned to keep a notebook..each cake I do I make notes. I list colors I I mixed them... flavors I used..and any little problems I may have had..what I would do differently, that sort of thing. It helps me to recall what I did and how I did it.

I also have a planner for each cake. Once a client orders something I jot down ideas..rough sketches, etc.

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stephanie214 Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 7:36pm
post #13 of 35

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only slow one. I like to take my time because I've found that if I try to be fast, I make alot of mistakes that have to be corrected. Plus I give my hands a much needed rest.

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bagadonuts Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 10:33pm
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Hi fellow cake decorators-When I was hired at the bakery where I work, I thought the owner was going to have a coronary!! He would hover over me and ask the dumbest questions--"are you going to add a border, are you about done, do you need a box-I'll get one for you!!"

I knew I didn't want to work under those circumstances, so I told him to "hire a whiz-bang decorator" who could dec a cake in 20 minutes. Well, they didn't want to loose me, so we compromized--I work on comission now. I do my own thing, at my pace. I have found ways to speed up, when I need to, but I'm like so many others-a perfectionist. If it takes me 6hrs to dec a wedding cake--it doesn't bother him!!I'm the one loosing money--but I truly love the work, and he lets me try anything new. This little town doesn't know what hit it sometimes!! Fun-fun-fun Carol

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tastycakes Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 11:01pm
post #15 of 35

It's true that the more cakes you do, the more comfortable you are doing it. I just started making cakes for customers in June, after 11 years of doing them only for family and friends as gifts. Now instead of digging around for tools I used to only use 6-7 times a year, I have a cart and organized shelves for all of my cake equipment. I have stockpiles of boxes and boards and now it's not such a long trip to the cake supply store because I know what I need and I am not as anxious as I was just a few months ago!
I think I've gotten a bit faster too, but I still can take a couple of hours to do a Wilton on top of a sheet, etc. AND, it depends what's on the television and if the children are awake or not! I'm just glad to be doing something that lets me be creative and stay home with my kids. So don't worry about how long, just deal with how good your work is!

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LemonLyme Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 11:08pm
post #16 of 35

The easy part is the cake..LOL
well yes it takes a while to do a cake especially the decorating for me that makes me sit down.
And the basketweave( which is a request by every order i've had) takes awhile to do
The fondant,royal icing and gumpaste flowers takes days.
I have made a serious investment in having quadruple baking pans of each size so for me the mixing and baking isn't the clincher.
trust me when I say the cake baking is the easy part and I bake my cakes from scratch.
I am a perfectionists when it comes to torting,filling,icing and decorating the cakes because I fell that every cake that leaves my posession should not only taste good but look FABULOUS. thumbs_up.gif

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irisinbloom Posted 27 Aug 2005 , 11:53pm
post #17 of 35

LemonLyme, I agree with you, the baking is the easy part with me to although like some of the others some pans I only have one of. I did two cakes last night, I usually will only do one cake in one evening because I have a full time job and when I have more than one I am up real late, but anyway when I finished up last night I had forgot and left some icing in my mixing bowl and when I went to get a small bowl out of the cabinet to put it in I broke my finger trying to get the cabinet door open, the door never sticks but it did last night, talk about freak accidents, but at least I had finished the cakes. And then people fuss because they think the price is to high, if they only knewicon_smile.gif

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cakegal Posted 28 Aug 2005 , 12:32am
post #18 of 35

Well, for a wedding cake, I bake all the cakes one day...takes a few hrs. Then after they're cooled I cover them till the next day... then I crumbcoat them..I mix up my icing I'm going to use, then I icing them....put them in boxes and cover with plastic... then the next day I decorate them...
so that's wed. thurs. and fri. and deliver them sat.
It takes several hrs.

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PurplePetunia Posted 28 Aug 2005 , 3:24am
post #19 of 35

Well, this has been a really encouraging topic for me. I was beginning to think I'm in the wrong profession!!

I'm just recovering from an all-nighter!!! The last time I went to bed was on Thurs. night (it's now Sat. night).
I stayed up all last night to work on three cake orders. I prefer to do it that way because my kids are in bed, so I can work undisturbed.
I baked on Thurs. and Fri. and made icings.
I decorated from Fri. evening to Sat. morning, about 8 hours total just to torte, fill, ice and decorate a 12x18 baby shower cake, a 9x13 birthday cake and a 10" cheesecake (decorated with whipped cream and cherry topping).

Good to know I'm not crazy! icon_biggrin.gif

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 28 Aug 2005 , 3:36am
post #20 of 35

Hey Purple, who said you aren't crazy, we are just saying that you are in good company, haha! There are many crazies here!
You use different muscles for cake decorating, different arm and hand muscles. When you don't do them all the time, you suffer when you do. I find the muscle action for doing the side of the cake, flat icing it, is the hardest on me. Especially if I am doing several cakes for a wedding or such. My hands used to bother me, but I have really thinned down my icing and since I mostly work with fondant or gumpaste flowers, that isn't an issue anymore.
But all-nighters, well that actually qualifies for you to be considered a cake decorator, haha!
Hugs Squirrelly

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crimsonhair Posted 28 Aug 2005 , 3:39am
post #21 of 35

Well it takes me forever too and I haven 't even tackled the hard stuff like gum paste, fondant etc..LOL.. I'm just slow.. but I am loving every minute of it and that's what counts.. Oh I take that back..I HATE cleaning up.. I wish they made disposible everything..LOL

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tastycakes Posted 28 Aug 2005 , 5:53am
post #22 of 35

When I start making enough cakes, I'm going to hire someone to just come in and do my dishes and pans. I'm an at-home Mommy and I do cakes on the side. I was thinking that when I start getting lots of orders I'll get a maid to deal with the housekeeping. Hey $50 a week for the maid will be covered by one or 1.5 little cakes! It's just me dreaming, I don't think I would ever do that. Hiring a dishwasher, yes.

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jdogga Posted 29 Aug 2005 , 12:41pm
post #23 of 35

I was a little nervous to post this message as I thought I was nuts!! But I am SOOOO glad I's so good to know I'm not the only one! Thanks everyone for being cake crazies like myself!

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TinaRe Posted 29 Aug 2005 , 1:00pm
post #24 of 35

The time it took me to do a cake when I first started and how long it takes me now is so different. I still take my time when I have it. I am more comfortable with my ability now. I do plan out my attack for the cake. I bake it, while that is baking I make and color my icing so it can get a true color ( especially reb, brown, and black and i don't use as much color either as I would if i colored it as I went) wash up the dishes and by then the cake is done. I cool it overnight and then Decorate it the day it is due. That is what I do if I only have 2 or less cakes due on the same day. As you go you will find shortcuts that work for you. I also have a DH that likes to help with washing out tips if i need and he makes up bags for me if i need it. He's great!

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Fishercakes Posted 29 Aug 2005 , 1:19pm
post #25 of 35

I am still slow also. I still have not experimented with gum paste or fondant. I just really like working with buttercream. I hate the clean up!

I read on here somewhere about time saving clean up by microwaving the tips in a bowl of water to get them grease free and completely clean. I admit that I was leary of trying it, but after the wedding cake over the weekend. I did it. THANKS for the clean up tip!! I don't think that I will ever use another method of cleaning my tips and couplers. It was great and saved me at least 1/2 in cleanup time.

Thanks for posting this topic. I thought that I was the only slow one here who also has pulled an all-nighter or two but now I know that I am just in good the right crowd to be normal. icon_lol.gif

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TinaRe Posted 29 Aug 2005 , 1:30pm
post #26 of 35

All nighters is what I am getting use to! Just don't try writting on your cakes after midnight and defintly not after 2 am!! LOL I know you guys understand this one!

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PureShugga Posted 30 Aug 2005 , 6:39am
post #27 of 35

It takes me forever to do cakes! But I enjoy it mostly - except the clean-up!

I made 2 10 inch themed cakes for a co-worker and it literally took me 2 FULL days to them.

My boyfriend kept teasing me saying he wished I'd get paid by the hour! No kidding - I wish too.

I haven't made a ton of cakes yet so I hope it gets easier and I get faster with each one.

I again just made a double layered 10 inch square cake w/ simple shell border and 12 roses - 3 in each corner w/ all different colors of frosting and it took me alllllll day.

Sometimes I feel the money I make from them really isn't worth my time. Like I got offered an overtime shift at work where I would make $200 for the shift - but I had to turn it down so I could make the 2 10 inch themed cakes for a lousy $50. That really made my heart ache icon_sad.gif

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stephanie214 Posted 30 Aug 2005 , 7:23am
post #28 of 35

I have pulled so many all nighters icon_cry.gif . Then it takes me about two days to catch up on the sleep.

Don't you just love it !! thumbs_up.gif

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 30 Aug 2005 , 2:59pm
post #29 of 35

Shugga, you bring up an excellent point which likely proves why people that do custom cakes charge hundreds and thousands of dollars for them, the amount of time and effort that goes into them justifies the prices.
Hugs Squirrelly

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CakeItGood Posted 30 Aug 2005 , 3:29pm
post #30 of 35

Well, the cake I just did over hte weekend took WAAAAYYYYY too long! But it was my first tiered cake, and I was trying new techniques. I started baking the cakes on Thursday morning (14,10,8 in 3" pans), finished backing them Thursday afternoon ..... made up the buttercream & fondant while it was baking (and packed our suitcases for the trip, LOL!). Each 14" round pan took about 1.5 hours to bake in the center of my oven ..... that was a ROYAL pain. I need to buy some 2" pans instaed of 3", maybe that will help w/baking time.

Thursday night when we arrived at the hotel, I leveled the cakes. Friday morning I got started at 7 a.m. with stacking/filling/crumb coating the cakes. Took a break at 11:00, went out to lunch & shopping icon_smile.gif Got back at 3:30, frosted & smoothed the cakes. I am picky and not yet as good as I would like to be, so that took until about 6:00 (yikes!). Took a break until 10:00 p.m., then worked on covering the top 2 tiers in fondant ... got started decorating the top tier. Went to bed at 2 a.m. Got started again the next day at 7 a.m., worked fiercely until 2:30.

I have learned quite a bit from this cake, what do to differently/better. The next cake won't take quite as long! But then, hand piping all that cornelli lace took some time, and so did rolling out all the drapes/swags that never made it onto the final cake (that took about 1-2 hours on Saturday before I threw in the towel and plastered the base of the cake with flowers instead of drapes).

The cake is in my photos. Took a while, but it was fun!

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