Decorating By Cakes-and-bakes Updated 16 Apr 2011 , 12:24am by CAC74

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Cakes-and-bakes Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 9:23am
post #1 of 40

How do you ladies do it?
I think the clean up is the hardest part on me with the home business. When im done with an order I have icing sugar, melted chocolate, all over the counters and even though I try to wash dishes as I work I end up with a bunch in the sink. when the order is packaged and done I know I should clean up but im exausted and my back is KILLING ME so I have to sit down for a while, its just so hard, especially since I am usually up til about 3 am working on an order.

Not just that, but household chores, cooking for the family, laundry, and I have little ones who arent old enough to help and make massive messes themselves. Dishes from meals and snacks pile up and it just seems endless!! I'm a clean freak in a sense and when I do see the mess it puts me in a foul mood. I also just moved into a new house about a month ago and I still have boxes I need to unpack and organize!

Just venting ladies. How do you deal with all the clean up? or make it easier? particularly those of you with little ones? How do you schedule all the work in between cooking meals and laundry and dusting and mopping and kids?! I'm pooped all the time!

39 replies
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Karadactyl Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 9:38am
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I know for me, doing it in stages really helps. I try to clean as I go too but if I get behind or overwhelmed, I'll set a timer for 15 minutes or so and clean up until it goes off. Then take a 15 minute break and so on until it gets done.

I can sympathize with the mess makers though! I have an almost two year old and a four month old so I know what you're talking about. My 2 year old can make a bigger mess faster than I can keep up!

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Minstrelmiss Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 10:10am
post #3 of 40

My hubby does the dishes. That helps SO much!

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cakesherry Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 10:29am
post #4 of 40

This is my biggest fear about starting a business (I'm just a hobby baker, but am in the process of getting my home licensed). I donated 6 practice cakes to my son's school's cake walk last week and there was so much cleaning to do!

This week, I splurged on cake liners for my round cakes, some Clorox wipes and kept my vacuum cleaner plugged in the kitchen ready to go yesterday when I made a 3-tier cake (practice). It wasn't perfect, but it seemed to help encourage me to clean as I go.

There is a wonderful retired cake decorator around here that now owns a supply store (her daughter's run it). I ran into her and we started talking about baking with kids at home. She said she shopped and made sugar flowers/decorations on Mondays, Baked on Tuesdays, Made Frosting and Fillings on Wednesdays, Crumb-Coated on Thursdays and finished on Fridays and would clean up every evening so it never got too messy. I have tweaked this a little, but I thought it was such simple, great advice!

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Crazboutcakes Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 10:29am
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I also do it in stages and when mine were little (6) it was a little crazier but what I do is on day one make all cake, icing, fondant, second day do all the crumb coats and icing and any fondant work and by the third day finishing up the final touches. I know it sound like 3 days of more clean up but not so overwhelming and still time for a life outside of cake icon_smile.gif

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Cakes-and-bakes Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 10:56am
post #6 of 40

thanks ladies. its good to know others go through it too. I think making a bit of a routine like yall do would help me a lot! maybe even limiting my orders to just a few a week. Thank you so much.

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Cupcations Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 1:50pm
post #7 of 40

When I read your post I felt like your talking about me icon_confused.gif

I also bake late at night most of the time & when I'm done I litterally cant feel my back...or hands icon_cry.gif

I bake from home too & have 4 little ones... most of my baking is done when theyr sleeping or when a part is at school & the other part is taking a nap. If you are so stressed out try limiting your orders... Somtimes times like this make you hate what you always loved!

If its at night I always clean the counter/ put my tools away & go to sleep, when I wake up its like doing the normal house chores
Whereas if its during the day I take a nap (a long one thumbs_up.gif )...then back to cleaning icon_confused.gif

Although I LOVED the idea of hubby doing the dishes icon_cool.gif *sigh

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cakesbycathy Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 1:56pm
post #8 of 40

It does help to clean as you go but sometimes it just doesn't happen icon_rolleyes.gif

I started when my kids were little. I had many nights were I decorated until 3 or 4am and then was back up by 6 or 7 with the kids. My twins are 8 now and my DD is 6. It has become SO much easier now that they are in 1st and 2nd grades. I get 85% of my work done while they are at school and have had fewer late nights.

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indydebi Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 3:22pm
post #9 of 40

I'd line my counters with parchment paper (you can buy the big 18x26 sheets by the 100 at a restaurant supply shop) or small sheets of wax paper will do. I place all mixing spoons, measuring cups, dripping decorating bags, etc., on this so at the end of the night, all I had to do was wad up the paper and the counters were clean.

Keep a wet dishcloth by you at all times. Wipe the counter or mixer down after every step. cracking eggs into the batter? Wipe counter. Adding p.sugar? Wipe the mixer while its running.

I didn't stack dishes up. I washed each piece as I used it. (I also do this at the hotel where I work now and one co-worker said, "Ohhhhhhhh! THAT'S how you get done so much faster than I do!").

Keep a trash can close to your work area. You'd be amazed how much time those 2-3 steps will save you.

Use disposables. We can get into a debate on ecology and our environmental footprint later, but where I'm tired at 3:00 a.m., I don't care! icon_rolleyes.gif Mixing a little icing just for leaves or some drop flowers? Mix it in a plastic cup or bowl, using a plastic spoon ... throw the whole thing away when done; no dishes to wash. Disposable piping bags. These are so cheap, the cost is almost negligible. I think I paid 25 cents a bag when I bought a box of 100 (which last a LONG time). If you use 3 or 4 per cake, that's only $1.o0 in expense. When done, cut the tip/coupler off and throw the bag away ... no clean up. Store leftover icing in ziplok bags (ziploks are my best friends!) After using up all of the leftover icing, there is no storage bowl to wash.

The above suggestions of doing it in steps over 2-3 days is the most valuable advice on here. On cake assembly day, there's barely any clean up at all sicne everyting is already made and ready to go! thumbs_up.gif

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SoonerBaker Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 3:30pm
post #10 of 40

Those are some of the best tips I have ever read. I only play with frosting for friends, but I can make the biggest mess. Just using paper and plastic and throwing away will save me a TON of time.

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MBHazel Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 3:51pm
post #11 of 40

I'm a hobby baker, but I keep a supply of plastic table clothes on hand and use those to cover my work tables. (I buy them up in the off season after holidays)

Like IndyDebi, I also cover my countertops with paper (I use freezer paper... in a pinch you can roll fondant on it without sticking)

Plus, BIG RULE HERE, never start a cake when your kitchen is not cleaned up from the last meal.

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cai0311 Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 6:39pm
post #12 of 40

I am a home baker also. I always start with a clean kitchen, so any mess is just from the cake I am working on. I always make sure my dishwasher is empty before I start any cake project. That way when I am done with a bowl or spatula I just put in the dishwasher right away. No mess.

As for the counters, I wipe them after each stage. So, they get wiped after I fill all the cakes. Then after the icing is made. Then after the crumb coat is put on. Then after final icing coat. Then after fondant decorations are made... That way there is no "big" mess at the end.

This also helps for the at least 3 times a month my husband calls me and says "How about we have people over for dinner tonight". I can have the kitchen cleaned up and ready for viewing in less than 30 minutes.

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wanda45 Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 6:58pm
post #13 of 40

My hubby does it !!!!!! thumbs_up.gif

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KarenOR Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 6:59pm
post #14 of 40

I also have a 2 year old, almost 3 and we call him Hurricane Nate. Something is always in shambles.

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dldbrou Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 7:18pm
post #15 of 40

I also do most of the things that indydebi does, except I don't use parchment or wax paper. I bought a few yards of the clear plastic at JoAnns and cover my table with that instead. If I need to work with fondant or gumpaste, I can work on the plastic. It can either be wiped as I go or I just take it outside and hose it off, then roll it up for next time.

Make sure you are working on the correct height for your counter decorating. If you are too tall or too short it makes a huge difference on your back. Put a rubber mat under your feet also.

If I am doing a lot of baking in one day, I will take a plastic table cloth I get them at the $ store) and put it on the floor and tape it. Then if I spill or have flour or powder sugar accidents, I just pick it up and throw it away and I do not have to mop my floor.

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m_willford Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 7:59pm
post #16 of 40

I need to start using the parchment paper thing, or my huge roll of butcher paper I got for tracing sewing patterns on. I have a hard time finding the energy to clean the mess after a cake, especially if it's one I had to do a lot of work at night. With 4 boys who like to watch Mommy play with frosting, it's imperative I clean quickly too, and wadding up the sheet of paper and tossing it sounds quick to me! Thanks for the tip!!! icon_smile.gif

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TonyaBakes Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 8:31pm
post #17 of 40

Oh my how your story sounds familiar! lol I'm still trying to figure it all out myself so I really don't have any tips but hang in there.

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Cakes-and-bakes Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 9:20pm
post #18 of 40

thank you all so much for your advice and just for the fact that you can relate! Sending everyone a big e hug!
I love the disposables idea, and also the paper on the counter.Will definatley do that. The whole counter level thing makes sense too, I think its too short for me. When I sit and work it helps, but I need to invest in a foldable table and chair or something to sit on while I work. (small kitchen). Ive been wearing big fuzzy slippers while I work lol, helps a bit with the foot pain.
I think along with all the things I just mentioned, I need some proper scheduling for my work, where I do things on certian days, and it wont be such an overload.
Thank you everyone so much! <3

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indydebi Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 9:23pm
post #19 of 40

seriously, even if the only thing you do is make your icing the day before, you'll see a BIG difference in the time and less-mess! thumbs_up.gif

I would make 5, 6, 7 or more batches of icing ( a 'batch' defined as using 2 lbs of p.sugar) and store it in a big container. The next day or two, I had plenty of icing and it seemed like so much less work.

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KarenOR Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 9:42pm
post #20 of 40

Right. There is NO way I could do everything in one day. I do it in several weeks. Cakes, gumpaste, fondant, coloring, icing, etc. I can't imagine otherwise. I even color fondant one day and use it on a different one.

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DerrellC Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 3:08am
post #21 of 40

hello Cakes-and-bakes. Susan has found a perfect way to keep area clean. She just YELLS Derrell get in here and do your half !!!! LOL

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jenng1482 Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 3:23am
post #22 of 40

I too start with an empty dishwasher and cleared off counter space. I clean up after each "stage". Baking one night, wrapping, freezing, and clean up.
Decorating day:
1 - place out to thaw early
2 - stage torting and filling equipment
3 - tort, fill, stack and move to safe location to settle while i wipe up all the crumbs and wash dishes 4 - stage all icing equipment
5- ice cakes, clean up mess while i wait for them to crust
6 - stage all fondant and finishing equipment
well, you get the idea
no crumbs on my icing workstation
no icing on my fondant work
ect, ect, ect

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Brendabeeper Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 3:58am
post #23 of 40

lol on these. If I could just decorate, not bake and not clean up, not make the icing, or color the fondant, that would be fun. The cleaning and putting everything back in its place when your a home baker is horable. Sometimes I finish a cake at 3 or 4 am anc then I look at the mess. I have to clean it or it will mess with the morning schedule and makes husband upset. *but I will confes lately I have left a few stacks of dishes there until I get up ( which if I go to bed at 4 , he will be up first icon_smile.gif ) Between how tired I am , sore back , now a pinched nerve in the arm. and the fact that when I have a big cake we eat out or something extremely simple. it hardley seems worth it. The cost of the cake goes towards pizza. lol good thing I like this hobby.

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jenng1482 Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 4:20am
post #24 of 40
Originally Posted by Brendabeeper

lol on these. If I could just decorate, not bake and not clean up, not make the icing, or color the fondant, that would be fun. The cleaning and putting everything back in its place when your a home baker is horable.

You mean like Buddy, Duff, and so on and so on! They have it so easy!

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Katiebelle74 Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 7:04am
post #25 of 40

Wow these are some great tips! definitely going to start doing some wax paper on the counter.
I do use disposable bags, ziplocks for icing, start with the dishwasher emptied out, have a schedule/method to the madness: shop for ingredients on mon or tue, make icings/fillings on wen./ bake late wen or early thur./ crumb coat thur./ decorate on fri./ photograph and deliver on sat. Then clean like crazy and host cake tastings on sundays. Anything to make the clean like crazy part easier!

Never thought about throwing one of those dollar store plastic table cloths on the floor but I like that idea for super busy weekends. Or cut one up, part on the counter for drippy items, part on the floor near where I make the biggest mess. Hmmm.

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indydebi Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 7:10am
post #26 of 40

Before I started buying big sheets of parchment, I'd sit my KA on top of a sheet of newspaper. That also helped catch the sugar overspray. Again ... just wad it up at the end of the day!

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Katiebelle74 Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 7:35am
post #27 of 40

oh indydeb I love that last tip! that is where I scrub and scrub, all around the ka after making icing. I'm using that tip tomorrow!!!

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scp1127 Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 8:58am
post #28 of 40

Debi, I think of you every time I start to lay something sticky on the counter and I stop to put waxed paper or parchment down first. You shared that about six months ago... at least I was in that freshman class. You must feel like that... here comes another new group that knows absolutely nothing... here we go again...

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indydebi Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 9:04am
post #29 of 40

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Oh we were all there at some point or another! icon_lol.gif

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MBHazel Posted 14 Apr 2011 , 1:01pm
post #30 of 40

Hi again, Katiebelle74. I don't put the plastic tablecloth on the floor, you'll never get a cake done with a broken leg added to the mix! icon_biggrin.gif I use them to throw over the work table, kitchen table and sometime the dining room table, with my tablecloth still on it. Then when I am done, I just throw it away and my table is still good to go!

You are right about the size, most of the time I can cut it in half.

However, you did spark an idea about the floor in front of the mixer, I could get a roll of brown runner from Lowe's and tape a piece down in front of the mixer (so it doesn't slip) and just toss when I am done!!!

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