Sentiments of a Home-Based Cake Decorator

10:33:00 AM Larisse Espinueva 0 Comments


It’s not always "A-PIECE-OF-CAKE" for cake decorators. Imagine all the time we spend on practicing and studying those tutorials, the books we had to read, and the recipes we had to test. We all have that moment of failure – may it be a burnt cake or a missing ingredient, it’s never just a piece of cake.





THE CLIENT CAN’T DECIDE


So here’s a scenario:

“I want a cake with a flower print that’s not too girly but I also want Elsa on it.”

Okay. Sounds weird but it seems doable enough. Let’s give it a try. So after a few days when the sketch and everything else is ready for showing, the client contacts you again and says:

“I think I want to change my theme to My Little Pony instead. Can you add more rainbows too? Will it fit a four inch cake? What do you think?” 

Uhhh...what?

Don’t get us wrong. As your supplier, we do our best to suggest all the options (be it easy or difficult) but when we run out of ideas and the client still can’t make up their mind, we just let out a loud *SIGH* in our heads and say, “Please, please, pleeaase make up your mind!” Of course, we never want to rush and be rude, it’s just not proper customer service.


THE HOURS IT TOOK TO FINISH ONE CAKE


Everything has to be prepared ahead of time. There is very little room for error and not all mistakes can be covered with decorations. You can’t just wake up and say, “Oh I think I’ll bake that cake order today!” It’s just not possible to finish everything in an hour or two. Don’t misunderstand, WE LOVE OUR JOB but after slaving in the kitchen all day, under all that heat and focusing on the intricacies, we can’t wait to finally rest our eyes and stretch our backs on our comfy beds.

THERE’S SO MUCH DECORATING TOOLS AVAILABLE


The tools. From the ones we use to make our flowers really look like flowers to the ones we use to spell out our client’s name on the cake. As a baker, I know you want them all too but I hope you’re not crazy enough to buy all of them at once! My personal strategy to not over-spend on these time-saving tools is to only buy what you need AT THE MOMENT. Never-ever-everrrr say: “Huh. I might need this someday.” when buying. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s just not practical. Buy the basics. Buy the ones that has already been needed for a cake more than once. If only I can buy them all, I would, but unfortunately, not all of it works. (Like that clay gun extruder! Didn’t really work for me)

CLEANING UP


I’m going to keep this one short. You don’t even have to be a baker to know that cleaning up really isn’t the highlight for your daily activities. I mean, good for you if you have your personal dishwasher or house helper to do this but for those who are just starting out, not so good. I mean really, washing pans and wiping tables should be considered a talent!


THE CLIENT IS LATE


This really grinds my gears. Being 30 minutes late is somewhat forgivable but AN HOUR!?

There was this one time, we had an arrangement to meet up in this certain place on this certain time. As any hardworking supplier, we were there earlier than the time we agreed on. Our client contacted me after an hour and a half and said,

“Sorry, I can’t make it today, can you deliver tomorrow morning?”

Ouch, right? Even if the client offers to pay twice for delivery, come on, wasted time is time wasted. There’s no getting it back! Offering the client to pick up the cake in your home is more than okay but please, we have lives too, we can’t wait for you ALL DAY & ALL NIGHT. It’s just not right.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “No one is entitled to waste another person’s time.” And it’s true. Whenever there’s a chance that I’m going to run late on a delivery, I always make sure that they are well informed about the situation. We respect your time. I wish you can respect ours too.

And lastly, your client says,

“You were referred to me by <insert name of existing client, friend or acquaintance>, can I get a discount?”

DISCOUNTS


Then I ask in my head, “Ummm... why?”

My only exception for discounts is if they are a regular client. However, there are times when I just can’t afford to give one. When that happens, I offer something for free, like a box of cupcakes, cookies, or anything that I’d like to promote. I think of it as a gift of good will while being an investment for their possible next order.

I understand that most clients aren’t aware that there are more hours spent on making a cake than actually eating it.  We pour in blood, sweat and tears (not literally, of course) to make sure their cake looks good that sometimes after everything’s done, we think to ourselves, “You know what, I should have charged more for this.” And we didn’t and never did. Yet, some still complain about the price.

Whenever I get discouraged, I tend remember something a businessman once told me during the early days of my baking:

“Never charge less than what you really deserve.”

He’s right. They are not just paying for some simple cake, they are paying for your skill, knowledge and most importantly, your hard work as well.

I love what we do but no matter how much you look at it, it’s art. A-R-T. Not just a piece of cake. 

Our 5ft. tall Alice in Wonderland Cake ordered by one of our regular clients.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Larisse is a full-time foodie, blogger and professional cakemaker. She makes a living making personalized cakes in Paranaque as the founder and co-owner of CANVAS Cake Studio. She blogs to relax and express her thoughts in her website: Larisse Gastronomique. She’s also known for her love of cheese and weird appreciation of odd humor.

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