When I was a part time cake decorator (I was on a full time, 9 to 5 job when I first started cake decorating), my biggest challenge was trying to complete as much decorating as I could within whatever time that I had after my day job. The trade off was the number of cake orders I could accept given the limited time I had after a whole day at work.
Baking and decorating on a full time basis later on, no doubt gave me more time to decorate cakes, but then again, the challenge remained trying to maximize the number of orders I could accept so that I could maximize my profit (without compromising the quality of my cakes, off course!) at any given time.
And because cakes are perishable items, there is only so much that could be done ahead of time. Everything else had to be done quite the last minute.
For these very reasons, time management and proper planning was absolutely important for me as a cake decorator so that I could decorate as many cakes as I could in a particular week.
Timing of Parties
One point worth highlighting here is the fact that most parties that need decorated cakes are often held over the weekends, so typically, on most occasions the cakes would be due either on a Saturday or Sunday.
This timing consistency help in developing a routine for cake decorating business. It allows 'economies of scale' (if this is the right phrase) where cake decorators like me could organize the work by process rather than by cakes. For example, if there are 5 cakes to be completed for the weekend, I would do all the baking on day 1, then move on to layering and crumb coat the next day and fondant covering and decorating the following days.
On the contrary, if I were to complete the 5 cakes per cake basis, I would on day 1, bake and decorate cake 1 and then move on to complete cake 2 before going on completing cake 3 and so on.
Cake Decorator - My Weekly Routine
So, this is how I typically organize my weeks. My baking process normally starts 4 days before the delivery day. Typically, if the cake needs to be delivered on a Saturday, my baking process would start on a Tuesday.
- Cake tins are prepared (greased and floured) - I keep these in the oven, they are safe from roaches and other insects. Ingredients are measured and kept in separate containers, ready to be poured and mixed the next day.
- All cakes are baked and let to cool completely before being wrapped in cling wrap and left at room temperature.
- All cakes will be leveled, filled and covered in crumb coat. Once done, if time permits, the cakes will be covered in fondant or buttercream, depending on customers' preference. By the end of the day, the cakes will be all ready for decoration the next day.
- Fridays are the fun days, where decorating takes place. I normally try to complete the cakes on Friday nights even if that means staying up late. I quite enjoy working late at night when everyone at home has gone to bed. This gives me the peace and quiet to work without having to worry about other chores.
Saturday (before delivery)
- Cakes are photographed, packed in boxes and delivered.
If the cakes are to be delivered on Sunday, I would bake the cake on Wednesday. And follow through the rest of the steps until Sunday when I deliver the cakes.
And this is how a typical routine as a cake decorator was for me. Do you have any special routine as a cake decorator? If you do, I would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts and tips in the section below 🙂