Sunday, 16 November 2008

Making a cake.............

You would be surprised with the amount of calls and emails I get requesting "last minute" cakes. By Last minute I mean anything from " I am after a Sculptured cake by Saturday" when the call is being made at 6pm on Wednesday night- to "Its my daughter's birthday tonight"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Without sounding full of myself- as a general rule I am fully booked around 4-6 weeks in advance- even longer during peak periods ( March- May and August- November- can be over 6 months in advance). There are of course the months of the year where I often have short notice availability ( December- January June- July)- and I do encourage potential clients to check my availability on the off chance that I am available. (even when I am not available- I am always happy to try and steer you in the right direction)

Creating a cake is not as simple as popping the ingredients together- baking and Voila- a Fabulous cake creation is made! Clients often ask me how long it takes to make a cake- and like the old saying "how long is a piece of string?" every design is different.
Baking alone can take up to 4 hours- not including weighing up the ingredients- and the all important cleaning up. Not to mention the cutting and coating of the cakes- preparing the boards- stacking the cakes- and last but not least- the actual decorating. Then you add in the time you spend going to suppliers collecting the ingredients- meeting with clients- answering emails/phone calls- boxing and delivering cakes- and you can begin to see that getting to the finished product is not as fast as you would have imagined.
The harsh reality is you need to book early if you really want a certain cake.
Unfortunately whilst having a cake is often part of a ceremonious occasion- it is also often left to the last minute. Even though you had been thinking about ordering a fabulous cake for your next special occasion- it usually isn't until the week of the event- or even the day before when you go AHHH! THE CAKE!!!!!!!!!!- and start madly trawling the Internet for ideas and decorators! Then you see "the cake" you want and call the decorator- only to find out that not only do the decorations take weeks to make/dry- but the decorator is fully booked- and your last resort is either the local bakery ( with their less than show stopping creations) or a chain store.
I would love to be able to help everyone that wants a cake- but I am only human- I need sleep and rest- OH- and that small reality- I cannot perform miracles!
For instance- even if you were after a "simple cake" ( oh how I love that phrase)- you need to allow a day for baking- the next day for cutting and coating- and depending on the design - even finishing- so that is 2 days. Then throw in the other cakes that were ordered in advance, and you can see why getting a professionally made cake is not at all like opening a box of white wings and slapping some icing on it.
You want your cake to be spectacular- not ordinary- or even like what you could make yourself! You want someone else to spend their time fussing and finishing the wonderful centerpiece for your event. This is all possible with time- just not always at the last minute.

I thought I would use one of this weeks cakes as an example of what it takes to put a cake together......

Without factoring in the face to face, phone and email time with this particular order I have broken down how I completed this cake this week!
Monday- Went to suppliers to collect ingredients- then to another supplier to collect cake boards etc.. (2 hour round trip) I collected all of these supplies for the weeks cakes ahead.

Wednesday- Baked cakes and went to florist to collect lilies. Fresh lilies take a few days to open so you need to collect them in advance.
Thursday- cut and coat cakes in Ganache- then later that night coat in rolled fondant. Collect Roses for cake.
Friday- Ribbons around base- and piping detail. Cut foam blocks- and get cake ready for stacking. Box cakes ready for delivery. Call venue and arrange delivery time. Print delivery dockets.
Saturday- Deliver cake to venue- then put the cake together. This cake took me around 1 hour at the venue to put together- cutting the flowers and placing them- making sure the final design is fabulous ready for the Bride and Groom.

Step one- cakes are stacked with supports and foam blocks for the fresh flowers.

Each flower is then cut and placed into the foam.

More than 65 roses filled between these two tiers.

It was coming together. The bride wanted to replace some of the roses with lilies- but they were so big! Too big for between tiers- I spent most of Friday night lying awake contemplating how to incorporate the lilies- as they were far too large for between the tiers-without of course swamping the cake! I had ordered extra roses just in case- and I needed every one of them in the end!

The finished product!

Pretty as a picture...but by no means a fast task!

So the moral of this post is give as much notice as possible for your cake order- that way you can get exactly what you want- without compromise!

I take bookings up to 11 months out from your event date. Once you have booked your date- the quoted price is fixed. It is never too early to start organising a spectacular cake for your next event!
Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

WOW you sort of don't think about all the running around etc. How much would a cake like this cost?

Alison said...

Simply beautiful!