A Pastry Chefs View From Inside A Bakery
Swirls Whirls Cake
This is our Swirls Whirls cake. It is one of our more popular cakes. This is  a three tiered cake with a different pattern on each tier. We added a bow on top with shooting stars. Generally, we like our bows to match the cake but we did as the customer wanted and put a white bow on with stripes. We let the customer pick out patterns that they like and we offer our assistance along the way. Wit...
Engagement Ring Box Cake
People like to mimic non edible things with cake. Here is an example of a engagement ring box cake. The customer wanted everything made out of fondant, but once we told her the price she changed her mind. We did let the customer know that we never guaranteed exact color or design (they are copyrighted you know) We finished this box and were please with the outcome along with the customer. ...
Fondant Jungle Baby Shower Cake
Here is a fondant jungle baby shower cake that my bakery made. It is very simple and was easy to make. Here is what I did Everything on here is fondant, with the exception of the tree. We wrapped a pretzel rod in chocolate fondant so it would stand up straight and be edible. We are big on everything being edible. I mean who would want to bite into a plastic straw, wooden dow, or metal wire...
Barbie Cake
Oh barbie, how we love thee! Barbie cakes are a huge seller at my bakery. Every little girl wants one. Here is just one of the many designs we make of the barbie cake. We can do any design that the customer thinks of. The only thing that stops their imagination sometimes is the rising price of their detailed designs. Decorating Instrucions The cake consist of  four 8 inch cakes, stacked o...
Baby Bottom Cake
We call this cake our Baby Bottom Cake. This is a cake that I have been getting a lot of orders for lately. I do not know who originally designed it, but I do not like it! This cake is  basically made to look like a baby's bottom with a blanket over it. It would be cute if the rest of the body was with it, but nope it's just the baby's bottom. Directions We first start off with a iced 10 in...
NY Yankees Cake
So baseball is beginning again and I can only imagine how many of theses cakes we will get orders for. Here is a example of a NY Yankees cake that we made over and over again! The cake is entirely fondant with the exception of the writing and baseball laces, which were made with buttercream.
Personal Sized Tiered Cakes
Every bride wants to have something special at her wedding. Some brides opt for small personal sized tiered cakes for each guest rather than one large cake. These cakes are basically made the same as their larger version with the exception of them being tiny. Many personal sized tiered cakes are two tiers. You can have the cake decorated in any fashion you want. Make sure to remember that the mor...
Fake Cakes
Why would you want a fake cake when you can have a real one? I charge the same amount for both real and fake. I know that I have to do one less step when making a fake cake but the labor is just as hard. It does not take me any less time when I am decorating a fake cake compared to a real one. So why would I charge less? In fact it might actually cost me more, due to me having to buy materials an...
Christmas Tree Cake
It's that time of year again where everything is merry and bright. Here is our first Christmas tree cake of the season! Ugly and gaudy I know, but the customers just love them. How it is done This Christmas tree cake was made in a shaped pan. It only comes in pound cake. It is iced in a poured fondant icing, tinted green. We covered the stump of the tree in chocolate buttercream and add but...
Baby Butt Cake
I am not a fan of this baby butt cake. I get the idea that the decorator was going for, but it is still just a baby butt cake with no head. Directions In order to create this cake the decorator used 2 cakes and set it up like a tradition tiered cake. On the top tier the decorator tried to round the cake so it was shaped more like a baby butt. She iced it white to look like a diaper, added some c...
Halloween Cakes
I just love everything about halloween. The best part about it for me, is making halloween cakes. I'm so over candy, I just want cake! This is a holiday where you can let your imagination take you anywhere it wants to go. Ghost, goblins, tombstones, and pumpkins are all perfect things to put on cake. You can make scary cakes or kiddy cakes, anything goes. Below are two examples of halloween cakes...
Hot Dog Cake Anyone
MMMM Hot Dog Cake Anyone! That's right, someone wanted a cake shaped like a hot dog. I think this cake looks pretty good. However the paper plates stuck under I do not feel was such a great idea. I mean I understand why they are there but it ruins the hot dog bun. I would suggest that instead of the plates to make condiments and put them around the cake instead.
Pea Pod Cake
Oh, how it bothers me to see decorations on plain white icing. Just think how nice this pea pod cake could have looked if it had a pretty green airbrushed background?
Flip Flop Cake
Just one shoe, where is the other one?
New York Yankees Cake
Be careful when adding a marbilized fondant ball border to your cakes. On this cake the New York Yankees logo is low and the border could almost obscure it. You can always add your border first than add your decorations.

Bakery Website

Posted By: admin on February 27, 2012 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

A bakery’s website is now the way of the future. If you do not have a website you are living in the past. A website describes your business. A good website will allure people to your business. Your website will basically do the selling for you. Our bakery website does not do this for our business. All the employees know this but we can not change it. Our owners realize this to but are to lazy to fix it. It is very tiresome and embarrassing to continually tell customers that they must call the bakery to find out prices of our products or come in to see pictures of our work. Our website should have these basic things. It should also have a link to upload pictures and order cakes. We should have wedding cake prices and a order form so people can do their ordering from their home if they choose to. We live in an age of technology where the we should be able to do everything online. We could even hire a company like http://calitso.com/  to help us fix our computers so we do not have any issues. So with my bakery not having this, we are behind in the times!

Bakery Vacations

Posted By: admin on February 20, 2012 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

When bakeries close for vacation, everything stops. Workers stop going to work, deliveries stop, and money stops coming in. This is usually the time when bakeries are the slowest. Bakeries close for improvement and sometime just to give the owners sometime off. In my opinion though, bakeries should never close. I understand slow times, but if your not open you can not make any money. Also you can possibly lose customers who now have to go somewhere else for their sweet treat of the day. Paying your employees is also money going out with nothing coming in. I believe that every bakery should be able to have employees and owners go on vacation at different time while the bakery is still open and operational. I believe that there is only one reason ever to close and that would be your oven broke down! However since you are closing for vacations I think I might head to Las Ventanas.

That Is NOT What I Ordered, I Want It Free!

Posted By: admin on February 6, 2012 in Common Complaints - Comments: 1 Comment »

Boy am I tired of hearing the phrase “That is not what I ordered, I want it free”. I follow the order form in front of me, if it is not written down I do not do it. Maybe you forgot to tell the sales girl properly what you ordered or maybe you think that if you complain you can get something for free? Yep that is it you want something for free. We know your trick everyone is doing it now. Here it is –

  • You place a order for exactly what you want
  •  than you come in to pickup your order, you act rushed the whole time
  • your order comes out just liked you wanted but you say it is wrong
  •  you ask for a manager who offers to fix it for you
  •  you say that your late and very unhappy with our bakery
  • you say that you will not be coming back
  •  you have not paid yet
  • so you say I shouldn’t have to pay for something that is not right
  •  so you say I should get this for free
  •  we do not want to lose business so we give in to your request

Now you walk out happy as a clam with your perfectly made cake that you just got for free.

Fake Cakes

Posted By: admin on January 31, 2012 in Cake Critiques, Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

fake cakesWhy would you want a fake cake when you can have a real one? I charge the same amount for both real and fake. I know that I have to do one less step when making a fake cake but the labor is just as hard. It does not take me any less time when I am decorating a fake cake compared to a real one. So why would I charge less? In fact it might actually cost me more, due to me having to buy materials and work with materials that will not go bad. Also what are you going to do with that 4 tired cake I make you? Do you have room for it in your home? Will you treasure it forever? Do you know that they get incredibly dusty and colors eventually fade? Why would you want to buy one fake cake and than buy sheet cakes to feed your guest? You probably are not even going to buy the sheet cakes from me. You will probably go to the closest or cheapest supermarket and buy subpar sheet cakes and pass them off as mine. This is one great reason that I do not offer fake cakes!

Labeling

Posted By: admin on January 20, 2012 in Common Complaints, Instructions - Comments: No Comments »

How many times do I have to say  “Make sure to label that”? Labeling every product is essential to your business. There is nothing worse than not knowing what goo is in this bucket or how old it is.

One day in work I need cream cheese icing, we buy a base and add to it to make it our own. So I asked one of the guys to pull it out of the refrigerator for me. He pulled out the bucket with the original cream cheese label on it, we opened it up to see what was inside. It looked like our cream cheese icing and it had the original label on it, so off I went with it. A few hours later after I had use the “icing” I looked in the bucket only to see some melted cake batter. Now who’s fault was that? Mine, the guy who pulled it out, or the person who put cake batter in the bucket and did not label it. All of us should assume some blame for it, but it mainly fell on the baker who did not label the bucket. If the bucket would have been labeled properly we would have never had an issue.

So now I say, label and date everything that you do. There is no need for preventable mistakes.

Who’s Fault Is it?

Posted By: admin on January 6, 2012 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

I am tired of having to take the blame for bad management. It is not always my fault. Maybe if you took the order right or filed it correctly we would not be having this problem now. I’m your decorator, not your secretary. I should not have to check email and write up orders for you. That is what your sales girls are for.

In my job I make orders that are written on order forms. If these orders are written up wrong, that is not my fault. How am I suppose to know that the customer wants chocolate fudge filling if it is not written down? The order takers are the ones that need to give me all the information I need to complete my tasks.

There needs to be a standard operating practice so everyone knows how to take a order correctly. The management needs to stand behind their rules and enforce them. This way it will be easier to prevent mistakes and asking the question “Who’s fault is this”?

Organization

Posted By: admin on December 30, 2011 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

Organization is a great key for success when running a business. If you have everything organized it makes your life much easier. You will know what time you need product by, where product is going, and who is making the product.

I like to be organized at all times. My mornings consist of the same opening procedure each and everyday. This way I will not forget to do something. After I finish my morning procedure, I do my work in time order. I take into account how long I have left in the day and what need to be completed in that time frame. I also leave time in my day for “just placed” orders and new products.

When my routine gets messed up I just go with the flow. However sometimes it just gets annoying when my managers throw products at me to finish right before I leave. Even if I asked them if they have anything else for me I usually get a no thanks.  So I start to clean up and than they run back with a tray of something that needs to be finished. If I’m organized why can’t they be.

Bad Order Taking

Posted By: admin on December 19, 2011 in Common Complaints, Instructions, ordering - Comments: No Comments »

My job could be so much easier if people just learned how to take a order. I do not understand why it is so hard to do. All you have to do is ask the customer what they want and write it down. We have books that quote prices, flavors, sizes, and even decorations. Still our sales girls get orders wrong constantly. Even when they are told to have all orders checked by managers, there are still issues with them.

Let me be perfectly clear to you sales girls, it is not hard to take a order! Here is the method to use- ask what size, cake flavor, icing flavor, colors of flowers, and colors of writing the customer wants. Than refer to the book for your price. It is in there I know I have checked it many times before.

If the customer wants some funky buttercream color, ask them to bring in a swatch. I do not know what color they are thinking of when they say “ya know wine watermelon fuschia”. What color is that? If I look up that color online three thousand different colors will come up. Also, please be able to understand your own writing. How will I ever be able to finish a cake, if I ask you a question and you do not understand what you wrote?

 

They Want My Pictures!

Posted By: admin on December 17, 2011 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

They Want My PicturesI love taking pictures. My camera is with me at all times. Every new cake I do, I take a picture of. These are my pictures. They are for my own personal use and portfolio. They are not yours. If you want to upgrade your photo books or website take your own pictures. For as long as I have worked here you have not once brought your own camera in here. Why do you expect me to waste my time taking pictures for you, crop them at home, put them on a usb, than download them to your computer? I have done this before for you. Do you know what you did with them? Nothing. In fact you asked me to go one step further and get them printed out for you. That is not my job, it is yours. The next time you want to update your pictures, take your own!

Raising Prices

Posted By: admin on December 16, 2011 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

Raising prices is sometimes a hard decision to make. You must factor in a lot of things like… will people still buy my product, what am I paying for it, and what am I making off of it, and how much should  I sell it for. Recently my bakery which is for sale decided that we should raise our prices again. They have been raised every year that I have worked here by the way.  So everything went up about one dollar. Now to some people a dollar raise is not that much but when you factor in that a 6 inch cake that serves 4-6 people is $16, that’s a lot! We already have extremely high prices. We are not competitive with other bakeries, we are higher that all of them. The owners also do not  know how much profit they are making off of their products. I know this because I asked everyone involved. I think we are now losing business at one of the busiest times of the year due to our price increase. They seem to think it’s the economy but I tend to disagree!

Left Over Products in the Bakery

Posted By: admin on December 12, 2011 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

Bakeries are losing money everyday due to left over products.  There are ways to cut down on it or sell it so it is not left over. One way is to keep an accurate track of what is being made. This way you will know how much to make of each product on certain days. Another way is to only make enough products for orders plus a little extra. If neither of these work, you could always reuse left overs in another way.  My bakery makes use of our left over products by selling them as such. We call them day olds’ and sell them at a discounted price.

You can make a variety of things with left over products. Cake balls is one such way. Bakers take cake scraps and add flavoring and icing to it and form it into a ball. You could make parfaits. They consist of cake scraps, buttercream, and fruit fillings in a cup. You could even go the route of bread pudding, which uses sweet breads with sugar and eggs.

There are tons of ways to use left overs. You should never be just wasting your hard earned money by just throwing your product out. What do you do with your leftovers?

You Want That Now?

Posted By: admin on December 5, 2011 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

Everyone needs help from time to time. In my business we need the extra help on weekends and during holidays. So why is it that the owners of the business do not understand this? It is the same old stuff week after week. We get a ton of orders and we’re super busy.

This is the time that they want extra special cakes or sample cakes. I do understand why they want it, but can they not see that we just do not have the time? Sample cakes can be made in our down time, you know slow days that are not part of the weekends. Special cakes should be put in a special book so I can allow time to complete it properly.There should never be a fondant covered cake or a hand painted cake order in with all our normal sale cakes.

No matter how many times I try and tell the owners about this, it just falls on deaf ears. I can not do everything little thing you need me to do when I’m busy. Orders comes first not fluff work!

I’m The Boss So What’s He Doing Here?

Posted By: admin on November 28, 2011 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

I got hired as a pastry chef . I worked at a restaurant and had two employees underneath me. When I got hired I was told that I was in charge of everything that came out of the pastry area. The boss told me that I would be creating menus for parties and daily meals. I thought it was great.

However , I quickly realized this was not going to be the case.  There was another pastry chef that use to come in randomly. He use to work there, so they respected his opinion. I realized that I should just get along with him. Together we would be able to put out a better menu than alone.

He did not want to collaborate with. He felt that even though he work a few days a month, that he could call and boss me around from his home. When I asked the owners what was going on they just blew me off and said well he knows what were used to and what we want.

This did not sit well with me. I’m a team player and all but a semi part timer being my boss? What did they hire me for? They could have hired a lower paid person to take orders from this guy. The restaurant advertised for a Pastry Chef and that’s what they got. If they were not going to respect me in that fashion, I was just going to find someone that would. So needless to say, I moved on to better pastures.

Petit Four Decorations

Posted By: admin on November 25, 2011 in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

This may be one of the worst jobs that I have to do. Petit fours are small one bite cakes. They are a huge seller with flowers but for holidays they need to be drawn on. Do you know how hard it is to draw on a 1×1/2 inch petit four? HARD especially when there are thousands of them at holiday time. Every season has there decorations but Christmas is the worst. Everyone wants the most detailed of all decorations on this tiny cake. Why can’t I spend just one hour of my time decorating petit fours with flowers on them instead of eight hours drawing on them? We only charge a mere one dollar more for drawings that take eight times as long to do. I understand that everyone loves them but it is not cost effective to do them this way. Do my bosses realize that the customers are going to buy them either way?

Prepaying for your Orders

Posted By: admin on in Common Complaints - Comments: No Comments »

When ordering a cake be prepared to pay for it. We now require a 50% deposit or full payment for all orders. It is  that we are now required to do this, but it is the way of the world. We do not have the time or money to lose, for people to place orders and than never come to get them. If you place a order for anything that is not our normal item we will charge you in full at the time of order. It is this way everywhere now. You can not get any speciality product now without prepaying for your order.

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