Could You Be the Next Superstar Cake Baker?
Do you dream about quitting your day job to bake cakes? If so, you aren’t alone. Many cake baking addicts daydream about becoming the next superstar cake baker. With their own reality show or national brand name, and some even accomplish it.
But how do you go about breaking into the industry? How do you really become a “superstar” in the baking world?
There are many paths into the world of baking as a profession. But no matter what path you take, there are some things that you’ll encounter along the way.
These tips and things to consider will help you find your own footing. As you discover how to build the super career you’ve been dreaming of.
The Self-Taught vs. Pastry School Debate
One of the first things you’ll encounter is the question of whether you should attend pastry school. The fact is that many of the superstar bakers you see – on TV, behind major brands. And in the history books of cooking – actually did not go to pastry school.
Many did, however, go to some sort of related school. For example, a lot of the TV personality bakers who make amazingly beautiful wedding cakes were first graphic designers or artists.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. If you are the type of person who thrives in school, and you have the time to dedicate to perfecting the craft in classes. Then maybe school would be a great thing for you.
However, if you are already a self-taught baker who is getting great reviews from the few side jobs you’ve taken on. Maybe you’d be better off building your reputation now.
Remember that anything you can learn in pastry school, such as how to make buttercream, you can google. But you can’t always build the same network in the wild that you can in school. So, there are pros and cons to both decisions.
Make Friends in the Vendor Industry
For most people who are starting a cake baking business, weddings and other major events like that will be your bread and butter. That means that you’ll be involved with things where other vendors will also be on hand, like caterers, event planners, florists, and so on.
Making friends with these people can be a great way to give your business a boost. And word-of-mouth spreads very quickly in these small niche industries.
It’s also a good idea to get to know the other cake vendors around you. You don’t have to be friends with what is ultimately the competition. But remember that you can learn from each other.
One thing that you may run into if you are creating wedding cakes, for example, is that a bride may bring in a picture of a cake from another vendor. Copying cake designs is actually a big no-no in the industry, so be sure that you can offer a unique take on the design. Or that the original creator of the design is okay with you doing the modelling.
Never Compromise on Quality
If you want to be a superstar cake baker, your cakes can’t just look good. They also have to taste great. At the end of the day, people will remember the taste of the cake just as much, if not more, than they remember the way it looked.
To that end, every superstar baker out there will tell you the same thing: never, ever compromise on the quality of your ingredients.
For start up bakers, that can be a difficult position to take. Not only are quality ingredients more expensive to purchase. They also drive up the cost of your cake, making it harder to attract more customers.
But the fact is that word-of-mouth about your completely amazing cakes will eventually make up for the lower sales to start. There are other ways to save money in the kitchen that don’t sacrifice the quality of your product.
Don’t Discount the Power of Online Branding
Even if you are focused on creating your cake baking career in a small local area. Don’t discount the power that the Internet can have for your cakes.
Start an Instagram account to show off your work, or connect with other superstar bakers on Twitter. Start a blog where you show off your expertise in the baking world. Or make a Facebook page for your business. Better yet? Do all of these things!
Cake baking is a visual business, which is excellent for online marketing, where visual content is king. Be sure that you’ve got a good online presence so that your creations can be shared far and wide. This is one of the key steps to becoming a true superstar in the field – getting noticed beyond your local sales.
Another reason to have a good online presence is that it allows you a place to make those “practice” cakes worth it. If you’ve been wanting to try a new technique or a new style, and haven’t gotten the order for it yet, you can practice it anyway and then post it online.
The attention you can get online can make the supplies and time more than worthwhile.
Find a Specialization and Stick to It
Want to be a real superstar? Then you need to know what it is that sets you apart, and stick to that. That doesn’t mean you can’t try out new things and offer a variety of services.
But if you are known for your old-school piped flowers, or for your spectacular 3D sculpting, or for your photo-realistic frosting designs, stick to that specialty and make it your own.
Just about anyone can learn how to bake a great cake if they have patience and an Internet connection. But by building your specialty skills, you set yourself on the path for true recognition in the field.
Don’t Do It All Yourself
One thing that you see often when bakers start to gain a little bit of notice is that as their popularity rises, their productivity decreases. This is because the more people see you, the more they want to interact with you. The stars of TV baking shows often find themselves doing a lot more interacting. On social media, interviewing with the media, answering questions, and creating marketing materials, than they do baking.
Remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t. Once you get to the point where your cake success has gotten you to superstar status, hire someone to handle your social media accounts.
Get an accountant to take care of the business end of things. Whatever you do, just don’t stop baking! That’s what you got into this industry for the first place.
A great example of what this tip means is Buddy of TV’s Cake Boss. He had to create an entire infrastructure of support for his website so that he could get back to baking cakes.
This system now tracks every aspect of his business from the moment an order arrives, to the moment the customer leaves a review. It took some time, but he reported later that it led to him getting 60% more efficiency out of his day, so it was well worth it.
Remember That Many People Are Involved in Your Cake Baking Reputation
One thing that start up bakers don’t realise is just how much chance there is for error between you and the customer. The person who takes the order, the supplier who gets you your ingredients, you making the cake,
The person who decorates the cake, and the person who delivers the cake, are all part of the process. Sometimes you may have more than one of those roles, and other times you may not even be involved at all for a client, if you’ve got a busy bakery.
The point is that your reputation as a baking superstar depends on more than just you. It’s always a good idea to surround yourself with people whose integrity and attention to detail you trust. Be sure that you track mistakes and resolutions in a way that will enhance the customer experience at all times.
Also be sure that you have a place to collect customer reviews, such as a Facebook page, so that everyone can see how much other people love your service and products. These customers reviewing your products are also part of the people involved in building your reputation! Consider them a part of your extended team and treat them as such.
Become a Cake Baking Superstar
While there are a lot of things to learn about the cake baking industry, there’s nothing holding you back from becoming a superstar. There is almost nothing people love more than delicious desserts that are also beautiful.
So if you’ve got a knack for creating tasty flavour combinations, an eye for gorgeous art, or the patience to learn the trade, you could definitely become a baking superstar. Take the tips from above to heart and get started creating your dream.