Friday, May 26, 2017

How To Make Edible Cupcake Geodes


This is how I make edible cupcake topper geodes using isomalt, fondant, and these geode molds: Silicone Geode Molds



You can make them any size and either flat or more rounded...Use isomalt or real sugar, both will work!





Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When Should You Raise Your Prices?

I wrote about this a few times before, but it's time to address it again...When should you raise your prices?

There are plenty of reasons to raise your prices regularly, but most people are reluctant to do it because they're afraid to scare customers away. If you don't raise your prices, though, you'll eventually be the one quitting the business because you'll have so much business at a low profit you'll burn out.

Keep this in mind when you raise prices: People EXPECT prices for everything to go up over time. Nobody thinks that the price they paid for something will be the same in ten years, it just isn't realistic. The problem comes for us as business owners when we're trying to figure out how much to raise them, and when to do it.

In social psychology there are two methods to change people's minds on issues. One is to just jolt them into it, like throwing someone into the deep end of the pool. That tends to backfire, though, because people will fight it. The other way is to do it gradually so that people adapt to changes a bit at a time without really feeling that they have to defend themselves from the change. The gradual way is slower, but it will result in less resistance.

I think that the best way to raise your prices is the gradual method, but you have to do it on a regular basis. Twice a year, increase your per-serving cost by a fixed amount. Even if it's only a 5% increase, doing it gradually will ease people into it, and many of them won't even notice that you've done it. You'll lose fewer customers that way.

On the other hand, if you increase your prices a lot all at once, you'll definitely lose some customers, but you might still come out ahead financially since you'll be charging more. This could work to your benefit if you're working less for more revenue. 

You need to decide what your comfort level is. If you tend to have too much work, I'd be inclined to raise prices more all at once. That will eliminate the lower-priced orders and ease your schedule a little. If you're not totally booked all the time, I'd do the gradual increase on a regular basis to increase prices slowly but steadily. You should also keep an eye on what your competition is doing. If you're the only person in your area who isn't doing regular price increases, you're selling yourself short and you need to keep up! 

When's the last time that you raised your prices? If you can't remember, go start your planning now, and set a goal to have prices up in a couple of weeks. You can use the increase as a selling tool..."Book now before prices go up!"


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Friday, May 12, 2017

How I Make Fondant Pearls

Here's a throwback for you...I wrote this last year, and the article has a link for a pearl chart to use to estimate how many fondant pearls you'll need for different sized tiers. Here's a quick video for those of you who like to watch things, and here's the link for the original article for those of you who like to read things :)   Pearl Chart for Fondant Pearls





Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Simple Sometimes Isn't.

I have a lot of people tell me that they want something "simple." You know, only plain, smooth buttercream with some sugar flowers on top. When I tell them that won't decrease the price of their cake, they get all excited and say that they do want some added decorations, then.

Again, the wedding magazines have told brides to cut down on the piping and other ornamentation on a cake in order to cut costs. Their sage advice is that the more decoration on a cake, the more expensive it will be.

That isn't necessarily true, though. I've said it before, but it's the time that it takes to decorate a cake that creates most of the cost. Yes, it takes time to pipe a design on a cake, but it also takes time to get a perfectly smooth buttercream surface on a cake that has no decoration.

Here are two cakes to compare:
The one on the left has some fancy scrolling, which most people look at and say "that must be really hard to do." Not really, not if you've been decorating cakes for a long time. That's just simple piping. There are also some gumpaste daisies on that one.

The one on the right has fondant pearls and more gumpaste flowers than the first cake, so it takes slightly longer to prepare the decorations for that. No piping on the sides, though, so that should be cheaper because it takes less time, right? Again, not really. I've been doing this long enough that I can make roses really fast, relatively, and the same thing for the pearls. I don't feel the need to charge an extra fee per flower, since I consider that part of the cake design. I just base everything on time.

Of the two cakes, the one on the right would be about $20 more than the one on the left. And that's just because of the time it takes to make the flowers, it has nothing to do with the surface decoration.

When you decorate a cake that has piping on the sides, what can you do to hide any flaws in the icing? That's right, pipe right over it, making the problem area go away. When you have a perfectly smooth surface that doesn't have anything on it, you have to add time to the process to make sure that the icing is totally smooth.

That's why a lot of bakers that you see on tv use fondant. A sheet of fondant will hide a multitude of icing sins. A smooth fondant surface is a lot easier to do than a smooth buttercream surface if you know how to use fondant.

Some bakers do price everything "extra" unless you want a plain white cake. I don't, since I think that basic decorations should be included in the price of the cake. Make sure that you check with each baker you interview to see what the final price of the cake you want will be. Once everything is added in, that initially low price per serving can increase substantially. Even for a "simple" cake.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Time Management And How I Structure My Day

I had another Etsy seller ask me if I gave myself deadlines while we were discussing procrastination one day. I said no, but when she followed up with a "what's your typical day" question, I realized that I kind of do have a structure to my workday.

(For more information, get my Time Management Guide For Home-Based Cake Businesses. It's a steal at $10 and you know you can use your discount if you sign up for my VIP Club!)

When I was doing cakes, I chunked tasks together to keep things in check. I tend to do the same thing now, with one time period each day to do certain things. I start around 7am because why not...after checking orders, email and social media, I fill new orders, package previous days' orders that are now ready to go out, and taking the daily trip to the post office. If I have errands to run I do them while I'm out. I try to get all of that done by noon, but sometimes it's faster or slower, it just depends on the day and whether it's "busy season" or not.

After I choke down a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, I make gumpaste for a couple of hours, or more if necessary. Again, it depends on the season. I try to wrap that up by 3pm or so, and then I get online for whatever I happen to be doing that day. During all of this I do some housework since I'm home and the laundry isn't going to do itself...

On days that I don't have much to do (that does happen sometimes) I've decided that I need to do something more productive than just check facebook repeatedly. One of my goals for 2017 was to get more organized system-wise, since I'm still pretty new to a schedule that doesn't involve baking. Want to know a secret? I'm writing this on November 30, 2016, and scheduling it ahead of time. Scheduling things ahead when you have extra time will be very helpful during the months that you're slammed with wedding orders, which I'm suspecting is this time of year. One thing that you can schedule ahead is social media posts, then you can stay off of facebook and pinterest entirely.

I usually get online in the late afternoon and update listings, do bookkeeping, pay bills, order supplies, etc.

What does your daily routine look like? Leave a comment to give other people ideas about how they might manage their time better!



Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com