Monday, August 16, 2010

Cakes- Art, Business, or Both?

An Interesting Cake
I was an art student, so I enjoy doing different things when I make cakes. Trying new designs and different techniques is something that most decorators want to do, but with wedding cakes that doesn't always happen.

I think of myself as a baker who happens to decorate cakes, and who has an art background so that helps with the execution side of it. It does get frustrating sometimes when people want the same types of designs over and over, but that's the nature of wedding cakes. It's hard to get away from the mental image of the white wedding cake, even with all of the media attention on unusual cakes recently. 90% of the time, a bride will choose a traditional design over one that's more unusual.

Some other decorators and I were talking about this online recently, and most of us agreed that it was pretty boring to do the same simple designs over and over. Some days I think that if I never have to make another white gumpaste rose I'd be a happy woman. Then I realize that those white gumpaste roses pay the bills, so I get back to work making petals.

What do you think about this topic? Would you prefer to do fewer cakes as long as they're all interesting to you, or do you take any order that people request so that you can make an income? Most of us are in the middle of those two extremes somewhere, but what are the cakes that you WON'T do? Feel free to answer using "anonymous" if you don't want to offend the clients who've ordered the kind of cake you mention! ;)

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and


Anonymous said...

well maybe after i've been in business as long as you kara i will feel that way ;) right now i keep getting asked to do the scrolls, dots and diamonds which hasn't gotten to me, yet, as each bride tries to put their own little twist on that design.

i don't have an art degree but have loved to sew, craft, paint, decorate etc. my whole life so yeah, i get excited when people choose something really creative. that's the reason why i do not want to exclusively do wedding cakes. i love the creative things you get to do with other occasion cakes.
cindy/cindy's cakery

Jennywenny said...

I'm trying not to use licensed characters, as they may cause me problems by being in my portfolio and I also find human characters, especially babies, extremely creepy! I noticed at the recent convention I was at that the 'baby' moulds are very popular but I find them extremely disturbing. I hope never to do a 'naughty' cake too, hopefully I can steer things back to being tasteful, or send people somewhere else!

faithy, the baker said...

I'm not a professional cake decorator, but i think that if I'm in the business full time, definitely will need to please the client to bring in the income even if i don't like the design/cake they requested. Unless of course, my business is soo good and overwhelming, then i'll have the choice to pick and choose.

Kara said...

It feels hard to find a balance sometimes, but when it comes down to it, it's not OUR cake, it's the client's cake that we made. If that's what the bride wants, it's what she wants. I hear the same things from photographers, too, that there are certain poses and techniques that they get tired of doing over and over, so it isn't just us. I guess it's the nature of being in a field that's both creative and commercial.

And Jenny, I think the baby figures are creepy too! Who would be the one to eat that? Weird...