There is without a doubt an abundance of choice nowdaysdays from professional cake makers that make luxury wedding cakes through registered celebration cake makers to a friend of a friend who is a hobby baker. But how do we pick the right baker when there's so much choice and recommendations.
As a cake maker myself, I'd say these are the 5 most important things to consider when choosing a cakemaker:
1.Health and safety
Does the cake maker hold a food hygiene certificate that is required to bake and sell cakes to the public? In my view this is crucial even though celebration cakes are classed as low risk in terms of food hygiene but there are some ingredients that have to be handled in a certain way so that they can be left out of fridge for safe consumption.
You might want to check if they have liability insurance as well which isn't a requirement but also suggests that the cake maker is serious about their business and they're covered in case of unexpected events eg illness or injury. This is especially important if you're looking for a wedding cake, at the end of the day you don't want to be left without a cake on your big day, do you?
Did you see previous work of the cake maker? They most probably have a portfolio on their social media sites which is easiest to check.
It's often worth checking what different styles of cakes the cake maker has done in the past to see if they are similar to the the style you're after. Are those cakes detailed enough for your liking? Are they finished in a way your satisfied with?
Want to see my previous work? Click here
If you like what you see, the chances are you will be happy with their creation for your order.
Some cake makers offer taste testing sessions or cake samples, is this important to you or are you happy to rely on their reviews? If you do, please go beyond Facebook and see what customers say somewere other than social media eg. Google, Yell.
You can check out my reviews here.
3.Do they have the right to charge?
Apart from the above mentioned social media, be sure to check different channels to avoid disappointment. For example having a website is a good indication that someone is serious about running their bussiness.
All home bakers have to be registered with the council too, and be awarded a hygiene rating which is usually displayed on a window of a bussiness, but this might not be the case with bakers that use their home for bussiness. However, their star rating and registry can still be checked through the council.
4.Type of cake
Are you looking for a kids celebration cake with detailed modelling, a wedding cake with a plenty of floral decoration, perhaps a handpainted cake or maybe a simple drip cake?
Lets just go back to the portfolio a bit. If most of the cake makers work is similar to what you are looking for you could be at the right place.
The truth is when someone specialises in a particular type of decorating/type of cake they usually do that at a much higher standard than someone else that deals with all types of decoration techniques, but has never got any of them down to a fine art. It's a bit like paying for a plasterer and a painter , they do two very similar but different jobs and I wouldn't pay the plasterer to paint my walls as the painter does a better job.
The price of a bespoke cake can vary a lot, and I mean a lot! The price depends on numerous factors that's involved in the process of making it. The size of the cake, whether it's covered in buttercream, ganache or fondant, the cost of the ingredients all affect the price but more importantly the complexity of the design, the more hours it takes the higher the price tag will be.
It can add to the cost if you're wanting something that requires extra equipment or special tools, for example an internal structure for a sculpted cake.
Last but not least, the expertise of the cake maker. Baking ( sounds easy right? But here's more to it than just putting the right ingredients together in the right order ), designing and decorating a cake is a skill whether it's been learnt though free tutorials, paid courses or one-to-one with the most professional bakers, if you go to cake makers with more experience, your cake will cost more (but will be finished to a higher standard) as you're paying for lots and lots of years of experience and skills that cake maker has gained over the years.
Click here to see my price guide.
So you might be asking now - how do I find a cake maker that is able to create my dream cake but within my budget ? More about how to stay within your budget in my next blog.