Baking and decorating cakes are among the fastest-growing small business trends in the UK.
Becoming a professional wedding cake designer is an achievement worth celebrating. While you might not need any formal education or training, to create an exceptional wedding cake takes considerable skill, experience, and dedication. However, whether you're a baker with big aspirations or a more experienced baker looking to take your baking business to the next level, if you have the desire to make beautiful cakes for others then with the right recipe, and a little practice and patience, you can certainly learn how to bake beautiful cakes for weddings right from your home kitchen!
Who Is A Wedding Cake Baker/Artist?
A wedding cake artist is someone who creates a design for the wedding cake, bakes and decorates it according to the couple's wishes. They can be self-employed, a restaurant, or even a wedding planner. Cakes have become highly criticised art forms today, and bakers are almost always well-trained artists. They use techniques like sculpting and painting with frosting as they create the cake, often including themes, images, and messages relevant to both the wedding couple and the wedding party.
If you're thinking about how to become a wedding cake decorator, baker & designer, read on to find out more about what it takes and where to get started so that you can be baking like "The Great British Bake Off's" Nadiya Hussain by next wedding season!
Photo and cake credit - @misshavishamscakes
10 Tips To Becoming A Professional Cake Designer.
1. Get Expert Training
Wedding cake designing (baking & decorating) is a particular field of work, so you will need to get training and prepare yourself professionally. A lot of professional bakers have taken formal education courses in culinary & pastry arts to enhance their skills. You can also learn how to bake by taking private art lessons or by finding an apprentice to help guide you through.
Where else can I find information about baking & decorating cakes?
With the rise of technology, it's easier than ever for wedding cake lovers to connect and learn more.
- Join wedding cake chat groups on social media (especially on Facebook)
- Watch youtube tutorials.
- Attend online baking classes.
- Become an apprentice.
2. Find a Mentor.
A mentor will help answer your questions and give you feedback on your bakes and design.
While it's not necessary to get formal baking training, getting some professional guidance can be invaluable. To become a professional baker, it is important to find someone who has experience in cake decorating and is willing to share that knowledge with you. This could be someone in the wedding industry, like an event's planner, a pastry arts expert or even an artist specialising in wedding cakes.
3. Start Baking Cakes in Your Own Kitchen.
Baking stylish and unique cakes is not difficult, but you want to consistently practice before you have an official job to design and bake a wedding cake. You can do this by baking cakes for friends or family, practising different cake designs on a small scale, or even making wedding-themed treats and selling them online. There are many ideas that you can try before you decide to take culinary & pastry arts seriously as a career.
As wedding cakes are works of art, bakers often spend hours sculpting their cakes and practising the craft in order to perfect it.
4. Familiarise Yourself With Different Cultures & Traditions.
Cake baking isn't just about learning decorating techniques; it's also important to familiarise yourself with different traditions as cake designs can vary by culture. While cake designs and traditions in Western countries like America, Europe and Australia may be similar, wedding cakes from South American weddings to African can vary widely. You can learn traditions by talking with event planners and vendors, reading wedding magazines, forums and wedding blogs, or even taking courses in wedding planning.
5. Join Cake Decorating Communities.
Social media is an excellent place to network with bakers from around the world. You can learn new ways to decorate cakes or even find business partners.
Connect with cake designers and wedding planners who share the same passion for cakes as you do. Join wedding cake decorators groups on social media, or (if you are up for the challenge) create your own pastry arts designing group with vendors and planners. It's a great place to share wedding design ideas, questions & answers about wedding cakes, promote your cake designs and find out what you can do better.
You can also join cake discussion forums and other pastry arts-related communities to network with like-minded professionals and get inspiration.
6. Buy Professional Cake Baking Equipment.
If you will be baking professionally and plan to make it a long-term career, it's best to invest in professional baking & decorating equipment. They might be expensive but will result in much higher quality cakes.
7. Stay Up To Date With Cake Decorating Trends.
Essentially, wedding cake baking is about having artistic freedom to create something unique and symbolic of the couple. To always have great ideas, you should stay up-to-date with cake design ideas and cultural trends. This will ensure your cakes remain unique and in demand. An example would be ensuring you're up to date with the current cake stand trends, such as floating cake stands and separators.
8. Develop A Cake Design Resume.
You need to be able to show event planners and wedding venues your wedding cake design portfolio. Develop a cake designer resume that details your education, sample cake designs, recent wedding cakes you've made, pricing, and contact information. You can then use this resume as a marketing tool to land new clients.
How to find wedding cakes opportunities.
The wedding industry can be a competitive field as there's often fierce competition between wedding cake bakers. You can start marketing your services to friends, event planners, and venues.
There are also lots of groups on social media that offer recommendations and event planning tips. Event planners might post what types of cakes they're looking for, so this is an opportunity to approach them directly with your portfolio and let them know you're available for consultation with their future clients. Once you have a strong set of connections, cake baking jobs, not just for weddings, will start streaming in!
9. Register A Business.
Once cake baking is something you're comfortable doing, you can think about getting into the wedding industry on a professional level. It's best to start small before moving onto larger designs. To create and scale your cake & baking business, start by doing the following:
- Register your home baking business (preferably as a sole proprietorship if you’re going to be running your home baking business as a side hustle or part-time)
- Follow legal food requirements in the UK. You can read more about the Food Standards guide here.
- Register your premises with your local authority environmental health service at least 28 days before you start selling. The registration is FREE, and it's pretty rare for your registration to be refused. Use the official food business registration tool to get started on the registration process.
- Get a bakers home insurance. Some companies offer this as a package –it mainly includes public liability insurance covering you against accidents in your kitchen or claims against your product. Others could be stock, tools and employers’ liability insurance.
- Notify your landlord or mortgage lender of your home-based baking business.
- Keep track of your income and your business expenses.
- Create a unique product –offer something special. This could be offering fast delivery, specialising in vegan or gluten-free bakes and much more!
With all the above, you are ready to go all out and market your products!
10. Learn to Deal With Difficult Clients.
It's not always smooth.
While wedding cakes are beautiful and a work of art, cake baking is still service-based, and you may find yourself having to deal with demanding clients. This may be guests who are unhappy with the cake flavour, wedding planners who don't like your ideas or clients that require you to deliver within a short time.
If you are passionate about cake baking & designing, you should develop a professional attitude and aim always to provide what the client is looking for (of course, within reasonable conditions).
Becoming A Professional Cake Artist: FAQ's
How much can a cake baker make?
Cake bakers typically make between £25,000 and £50,000 a year, with the average being £38,000. However, there are a lot of factors that determine the final salary for a cake baker. These include years of experience in the pastry industry and complete responsibilities, location (i.e., cost of living), education, certifications, job opportunities, and awards.
Is becoming a wedding cake baker a great career choice?
If you are an imaginative, creative person who loves to design beautiful items or patterns or have a passion for baking, then Cake Baking might just be the perfect career for you! With wedding season in full swing every year, there will be plenty of opportunities to show off your talents as a professional cake baker. At time it will even go beyond just baking, including understanding decorating options such as wedding cake stand options and different types of separators and spacers.
What are the day-to-day tasks of a cake baker?
Besides baking and decorating cakes, other day-to-day tasks of a wedding cake baker also include responding to emails, getting in touch with companies and exploring new business opportunities. You might also be busier towards the end of the week, as most people want cakes for the weekend.