A week behind the scenes of a cake decorator.

 

Walking into what will be my biggest cake week to date, I thought I would document the whole shebang to show you guys what it’s like to be a cake decorator (me in particular as I juggle a fulltime job as well) for a whole week.

Now, I know a lot of other bloggers/cake decorators write about their business experiences, or a single cake and the ups and downs of our cake world, but I haven’t yet read a day by day journey of what goes on behind the scenes for whole week.

I don’t know what’s to come yet as I am writing this on Monday, but I am going to start from the beginning of this weeks cake prep which started last Wednesday and document the whole thing like a teenagers diary lol
Be prepared, this may be a long read, but I hope if you stay tuned, it will hopefully reach those other cakers out there who may also feel like they have tough and busy weeks and can relate and of course for those who have no idea about the cake decorating world and may grasp an understanding on the many things that go on behind the scenes..
So here we go,

Wednesday (the week before)

I sit down and go through the inbox to take the last of the enquiries for the week, even though I knew I had a big week ahead of me and had a note in my diary not to take any more bookings, I ended up taking 3 more… a 5 inch for the weekend (easy cos it’s small), a 6 inch for Monday (my day off so I have the time), and a 9 inch cake + 50 Donuts (purely for the donuts order as I haven’t done many before, and more photos for my website)..

Was I stupid for taking these on as well as a 3 tier wedding cake, 2 tier 21st cake and 2 other 9 inch cakes? Sure, but this was the beginning of my stupidity!

I also messaged around some local business where I know there is a lot of people visiting, to ask if I can display cookies down there with my business cards to promote my cake biz.. so yeah – another 150 cookies to add to my chaos!
Thursday comes around, I begin to think – shit! I really have a massive week ahead and if I don’t start now I’m going to have some very late nights and I hate that! Personally, I do a lot of work and most weeks I do 7 days a week, but never do I work later then 6-7pm if I don’t have to. I love my bed and I love a good sleep in so maybe I had this in mind but also I am a very organised person (maybe that comes from being a chef too, I have to be prepared if it all goes to shit!)

So I go into Thursday refreshed after a couple of lazy days in front of the tv and begin to get myself ahead. (lazy days meaning yes I am watching tv but I’m also working on the website, taking orders or catching up on paperwork..)

I also thought that I would do a dessert table as a gift for Daniel’s cousins 21st, which we were attending on the Saturday night.. so I also added that to what I already had on too! I’m freaking crazy ok?!!

I baked nearly 200 cookies-50 for the party and 150 for promotion, plus 50 Macarons for the party..

That night I went home and packaged up all the cookies and tied ribbons on all the bags, Daniel helped for a bit lol til he got bored! (I appreciate his help if he offers it but I don’t ask him cos I know that he isn’t that interested in all my cake stuf lol)
Friday rolls around and I decorate the 2 cakes I had for that weekend.. one which I forgot to put on so had to bake and decorate within 3 hours!! Hectic!

I filled all the macarons so that was one less thing I had to do and I called it a day and went out for dinner with friends.
Saturday got here way too fast, I had a busy day at work so I decide to bake all my cakes there too, to get ahead for the week.. you know me, just create more work for myself to see how much I can do in a day 🤣

I got most of them baked which put me way ahead of this week.

Daniel delivered all my promotional cookies to Jump Inn that morning for me which was awesome !
I finished work and delivered and set up a cake at the astor that night and had the night off again with some friends.. (my exciting social life lol this rarely happens though)

Sunday I didn’t do anything cake because I was too busy at work and ended up having a bad stress full day there anyway. My body was so sore, I was over tired and aching from a massive busy weekend so I went straight to bed that night..
So here we are on Monday! Actually my favourite day of the week! It’s my Saturday, my sleep in day (til about 8-9am lol) and a day that everyone is at work and I can have the day and house to myself. I usually sleep in do my groceries, then I come home and answer all my enquiries etc, slow kind of things that are half relaxing and keep me out of the kitchen for a day!
But Today was different, I ordered my groceries at 11pm last Friday night so they got delivered today, one thing done. I had a few fondant decorations to make today, 1 cake to decorate, chocolates to make plus I had to finish the rest of my baking for the weekend.

I ended up getting it all done from 11am – 6pm with only taking a few minutes to sit down for lunch, I had a couple of trips down town and sat down for half an hour for dinner.

I am now sitting here at 7pm bagging up promotional cookies (which took an hour!) cleaning the kitchen and taking chocolates out of their moulds ready for another batch to make tomorrow..
Tuesday I woke up at 6am when Daniel went to work, stayed in bed til 8:30, in that time I answered most enquiry questions at 7am, freeing up the day to get the rest of my baking/decorating done.

This week isn’t so bad yet because I am prepared and have done most of the work ahead of time!! I am always a week ahead in my life so I can schedule these times to relax!

I had one cake delivery the Tuesday afternoon so that was about 20 mins plus I had to buy some cake pop sticks that I forgot to get with my cake order last week lol- had to get more cake boards and boxes! And order more business cards too cos I’m running low now that I’ve used them in those promotional cookies!
Amongst all this cake stuf though I stil have to run a kitchen at work so I have to ring up and order all that food, make sure everything is organised there, do all my washing, clean the house, look after my dog, see my friends and family and cook dinner for everyone!!

Yes the days are short lol

Wednesday we woke up at 5am at Daniel’s place and had to come into town because we used one car to get there.. (We’re In the process of building a house so we live between both our parents houses at the moment! It can get crowded, especially running a business from mine- I have so much crap everywhere lol)
So I watched a movie until about 8am, then got up and started making my chocolates, which screwed up 3 times and wasted a block of chocolate.. a minor set back but I really hope that this isn’t the start of a bad week!!

I then prepared the cake pops so I had to put the sticks in the dough with chocolate first then set them.. I decorated the first half and then they started separating from the sticks when I dipped them in the chocolate.. my only reason for this is maybe they were out in the heat too long (we had a wood fire so I have to work fast..) they are for the dessert table for Daniels cousin so I didn’t mind how many I had to make.. so not a big deal but that’s 2 things that’s already screwed up.. oh 3 if you count the breaking bowl on Monday that smashed all over the floor! Hopefully this is the end of bad luck!! I can’t have this this week!!

Trying to stay focused and not think to much. Just want to be at least half way done!

I’ve done all the food ordering for work and packed my car with all my cake stuff- took me half an hour to sort out all the cake boards that go with each cake, the food colours I need, the tools, the butter, icing sugar, chocolate etc.. my brain hurts lol

Hopefully now I have most of the day to sit down and play with my niece when she comes over, take her to gymnastics and drop some promotional cookies off this afternoon 🙂
Dreading tomorrow morning!! Excited but nervous at the same time! I can’t wait to see them all come together!
Thursday! D day! (Decoration day 🤣)

Ill admit I woke up nervous as hell and just hoping and praying that everything would go smoothly.

In the shower I was nervous shaking and couldn’t stop thinking about how my day may go.. hoping I get enough time at work, hoping I’ve packed everything, just wishing on everything I had that today will go well. I didn’t have time for any stuff ups so I had to go in with a clear head.

With everything packed in my car I drove to work, still obsessed with the day! Anyway I got there and unpacked everything into the cool room, started my work prep, smashed that through within the first 2 hours. I also had my donuts baking at the time so I was running back and forth with them washing the tins then re baking.. I only had 2 tins which was 12 donuts at a time and I had to make 60 lol. I screwed up one batch because I tried to cheat by adding the second batch in the tin without cleaning the old baked donuts off (not as gross as it sounds lol) so they all stuck to the previous mix that had cooked on there, so they all broke and had to be “thrown out” (haha that was staff lunch that day!) so I had to wash the tins every batch now then re butter for the next batch. Annoying but it was worth it to have perfect batches every time after that.

I had a few lunch bookings to feed too so while I was doing that I got started on stacking and crumb coating all the cakes.
It was already 12pm, so I still had a lot of time to work with which was a good thing. I got all 9 of them stacked within an hour and a half which is good timing considering i was still working around that as well. (Work does come first but if I get time I do my cake stuff, I just try to work them together while I’ve got the time in the day to do it!) plus I hate wasting time and standing around doing nothing so it works well to get everything done in one place.

So by about 2pm I started putting the final layers and colours on the cakes.

I ended up getting the 2 black ones done, the grey one plus the drips on 2 of the cakes, the 2 top tiers of the stacked cakes done and the mini cake iced. So I was 6 cakes down within 4 hours! Pretty good progress!
The only hiccup I had was stacking the top tier of the wedding cake, i knew when I baked it, it was a bit funny and kind of crumbly but I kept it and then because it was at work over my days off I kind of forgot about it until I went to stack it. So I went to trim them to stack, and the edges of 2 of the cakes pretty much fell away at the sides.. I don’t even know why or how this happened.. but it has never happened before.. I continued to trim and stack anyway even though I was worried that the weakest cake was at the bottom holding the weight of 2 other cakes. I made the buttercream thin so it wouldn’t be too heavy, crumb coated it and left it.. hoping that it would hold up. I kept checking to make sure it hadn’t fallen over, and it was fine.. I remember thinking that oh crap I really don’t want to bake again.. with not much time left on my side!

It did turn out fine though if you didn’t guess, and I was so happy that this ended up being the only hurdle!
So I took one mini cake , the bottom tier of the 21st cake and all the donuts home that night and finished them off there. I wasn’t able to take all the cakes home with me at one time on because there are so many they wouldn’t all fit in my car so I had to carefully plan out my week and my travels to accomodate and get them all home safe in 3 different trips.
I decorated all the donuts which only took about an hour, and was really happy that they all looked and worked out so well. Another obstacle I had over come! I was so proud of my efforts that day and it was a massive relief to have them all stacked and half decorated in one day. I was so happy that most of the work was done. That ended up being about a 12-13 hour work day (which is normal these days, most Thursdays and Fridays anyway)
On Friday I woke up determined again and went into work and did some actual work in the morning for a bit lol

Then in the arvo I started colouring the rest of the cakes and putting the base decorations on. Which include any buttercream design, drip etc..

I got everything done by about 3pm, I even got time to do a video tutorial on the ombré style cake, finished painting the gold drip on the donut cake and packed the car with 4 cakes to come home. The drive wasn’t scary as I do it every week but I always drive slower and more cautious then usual.

I got them home safe with a trip to woolies on the way to get some more chocolate for the grey/pink first birthday cake.
I finished all the decorations for those cakes, photographed them and boxed them up for pick up. My usual Friday night routine! I’m so happy that daylight savings is soon too because I can catch the sun and take my nice pictures outside instead of cake box pictures inside the kitchen lol (definitely not as pretty)
Anyway I finished everything that night about 9pm after the last pick up, I also had to drop a cake to my friend’s house to hand over for me on sunday arvo as I was working when they needed to pick it up. I had to drive out the Dans farm again and finally got to bed after a big 14 hour working day !
Saturday is finally here! The last day which will join all the pieces together 🙂 All my cake stuf had been done so I just worked a normal day (busy) I had another 4 cakes in my car to get home and take down to the workers club to set up.

I went home and collected all the other desserts, stands, platters and tools I needed to set up. I got to the club with the help of Daniel, his mum and brother.

I rushed upstairs to set the wedding cake up first, which was very daunting! Nothing went wrong thank god! It took about 15-20 mins once I stacked them and placed the ribbon and flowers on. I stood back and had a good look at her, photographed and then left. I hate leaving my cakes, all that hard work put in and I only get a couple of minutes to look at them before I walk away.

I went back downstairs and set the 21st cake and desserts up. That took about another 20 mins or so, and it looked awesome. It was my first time doing a dessert table (I wanted to promote them) so I had a lot of photos to take. I was also hoping the chocolates wouldn’t melt by the time I came back lol, plus I was a guest at the party so I got to look at them all night and even got to eat some!

So there it was, all the hard work over! I couldn’t believe I had done it! Such a relief!
Well that’s my week peeps! Sorry it’s long but I wanted to take you all back stage and let you in to what I do every week (it’s not always that hectic but the routine is the same lol)

I’m off to start another busy week, only 6 cakes this week I think, plus I took on some more minis too so I have more now haha, it never ends lol

Until next time ! xo