Are you considering entering the murky waters of artisanal bakes to become a custom cake client for the first time?
If you have a super special occasion coming up that calls for a show stopping cake, commissioning a baker to create something unique is a brilliant way of making it an unforgettable celebration. But with hundreds of ideas popping up on Instagram daily and dirt cheap cakes lining the shelves of the supermarket, how do you know where to start? The process is actually pretty simple and can be lots of fun if you follow a few key rules.
My 5 top tips every custom cake client should know:
Tip 1: Give as much information in your enquiry as possible. Key details such as the number of guests the cake needs to serve, date it’s needed, flavours, colours and other customisation will help your baker bring your ideas to life and assess their availability from the outset. Simply saying you ‘need a cake’ won’t help the bakery quote for it if they don’t know the size or date it’s needed.
Tip 2: Don’t expect miracles overnight. Any cake takes a lot of planning and time between the various stages, but a custom design is even more so as it contains personalised details. If you call any baker the day before your daughter’s birthday party asking for a cake to serve 100 guests, you will be disappointed. It’s not because we don’t want to help, it’s because even if there were no other orders in the schedule, there aren’t enough hours to skilfully prepare it! So place your order as far in advance as you can, and I’d suggest a couple of weeks is the absolute minimum.
Tip 3: Be realistic when you set your budget. If you’ve never ordered a cake before, you might have no idea how much it will cost, but you shouldn’t look at supermarket cakes as a benchmark. They’re mass produced and nothing like the quality of a hand crafted custom cake. Most bakers will give some indication of their pricing on their website so you can get a feel of whether they’re in your price range, but beyond that the best thing is toask them what they can do with your budget. Instead of trying to haggle them down (there’s a reason they’ve priced things that way and it’s called overheads), trust the experts to guide you on what’s possible. If you have your heart set on a 4 tier extravaganza, be prepared to shell out extra cash for the time and skill it takes to pull that off.
Tip 4: Make sure the cake is safely delivered. Cake is a terrible passenger and you can’t simply sling the box on the back seat as you speed off to the party. Which is why we personally drive like grannies across the mean and bumpy streets of London in a temperature controlled van. Not only do you ditch the stress, but we’re on hand to make sure everything is looking on point when we arrive. If you know you won’t be at the delivery address on the day, we recommend providing detailed alternative instructions on a safe place or nominate a neighbour/porter/concierge who is willing to accept your perishable item on your behalf.
Tip 5: If you’re unhappy with anything, talk to your baker. One of the things that’s scary about ordering a custom cake is that you can’t knowexactlyhow it will turn out. Make sure you communicate clearly with your baker during the ordering process and you should minimise any nasty surprises. If you spot anything you’re not 100% happy with when the cake is delivered, mention it to the baker and it will give them the chance to either explain or fix it. Even if there’s an issue post-delivery, talking to your baker should be your first move before you leave a seething complaint on Facebook, there might be a good explanation after all.
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