Sorry, not sure of the proper term; I am talking about the ones who are both bakers and artists, using fondant, sculpting chocolate, etc to create unique bakery items? I am an illustrator, designer, and sculptor and I also love cooking. I thought it would be an imteresting career change to investigate.
Chefs school? Maybe.
I would just start experimenting. If you fail there will still be cake to eat. You cant lose.
My nephews wife is an amazing baker. She did take a course for it at a community college IIRC. She made cakes for many family functions and they were all works of art, both visually and taste wise. If she wanted, I don’t doubt that she could have made a career out of making custom cakes but she only does it as a hobby.
I suspect that it will be hard to make a business out of making those fancy cakes. I doubt that what most people will be willing to pay for them will barely cover your materials cost, let alone letting you earn a decent hourly wage out of the effort.
I suggest finding a real live person who is already in the business. There’s a lot of background, a lot of knowledge, that is kept exclusively in people’s heads. (And hands, in this case, if you know what I mean.)
I have a friend who had a very successful business making special-occasion cakes. She ended up selling it to someone else when it got to the point that she would have had to hire people to grow the business. She just wanted to make cakes, not be an employer.
She took the Wilton Master Series of classes in Darien, IL.
I was watching “This Old House” this weekend. They talked with a new construction apprentice that was working on the house they were building. She had been a cake decorator, but gave it up in order to become a building contractor.
Are you sure? I might be mistaken, but I understood that those high-end, ultra-complicated, pastry-art cakes take so much time to sculpt that they are stale by the time they’re complete. And that modelling chocolate and fondant sugar don’t taste all that good. Or am I misinformed?
I suspect the role you are looking for is ‘pastry chef’.
I suspect that the folks who make the super-fancy sculpted cakes that win artistic awards do those as basically marketing, and make their real money from simpler (though still decorated) cakes. Someone sees pictures of one of those fancy cakes, says “I want to have a cake made by that person”, and buys something much easier to make (and cheaper) than the one that got the attention.
It’s sort of like clothing designers making custom garments for fashion shows.
I think you’re right about that. Few are willing to pay for those really custom cakes or wait for them to be created.
“Don’t bother to box it — I’ll eat it here.”
Oh, come on, since when did having zero knowledge of the topic stop Beckdawrek from jumping in with the first reply with the first guess off the top of her head which had nothing factual whatsoever?
Slow Moving Vehicle is correct in that the molding chocolate is basically the recipe for Tootsie Rolls, and rolled fondant isn’t much better.
Chronos is also correct in that most of those cakes are marketing, and that decorators earn their bread and butter with the more routine cakes that they do. Otherwise it’s just a labor of love. The goal is to have a lot of rich customers for whom price is no object.
Cuckoorex, look up American Cake Decorating Magazine online. Find out where to buy an issue. You’ll find lots of leads in there. While most of the paid ads are obviously people who want your money, you’ll find plenty of people who’ll give you tips on how they got their start. They interview folks every issue who tell where they started.
Wilton didn’t used to be very highly regarded in the eyes of professional decorators, but maybe things have changed lately (but I doubt it). They used to be geared toward selling endless classes to homemakers. Not aimed at time-constrained professionals.
Out here, there are community colleges that teach this sort of thing to students looking to have a vocation, but they’re definitely full-time, career programs. DO NOT enroll in a for-profit cooking college unless you have too much money and want to get rid of it.
needscoffee, ex-pastry chef
You clearly haven’t commissioned a wedding cake recently