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Choosing a baker - Tips and considerations

Edible Icing Images, Chocolate Roses, and Fondant create a memorable birthday cake.
"I Love Terri" Film Reel Cake

A Celebration is very personal event, whether it is a birthday, anniversary, baby shower, or wedding. Who do I choose to create my special celebration cake? Before you select the bakery professional creating the masterpiece, here are some considerations:

  1. Budget: Determine your budget BEFORE you reach out (call or social media). This will allow you to narrow down what you will be able to afford. Maybe a fancy cake is out of your budget however cupcakes or other treats will be an option? Time is money, and you don't want to waste yours. Also, be fair. Wanting "Champagne on a Beer budget" is not a fair ask. Please remember that grocery store cake pricing is much lower than a professional baker's pricing.

  2. Pertinent Details: How many guests? Date / Time / Venue location - these are very important to have before contacting a bakery professional.

  3. Cake / cupcake / cookie / treat design ideas: clipping some images of a desired design is very helpful. Some bakers have pictures of previous creations, some don't as they may just be starting off or specialize in one area of goodies. Please know that professional bakers will create "their interpretation" of a design and will not copy a design unless you obtain written permission to use their design. Disney and other corporations do not allow copyrighted materials to be used - - except for licensed in-store bakeries like grocery stores and Costco.

  4. Choosing a baker: Since the pandemic there has been a flood of home bakers. Some are professionals that have either lost their bakery jobs or lost their businesses, and others are amateur bakers trying their hand at a new business. What do you want in a baker? Do you want a baker that follows food safety guidelines? Do you want a licensed baker? What's the difference and why does it matter? A "CFO" baker is a registered, permitted baker that can bake in their home kitchen or commissary kitchen that follow food safety guidelines. An home baker without these permits and licenses do not know about food safety guidelines. An in-store grocery store bakery and individual shop bakeries are permitted and show their rating. An "A" rating is the best. Ask questions. Baker / Cake Artist Professionals welcome your questions.

  5. Scratch baked cake vs. box mix vs. pre-baked (grocery store) cakes: Determine if you prefer a scratch baked cake or other. The difference will be in cost, as a scratch baked cake may include quality ingredients or specialty ingredients. It is always a good question to ask. If you budget does not allow for from scratch cake, tell the bakery professional.

  6. Choosing the icing: buttercream? fondant? Think of the weather, venue, and design. Do you have images of a fondant cake and want buttercream? Sometimes that is not a realistic ask. In hot weather, buttercream melts and bakery professionals will need to use a faux or stabilized commercial buttercream, especially if the venue is outdoors. While fondant may be more expensive, sometimes it is the better choice when choosing an intricate design or considering hot weather.

  7. Why does a professional cake cost more than a home baker or grocery store cake? Quality Ingredients is the major reason, then there is the consideration of labor for the created design. A Costco sheet cake is not comparable to a bakery professional cake due to the quality ingredients used. Additionally, the other considerations are the licensing, insurance, and permit costs of a professional. An amateur home baker does not have these costs, and can go to a big box store to pick up icing and box mixes at a discount ... compared to a professional that will use cake flour and other quality ingredients to create their baked goods.

  8. Final thoughts: Be prepared with your budget and details. Be respectful of all - whether an amateur home baker or professional. And, please don't ask for copyrighted or another artists creations to be copied. It is not morally or legally acceptable. Some grocery stores have licensing with Disney and are able to create a Disney themed cake. Most pros do not have this licensing due to cost. Finally, help support a local professional or bakery. They will appreciate it!

Do you have further questions or need a recommendation? Please feel free to reach out to us at or phone 760-744-0447.

Are you a home baker that would like to obtain more information on starting your business? We are here to help - or phone 760-744-0447.

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