I will quite often get an email that pings up on my computer on a Friday afternoon from someone who is hoping and praying that I can make them a cake shaped like a car, or a penguin, or the Eiffel Tower for the following week, and I hate to do it, but I have to break it to them that it just doesn’t give me enough time.
There are lots of elements that go towards making a cake (particularly a shaped one) and it is indeed all about time, so I just wanted to explain a little as to why it isn’t always possible to make cakes at very short notice.
First of all it takes a while to work out exactly what the customer wants, including the size of cake so that it feeds the right number of people, the flavour of the cake, the colour they would like, and any particular design, such as a Ferrari for example.
Ingredients have to be worked out and then bought and then most importantly, the cake itself has to be baked of course. Here’s the tricky bit though….even though the cake may only take an hour to bake, it also has to cool completely before it can be iced otherwise you are asking for trouble. So that first bit of work alone can take around six hours.
If you need to carve a cake into a particular shape, that’s probably going to take around an hour and maybe more, depending on how intricate the shape needs to be. Buttercream or ganache has to be made, specialist icing has to be procured and then those elements are carefully brought together to ice the cake. This is definitely something that can’t be rushed, as icing breaks easily and it takes time and skill to get a perfect finish.
Then of course there are the modelled elements… a whole new can of worms. To give you an idea, if you wanted an open top car to be made, you would need seats, steering wheel, windscreen, four wheels (including hubcaps), exhaust, two number plates, headlights, brake lights, side mirrors, bumpers, and maybe even a driver and passenger. That’s quite a lot of modelling, and generally us cake makers under-estimate how long it will take us to do, as the perfectionist kicks in which makes us create every piece to the very best it can be. Once all the modelled elements are made, they have to harden and be positioned on the cake too, before adding any extra decor, such as painted elements. That is a good couple of days’ work.
Last but not least, generally if a cake designer is any good, they will already be quite booked up in advance. As a breed, us cakers all tend to overbook ourselves as we really do want to help people, or we get excited about a particular theme and get carried away, or lots of enquiries get back to us all at the same time. Yikes!
So my best advice for anyone wanting a fabulous cake from a fabulous cake designer is to get them booked in as soon as you can, as no matter how fast the Ferrari, it’s no good if it cant be built in time for the race.