Choosing a cake maker should be a relatively pain-free experience but as with any profession, there are definitely certain things you should be asking before you commit to buy.
Making cakes takes a lot of skill and experience, not only do you need someone who makes delicious cakes but they need to be amazingly talented and creative to be able to decorate them to a high standard. There will of course (like in every profession) be someone who can make it cheaper and faster, but be prepared for cakes to topple and to taste like cardboard when using inexperienced hands.
A couple of weeks ago I spent a day with Jess from Pickacake and whilst she baked an amazing train cake for her father in laws birthday. I ate leftovers, took some pictures and we chatted in depth about what questions you should be asking your cake maker.
1. How long have you been in business and do you hold all the relevant food hygiene certificates?
Jess has been in business almost 2 years, has insurance and her food hygiene certificates.
2. Can I see your portfolio and did you make all of the cakes in it?
Jess has an extensive portfolio of her own cakes on her Facebook page and website, you are very welcome to take a look and ask any questions you may have.
3. How far in advance is my cake going to be made?
Whilst some cake makers pre-make their sponge bases and freeze them, Jess prefers to give her clients fresh cakes and generally bakes them the day before.
4. What are my filling choices?
Jess tells me that the choices are endless, of course, buttercream is the regular stuff your nan put in her cakes but that's traditional and some may say boring. So why have boring when you can have Chocolate Fudge, Mousse, Custard Cream, Cream Cheese, Bubblegum, and Banoffee. If you can think of it Jess can make it.
5. Do you work with fondant or buttercream?
Jess works with both as she uses the buttercream as a base underneath the fondant.
6. Can you make sugar flowers?
Jess makes the most amazing little sugar flowers from scratch using special tools to make the petals.
7. Do you customise cakes or do I select from set designs and will you work within my budget?
Jess will make you anything you want and will offer you options to suit your budget. There are different ways to save on costs and Jess will work with you to achieve your dream cake.
8. I am not sure what I really want, can you design me something based on a few random ideas?
Jess is super creative and will work with you to design the cake you never knew you wanted.
9. Do you offer different dietary options?
10. Can I have fresh flowers on my cake?
Yes, the design of the cake is ultimately down to you, Jess will always advise you on the best options and explain the reasons why.
So now you have it there in black and white, a solid list of questions that you should really ask!