Getting on the Cake Train

31 Mar

So hopefully by now you have all heard something about our new Cake Vibe.  In a nutshell, the happy ninjas at the bakery gladly bake, fill and frost cakes.  No problem!  We have simplified our sizes to increase efficiency.  What we really did change was our approach to cake decorating.

If you saw our website 6 months ago, you would have found hundreds of pictures of elaborately decorated cakes, sculpted into all sorts of outrageous shapes, or topsy turvy or sheet cakes, bedecked with colored fondant.  After much soul-searching and research, we gave all of that up.  We like to make (& eat) delicious cake and silky smooth – not too sweet – buttercream.  And that’s what cake should be about.

The newly emerging research about the negative effects of artificial food color only justifies our new approach.  We’re actively pursuing alternatives to the fake colors, and having limited success.  The quest continues…  In the meantime, I wanted to give everyone an update.

  1. Taking cake orders is much simpler, efficient and enjoyable than before.  We have lots of decorations “in house” that people can choose from.  But the sky isn’t the limit anymore.  Having the structure and lower cost of the 2 and 3 tier cakes seems to encourage people to keep it simple.
  2. For customers who want a cake shaped like a boat, or topped with a sculpted Minnie Mouse, we recommend that they contact Christopher Garran’s Let Them Eat Cake or Cinderella Cakes.   We’re not telling them to shove off, just trying to direct them toward a business that specializes in the level of elaborate design that they’re seeking.
  3. Weekends are more family friendly.  Plus, I get to attend the Irvine Farmers Market and chat with our customers, which is always good.
  4. We don’t have to order buckets of fondant and jars of artificial food coloring.  Hooray!
  5. People who order the cakes now seem to appreciate the cake for its flavor, texture and all natural ingredients.  I handed out samples of cake and buttercream at an event at NapaStyle (Costa Mesa) last Thursday, and received an overwhelmingly positive response.  Viva la Cake!
  6. Customers can opt for a simple buttercream cake to personalize themselves.  Although some customers seem to feel intimidated by the options, other embrace the creativity.  Hopefully that will expand over time.
  7. The percentage of our earnings from cake has gone down (as the new cakes are less expensive) but we’re expanding our wholesale business – including having tarts, savory strata, bars, etc at Keán Coffee.

So, that’s the story from my perspective.   Please let us know your impressions and feedback.

Cake On!

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3 Responses to “Getting on the Cake Train”

  1. Sharon Whelan March 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Looks like you are going with what your heart says and that is so important. The flavor IS what truly counts.

    On another note, why is it that people swoon over Red Velvet cakes and cupcakes at other bakeries? When I read the recipe, I see that it is basically a chocolate cake with loads of red food coloring.

    • blackmarketbakery March 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

      Sharon – It’s funny that you mention Red Velvet. The recipe I’ve used has more sugar than our normal cake, so I think the sweetness is what people like.

      We made 2 batches in the Southern Desserts class on Tuesday, with Natural Red Food Color, and the results were bizarre. The batter was a mauve shade of red going in the oven, but came out as brown when baked. And once we saw the color (ugh), the cupcakes didn’t taste right… I wonder what we would have thought if we had a BLIND taste test?

  2. Lauren March 31, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    I can’t wait until I have an excuse to buy one of the new cakes. Boyfriend’s birthday is coming up! Mmmmm cake.

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