Monday, February 15, 2016

Just a Cake for Thought

I have food for thought for many of you that have maybe no idea what goes into what I do for a living, baking. I chose this because it matters to me what a person needs or wants for their event(s). I’m not going to say I’m cheaper or more expensive than another baker, I just want you to think about what I am posting here.
How Much Does a Wedding Cake Cost?
The cost of a wedding cake varies by type of cake, the kind of baker and geographic region.Typical costs:
• The average cost of a wedding cake is $543, according to The Bridal Association of America.
• For wedding cakes, most bakeries and pastry chefs charge by the slice. A low-end option would be a smaller tiered cake in chocolate or vanilla paired with a sheet cake for cutting for around $1.50 a slice.
• A mid-range two- or three-tiered cake in a standard flavor such as chocolate, vanilla, carrot cake or lemon poppy seed with buttercream icing and minimal fondant decorations can run $5 or $6 a slice.
• A high-end multi-tiered gourmet cake with flavored fillings, fondant icing and elaborate fondant, gum paste and sugar decorations can run $10 or more per slice.
Additional costs:
• Decorations make a big difference in the per-slice cost. Fresh flowers are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to decorate a cake.• Fondant, which can cover a cake in a smooth, satiny shell, is one of the most expensive; it can add $1 or more per slice. Elaborate fondant decorations increase the price even more.
• Cheesecakes and cakes with nuts, dried fruits or special cream fillings can add $1 or more per slice.
• Most tiered wedding cakes must be delivered and assembled on site by the baker or a staff member to prevent a cake mishap, and delivery charges can be $50 to $100 or more, depending on distance and size of cake.
• Some caterers charge a cake-cutting fee when figuring the total cost of your wedding cake.Cake-cutting fees can run $1 or more per slice.
$451(The national average cost of wedding cakes and desserts will be $451in 2013, jumping to $466 in 2014, up from 2012’s $437. In areas like New York City and Napa, Calif. cakes can run as high as $1,200-plus.)
For those who have never done cakes have no idea at how much is involved, financially and time wise.Doing the cakes by myself, I have to do the prep work, baking, icing, assembly, decorating, etc. with no help, including the time it takes to clean up afterwards, delivery, set up and serving the cake at the wedding.
Sometimes, I do get lucky to have a family member to assist in either a delivery, or clean up.But I don’t ever take shortcuts; I won’t compromise the taste and quality of my cakes. And every time I have made a wedding cake, I have been told by the bride and groom, as well as many of the guests, that my cake was the best they have ever tasted.
My icing is made with real butter. From the time I start making icings a couple of days ahead of time to baking the cakes, I calculate my time and overhead. Why? Because I am using my time and my overhead. It’s just me, I am not Walmart or any local grocery chain that has their own bakeries.I bake my cakes for the full amount of time stated on the instructions, or they will be dry.
Cakes continue to bake a bit longer when removed from the oven, due to the amount of heat that is in the cakes. I’m always testing the doneness to make sure it’s baked right not dry.I am not like Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, or Kakes by Karen. I am a good baker/decorator. This is rural NW Iowa, not Des Moines, not Sioux City or Sioux Falls, SD. It’s not Minneapolis, MN. There are some really good bakers in this area, but if you want CHEAP pricing, I recommend Wal-Mart. If you don’t like their tastes, then you’re going to have to pay the price we charge.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation

I would like to introduce to the readers of my blog and my recurring visitors of this non profit company. A brief summary of who they are;

The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation (formerly the Great Lakes Corridor of Opportunity) was organized in 1992 to foster encourage, promote, assist or otherwise aid economic growth and development in the Iowa counties of Clay and Dickinson. In late 2005, Emmet County became a part of the region and in January 2006, Buena Vista County joined the region.

The organization is a 501(c)6, non-profit organization in the State of Iowa. The Iowa Lakes Corridor is governed by a 12-member board of directors who set policy and direction for the organization. The board of directors is responsible for the hire of the President and CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor. The Corridor currently receives funding from the public and private sector. The total annual budget is approximately $600,000. The Iowa Lakes Corridor has three full-time and three part-time, professional staff members with a central office located on the Iowa Lakes Community College campus in Spencer.

What they do for the area is more than just help those who want to start a business, they have partners for job seekers.

FastTrac NewVenture course for entrepreneurs
Kauffman FastTrac NewVenture logo
The Corridor will be hosting a Kauffman FastTrac NewVenture course for entrepreneurs looking to start a business. 

This program is best-suited for entrepreneurs in their early stages of business development. It provides the tools necessary to develop a business concept, determine the viability of the business concept, and outline the critical steps to a successful business launch.

Kauffman FastTrac®, an initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, is a practical, hands-on business development program designed to help entrepreneurs hone the skills needed to create, manage and grow successful businesses. Kauffman FastTrac® participants don't just learn about the business, they live it. They work on their own business ideas or ventures throughout the program - moving their ventures to reality or to new levels of growth. Kauffman FastTrac® programs were created by entrepreneurs and are facilitated by entrepreneurs.

The FastTrac course will begin Tuesday, February 21. Sessions will be held every Tuesday for 10 weeks from 6:30-9:30 p.m., at the Iowa Lakes Corridor office in Spencer. 

Contact Brian at the Corridor office for more information at 712-264-3474, or send him an email.

What I bake

  • Cakes
  • Cupcakes
  • Bread (quick)
  • Cookies (Holiday cookies and everyday cookies)
  • Apple Crisp
  • Blueberry Buckle
  • Bars
  • Muffins
  • Cinnamon rolls (keep in mind that Cinnabon Cinnamon rolls are unique and a trade mark that can't be done exactly like theirs. Mine are more unique to how I make them.)
Any dessert that we bake that requires fruit the charge for off season depends on the fruit; i.e. blueberries, if Blueberry Buckle is made for someone when it's off season the blueberries are purchases frozen, The blueberry harvest in North America varies. It can start as early as May and usually ends in late summer. So depending on the fruit the cost will vary from season to off season. 

All pricing reflects to the current price of the item(s) that I purchase either locally or online. If it is an ingredient that is fresh or frozen ( won't buy canned fruit) I charge for that price. 

Graduation Cakes and cupcakes 2012

 Purple Velvet cupcakes

Cupcakes became chocolate raspberry filled with a raspberry buttercream

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter 2012

As Easter approaches I'll be baking up carrot cakes and carrot cupcakes, if your birthday is April 7th and falls on the holiday weekend and really do not want to do much of the baking or cooking, just let me know! Let me take the stress out of making a dessert for you!

Easter is a time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and renew our faith with his Word. Easter is also for time for Families to come together and be happy in living a daily life to it's fullest. For me, having someone that I love close to me at every holiday is a time to celebrate. It's how you spend the time now to be with family not just celebrating the Holiday itself.

Easter is celebrated by hiding colored eggs for the little ones, and eating that succulent ham that your Mom or wife graciously cooks for the family. Spending time is more important now than ever!

The Passion we have for each other comes from our Lord, so this Easter please remember it's not about the food or the little furry rabbit or the colored eggs, it's about being together.

Happy Easter Everyone!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Humble humble and more humble

Wow! I really haven't got a thing to say other than HUMBLE!!! I have been taking a class at the Iowa Lakes Corridor for small business and well part of my learning things is about Market, Research and Development so last week took a poll on flavor of cakes, and I asked Brian Dalziel to send me a logo so that I could do the buttercream transfer technique and well here it is; 

With what information I had I made a chocolate caramel cake then I decided to make a caramel icing....well wouldn't ya know, Iowa weather struck! Trust me when I say that I was more than having a hot flash and not liking it one bit!! I made 3 batches of caramel icing and it was a lot thicker than I wanted it to be on the cake. The other participants in the class actually loved my cake! I didn't ask for any kind of payment because I felt that this cake should have been much better if I had co-operation from the caramel....yes you read that right!

The caramel wouldn't work for me, it wouldn't stick to the cake, and wouldn't smooth out or even spread like it's supposed to. However, the other participants of the class felt differently and asked me how much would I have charged for this cake....I told them the truth. I would charge $20 for the cake. Two of the participants felt that I undercharged and would have paid $35-$40 for the cake!!!

Wow!!! I'm extremely humble and proud of the quality of the cake in spite of my icing issues. I love baking, it gives me a sense of peace and well I am happy to make someone else's day! Thank you Iowa Lakes Corridor!!

If you've eaten my baked goods and want to make a donation, please go to my PayPal page and feel free to donate!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 Goals for Lauri's Cakes and More

Since coming back to my home area of NW Iowa on September 21st, 2011 I took some time off from my baking business to get things in order with the family. Now things are at a even Steven kind of level and I'm taking classes to make sure my baking business is where I need it to be.

When we first knew we were coming to Spencer last September we took the ONLY place left to rent here in Spencer, it's not what I want to operate life and my baking so one of my goals this year is to find a real house, one that doesn't move when the wind kicks up into high gear. Or when it snowing outside that it doesn't snow inside. It's a home but not a house.

I'm working with a non profit organization called Iowa Lakes Corridor in which the Senior Vice President Brian Dalziel is the person who's been conducting the entrepreneurial training and the training program is the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac® program. I've also been doing some research on my business not for competitive reasons but to make sure that I'm doing what I should be doing. 

I've never bought a house before, so I'm going to see if there's a way to do so. In these days and times of riskiness, buying a house is one of them, just like having a small business. I sure do wished I had that "rich uncle" that I could just call up and tell them what my goals are and ask for him. Unfortunately that's not going to happen. 

Recap; getting my business back off the ground doing what ever is possible to get going again, and hopefully being able to buy a house and hopefully get my on demand baking in full swing! Wish me luck!!