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1. Ditch the lists – embrace schedules
Stress-free success starts early, so draw up a simple task schedule at least two weeks before your event. Put all your tasks in order, allocate a day and GENEROUS time for each and leave as little as possible to do on the big day.
2. Keep your cool and chill!
Every pro baker knows your fridge freezer is your best friend when baking in bulk! So, learn to love yours and get ahead with your cakes, bakes and buttercream as early as you can. Just remember to start making space in the weeks running up so it won’t be a squeeze at the last minute.
Did you know…?
Most high street coffee shops regularly freeze their cakes and pastries – even the posh ones! When properly prepared, frozen sponge can actually deliver an increase in moisture content compared with freshly prepared cakes, baked and stored the day before.
Flavoured and coloured buttercream freezes well for a couple of months or more. Just defrost in the fridge overnight, bring up to room temp and beat briefly before use.
3. Get ahead with toppers, flowers and decorations
If it’ll keep, make it, store it in air tight containers and tick it off your schedule well in advance, ready to whip out and assemble when the time comes.
4. Maximise your baking assets!
Most of us don’t have the luxury of a commercial kitchen but it’s amazing what you can do when you think like a pro!
- Add a heat safe cooling rack to the bottom of your oven to create another shelf.
- Buy, borrow or beg extra cake tins and bake four cakes in (almost) the same time it takes to bake one!
- Mix multiple batches of plain buttercream at once, divide, chill and then flavour/colour as needed.
5. Get efficient with those flavours
Get smart by skipping time consuming recipes like carrot and fruitcake in favour of simple crowd pleasers that can be flavoured in multiple ways – for example, brownies with three toppings or adding delicious flavoured centres and buttercreams to basic vanilla cupcakes.
6. Timing is key
Take the pressure off and always create a timed running order for your biggest bake days. Chunk similar tasks together to maximise efficiency and be super generous with those time estimates to allow for the inevitable hiccoughs.
7. Work like a well-oiled machine
With bigger bakes, multitasking is often your fast-track to overwhelm, so think ‘production line’ to dodge those disasters.
- Take it one task, element or ‘chunk ‘at a time
- Lay out everything you need for each task before you begin
- Tidy as you go! Always clear away, wipe down and tick off your task BEFORE starting the next to keep you organised and feeling like a pro.
8. Rally the troops
One sure way to get more done is to select some simple tasks you can delegate. Don’t be shy about asking Aunty Flo to make that trifle or to enlist some help to load the car. You can always pay them later in cake!
9. Tricks for transportation
So! You’ve made enough to feed the 5,000 but now how do you get it there?! Transporting is always a stressful business but large, stackable, 24-hole cardboard boxes are an affordable, reusable godsend for cupcakes and non-stick matting squares placed between boxes will keep stacked items in place when you’re on the move.
10. And don’t forget the most important ingredient….
Whether it’s a family celebration or meeting the public at an event, it’s never good when the cakes look fabulous but the caker looks a mess!
So, set your finish time a full 60 minutes before the real deadline to leave the house. That way, account for the inevitable overrun, the last-minute scramble and you’ll even have time to brush that buttercream out of your hair!
When you start thinking like a pro, baking for big get-togethers, community events and even selling your cakes at markets can be great fun and needn’t be stressful.
So, start early, keep it simple and remember to enjoy it!
The Sugarcraft Contessa
For more great advice, don't miss Bell's webinar!
Bella Adams–Mason, also known as The Sugarcraft Contessa, is a self-taught cake artist, instructor and baking business coach who is proving that anyone can enjoy the art of beautiful cake craft. A self-confessed buttercream flower fanatic, Bell enjoys nothing more than sharing her passion through her signature Sugarcraft Contessa cake decorating parties and classes, complete with traditional cream teas, vintage china and all the trimmings.
In the 4 years since starting the small family run business, she has produced the world’s most comprehensive buttercream floristry piping set for beginners and is now a regular feature on the stages of the largest cake events around the country.
Bell will be sharing her secrets of success with other business bakers in her Baking for Business Bootcamps, online courses and exclusive webinar series with Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft Magazine.