Whenever someone sees a cake that's made to look like a certain object or person, or a tiered wedding cake with intricate details, odds are the work was done by a cake decorator. Although not all are actual bakers, cake decorators are like artists who use cakes as their canvas. Sometimes they even sculpt and paint embellishments onto cakes. Depending on the area they are in, there are many things that can be included in a cake decorator's job description.
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Cake decorators are typically tasked with creating edible two- and three-dimensional designs on cakes. The elaborately decorated cakes are often for special events, such as grand openings, weddings, showers and birthday celebrations. Some cake decorators also are required to bake and layer the cakes they decorate, mix fillings and frosting and order supplies as needed.
In most states, a cake decorator needs a food handling permit or food manager certificate. Many cake decorators are self-taught, though some attend a local cake decorating class, an online class or course held on-site by a company such as Wilton. Aside from a high school diploma, a formal education is not usually not required to enter a career as a cake decorator.
Cake decorators work in a variety of settings, including licensed home kitchens, grocery stores, bakeries, hotels, cruise ships, resorts and restaurants. Some cake decorators own their own businesses and work from a rented commercial kitchen. Whatever the setting, cake decorators usually need to be able to stand on their feet for several hours at a time.
May industries utilise the services of cake decorators, including the wedding industry, travel industry, event planning industry and catering industry. Other industries, such as the sports industry, hire cake decorators when they need elaborate cakes for big events such as championship games, induction ceremonies and season kick-off parties.
Cake decorators who work for bakeries and grocery stores typically earn an hourly salary. Those who work for themselves have a salary that is dependent on their cost of materials, overhead and wages paid to any employees. The amount a cake decorator makes varies greatly by area. Cake decorators in large metropolitan areas typically charge more per cake or make more per hour than cake decorators in small- and medium-sized towns. According to a 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the median hourly wages for cake decorators was £9.50.
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