Posts by shakarbakery

The Cake Life – Why You Want To Quit and Why You Shouldn’t

Posted by on May 9, 2016 in A Piece of Cake- Blog | 6 comments

Lately my social media feeds have been full of posts like these: ” I’m burned out. I don’t want to make cakes anymore” “I am tired of giving up my weekends” “I am tired of not making a profit” Sound familiar? Is that you? Then let’s talk! The number one reason cake artists feel burned out is because they have TOO MUCH WORK. This isn’t necessarily a great thing. Let me tell you why. Ready? There is a huge difference between making cakes for fun and making cakes for a living. The biggest mistake bakers make is under-pricing their work. They do this for a plethora of reasons: they feel insecure about their work, they say there isn’t a market for higher prices, or they just want to be jerks and steal all the customers for themselves without a care in the world as to how they’re cheapening the value of custom cakes (I know a business like that in Los Angeles ­čÖé I won’t be a total ass and name it though haha! ) Ok so back to my original statement of you having too much work. I don’t have a doubt that your work is good enough to sell, but WHY are you swamped? Are you that amazing that everyone wants your cakes, or are you too affordable? Think about that one long and hard. When I started my business I quit a very lucrative career to be poor for X amount of years as my business grew and developed. I too started selling my cakes for nothing (my first 100 person cake sold for $60, I made a total of -$120 on that one after my materials were purchased haha) and I slowly raised my prices from $3 to my current $7. I┬ádrafted a rough 5 year plan and told myself that┬áI never wanted a high QUANTITY of cakes, I wanted high QUALITY of orders. What does this mean? It means that I’d rather have one $500 order for the weekend instead of 5 $100 cakes. This is why I set minimums and strictly stick to them. Your TIME is more valuable than anything and you need to learn to set boundaries with your customers and yourself. I see people post 6-8 cake orders per weekend and although that’s awesome, wouldn’t it feel better to make the same amount of money by selling 2 cakes? Maybe 3? Unless you live smack in the middle of nowhere there will always be a market for high quality prices. If it’s true that there is NOT, then either change careers or move or figure out a way to diversify your income. Another reason why you feel burned out is because of scheduling. Without a proper schedule this business will rule your life 24/7. When I started off I took phone calls at any hour because I didn’t want to lose customers. I eventually set a boundary by adhering to my store hours (yes, even home based businesses have store hours. That’s part of setting boundaries). Any phone calls that come once my store is closed go straight to voicemail. Speaking of phone calls, a wise idea is getting a business number.I use Google Voice and can screen all of my calls through my cell phone. BOUNDARIES are VERY important. At the end of the day we are selling cake so any late night phone calls aren’t going to be life and death situations… But back to scheduling- you NEED to have a schedule. It’s a fallacy that entrepreneurs and business owners thrive on lack of structure. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! It’s all about structure! Once you have a schedule you have the freedom to do what you want with your free time. I know what I am doing Tuesday- Saturday and I am CLOSED Mondays. I don’t answer e-mails or phone calls those days. I bake Wednesdays and Thursdays, work on cakes Thursday and Friday and I am DONE by Friday evening just like the rest of the world. This requires being very organized with your orders and prepping...

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Hawaiian Luau Massive Roasted Pig Cake

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Glendale Adventist Hospital hired us to make a roasted pig cake for their Luau party. The cake was MASSIVE and sits on a full sheet cake board. I made the body using 3 4-inch tall 10″ round cake tiers, placed vertically. I made the mistake of not ganaching the tiers first and they semi-collapsed on me…so don’t make my mistake and individually ganache the cakes prior to inverting them! You can learn how to make chocolate ganache here and you can learn how to ganache a cake here. I used an 8″ hemisphere cake for the head. The thigs and legs are made using rice krispies and the snout and ears are modeling chocolate. I used Fantasia Fondant for the first time on this project. It was really amazing to work with…the elasticity was great and no matter how hard I tugged on the fondant, it didn’t tear! I think I found my ┬ánew fondant for sculpted cakes! I covered the cake with ivory fondant. It was my first time making a roasted pig cake and I know it isn’t perfect.The snout looks like the poor thing has an allergy to death… I made it too fat. Live and learn. I created the roasted look by hand painting with a chocolate brown gel + water wash, adding darker brown for burnt looks. I used 11 pounds fondant, 6 pounds chocolate ganache, and the cake themselves weighed about 5 pounds. Thanks for reading! Shantal Cake Wars Season 2 “Archie Comics” Winner      ...

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How Shakar Bakery Won Food Network’s Cake Wars

Posted by on Mar 21, 2016 in A Piece of Cake- Blog | 4 comments

    It was July 2015 when I decided to apply to the Food Network AGAIN for the LAST TIME. I had applied religiously every year since 2011 each time getting closer and closer to being cast on a show. I knew Cake Wars was the show for me- I am super, duper, UBER competitive and I love the rush of working on a tight time schedule. One month later Super Delicious contacted me asking for a video submission. I was in San Francisco on vacation at the time and I halfheartedly told them “ya, ya, you’ll get a video.” I’ve been through this step many times… A week passed and I totally forgot about it. Again Super Delicious called me asking for the video and I paused and thought “huh… they really want a video from me. Can it be?! Will I get cast?!” So I submitted a video showing off the bruises covering my knees from an aggressive game of air hockey the night before at an Arcade, PROOF that I was competitive. A month later I get the golden phone call ” Congratulations! You will be competing on Season 2 of Cake Wars”   OH EM GEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! My episode was set to film a month later. I didn’t know the theme, I didn’t know anything. What I DID know is that I wanted to WIN!!!!!! There was no doubt in my mind I was taking my mom as my assistant. When I told her she said “No, Shantal, take one of your cake friends! I’m slow, I’m old and I’ll make you lose!” I told her “Win or lose, I want you as my partner because no one else deserves that spot.” Plus I valued the memory of being on tv with my mom WAY MORE than winning the $10,000. But don’t misunderstand me…I still wanted to win hahaha! http://shakarbakery.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Shakar-Bakery-Wins.mp4 These are the steps I took to improve my chances of winning: Step 1: Treat the competition like a COMPETITION. Just like sports players watch previous games over and over again to analyze game plans, I had to do the same. I don’t own a television so I missed most of Season 1 of Cake Wars but I found all the episodes on YouTube. I grabbed a pen and paper and watched every single episode, noting down what the judges said, what they liked, what they didn’t like, what the competitors did wrong in short amount of time, what worked and what didn’t work. I watched each episode at the very least 3 times. Yes, I made time for that. I learned that Ron Ben Israel loved clean, square edges and that his favorite cake flavor was almond. I learned that Waylynn Lucas wanted the central characters to be LARGE on the cake and the main focus. These were very important things to remember!! Step 2: From the moment I learned I was going to be on cake wars I used every and any opportunity to practice baking! With every customer order I turned on the timer in my kitchen and I timed myself with every test, going faster and faster until I met my time goals. If something was taking me 10 minutes, how could I do it more efficiently? WHY was it taking me 10 minutes? How can I maximize EVERY MINUTE of my time?!?!?! Time is money and in this case that’s $10,000! Step 3: This was the trickiest- delegating tasks. I’m used to working alone, with occasional help from my mom (who I was taking as my assistant on the show). My mom and I are like oil and water sometimes…we have epic battles in the kitchen about design, but at the end of the day we are a great team. She knows what I like, how I like it and how to execute it. She does run into problems here and there and most of the time sculpts things out of scale (even when I give her the scale I want it in hahaha) … but on Cake Wars if you...

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