Cake Baking: Career Overview for Cake Baking and Cake Decorating

Cake baking and decorating requires little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Cake bakers typically learn on the job or through a degree or certificate program, though formal education is not required. They can work in industrial settings or in specialty bakeries. Some cake bakers specialize in advanced decorating, like creating wedding cakes or cakes with complex artistic decorations.

Essential Information

Cake baking and decorating is a specialization of the baking field that focuses on producing specialty cakes for weddings and other special events. Though the job does not require a degree, formal experience in baking and decorating is preferred, and a degree or certification in related culinary fields is helpful. Working as a cake baker and decorator may be a good fit for those interested in visual and culinary arts.

Required Education No standard requirement, but formal baking and decorating training is preferred
Other Requirements On-the-job training, ability to lift heavy bags of ingredients and fully cooked cakes, ability to work under deadlines
Projected Job Growth for Bakers (2018-2028) 6 percent*
Median Salary for Bakers (2018) $26,520*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Overview

Professional cake baking is performed by bakers who specialize in making breads, cakes and other pastries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bakers working in the commercial sector often bake large numbers of cakes and pastries for mass distribution (www.bls.gov). Those working at specialty bakeries tend to make fewer items, but these bakers are usually permitted to be more experimental in terms of trying out different recipes and cake designs.

Although all cake bakers are trained in cake decorating, some professionals choose to specialize in advanced cake decorating. These individuals often determine how specialty cakes will be decorated and constructed. For example, with multi-tiered wedding cakes, cake decorators use structural supports that are functional and stylish enough to match the other decorations. Cake decorators use edible decorations, such as frosting, and inedible decorations, such as flowers, plastic figurines and ribbon.

Bakers and cake decorators often work under strict deadlines. While some work during regular business hours, those who prepare and decorate cakes for special events usually work weekends, holidays, nights and early mornings. Baking and decorating involve lifting heavy bags of ingredients, vats of batter and fully cooked cakes. Most bakers and decorators work in teams to increase productivity.

Education Requirements

Formal baking and decorating training is not always required but usually preferred, according to the BLS. Some bakers learn their skills on the job while working as training assistants or apprentices. As the baking industry begins to prefer highly trained workers, more individuals are participating in degree or certificate programs. Cake baking coursework teaches students about proper baking temperatures, sanitary baking conditions, the use of industrial equipment, how to mix ingredients and how ingredients react to one another.

Although cake baking courses can provide basic training for cake decorating, those who want to specialize in professional cake decorating may need additional coursework. Certificate programs in cake decorating are available, and continuing education programs also provide cake decorating workshops. Advanced cake decorating courses teach students to write words as well as create flowers, make borders and design other intricate shapes with cake frosting. Students also learn how to use different types of frosting, construct tiered cakes and attach inedible decorations.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

Bakers could expect to experience 6% job growth from 2018-2028, according to the BLS. This average growth was due to increasingly automated baking processes. Bakers earned a median annual salary of $26,520 in May 2018. The top ten percent of professionals took in $40,350 or more each year, while the bottom ten percent of workers made $19,880 or less.

Cake bakers require no formal education, although experience in baking and cake decoration is usually preferred. Courses, certificate programs and degree programs are available and may be required for some positions. New hires often work with an experienced baker while learning on the job.

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