Career Development

What Does a Cake Decorator Do?

Find out what a cake decorator does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a cake decorator.

Cake decorators are responsible for creating beautiful and eye-catching cakes. They use a variety of techniques to create designs, patterns, and other elements that will be used to cover the cake itself or add detail to its design.

Cake decorators may work in any number of industries, including retail bakeries, restaurants, hotels, event planning companies, etc. Their job is not only to make cakes look good but also to ensure they taste good as well.

Cake Decorator Job Duties

A cake decorator typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Creating and designing cakes based on client requests and requirements
  • Cutting and carving cakes into various shapes and sizes using special tools such as a saw or drill press
  • Mixing ingredients such as butter, eggs, flour, and sugar to create batters for cakes or cupcakes
  • Placing cakes in special packaging such as boxes that are designed to keep cakes fresh and safe during transport
  • Mixing, matching, and blending colors to create custom cake decorating decorations such as flowers, figurines, and beads
  • Applying frosting, sprinkles, and other toppings to finished cakes
  • Arranging and displaying cakes in a manner that will make them appealing to consumers
  • Creating custom cake designs for special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and baby showers
  • Maintaining sanitation standards in the kitchen by cleaning work surfaces before and after each use

Cake Decorator Salary & Outlook

Cake decorators’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the type of cake they are decorating, and the company for which they work.

  • Median Annual Salary: $27,500 ($13.22/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $49,500 ($23.8/hour)

The employment of cake decorators is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for special-occasion cakes, such as wedding cakes, should drive employment growth over the next decade. Specialty cakes are more expensive than traditional cakes and will continue to be popular with brides and other customers who want a unique cake.

Related: Cake Decorator Interview Questions and Answers

Cake Decorator Job Requirements

A cake decorator typically needs the following:

Education: Most cake decorators have at least a high school diploma or GED. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed culinary arts programs or similar programs. These programs teach students the basics of baking, decorating and other skills needed to work as a cake decorator.

Training & Experience: Most cake decorators will receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training will help the cake decorator learn the specific procedures and methods the company uses to create their products. Training may also include learning about the company’s computer systems and software.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not often required for cake decorators, those who want to increase their earning capacity can pursue a certificate through an online or community college culinary program.

Cake Decorator Skills

Cake decorators need the following skills in order to be successful:

Creativity: A creative mind is an important skill for a cake decorator to have. This is because they often need to think of new ways to decorate cakes and make them stand out. Creativity can also help them come up with new ideas for cake designs and decorations.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a crucial skill for a cake decorator to have, as they must ensure that all of the elements of a cake are in the correct place and that all of the decorations are perfectly aligned. This is especially important when creating wedding cakes, as the cake decorator is often creating a cake that will be the focal point of the wedding.

Baking skills: Baking is the foundation of a career in cake decorating. You can learn the basics of baking through online tutorials or in-person courses. You can also learn from a mentor or colleague.

Communication: Communication is another important skill for a cake decorator to have, as it allows them to interact with clients, other team members and suppliers. This is especially true when a client has special requests or needs to approve a design before the cake is made. It’s important for a cake decorator to be able to explain their ideas and instructions to their team members.

Organization: A strong organizational skill set can help you keep track of your tasks and ensure you complete them in a timely manner. As a cake decorator, you may be responsible for creating several different types of cakes for a single event. Having good organizational skills can help you manage your time and ensure you complete all of your tasks.

Cake Decorator Work Environment

Cake decorators work in bakeries, grocery stores, and other food service establishments. They may also work in the kitchens of restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that serve food. Cake decorators typically work full time, and some may work early morning, evening, weekend, and holiday shifts. They usually work in well-lit, clean, and cool environments. Cake decorators stand for long periods and may be required to lift heavy cake pans and other baking equipment.

Cake Decorator Trends

Here are three trends influencing how cake decorators work. Cake decorators will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Specialty Cakes

The specialty cake industry is growing rapidly, as more and more people are looking for unique cakes that reflect their personal tastes and interests. This trend is creating opportunities for cake decorators who can create custom designs that will make your special occasion even more memorable.

As the specialty cake market grows, cake decorators will need to develop skills in order to keep up with the latest trends. They will also need to be able to work with a variety of materials, such as fondant, gum paste, and buttercream.

More Focus on Healthier Options

As health awareness continues to grow, so too does the demand for healthier options. This is especially true among millennials, who are increasingly looking for ways to eat better and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Cake decorators can capitalize on this trend by developing healthier versions of their products. This could include using less sugar or fat in recipes, or adding additional nutrients to cakes and frostings. In addition, cake decorators can focus on creating desserts that are both delicious and healthy, such as fruit-based pies or cookies made with whole grains.

A Desire for More Personalization

Customers are increasingly looking for personalized experiences when they shop. This is especially true when it comes to food, where customers want to feel like their preferences are being taken into account.

Cake decorators can capitalize on this trend by offering more personalized cakes. This can be done by adding details that are specific to the customer, such as their name or favorite colors. In addition, cake decorators can offer a wider range of flavors and decorations, so that each customer can get exactly what they want.

How to Become a Cake Decorator

A career as a cake decorator can be both rewarding and fun. It’s important to start off on the right foot by learning the basics of baking and pastry arts. This will give you the skills needed to create beautiful cakes that look professional and taste delicious.

Once you have mastered the basics, it’s time to move on to more advanced techniques. You can learn how to sculpt fondant, make sugar flowers, and design intricate piping details. The best way to learn these skills is by watching videos online and practicing at home.

When you are ready to start working as a cake decorator, find a job with a bakery or catering company. These companies often need extra help during busy seasons, so it’s a good idea to stay in contact with them.

Advancement Prospects

Cake decorators with experience can advance to become head decorators, lead decorators, or master decorators. Head decorators oversee the work of a team of decorators and may be responsible for training new decorators. Lead decorators typically work on more complex and detailed cakes than other decorators. Master decorators are the most experienced and skilled decorators, often creating cakes for special occasions or designing their own line of cakes.

Cake decorators may also advance by opening their own cake decorating business. This can be a risky venture, as it requires a significant investment of time and money. However, those who are successful can enjoy the flexibility and autonomy that comes with being their own boss.

Cake Decorator Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we love to celebrate life’s special moments with cake! As a cake decorator, you will be responsible for creating beautiful and delicious works of art that will make our customers’ celebrations even sweeter. The ideal candidate will have experience in cake decorating, a steady hand, and a creative eye. He or she will be able to follow directions and recipes, as well as create unique designs based on customer requests. If you have a passion for cake decorating and take pride in your work, we’d love to have you on our team!

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Decorate cakes according to customer specifications and Cake Decorator’s own artistic abilities
  • Fill, frost, and decorate cakes using various techniques, including piping, fondant work, and marzipan
  • Read and interpret cake designs from sketches or computer-generated images
  • Select appropriate icing, decorations, and tools needed to complete the design
  • Prepare cake icing, using recipes or pre-made mixes
  • Color icing and fondant using food coloring
  • Cover cakes with fondant or icing
  • Pipe borders, write messages, or add other decorations to cakes using a pastry bag
  • Place cakes in boxes or on display stands
  • Arrange for delivery or pickup of decorated cakes
  • Keep work area clean and organized
  • Maintain inventory of supplies

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Proven experience as a cake decorator
  • Exceptional artistic skills in design and execution
  • High level of precision and attention to detail
  • Excellent baking skills
  • Good physical stamina and strength
  • Creativity and imagination

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in culinary arts or related field
  • Certification from a vocational school
  • Experience working in a high-volume bakery or cake shop
  • Skills in other forms of pastry decoration, such as sugar work, chocolate work, etc.
  • Flexibility to work evenings, weekends, and holidays


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