What’s the difference between a Cake Maker and a Cake Designer?

Geometric wedding cake (photo courtesy of Amy Murphy Photography)

This may seem like I am just playing about with semantics? But there is a subtle yet important difference between someone who just makes cakes and someone who designs (and makes) cakes. A cake designer obviously makes cakes, but they are not JUST a cake maker.

I describe myself as a cake artist, I create art out of cake and all manner of other sugary goodness. Don’t get me wrong my baking skills are fab, but I don’t just bake a vanilla sponge, whack a bit of jam and cream in the middle and slap a coating of buttercream on the outside. I plan, design and create unique and completely bespoke pieces of edible art. From enquiry to delivery, I am focused on how to provide you a one-of-a-kind and truly personal, edible centerpiece for your event.

So what does a cake maker do that’s different?

A cake maker is someone who makes cakes, but without the design and originality. This is often how many cakers start out, as they build up their skills and experience. They most likely haven’t got a unique style, their cakes are unlikely to be fully bespoke, and the design was not created just for you. A cake maker will likely use a photo of a cake and aim to replicate it or have a catalogue of designs for you to choose from. They may still call their service bespoke, and you are still getting a more personal touch compared to a supermarket, but their cakes don’t have any individual style.

Does that mean I don’t use photographs of other cakes from clients?

I have no qualms about potential customers sending me photos of cakes, but I will not simply replicate the cake shown. I will discuss the elements you like about the cake and draw inspiration from it, but the design you get from me, from a cake designer and artist, will be truly unique to you. I may even turn down an enquiry if the style requested does not suit my skill set or my design style. For example, if you want a semi naked cake with fresh flowers – I am not the cake artist for you. I specialise in fondant, carved and structural cakes, usually with a quirky or personal twist. You deserve a cake maker, designer or artist that can create exactly what you’re looking for (and more) for the budget you have.

Pet cat carved cakes

Does a Cake Designer cost more? 

In a nutshell, yes. A cake designer is providing a unique service – creating a design from scratch. There will be discussions, tweaks to designs and time dedicated to ensuring your cake is exactly what you are looking for. On the other hand, a cake maker may not need to spend much or any additional time on the design if they are copying a photo or a pre-designed ‘off the shelf’ cake. With a cake artist, you are also paying for more experience and a greater skill set, as each cake and design’s uniqueness will bring with it its own set of challenges that your cake designer must be adept enough to deal with as they arise – a cake artist will be pushing the boundaries of cake making. A cake maker is most likely staying safe in the realms of what they have done before. 

Watercolour Wedding Cake

Should I use a cake designer or cake maker? 

That very much depends on you.

Ask yourself the following: 

Do you want your event to have a cake that will be completely unique? Is it important to you that your cake is a centrepiece that everyone will remember and be talking about? 

A cake designer will more likely be able to bring the ‘wow factor’ to your cake and create a showstopper that leaves your guests in awe. 

If you don’t mind that much about whether the cake stands out and are just doing it ‘because there should be cake’, then a cake maker would perhaps be better suited as they will likely be the more cost effective option. 

Do you have a really clear and specific theme for your event? Or a key detail that you want the cake to be inspired by? 

For example: Do you have a photo of your proposal so I can recreate it for an Engagement cake? Can you name your child’s favourite dinosaur, so I can construct it riding a tractor for their Birthday cake? Would your boss find it fun to see her favourite meal realised as her Retirement cake? Does your wedding dress have a key detail you’d like to see featured on your Wedding cake? 

A cake artist can take this detail and turn it into an elaborate, showstopping design which will capture that source of inspiration beautifully. 

If you are just looking for a “cake with some blue on it” or “something for a 50th birthday” and don’t mind if it appears generic, then again a cake maker may be a better choice. 

Are you a big foodie, who values taste and wants the cake to be a large feature of the event?

Get a cake designer – they are more likely to have interesting flavour combinations, and the expertise to even create new flavour combinations if you have something exciting and unusual in mind. 

So if it’s a cake designer you want, here are some final things to consider to help you choose the designer for you 

  • What style do you like? Look at their gallery, have they done something similar in the past? Does their style match yours and suit your vision for your event? 
  • How important is the cake to your event? This can help you decide an approximate budget. 
  • Do you have any dietary requirements? Does the designer cater for them? 
  • What do reviews say? Do others recommend them? 

I hope this has been helpful and shown some of the key differences to consider when looking at local cake makers and designers. 

You might also find the blog post ‘How much does a birthday cake cost?’ useful when deciding your budget.

If you would like to get in touch about your next event, and after considering the questions above, you think I might be the cake designer for you don’t hesitate to get in touch here

Much cakey love 

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