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Cake decorator

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Cake decorators design, make and decorate cakes for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £12,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but you’ll usually need experience in baking, pastry or cake decorating. This could be unpaid experience gained from decorating cakes for friends and family. 

Employers may ask for evidence of your ability in techniques like:

  • icing modelling
  • cake sculpting
  • cake decorating
You may also need a current food hygiene certificate.

The National Skills Academy Food and Drink lists courses you could take to gain more experience in cake decorating.

You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • creativity and artistic ability
  • attention to detail and a steady hand
  • customer service and people skills
  • basic maths skills for working with weights and measures
  • organisational skills to meet deadlines
  • business skills, if you’re self-employed

3. What you'll do

If you work for yourself or an independent bakery you’ll:

  • talk with clients about cake design ideas
  • create designs and decorations, and draw sketches to show clients
  • bake cakes to order
  • write messages on cakes using icing
  • set up, clear away and clean baking equipment
  • check stock levels and buy ingredients
  • promote the business
  • keep accounts, if you’re self-employed

If you work for a large bakery or supermarket, you’ll be part of a team of decorators, putting pre-baked cakes together, and adding pre-made decorations, icing and models.

4. Salary

Starter: £12,000 (trainee)

Experienced: £20,000

Highly Experienced: £25,000

Working freelance you could earn £8.00 to £14.00 per hour, depending on experience and the cost of the cakes you are decorating. 

If you’re self-employed, your earnings will depend on the amount of work you can get and what you can charge.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

If you work in a bakery, you’ll usually work up to 37 hours a week over 5 or 6 days. This could include shifts and weekends.

You’ll usually work in a cool room to stop the icing from melting. You usually wear a uniform including a hat.

If you’re self-employed your hours will vary depending on how much work you have. You’ll usually be busiest before Christmas, Easter and during the wedding season (April to September).

You may work from your own shop or unit, or from home.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could start your own business.

You could also teach cake design.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018