Individual Cakes - How many ways can you make them?

1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Ok, Ive been thinking about offering individual cakes which would be much much easier to serve and I can solve my over eager serving problems. Let me mention that the standard diner slice of cake would be about three of YOUR regular slices. That means it takes only 5 or 6 slices for my cake to dissappear forever. :cry: And yes, Ive tried preslicing my cakes but they have found was to get around even that.

It is very hard to curb my imagination when it comes to cakes and baking in general. Especially when I come up with an idea and get rebuffed with "That's not what people want to see at a diner." Why can't we be different? Im sure if I personally served someone a decadent dessert that was different and they loved it they would come back. And maybe bring a few friends along.

Ive got the basic idea for making individual cakes. Its the individual cakes where you have the top layer as mousse that is intriguing me. What is the shelf life of this type of individual cake? And how many ways can you make individual cakes? Do you find that customers prefer individual dessert servings (no matter what dessert type it is) to the slice of the cake that they see standing in the cake display? :confused:

Jodi
 
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Joined Apr 20, 2002
dear chef,
why dont you try to make big cakes 60 by 40 cm, like opera or concerto, ets . and then cut them into individual pics. that will help you much . if you r puting ur cakes on a bufet try to put put also some fruit salad ,slices with different coulis.that will help you alot. good luck
 
1,006
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Joined Feb 6, 2002
Maybe Im confused because I just woke up. :confused: I mean individual cakes. You know the little cakes that will feed one person? Like a cupcake but not? Plated and served with a little dessert sauce?

This is a diner. Not that much storage space in the freezer for a huge cake. Lots of stuff can happen to those. Just wanted comments on making the little cakes vs a 9 inch one.

Ill reread when Im a little more awake. Thanks.

Jodi
 
2,068
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
ShawtyCat,

I'm not sure your questions have direct answers.

If you're working for someone else, no matter what your occupation you have, your job is to make them money. Period. After that, make them happy. If what you want to do does not coincide with either of these, then that's your answer to why you can't be different, unless you find a job which is condusive to what you'd like to do. Have you talked to your superiors to ask them if there is a way you can try it - say for a week or two?

If your clientelle is accustomed to "diner" food in the traditional sense, you may not have much choice in being creative and you may have to accept that. Maybe they want to keep the "overall feel" the same as it was decades ago when truckers stopped in.

Mousse shelf life will depend on what ingredients you use. Real eggs or a powder mix, etc. Shelf life of the completed product also depends on many variables, temperature, ingredients, etc.

"And how many ways can you make individual cakes?"
Answer: How many was can human beings think of making them? That's your answer.

"Do you find that customers prefer individual dessert servings (no matter what dessert type it is) to the slice of the cake that they see standing in the cake display?"
I think this depends on the atmosphere of the establishment. What you're thinking of may sell better in a bookstore coffee shop than at a diner where people expect to be able to order a heaping triangle of dessert.
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
i guess youre right. ~sigh~ Im stuck making coconut layer cake, rocky road bars, etc etc.

Maybe Ill try the individuals with my family only. :D Some of the diners don't like the "huge" servings though. I don't really have a superior at the diner....I usually just talk it over with hubby. You know? "What do you think of this or that?" Guess Ill keep it simple and make the Brownie Sundae with Caramel Sauce that Ive been wanting to add to the menu.

Not that many people order cake you know. I was trying to show my hubby that the icecream is good for other things than just plain ole milk shakes. Like banana splits etc. And that the cookies can be used as toppings. That way they won't be wasted by the staff throwing them out. Very easy desserts, with very few ingredients. Simple but decadent. The cakes are a bear to make. The reason the servings are so big is that they are trying to get rid of them. Thought if I just make a few individuals it would cut back on the waste and loss of profit.

I also noticed that when I made cup cakes or brownies (individual serving stuff) they flew out the door. Wouldn't it be correct to say that maybe the individual cakes would go fast too? Ive got creative control. Kinda. Thanks for the input CChiu. :) Gave me food for thought.

Jodi
 
2,068
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Joined Dec 30, 1999
ShawtyCat,

Your first post seemed to lean towards your cakes selling too quickly rather than the other way around. How about just smaller cakes or cheese cakes, etc. Still less labor intensive (and less storage) than individual cakes. You provided a lot more insight with your last post.

Ice cream? Other than root beer floats, why not try looking up diner menus which include ice cream for ideas?

If you feel like you're "stuck" making the same ole thing...

Don't ever think that just because you are limited to making particular dishes that you can not be "creative" or "different". Make the same thing but look for the best recipe you can find for that cake or pie or bar, etc. Look for an outstanding ingredient like the best cocoa powder you can afford to use, etc. Play with the presentation. Use freshly grated coconut to top your cake. Use a squeeze bottle of raspberry puree to squit some enticing lines of flavor and color onto the plate. Make a caramel from scratch which will harden on top of the ice cream and add a crunch to the overall texture of the sundae. Grow some mint so you can use it for garnish... You have a plethora of options!

If bars fly off the counter, try different bar and brownie recipes. How about Lemon Bars for example?

If you have an instinct about the individual servings and have some control, then go for it? What's stopping you? Your husband's opinion? You have little to loose than some time if you try it for a couple of weeks. Just add some individual cakes to your offerings and see if they sell. They either will or they won't, then you'll know whether to try more or not. You could be the only one holding yourself back. If you have the chance to fail without losing your job, go for it! That's the only way you'll know for sure.

Let us know what you decide and how it goes.

:chef:
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Jodi - I agree with cchiu - go for it! There are some great little pans - I think from Wilton - that make little individual 'bundt' cakes, or babycakes. Or how about baby loaves? Little loaf pans, with standards like a banana bread drizzled with chocolate, or any 'quick bread' recipe. "Baking with Julia" has some great ideas for babycakes.

I think little individual cakes appeal to everyone - they can 'own' it, it's theirs, and the 'little' concept fools those who wouldn't order a slice of regular cake because of the calories!! (Trust me - I've seen it happen!) They're also easier and safer to freeze with limited freezer space.
 
1,006
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Joined Feb 6, 2002
I tried to reply last night but couldn't keep my eyes open. Don't know why Im so tired lately.

Thanks for the support guys. Weird how you seem to need it sometimes when you wanna try something new. Im so glad I saw how to use the silpat while surfing through FoodTV. Will make my life a little easier, especially when it comes to cookies too. Ill start looking for those pans you are talking about Marm.

Id like to thank everyone whos posted in the baking forums. The sheer wealth of information Ive found over these past months have really developed my baking. :) Thanks everyone. Can you believe someone wanted to buy a whole one of my cakes but I didn't think my cakes looked all that good since I didn't go to cooking school? That maybe they weren't professional enough? :blush: Drives dh crazy. :lol: That was before I came here. I won't pass that up again. Thanks again for all the support. You don't know how much it means to me.

Jodi

PS
I really shouldn't be such a perfectionist.
 
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