EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Decorated cakes can be a big money maker for supermarket bakeries, as long as they can be made without expending too much labor.
Assembly-line production is one way to cut down on labor, according to Pat Wozniak, bakery representative for Food Scene, Colts Neck, N.J. Wozniak helped conduct a hands-on bakery workshop here earlier this month sponsored by the Eastern Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
Investing in specialized equipment, such as air brushes, is another way to cut down on labor, Wozniak told seminar attendees. Only one of the participants said his company used air brushes. Cutting the time spent creating cake decorations takes "practice, practice, practice."
Seminar participant Barbara Martin, bakery manager of a unit of Food Parade, Plainview, N.Y., said she'll need to pick up speed now that her company is getting into decorated cakes. "I'll need tons of training," she said. Several cakes were shown at the seminar. One, designed to look like a cooked turkey, was made by splitting a layer-cake in half, putting the two sides together and adding legs made with frosting. A simpler clown cake was created by piping a smile on the top of a layer cake, with stars for eyes and a dollop of icing for the nose.
Participant Paul Malhotra, bakery supervisor for three-unit Grade A ShopRite, Stamford, Conn., part of the Elizabeth, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp. retailer-owned cooperative, said he carried the turkey cakes in his stores last year, and sold between 200 and 300 in several days.