Cake Baker: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cake baker. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and apprenticeship options to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

A cake baker's job involves combining flour and sugar with other ingredients and baking them to produce cakes, typically using recipes and exact measurements. Bakers may also be skilled in cake decorating. Although no formal education is required for this job, hands-on training is necessary; new hires typically undergo an on-the-job training period, and apprenticeships and internships are available. Aspiring bakers who do want to complete postsecondary education may consider earning a certificate or associate's degree in baking and pastry arts.

Required Education None; certificate and degree programs are available
Other Requirements On-the-job training or apprenticeship/internship
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*6% for all bakers
Median Salary (2013)*$23,160 for all bakers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Cake Baker

Cake bakers are specialists in the preparation and presentation of cakes, and they often produce one-of-a-kind baked goods. Their creations may be prepared in large commercial bakeries, markets, and restaurants. Because their work involves handling perishable foods, cake bakers need to know how to safely store and prep all ingredients. They must possess creativity, organizational ability, and a good deal of energy.

Duties

Some of a cake baker's responsibilities include ensuring that cakes are baked at the proper temperatures and making certain that kitchen and baking equipment adheres to sanitation regulations. Bakers experiment with various cake flavors and icings to produce cakes and desserts that are visually appetizing. They also check food ingredients for freshness, quality, and availability. Bakers must be familiar with the use of commercial mixing machines, ovens, and other large-scale baking equipment.

Requirements

Although a college degree is not required to become a professional cake baker, students may wish to attend accredited culinary schools to formally train in the baking and pastry field. This training also provides individuals with much of the background needed to start their own baking business. In some cases, workers acquire their cake baking skills through on-the-job training in a bakery or restaurant.

Education

Both one-year certificates and two-year degrees related to cake-baking are available; these programs often go under the name 'baking and pastry arts.' A baking certificate program may include courses in food service safety and sanitation, baking principles, and restaurant baking. The certificate program serves as sufficient preparation for jobs as entry-level pastry or cake bakers.

Students may also enroll in associate's degree programs in pastry and baking, which include a selection of general education courses (English, math, science) as well as hands-on work with ingredients and recipes. Classes might cover pastry shop business basics, pastry shop production, sugar basics, bread production, and pastry design.

Apprenticeships

Formal training institutes may allow students to participate in internships or apprenticeships to gain on-the-job cake baking experience. Students may receive extensive training in menu planning, purchasing, baking, advanced hospitality management and supervisory management. Apprenticeships can last up to three years.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) predicts that the employment of all kinds of bakers, including cake bakers, will grow by 6% from 2012 to 2022; this is slower than average. Although more bakery food stuffs will be needed as the population grows, the advancement of automated kitchen implements will balance out the need for more workers in this field. The median annual salary for all bakers was $23,160 as of May 2013, reported the BLS.

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