What is it?
It’s destroyed the good intentions generations of dieting women as well as inspiring one of history’s most famous faux pas, but as toddlers across the globe will testify: there’s nothing more exciting than a good cake.
And as a cake decorator, whether people are marking a birth, anniversary or wedding, or a company just wants to give its staff a nice reward for meeting a particularly tricky target, you’ll be present to watch people celebrate the most important achievements in their lives.
While cake decorators inevitably attend lots of parties, it’s no trifling business: according to Euromonitor, the British cake market was worth close to £1.8bn in 2007, a figure which is forecast to grow by almost 5% by 2012.
While the long-term outlook is optimistic; as with many industries, certain economic factors have had a detrimental effect on the industry. Unprecedented demand for biofuels, for example, has led to a massive drop in the amount of agricultural space used to grow grain, meaning prices are on the rise, and fuel prices are having a direct effect on this.
“As oil jumped from $60 to $100 a barrel, the price of grain followed it upward. If oil goes to $200 a barrel, grain prices will also keep climbing,” the Guardian has rather gloomily pointed out.
Supermarkets have also had a hugely detrimental effect on the industry. According to a report by the Conservative Party’s Small Shops Commission, around 2,000 independent shops go out of business every year, thanks to anti-competitive behaviour by big chain stores.
If you’re committed to the idea of a cake making business, though, an economic downturn could actually be a good time to get started. As Jane Asher, arguably the UK’s most well known cakestress, has it: “If you can survive now, you’re going to be really successful when things turn for the better.”