What to post during this quarantine for your cake business.

Fellow bakers, cake artists, cake designers, and cake decorators; these times have been hard for us. This forced isolation has made us face our fears, live in uncertainty, and wonder about our future and the future of our business.

Only one thing has remained true during this time and even better than ever and that has been the Internet and Social Media.

We have faced this 30 days so far ( for me) of quarantine, without work or just some few loyal clients, but in the other hand filled with new friendships from around the world, days full of tutorials and live events on Facebook and Instagram, learning for free from the best in the business and trying to keep ourselves busy and entertained so we can focus on the positive instead of falling into depression.

We have seen a rapid increase in live tutorials and online classes. Everybody is going live and teaching something, but why? Maybe in the desperate attempt to keep our business alive, our just to keep ourselves busy, maybe because possible future customers are online more often and have a better chance to see our products or maybe because we are bored and need something to do.

All the reasons above are more than valid and I can only encourage everyone to do it.

However,

These are sensitive times and we don´t want to be just selling when maybe our friends or customers are having a hard time with this virus, are sick or have lost someone. We cannot escape from that reality as much as we want to.

So, here comes the title of this post: what to post and how to post it during this quarantine.

I´ve been reading a couple of articles on digital marketing where I got inspired for writing this post, but I wanted to give you an input form a cake business point of view.

We should be communicative, talk about what you do, show your product and don´t stop marketing. It will be a waste of an opportunity now that more people are online every day. However, don´t expect a lot of sales, instead let´s focus on growing your community, help your clients, offer solutions and build a relationship.

For our cake business, this will translate on keep showing your wonderful cake art, even if you are not doing anything new show your older pics. Mention that special client, tell the story behind your cake, find new friends online with your cake passion and things in common, offer your clients to reschedule their orders and maybe send them a cookie or a treat to tell them that you are thinking of them.

Watch the tone of your posts, remember that people are more sensitive than ever. We need to be more human, be empathetic, offer compassion, provide value to your audience and even ask for help.

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Post positive captions to your pictures but without forgetting the current situation. Share positive posts and be there to help others.

Try to be empathetic, I know we are in the middle of a hard time, but you can´t ask a client to understand that you can´t cancel an order in a harsh way and from your desperation and fear. When you empathize with your client situation, this person will feel appreciated and will listen to your option to reschedule instead of canceling and order.

Some ideas for your Social Media Posts and where to post them

  • Inspirational quotes
  • Older posts or pictures
  • Baking at home
  • Creative work
  • Offer help on a topic (like a recipe or a decorating tip)
  • Educational videos, lives, Instagram lives, IGTV or stories
  • Update your profile accounts: New pictures of you, location, links, about page
  • Share some awareness of the virus situation, without going too deep into the negative and keeping the prospective of your cake business.
  • Help others selflessly: help your client or share a fellow cake artist´s work.
  • Be there just to talk and keep each other company
  • Join groups related to cake decorating and baking and interact as much as you can.
  • Meet people from around the world, comment and share their work.

And most importantly, remember we have more time! Use that to your advantage: Learn, think, create, reformulate your business, see things from a different point of view, enjoy what you were missing when you had your busy schedule and stay active in social media, you never know where that can lead you in the future.

I really hope this post has helped you and that you have enjoyed it because I loved writing it for you.

Stay safe, stay home and stay creative.

Don´t forget to like, comment, subscribe and share.

Love,

Cristina

 

 

 

“Ponqué” or Pound Cake?

Venezuela, my home country has a very special and important cake recipe called               ” Ponqué” and recently I found out something quite funny about this recipe. 

My great grandmother, Cecilia, also known to all of us as ” Pitica” had a very special recipe called ” Ponqué Delicado”, written by hand on my mom´s recipe book, has been the cake recipe to go to any time we have a celebration at home and ended up being one of the recipes that I use the most for my cakes.

The funny thing is that a while ago, I was watching TV and the recipe that was on the cooking channel was a Pound Cake recipe, and looking at the ingredients and the preparation, I realized it was practically the same as my Great grandmother´s recipe!

What?

Light bulb on top of my head!

” Ponqué” is just a lost in translation word for ” Pound Cake”. All our lives we have been baking a Pound Cake, believing that it was a very ” Venezuelan” thing and happened to be just this, Pound Cake. However still very good, and I, of course, have to say that my Great grandmother´s recipe is the best!

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So, let me share with you the recipe so you all can be the judge of that!

Ingredients:

250 grams of butter

2 cups of sugar

4 eggs

1 cup of milk

3 cups of self-raising flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

How to make it:

  1. Mix the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add the eggs mixing well after each addition.
  3. Mix the milk and the vanilla extract
  4. Mix the flour with the baking powder ( swift it)
  5. Add the flour and the milk.
  6. Bake at 180 ou 200ºC for 35-40 min

And, if you like a more detailed recipe and step-by-step video, please join for FREE my online school and check out this ” Ponque” recipe.

Follow this link to my online school, enroll in it for free and check out some videos and classes I have for you:  ” The Art Cake Experience School”

Or go directly to this video for the complete ” Ponqué” recipe How to bake a cake from scratch!

In this video, I´ll bake with you my Great grandmother´s recipe from scratch!

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Remember it is absolutely FREE!!!

” The Art Cake Experience School”

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By the way, this is my beautiful great grandmother ” Pitica” she lived till the amazing age of 99 always sweet and baking for all of us!

Sharing with you this recipe is a nice way to keep her memory alive and close to us.

I hope you like this cake as much as we all do in the family.

And remember like, share, comment and subscribe!

Love,

Cristina

Social Media, cake designers, and quarantine?

The world has stopped for almost two weeks or more in different parts of the planet due to a virus. The last thing we thought could stop us has done it. However, somehow this amazing humanity finds its way to stay together more than ever, and in the most creative ways.

My community, the cake artists, cake designers, gelatin artists, bakers and more, has really stood up for the task, and from my point of view, has really understood the importance of being supportive, of caring for each other and of truly share and make our community strong.

I never thought, me, sitting on my couch, writing from my home office, will be part of this movement. I actually never thought I could call ourselves a “community” but it happened and I can proudly say that I make something happened.

A little background…

A friend, a fellow artist had to endure this quarantine alone at home, no husband, no family and the thought of that made me create a group on social media to keep her company and to keep us sane in the middle of this madness.

This tiny idea, this Facebook group has grown to more than 100 members in less than a week and has become a source of entertainment, creativity, company, fellowship, friendship and for me even more, the proof we are really not alone in this and that there are amazing human beings capable of truly being there for each other.515435ed2f662ed04c19140c83c9bab5

I made new friends, have met people from all over the world, have shared more work; mine and from other artists, this week than in the last month altogether. My heart has been filled with love and support and I only want to keep the chain going strong.

But, my dear friends, be careful, social media is full of everything, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative. My advice is this choose your battles on social media, decide what do you want to see, when and how. Don+t go for everything or you´ll go nuts!

Most of the social media platforms work like this; the more you share the more you are seen and if you like, share and comment on positive and creative posts, that is what is going to show up on your feed, so do the math is very simple.

More shares ( yours or others) = more views  

The more positive and creative post you share or react to = more positive and creative posts on your feed

 

That being said, the best way to stay away from negativity is to help others and to be positive, simple!

My cake design community has taken a lot of lost in this period, bakers live from what they make every week and have bills to pay and cancelation after cancelation has brought them down. My work now is to fight this by staying creative and positive for as long as we have to stay home and safe. Our life´s work depends on creativity and if we stop, going down with the negativity, our work will not only be affected now but in the future as well.

My dear friends, life is giving us the amazing opportunity of truly help each other by the simple act of staying home, has given us the time to be with our family and be with ourselves and has done it in the era of the Internet, where we can use our good human skills for a good purpose.

As always,

Stay home

Stay safe

Stay Creative!

Love,

Cristina

 

 

So we are in quarantine…

My sweet and dear friends, I live in Portugal and now most of Europe is undergoing a quarantine period due to this COVID-19 disease.

I believe this is to be taken seriously and with all the care possible, not just to not get sick but to stop it from spreading and our health care system from collapsing.

For this reason, I join so many others during this quarantine period. I and my family will stay home for as long as it is needed.

But, me being me, I decided to face this the best way possible and want to invite you to do the same.

I created a group on Facebook for all bakers, cake decorators, sugar artists, and creative beings to stay creative. So, let´s change the message to staying home as a mandatory and awful thing, to let´s stay creative and productive even if we are at home. In this group, me and my cake friends would like to share ideas, recipes, tutorials and more in order to keep our minds occupied and bussy so this time will pass the best way possible.

Let´s take a deep breath and think that life is giving us the opportunity to slow down, be with our families and loved ones or just to be by ourselves and live a little appreciating life as fragile and beautiful as it is.

I can only wish you all to be safe, to stay healthy and at home for as long as possible, to stay creative and be positive.

Here is the link for the group in case you are interested: Cake Friends Stay Creative

Lot´s of love from me over here

#staycreative

Cake design vs Cake decorator

So, which one am I?

I have debated with these two terms for a while, and I´ll explain why; I understand that to talk about the world of cake decorations we call ourselves ” Cake Designers” to give us a sense of belonging to a specific group.  But how many of us really ” Design” their cakes? How many of us are absolutely 100% unique and original?

I´m not a 100% original!

I have done some original work, but not everything that I do is 100% mine.

Please, don´t take me wrong, I don´t think that being the opposite is bad. I believe there need to be a fair number of great ” Cake Decorators” and also a great number of ” Cake Designers”

Here is the thing and I don´t know if you´ll agree with me.

We all start as Cake Decorators, we simply go and do what the client wants, we might even copy parts of other cakes, we might copycat a full cake because that is what the customer wants and we bake really well and have to pay the bills at the end of the month. Is that bad? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

As long as you do not intentionally make other cake designers work and sign them as your own and you give credit to the original artist, our daily work might just be to decorate cakes with the customer’s ideas.

However, one day, after you have practiced a lot and have become absolutely confident in your work, it will be you who sais to the customer what to do. You´ll sit down with a piece of paper, or a little notebook and design that special cake with your own ideas.

You´ll challenge yourself to do new things and will be amazed. That day my friend, you will be a Cake Designer.

To go even further with this idea, the other day on a FB group I admire and which I am part of was placed a question by one of the administrators of we are real bakers or just sculptors or artists wich decided to use sugar and edible materials as their choice of expression. I debated with this question for a while, then my simple and humble answer was. I am first an artist, my choice of material is sugar paste and gelatin but I happen to bake quite well. I am a Cake decorator some times and a cake designer when I create my modeling pieces. I am just proud of everything that I know and I don´t need the title to do it, I just need to be confident!

My point with this post is to name things by their own name, is to be proud of whatever stage you are in your baking business, is to be true to what you do and what you can do.

Let´s respect everyone´s work, let´s praise the achievements of our colleagues and get inspired. Let´s challenge ourselves instead of bringing others down. Let´s start this year with great intentions and most of all respect and admiration for each other.

Hope you´ve liked this, I would love to hear your opinion. If you liked it, please,

comment, like, share and subscribe.

Love,

Cristina

 

 

 

What to do (or not) using #hashtags for a cake business

What is right and what is wrong when using #hashtags for a cake business?

A good group of #hashtags at the end of an image can make a big difference, to both bring more traffic into your account and adding more followers to your profiles and brand

As I said before, the order should be something like this, however, it is not a science, it can be flexible to your audience and your intentions.

We can play with the content of the #hashtags just like this:

Niche: #food #desserts #cakes

Theme: #cakedesign

Brand: #theartcakeexperience

Place: #cristina_theartcakeexperience /here I prefer to use my profile account than my location in order for people to follow me more easily, however, the profile of your account should include your location but that can be a topic for another post on how to use your profile Bio to grow your business.

#hashtags

 

Ideas and “Trends”:

There are many #hashtags that we can use and follow easily that will help us get in the game of social media marketing. I would like to share with you some simple ideas that can help you organize your social media posts.

However, another thing I learn about it is that there are platforms and apps that can help you do that, schedule your posts, tell you what works better in terms of #hashtags, recommends which ones to use and also what time is better to post according to your target audience.

These apps run statistics and really make your life easier. I use Tailwind and Planoly which are very good and easy to use, also Later is a great one. But there are many in the market that can really help you organize your posts.

We can use simple trend #hashtags to get our publications out there, for example:

Days of the week: #mondayfunday #transformationtuesday #wisdomwednesday #throwbackthursday #foodfriday #socialsaturday #selfiesunday

There are many ideas, don´t stop exploring and using your favorite social media platforms and don´t forget to use this to your advantage and to grow your business. But if you want a small piece of advice, don´t get too caught up in this game, it can take a lot of your time and can be very competitive and demanding, so I don´t want to add more things to your cake design business to-do list, I just want to help you get out there and show your wonderful work!

I loved writing these posts for you and I really hope you liked them too.

If you did, don´t forget to like, comment, share and subscribe!

Lots of love,

Cristina

 

 

 

 

How to write a good #hashtag for a cake business

So, let´s keep talking about #hashatgs

How to write a good (#) hashtag.

It must be memorable, unique and relevant to the post or the image. It should be easy to memorize and not too long so followers will not lose time trying to figure out what we are saying.

Good Hashtags!    #caketopper  #cakedesign  #cakesforher

however, over this last year, I have realized that more specific hashtags even if they are too specific can have a better impact. Let me explain why…

A very trendy hashtag can have millions of followers, so if your business is new and not too famous, it will take a longer time for new followers to find, that is because your post will be lost amongst millions of other posts.

Usually, good hashtags, trendy enough, with an average of followers can be a better option for new audiences to find your product.

For example: 

#caketoppers can have 424,070 publications

but

#harrypottercaketopper 589 publications

That means that if you use the second option for your publication, your post will be placed between 589 posts and will be easily found instead of being among a sea of almost half a million posts.

Now, not so good ones:

#caketoppersforlittlekidswholikebatman #cakedesignnewtrendsofthisyear #cakesthatshewouldliketoeat

Why?… too long, too difficult to read and not enough followers for you to lose time using them.

Before using a #hashatgs, make sure to know what the words mean and if together the words won’t have a different connotation, that way we prevent ourselves from sending the wrong message.

Just imagine this:

#mywormcake followed by an image of a good looking woman in the kitchen taking a cake out of the oven… that can be miss understood and could lead to unwanted comments.

However, imagine a steamy cake fresh out of the oven, a close-up picture followed by the #freshbakedcake better right?. We avoided the word “my” and give it a less personal connotation also all the words are easy to follow and without any different meaning.

To give you an example of my own experience, let me share with you this post from my Instagram account that had a big impact due to the use of #hashtags.
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#beautyandthebeast  / First the theme of the cake  without talking about cakes to attract an audience interested in Beauty and the Beast and not just cake design

 #cakedesign/ #bolosdecorados( Usually I make my hashtags in two different languages because I live in Portugal but want a more international audience)/ Now is the niche, the specific group of people your post is intended for. In this case are cake designers or people interested in it.

#beautyandthebeastcake / #beautyandthebeastcaketoppers / even more specific to the post and the theme

#theartcakeexperience #cristina_theartcakeexperience #theartcakeschool/ finally my brand and my Instagram account so people will easily follow me.

Next time I´ll talk about what to do and what not to do when using a #hasgtag

If you liked this post, don´t forget to like, comment, share and subscribe!

See you later…

Love,

Cristina

 

Social Media Calendar (EN)

It is the beginning of a new year and I really like to take a look at my last´s year resolutions, and one of them happened to be ” More Social Media Exposure!”

Trying to be updated with all the social media posts, running an online school, recording and editing videos, teaching and baking can be a daunting task. I so much understand the work of Social Media Marketing companies and why they charge what they charge because it is a LOT OF WORK!!!!

However, this Blogging thing is kind of new to me and I can´t afford right now to pay anyone else to do the job for me so I came up with a very nice and simple to follow a calendar for social media posting.

I always have someone young to give me a ” Crash Course” on how to manage my social media accounts, this time was my gorgeous goddaughter, that gave me all the insight on how to use social media to my advantage, the best time to post and how frequently to do it.

But if you don´t have a talented Goddaughter like me, there is a lot of information on the social media platforms analytics to get you going. Pay attention to the time your followers interact with you and which of your posts are more popular, that will help you too.

There is a lot of terms and vocabulary that can make us lose our mind and patience, and since the idea is to make things easy for you I´ll try to make it simple and show you what really worked for me.

After wandering around the net, trying to find out what SEO and CCS and Plugins are, I decided to work with what I know and already have; a Facebook page ( not a profile) which is very simple to open, to use and to maintain, also the Blog ( of course) and my Instagram account. With this, I can make a lot and the idea is to get publicity, followers and promote my work.

I am no Blogger, I bake cakes and teach sugar paste modeling and gelatin art, so this social media marketing should be very simple and easy to use for me and any other cake designer.

What really works for me!

The first ( and very important) step is to post periodically, yes PERIODICALLY! This will make all the difference, and even more important is when to post. As more you post, more exposure you´ll get, and posting at the right hours will make you reach more of your target audience.

The great news is that you can schedule your posts in advance in almost all these social media platforms, some of them directly in the platform like Facebook or with the use os specialized apps like Planoly, Later and Tailwind for Instagram and Pinterest.

Let´s build our Social Media Calendar based on a few things: seasonal posts, your weekly work, quotes, and sharing. Also, it is important to know when to post, so I´ll give you an idea of what works for me.

Take in the count all the different social media platforms, groups, profiles, and pages.

So, let´s play with seasons and holidays in order to organize your yearly posts, like this:

January: News, New year´s resolutions

February: Valentine´s day

March: Spring

April: Easter

May: Mother´s day

June: Summer Break

August: Tropical themes

September: Back to School

October: Halloween

November: Fall/Thanksgiving

December: Christmas

 

Now, you should post weekly and periodically as I mentioned before, so here is my own personal calendar so you can have an idea, copy this if you want, but remember, you´ll only know what works for you and your target audience.

Use the analytics of the social media platforms and find out this: best hours for posting and the posts that had better interactions, this way you´ll know when and what to post.

Let me explain: If you have more people entering your page on Mondays and Fridays at 3:00pm, that means that is the best time for you to publish your posts. If on Instagram you had more reactions to the pictures of your decorated cakes, than the picture of you in the kitchen, it means people are more interested in seeing your finished work instead of the process, so post your finished cakes more often and in the best hours and days. This will mean more interaction en, even more, followers. 

Combine this effort together with the use of #Hashtags and it will work even better.

Check out my previous post on ” The use of #hashtags for cake business” and get some insight on how to use them in your favor.

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My weekly Social Media Calendar:

Let´s go back to our Social Media Calendar, now for the weekly posts:

Monday/ Instagram at 18:00h e Blog between  21:00h and 22:00h.

Tuesday/ Interact with Facebook Groups, share posts and news from my work and colleagues

Wednesday / Facebook between 18:00h and 21:00h

Thursday/ Instagram Stories, Facebook posts at 19:00h and a new video every two weeks on my YouTube channel.

Friday / Instagram at 21:00h

Saturday/ Facebook between 21:00 and 22:00h

I also share on my Facebook profile, pages and groups everything I publish in other social media platforms, that is because it is the platform in which I have more followers.

There are many types of pots you can share like: your own works, announcements, stories, follow-ups, share information, share someone else´s work, quotes, inspiration, behind the scenes of your work, Blog posts sharing, promotions and add and many more. One thing to always keep in mind is to BE YOU!, be original, be yourself, don´t copycat, be authentic and true and people will react to you and your work.

I don´t know it all, but I know what works for me and what could work for a Cake Business, and most importantly what doesn´t take much of your time. If you want further information an how to post and how to schedule your posts, feel free to contact me here or through any of my Social Media profiles:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bolosdecoradosdecristina

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/theartcakeexperience and https://www.facebook.com/CristinaArevaloBolosDecorados

Instagram: @cristina_theartcakeexperience

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.pt/theartcakeexperience/

YouTube: The Art Cake Experience Channel

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I´ve loved to share this with you and truly hope it helps you, so if you´d enjoyed it too, please don´t forget to like, comment, share and subscribe.

 

Love,

Cristina

 

Using #Hashtags for a cake business.

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Did you see that? It looks more like a tongue-twister than a #hashtag

But it got your attention, right?

Apparently, we are nothing in social media without a #hashtag, but do they really work? are they good for all social media platforms? is it worth the trouble?

I have to say that since last year I´ve been quite active on social media in order to promote my online teaching business and cake decorating business, even my personal brand. And I also have to say that I´ve learned a lot since last I wrote a post about hashtags and social media. Not because I became a master in everything that there is to know, more of a try and fail kind of situation, and be aware that by the time I finish this post, the algorithm in social platforms have changed and #hashtags too!

I found out two good things: what really work for me and what gives me less work to do.

I have a lot of information to give you, so I will divide this post into several parts.

Now, going back to the # hashtags, believe me when I say they are a big help, and I can recognize the advantages of their use, but like many or some of you, I didn´t even know what they were until last year.

So, If you are any like me, here I have for you a little crash course, a simple 101 on how to use #hashtags to your advantage for your cake business.

What is a #hashtag?transferir

It is a tool that allows us to identify and easily follow a product, place, event or personality as well as promotions and trends. Consists of using the hashtag symbol of our keyboard (#) followed by a word or words that refer to what we want to identify and they are always in lower case and without space between the words.

For business it is a great and useful tool, it helps to showcase our product, be followed or even discovered by users around the world.

What social media platforms use #hashtags?

At least the main ones, Twiter, Facebook, and Instagram are the most common ones. But also Pinterest and more Social Media platforms use them. I confess that I´m not a big Twitter user, I prefer Facebook and Instagram because they work for my business and my target audience, but that can be a different case for you. Pinterest can be a great platform for cake decorators and cake designers, but to really take advantage of it,  it should be used in a very specific way and that is for another post.
For Facebook, even though some people use the hashtags (#) I don´t recommend it. It is proven that the posts with hashtags in FB have no difference in their success. FB posts rely on images, that is what truly makes the difference, so don´t bother wasting time creating hashtags for FB, remember we as cake decorators are always short on time so we won´t want to waste it.

Now, Instagram in the other hand is the home of the hashtags. It is a must to use them!

I have seen the number of my followers grow with the use of hashtags.  The number of interactions; meaning the likes and comments, have to do not only with the use of hashtags but with the quantity, quality of the hashtags and frequency of the posts.
Instagram allows you to use a large number of hashtags, and it is proven that posts with more than 10 hashtags work even better than others with less. We can even follow hashtags instead of a person or a profile.

Now, I don´t want to bore you with a long post, so I´ll ask you to just think about what social media platform really works for you and you are willing to commit to. Then in my next post, I´ll show you how to write a good hashtag and how to use it.

If you liked this post, please comment, like, share and subscribe.

See you next time

love,

Cristina

Gelatina de Natal #2

E para o post anterior não ficar muito comprido, aqui esta a informação que falta, como elaborar e decorar a gelatina de Natal!

Em duas travessas vamos fazer duas gelatinas de sabor, uma vermelha e outra verde. Podem fazer como na receita da caixa mas adicionam uma colher de gelatina neutra em pó por cada saqueta de gelatina.

Colocamos no refrigerador de um dia para outro.

Vamos também fazer uma gelatina transparentes que é basicamente agua, açúcar e gelatina neutra em pó, para esta receita adicionei essência de laranja e umas gotas de sumo de laranja natural.

Depois de ter tudo refrigerado e solidificado ( excepto a gelatina transparente), vamos cortar estrelas das gelatinas de cores.

Depois de desenformar  , colocamos a gelatina ” tres leches” no centro de uma forma redonda maior, a volta vamos colocar camadas de estrelas de gelatina e vamos adicionar aos poucos a gelatina transparente.

é muito importante encher de gelatina transparente aos poucos, refrigerando entre camadas para assim as estrelas não ficar a flutuar e sair do lugar.

Deixamos refrigerar tudo durante pelo menos 2 horas e depois é só desemformar!

Espero que gostem, partilhem, comentem e experimentem!

Beijinhos

Cristina

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Gelatina de Natal