Cake decorator

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would design and decorate wonderful cakes to celebrate birthdays, weddings and other special occasions.

You would cover the cakes in icing and decorate them. You might add messages and names written in icing or chocolate or sugar paste decorations like flowers or models of a bride and groom.

If you work for yourself or for an independent bakery you would:

  • Meet people to find out what kind of design they’d like
  • Draw sketches to show them your design
  • Calculate the ingredients needed for the size of cake
  • Bake the cake in time for the event
  • Make fillings
  • Create decorations and fix them to the cake
  • Write names and messages on the cake

You would set up and clear away the baking equipment and would need to keep the fridges and equipment clean and hygienic. You’d check the ingredients you have in stock and make sure you have enough or order more.

If you were self-employed you’d also need to promote your business and manage accounts.

You might work for a large bakery or supermarket, where you’d work in a team of decorators. You’d put pre-baked cakes together and then add pre-made decorations, icing and models to the cakes.

Working conditions

Hours

In a full-time position, you would work up to 37 hours a week over five or six days. This could include shifts and weekends. If you were self-employed, your hours would depend on the number of customers you have. The amount of work usually changes with the seasons. Holidays such as Christmas and Easter are very busy times. The wedding season, typically April to September, is another busy time.

Environment

In a bakery, you would usually do your job in a cool room to stop the icing from melting. You may need to wear a uniform including a hat. Some self-employed cake decorators have their own shop, others may work from home.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Listening to people
  • Coming up with new ideas
  • Being creative
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but qualifications and experience in baking, pastry or cake decorating will be of value.

You might study part-time at college to gain a specialist qualification such as cake decoration and production.

You can enter some National Certificate, National Qualification or National Progression Award courses (SCQF 2-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate in Professional Cookery: Patisserie (SCQF level 7) requires National 5 qualifications and one to two Highers or relevant industry qualifications such as Bakery and Patisserie Gold.

Useful subjects

  • Maths
  • English
  • Hospitality: Practical Cookery, Hospitality: Practical Cake Craft or similar subjects
  • Health and food technology.

Helpful to have

Employers may ask you for photos of your recent work to see evidence of specific techniques such as icing modelling, cake sculpting or experience of decorating certain types of cakes such as wedding cakes. 

The Elementary Food Hygiene Certificate from the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS) may be of value.