By Erika Fortuno-Mioten
Special Features Editorial Assistant
Parties, most especially children’s parties, will never be complete without a cake. Nowadays, customized cakes are more preferred over the simple, over-the-counter ones that can be bought in stores. Thanks to social media, beautifully made cakes can now be ordered online.
Baking started as a hobby for 31-year-old Sarah Jane Vitug-Ludtke. She began making pastries in High School and by the time she got to College, some of her products were either sold to her classmates or as given as gifts for her friends. But she didn’t know then that her passion for baking will someday be a source of additional income.
A Tourism graduate, Ms. Ludtke first worked locally and then was offered a job in Dubai where she worked in 2010. “When I was not working in Dubai, baking became a temporary source of income until I can get back to work,” she told BusinessWorld in an e-mail interview. In 2012, she went back home to give birth to her first child, Isabelle, and during that time she started “Caibelle’s By Sarah.”
Ms. Ludtke manages Caibelle’s By Sarah with the help of her sister-in-law, Cassey. Her sister-in-law is in Dubai since 2014 for work so her mom and cousin help her whenever there are bulk orders. To also further her skills in baking, she enrolled in TESDA courses.
Caibelle’s By Sarah offers customized fondant and non-fondant cakes. “My best-selling flavors are my Moist Chocolate Cake and the Red Velvet Cake,” Ms. Ludtke noted. “The most common designs for kids are usually whatever the current hit Disney or Pixar movies are like the Disney Princesses, Frozen, Toy Story, Moana, etc., and of course super heroes, both Marvel and DC. Whatever the client requests, I create it,” she added.
She usually advises her customers to order at least two weeks prior to the event so she can fully prepare for the task at hand. While creating a personalized cake depends on the design and size, Ms. Ludtke said it takes three to four days for her to finish the product, which includes preparation, baking and designing. “Sometimes, rush orders cannot be avoided especially for regular clients. I usually ask for additional fee for rush orders,” she said.
Ms. Ludtke acknowledges that while it is fulfilling to produce something beautiful and tasty, it could be challenging for her as she also has to manage her time being a mom of two kids and a budding entrepreneur. But it is harder to accommodate undecided customers, she said. “They take up a lot of energy deciding what kind of look or design they want for the cake and limiting the budget to the minimum at the same time. I usually take the initiative to give them ideas so we can move on,” she explained.
Orders for Caibelle’s By Sarah come regularly throughout the year but during this Christmas season, her business is doing really well. She has ben receiving positive reviews, posted on her business’ Facebook fanpage, from her customers.
The price for a six-inch fondant cake starts at P2,000 while cupcakes can be ordered for P550 per dozen. Some ingredients she uses are imported, while others are locally sourced. Apart from cakes and cupcakes, she also offers lollicakes, cookies and pastries.
Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs like her: “You have to make sure you love the business you would like to enter into. You make sure you put your heart into it because without it, it is not going to sell.”