Franci

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  1. If the cream is cold it's not necessary to wrap directly in contact with the cream. If still warm, yes, definitely. Another way is to sprinkle some sugar on top. The residual heat will melt the sugar and create a film. @JohnT thanks, I'll have that fixed!
  2. I managed to return my oven (had to pay for shipping! It was expensive plus a $10 handling fees) and got a free new oven. tonight a eggplant in fish fragrant sauce my way. With eggplants precooked in CSO.
  3. Today was kind of a relaxing day. A girl came for a trail. She didn't have a lot of experience but not bad. It looks like I am going to get my money back on the Hotmix so I can invest in the Thermomix instead. Also, I learnt to upload videos from YouTube to instagram. Getting to lean all this odd things. Still need to figure out how to manage well Instragram using some programs late Later, making life easier. Today I sent two cakes to Florida. They should get there not broken but the sugar on top will suffer. This is how I did today, very low tech. For a couple of months, until hopefully the volume will permit me to find a better solution, most likely I'll go this way, with no sugar and the option to buy the stencil. Even if this is a no melting sugar, after the shipping will lot look great then the boxes got wrapped in bubbles wrap, more wrap in the shipping box.
  4. Second video, crema pasticcera is up. I've decided new video every Tuesday.
  5. Me too that's the funny part. But I like to come out with a product and I have my idea of how it should taste. Also, the usual phrase I get from people is that: I don't generally like sweet stuff but your cakes are not that sweet!
  6. @Kerry Beal here is a link http://www.pinellaorgiana.it/2012/03/il-dolce-mattone-della-mia-fanciullezza.html If google fails translation ask.
  7. Hi @pastrygirl Last year I didn't need the nutritional info but this year definitely I'll be over both numbers and I'd need the nutritional value. I am at about 1000 cakes a month. Cakes have already a strip of acetate around them! But doesn't help in that aspect. Only if there is no space for moving inside the box the cake will arrive with no problem. Cakes are pretty tight inside the box but still shake up and down.
  8. 6. Talking about the new product. Other stuff to do on that front. I sent one product to the lab for testing but I'd like to have a more definitive expiration date, so I'll have to ship a batch to analyze after 1 month and after 2 months. I need to work on scaling up the recipe And @Kerry Beal, maybe, after all, I really need a Thermomix since the Hotmix didn't work for me...but I'll buy new, just in case. I want a guarantee. This is the big picture. So, from now on I'll start writing what's happening that day. Things that need to be done etc.
  9. 5. Selling the cakes. I am the one that does all the selling. So far, I've loaded myself with cakes on Friday and dropped off cakes everywhere in Brooklyn and Manhattan. These couple months have been to busy for me to do that. But I need to start again by the end of August when work will pick up again. Brooklyn and Manhattan are very, very different markets. I had such an easier time selling in Brooklyn. The buyer of Zabars told me: they don't know money in Brooklyn...and he is most likely right. He said to me, without even trying, that my cake was most likely delicious but too expensive for them. So, totally a much more difficult market in Manhattan for me. So far there are only 2 places in the city that regularly, every week, always carry my products. So my followers know where to find them but to get into new places it's pretty tough. I am guessing I'll have to get into more restaurants in Manhattan so during my holidays in Florida, I'll work on making my own map. The difficult part is also that I cannot get in any places but I'll get in only in the places that are in line with the image I have in my mind: upscale supermarkets, butchers and restaurants. The good thing is that my new product will have a much longer shelf life than the cake which will open some doors that have been close until now.
  10. Yes, definitely Kenneth! The other guy that is working with me is like that. We go along very well, he is very reliable, maniac obsessive and very proud of his work: like me . Very hard to find another person like that. To resume the list. 3. I've started my cooking videos so there is a lot to do also on that side. Now that I took other 8 videos, I am waiting for the editing and meet up for final check. Then, I am rewriting my recipes very carefully for my website and passing to a person that just edit my bad English grammar . This needs to be done before I go to Florida, on August 5. At least the video editing and a couple written recipes to cover me until I get back. Also I'll have to experiment for other 4 recipes for the next round of videos to shoot by the end of August, beginning of September at the latest. 4. I am starting to sell on line by the end of September. Just this, comes with it's own issues: Shipping solution. Some of you egulleters have been part of a little test. I thought I had a good idea to ship the cakes without compromising the apprearence but I was totally wrong. The cake crumbled in pieces. If I sacrifice the look and wrap the cake with a polypropylene sheet and then insert the bubble wrap the cake is shipped without breaking but the aesthetic of the cake suffers. A lot. It will require a lot of trials and money to fix the issue. A clamshell for example. But you need to make a custom mold...find a place that is not going to cost me an arm and leg and, as usual, that doesn't require to buy 1 million pieces. In the mean time I am thinking of shipping the limoncello with no sugar, provide a small bag with some powder sugar for customers to dust their own cake for a fresh look. I will also leave the option to buy on my web site the same stencil I use for my cake and leave people the option of buying it. It's one time investment. For the pistachio cake I need to find a sturdier glaze most likely a very, very thin layer of royal icing slightly flavored with orange oil. The one I am using now it's too fragile for shipping. Setting up the online shop. All the technical aspect of it and also getting organized for the shipping itself. We'll start shipping only in the area where ground shipping is done in one day. After a couple months, before Christmas, once we have mastered it I can broaden the shipping to 3 days ground shipping.
  11. So, just let me start telling you what's going on now. This period is very slow, so I need to take advantage to work on many things now, acturally I don't have a lot of time, considering will be going to Miami for two week to look for an apartment for my husband and for when me and the kids visit. At the moment on my to do list. 1. One my employee is leaving by the end of the August. I need to find a substitute. I posted on Craigslist and no joke, I think I got at least 35-40 emails in a couple days. Already a person came for trail and I've scheduled other 4. I am not sure how much experience I need but definitely the attitude is what counts most. A person that shows up in the morning, clean and organized is already a BIG PLUS. So I have tons of email to deal with. I don't like to leave people with no answer. 2. I am launching a new product at the end of September. I thought I'll be done months ago! Wrong. Just to come out with a packaging feasible for me was a huge challenge. For custome made packaging you need minimum orders and can be very difficult for a small business. I need to buy 24 boxes (every box has about 2,500 sheet of paper in it), shipping from Italy. So, already for this paper I've been talking to this Italian company for months! Then I need a label to wrap around and nutritional information. This time I did myself the nutritional info, if you like to know there is a very cool website to do it. Design for the paper and the label is done by the same person who did my cake boxes. Hold on, going to resume my list
  12. Yes. I did for about 6 months! I was baking 4 cakes at a time there. But to be fair, it was only 40-50 cakes a week then. Then I bought the Cadco countertop. But that was terrible for baking. So uneven that I still wonder how I did it and how people coped with my very imperfect cakes at the beginning.
  13. Eh, eh, I'll go the other way around. I cannot afford at the moment to have a retail outlet, it's too expensive. Here rent is in general so, so expensive. Already for me, moving from my house to a commercial kitchen and having 2 employees wiped out all the profits I was making. To make it all work I need to really increase the production. The product is not a problem, people love it. But it's NY...it's a very tough market.
  14. Hi guys. I've been on Egullet for 13 years now. There are many persons here I'd like to thank, I've met many generous and nice people here. Now I want to share more with you what is happening in my life. Since I've started my business, a little over two years ago, I finally found what I want to do in life. I really really enjoy it. Every day I go to work is a happy day. That's very lucky! Many of you know that I started Dolci di Franci from home and I still was baking from home until last November. Making about 150 cakes a week, with one help. It was not sustainable. Everything got much better when I moved to a commercial kitchen. Now there are many things going on. First of all my family is going to relocate to Miami by next year. My husband is moving in August and I'll be following with our kids after the school is over next June. I don't want to give up everything I've done so far here in Brooklyn and in NY. I want to keep a kitchen here and build an online business. All this require a lot of work. I really need to boost my production in order to make all this happen. I am giving myself a target of 6 months to make it work. I thought it would be nice to tell you about my daily challenges. Before I started this business I didn't have the appreciation for all the problem solving a small business owner has to go through...I am not sure I'll be able to post all the time but I'll try my best.