How do you conduct your cake tastings?

Business By cakesoncall Updated 13 Feb 2014 , 10:34pm by Cake Addit

pkcakes Posted 21 Feb 2006 , 1:55am
post #31 of 88

Thank you Antonia for all this priceless information. You're a great decorator, baker and person....

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ellepal Posted 21 Feb 2006 , 11:23pm
post #32 of 88

Antonia, I find your information so pertinent; thanks for sharing.

I just did my first "tasting" yesterday. It was presidents day, so I was off from school. I baked 6 different kinds of cakes late Sunday, and had them all filled and frosted by 11pm. Then eary Monday morning, we cut them into slices.

I then did a color coded system.
I took 6 different color plates, and put a very small but neat slice of cake with each different color plate(each plate had its own flavor). For example, yellow was banana nut. Orange was almond apricot. Pink was white raspberry. We wrapped them very neatly with plastic wrap. I then put them in a small cake box sort of artistically arranged (like a bouquet). It actually look really cool. I then found these cool matching napkins that had all of the color of the plates, and put them into the box along with a handful of plastic forks.
On top of the cake box, I printed out the colors with colored ink, and next to the color, I put a title and description of each piece of cake.
Then I scheduled people to come in all day for appointments to taste the cakes. I let them option whether or not they wanted to eat them in front of me, or take their cake boxes home to try privately. Most took them home, but some wanted to try them so they could book their cake right then and there.
I think the next time I do one, I will sign people up for the tasting, but I will do it so that they just come in, say hello, pick up the cake, and then call me back for a consultation. Staying at the shop all day was lengthy, and I found that there was some wasted time in that (especially waiting on people who did not show up....there were 2 brides that no-showed). I don't mind having extra samples, because I ended up having my husband deliver them to area wedding vendors along with business cards. However, 8 hours was a lot of time I could have been using to work on other stuff.

Out of the 25 people I met, I would say that only 1 person may not book. She balked at my prices.....she thought 3.00/slice for a tiramisu cake was too pricey. Her cake was going to cost her 900.00.
It was interesting, nonetheless. We'll see what happens!!! I've already got 22 wedding cakes booked for this summer, so I'm raring to go!!!

sarahleecookies Posted 28 Feb 2006 , 12:01am
post #33 of 88

I have just recently started and while going through the basic wilton classes we just used cake mix, I know thats a no no now so how do oyu go about finding your own recipe that is always just as reliable taste wise? Also I did a family wedding a month ago and was meeting with the bride and her grandparents. They were talking about everything but the cake, food and how much to order etc...so then they were discussing how to plan on a turnout #. They all turned to me and said"ask the cake lady, she would know". Well....I didnt? How do you come up with the difference between the invted # of people and the estimated turnout??? Thanks for your time!!!

lemoncurd Posted 28 Feb 2006 , 12:07am
post #34 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahleecookies

how do oyu go about finding your own recipe that is always just as reliable taste wise?




Trial and error. That's what I did. For wedding stuff try www.theknot.com

TamiAZ Posted 28 Feb 2006 , 12:09am
post #35 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahleecookies

I have just recently started and while going through the basic wilton classes we just used cake mix, I know thats a no no now so how do oyu go about finding your own recipe that is always just as reliable taste wise? Also I did a family wedding a month ago and was meeting with the bride and her grandparents. They were talking about everything but the cake, food and how much to order etc...so then they were discussing how to plan on a turnout #. They all turned to me and said"ask the cake lady, she would know". Well....I didnt? How do you come up with the difference between the invted # of people and the estimated turnout??? Thanks for your time!!!




There's nothing wrong with using a cake mix...That's all I use (doctored recipes) and I get rave reviews!! I've never had anyone ask if I baked from scratch...Most of my business was also from referrals. Use whatever you feel comfortable with and what your customers like.

bonnscakesAZ Posted 28 Feb 2006 , 12:35am
post #36 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by TamiAZ

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahleecookies

I have just recently started and while going through the basic wilton classes we just used cake mix, I know thats a no no now so how do oyu go about finding your own recipe that is always just as reliable taste wise? Also I did a family wedding a month ago and was meeting with the bride and her grandparents. They were talking about everything but the cake, food and how much to order etc...so then they were discussing how to plan on a turnout #. They all turned to me and said"ask the cake lady, she would know". Well....I didnt? How do you come up with the difference between the invted # of people and the estimated turnout??? Thanks for your time!!!



There's nothing wrong with using a cake mix...That's all I use (doctored recipes) and I get rave reviews!! I've never had anyone ask if I baked from scratch...Most of my business was also from referrals. Use whatever you feel comfortable with and what your customers like.





Ditto!! Thats how I do everything also and people love the cakes. I don't think it matters what you do as long as you do it well and it is working for you. I use some scratch but the majority of my cakes are doctored mixes.

They say that usually you can order 20% less servings than people invited.. Because that is about how many people won't be able to make it for an event like a wedding or something and there will always be a number of people not eating cake for diet reasons too. At least that is the number I have always heard/read. HTH

antonia74 Posted 28 Feb 2006 , 12:55am
post #37 of 88

If the wedding cake is the main dessert for the wedding, well, obviously you have to have the exact number of slices per guest and add about 5 slices or so...for "cutting/portioning" errors. I charge my clients to the slice, then add these 5-10 portions at no charge to them. I also give the kitchen complete written diagrams and information about the ingredients used (waiters are often asked regarding alllergies).

If the cake is to be served on a buffet table of other desserts OR late in the evening, I encourage my clients to order no more than 50 to 65% of the guest number in slices, as so much can be wasted. I may lose $$ on seller smaller cakes than I could, but I really don't feel it's right to push a 300 slice cake on a 300 guest wedding when I know full well it is being served at midnight after a 6 course meal.

The bride and groom have probably never organized a wedding before and I know the cake waste that late at night is big...after all that eating, drinking and dancing! A lot of brides hesitate to order a smaller amount, but thank me greatly after the wedding when they see I was right.

SugarBlossomCakes Posted 9 Jul 2006 , 1:22am
post #38 of 88

I am just now reading this post and I think that the information is incredibly valuable! First of all, I LOVE Marmalade Cake Company, and I adore all of your cakes. You are incredibly gracious to help us newer cake bakers with all of your wonderful information! I hope that one day I can be as busy and talented as you! Thank you!!!!

imartsy Posted 10 Jul 2006 , 1:45pm
post #39 of 88

Thank you antonia74 for all this great information! I really wanted to go see your website - but I noticed it is all Flash. You don't have a non-flash website, do you? I can't access any Flash websites at work icon_sad.gif . So maybe I'll just wait until I get home.... it's a good idea to have an alternative site though for people who don't have Flash capabilities.

Thanks again!

CakesBySandy Posted 10 Jul 2006 , 2:08pm
post #40 of 88

Antonia, thank you so much for sharing. You are a wealth of information.

Sandy

antonia74 Posted 10 Jul 2006 , 2:09pm
post #41 of 88

Thanks, but no...it's in Flash. No plans for a second "non-Flash site".

dl5crew Posted 11 Jul 2006 , 12:51am
post #42 of 88

Antonia; you are a very gracious person. After reading about your tastings I feel ripped off. My husband & I were married ten years ago. Our tasting was three bite-sized pieces. We had to pay. Oh, well. the cake was gorgeous anyway.
As far as sizing...
We had a cake for 250 people. Only 40 showed up. This included, the wedding party. icon_cry.gif We had cake forever! Live & learn.

antonia74 Posted 11 Jul 2006 , 4:59am
post #43 of 88

Okay, that's tragic!! icon_cry.gif

What happened that only 40 guests out of 250 showed up??? icon_confused.gif

spoiledtoodef Posted 11 Jul 2006 , 7:01am
post #44 of 88

Antonia74...I can't thank you enough for all of the information you shared. thumbs_up.gif You answered every question, thought and idea I could come up with......love your cakes...

Oh, can I use the icing variations with my plain buttercream icing or does it have to be IMBC????

Thanks again...Kim

dl5crew Posted 11 Jul 2006 , 12:08pm
post #45 of 88

The reason only 40 out of 250 showed was my husbands family( His dad's side) decided to have a family war at the same time. icon_mad.gif What can you do? The funny thing is; I didn't know until I walked down the aisle. I had a dumbfounded look on my face instead of a smile. I was thinking... I wasted a lot of money. icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif Most of them live in Florida anyway.

antonia74 Posted 13 Jul 2006 , 4:12pm
post #46 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by spoiledtoodef


Oh, can I use the icing variations with my plain buttercream icing or does it have to be IMBC????

Thanks again...Kim




Although IMBC is the only buttercream I use, I would imagine the flavourings are okay with any icing really.

Rebekka Posted 18 Jul 2006 , 10:30pm
post #47 of 88

Antonia, you rock for that. I love that you have your own style, and won't compromise it. I think that puts you ahead of your competition because it makes you an artist, not just a cake decorator who will make everything anybody wants.

antonia74 Posted 18 Jul 2006 , 11:47pm
post #48 of 88

That's so cool of you....thanks Rebekka! thumbs_up.gif

mxpark Posted 19 Jul 2006 , 12:20am
post #49 of 88

when my husband and i got married we didn't even get anything to taste! the lady who made our cake kept pushing chocolate fudge as a filling. since she didn't give any other suggestions and we couldn't come up with one, we ordered that. needless to say, we didn't like it and neither did anyone else at our wedding. not to mention that now that i look at our cake, i could have done a better job on the decorating even before i took any classes. what a rip off!

antonia74 Posted 23 Oct 2006 , 1:48pm
post #50 of 88

bumping this up! icon_smile.gif

cakesondemand Posted 20 Feb 2007 , 6:47am
post #51 of 88

I do the same as pieceofCakeAz

indydebi Posted 21 Feb 2007 , 3:12pm
post #52 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahleecookies

I have just recently started and while going through the basic wilton classes we just used cake mix, I know thats a no no ...... How do you come up with the difference between the invted # of people and the estimated turnout??? Thanks for your time!!!




I've used cake mixes for 25 years and people who don't eat cake will eat mine.

I tell brides that the key to staying on budget is NOT to pay for those people who are not showing up. What they need to do is take their total invite list times 60% to get the show-up rate. This has worked for me for over 25 years.

Example: 200 people are invited ..... times 60% = 120, so I recommend that the bride plan on 125, MAYBE 150. (And if they plan for 150, they are definitely going to have leftover cake!)

There are exceptions to Debi's 60% Rule: If either of the couple is active military, there is a higher show rate (especially now!). If either of the couple is VERY involved in their church, there is a higher show rate.

I also ask if there will be a DJ or alcohol served. If yes, then less cake is needed. If people are dancing, they are more thirsty than hungry and if there is a DJ, they are drinking more alcohol than non-alcohol. Alcohol and sweet sugary cake just do not mix.

melodyscakes Posted 21 Feb 2007 , 4:05pm
post #53 of 88

just wanted to say, You guys rock!!

biviana Posted 21 Feb 2007 , 7:23pm
post #54 of 88

That is so coll of all of you. thanks so much for sharing all the information! thumbs_up.gif

bakesweet06 Posted 22 Feb 2007 , 12:01am
post #55 of 88

WOW, WOW and WOW... icon_biggrin.gif Have I learned A LOT by reading all the wonderfull ifnormation. Thanks for sharing !!! thumbs_up.gif

DesignerCakes Posted 22 Feb 2007 , 3:21am
post #56 of 88

Thank you so much for such valuable information! I have my first tasting in three weeks. I am having it at my home. I was wondering about a number of things:

Do you serve any beverages with the samples?

Should I set the table with a table cloth and napkins, etc.?

The client asked to see samples of my work at the tasting. I don't have any since I just started. I only have two and only one is wedding material! Is it tacky to use dummy displays? I was asked this past weekend to participate in a bridal event held at a jewelry store at my local mall in May. I have to make a number of dummies for that show and I thought it might be a good idea to start making them now and use those as samples of my work. Is that appropriate? I can only do a limited number these, though.

Should I photograph these and put them in a folder or just display them live? Should I put them on the table?

So many questions, so little time!!! icon_smile.gif

aobodessa Posted 22 Feb 2007 , 3:45pm
post #57 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gingerela

Thank you so much for such valuable information! I have my first tasting in three weeks. I am having it at my home. I was wondering about a number of things:

Do you serve any beverages with the samples?

Should I set the table with a table cloth and napkins, etc.?

The client asked to see samples of my work at the tasting. I don't have any since I just started. I only have two and only one is wedding material! Is it tacky to use dummy displays? I was asked this past weekend to participate in a bridal event held at a jewelry store at my local mall in May. I have to make a number of dummies for that show and I thought it might be a good idea to start making them now and use those as samples of my work. Is that appropriate? I can only do a limited number these, though.

Should I photograph these and put them in a folder or just display them live? Should I put them on the table?

So many questions, so little time!!! icon_smile.gif




Yay for you! Have fun with this! I would suggest that you get started on your dummy cakes now. You can use them as displays at your tastings ... they are representative of the work you can do, whether or not they are edible.

Take lots of photos of your work. Many angles. Close-up shots to show details. Full-view of the finished cake table. These will all be helpful as you develop your portfolio. I keep mine in 3-ring binders inside sheet protectors. I'm not into scrapbooking, but I DO use it for my cake books because it helps to present them in a nice way. But use what ever methos is comfortable for you.

As for serving beverages, I generally will try to offer coffee, water or diet soda. Most of my Clients don't partake, but some will. I only bring out one sample, a 6" cake, one layer, with one kind of icing on it. This is gleaned from a few questions when we schedule the appointment (do you like a sweeter or less-sweet icing? what is your favorite kind of cake? etc.). This way they can see a typical size serving (I cut them 1 piece each, showing them that they will be serving 2 layers of this size to each guest. This works for most everyone in my experience) and they can taste something they will probably like. If they would prefer an icing with a different flavor, we discuss that. If they like the sample, they then have an idea of freshness, depth of flavors, etc. And if they need additional samples, they can request more but, typically, my Clients have already had my cakes at a previous wedding, shower, birthday, graduation or other celebration and are aware of my work and what I can do.

I hope this helps answer your questions.

Happy Baking,

Odessa

indydebi Posted 22 Feb 2007 , 6:28pm
post #58 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by aobodessa

....Take lots of photos of your work. Many angles. Close-up shots to show details. .....




You can get lots of photos from the same cake, too. Take a picture of each stage. You'll be amazed on how it looks like different cakes. Plus you can show the bride a simple cake and show her how she can take a basic cake and add designs to enhance the look.

Take a picture of it just iced and bordered. Then add some side decor (like scrolls or something). Then add flowers. Take a pic of each one.

This will help you get lots of pics without have to do lots of cakes.

momsandraven Posted 22 Feb 2007 , 7:44pm
post #59 of 88

Hi Gingerela!
Congratulations on your upcoming tasting! I thought I'd chime in here with my thoughts on your questions, based on what I do with my tasting customers.

**Do you serve any beverages with the samples?
I make sure to have a tea kettle of hot water ready to go, and offer my guests decaf coffee, tea, milk or water. Most take nothing or water, but I personally can't fathom eating cake without milk, so I always offer!

**Should I set the table with a table cloth and napkins, etc.?
Definitely! You want them to see that you are classy, and that you take their visit seriously. They are getting ready to spend quite a bit of money with you, and want to feel pampered, imo.

As far as cake photos vs. dummies, I'd do both. Dummies give people a great sense of what size product they are ordering. I recently had a dummy that I was redoing. I took a pic of it before I redid anything. Then I iced it in plain smooth white and let that set. Wrapped some gold ribbon around the layers, laid on some artificial grapes, snapped a pic. Took the ribbon and grapes off, and replaced the gold ribbon w/navy blue snowflake ribbon. New topper placed on top, and snapped another pic (in less than 20 minutes from the last one!) I ended up with three photos for my album in less than an hour. (You can see the pics in my gallery, they look quite different!) You definitely want to start building a photo album, that's one thing nearly every one of my customers wants to see the first time they order with me.

Good luck!!

Chef_Stef Posted 22 Feb 2007 , 8:30pm
post #60 of 88

What I've come up with for tastings, since I don't have a shop where they can come until we build this summer (have to rent a kitchen), is this:

We pick a date and time that works for them. We pick a location that works for them (favorite coffee shop near their work place or fave restaurant has worked).

I bake my samples in 4" springform pans (half a recipe of most cakes makes 3-4 of these, and I freeze the leftovers for other samples). I split the 4" round in half, fill with whatever they'd like, and frost with whatever frosting they choose. The only decoration these get is a simple shell border on bottom and a reverse shell top border, and usually an initial on top to tell which cake is which flavor.

I'll put 3 of these 4" mini cakes on a foil-covered 12" board and box them up.

I get enough general ideas from them design-wise and flavor-wise to do a basic "rough draft contract" (sort of like a quote) that they can take home to look over and discuss, which will show them a rough idea of what the design and flavors they choose will cost, due dates, etc. This also gives them a chance to read about the "fine print"--i.e., my policies on payment, cancelations, changes, deliveries, etc, so we don't have to discuss this too much up front, and they aren't unpleasantly surprised later on--they've had a chance to read it all before they agree to even book. I'll go over it lightly with them when I give it to them, but I like that they get to read it all before committing; I don't want anyone saying, "Well, we didn't KNOW we had to pay 2 weeks ahead."

We meet, they show me their design ideas, and we look at pictures. I bring my album and any other books I think contain cakes they might be interested in, based on what they've told me. I buy them coffee or appetizers or whatever. We chat about the details of their wedding, and I sketch a rough idea of what their design will look like (for me only at this point), so they can see how it will look. I WRITE DOWN EVERY DETAIL of what we talk about in terms of design and reception details.

I let them know that there is a deposit to hold the date, but I don't really talk money much at this meeting, or even ask them to pay anything now unless they already are sure (some are, some aren't) they want me to do their cake. I give them the quote to take home, so they can remember the details we've gone over, and tell them I will be doing a full-color sketch of their design and will work on a final contract for them if they decide to book their cake, both of which can be emailed to them once they decide to book.

I give them their sample box to take home, so they can eat and comment in privacy, and they call me in the next day or two to let me know which ones they liked or didn't like and to reserve the date for sure and pay their deposit. I then email them the final contract and sketch, which I usually already have ready, and they sign it and mail it back to me with their check. It's working so far; I haven't had any NOT book this way.

For me, it's a lot about building a relationship, so a lot of our time together is spent visiting and getting to know each other a little, so that by the time they leave with their samples, a lot say "we're for sure using you"...but I tell them to try the cake first, because I want them to be sure that they're buying something they're going to love.

that's about it

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