Duff Envy...?

Decorating By cakedesigner59 Updated 23 Oct 2007 , 1:19am by indydebi

cakedesigner59 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 2:04pm
post #1 of 28

Does anyone else have this dilemma? Now that shows like Ace of Cakes are all over the airwaves, plus the Food Network's cake challenges, how do you tell a customer that you don't have that kind of talent? It seems they are all expecting carved masterpieces...or should us less talented folks just fold up our pastry bags and go home??

27 replies
elizw Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 2:14pm
post #2 of 28

one suggestion would be....that talent comes with a price. 99% of customers are probably not willing to pay $1000 + for a birthday cake. i read somewhere that duff's minimum is $500. i think people see them make cakes and think it's fun and easy. they don't see the years of practice and the hours/days it really takes to make the cake - the show is only 1 hour!

i've had a couple of customers ask me for a "duff cake" and when i give them a price, they decide on something less labor intensive.

MiaT Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 3:11pm
post #3 of 28

You could always tell them you don't have access to those kind of tools, and to rent or buy them would make their cake prohibitively expensive icon_eek.gif Then show them what you CAN do and how much more reasonable that would be.

1nanette Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 3:33pm
post #4 of 28

I wish they would display pop-ups of cake prices on the show. I cant stand when I tell a customer how much those cakes costs and they dont believe me or they say something stupid like"I can understand thats what he charges but, how much would YOU charge?" As if its going to cost me less to make a cake llike those.

belindajax Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 3:53pm
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Quote:

As if its going to cost me less to make a cake llike those.




If anything it's going to cost you more. Duff probably gets volume discounts for supplies, not to mention the revenue he's getting from the sheer quantitiy of cakes they make in a week to pay their operating expenses...and their income is not just from baking and decorating cakes. They're probably drawing some kind of salary from just being on their own t.v. show, even if it's just nominal.

I'm a big Duff fan and he and his staff certainly deserve all the fame and recognition they get, especially Geof, that boy's got talent.

justveggin Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 4:01pm
post #6 of 28

I had the same thing happen to me. I met with a bride and her fiance and they said they had been watching Ace of Cakes and they figured that I could make the style of cake they wanted with very little effort and then proceeded to tell me how much she would give me for it! I literally about fell over. When I told her I wouldn't do her cake for less than $2.00 a serving she then said I could decorate a styrofoam dummy to look like their magazine and serve sheet cakes from the back room. I told her that using the styrofoam really didn't save me any decorating time at all and that if she wanted to cut the cost she should scale back the size of the cake and then use sheet cakes for the additional servings needed. (knowing she had invited 200 people but expected 500 to show) Then she asked me what about the cake top and I told her I didn't charge her for that and the servings weren't included in the price. Her eyes got real big and she said so if we don't save the top and you serve it can you take that off the price?! I, once again, about fell over!! I said are you asking me to take the cost of this 3 serving cake off the price of your cake?! That was when I politely gathered my belongings and told her I wouldn't be able to do her cake.

Unbelievable!

melcovey Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:33pm
post #7 of 28

I totaly agree, brides are getting mad out of hand with price/talent expectations lately. Last cake I did the bride wanted to a five tier cake to serve 250 people including a grooms cake for less than 300 dollars. Would not take the suggestion of sheet cakes to cut the price a bit...
<sigh> icon_rolleyes.gif
I too think Duff should put little pop ups about price per serving on the show, I don't think it would be up to him though... I think I will cruse over to both sites and pop them an email...
I have had requests for 'chicken' shaped cakes and all kinds of things, which is cool, I like pushing the envelope, but I have to let them know it will cost more to do such things.

stacey000 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 5:58pm
post #8 of 28

Okay, I'm know I couldn't do half as well, and not to sound like a hater, but... they also use a lot of non-edible materials on that show, such as pvc pipe. And also a lot of rice krispie molding when cake would be too difficult. Yes, they are very talented artists (I agree, esp Geof!) and I love to watch the show but I think they cheat. My sister and I were just talking about how much more impressed we are with the cakes on this site, than on that show. Even with their cheating, better access to materials and fame, I don't think they do as good of a job as many of you.

So there, you are not less talented, and you are more authentic. Oh, and yes their cakes start at $500 but I'm sure are never that low, (plus delivery) and you can also tell your customers that they charge $100 just for a design/tasting appointment, even if you don't end up getting a cake with them. thumbs_up.gif

THESUGARCOW Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:12pm
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by stacey000

Okay, I'm know I couldn't do half as well, and not to sound like a hater, but... they also use a lot of non-edible materials on that show, such as pvc pipe. And also a lot of rice krispie molding when cake would be too difficult. Yes, they are very talented artists (I agree, esp Geof!) and I love to watch the show but I think they cheat. My sister and I were just talking about how much more impressed we are with the cakes on this site, than on that show. Even with their cheating, better access to materials and fame, I don't think they do as good of a job as many of you.

So there, you are not less talented, and you are more authentic. Oh, and yes their cakes start at $500 but I'm sure are never that low, (plus delivery) and you can also tell your customers that they charge $100 just for a design/tasting appointment, even if you don't end up getting a cake with them. thumbs_up.gif




I agree with you they cheat a lot icon_lol.gif
but my Geof ..yeah! he is the man! there!
icon_rolleyes.gificon_redface.gif

THESUGARCOW Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:14pm
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by stacey000

Okay, I'm know I couldn't do half as well, and not to sound like a hater, but... they also use a lot of non-edible materials on that show, such as pvc pipe. And also a lot of rice krispie molding when cake would be too difficult. Yes, they are very talented artists (I agree, esp Geof!) and I love to watch the show but I think they cheat. My sister and I were just talking about how much more impressed we are with the cakes on this site, than on that show. Even with their cheating, better access to materials and fame, I don't think they do as good of a job as many of you.

So there, you are not less talented, and you are more authentic. Oh, and yes their cakes start at $500 but I'm sure are never that low, (plus delivery) and you can also tell your customers that they charge $100 just for a design/tasting appointment, even if you don't end up getting a cake with them. thumbs_up.gif




I agree with you they cheat a lot icon_lol.gif
but my Geof ..yeah! he is the man! there!
icon_rolleyes.gificon_redface.gif

THESUGARCOW Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:14pm
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by stacey000

Okay, I'm know I couldn't do half as well, and not to sound like a hater, but... they also use a lot of non-edible materials on that show, such as pvc pipe. And also a lot of rice krispie molding when cake would be too difficult. Yes, they are very talented artists (I agree, esp Geof!) and I love to watch the show but I think they cheat. My sister and I were just talking about how much more impressed we are with the cakes on this site, than on that show. Even with their cheating, better access to materials and fame, I don't think they do as good of a job as many of you.

So there, you are not less talented, and you are more authentic. Oh, and yes their cakes start at $500 but I'm sure are never that low, (plus delivery) and you can also tell your customers that they charge $100 just for a design/tasting appointment, even if you don't end up getting a cake with them. thumbs_up.gif




I agree with you they cheat a lot icon_lol.gif
but my Geof ..yeah! he is the man! there!
icon_rolleyes.gificon_redface.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:14pm
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by stacey000

Okay, I'm know I couldn't do half as well, and not to sound like a hater, but... they also use a lot of non-edible materials on that show, such as pvc pipe. And also a lot of rice krispie molding when cake would be too difficult. Yes, they are very talented artists (I agree, esp Geof!) and I love to watch the show but I think they cheat. My sister and I were just talking about how much more impressed we are with the cakes on this site, than on that show. Even with their cheating, better access to materials and fame, I don't think they do as good of a job as many of you.




I'm with ya on this one. I've watched too many cake challenges in which I've asked my TV, "Where's the cake? I don't see any cake in that design?" Maybe I read the TV guide wrong and I was watching the "use everything EXCEPT cake to make it LOOK like a cake" challenge! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif


Quote:
Originally Posted by 1nanette

I cant stand when I tell a customer how much those cakes costs and they dont believe me or they say something stupid like"I can understand thats what he charges but, how much would YOU charge?"




If I tell them "Duff gets a minimum of $500 for those cakes" and they ask "yeah, but what do YOU charge?" I'd have to respond with "a minimum of $500." Then I look confused, tilting my head to one side and ask, "Why do you think my eggs, and sugar, and supplies are cheaper? Why do you think my payroll will be lower?" Put the monkey on their back and make them try to explain why they are idiots. (It's fun to watch! Really! I have a really great time doing this! icon_lol.gif )

It's especially fun when I explain that having sheets cake "on the side" at their wedding is NOT cheaper for me to make. When they do the 20-something typical response of "really?", I turn it back on them and ask them "why do you THINK it should be cheaper?" then I systematically poke holes in every reason they put forth .... all of which came from the non-knowledgeable wedding websites who know NOTHING about making cakes.

(gosh, I LUV my job! Whaa-hahahahahaha!)

messyeater Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:18pm
post #13 of 28

Ok I haven't seen the show but I have to agree with Stacey...Duff is very good (from what I've seen from his website) but his cakes are not that much better than some of the cakes on this site (not mine obviously - he's about a trillion times better than me!)
Imagine if they had all that time, equipment and input from like twenty other expert decorators, I'm sure many CC'ers could do just as good or even better.
Sorry Duff if you're reading this!

Edited to add....have you seen the list of new york bakers on www.mywedding.com they are out of this world. I especially love the cakes by Kate Sullivan of LovinSullivanCakes wowwwwwweeee!!

Jenn2179 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:19pm
post #14 of 28

It is just crazy how people think. I had a consultation and they wanted a cake to feed 200. The father of the bride is a doctor and mother of the bride does real estate. They make good money (my MIL is their bookkeeper). They wanted a cake with fondant. The cake they wanted with a sheet cake also I quoted at $774 + tax + delivery. She didn't want to spend over $600 yet she spent $2000 on a dress for the bride to wear for 6 hours. I had another consultation. Very small wedding. About 60 guests. They wanted wedding cake, grooms cake, and cookie favors. They are paying for the wedding themselves. I quoted over $600. She said put the contract in the mail for her to sign and give me the deposit. People just kill me. Especially when they say well I am on a budget. Well I am on a budget too.

MBoyd Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:21pm
post #15 of 28

I look at it like this, if a client is looking for a bargain, I'm probably not the best person to make their cake. If I have talent, and I can do things that not many other people can do, I'm going to charge accordingly.
As for what you might call "cheating" - using pvc, etc. I look and what Duff and others like him do as art. Not just cake. ART. Art that breaks the rules.
If you had Monet or Picasso do your cake, that's going to cost more than having some random guy who does black velvet Elvis paintings for a living (with my apologies to those of you who like black velvet Elvis paintings..) icon_wink.gif

There are people who are willing to pay for a show-piece cake. But its a show piece and the normal cake rules might not apply. I compare it to people who are willing to buy an ice sculpture for their reception. That's art too. Is it practical? No. Is it expensive? Probably.

I say if you have the talent to be able to give people what they want (and thanks to Duff and the Food Network, more and more people want show-piece cakes) you can certainly charge more. The local grocery store bakery isn't going to be able to touch that kind of thing. It's almost a separate market.

indydebi Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:32pm
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn2179

Especially when they say well I am on a budget. Well I am on a budget too.




Hubby came out with a great response to this one:

"Yeah, so are we. That's why we don't discount."

punkiin Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:33pm
post #17 of 28

You can tell them to go to Duff's website and look up pricing. It states...starting price at $500.00. Depending on detail and etc...price goes up from there. Your customers...should look at you in a different light after checking him out. icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:40pm
post #18 of 28

THat's exactly why I have printouts of Toba Garrent's cakes and pricing, plus a print out of a site that sells choc covered strawberries for $12 each. You wanna complain about my pricing? Then call these guys!

MistyRomack Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 6:46pm
post #19 of 28

I watch Duff for ideas regularly for the first season I refused to watch the show. But I like to watch, where they cheat, I love the challenge to figure out how to make it edible! And I take that challenge, for my own personal knowledge I can do it, NO INTIMIDATION.

But yes I agree, people do not understand the time, the effort, the materials that go into spectacular!

I read the site, and I say $500 minimum and $125/hr for delivery will travel 4-6 hrs only for delivery of wedding cakes and cakes that require assembly on site. And $100 tasting appointment, and the cake has to be preordered and reserved dates from 10-12 weeks in advance. And credit the $100 toward your order if you order. And if your week is booked and you've made your 50% deposit down and your event gets canceled, sorry charlie can't have your money back. But if they aren't overbooked, they'll give you your deposit, unlesss I have that one backwards, but OH My!

Duff is fantastic, but I agree with the ladies, that we are a higher breed where they use rice krispies and wood, we are using food! And that's authentic, and good.

Duff needs pop ups on his show to show the expense of his cakes, definitely, educate his customer bases and the masses who watch his show!

1nanette Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 8:10pm
post #20 of 28

So funny. I just left a meeting with a couple who have platinum dreams and tin foil reality. They want a grooms cake shaped like an eagle perched on a branch with its wings spread. Ha Ha. So I explained to them that the eagle cant be cake due the law of physics. The bride to be ask me in a very paticular tone if I watch Ace Of Cakes because she does and they make all kinds of things out of cake. So I explained in a different paticular tone that they dont always use cake and that they would be spending $2000 on RCT, styrofoam, and very little cake. Well as it turns out they had planned to spend less $300. When she asked why so much I explained that sculpted cakes take days to complete and my time clock starts on day one and doesn't stop until the cake is delivered. icon_smile.gif

melcovey, I emailed them about the price pop-ups in the first season. I guess they decided no.

Momkiksbutt Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 8:20pm
post #21 of 28

I never ceases to amaze me how people can think they can get something for nothing........like there is no thought to what the person making the cake has to go through to make it for them. I mean sure their day is special, but heck, they have to think alot more realistic than that or they are doomed before they even say "I do"........Geeshh!

justveggin Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 8:32pm
post #22 of 28

Why does it always seem like it's the cake that gets the last of the budget though. The one thing everyone can actually physically enjoy.

I've not seen many weddings where the bride wears a thrift store gown or tissue paper bouquet. Why would they want second rate for their cake?

One girl I got a call from said We don't have a lot of money to spend after I had given her my quote. I told her go ahead and call around and check my prices and if you find something else that's fine with me. She said, oh we already have, that's why we called you. Gee thanks!

I remember telling my husband this show will be both good and bad for decorators. Good for exposure to more elaborate cakes, bad because people want those elaborate cake at grocery store prices.

msmeg Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 8:59pm
post #23 of 28

I can only dream I was a talented as he is or his staff and that people in my area would be willing to pay the amount needed for that kind of work.

I have learned alot watching that show... No I do not think it is cheating to build a structure to hold the cake or use rice krispies for things like legs that could never be cake... Smart is what it is it allows them to be more creative and Us also since they share the secrets.

Jealous you bet I wish I was that good.

meg

woodthi32 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 9:07pm
post #24 of 28

"âThe price point for cakes is extremely high,â says Ben-Israel. âA cake for 200 people will usually be between $3,000 to $4,000. So, this sounds like a lot of money, and a lot of people are thinking, âIf this is what I can do on a cake, I should take it on.ââ

They donât call it âsugar doughâ for nothing."

GenGen Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 9:16pm
post #25 of 28

i wish i could watch that show.. i dont get it on my cable.

woodthi32 Posted 22 Oct 2007 , 10:37pm
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chocolatedrummer

Ok I haven't seen the show but I have to agree with Stacey...Duff is very good (from what I've seen from his website) but his cakes are not that much better than some of the cakes on this site (not mine obviously - he's about a trillion times better than me!)
Imagine if they had all that time, equipment and input from like twenty other expert decorators, I'm sure many CC'ers could do just as good or even better.
Sorry Duff if you're reading this!

Edited to add....have you seen the list of new york bakers on www.mywedding.com they are out of this world. I especially love the cakes by Kate Sullivan of LovinSullivanCakes wowwwwwweeee!!




sculpting creations and raising the bar is duff's specialty, and he is better at it than anyone I have ever seen..........
no, he is not margaret braun....and she is not he.

cozycake Posted 23 Oct 2007 , 1:22am
post #27 of 28

Talk about Duff-how about Martha Stewart?????The cover to the wedding magazine is showing a cake that is over the top. But it can't be hard-she has directions inside so anyone can do it. Please!!! Her cakes aren't nearly as good as the ones I have seen on this web site. And yes I believe that the Cake Challenges are not cakes at all. Very little is anything someone would eat. The closest to showing pricing is on Platinum Weddings. Beautiful work and you know it costs.

indydebi Posted 23 Oct 2007 , 1:19am
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cozycake

Very little is anything someone would eat.




Even if it does have some cake in it, I'm always wondering "How do you actually cut and serve that?" icon_confused.gif

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