Dumb Things Other Vendors Have Told Your Clients About Cakes

Business By costumeczar Updated 15 Jul 2008 , 12:18pm by loriemoms

costumeczar Posted 22 Mar 2008 , 11:01pm
post #1 of 82

This started as a vent, but I think it would be more fun to make it into a survey about stupid things other bakers have told your clients about cakes. I get clients who have gone to other cake businesses in town for tastings, and when they come to me they say some of the weirdest things that the other shop owners in town have told them. I then have to sit there and either dis the other bakers by saying that what they were told isn't true, or just ignore it, which always irritates me. One person in particular tells people reasons why this or that cake can't be done, and it's obvious to me that they just don't want to do the cake for some reason, but then I have to find a nice way to tell them that yes, it can be done, without making the other person look like a total liar. I know it probably is in my advantage to be able to say that I can do a design or a shape of cake (I'll explain later) but I also don't want to look like a bee-otch who's trashing the competition.

What prompted this today is that a client came to me with a picture of a square cake that had the corners cut off slightly to make it look like an octagon. She said that this other person they'd spoken to had told them that "real" cake can't be done in buttercream if it's shaped like that, because "the icing wouldn't stick to the part that was cut off." (I guess they were saying the one in the picture was a display cake) icon_confused.gif So anyway, I had to tell them that yes it can be done like that without making the other person look too bad. I usually just say something along the lines of "everybody does things differently, but yes, that can be done." I think that's neutral enough, but I have no doubt that the expression on my face is more along the lines of "whaaaaaat?"

So has anyone else heard any good ones lately? Some other ones that I've heard are that the bottom tier HAS to be pound cake (and they make the customer sign a waiver if they want anything other than pound on the bottom), that square cakes cost more than round because you have to start with a round cake then cut the square shape out of the round cake (try a newfangled device called a square pan, maybe), and that you need 125% of the number of guests to estimate serving counts for wedding cake (anyone like leftovers and overcharges?)

81 replies
indydebi Posted 22 Mar 2008 , 11:51pm
post #2 of 82

At a bridal show last month, one lady wanted just iced and bordered cakes and her reaction to my pricing was "ouch!" So I suggested that she swing behind me to the walmart booth and see what they can do. She told me she'd already been there.

The weird part? Walmart told her they couldn't do her request of 8/10/12 because they can't do a 12" cake (uh.... maybe they can walk to their cake decorating dept and buy a 12" pan?) and they couldn't ice the cakes the way she wanted (plain iced with a border) because "..... the cakes are shipped in already iced and bordered".

What I thought was the weirdest part is they TOLD the customer their cakes are shipped in already baked and iced!!

I am so looking forward to other stories on this topic!

ZAKIA6 Posted 23 Mar 2008 , 12:00am
post #3 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi


The weird part? Walmart told her they couldn't do her request of 8/10/12 because they can't do a 12" cake (uh.... maybe they can walk to their cake decorating dept and buy a 12" pan?) and they couldn't ice the cakes the way she wanted (plain iced with a border) because "..... the cakes are shipped in already iced and bordered".

What I thought was the weirdest part is they TOLD the customer their cakes are shipped in already baked and iced!!




ugh! makes me glad the two wmt's near me dont have bakeries in them.

vdrsolo Posted 23 Mar 2008 , 2:25am
post #4 of 82

I've been told my brides that another cake decorator refuses to do any color with the cakes, that it is completely tacky and that wedding cakes should only have white.

Hello....who's wedding is it???

indydebi Posted 23 Mar 2008 , 2:31am
post #5 of 82

Good lord, where has THAT decorator been!? icon_eek.gif Color has been around on wedding cakes for decades! I have wilton books going back to 1977 and they are full of cakes with color.

Oh brother! dunce.gif

beccakelly Posted 23 Mar 2008 , 3:12am
post #6 of 82

i just heard this one yesterday: groom is from russia and there all the cakes are torted, so thats important to the couple. decorator tells couple that cakes can't be torted because they're too unstable adn would slide around and fall.

i flip open my portfolio and tell them every cake is transported atleast partially assembled and most are completely assembled, and every cake without exception is torted with 3 layers of filling (they were asking for just two layers of filling). i particularly pointed out my topsy turvy cake that was transported assmebled and torted.

another one i've heard: decorator (BIG company in the area too) tells couple she won't put black on the cake because it will run, the most she will do is dark brown. again i flip open my portfolio to cakes with black royal icing on them, and of course no bleeding or running.

CoutureCake Posted 23 Mar 2008 , 5:35am
post #7 of 82

Ugh... I've heard some doozies!!

1) All fondant tastes like CRA*... (Hellooo... only the Wilton fondant can take THAT prize...)
2) Make sure to ask you're baker to make sure they're using butter and not LARD in their cakes..
3) You can't do XYZ to a cake
4) SURE you can have real ribbon on your cake! (my inspector and these other bakeries inspector as well takes time out of her inspection day to say "NO GO" on using real ribbon on cakes because of the bleeding of the dyes that are NOT food safe dyes).
5) You can't have a boldly colored wedding cake without it (list of excuses)...
6) Your dress is too complicated to replicate in the design of the cake..
7) Your cake will have to be frozen in order for it to hold up through delivery (sure, it makes delivery easier but not if there's color involved because of the sweating)..
icon_cool.gif THAT cake is going to cost you a fortune, and I can't make anything look like THAT anyway.. this is the type of cake *I* make which is far superior (kid you not, I got this from 4 bakeries when we were looking for our baker... and I just wanted a BASIC Wilton brush embroidery design for our cake)..
9) You can't get 6" double-layer table cakes because it's too much work for any baker to do so get 8" cakes and make guests climb over eachother to get their slice. (uh, yea, got that one too when we were planning our wedding)..
10) Nickel and diming EVERY detail of the cake instead of saying "this cake is going to be X amount because of the design time it was let me go to the computer and type it into the form and come up with each and every upcharge I can think of including putting a border onto the cake you DON'T want a border on..
11) All cakes HAVE to have a border!! (yep, flip open the portfolio moment for me because I'm not a fan of an unpurposeful border on a cake just for the sake of having one)..

cakedout Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 8:35pm
post #8 of 82

One of my favorite ones was that "you can't make black icing". icon_confused.gif

KadenandKorensMommy Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 9:11pm
post #9 of 82

Well, I'm not that far into selling cakes yet, so I haven't dealt with other cake makers..BUT, I got married last November, and it was a real hassle dealing with the cake lady. I found a cake I liked online, and I showed her the picture, and she wasn't too happy..I told her I wanted the cake flavored banana with banana icing, and she said nobody at my wedding would want banana cake and she would only do the smallest layer banana (for our 1 yr. anni) so basically nobody at the wedding would get banana flavored cake..She wanted to do the middle layer white, and the largest layer chocolate..and I HATE chocolate cake and I told her that but she just didn't listen so I went with what she said. The cake I chose was also covered in fondant and she refused to use fondant and said it was gross.. (hello, I don't like fondant, but I've found a wonderful mmf recipe on here that tastes better) and she said she wasn't sure if she could make the butterflies that were on the cake and that she'd try it out and if she could she would up the price of the cake and if she couldn't I would have to figure something else out (My mom went on ebay and bought these edible things that looked like butterflies...)

Needless to say, I don't have a backbone and so my sister called the lady a few days later and told her I didn't want white and chocolate cake..so we did alternating layers of Banana and strawberry flavored cake... She still refused to do the fondant (I live in a small town so there are no other bakeries but wal mart) and this lady did them out of her home..So the day of the wedding I was doing finishing touches at the reception site when she dropped the cake off..The icing was messy, the borders were the dot look, kwim? and they were messy, and she didn't do all of the detail she was supposed to..I only got my banana flavored icing on the banana layers because she said she couldn't bring herself to put banana on the strawberry layers..Whose wedding was this anyway?

NEEDLESS TO SAY, EVERYONE loved the banana cake, so I sure proved her wrong that nobody wanted banana cake.

All I can say is that at least it tasted good..I just wish the strawberry layers had banana frosting instead of just plain vanilla.


IDK, I just see the cake as a huge part of the wedding and I was just really dissapointed with the quality..I'm a beginner and I can ice a round cake better than that. icon_sad.gif

nicolesplace Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 9:34pm
post #10 of 82

Mine is a little different. I was telling an aquaintance about my plans to open a shop & she seemed certain that anyone who wasn't going to make their own cake would be fine with a grocery store cake. She called me a few days later hoping that I will be open in time for her daughter's next birthday. She had bought a grocery store cake for her husbands birthday, took it home & out it in the fridge. After dinner, they were cutting the cake & were horrified that the cake was still frozen solid! The store even has a "bakery in it!LOL! When she went to the store to complain, all the cakes in their case had icicles formed from the box lid and looked completely freezer burnt! When she asked the manager about their custom order cakes, she was told about their warehouse has a freezer full of premade cakes that are shipped out to each store after you place your order. Did she really think that a "mailbox" with multiple choice cake designs beside the cake display would get her a fresh cake? You even fill in your message like those electronic test scorecards from school!!

Yeah for me!

dinas27 Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 9:54pm
post #11 of 82

the one cake did for a bride (outside of family and friends) was told that it was impossible to have raspberry filling because it would bleed through the icing!

there was something else about wedding cake being mushy with anything other than buttercream filling, you can't tort a sheet cake and you cant make a sheet cake look pretty enough for a wedding cake. the poor girl just wanted a vanilla sheet cake with raspberry filling!

FlowerGirlMN Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 10:44pm
post #12 of 82

I don't have anything TOO out there. The usual "get a dummy because it's cheap/free", and "if you want to save money, get square tiers because they serve more people"..

My favorite is the sheer number of brides that come to me saying that the decorators they've talked to refuse to do red and/or black fondant - and tell the couples that it can't be done!

indydebi Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 11:06pm
post #13 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoutureCake


2) Make sure to ask you're baker to make sure they're using butter and not LARD in their cakes..




icon_lol.gif I saw this one on a website! Most of their "must ask" questions were geared to imply how shoddy everyone else is compared to them. (Ask if they use lard, or if they use butter, like us. Ask if they bake it a year ahead of time instead of 20 minutes before delivery like us!) Wish I'd saved that site address!

FlowerGirlMN Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 11:15pm
post #14 of 82

Oh, I can supply you with that website!!!!

www.buttercream.info

The funny thing is the bit about freezing cakes. They did my wedding.. that was NOT (I mean NOOOTTTTT!!!!!) a fresh cake. Can't emphasize that one enough. Heavy freezerburn taste.

So yes.. definite "imply" here.

indydebi Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 11:36pm
post #15 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowerGirlMN

Oh, I can supply you with that website!!!!

www.buttercream.info

The funny thing is the bit about freezing cakes. They did my wedding.. that was NOT (I mean NOOOTTTTT!!!!!) a fresh cake. Can't emphasize that one enough. Heavy freezerburn taste.

So yes.. definite "imply" here.




YES!!!!!!!!!!!! That's the one! Thanks! Definitely the most self-serving list of questions I've ever seen! Would a baker really say, "Yes, my icing has an overly sweet, sandy consistency. We don't like smooth, rich, light finishes on OUR cakes!" icon_lol.gif

FlowerGirlMN Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 12:17am
post #16 of 82

Forgive me if this is a dumb question.. but does anyone use lard in their cakes?

I mean, the mix bakers definitely wouldn't.. but I haven't come across any scratch recipes that call for lard either.

Am I just sheltered? LOL

FlowerGirlMN Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 12:21am
post #17 of 82

Oh, and one other thought. (Mix bakers, don't take offense to this!)

I find it a bit retarded to suggest there's something wrong with using artifical flavorings, when your cakes are mix cakes.

Just sayin.

step0nmi Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 12:59am
post #18 of 82

what is up with that buttercream website??? icon_surprised.gif
"we do NOT PROUDLY use fondant finishes on our cakes" what is up with that!?

FlowerGirlMN Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 1:46am
post #19 of 82

Oh, didn't you know? Fondant is evil, horrible stuff. It causes birth defects and disease and.. bad hair days. It kills millions of dolphins every year, and everytime someone eats fondant, a kitten dies.

Serious. You should avoid the stuff. Only satan eats fondant.

CoutureCake Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 6:41am
post #20 of 82

I hear that one all the time about "Imitation Flavorings"... O.k. my opinion on the matter is, if you've done you're homework whichever flavoring you're using is the best flavoring to achieve the taste you're seeking. I have to admit, I'm not afraid to admit I use imitation for two reasons: 1) The brand I use tastes AWESOME for all of their flavoring options ... and 2) CYA!!! An imitation flavoring is less likely to cause an allergic reaction if someone eats it. If someone is allergic to strawberries the chances of them reacting to an imitation extract is small.. I was to an event recently that was taking all pride and joy in a dessert made all naturally. I kid you not, I took a bite and the only thing I could think was "needs VANILLA!".. icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif But, on the Banana discussion, I've actually got a VERY strong intollerance (probably an allergy but I'm too chicken to expose myself to them if you want to know the truth) so whenever I get asked for a banana filling I have to say "I'd love to make that for you, however I cannot assure you of the taste quality as I cannot injest it, even in a tiny amount, for quality control purposes so we'll be flying blind if you select that for an option." (unless of course, I only use the imitation flavorings..)..

Onto the lard... There are shortenings out there that contained rendered something or other, that's what everyone else calls lard (sort of a half-mix of vegetable shortening and lard). OTOH, from what some bakers have said it's REALLY good for icing. I know they sell it at Walmart but can't think of the brand name. There was a post a year or so ago about a gal that purchased it, used it not knowing what the ingredients were, served it to vegetarians who raved about the frosting btw.. came home to read the label and an OMG! moment when she put the dots together. But, honestly, what difference does it make unless a guest is a strict vegan????

There was another one I thought of while reading these recent posts... I got a bride that got the "Only order enough cake for 60-80% of your expected to attend list because not everyone is going to eat cake"...

I also have gotten the "just get the big layer fake because it won't cost as much as REAL cake"... Um, let's see, the layer that takes the MOST time and ingredients to decorate of the entire cake, dummies that cost just as much as the real cake's ingredients by the time the shipping is paid, um, yea, how does THAT one work out???

MikeRowesHunny Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 10:02am
post #21 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoutureCake


Onto the lard... There are shortenings out there that contained rendered something or other, that's what everyone else calls lard (sort of a half-mix of vegetable shortening and lard). OTOH, from what some bakers have said it's REALLY good for icing. I know they sell it at Walmart but can't think of the brand name. There was a post a year or so ago about a gal that purchased it, used it not knowing what the ingredients were, served it to vegetarians who raved about the frosting btw.. came home to read the label and an OMG! moment when she put the dots together. But, honestly, what difference does it make unless a guest is a strict vegan????




Err, for 99.9% of vegetarians, it would matter a great deal!!! If an animal died in order for the ingredient to be made, then all the vegetarians I know (and as a vegetarian, so would I), would be very unhappy if they learnt what that fat consisted of. Lots of vegetarians eat eggs, dairy produce etc, but an animal didn't die in the process of getting that ingredient (and for most of us veggies, those products must be from an organic, free-range source where animals are not subject to inhumane intensive farming). You can't render fat from an animal without killing it first. Not unless they've come up with some kind of animal liposuction that I'm not aware of icon_wink.gif !

ccr03 Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 1:03pm
post #22 of 82

bonjovibabe,

I was just going to say the exact same thing!! My brother is a vegetarian and I felt terrible one year when I forgot to tell him that I used animal fat/juice in something that I cooked. But, yes it is a very big deal.

Chef_Stef Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 3:50pm
post #23 of 82

These are so funny!

The main thing I see here is brides sort of holding their breath when they ask, then heave a big sigh of relief and seem thrilled that yes, I do different flavors in each tier for no extra charge and that yes, I CAN do that photo cake that they show me, so they must be getting negatives on those issues elsewhere. I basically tell them, "Hey, it's YOUR wedding. I'll make you whatever your little heart desires."

The main myth I bust is that "We're just having 150 people, so we thought maybe just a small 2-tier for the bride's cake and a sheet cake for 100". I tell them that this smart plan will only save them about $30-50 (from me), so why not spring for the extra $30 and have a 3-tier beauty of a wedding cake?

Last year I had more brides asking about dummies or cupcakes to save $, and I didn't do any of either: One cupcake I turned into a 3-tiered cake, the others went elsewhere. And the dummy plans in a couple of cases would have cost them MORE because of how many sheet cakes they wanted beside the dummy bride cake (duh). Didn't book those either.

And I don't know anyone who cooks with LARD or even has it in their house...except maybe my mil, but she's very, uh...old school icon_wink.gif

Bijoudelanuit Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 8:16pm
post #24 of 82

interesting thread... just a couple of thoughts...

I'm vegetarian and I would be heartbroken and sick to my stomach if I found out that a cake contained lard or partially animal rendered fat in it.... It's against my values and love for animals and imho, just completely disgusting. I don't eat marshmallows as they contain gelatin... I take it very seriously. I don't eat soups that contain animal broth.... Vegetarians don't consume any products that are derived from killing the animals. Vegans don't consume any animal products (including Honey- which I'd never live without!)

On the 125% of cake.... it what I was taught to do in culinary school. The first time I heard otherwise was when I joined here at CC last summer. I've always gone above the guest number for servings, not always 25%, but at least 20-30 servings as a safeguard.... maybe its my own paranoia at work, but I feel the need to have that safety net!

CelebrationsbyLori Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 11:38pm
post #25 of 82

I have had coutless people ask about the cupcakes being cheaper, but then they want the tops decorating ornately and a flower on each one, etc. How is that less work? The ones that I have done, I charged the same per serving price that I do for wedding cakes, because they actually took longer than a wedding cake. Think of 3 tiers to bake/decorate for 120 people versus 120 individually decorated cupcakes. Anyway, most people have gotten the idea somewhere that buttercream icing is a specific recipe and it all tastes like the bucket version from Wal-Mart and fondant is made from Elmer's glue! Also, they are sure that a wedding cake can only be white cake and to get a fresh baked custom cake, I surely require a deposit no smaller than the first born son of the household. I am amazed how many times people just call to ask about a possible cake, wanting to know price and when I give them one on say, a simple sheet cake, they are amazed that it's so reasonable! Of course, I'm more expensive than the supermarkets in town, but come on! Some day, we'll all write a book!
-Lori

CelebrationsbyLori Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 11:42pm
post #26 of 82

Oh, one other note on the serving amounts. I have NEVER had anyone run out of cake. I have on so many occasions had couples with a ridiculous amount of leftover because of this "tried and true formula". Last weekend, as a matter of fact, the couple panicked at the last minute and ordered another full sheet cake (100 servings) 2 weeks before the wedding. They had a total of 450 servings, and had 150 leftover. Unfortunately, it was the entire tiered cake. They served 3 full sheet cakes and never touched the main cake. They were fine, and knew it was their own fault, especially since I tried to talk them out of ordering the extra cake, but the bottom line is, they paid all that extra and would have still had 50 extra servings where they were at. Just my experiences!
-Lori

indydebi Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 11:46pm
post #27 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijoudelanuit

On the 125% of cake.... it what I was taught to do in culinary school. The first time I heard otherwise was when I joined here at CC last summer. I've always gone above the guest number for servings, not always 25%, but at least 20-30 servings as a safeguard.... maybe its my own paranoia at work, but I feel the need to have that safety net!




Are they teaching you to go by 125% of TOTAL NUMBER INVITED or 125% of TOTAL NUMBER EXPECTED?

Nobody has a 100% show-rate at a wedding, let alone 25 extra people showing up when only 100 were invited. icon_confused.gif

Most brides overestimate the head count (sorry brides, you are NEVER as popular as you think you are). If they invite 300, they tend to plan for 225, but my 60% rule indicates only 175-190 will actually show up. That's 60% of the 300 .... the total number INVITED. I always suggest this formula when a bride is ordering cake .... I've never run out of cake.

cakedout Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 1:34am
post #28 of 82

I just heard this from a customer that called today looking for a birthday cake:

She had called the other baker in town asking if they could draw a picture of a bowling ball and pins on a sheet cake for her son's 5th birthday... the baker told her that they could print a picture off the internet and laminate it and put it on the cake! icon_confused.gif

Ummmm.....this is a bakery that is supposed to be the cat's meow when it comes to wedding cakes. They don't have anyone talented enough to hand-draw (or use a Kopy-Kake) a pic on a cake? How sad. thumbsdown.gif

Bijoudelanuit Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 10:37am
post #29 of 82

it was 125% of the number expected. I've clearly never run out of cake!

lanibird Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 9:06pm
post #30 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowerGirlMN

Oh, didn't you know? Fondant is evil, horrible stuff. It causes birth defects and disease and.. bad hair days. It kills millions of dolphins every year, and everytime someone eats fondant, a kitten dies.

Serious. You should avoid the stuff. Only satan eats fondant.




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

My brain may be warped from crunching numbers (taxes icon_mad.gif ), but that was just plain funny.

Guess that means I'm a dolphin & kitten murderin satan. icon_twisted.gif

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