Decorating Someone Elses Cakes?????????????

Business By agroeve Updated 30 Apr 2008 , 11:57pm by RobzC8kz

agroeve Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 1:35pm
post #1 of 17

i just recieved a call from the sister of the groom asking if i would decorate cakes bought from the local supermarket. all tiers were fruit cake but i declined to do it. was i wrong????/
i said no because i have my own recipie for fruit cake that ppl love so i didn't want to be associated with a store bought cake and have ppl thinking it was mine. also i have to be honest i got a bit miffed when i was told that the sister was going to decorate it as a glitter cake (whatever that is) and it was sooooooo easy to do but the brother wanted a professional to do it. (no i don't class myself as professional yet!) She then asked for a quote for a 3 tier fruit cake 6", 8" and 10" and i told her about £300 to which she said SHE couldn't afford it.
i'm confused. should i have taken the job and a possible hit to my reputation. (only just started up in business) and how many sisters pay for thier brothers wedding cakes?
sorry its a bit long but i need a little advice.

16 replies
HerBoudoir Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 2:06pm
post #2 of 17

I think you did the right thing.

For the Americans out there, a traditional English wedding cake is fruitcake covered in marzipan and royal icing. (While I'm American, my folks are English so this is one of the traditions I grew up with).

Realistically - although good fruitcake is more expensive to make that say a vanilla cake - the cost of the actual cake itself is not a huge part of the expense of a custom decorated cake - most of the cost is your time and effort.

I don't know if English store-bought fruitcake is better than what's available here, but for the most part - store bought fruitcake here is HORRIBLE. Bleah. Don't associate yourself with that.

Auryn Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 2:07pm
post #3 of 17

I think your were perfectly right in your reasoning.
If that cake made people sick they would only remember that you decorated it
they wouldn't remember that it was from the store.

FromScratch Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 2:23pm
post #4 of 17

You were completely right. You don't want your name associated with anything but your recipes.

ccr03 Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 3:58pm
post #5 of 17

Completely agree with everyone else! I wouldn't want to decorate someone else's cake - too many unknown factors.

Also, you asked how many sisters pay for their brothers cake, well, traditionally speaking in Mexico the groom's family pays for the wedding.

kakeladi Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 4:08pm
post #6 of 17

Here in the U.S. the health dept will not allow any food brought in as you mentioned. If there were to find out your shop could be closed down.

Alligande Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 4:10pm
post #7 of 17

I would never decorate someone else's cake but in the UK where there are traditional family fruit cakes, I have heard of decoraters working on other peoples cakes not supermarket cakes. My aunt baked my cousins wedding cakes, and some one else decorated them. I think you did the right thing.

AZCakeGirl Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 4:16pm
post #8 of 17

I 100% agree with your decision. I even have a clause in my contract that no other cakes can be brought into the reception if I am supplying the wedding cake just because I want people to know that they are getting MY cake.

One exception.....I did however decorate a cake that someone else baked since their child was allergic to so many things & I didn't want to take on the allergy risk. I only did it because she wanted a castle cake for her 5th birthday & couldn't find any other cake decorators who were willing to do it either. I felt so bad for this little girl, I did it. However, I will never do it again (unless she pays me 5 times as much!). There was a lot of carving involved & the consistancy was completely different than what I was used to working with. It all turned out great in the end, but it took me FOREVER. Not something that I would suggest doing.

step0nmi Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 4:23pm
post #9 of 17

I agree!

Was she wanting you to decorate for free? IF you wouldn't have decorated for free give her you dollar per hour...then SHE wouldn't have wanted you to do it! just a thought! icon_smile.gif

all4cake Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 4:29pm
post #10 of 17

I know numerous people who work like this...a few know how to decorate but not how to bake so the decorators will order cakes in sizes/flavors they need for the job....the other way around as well. I never thought to ask them how they market them or to whom credit is given. There is one decorator who gets all her cakes from the grocery store...either frozen or off the shelves. It works well for them.

I might consider the sister's offer if:

she purchased one for you to work with to make sure of its' durability for your type of decorating.

She agreed that separate credit would be given for the decorating so as to disassociate yourself from the quality of the cake.

It is common for the bride's family to pay for the wedding but the groom's family pay for the groom's cake which quite often is served at the rehearsal dinner which the groom's family covers...if the groom is without parents or without parents able or the desire to do this, it would seem quite nice of the sister to stand in for her brother. This is all not unusual but not a rule by any means.

CelebrationsbyLori Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 4:30pm
post #11 of 17

Someone else mentioned the Health Department, all other things aside that is #1! You absolutely CANNOT bring in outside foods like that. I've had several people ask about that over the years and I explain to them it is 100% against the law and I will not risk losing my license over it! Your name should go on your product, ONLY!
icon_wink.gif -Lori

all4cake Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 4:46pm
post #12 of 17

I'm not sure I follow the whole health department thoughts. Anyone...businesses as well, can get cakes from a supplier(even Sam's sells cases of cakes), decorate them and sell them as their own.

There were dumploads of members who would come to Sam's and buy those little round know the ones out on the tables with the hole in the center...lemon crunch, carrot, chocolate....sold for less than 6.00....put a few decos on 'em and definitely took credit for the entire cake...
Some bought the dessert cakes, asked us not to put the labels on the containers...they were selling them in THEIR BAKERY!!!!! as if they made them!!!!!

There may be an ethics issue with doing what they did but not a health dept. issue. It would be different if they had aunt suzie bake for them in her unlicensed kitchen...

AZCakeGirl Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 4:52pm
post #13 of 17

Good point about the health department. What if both the bakery that made the cake AND the decorator are both licensed by the health department? For example, when I did it that one time (never to be repeated!) I picked the allergy-free cake up from a whole foods market (that didn't do 3-D decorating) that was licensed by the health department & I am of course licensed by the health department too. Wouldn't that be okay as long as the cake was never anywhere else except those two places before being delivered to the party? Afterall, most restaurants get outside food brought to them from licensed companies & then prepare & plate it before serving. I guess the best answer would be to ask the local health department & see what they say, but just wondering if anybody here has an answer because to me, it doesn't seem like it would be an issue as long as everyone involved is licensed. (I'm assuming the grocery store where she would have purchased the fruit cake is licensed)

all4cake Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 5:01pm
post #14 of 17

oh yeah, and not to mention caterers(not any inparticular), that would purchase brownies, rugalach, cookies, cakes, pies...removed from packaging and displayed on the caterer's trays....

One isn't supposed to remove from original packaging and repackage with their own label for resale...again, I think that's an ethics issue

Bonnie151 Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 7:36pm
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by CelebrationsbyLori

Someone else mentioned the Health Department, all other things aside that is #1! You absolutely CANNOT bring in outside foods like that. I've had several people ask about that over the years and I explain to them it is 100% against the law and I will not risk losing my license over it! Your name should go on your product, ONLY!
icon_wink.gif -Lori

The OP is from the UK and it's a bit different over here if that's the case in the US. For example, it's a tradition to save the top tier of your wedding cake for the christening of your first child and there are decorators who will redecorate your cake for you. Having said that, there are a lot of decorators (myself included for strangers though I have agreed for friends) who won't redecorate an outside cake.

CelebrationsbyLori Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 9:44pm
post #16 of 17

It's actually more of a "chain of command" issue. If something comes from another licesed kitchen (even Sara Lee's!), then it's OK and then just an ethical issue. However, if the item is baked in Grandma's kitchen then you can't guarantee that they followed the rules (not that a license is a guarantee) for safe food handling. If there is a problem with the cake, it could fall on you.
Just better safe than sorry and bake what you decorate!

RobzC8kz Posted 30 Apr 2008 , 11:57pm
post #17 of 17

I agree. You did the right thing by declining to do it. You don't want to be associated with someone else's quality if it's not up to par with your own. Once you delivered that cake, it would automatically be contributed to you and it if it doesn't go over well, it could damage your reputation.

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