Tale As Old As Time...

Decorating By CeeTee Updated 16 May 2008 , 12:48am by pastryjen

CeeTee Posted 12 May 2008 , 5:40pm
post #1 of 17

I was given yet another reminder as to why I no longer do cakes for profit.

One of my co-workers is getting married and we are having a bridal shower for her at work this week. The co-worker organizing it asks me to make the cake. I told her I would, but I would charge for it as my budget is tight. (I had made a Lime Margarita cake for our Cinco De Mayo pot luck, but that was my -choice- to make it.) She said no problem, spare no expense, she just wanted a great tasting cake and didn't mind paying me for my time. She wanted a two tier cake, top tier a 6" devils food with cherry filling, the bottom a 8" white chocolate with strawberry filling, both iced with cream cheese icing. So, I make up an estimate: $75 not counting decorations and not really giving myself any significant profit. Not much at all and I don't hear back from her one way or the other.

This is where I goofed...I went on ahead and bought the ingredients and made the cakes this weekend. It cost me $50 just for the raw materials. However, if I didn't do it then I wouldn't have had time before Wednesday. I trusted she would pay me back because she was so excited and insistent I make it.

I should have known better.

So...today. The co-worker shoots me an email. She didn't think it would cost so much to make a "simple cake" and she got a sheet from Costco instead. So I'm sitting here with egg on my face, a co-worker fuming cause she thinks I was trying to take advantage of her*, and out $50 I couldn't afford to spend right now.

*Back around valentines day she bought a cake from me for $15. However, that cake was a simple single layer 6" cake with shortening based icing, and it was for a fundraiser, so I made no profit on it anyway. She thought the cake I was going to make would be about the same cost and told me her budget was $30...AFTER the fact. She's offered to pay me $30 for the cake so I'm not totally out, but still, a loss is a loss.

Moral of the story: Don't turn on the oven till you have cash in hand for materials, especially if it's for someone you know really well.

I have no right to be angry cause I did this to myself, but it still stings. I really dropped the ball on this and hurt myself.

16 replies
SueW Posted 12 May 2008 , 5:50pm
post #2 of 17

I really feel for you, sorry that happened. Pricing is a tricky thing because most people have NO idea what goes into making a custom type of cake and they don't want to pay. I sort of just had the same thing with cookies though, I made them up for a friend of a friend and never mentioned price to her ( totally my fault), I was getting ready to go on vacation so I was not really focused on these cookies. Thank goodnes she was willing to pay my price since I had them made already but I felt like she thought I may be taking advantage, lesson learned.

Can you at least freeze the cake icon_cry.gif

Cakeasyoulikeit Posted 12 May 2008 , 5:51pm
post #3 of 17

aww...i'm sorry that happened. how lousy. cake sounds delish though....and at least you'll recoup "some" of your cost. still.... icon_sad.gif

pastryjen Posted 12 May 2008 , 5:52pm
post #4 of 17

Wow..that's not good. Sorry you went though all that trouble and then have her go get a costco cake.

Amia Posted 12 May 2008 , 5:52pm
post #5 of 17

I wouldn't say you fully did this to yourself. The only thing you did was trust this woman. However, when someone says, "Spare no expense," then they need to except that the cake you make could end up costing a million dollars. $15? icon_eek.gif Puhleez! That's less than a Wal-mart sheet cake! If she thought she was going to pay that for a 2-tier, great tasting cake, then she's a moron! If she had a budget, then she should have said so. I would be pissed, if I were you. icon_mad.gificon_evil.gif If she wants to be mad, let her! I'm sorry you're out the money, I know how hard times are right now. icon_sad.gif I wouldn't sell her the cake, just on principle, but I'm stubborn like that. icon_lol.gificon_wink.gif If I could buy the cake from you, I would! icon_biggrin.gif

chutzpah Posted 12 May 2008 , 5:53pm
post #6 of 17


Do NOT sell that cake to her for $30!! I would schlepp that thing down to the shelter before I would let her have it for that.

Ah-na Posted 12 May 2008 , 5:55pm
post #7 of 17

That really sucks! What a tapedshut.gif . I hope you found a good place for that cake! I would have brought the cake to the shower anyway so that everyone would ohhh and ahhh over it and your coworker would feel stupid. Plus she would be out of some money b/c noone would eat her sheetcake! thumbs_up.gif

mommyle Posted 12 May 2008 , 5:55pm
post #8 of 17

I always tell the client what the price is going to be before I even buy the ingredients. Then they have the option of either getting smaller, bigger, or none at all. It's surprising who tries to "deal" their way down on you. And who will pay what you are worth. I'm amazed every time.

CakeDiva73 Posted 12 May 2008 , 6:00pm
post #9 of 17
Originally Posted by chutzpah


Do NOT sell that cake to her for $30!! I would schlepp that thing down to the shelter before I would let her have it for that.


Broke or not, I would not sell that cake to her for $30. Let her eat her Costco cake.....try to salvage the ingredients or if things are already baked, donate it.

Selling her that cake for $30 is rancid B.S.

diane Posted 12 May 2008 , 10:30pm
post #10 of 17

you know what...cake decorators need to be up front with potential customers about pricing. they expect to get home-made flavor for store-bought price...and that's just not gonna happen. some people really don't see the difference between a great-tasting homemade cake to a so-so, store bought cake. icon_eek.gificon_confused.gif

CeeTee Posted 12 May 2008 , 11:13pm
post #11 of 17
Originally Posted by diane

you know what...cake decorators need to be up front with potential customers about pricing.

I was up front about the price, but she never said anything, so I assumed it was ok. We all know the adage about "ass-u-me". icon_redface.gif

I'm still doing the cake for $30. This way I get some money, and also, the co-worker whose bridal shower it's for is a friend, and she's paying me to do her wedding cake (and she did not balk at the price I quoted. In fact, in an ironic twist to the story, she paid a deposit today! thumbs_up.gif ) I don't want to let her down. Besides, I already know everyone at work likes my cake better than Costco's icon_biggrin.gif

However, all I will be doing is quickly icing what I already made with simple shortening/butter buttercream (not cream cheese icing): No fillings, decorations or any form of frills. I'm not even breaking out my tips to do a border.

I'm going to save the rest of the ingedients for a cake I'll actually be paid for.

diane Posted 14 May 2008 , 4:53pm
post #12 of 17

maybe ask for a deposit before doing the cake. icon_wink.gificon_lol.gif

CeeTee Posted 14 May 2008 , 5:57pm
post #13 of 17
Originally Posted by diane

maybe ask for a deposit before doing the cake. icon_wink.gificon_lol.gif

OMG Yes! I made that classic mistake of thinking "Oh, I've known this person for years! I can make an exception in this case!" *LOL* Um, nope. There's **never** an exception to the rule. icon_razz.gif

fondantgrl Posted 14 May 2008 , 9:11pm
post #14 of 17

"True as it can be...... Beauty And The Beast" nice song.

Anyway, if it were me , I would wait and confirm with her b4 buying all the ingredients. Well, make that cake and enjoy it all to yourself..

At work, I bring cake IF and when I want to.. But if they order from me, I always say NO, I won't do it.

courtney1009 Posted 14 May 2008 , 9:30pm
post #15 of 17

Wow! What nerve! I don't understand why people don't realize all the time effort and money that goes into a cake. Of course you can get a cake at some chain store cheaper, but they taste like crap! And most of the time the frosting is just slapped on. If she didn't want to pay you she should have went and bought a sheet cake in the first place!!!! I'm sorry that happened to you! She she shouldn't have taken advantage of you like that.

CeeTee Posted 14 May 2008 , 9:53pm
post #16 of 17

There's a happy end to my tale. Everyone ate all of my cake and no one touched the store bought one. icon_smile.gif More importantly, I got a sincere apology from my co-worker and the shower was a huge success. In the end it wasn't that I was stiffed on being paid so much as if she was honest with how much she wanted to spend in the first place, I could have planned better. We're both 50/50 at fault.

Really, I'm the type where if I could bake and decorate a cake every day, I would do so and give them away, money be darned icon_biggrin.gif BUT, I also know how hard people who do make a living from this work, and I don't want to be one of those Suzy Home Bakers who undercuts the professionals or be the local charity doormat.

pastryjen Posted 16 May 2008 , 12:48am
post #17 of 17

I'm glad there was a happy ending.

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