Let's Share Some Stories (And Pics)........

Decorating By chrissysconfections Updated 16 Jun 2008 , 10:33pm by chrissysconfections

chrissysconfections Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 4:31pm
post #1 of 15

I had a great thing happen to me this past weekend that gave me an idea for a thread on here that might help to brighten someone's day. I figure everyone is feeling really stressed out these days with gas prices, busy baking (or other) schedules and the unfortunate ungrateful customer or other unpleasant business issues.
I thought maybe we could share some stories (and pics) about those cakes we do that make it all worth it. I don't mean the ones that we didn't think we could do but we pulled them off anyway, but the ones that really hit the mark with the customer. The one's that brought back childhood memories, ellicted tears of joy or left the customer gushing....perhaps even giving them a new treasured memory.
With all the disappointing things I've been reading in the forums in the last few weeks I thought maybe we should have a thread that proves to the new and the more experienced decorators just why it is we do what we do. Something positive that makes us smile and want to start that next cake...no matter the profit, the time, our engery level etc.

So here's what happen to me this weekend...

I was approached 2 wks ago to do 2 cakes for a guard at our county jail for his birthday. I hate taking last minute orders but I wasn't booked and I figured maybe I could get some repeat business out of the deal so what the heck.
The woman who ordered the cakes explained to me that the man the cakes would be for grew up in a home where the parents had divorced early in his life and he never had a real birthday party. His mother did her best with a small cake and just the two of them but she could never afford him an actual party. This man's girlfriend decided she was going to throw him a party this year since he'd never really had one and he was so well liked at the jail she figured there would be a nice turn out for him.
The theme for the party was going to be tropical....the girls in grass skirts and everyone got leis. She didn't really care what the cake looked like as long as I made it because she had had one of my cakes previously.
To say I struggled with this cake would be an understatement. I hated it even as it went out the door. I didn't want to make it too 'girly' and I'd never done one like this before but when the woman came to pick it up she liked it and said she thought it would go over well at the party....not a shinning review but it was more then I thought about it.
Yesterday I get a call from the woman who ordered the cake. She said they absolutely loved the cake! The birthday boy was so in shock from having a 'real' cake that he was speechless....to top it off he brought the cake I had made him that Friday along to show everyone! Yes, I did say he brought it along....apparently he has refused to cut the cake since he got it and has been taking it everywhere he goes to show it off! I wouldn't advise him eating it at this point since it's about 5 days old but it was covered in fondant so it should keep for a few more days.
Both cakes recieved such rave reviews that the woman who ordered the cake said she must have passed out at least 10 of my cards! (She picked some up when she got the first cake)
When I sat down and figured out my costs and time I actually lost a lot of money on these cakes....all my own fault because I wasn't as well prepared as I thought and for the second cake I chose a design that was more then what I was being paid (a bad habit I have) but it was all worth it to know that someone was so grateful and that I was part of making a life long dream for him come true....even if it was a small part.

Below is a pic of the cake. It's nothing special really but it was a lot of firsts for me. I got to play with my new airbrush, made my first palm trees and icing 'ocean'. I used the grass to cover the portion of that cake that cracked coming out of the pan and the preztel sticks...well lets just say they were a treat to cut to size and get on there! icon_biggrin.gif


So please share your favorite story...lets see if we can all give each other a boost up! thumbs_up.gif
LL

14 replies
foxymomma521 Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 4:54pm
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I don't have a story yet, maybe one day I will icon_smile.gif
I just wanted to tell you I love that cake! It's perfect!

chrissysconfections Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 5:01pm
post #3 of 15

Thanks foxymomma......I was feeling pretty down about it especially when DH said it was 'nice but not something I would want for my birthday'......after the devestated look on my face he back peddeled and said that it wasn't something guyish.....he would have preferred the first cake (nake female torso) as opposed to this one for the party.
The important part was the reciepents response to the cake though!

rogers8702 Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 5:16pm
post #4 of 15

i havent done many cakes for non-family members but i did one for a friend of mine for her wedding, they didnt have much money so i only charged them $75 and the rest was a gift from me. well long story short me and the brides mother dont get along well and i dont really know why but we dont, but me and the brides sister are extremely close friends well the wedding ended up getting postponed due to an illness so i had to make special arrangement to get this cake done 1 day after i came back from vacation, but i did it

well my friends loved it of course even though it was nothing special, but the mother of the bride came to me and apologized for always being so mean to me and that i must really love her daughters to have put soooo much time and effort into that cake, and even though i never let her bother me before it was nice to hear those words since i have never done anything for her dislike me. but it made my freinds sooo happy that their mother would finally shut up about me. we had a blast the rest of the night and the bride and groom didnt want to cut the cake (crazy frends)

DoniB Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 5:23pm
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I'll bite... icon_smile.gif

My very first wedding cake was for an older couple. The bride was the mother of a good friend, and she met and married her high school sweetheart... 50 years after they first dated! They'd lost track of each other when he was called to Korea and her parents moved, with her in tow, while he was gone. He was transferred at the same time, and they simply lost track. When they met again, both had been married and widowed or divorced, and re-met in their oncologist's office while both were going through chemo. He saw the young girl she used to be, and she still sees him as the strapping young man he was when they first fell in love.

I officiated at the wedding, as well, but they asked at the last minute if I'd do the cake. Sure, for supplies money. They kept upping the numbers, as well. The night before the wedding, I had a horrible time getting the royal icing for the roses to be perfectly red. I ended up having to drive two towns away, to an all-night walmart, and buy them out of no-taste red, so I'd have enough to actually get the stuff RED. LOL

I didn't sleep, was incredibly frustrated, but finished the cake with enough time to spare to get showered, dressed, and out the door. icon_razz.gif

But it was all worth it, every moment, when Martha saw her cake. She cried. Karl thanked me profusely, and at the end of the day, they both told me that between my cake and the service I'd written for them, they couldn't have imagined anything better for their wedding day.

the cake was my first try at a red-velvet, and I ended up having to use Cornelli lace to hide a bunch of crumbs (I used to have the 'we don't need no stinkin' crumb coat!' attitude. Not anymore! That cake broke me of that! LOL), but no one seemed to care. They loved the cake, said it tasted great, and wouldn't let me down-play it at all. icon_smile.gif
LL

AngieHurt Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 5:29pm
post #6 of 15

I want you to know I love the cake and the story. That is the kind of customers that make this job so rewarding. Sometimes DH just need to stay in front of the TV. I know how it is you work so very hard ( and know WE are harder on ourselves than anyone else) then they bust our bubble and don't mean to. I think you have done a wonderful job, sometimes in this business our rewards are not monetary they are worth far more! Thanks this made my day!!! icon_smile.gif

Hawkette Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 5:30pm
post #7 of 15

Ooooh, fun thread! I just had a feel-good story this weekend. I made the bridal shower cake for my sister-in-law. It was in another town, so I baked the cakes at home, transported them in coolers (and my 2-year-old) to my mom's house the night before, and decorated the cakes there. I only got a few hours of sleep. I got lost on the way to the party, so I arrived a bit frazzled.

Everyone LOVED the cake, though. The details (cake flavor, etc.) are in my pics. (The pic is bad because I intended to take my camera to the party and get a better pic, but I forgot the camera, so all I have is the one from my mom's kitchen.) It was a fancy party in a multimillion dollar house with lots of rich folks and girls from private prep schools, so I already felt a bit intimidated. They all raved about the cake, though. In fact, when I brought it in (and everyone was already there), they said it was too pretty to hide in the kitchen and cleared off the gift table so they could display it for the guests. My MIL's sister came up afterward and said she NEVER compliments people on their food but that she felt like a commercial going on about how good my cake was. But the best part was that the bride REALLY wanted me to do her wedding cake. I was so flattered, even though I can't do it. (It's a 14-hour drive to Texas and my son is the ring bearer, so I will already have my hands full and won't be able to be setting up cake at the reception site and getting a toddler into a tux at the same time.) But I said I would help her work with the bakery to get what she wants.
LL

Hawkette Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 5:38pm
post #8 of 15

DoniB -- I LOVE your story and your cake! Thanks for sharing.

Kitagrl Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 5:44pm
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My most exciting recent order was a lady and her graduating daughter who had called Charm City Cakes to order an "Ace of Cakes" design that the grad wanted to design herself. Charm City informed them they were booked up for the date (several months in advance of course). They found my website, and the girl gingerly told me her idea and asked if I could do it. I said "Sure" and we made our plans.

They came to pick up the cake and just squeeked and squealed and both mom and daughter gave me a big hug....they said it was just as good as Charm City Cakes (although admittedly not the brag factor!) and that they were soooo pleased with the look and taste.

Its the shoe pic in my photos...she had a Converse shoe keychain that she wanted copied, and then her little doggie on top with her Bball jersey and grad cap and diploma all to serve 50.

It took forever, but the reaction was totally worth it. Those squeals of delight and hugs and happy faces definitely keep me going in this! thumbs_up.gif

chrissysconfections Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 5:59pm
post #10 of 15

DoniB~ That story is just wonderful!! It reminds me of that BBC show where they find each other after the war and start where they left off after both being widowed.

Lets keep the coming!!

beemarie Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 6:01pm
post #11 of 15

I have something I do for my friends who have a miscarriage--I make them a small cake with a biblical scripture tucked away on it. It touches their hearts. I recently had a friend lose a baby at 20 weeks--her second time this has happened to her. She was so saddened, and my heart went out to her. Of course, I don't make any money on these cakes, but I make so much more--She was so touched, and although it didn't make the pain go away, she knew that she was loved and thought of and cared for. Here is the photo (she said it was a perfect "Rosemary" baby, the name of her little girl):

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_1212450.html

DoniB Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 6:21pm
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by beemarie

I have something I do for my friends who have a miscarriage--I make them a small cake with a biblical scripture tucked away on it. It touches their hearts. I recently had a friend lose a baby at 20 weeks--her second time this has happened to her. She was so saddened, and my heart went out to her. Of course, I don't make any money on these cakes, but I make so much more--She was so touched, and although it didn't make the pain go away, she knew that she was loved and thought of and cared for. Here is the photo (she said it was a perfect "Rosemary" baby, the name of her little girl):

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_1212450.html




That is so sweet of you. I've had three 20+ week miscarriages/reabsorptions, and the docs think many more that we just didn't detect (It's a very long, depressing story that doesn't leave the medical establishment in a good light).

Long story short, because I'd had 'so many', even my closest friends didn't really pay it much attention. I collect angels now, for my three 'angel babies'. We weren't able to have any before I had to have the works removed to save my life.

It's wonderful that there are some folks out there who are willing to acknowledge what a loss a miscarriage can be. Some folks take it in stride, but for some, it's a devastating loss. Bless you for thinking of your friends in such a private, horrible moment. I know that they appreciate it.

TooMuchCake Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 6:25pm
post #13 of 15

Great thread! These are some awesome cakes on here! Wonderful stories!

I have a friend whose daughter has a life-threatening heart/lung defect. When the daughter (Stacey) turned 15, I thought I would surprise them with a cake. There's no way on earth they could afford me since their money all goes to medical bills, so it was a gift and a complete surprise.

I didn't know their relatives were coming in for Stacey's birthday, so the cake was only enough for the parents and Stacey. They're not from America originally and many of their extended family members live in our area. The relatives are not very helpful and mooch off of my friend whenever they can, regardless of how strapped Stacey's parents are.

Anyway, they had a grocery store cake for the relatives and my cake out on display. All the little kid relatives were clamoring for the dog cake, all wanting either the head or the nose. Finally Stacey's dad had enough of it and said to the kids:

"No, you get the butt!"

LOL The kids ran off then and left him alone. thumbs_up.gif

Deanna
LL

BCJean Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 6:30pm
post #14 of 15

This is what has kept me in the cake decorating business for 30+ years. Most of my working career has been in grocery bakeries. For all of you who tell your customers, "you want a cheaper cake? Go to WalMart". I have never worked for WalMart but those are the customers I get.

The fact that these customers simply cannot afford the best doesn't mean they don't deserve it. This is why I decorate with buttercream and spent a lifetime coming up with unique designs which can be done very fast.

I had a call recently from a matron of honor who said it was time for their reception to start and they got a call that the cake they had ordered had an accident and they wouldn't be able to deliver. The bride was hysterical. I found out her colors and kind of flowers, I cut rectangle cakes into squares, stacked them into a 3 tier cake, decorated and had her cake ready for someone to pick up in 30 minutes. The bride came in the next day, with tears in her eyes, telling me how I saved her reception and she loved the cake.

At least once a week we get a request from someone who really wants to do something special for someone who means so much to them, a 90 year old parent who has never had a birthday cake, or a child's first birthday or a special friend who means so much to them. These people do not have enough money to buy what they would like to give. They do not get the gourmet cake with super fillings but the decorations are made unique for that person and filled with love. The teary look of gratitude when the customer picks up their special cake never ceases to touch me.

Not all "cheapy" bakery cakes are to be laughed at. Some of the decorators work very hard at making very special cakes for very special customers, and speaking for myself, it is very rewarding.

I do not have pics of these cakes, no time for that I need to move on to the next cake.

chrissysconfections Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:33pm
post #15 of 15

BCJean~ You are certainly an exception to the rule!!
I think the majority of us have dealt with the 'other' type of grocery baker. The one who is there because its a job that pays the bills not a passion they pour themselves into.
Wherever you work better treat you right because your attitude and commitment to your customers are above and beyond anything I've ever even heard of!!

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