Cake Tastings--Your Opinion

Business By -K8memphis Updated 26 Jun 2008 , 12:33am by -K8memphis

-K8memphis Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 11:08pm
post #1 of 52

We were talking about why I don't do cake tastings in another thread and then this reason popped up in a yet different thread so instead of resurrecting an old thread or highjacking the new one I thought I'd start my very first thread and we could kick this subject of sampling around if you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeDiva73

...My Mom's friend inquired about a wedding cake in August (in Central CA, so it is hotter then heck). I made a 6" french vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and cream filling and a combo whipped icing AND added some gumpaste flowers as an example........for FREE!!!! I gave them a quote of $150 for a 2 tiered cake to serve 50, including free delivery and a bunch of gumpaste roses......that is $3 per serving.

Well they saw the quote and were quiet. They tasted the cake (which we had too since I made more than one, and not to toot my own horn but it was very moist and good) and pronounced the icing far too sweet. They wanted whipped icing....whipped cream.....IN AUGUST!...




I think this is one of my biggest reasons for not doing tastings and giving or selling sampling cake, I don't want to allow random people the opportunity to critique me. Hey this ain't Iron Chef. I would want to hurt them. A lot. I would be setting myself up to be offended. I'm so not doing it for their approval.

Because I think the folks in the quote didn't like the price and used the icing as the scapegoat. Uh ugh no way don't wanna hear it.

There's no reason for me to collect critiques because I'm not changing my recipes anyhow. Get. A. Life. I'll make you a cake but you don't get to dictate to me for that same price point. You wanna hire me to tickle your taste buds that's a whole different pricing structure.

The one time I bent over backwards and did a tasting from my business (did tons as an employee of lotsa shops) I did a cake that the MOG loved to pieces, my butterpecan bladeebla cake. The bride however and the people that accompanied her, hated butter pecan. hahaha yeah not funny icon_biggrin.gif I mean they were not critiquing--they didn't even eat it.

But I mean it is a custom in so many areas. But what say you?

Do you do tastings, do you get many off comments, do you change your recipes, do you wish you didn't have to do them, do you like to do them, how much pia are they, do you charge?

What do you think they accomplish?

51 replies
littlecake Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 11:37pm
post #2 of 52

I don't do tastings...but then again my cakes don't cost 2500.00.

i'll give them a cupcake to show my basic baking ability.....and that's about it....

the "tastings" people...ugh, they get on my nerves...i'm not baking up a bunch of free stuff...if the are that hard to please my feather aint long enough to tickle them anyway.

indydebi Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 2:32am
post #3 of 52

In my area, if you don't do tastings, then you might as well shut down. Brides expect it. In my hometown, just 75 miles away, no one seems to have ever heard of a tasting.

I do them for free. I also do catering, so I also make them "lunch". No, I don't change my recipes. I may explore to try to find one a bride wants (i.e. my first request for a rum cake, for example), but if someone doesn't like my chocolate cake, then they ain't gonna order chocolate!

I never run into sticker shock with pricing because with the info I send a bride ahead of time and with my Budget Wizard, they have the ability to know to the penny what their cake/buffet is going to cost them before they even call me or walk in my door. So when they call for their sampling appt, they've already determined that I'm in their budget.

I LUV doing tastings with a bride! This is not just an opportunity for them to taste your baking skills, but this is YOUR opportunity to sell yourself to the bride. I read and own a LOT of sales and marketing books, combined with over 20 years working in this field, and I'm tellin' ya, Rule Number One is SELL YOURSELF FIRST. If you're trying to sell your cake first, you're missing the boat. Brides are looking for someone they can TRUST with something as valuable as their wedding .... you first sell yourself, then you sell your company and THEN you get around to selling your product.

You can't do that by giving them a cupcake to eat as they walk down the street, window shopping some other bakery.

So even if it wasn't almost mandatory that I do them ... I'd do them.

And why would you be offended if they didn't eat a cake flavor that they didn't like? icon_confused.gif That has nothing to do with YOU. If you served me pumpkin cake, I guarantee you that I wouldn't eat it either .... and it has nothing to do with your skill. I just WILL. NOT. EAT. PUMPKIN. in any shape or form. I get brides/grooms who are not fans of chocolate cake, so they don't sample the choc cake I offer them. No big deal ... they don't like choc cake. But they luv the other samples.

-K8memphis Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:03am
post #4 of 52

No wait--you're right, the folks who did not eat the butter pecan did not offend me at all. I felt a little silly since they didn't try it but oh well.

The imaginary people whom I don't give tastings to, (eeghads did I just say that?) if they thought it their job to critique the cake and say, too sweet, not sweet enough whatever, I don't wanna hear it. I don't know. They don't have to like it by any means but I guess it's a fine point where I'm not serving them cake to get their approval and I for sure do not want them to share their opinion of my cake with me.

This is an area where I could not control the outcome and I would not want to let that monster loose during a consult. Good thing I'm a bookstore manager huh.

Maybe if I had my own place. Yeah I'd only do white though. And so I'm already talking myself outa that. Everybody knows how white cake tastes.

I give two free 4" cakes at the reception, a honeymoon snack and the anniversay cake. I just give my samples out late. icon_smile.gif

It sounds like your set up is really cool. Do you like sweet potato stuff?

signed,
a fellow Hoosier icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:14am
post #5 of 52

Your post was so funny! If we ever get in each other's neighborhood, we've GOT to hook up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Do you like sweet potato stuff?



No. I remember my mom tried to get me to eat sweet potatoes as a kid by telling me, "They taste like pumpkin pie!" to which I replied, "Well, now I KNOW I'm not eating them!" icon_lol.gif

So thanksgiving at my house is a little non-traditional. I don't serve sweet potatoes and I don't serve pumpkin pie. Hubby likes pumpkin pie and I tell him he can buy one at walmart .... 'coz I'm not touching the stuff! icon_rolleyes.gif

chelley325 Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:15am
post #6 of 52

I don't have a business yet, so I am approaching this from a former bride's (2 years ago) perspective. For any other cake, I would not expect a tasting, but I would not have purchased my wedding cake without one. And actually, it worked out for the baker we purchased from, because they had a fresh mango filling at the tasting that was beyond amazing and that we likely would have never picked from a menu (and, of course, it was more expensive).

-K8memphis Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:34am
post #7 of 52

LittleCake, I'm with you, Cake-buddy!

Indy--will do!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chelley325

I don't have a business yet, so I am approaching this from a former bride's (2 years ago) perspective. For any other cake, I would not expect a tasting, but I would not have purchased my wedding cake without one. And actually, it worked out for the baker we purchased from, because they had a fresh mango filling at the tasting that was beyond amazing and that we likely would have never picked from a menu (and, of course, it was more expensive).




Well think of it this way, if I had done your cake, I'd have saved you some money. icon_lol.gif

I'm totally just teasing--I get what you mean and it's a valid point.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So maybe it's more chichi places that do tastings? Just a preliminary thought based on utterly unscientific data.

indydebi Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:40am
post #8 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

So maybe it's more chichi places that do tastings?




Ok.... what's a chichi place? I can't figure out if I should be proud or insulted. icon_lol.gif

-K8memphis Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 4:10am
post #9 of 52

No that's real cool. Oh yeah be proud of that. Well except for that whole hometown thing. No no no but really I'm just assuming that you are indeed in Indianapolis and 75 miles from Indianapolis would be a small town ergo not especially chichi although I'm sure very able to detect chocolate from vanilla in a blind fold test with their noses pinched together tight with clothespins unlike some others in more densely populated areas with eyes wide open. Clearly, I am not the one to bestow chichi or non-chichi status.

Pretty sure I'm diggin' my hole deeper and deeper.

Breaking News --The Institute on Tastings has withdrawn their utterly unscientific results on the chichi foofoo factor in cake tasting, filling tasting and most flavors of icing, including fondant. Mango was omitted from the study. We love mango. We love Indianapolis and everything in a 100 mile radius including Harrison Ford movies (Indy! Indy!) We love large cake, medium cake and of course, you guessed it, we love LittleCake.

Whew!

indydebi Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 4:13am
post #10 of 52

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif K8, I think you've officially hit sleep deprivation! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

gottabakenow Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 1:23pm
post #11 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

No that's real cool. Oh yeah be proud of that. Well except for that whole hometown thing. No no no but really I'm just assuming that you are indeed in Indianapolis and 75 miles from Indianapolis would be a small town ergo not especially chichi although I'm sure very able to detect chocolate from vanilla in a blind fold test with their noses pinched together tight with clothespins unlike some others in more densely populated areas with eyes wide open. Clearly, I am not the one to bestow chichi or non-chichi status.

Pretty sure I'm diggin' my hole deeper and deeper.

Breaking News --The Institute on Tastings has withdrawn their utterly unscientific results on the chichi foofoo factor in cake tasting, filling tasting and most flavors of icing, including fondant. Mango was omitted from the study. We love mango. We love Indianapolis and everything in a 100 mile radius including Harrison Ford movies (Indy! Indy!) We love large cake, medium cake and of course, you guessed it, we love LittleCake.

Whew!




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

-K8memphis Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:20pm
post #12 of 52

But honestly I would offer nice most yummy pound cake in a tasting. I've always wanted to do a pound cake wedding cake. One layer each with a corresponding big hole in the center like a giant bundt cake and then each hole loaded with a pile of fruit fillings and curds. So no torting and making the giant sticky messes.

I would bake a pound cake for that tasting. With my luck the bride & groom would both have gluten allergies. icon_rolleyes.gif But still...

And either stack them with like sps so you could dissasemble it easy for serving and everybody gets a blob of fruit filling. Or set them on individual cake plates y'know at differing heights.

This is my idea for budget weddings. You can cut pound cake paper thin if necessary so you can get a boatload of servings. The set up is so user friendly for us.

I love this idea.

onceuponacake Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:46pm
post #13 of 52

cake tastings are a necessary evil i think..i offer basic flavors in cupcakes. here's a good one:

met with a bride who wanted a cake for 50..i was the 5th cake decorator she was meeting with because her fiancee was very picky. the bride said that one decorator wouldn't do wedding cakes for less than 100 servings.

he liked the taste of one particular baker, but didnt like the way he decorated..he felt that the wedding cake should taste extra special than an ordinary cake..... 50 servings and he's being very picky she said.

..i actually gave her the name of two other people .... i havent heard back from her so i guess my cake was just ordinary icon_lol.gif

Jenn2179 Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:48pm
post #14 of 52

I offer tasting. I mean if I am paying $350 for dessert for people I would want to know how it tastes before I fork over the money. An my tastings have helped me to sell my cakes. I have had brides who taste cakes from other bakers and get a price quote which is lower than mine but they come back to me even with a higher price because of how much better my cakes taste. I am not changing my recipe either but this way they know my abilities and how GOOD my cakes taste. I don't bake fresh for each tasting. I will bake a 7 in square cake. I then cut it in half and tort it and fill and frost it with buttercream. They go in the freezer and when I have a tasting I cut a slice off of each flavor. It is a little bit smaller than a wedding serving but now they know what a wedding serving looks like. Plus most people here expect a tasting. And like Debi said it's where I sell my cakes. A lot of times the bride likes me and my personality plus the taste and look of my cakes and that's what sells them.

robinscakes Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:50pm
post #15 of 52

I do tastings. I offer cupcakes just to taste the flavor of the cake and keep some on hand in the freezer. I frost them for the customer after they are defrosted. I think it has been helpful. I do not charge for the cupcakes.

I had a customer call my bakery at 4:00 last Friday (we close at 2:00) and asked if they could stop in to talk about wedding cakes (the bride, maid of honor and mom). I said that we were closed, but they could come in and I'd talk to them--no problem. I explained that I didn't have any tasting samples for a last minute thing, and they understood that. When they arrived they explained that they'd just come from a bakery a short distance away and that the staff there was so rude that they left. The bride said that they wanted a $50 consultation fee just to talk to them, no tasting, and if they didn't order from them, they'd lose their $50 (it would be applied to a cake if they ordered). I feel pretty uneasy about this, but I didn't say anything to the bride. I just said that I was sorry that she was treated rudely. I wouldn't put down another bakery because I know what goes around comes around! I know some people charge for consultations, and I think that's okay because their time is money. I'm small-time, and I just don't think I'm the caliber of decorator who can justify that. So, I explained that I didn't charge for a tasting or for a consultation and they could talk with me as long as they wanted. They stayed for a half hour, looked through my books and booked a date in September for a cake without even tasting. They said that they really liked the fact that I let them in, even though we were closed, and that I didn't charge anything to talk to them. So, I think sometimes a tasting helps and sometimes just plain being nice and friendly works, too.

Maria_Campos Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 3:51pm
post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

But honestly I would offer nice most yummy pound cake in a tasting. I've always wanted to do a pound cake wedding cake. One layer each with a corresponding big hole in the center like a giant bundt cake and then each hole loaded with a pile of fruit fillings and curds. So no torting and making the giant sticky messes.

I would bake a pound cake for that tasting. With my luck the bride & groom would both have gluten allergies. icon_rolleyes.gif But still...

And either stack them with like sps so you could dissasemble it easy for serving and everybody gets a blob of fruit filling. Or set them on individual cake plates y'know at differing heights.

This is my idea for budget weddings. You can cut pound cake paper thin if necessary so you can get a boatload of servings. The set up is so user friendly for us.

I love this idea.


icon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gif

costumeczar Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 4:36pm
post #17 of 52

In my area you pretty much have to do tastings, too. There are a couple of people who charge for them, but I don't think they book much business. I've noticed that the people around here who charge for tastings also have cakes on their websites that look like my dog decorated them with the help of a monkey...Why is that? Maybe they need the tasting money for more decorating lessons!

The chi-chi thing isn't applicable here, either. Even the grocery stores offer tastings!

-K8memphis Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 5:49pm
post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maria_Campos

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

But honestly I would offer nice most yummy pound cake in a tasting. I've always wanted to do a pound cake wedding cake. One layer each with a corresponding big hole in the center like a giant bundt cake and then each hole loaded with a pile of fruit fillings and curds. So no torting and making the giant sticky messes.

I would bake a pound cake for that tasting. With my luck the bride & groom would both have gluten allergies. icon_rolleyes.gif But still...

And either stack them with like sps so you could dissasemble it easy for serving and everybody gets a blob of fruit filling. Or set them on individual cake plates y'know at differing heights.

This is my idea for budget weddings. You can cut pound cake paper thin if necessary so you can get a boatload of servings. The set up is so user friendly for us.

I love this idea.

icon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gif




Maria, why are you laughing and crying?

btw- the fillings would be one flavor per tier or compatable ones like lemon and lime curd or strawberry and raspberry. I've never tried it but it just sounds like a great idea on paper anyway.

Maria_Campos Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 6:00pm
post #19 of 52

because I got stiches on my side for LMAO

indydebi Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 12:14am
post #20 of 52

robinscakes' post is an EXCELLENT example of how she sold HERSELF first (being nice, listened, not bad-mouthing the competition), then her business (let them in after closing) and THEN sold her product.

This is exactly how it's done!! thumbs_up.gif

ANicole Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 12:51am
post #21 of 52

I just don't appreciate the people who are out like making a day of tasting wedding cakes. I'm not a big enough operation to eat that expense. I charge $15 for a sampler of 3 cakes and 2 fillings plus butter cream. If they order from me, I'll take it off their final price. I did bring samples to my last customer, though, for free, cuz she was nice on the phone! icon_wink.gif

snarkybaker Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 12:51am
post #22 of 52

We do both consultations...free, or tastings, which are $30. We make three six inch sample cakes of the brides choosing from our menu and send them home with them. That way they can sit with aunt tilly and all the relatives who give them all this positive feedback about how great our cakes are.
We book about 90% of our tastings. The tasting fee is credited toward the cake.

indydebi Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 1:28am
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber0717

I just don't appreciate the people who are out like making a day of tasting wedding cakes.




I've never run into that. When folks commit to spending an hour to 90 minutes with me to talk about their wedding, it's kinda hard to make it a get-free-dessert-day. If cakers are just giving free cakes out of a drive-thru window ("here's your cake .... let me know what you think ... see ya later....") then I can see how one might get hit with the drive-by tasters.

Ironbaker Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 1:51am
post #24 of 52

k8memphis -

I love you.

In a cakey way, of course.

That's all.

littlecake Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 3:32am
post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironbaker

k8memphis -

I love you.

In a cakey way, of course.

That's all.




ME 2...k8 is gr8!

Maria_Campos Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 12:19pm
post #26 of 52

I think cake tasting should only be for weddings, not birthdays or stuff like that, my opinion though, I'm new to wedding cakes, I usually do the other catagories but now have been getting request for wedding cakes so I have to do tastings now, but I just want to limit them to wedding cakes.

I hate wedding cakes! they make me sooo nervous, you know bridzillas and all...

I love babyshowers cake, those are my fav cakes to do!

-K8memphis Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 12:28pm
post #27 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironbaker

k8memphis -

I love you.

In a cakey way, of course.

That's all.



ME 2...k8 is gr8!




No no no Y'all are gr8 --Love y'all tooo!!! quit that I don't know how to act.

OnceUponA, Wow those folks did you a big favor huh. Once again, itâs at times like these that Iâm glad I manage a bookstore. Yeah I need to insulate my crabby patience-less self from the clueless amongst us.

Jenn 2179, You have a great thing going. Iâm glad it works so well for you. And yeah knowing how it tastes might be a good thing. Itâs a good thing though, builds trust.

But to me Robin proves that making nice with a customer is vital to establishing that whole trust thing sample or no sample. Glad you got the booking too!

CostumeCzar, might be like a Sydney Pollack thing where he kinda spewed the paint all over and got gazillions for his work. Geez if the grocery stores are doing it, yâall are really locked into it huh.

Indy, Indy, Yes Robin did good but no sample either.

Amber, Iâm glad you charge for it. There are definitely those kind out there huh.

Txcat, I am all for a $30 charge. That puts it into perspective. The ingredients arenât free and neither is the time to prepare all that. And offering the coice of with or without samples is a great idea. Cool.

Maria, for sure, just wedding cakes. Because it seems otherwise that it really gets to be more of a critiquing session. Even though someone might be gonna spend a bundle on a sculpture or something. The whole etiquette of tastings gets quite involved huh.

Momof4luvscakes Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 12:40pm
post #28 of 52

I do tastings, it lets me get a feel for the bride, and if I want to deal with her or not. They usually do not take a lot of time, I use cupckes. They can choose 3 flavors with fillings and their choice of frosting. Cupcakes are easier to have on hand.

-K8memphis Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 12:48pm
post #29 of 52

MomofLuv--For sure. One of my old boss' used cupcakes. She had over 4 zillion flavors and we would dig like arctic explorers trying to find that random flavor that was hidden amongst the icicles. She was a trip. She kept her cake mix in the walk-in so no one would see it. But microzapping cupcakes really gets them into wonderful serving condition huh. Then add the icing after of course.

indydebi Posted 24 Jun 2008 , 1:14pm
post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momof4luvscakes

I do tastings, it lets me get a feel for the bride, and if I want to deal with her or not.




Yup! I've had a couple of brides, that after they left, my proposal email "somehow" got lost in the Black Hole of Cyberspace, icon_rolleyes.gif , because it's better for me not to book with her than it is to deal with a bride who has unrealistic expectations and will be a PITA. They are not only interviewing their caterer, but this caterer is also interviewing the bride!

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