Home Bakers And Cake Tastings?

Decorating By gr8cakemaker Updated 23 Oct 2008 , 2:06pm by gr8cakemaker

gr8cakemaker Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 6:26pm
post #1 of 16

ok, another question for all you home bakers. I am a home baker and have a few weddings in my future. Where do you all do cake tastings? I feel a bit weird with tons of people coming to my home. I also have a 2 year old who not only has toys EVERYWHERE, but gets sick VERY easily and do not want an excess of germs in my house. I was thinking maybe a local coffee place, but wont that tick off the owners with me bringing my own cake and not ordering anything?

15 replies
muddpuppy Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 6:31pm
post #2 of 16

I doubt that they will even notice if you bring in a small package and order a cup of coffee.. I do it all the time. I also like to go to my clients houses for tastings/consults as my kitchen is not insured for anyone not employed by me...

-Tubbs Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 8:52pm
post #3 of 16

I've done a couple of weddings now and met both brides at a Starbucks. I wouldn't like to do tastings at home.

gr8cakemaker Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 9:54pm
post #4 of 16

so can I ask how you all got your business up and running. I am having a hard time getting my name out. I was thinking of making a bunch of cupcakes and packing 2 to a box. Then going door to door and introducing myself and my business....or is this creepy?

mommicakes Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 11:14pm
post #5 of 16

Most of the time, I go to the brides to be. Only because I have 4 children and things here at home are a little busy, and crazy. I have a little travel set up that I take with me, I'll try to attach a pic.

I bring flavor of cupcakes with fillings and icings in the larger paper nut cups that you can get from walmart or wherever. I put them on a cupcake carrier, and make sure that I also bring plastic plates, cutlery, and napkins. I will also bring a special little box, to leave the left over samples in for them for later.

LeanneW Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:41am
post #6 of 16

sorry this is long.

I' not a home baker but I bake in a cake studio where I can't have guests.

I have had tastings in my house a few times and stopped doing it because of the stress of it. even though I made it clear I do not bake at home obviously they would be looking at how clean my home and kitchen were.

It was dificult on my husband because he couldn't touch anything after it was "super duper clean" and because we only have 700 sq ft he would have to leave during the tasting. Also it's not really safe to be alone on your house with strangers, especially if you have kids.

now I do two flavors of cake, filling, and frosting like this...

I bought the 7"x7"x4" boxes and the standard cupcake inserts for 4 cupcakes from BRP Box Shop online, they have free shipping and a good price.

I make the cupcakes and fill them using a pastry bag and long tube tip and then do a simple bc swirl using a 1M tip.

then I put two of each selection in the box and tie it with a bow. I have a stamp with my logo on it that I have been stamping on the top of the box.

I have been looking into getting labels made that have my logo and contact info and a place to fill in the flavors of cake, filling, and frosting. also instructions for refrigeration.

I meet the bride at Starbucks or a coffe shop usually near her house or work and we talk about the design of her cake and draw up some pictures and talk about price/payment info etc.

I buy my guests a coffee or whatever and they take the box of cake home to sample, that way they aren't uncomfortable eating cake at the coffee shop.

this has worked so well for me and the customers really like it.

I know there has been advice on this forum about the tasting time being your sales time and that you should be there to sell your cake when they taste it. I agree with this but I have had to change the way I sell because of my circumstances.

I spend enough time with the customer that I can build rapport and sell me and my cakes to them. We usually spend 30 to 60 mins designing the cake.

I have never had a complaint about the taste of my cakes and usually the bride falls in love with the cake design and the great tasting cake is a bonus.

Taking the sample home is also nice for the bride so she can share it with someone who otherwise wouldn't have been able to go to the meeting.

Kitagrl Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:51am
post #7 of 16

I do mine at home...I get my husband to take the four kids somewhere and my living room is my nicest room...our sofas have fold down tables...and I put a nice plate or two of cake and fillings there and some bottled water in the cup holders, and I sit with them there casually and talk about cake. It works fine...not what my ideal would be, but its presentable enough and so far nobody has seemed offended or disappointed.

uschi1 Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:52am
post #8 of 16

I always invite people into my home. I feel if they can see where I bake and that my house is clean, they feel more at ease.
I had a bride visit last week who was very concerned about pets and smoking in the house. I told her that I don't have pets (shedding a tear for my poor dog who left us in June...) and we don't smoke. She showed up, had some cake, and signed the contract. Yeah!

Kitagrl Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:53am
post #9 of 16
Originally Posted by uschi1

I always invite people into my home. I feel if they can see where I bake and that my house is clean, they feel more at ease.
I had a bride visit last week who was very concerned about pets and smoking in the house. I told her that I don't have pets (shedding a tear for my poor dog who left us in June...) and we don't smoke. She showed up, had some cake, and signed the contract. Yeah!

Right that's what I think too...my house isn't fancy but it looks clean when you come in and I want them to know I try to be as professional as possible though I have four kids and do this from home.

bobwonderbuns Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:57am
post #10 of 16

I go to the customer. I've had many tastings in their houses, where they are most comfortable. I bring my stuff and a taster or two and it's worked out well every time.

liapsim Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:17am
post #11 of 16

Now, I have a question about this....are all of ya'll legitimate businesses...with licenses and etc.? And what were the requirements of your home kitchens when you got this license? This is something I am looking in to so I am just curious (and I know they vary by state but I want a general idea).

Kitagrl Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:21am
post #12 of 16

I'm legal in PA....

FromScratch Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:22am
post #13 of 16

I have them at my home. I have my children go with either my husband or my mother and they will sit at my kitchen table and we can talk shop. My house is usually pretty clean so getting it spotless doesn't take a ton of time. I like having people over because all of my stuff is here. My dummies and my GP flower samples.. all of it. I set them up with a nice plate of 5 cakes flavors and a bunch of filling options and a small bottle of water. They sample and we laugh (unless the are the cold stick-up-their-ass types) and they feel comfortable with me and my set up and I think it puts them at ease. Txkat said it best IMO.. why would they trust you with a $500.00 check when you won't trust them with your address?

I could see it if your child were especially suceptible to illness though so I am not sure. I make sure my kiddos aren't around for tastings (mainly because they like to come a peek in and say hi and that's not professional).

FromScratch Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:24am
post #14 of 16

I am legal in NH. You need to call your local DHHS or DOA and find out your state and county's regulations on home businesses. Not all states allow home kitchens to be licensed.

CAKESHERWAY Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:49am
post #15 of 16

Hi! Congrats on the upcoming brides and cakes!

I have a commercial licensed kitchen in my home (separate from the home kitchen and in the basement). I do all my bridal consults in my dining room. I also have three kids ages 8, 4 and 3.

So for you if you can't find another place or wish to give the at home thing a try here is what I do. In the beginning before I had bridal consults every weekend, I would schedule one Saturday per month or for you it may be a weekday or evening, and allow at least two hours per bride and clean up.

In the beginning, I would have my mom or hubby take the kids out of the house, but now I do them when they are here and the kids are usually fine. Sometimes my 3yr old daughter joins us but quietly. I would clean up the house (though I have to keep my house clean most of the time since I have pickups at my home from Tues-Sat so I keep on top of all of it. Or throw things in a closet! icon_smile.gif

For the tasting, I make a 6x4 or 8x4 inch white cake and half of it is filled with raspberry filling and the other half b/c. Then I also do a Choc. cake with chocolate b/c and fill it if I have some left over. I also have a dish with marsh. fondant for them to taste. I cut and plate everything in the kitchen and then serve the cake on paper plates. i know some people go so far as to get their best china out but I don't. They are there for the cake not the plates. Plus, I don't have time to wash all those dishes so I use disposable everything! I also serve them iced water in clear plastic cups, napkins and forks. I don't like to do cupcakes cuz for some reason I think cake tastes better torted, layered and filled. UNLESS it is a cupcake wedding they are wanting! Then it's cupcakes if I have the time.

I serve the cake, and leave the room, to straighten up the kitchen a bit (preparing for the next bride) and give them some time to taste. I then rejoin them. We then talk servings, shapes, styles and colors and go from there.

Don't spend a ton of time or money on the consults but don't come off as unprofessional either. I am very relaxed and casual at my consults, dressed casually but neatly and my hair is always pulled up as I am serving food. Mostly, you need to be able to concentrate on the bride and get a feel for her personality so that you can help her design her cake. You also don't want too many distraction as you may miss something important.

I usually ask when the schedule the consult what type of cake they are leaning toward and then have that type of dummy ready to show so that they know the height of their cake and show the cake stand that I rent out!

Hope this helped you. Oh, word of mouth is always the best advertising but to get it started, take snacks to school with your kids for class treats, leaves some treats at the office for teachers, nurse,staff etc to eat. Take treats to the doctors office as a thank you for the care they provide (this was a huge kick start for me), take them into the dentist office, bank for tellers, bake sales and stick business cards in, etc. These are a few of the things that really helped with word of mouth. The medical profession works twice as the nurses and staff talk to each other and to family and friends and patients are there too tasting or hearing or seeing and they talk to friends and family!

Good luck!

gr8cakemaker Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:06pm
post #16 of 16

yes, I am licensed and legal...ready to sell! icon_smile.gif

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