What To Do???

Decorating By Michellers Updated 3 Apr 2009 , 8:29pm by Michellers

Michellers Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 10:26pm
post #1 of 29

So my SIL is asking if I can make 2 sheet cakes for a friend. I've never made a sheet cake before and I really don't have much interest in it. But she wants one carved to look like a bible and the other carved into a cross. They're for a Communion.

I've already told her I have no interest in sheet cakes but I'd be happy to make a tiered cake and even sketched out an idea and told her my price. My price won't even differ that much between sheet cakes and a tiered cake...I don't think.

I bake as a hobby, I do not run a business and only make for friends and family. I usually only charge roughly $40 a cake, with the "friends and family discount". I quoted her a price of $1.75/slice (I called businesses in my area and the middle range is about $1.75) and she didn't seem too happy with the $180 quote. For some reason, before she even called the first time, my SIL told her I'd probably only charge her like $60! icon_confused.gif I'd loose money on it. Oh yeah, and she needs it to fee 100 people.

So even if I do decide to do sheet cakes for her, I'd still charge at least $1.50/slice which would still be $150. And what size sheets would I do? I found something that said an 18x12 serves 50, but if I carve it of course it would feed less. And carving a cross will cut away like half the cake!

Sorry for all the questions. I just don't know what to do right now. And TIA for any advice you can give me. icon_biggrin.gif

28 replies
Michellers Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 10:59pm
post #2 of 29

Can anyone help me?? Pretty please!?!

cheferyn Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:06pm
post #3 of 29

run. run far and run fast. if they don't want to pay then they can do somewhere else. that's my opinion. good luck.

janelwaters Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:08pm
post #4 of 29

I was going to say a carved cross and carved bible wouldn't feed 100 people. I would stick to my price and tell her that what she wanted won't feed all the people.

I'm not a sheet cake person either - although Wilton does make and open book pan and a cross pan.

Good luck with whatever you decided - I would also tell her that $60 won't cover cost of ingredients for that much cake!

Deb_ Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:09pm
post #5 of 29

I think the first thing I'd do is to tell my SIL to stop quoting "MY" prices to her friends. icon_smile.gif

If you're price is $1.50 a slice for sheet cake then by all means you need to quote that price.

If she says it's too much, well then she'll just have to go to a big box store for the cake.

If she agrees with the price, how about instead of carving out a cross, you just make one out of icing on top of the cake, that way you're not losing all those servings of cake when you carve (which the client still pays for).

or~ you could make a Rice Krispy cross covered with fondant and put that on top of the cake, then the kids could eat it.

Momkiksbutt Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:12pm
post #6 of 29

Ok, first of all, don't panic sweetie. We are all here to help.

Here's what would be the easiest thing to do. Get yourself a book cakepan, you should be able to pick one up at any Michaels Crafts store. If you don't have one available, you can always find them online. You can bake two of them if they are wanting two different book cakes. If you don't think that will be enough cake, then you can always bake a sheet layer and place the books on top at an angle and to one side, and then decorate them.

Let me show you what I mean:

http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=813063

Or you could do something like this:

http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=439953

Either way, would be easy for you if you get yourself a book pan. Save yourself the worry of carving.

Hope that helps!

Lisa

pattycakesnj Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:13pm
post #7 of 29

How about a sheet cake with a carved cross on top? For something like that with just icing, no fondant, I would charge $125. For $60, tell her she couldn't even get a cake for 100 people at the supermarket.

gerripje Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:13pm
post #8 of 29

I don't have any good advice for you. Most of the time, I'm in the same boat!! I'm feeling really cranky today and think I'll go back to just making birthday cakes for my kids.
It's just my family and friends that I make cakes for and some have been freaking out over covering the basic cost of ingredients!! I like to make cakes, but there comes a time when I'm saying why the heck do I want to spend my money and time on a cake for you!!! They want good cakes and think that I can obviously do it for less than the $24.99 sheet cake at the grocery store!!. Sorry, I am cranky and dealing with the same issues and today I want to tell everyone FORGET IT!! I QUIT!! Make it yourself!! And no, you can't borrow all the cake stuff that I spent tons of money on. icon_mad.gif
I think you would just have to say straight up what's involved, and I need to take my own advice as well. icon_redface.gif

bakery_chick Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:16pm
post #9 of 29

Michellers,
When I carve a cake like a cross, I like to cut a piece of cardboard to the exact dimensions of the cake and then cut rectangles of cake to fit the design. My sheet cakes are 3 layers of cake and 2 filling. I build up the layers accordingly keeping each slab of cake as whole as possible if that makes sense.

As far as your SIL is concerned, don't let her bully you into making this cake. You work too hard. If you don't want to do a sheet cake don't. If you don't want to pay someone to have a custom cake from you, stick to your pricing. If you decide you do need to give her a discount, I would for sure take it out in trade with the SIL. If it were me that SIL would be doing a whole lot for $120. Dishes, mopping, scrubbing toilets, scratching my back--and my going rate is minimum wage!

Michellers Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:22pm
post #10 of 29

Yeah, she mentioned the lady was already willing to pay like $50 each somewhere else, but I didn't ask where. Probably the grocery store for that price! I left her a message saying I could do the sheet cakes for $150, but I still have no idea what size pan I would do to make the cross cake feed 50 people. I'm kinda hoping she doesn't want the cakes from me, I don't really want the headache. But I can't really turn her down now because I already said I was open that weekend. Durn it!

Thanks for the replies! icon_smile.gif

Jayde Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:28pm
post #11 of 29

Ok, well first of all you have to determine the size of your servings. A wedding serving is usually a little bit smaller than a party serving.

So if you are going with a party serving (1 1/2 x 2 x 4, or however tall your cake is which for a sheet cake non-torted would be around 2 inches tall, so then you would have a 1 1/2 x 2 x 2). A half a sheet size is 12 x 16, and serves around 50.

If she wants 2 cakes, one bible, and one cross you are going to have to allow for the amount that you cut away for the cross cake. So, heres what I would do. This is going to require some carving, and most people charge like crazy for carving, cause its a time consuming and difficult skill. The cross isnt hard at all. I suggest getting yourself a large piece of paper and drawing/cutting out your cross. That way all you have to do is lay it over your cake and cut from there. Simple. Oh and I would put together 2 12 x 16's to achieve your number of servings.

Bible cake. Not difficult either. Get yourself a book and lay it open. With your 12 x 16 carve a little at a time to get your basic book shape. It sounds scary but its not, I promise, just go slow and carve away a little at a time. There are lots of pictures of crosses and bibles in the photo gallery, grab a couple for inspiration.

Number one rule: YOU determine your price. Not her, not anyone else here on CC, not your friend who told her that it "might cost her $50." YOU. So if you want to charge her $180 for both cakes, which is a deal, let me tell you. You have my permission to do so. icon_biggrin.gif

Michellers Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:29pm
post #12 of 29

Ok wow! I got a lot of responses in the time it took me to type, get up and chase after my 2 year old, come back and type, go back to the kid. LOL Thanks for all the great advise. I like the idea of putting a cross (and maybe even the bible) on top of the sheet cake so I don't have to cut any away. If they want to be cheap with the cake, then I might as well be too, right?!

Thank you so much for all of the responses. Sometimes it just takes other people telling you, for you to grow a back bone and say "No I won't lower my price!"

Michellers Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:37pm
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayde

Ok, well first of all you have to determine the size of your servings. A wedding serving is usually a little bit smaller than a party serving.

So if you are going with a party serving (1 1/2 x 2 x 4, or however tall your cake is which for a sheet cake non-torted would be around 2 inches tall, so then you would have a 1 1/2 x 2 x 2). A half a sheet size is 12 x 16, and serves around 50.

If she wants 2 cakes, one bible, and one cross you are going to have to allow for the amount that you cut away for the cross cake. So, heres what I would do. This is going to require some carving, and most people charge like crazy for carving, cause its a time consuming and difficult skill. The cross isnt hard at all. I suggest getting yourself a large piece of paper and drawing/cutting out your cross. That way all you have to do is lay it over your cake and cut from there. Simple. Oh and I would put together 2 12 x 16's to achieve your number of servings.

Bible cake. Not difficult either. Get yourself a book and lay it open. With your 12 x 16 carve a little at a time to get your basic book shape. It sounds scary but its not, I promise, just go slow and carve away a little at a time. There are lots of pictures of crosses and bibles in the photo gallery, grab a couple for inspiration.

Number one rule: YOU determine your price. Not her, not anyone else here on CC, not your friend who told her that it "might cost her $50." YOU. So if you want to charge her $180 for both cakes, which is a deal, let me tell you. You have my permission to do so. icon_biggrin.gif




Thank you for the sizing information. That part was really confusing me. I've done some carving before, so I'm not too scared of that, but I just had no idea what size cake to start with! icon_redface.gif

juleebug Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 11:52pm
post #14 of 29

You don't need to buy a book pan. I found this template in the Gallery. Use it to carve a book from a regular pan.

http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=340743

For the cross, you use the cut-away pieces and lose NO cake. This is how I would do it.

HTH

Edited to add attachments
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Jayde Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 12:07am
post #15 of 29

What Julee said is true also, and easy too. Just be careful when sizing your cutout page guide. I know your printer doesnt take 12x16 paper icon_smile.gif.

And I totally agree with the not buying a book pan. You can carve one yourself. Its not that bad, I promise you.

juleebug Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 12:11am
post #16 of 29

The cutting can be modified up to an 11x15, at least. You cut the cake in half length-wise. Put Section #1 aside. Then cut the other long piece in half and put Section #2 aside. Cut the remaining piece in half to create Sections #3 and #4.

Hope that makes sense.

xstitcher Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 2:59am
post #17 of 29

Juleebug, that is exactly what I was thinking about the cross cake so as not to loose any cake and thanks for the link for Doug's template for the book. I always forget to check the template section of the gallery.
icon_smile.gif

Michellers Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 3:07am
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by juleebug

You don't need to buy a book pan. I found this template in the Gallery. Use it to carve a book from a regular pan.

http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=340743

For the cross, you use the cut-away pieces and lose NO cake. This is how I would do it.

HTH

Edited to add attachments




Ohmygoodness you are so smart! Seriously, why didn't I think of that?! I will definitely do that, that is if she still wants the cake.

juleebug Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 3:35am
post #19 of 29

Glad I could help. icon_smile.gif Good luck with your cakes.

luvsfreebies72 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 4:18am
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michellers

Yeah, she mentioned the lady was already willing to pay like $50 each somewhere else, but I didn't ask where. Probably the grocery store for that price! I left her a message saying I could do the sheet cakes for $150, but I still have no idea what size pan I would do to make the cross cake feed 50 people. I'm kinda hoping she doesn't want the cakes from me, I don't really want the headache. But I can't really turn her down now because I already said I was open that weekend. Durn it!

Thanks for the replies! icon_smile.gif


when she calls back you could always tell her "Soooooooo sorry, I JUST got booked that day since I didn't hear back from you" icon_biggrin.gif

juleebug Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 4:30am
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvsfreebies72

when she calls back you could always tell her "Soooooooo sorry, I JUST got booked that day since I didn't hear back from you" icon_biggrin.gif




Then add.."But I can fit you in for an extra $25 (or $50, if you'd like). That should cover the wages for me to hire a girl to come in and help me bake." icon_biggrin.gif

tonia3604 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 4:45am
post #22 of 29

Also, if not wanting to carve away cake for the cross, you can make a cross out of chocolate using a mold to lay on top of the cake.

luvsfreebies72 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 4:46am
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by juleebug

Quote:
Originally Posted by luvsfreebies72

when she calls back you could always tell her "Soooooooo sorry, I JUST got booked that day since I didn't hear back from you" icon_biggrin.gif



Then add.."But I can fit you in for an extra $25 (or $50, if you'd like). That should cover the wages for me to hire a girl to come in and help me bake." icon_biggrin.gif


true dat. I vote for an extra $50! thumbs_up.gif

Michellers Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 4:45am
post #24 of 29

But get this....she obviously thought I would be upscale enough to request a tasting [for a COMMUNION cake no less!!] but then she wants grocery store prices. I still haven't gotten a call back. Ah well. I'm sure her Costco cakes will be delicious and unique. icon_lol.gif

pebblez87 Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 6:21pm
post #25 of 29

i too have a bible cake coming up mine is for easter i plan on just using the 1/2 sheet cake slimming the sides to look like an open book and using one of the rope book marks to hide the center, plus they want an actually bible verse written on the cake this shall be fun maybe i will look into that template btw bible cakes at the stores arent cheap my SIL payed about 100 something when she got the one for my nephews communion so your pricing is extremely reasonable

prterrell Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 6:31pm
post #26 of 29

Let me get this straight, she thinks she can get cake for 60 cents a serving? Yeah. Good luck with that. Honestly, I wouldn't take the order. This woman sounds like a giant pain in the caboose.

sweetiesbykim Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 6:41pm
post #27 of 29

My local cake/candy supply shop offers all kinds of baking pans to rent. I would use the Wilton cross pan and the 2-mix bible pan, but I'm able to rent them. Check your area shops to see if they would offer this.
Also, ACMoore also has 50% off coupons online for members, if they are in your area. I have accumulated many great cake items with their coupons.
I don't like to carve and work with crumbs, so I would just put these each on a 2-layer half sheet (From Sam's club -2 per pckg).

pouchet82 Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 6:48pm
post #28 of 29

icon_rolleyes.gif Hmmmm, How about you tell her where she can buy the pans, and some cake mix? Tell her if she THINKS she can make 2 cakes like that for 60$ all the power to her! icon_twisted.gif

Michellers Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 8:29pm
post #29 of 29

I really appreciate everyone's replies. It really took me posting this question for me to get a backbone and want what I think I'm worth. I really love the CC community and how willing y'all are to help out even the "little gals" like me.

The area I live in is mostly the "grocery store cake" kind of people. Or maybe that's just the people I know. I charge a low price for friends and family and have just decided to raise that price so I'm not losing money on every cake anymore. My husband is concerned people will stop ordering from me. But I guess that will just show whether people really like my work, or if they just liked my cheap price.


Now that I've had some time to think about it I think this is probably how the conversation went:

Cake shopper: So I'm trying to find some cake for a communion next month.
SIL: Oh, my SIL makes the most yummy cake.
Cake shopper: But how much would she charge? Such and such grocery store is going to charge me $90.
SIL: She'd probably only charge you like $60! [picks up phone] beep boop beep beep boop. Hey Michelle!....

icon_rolleyes.gif

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