Have You Ever Had Anyone Ask You This?

Business By momma28 Updated 8 Jun 2009 , 2:29pm by loriemoms

momma28 Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 6:33pm
post #1 of 39

I had someone call me last night asking for a sculpted Hello Kitty cake. No biggie. Then she says...Do you have anyone help you, I said no its just me. She clarifies and says SHE wants to help me with her cake so she can learn how to make them!!!!!!!

My response : My kitchen is inspected by the VA Dept Agriculture and I can't have customers in there baking and decorating with me.

What I WANTED to say: Are you out of your mind, i'm not a decorating class im a business....go to michaels and take a wilton class! UGH

Has anyone ever asked you to help with their cake?

38 replies
Confectioners_Conundrum Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 6:43pm
post #2 of 39

I haven't ever had anyone ask me to help...that is crazy! But, on another note...I was recently told that I need to be inspected by the VA department of Agriculture. The packet came and (I work from home) it is soooooo long!! What all do they look for when they come? Do I have to do the samples for VA Tech? It's crazy! What was your experiance like? I was wondering if there is anything inparticular that they are really looking for?

momma28 Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 6:46pm
post #3 of 39
Originally Posted by sugarshack


OMGoodness Sharon really? I was blown away. It seems so rude to me.

countrybee Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 6:56pm
post #4 of 39

I actually had 3 family members that went and paid for classes because they were tired of paying me do cakes. They got such a bad instructor that after every class they would call me to clarify what they didn't understand. I told them they should have just paid me to teach them and then they would have known how to decorate.

sugarshack Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 6:56pm
post #5 of 39

oops, i must have hit submit before i finished.

yes, have been approached to help or watch and i always say no. it is rude

indydebi Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 8:17pm
post #6 of 39

"I'm sorry .... what makes you think I need help on this cake?"

while I've never had someone ask to help with their cake, I have had a number of walk-ins who are interested in working for me so they can learn how to do cakes. Uh, the sign on my door says nothing about "cake decorating school .... apply within". icon_eek.gif

Usually I tell them my cake volume doesnt' justify a 2nd decorator. Since I do catering, I dont' have to do 20 or 30 cakes a day.

And even if I did do that many cakes a day, nobody who "wants to learn" starts decorating cakes on Day One. dunce.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 8:27pm
post #7 of 39

I had a mom ask if I could make her 5 year old daughter's birthday cake, and have the DAUGHTER help me decorate it. I was aghast. Doesn't that sound like a real treat?

I just politely told her I wouldn't be interested in doing that. I gave her some ideas of how SHE could do a cupcake decorating party for her daughter and all her little friends. Funny thing, she said, "OH, I'm not ready for that." Ya' think? Me, either.

-K8memphis Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 8:41pm
post #8 of 39

I understand someone being rude when they ask.

However in the high end part of the food world it is not only accepted it is the common practice of culinary wannabes to stage (pronounced stahj)--often that means work for free for a lengthy period of time. It is also used to 'fill out an application' to see if the worker will be compatible with the establishment.

Lots of folks stage to be able to get the hands on knowlege--these episodes go onto their resumes.

So there's cerainly rude people who would ask inappropriately but another way to think of it maybe is as a beautiful feather in your cap that someone would request to stage with you. (Even if they never heard of the word~~It's French I believe--this is where PinkZ chimes in to set me straight icon_smile.gif

And for me I would also say $25-$35 an hour but it's still a big complement if you think about it that way, the way the rest of the food world views it.


Whenever Chef-boy got out of school his Momma pitched a fit about staging. No money No workie!!! icon_biggrin.gif So he has not sought out any extended stages. <rAHhr> icon_lol.gif

summernoelle Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 9:03pm
post #9 of 39

About a year ago someone asked me that (ironically it was for a Hello Kitty cake as well.) I politely told her know, but it did certainly surprise me.

Mindy1975 Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 9:34pm
post #10 of 39

I had a lady call me one time to ask if she could come out and "watch" me do my cakes to see if I do mine the same way she does hers. icon_eek.gif I about died. Of course I told her no. I've also had customers who think I should just give my cake recipes out to anyone who wants it. Yeah right!

miny Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 9:46pm
post #11 of 39

It has never happen to me and I understand why it would be easy to get mad at this people, but you need to accept ----it is funny!! The nerve of some shameless people trying to get a class for free.....

DebBTX Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:36pm
post #12 of 39

I had a woman, that I had recently met, ask if she could help me do my daughter's wedding cake. She is a nice lady, but I politely said no.
During the conversation I realized she didn't actually know how to decorate cakes, but was wanting to observe to learn. She had worked, in times past, for a local caterer, but didn't do their cakes.

I was honest and told her it would be a really bad idea. I would have out -of- town company there, plus the busy activities of being the MOB. The biggest factor would be my desire to do my best on the cakes, without distractions. Using that time to allow someone to "help" sounded like more stress than I would ever want.
I told her I really didn't want an audience while I was in the thick of things. There were quite a few things on my mind at once. icon_lol.gif

She understood completely and wasn't offended. It hadn't occurred to her that I might get stressed over such things, she just wanted to watch. (Okay, I admit that I do have stress kick into gear over some cakes, even though I am pleased to be able to make them. I know... it doesn't make any sense. icon_lol.gif )

-Debbie B. icon_biggrin.gif

chefjess819 Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:49pm
post #13 of 39

it bothers me enough having my family hanging around while i'm decorating a cake, much less the "customer" herself! people don't understand a lot of times just how much concentration goes into cakes to get them to look the way we or they want them to.

shebaben Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:50pm
post #14 of 39

How interesting! Just this past Friday night, a neighbor was trying to be SO helpful - GRRRR - I finally let her make a batch of icing, which went fine since the recipe was precise. But then I let her try to follow a simple, simple design that needed some blue icing. Disaster! Never, never again will I let anyone do anything for me just because I'm behind and stressed! Not worth it! icon_mad.gif (But, wouldn't it be exciting to have someone think you're so good that they'd like to watch and learn from you!) PAT

indydebi Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:55pm
post #15 of 39
Originally Posted by shebaben

But then I let her try to follow a simple, simple design that needed some blue icing. Disaster!

A good actor makes acting seem so simple. A good comedian makes it look easy to make people laugh. A good artist makes it look easy for the canvas to come alive with color. A good cake decorator makes people think it's easy to "slap some icing on it". (as my husband found out when he watched me make a BC rose and said, "Give me that thing ... *I* can do that!" It ended up looking like Spiro Agnew!)

Yet they've no idea the skill level that it REALLY takes.

It's like Lucy Ricardo working in the chocolate factory! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

cutthecake Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 11:02pm
post #16 of 39

Do these people ask their mechanics if they can help out with the car repairs? Or ask the dentist if he needs help with their fillings? Or the surgeon if he needs help with the procedure? Or the restaurant chef if he needs help preparing their dinner?
I don't think so.

DebBTX Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 11:08pm
post #17 of 39

I love it when my husband helps. I think he decorates better
than me. thumbs_up.gif
My kids are grown and are also a great help when they are available.

-Debbie B.

Melchas Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 11:15pm
post #18 of 39

I had a friend that wanted me to show her how I did my cookies on a stick. I gave her the recipe, made the frosting and showed her some simple designs...what a disaster. She made the cookies in a toaster oven, couldn't understand why hers didn't hold thier shape. She didn't realize I meant a convection oven.

Funny, you can show people how to do something, even give them step by step instructions and sometimes they still don't get it.

Cheyanne25 Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 11:52pm
post #19 of 39

A pp mentioned the stages that some culinary apprentices (and chefs)will take on. I completely agree with this when its someone in the culinary field asking (or pastry field) lol, they can at least offer something to you for the training; such as food knowledge, cake baking background, etc. But when it's customers asking, its definitely just because they figure it's only a matter of learning a few easy tricks and then they could make their own cakes.

A recipe does not a baker/cook make. In my culinary class you could give 10 of us the EXACT same recipe, written out step by step and you'd get 10 different results in the end. Of course towards the end of our course the results began to get slightly more similar lol. A recipe is only as good as the skills of the person executing it.

DiannaSue Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 12:04am
post #20 of 39

Yes, I have also been asked that same question. I also said no. I have to be completely by myself when I decorate cakes. I have no idea why I have to be by myself, but I have always been that way since I started decorating. I can cook while other people are around, but not when I am decorating.

CocoaBlondie Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 12:11am
post #21 of 39

My family members have asked to help me out before. I tell them no that's okay. Never had a customer ask before that's just odd. My kitchen is my territory all others keep out!!

mommyle Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 12:12am
post #22 of 39

I just had someone ask me for a "good choc cake recipe. I CANT seem to make a choc cake!" So I gave her the mayo one. It was from memory, and I don't know if my memory is THAT good!!! Then she said that if it didn't turn out, she would come to me, and I said "Sure, it's $3.00 a serving, so the cost depends on the size of the cake you order from me!" then she said that she'd get me to SHOW her how to make a good choc cake, and I said "For $50 an hour, I'd be happy to!" BWAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!

indydebi Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 12:18am
post #23 of 39
Originally Posted by mommyle

I just had someone ask me for a "good choc cake recipe. I CANT seem to make a choc cake!" So I gave her the mayo one. It was from memory, and I don't know if my memory is THAT good!!! Then she said that if it didn't turn out, she would come to me, and I said "Sure, it's $3.00 a serving, so the cost depends on the size of the cake you order from me!" then she said that she'd get me to SHOW her how to make a good choc cake, and I said "For $50 an hour, I'd be happy to!" BWAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!

You are awesome! icon_lol.gif

apetricek Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 12:24am
post #24 of 39

I have had numerous customers also offer the idea that I should hold a cake decorating class...um yeah, like I have time for that...I wouldn't be the best teacher anyway...I am very OCD, and have to have everything perfect, and my way only....I am flattered though that they would love to learn from me!

momma28 Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 12:26am
post #25 of 39

I had never looked at this request as a compliment and its a nice way to think, thanks for pointing that out. I just kinda felt like she wanted to learn so she never had to order one again....you know how long it took me to learn (self taught but still) and research how to sculpt a 3d cake...cake density...internal structure so it doesnt fall or sink....fondant with no pleats on a tall structure (seems the taller it is the harder it is for me not to have pleats maybe its just me)...no matter how good this womanthinks I am, she certainly couldnt learn all of that in one day

SugaredUp Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 12:27am
post #26 of 39

For the right price, I would do it! True, I really don't have time, but for the right price, I'd make time! LOL

In fact, if and when I ever get a store front of my own, I plan on offering workshops.

-K8memphis Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 1:04am
post #27 of 39

My kidlette just completed her first (cuppie) wedding cake. She's 29 and very accomplished in her field. It came out stunn. ing. I was her cake consultant--it is hard work to 'train' someone. Takes much more energy than I am willing to expend on a stranger.

I don't like to talk when I'm doing the cake. In the creative process I can't talk. If I'm doing something by rote ok sure I can converse.


Chocolate always seems easy to me...but white! Eek, white is the toughest for me.

kelleym Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 3:16am
post #28 of 39

Everybody seen this video? Pay special attention to the couple at the beginning and end. icon_smile.gif

Melchas Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 3:41am
post #29 of 39

Everybody seen this video? Pay special attention to the couple at the beginning and end.

OMG that is hilarious...so true!!!

mommyle Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 3:46am
post #30 of 39


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