A Fn Style Cake For How Much? You're Kidding~

Business By kellertur Updated 2 Jul 2009 , 4:08pm by jlynnw

kellertur Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 2:22am
post #1 of 34

With the ever growing popularity of cake shows right now, has anyone else been asked to create an elaborate Food Network style cake for next to nothing? icon_confused.gif

Today I got a call from a woman asking me to sculpt an accurate replica of one of our state landmarks, "like they do on that cake show", she says. (Ok, no problem so far, I thought... I love to sculpt).

Then she says: "I need it to feed 150 people and my budget is $100.00." icon_eek.gif

Uhhh.... is this happening to anyone else? icon_confused.gif

33 replies
Mindy1975 Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 2:57am
post #2 of 34

I get this crap all the time. And I just fine my "inner IndyDebi" or "inner Leahs" and give them a quick talking to and they usually shut up after that. But they usually don't order either a sculpted cake either. lol Like right now, I'm up late working on a 3d monster truck for a wedding. The bride had no problem with my price because she knew it would take me days to pull it off. IT will never end. Some get it, some don't.

ljdills Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 3:10am
post #3 of 34

It is what my dad calls having caviar taste on a beer budget !!! I have people bring me these pictures of these wonderful cakes and when I price them it is "Well can you not do the fondant? Can you leave this off and that off?" Then they are suprised when the finished product is nothing like the picture. It drives me crazy !!!!

ljdills Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 3:11am
post #4 of 34

It is what my dad calls having caviar taste on a beer budget !!! I have people bring me these pictures of these wonderful cakes and when I price them it is "Well can you not do the fondant? Can you leave this off and that off?" Then they are suprised when the finished product is nothing like the picture. It drives me crazy !!!!
They miss the part on these cake shows where these artists talk about pricing. Like Charm City Cakes has a minimum $1,000.

ljdills Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 3:12am
post #5 of 34

It is what my dad calls having caviar taste on a beer budget !!! I have people bring me these pictures of these wonderful cakes and when I price them it is "Well can you not do the fondant? Can you leave this off and that off?" Then they are suprised when the finished product is nothing like the picture. It drives me crazy !!!!
They miss the part on these cake shows where these artists talk about pricing. Like Charm City Cakes has a minimum $1,000.

kellertur Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 3:14am
post #6 of 34

I didn't want to laugh, but I didn't know what to say either. Do you think it's just that people have no idea the labor and expense of making sculpted cakes? (or cakes in general, for that matter?)

It's the same with people who think you can make one of these cakes with a couple days notice. Maybe they just don't realize... icon_confused.gif

matthewkyrankelly Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 3:24am
post #7 of 34

No, they have no idea. However, Duff lists his starting price on his website. They now start at a whopping $1000. Have them look that up, get a couple of ideas for what they want, and get back to you. If they call back, you'll know you have an opportunity.

indydebi Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:17am
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

I didn't want to laugh, but I didn't know what to say either. Do you think it's just that people have no idea the labor and expense of making sculpted cakes? (or cakes in general, for that matter?)



Why not? I have gotten silly calls like this and I HAVE laughed ... loud and long (and anyone who has heard my laugh can attest to how scary that can be ... when granddaughter went to her 4 week old checkup, & doc asks mom "is she startled by any noises?", my daughter said, "Just gramma's laugh.")

Guy called at 11:00 a.m. and wanted a carved cake to look like his BMW or Porche or something. I laughed, loud, and said, "Do you have any idea how many DAYS it takes to make one of those?" Suggested he call this other (very expensive) bakery and he said, "I did. They said they needed more notice."

DUH!!!


And you are correct, they have NO idea. The TV shows don't give a price and all this customer has been exposed to is grocery store cake pricing. They have NO IDEA that a cake can cost $1000. (and by the way, you might remember the CC'er who won a Duff cake. I believe it was when his $1000 cakes were only $500 but what she got for his "minimum" cake was a 2 tier with fondant stripes. So as I tell folks, "....and those cakes you see on his show are nowhere NEAR a lousy thousand dollar cake!")

Edited to add: The guy who called at 11? He wnated it for a dinner party THAT DAY at 5!!!

__Jamie__ Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:21am
post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi


And you are correct, they have NO idea. The TV shows don't give a price and all this customer has been exposed to is grocery store cake pricing. They have NO IDEA that a cake can cost $1000. (and by the way, you might remember the CC'er who won a Duff cake. I believe it was when his $1000 cakes were only $500 but what she got for his "minimum" cake was a 2 tier with fondant stripes. So as I tell folks, "....and those cakes you see on his show are nowhere NEAR a lousy thousand dollar cake!")

Edited to add: The guy who called at 11? He wnated it for a dinner party THAT DAY at 5!!!




And not only that, but that little timer that 8 hour timermKeegan stands in front of, it's still only an hour long show. icon_cool.gif So really guys, why can't you pull off something like that in half a day??? icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

FromScratch Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:26am
post #10 of 34

It happens all the time. People have NO friggin' clue what it takes to make a cake look like a sculpture. I almost want to say that the FN Challenge shows are a detriment to us all. I mean it take 8 hours to pull of those masterpiece cakes right??? So why do we needs so much notice? icon_rolleyes.gif

I have no problem letting people know that there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that I could pull off a cake in such short notice/for such little compensation. They usually are understanding. I've only had a few huffy people. THOSE people I have no problem chuckling at.

indydebi Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:37am
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratch

I mean it take 8 hours to pull of those masterpiece cakes right???



And their cakes are already baked; they are given time to set up and organize the kitchen; icing and fondant is premade; sometimes (on very rare occasions) some of the decoration pieces are already made; they have an assistant; and they are NOT being interrupted to answer the phone, deal with employee questions, handle walk in customers, chase a 2 year old out of the toilet, stop to pick up kids at school, deal with a full time job, and all of the other things.

(Can you imagine how much time it took just to make all of those cakes for the elephant/mammoth thing on the Ice Age challenge?)

miny Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:47am
post #12 of 34

Hahaha, they may think: "those people on tv can get those amazing cake done in an hour, why can you?, I've seen it on tv, don't tell me it's not doable!, actually is less than an hour because they do testing, judging and award ceremony!!!!" icon_confused.gif
Hahaha, the nerve! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

miny Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:48am
post #13 of 34

Hahaha, they may think: "those people on tv can get those amazing cake done in an hour, why can you?, I've seen it on tv, don't tell me it's not doable!, actually is less than an hour because they do testing, judging and award ceremony!!!!" icon_confused.gif
Hahaha, the nerve! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

miny Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:50am
post #14 of 34

Hahaha, they may think: "those people on tv can get those amazing cake done in an hour, why can you?, I've seen it on tv, don't tell me it's not doable!, actually is less than an hour because they do testing, judging and award ceremony!!!!" icon_confused.gif
Hahaha, the nerve! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

sweetkozie Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:51am
post #15 of 34

I just keep getting people who think I can do a three tiered wedding cake that feeds 150 for $100 bucks. Then they get mad and make up stupid excuses as to why they went to Wal-Mart for their wedding cake instead! I'm like well if a Wal-Mart cake is want you want at your wedding then I really don't need you as a client! People seem to think that because I'm new at cake making (for money anyway) they can rip me off.

CakeMommyTX Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:52am
post #16 of 34

Not to mention they have the motivation of giant 10K cardboard check!!!
If a customer called me and said "I'll give you 10,000 dollars if you can make a cake that looks like my cat Fluffy in 8 hrs or less " you bet I'd be cranking out a red velvet cat in 480 minutes flat.

miny Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 4:53am
post #17 of 34

Hahaha, they may think: "those people on tv can get those amazing cake done in an hour, why can you?, I've seen it on tv, don't tell me it's not doable!, actually is less than an hour because they do testing, judging and award ceremony!!!!" icon_confused.gif
Hahaha, the nerve! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

jlynnw Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 5:08am
post #18 of 34

It is the microwave generation. They want instant gratification that someone else foots the bill for. DH says Whimpy has nothing on some of the fools that called the shop looking for cakes. The expectation that a cake can be made the morning of the event and show up that afternoon, decorated beyond belief into a sculpted art piece is of the norm. Apparently, decorators love a challenge. icon_mad.gificon_lol.gif

LittleBigMomma Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 5:18am
post #19 of 34

I got a call last week where the customer told me that she could only spend $100 on a cake. She wanted a square 4 tier cake for 80-90 people. The tone she used made it sound like that was her offer. THIS IS THE CAKE I WANT and I ONLY HAVE $100!!! And she didn't want icing with butter in it. Well, I thought, if her toilet backs up, does she call the plumber and tell him she only has $25.00!!!

dandelion56602 Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 5:23am
post #20 of 34

I was going to say what Indydebi said about everything being prebaked & some of the decor premade as well as icing & fondant. And the majority of the time they've had time to design before hand. I think I would have aked the guy how long he thinks it takes to mix & bake a cake? Then you have to measure & mix the icing. You have to let that cake cool or the icing will melt right off. Then just slap that baby together. (There have been some cakes that take me 45 min- 1 hr just to get the icing smooth for my liking, let alone decorate). But he was talking carving too. Yeah, I would have said $3000 should cover the expedited cake. They charge out the a$$ for expedited shipping, why not an expedited cake?! I would have had to see the eye balls pop out of his head though!

ApplegumKitchen Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 7:05am
post #21 of 34

I don't think it is necessarily that people are mean-spirited or that they are trying to rip you off - I genuinely think that unless you ARE a cake-decorater you probably would not have ANY idea of what making a cake entails - not the cost of the ingredients, tools required, or the time involved.
Heck, there are a lot of cake decoraters who don't know this!!

I think it would be similar if you were to go and look at say, a couture dress - made by a designer - could you understand that they wanted to charge you $15,000 for a dress - could you justify the price by knowing that every bead had been hand sewn on, that perhaps the fabric had been imported and it was $150 per metre.... the list goes on (and it is only an example!)

I think it is our job to educate these people - thats why I include in my quote the time taken - so for example the cake might have 50 roses - so I might write 50 hours beside it - or lots of detailed piping (12hours ??) this way when they baulk at the price it is easy for them to see where the large bulk of the money is - you can show them a simpler design (with a lot less time involved) for half the price and then it makes your job of justifying your price so much easier - its not just saying ... they have no idea...... it is actually an eye-opener for most people and you would be surprised at how often they turn around and say... wow! I never realised how much time went into a cake!! and more than half still stick with the more expensive design!!

FromScratch Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 11:25am
post #22 of 34

Oh I know about all the prep those Challenge contestants get to do... but the general public doesn't think that way. They see a 4 foot cake going up in an hour long show. Not to mention the sense of entitlement people seem to have these days. That's one thing I try to drill into my kiddos head... this world doesn't owe you ANYTHING. You need to work for things, and if you can't (or don't want to) you have to pay for it.

I always tell people how long their cake will take me to pull off. 90% of them are shocked when they hear that their "simple" cake will still take hours and hours to make. And this is what gets my goat when people are giving their cakes away for pennies... we are selling MUCH more than just flour and sugar and if we can't see it... the general public never will. We as cakers are selling a service. The service of being willing to put up with what goes into making a cake for someone who either can't or doesn't want to deal with it.

I blame the god awful reality TV shows who celebrate the bratty, self-entitled mind-set.

indydebi Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 11:58am
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratch

...we are selling MUCH more than just flour and sugar


You betcha!

If you want "just flour and sugar", you visit Aisle 9 at Walmart.
If you want an awesome wedding cake, you visit me.

Hubby points out that EVERYTHING is "just" whatever the ingredients are, BEFORE we add the value-added labor to it:

- Your house is "just wood and nails" ... until the engineer, architect, contractor add their value to it.
- Your jeans are just "balls of cotton" ... until the factory turns it into cloth and the seamstress turns it into clothing.
- Your engagement ring is just a lump of coal ... until Mother Nature turns it into a diamond.
- Your car is just sheets of metal with a bunch of screws, until the engineer and factory guys turn it into a car.

costumeczar Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 12:12pm
post #24 of 34

I've had people send me pictures of winning cakes from FN challenges and ask if they can do them instead of the design that they chose during their consultation. I tell them sure, and we can also rewrite the contract to reflect the new design, and the charge for that cake will be $$$$$$$. They usually stick with their original choice. icon_twisted.gif

cutthecake Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 12:30pm
post #25 of 34

Don't you remember Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride"? I think the daughter's chosen wedding cake was priced at $300. The father ws flabbergasted by the price, and said, "It's just flour and eggs!" I guess that's just what most people see.

lamariposa Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 12:36pm
post #26 of 34

Cake decorator or not...common sense should tell these people that the show has been edited down to the hour. Anyone with an ounce of sense should know that they are working on the cake for 8 hours straight and a lot of the challengers never finish EXACTLY what they plan to do. They even show that the cakes have already been made and even mention when parts have been made. I don't understand how they think it can be done in an hour. The people where I live understand this and I live in hicktown! I just can't fathom people being THAT ignorant and clueless.

aligotmatt Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 12:51pm
post #27 of 34

More than the baking, those FN challenge people come with the guts of a cake. I can build some pretty good internal structure, but it requires thought, measurement, planning, a trip to the home depot, out to the shed to cut everything, wash it, let it dry, assemble what needs to be glued and screwed, let it dry, cover it with food safe materials...

-AndSheBakes Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 2:21pm
post #28 of 34

I have always wondered how those food network challenge cake tastes. Because you can bet that the person calling for their elaborate 3-d cake for 50$ wants it to be great tasting, made from scratch, and never frozen as well. People ask me for things like 100 hedgehog cupcakes in two hours and I don't even sell my cake! I think they get turned turned down by every one else and are still unwilling to face reality. It really does add some humor into your day.

cakesdivine Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 2:26pm
post #29 of 34

The public needs to understand that on the FN challenges, the competitors are allowed to have all their cakes already baked and the icing made, and sometimes some items ready made before they arrive. They don't take that into consideration of the time needed to bake and make that much cake and icing! And most of us are one man shows, we don't have an equally skilled assistant working right along side us. Eventhough the clock says 8 hours, each worker is pulling 8 hours so it is equivilant to one person working 16 hours to accomplish the same results. Also, the lack of disclosure of prices on shows such as Amazing Wedding Cakes, Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes and other wedding shows also contributes to the ignorance of the general public where cakes are concerned. It would be nice if the FN Challenges would ask each competitior how much they would charge for their completed creations.

jlynnw Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 3:09pm
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

The public needs to understand that on the FN challenges, the competitors are allowed to have all their cakes already baked and the icing made, and sometimes some items ready made before they arrive. They don't take that into consideration of the time needed to bake and make that much cake and icing! And most of us are one man shows, we don't have an equally skilled assistant working right along side us. Eventhough the clock says 8 hours, each worker is pulling 8 hours so it is equivilant to one person working 16 hours to accomplish the same results. Also, the lack of disclosure of prices on shows such as Amazing Wedding Cakes, , Ace of Cakes and other wedding shows also contributes to the ignorance of the general public where cakes are concerned. It would be nice if the FN Challenges would ask each competitior how much they would charge for their completed creations.




That should be the new secret challenge. Have the person getting the cake give the decorators a budget for the cake. We would either see cupcakes stacked 3 foot tall or the reality of a budget. Like you said, 16 hours x $20 is just $320, plus the "just flour and eggs" expense, add a bit of fondant, icing, the harware, yeah, that cake can be made for $100 icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif Also, did thtey not mention on more than one show that the cakes are usually over baked so they hold up better for the show piece and are not going to be eaten?

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