Would You Do This With Left Over Cake?

Business By FairyPoppins Updated 5 Aug 2009 , 1:37pm by FairyPoppins

FairyPoppins Posted 4 Aug 2009 , 10:03pm
post #1 of 27

I recently started working a few hours a week in a tiny cake shop. Due to the economy in Detroit the store is struggling and the owner is trying to do his utmost to satisfy the clientele.
Last Friday evening I made the twenty first birthday cake in my photos. I carved it from a half sheet cake and decorated it as per the customers instructions. The owner then asked me to take all the pieces that I had carved out and piece them together on a board and frost and decorate them to look like a small sheet cake to give to the customer along with the main cake. I laughed thinking he was joking, but he was serious. He said that in the past people have come back to the store the next day asking for the rest of their cake since they paid for a half sheet cake they want all the cake including the discarded pieces!
I think this is utter crap since it takes much longer to carve and smoothly frost a carved cake without the extra time to mess about with the leftovers. I think he should put them unfrosted in a box and leave it at that.

Any advice or experience would be appreciated.

26 replies
Doug Posted 4 Aug 2009 , 10:13pm
post #2 of 27

interesting question.

does the bakery do fixed pricing or per serving pricing?

that makes a big difference

if i buy a fixed price cake then I would expect the whole cake.

if I buy x number of servings and get that many servings, then no, I got what I paid for.

---
now as for shaping it into a sheet and icing it, that again comes back to the pricing. Are the prices set to account for the additional work and materials?

pipe-dreams Posted 4 Aug 2009 , 10:19pm
post #3 of 27

I've never heard of anyone wanting the leftover cake pieces icon_confused.gif

Did they know it was going to be cut to look like that? If so, then they should have known it wouldn't be a full cake.
I would never throw the extra pieces together to look like a cake, I feel it is unprofessional. Just imagine what it would look like when they cut into it!
But, he is the boss/owner. I guess I would do what he says simply because it is his shop (unless, of course, you are renting space from him. If that was your customer under your own business license, then I wouldn't care what he said).
I think your cake is very cute..I love the colors of it.

FairyPoppins Posted 4 Aug 2009 , 10:21pm
post #4 of 27

The bakery has fixed prices as the owner wasn't aware there was an industry standard for a serving of cake (until I came along!!) I think it's $40 for a two layer half sheet cake. I think there was a slight extra charge for the carved cake but I didn't look at the invoice. I'll have to check it out but with all work involved I'd be surprised if he made $5 profit.

Chlophiasmom Posted 4 Aug 2009 , 10:35pm
post #5 of 27

I wold say that if he want you to do something with the scraps make a trifle or cake balls. At least that way it is presentable...that's what I do ; )

indydebi Posted 4 Aug 2009 , 11:37pm
post #6 of 27

Oh yuck!! That would be DISGUSTING to eat!! I would be pi$$ed if a bakery tried to pawn that crap off on me as a cake!

hellie0h Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 12:09am
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Oh yuck!! That would be DISGUSTING to eat!! I would be pi$$ed if a bakery tried to pawn that crap off on me as a cake!




Can't see much difference in that and cake balls, guess you could call it sheet balls icon_eek.gif . I dont believe in wasting, but that is a bit much.

indydebi Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 12:23am
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellie0h

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Oh yuck!! That would be DISGUSTING to eat!! I would be pi$$ed if a bakery tried to pawn that crap off on me as a cake!



Can't see much difference in that and cake balls,



That's pretty much how I see it. I looked up the recipe for cake balls once, and when I saw how they were made, I was disgusted just by reading about it. Mooshed up cake mixed with gooey icing or syrup or other "moisturizer" into a balled mess? No thanks! I'll just throw my garbage in the garbage.

tyty Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 12:26am
post #9 of 27

I could see giving the customer all their cake in a box or container, but not making it look like a whole cake. Most of my customers think I have 1000's of pans for all the shapes anyway, they don't know it's carved unless I tell them so. Then they just say "oh", not "give me the rest of my cake".

costumeczar Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:12am
post #10 of 27

Cake balls are disgusting. We made them once after reading about them here, and both my sugar-loving kids took one bite and threw them out. And that's saying a LOT.

I wouldn't think to put cake scraps together into a sheet shape, that's a little bizarre to me. But as someone else said, he's the boss, so unless you can talk him out of that weirdness I guess you'll have to keep doing it.

Texas_Rose Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:15am
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellie0h

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Oh yuck!! That would be DISGUSTING to eat!! I would be pi$$ed if a bakery tried to pawn that crap off on me as a cake!



Can't see much difference in that and cake balls,


That's pretty much how I see it. I looked up the recipe for cake balls once, and when I saw how they were made, I was disgusted just by reading about it. Mooshed up cake mixed with gooey icing or syrup or other "moisturizer" into a balled mess? No thanks! I'll just throw my garbage in the garbage.




I guess cake balls are more acceptable to you if you think of rum balls as a treat. When I make cake balls (not often) they are more like rum balls...chocolate cake, almond meal, rum and a little corn syrup to hold it together.

Doug Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:19am
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellie0h

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Oh yuck!! That would be DISGUSTING to eat!! I would be pi$$ed if a bakery tried to pawn that crap off on me as a cake!



Can't see much difference in that and cake balls,


That's pretty much how I see it. I looked up the recipe for cake balls once, and when I saw how they were made, I was disgusted just by reading about it. Mooshed up cake mixed with gooey icing or syrup or other "moisturizer" into a balled mess? No thanks! I'll just throw my garbage in the garbage.



I guess cake balls are more acceptable to you if you think of rum balls as a treat. When I make cake balls (not often) they are more like rum balls...chocolate cake, almond meal, rum and a little corn syrup to hold it together.




rum balls, whiskey balls, bailey's balls, amaretto balls, (and right on down the list!)

Texas_Rose Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:22am
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug


rum balls, whiskey balls, bailey's balls, amaretto balls, (and right on down the list!)




Don't forget the Southern Comfort balls....yummy!

JaimeAnn Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:27am
post #14 of 27

A carved cake costs more $ for less birthday.gif

I have NEVER heard of giving the scraps in any shape or form to the customer. icon_rolleyes.gif

If they order a certain shape then they know what they are getting.

That is just ridiculous ! Sorry but your boss is a cake idiot !

bobwonderbuns Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:37am
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by FairyPoppins

I recently started working a few hours a week in a tiny cake shop. Due to the economy in Detroit the store is struggling and the owner is trying to do his utmost to satisfy the clientele.
Last Friday evening I made the twenty first birthday cake in my photos. I carved it from a half sheet cake and decorated it as per the customers instructions. The owner then asked me to take all the pieces that I had carved out and piece them together on a board and frost and decorate them to look like a small sheet cake to give to the customer along with the main cake. I laughed thinking he was joking, but he was serious. He said that in the past people have come back to the store the next day asking for the rest of their cake since they paid for a half sheet cake they want all the cake including the discarded pieces!
I think this is utter crap since it takes much longer to carve and smoothly frost a carved cake without the extra time to mess about with the leftovers. I think he should put them unfrosted in a box and leave it at that.

Any advice or experience would be appreciated.




I live in the Metro Area and I've NEVER heard of a bakery operating like this. Where is it located?

Jen80 Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:56am
post #16 of 27

It sounds as though he feels like he has ripped people off by not giving them their whole cake and instead of just throwing the left-overs in a box for the customer he likes it to be a bit more presentable.

Maybe he finds it easier to have it over and done with all at the same time instead of worrying if the customer is going to come back the next day. When the customers came back in the past he probably had to bake a whole new cake because the leftovers were already in the trash (or eaten by staff).

Not something I would plan on doing though. Customer ordered "Carved Cake" not "Carved Cake + Bits".

Nice cake by the way.

DefyGravity Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 2:25am
post #17 of 27

I wouldn't take the scraps if I were a customer, that seems incredibly stupid. If I'm getting the X amount of servings I paid for, carved or not, then who really cares about what got left over along the way? Does he make you hand out the tops from when you level cakes also?

indydebi Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 2:30am
post #18 of 27

I wonder if it's a case of he had ONE customer who threw such a hissy-fit that he threw up his hands and said, "That's it. I'm giving everyone the scrap pieces! I'm not going thru THIS bullsh*t again!" In which case, I can understand his frustration. I still disagree with the policy, but at least I could understand where he's coming from.

sweetcakes Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 2:57am
post #19 of 27

the family run bakery i work at does the same. whenever we carve a cake and there are big chunks of cake cut away we put them on a board and squirt some icing on top. we do not spend much time doing this. but the spare cake is boxed up along with the decorated cake to give to the customers. Other cake scraps like cake tops are saved and put into another of the signature items.

Ladiesofthehouse Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 3:16am
post #20 of 27

I have never heard of such a thing! I wouldn't even think to ask where the rest of the cake was if I ordered a carved cake.

Rather than squish it all together and put frosting on it (eew) I would make just make cake crumbs in my food processor and use them on the top and sides of frosted cakes.

FairyPoppins Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 3:41am
post #21 of 27

Thanks for all the replies!

The owner bought the bakery about 3 years ago and had no prior experience as a commercial baker. He is a great guy and is an expert at cheesecakes and various other pastries. He is learning about cakes and decorating as he goes. I am not renting space in his kitchen, he is employing me as a decorator so I do as he asks.

The bakery used to be a 'mom and pop shop' with the same older clientele coming in for a single muffin or asking to buy half a cake. He is trying to make the bakery more upscale but also catering to the needs of the regular customers. There are a few who complain about anything and always try to get a discount.

The first time he carved a cake, the staff ate the leftovers so when the customer returned the next day asking for the rest of the cake he didn't have it so he has implemented this policy to avoid that situation in the future.

When I removed the pieces from the sheet cake I was careful to keep them intact (both layers with BC filling) so they weren't smooshed. They were then laid close together on a 9x13 cake board and frosted to match the birthday cake and a simple shell border around the top and bottom edges. It looked quite nice. It was not a pile of cake bits squashed together and frosted.

I just think this is ridiculous. It took me longer to frost the carved cake than to frost a simple sheet cake not to mention the time to frost and decorate the leftovers. I think the customer should be aware that if they choose to order a carved cake that the intact leftovers should be simply placed in a box without any other decoration.

ButtercupMama Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 4:00am
post #22 of 27

Yeah, if he wants to go upscale, giving back the goofy bits is not the way. I agree, you are the employee, and should do how he asks. Of course.
But I do like my employees' input, especially when it saves me embarrassment cuz I'm doing something goofy.
Perhaps the policy he should implement, is to tell the customer right off the bat that they are paying more for the labor, but receiving less product, as it is labor-intensive, and it is a novelty. Let them make the decision. We do it, and no one has asked for their goofy bits yet....

You know what I call scraps? "Samples". We cut them into 1" bits, put them in sample cups with a dot of BC, and place the cups in a domed cake pedestal. I've found that this creates Happy People!! Yea! I thought it would deter paying customers from buying out of the bakery case, but no! They love it! And I don't have to waste scraps!

indydebi Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 10:35am
post #23 of 27

My husband does woodworking. When he makes a table or a desk or a headboard or an intricate shelf for someone, he doesn't pack up the wood scraps and the sawdust and give them to the customer.

If I buy an apple pie, I assume I've paid for the whole apple, but no way do I expect them to box up the peelings and the core and hand them to me.

The policy is ridiculous. And so is the one customer who started the whole thing by asking for the scraps. The proper answer to that customer would have been to laugh out loud and then say, "oh, you're serious????"

PattyT Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:18am
post #24 of 27

I agree with most that it is kind of silly for a customer to expect the carved up pieces.

But if he feels strongly about including them, I'd just put them in a box/bag as is.

I think it's too much extra work to frost the scraps.

BCJean Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:44am
post #25 of 27

I used to do a lot of cutout cakes, most customers now want sculptured cakes instead. The thing with cutout cakes, if they order a 1/2 sheet cake, they are probably wanting that many servings. I used to do the cutouts by rearranging some of the cake so almost all of the cake was used. For the 21 cake. in question, I would have placed the right side of the one on the edge of the cake, I would then have taken the part cutout between the two and the one and used it for the right hand base of the number one. This would have avoided the long strip of leftover cake along the right side of the number one. If you look at the design before you start carving you can always see an area where there will be a lot of cake left over and another area where more cake will need to be added. If the pieces you rearrange are a solid block you can't even tell when the cake is sliced that it has been pieced together in this way. The final results are, the finished cake looks larger and uses all of the cake. If I am doing a 1/2 sheet cutout I always put it on a full sheet board because the cake is no longer in a compact rectangle shape.

KHalstead Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 12:15pm
post #26 of 27

I think the first MAJOR problem w/ this is that he's charging $45 for a 2-layered 1/2 sheet, the second BIG problem is that he's keeping that priceline for a "carved" cake. You really need to suggest to him that not everyone will even carve a cake (grocery stores DEFINITELY won't do it) and that he needs to have a separate price for them and it needs to be PER SERVING!
When I take an order for a carved cake I guess at about how many servings it will feed (generally I draw an outline of the cake on paper and divide it up into servings and account for the height and so forth and make an educated guess), I'm usually right on the nose and tend to low ball 3 or 4 slices to ensure they get at least what they're paying for. If they get the servings they ordered, there would be no "I want the rest of the cake you carved away" are people really that ignorant??

FairyPoppins Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:37pm
post #27 of 27

I agree with all the suggestions!
The bakery is across the street from Kroger so I feel like are competing with their sheet cake prices rather than the upscale cake shop in the next town. He is going to raise prices next month and we're going have a meeting about the direction the bakery is going and how we can improve business.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the owner is a great guy and is receptive to most of my suggestions. I am constantly quoting Cake Central members (mainly Indidebi!!) and harping on about getting his website up and running! I've only been there for 2 months though so I don't like to totally take over (just yet!)

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