How Do Hobby Bakers Afford To Keep Up Thier Hobby

Decorating By JuJu23 Updated 11 Jan 2010 , 1:27am by just_for_fun

JuJu23 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 5:32pm
post #1 of 82

Maybe i shouldnt event put this out here, but if someone can PM me and answer this question. I see hobby bakers on here all the time say they dont charge, how can they afford thier hobby? do you take donations... sorry if this question is out of line, just curious?

81 replies
Lcubed82 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 5:38pm
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Cake in lieu of a gift for a special occasion is one way. I would love to find more people to give cakes to, just so I can play more. I can't keep eating my hobby! Supplies aren't too bad for most of what I do, and time doesn't count if it is truly a hobby for fun.

doofusmongerbeep Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 5:50pm
post #3 of 82

I'm a hobby baker, and a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I each have an "allowance" fund and a "hobby" fund in our budget. Supplies such as pans, Satin Ice fondant, cake boards, etc come from my money, or birthday/Christmas/other holiday gifts. Cake and frosting ingredients come out of our "grocery" fund unless there's some really wonky stuff I need or a lot of it.

Since we don't need to eat all that cake, a lot of times I'll send it to work with my husband or Mom ("The needy" as my Mom says icon_razz.gif). I have a cupcake design I want to try and plan to gift them to our neighbors.

madgeowens Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 5:52pm
post #4 of 82

old and wealthy? lol just kidding

Peridot Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 5:56pm
post #5 of 82

I am a hobby baker - been doing this about a year. Yes, it is expensive but then so are a lot of hobbies. I could have bad habits like smoking, drinking, gambling and that's costs lots of money also - not my thing. I do cakes for my family, grandkids, friends at work and other friends. I have invested a lot of money in my cake toys and I have a lot of stuff.

I don't want to do it as a business as I do not have the time or the energy and have health issues. I do one or two cakes a month and if I don't want to do a cake I don't have to. If I try something new and it doesn't turn out - no big deal - I don't give the cake to the person it was inteneded for. They don't know that they are getting a cake so if it doesn't meet my standards - no one knows and they don't get the cake. This however does not work for my two grandchildren - they know they will be getting a cake and they tell me what they would like.

I live in the state of Wisconsin and to become licensed in-home baker and sell a few cakes or to have a business requires a separate kitchen, blah, blah, blah and all that crap and I don't have the finances to go that route.

I enjoy decorating cakes tremendously and don't have a problem with the expense. I work full time so I put money aside for my hobby. However, when I retire in a few years that will be a different story.

tiggy2 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 5:58pm
post #6 of 82

It depends on each individuals financial status. DH and I both work and no kids at home so after the household bills are covered we each have our "own money". If he wants to give a cake to a friend or co-worker he pay for the supplies and I will be happy to make it for him.

JuJu23 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:06pm
post #7 of 82

I guess i was looking more for when random people who are friends of friends ask you to do something for them and you know its going to cost a lot of money, do you do for free? Or do you turn them down and say no but thank you.

Do i eventually want to start my own business yes... i'm just trying to feel people out. I will make cakes for family and friends as my gift and i dont want to turn people down who ask outside of this circle, but sometimes its so expensive when someone wants Sugar Diamonds icon_smile.gif What do you do?

Donnawb Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:06pm
post #8 of 82

If you keep your "cake toys" to a minimum, I don't find this to be a very expensive hobby. That's what I ask for now for birthdays and Christmas.

LaBellaFlor Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:15pm
post #9 of 82

If people outside your circle want a cake and you don't want to do it for free, look into starting a business, say no, or find a sugar daddy. thumbs_up.gif

tiggy2 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:16pm
post #10 of 82

If I "offer" it's free, if you "ask" it's going to cost you something.

KieslerKakes Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:18pm
post #11 of 82

I'm a Hobby Baker also. It is expensive and I to use Christmas money and Birthday money to purchase items. I purchas lot of cake decorating items from Hobby Lobby and use my 40% off coupons. I never pay full price. If I see something at Target, I wait until I have a HL coupon and purchase it. Most of my cakes are for family and friends and they usually give a donation to help cover larger costs of something special. I love cake decorating so much it's not about the money it's about being creative and doing something you truly love to do. I get books, mixers, etc for presents and that usually holds me over for awhile. I watch for sales in stores, marked down items and clearance items. You can purchase items at yard sales and on Craigs List etc.

Mike1394 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:24pm
post #12 of 82

What about other hobbies? Green fees are a whole lot more expensive than making a cake. What if flying is your hobby. Why does a hobby have to pay for itself?


threeforhim Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:30pm
post #13 of 82

I do the same as some of the other posters: use extra money from budgeting, receive money as gifts and use it for cake toys or have books and cake things given to me as gifts. Sometimes people pay me for supplies and that helps tremendously. I usually just do cakes for friends and family. I used to do a lot of scrapbooking. I completed two rather large ones for my daughter's h.s. graduation. Since then I haven't srapped much. It was an ongoing expense as well, so I've just traded hobbies for a while.

sweetreasures Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:34pm
post #14 of 82

JuJu23, in that case, depending on the size of cake, I would ask them to cover the expenses. I could do a basic no frills birthday cake as a gift. If I needed non ingredient supplies I would let them know I don't have such and such and let them know what it costs if it's not something I would not normally purchase or can budget at the time.

Also if they ask, I'd expect them to offer to pay for expenses

tinygoose Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:36pm
post #15 of 82

THere are a lot of things around your house you can use for decorating. Some items (like buttons, stamps, broaches, etc) make great impressions in lieu of $$$ impression matts. Learning to carve cakes from regular cake pans saves storage space & $$. Amazon has great deals on books. Coming up with new designs around what you already own and not what you need to buy to do such and such cake. Things like brush embroidery is just a technique, not an investment. I have a few really nice tools...Agbay, fat daddio pans, airbrush, and a great variety of colors & dusts, but I shy away from many of the cool cutters, molds unless I can use them on lots of things.

poohsmomma Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:46pm
post #16 of 82

I'm retired; now I get to play! That's how I look at it, anyway. About the only other thing I spend my money on-beside the grandkids-is an annual hiking "adventure" with some girl friends. Everyone in my family gets a birthday cake-or other special occasion cake just because I want to and can.
My husband's hobby is horses, and yes, he does sell some, but still they are a very expensive hobby-much more than caking.

BillieH Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:50pm
post #17 of 82

I've just started to get serious about learning new techniques. In my teens I dabbled with it. If I was asked to do a cake for a friend of friend I would ask them to cover the costs. They get the cake they want and I get the practice I want. As a matter of fact I have a cake to do for my brother's MIL for one of her Son inlaws. I'll only be charging her for ingredients, and in return I get the practice I want without having to force more cake on my poor family or daughters kindergarten class. But she also knows I am only interested in practicing and learning new techniques. I kind of wonder if maybe that was the only reason she asked me to make her a cake - to help me because that is the kind of person she is.

Where I'll go in this little hobby I haven't a clue. All I know for now is that it's fun.

izzy1953 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 6:50pm
post #18 of 82

the barter system..................i make cakes for my granddaughter's dance studio parties, dance teachers children's birthdays.......she dances for free. i make cakes for 4H camp and get trail rides for free..........and so on and so forth..................

JuJu23 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:05pm
post #19 of 82

Thanks everyone. its nice to hear what others have to say! curiousity kills the cat! I enjoy these topics even if some others dont! Happy Hobbying!

FlourPots Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:06pm
post #20 of 82

When I make a cake for family, they pay for all the ingredients, special pans, cutters, whatever and are happy to do so.

Lately all my cakes have been for fun, meaning I just want to practice or try a design I've seen in a one will be eating it...I know I could give it away, but when it's just for fun, I take my sweet time...that cake has been in and out of the fridge/freezer for days, I don't even wrap it as well as if people were going to be eating it. It's not really fresh in the end.

So...I spend as little as possible...I don't flavor my BC filling, it's just Crisco & p. sugar basically...I don't flavor my fondant, it's marshm., p. sugar, and ganache is made with Nestle choc. chips - not expensive chocolate...I use plain cake mix without extender ingredients (although I've started adding a small pudding mix & an extra egg and love the result).

My desire is to learn to decorate, I absolutely love it, and this way works for me.

DecoratorsDelight Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:07pm
post #21 of 82

I follow the policy stated earlier. If I offer, it's a gift. If you ask, you pay. I just ask if they'd mind paying for supplies, then I give them a right up of supplies and the cost and they pay me. I've never had anyone complain. It's still cheaper than them going to a bakery and it is more personal because they know who made it.

JuJu23 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:11pm
post #22 of 82

ooh you just use one extra egg and a thing of pudding mix? that sounds fun.

Really you work on the cakes for days... I think i might try that. I have this itch every night wanting to do something for a cake, but then i feel this guilt about the poor cake and say well someone has to eat it so i hurry and decorate with just the basics...

Trish43 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:13pm
post #23 of 82

I make cakes for my husband, son and grandchildren's birthday that cost comes out of my fund. I like baking so i my friends cover the cost of supplies for their cakes. I ususally have decorating items in the house always picking up decorations of sale or out of season.

FlourPots Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:20pm
post #24 of 82
Originally Posted by JuJu23

ooh you just use one extra egg and a thing of pudding mix? that sounds fun.

Really you work on the cakes for days... I think i might try that. I have this itch every night wanting to do something for a cake, but then i feel this guilt about the poor cake and say well someone has to eat it so i hurry and decorate with just the basics...

It's supposed to make the cake denser - better for carving, and it does...I noticed the difference.

I've found that I work better and it's more fun when I'm not under the pressure of a deadline.

Rosie2 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:21pm
post #25 of 82

Well, yesssss, it's a very expensive hobby, but is there such a thing like a cheap hobby anywhere?? unless I start collecting rocks, but if I do I'm sure I'm gonna wanna travel to Africa/Europe/Australia to collect the most rare rocks ...I'll stick to cake decorating icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

icer101 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:23pm
post #26 of 82

if its a hobby.. then it suppose to be expensive.. ha! eveybodys hobby.. whatever it is expensive.. i love it though!!!!

jodibug0975 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:24pm
post #27 of 82

Other than family and close friends, the cakes that I bake and give away are mostly to my daughter's babysitter for the daycare kids. I can't afford to pay my sitter more, but she gives them cake as a snack 2-3 days a week and that helps with her expenses. Plus, the kids just LOVE seeing my cakes. They are sooooo appreciative and I get hugs and thank you's from all of them.

I do bring some cakes to work.... while I was in the Wilton classes I was bringing in (sometimes large) cakes every week. I have brought in a few that I just did for practice on my own. It is getting quite costly so I have cut down quite a bit. In December the only cake I brought in was on the day of our Christmas party. Some people give little dollar store junk to everyone, and instead of doing that I decided to bring a cake for everyone to share. So that was my Christmas gift to everyone.

I did bring in a cake yesterday, but it was relatively small.... it was a 10" but I only did one layer instead of the normal two layers. It was just something that I made some practice roses for and.... someone has to eat the practice!

I have had two people who gave me the cost of the supplies. On both of those cakes I spent wayyyy too much time doing them to be giving them away at cost, so I wont' be doing this anymore.

My daughter also volunteered me to make a cake for someone she works with and that lady gave me..... two box cake mixes. That was it. She never offered to pay for anything else. Not eggs or oil, and nothing for the chcoolate ganache, cream cheese icing or fondant that were on the cake. I will not be doing that again, but did it that time so as not to let down my daughter. I did have a talk to her about it though and made sure that she knew that I had probably another $22 or so in that cake, and so NOT to volunteer me again.

My husband doesn't understand it... but I don't even want people paying for the supplies anymore because I don't want to take "orders". I dont' want to do cakes that people ask me to make. Since I cannot be compensated fairly for my time (since I am not legal), I only want to make what I want, when I want.

So from now on, I am only making the cakes that I want to make.... as gifts.... and if someone asks me to bake for them the answer is NO. I will help if someone wants to come to my kitchen and learn how to do it themselves, but I will not do it for them. My own mother keeps hounding me to make some cake balls and chocolate mice for her to take to work but I won't do it.

So my cakes are strictly a hobby, and I still spend too much on them.... but in my lifetime I have spent way too much on other hobbies as well. Many of them were only enjoyed by me. This way I get to share the benefits with people I choose to share with.

I can always make at least one cake a week for the daycare kids... which is good practice for me. I really enjoy making cakes for them because they are always soooo amazed when I bring one in. (Since I have two teens at home who never appreciate anything, it is always a nice change!)

I will bring a few cakes to work this year (like 5-6 more) but not anywhere near the amount of cakes they used to go. I had $40-50 in some of them and I just don't like my coworkers that much! LOL

I am trying to get it through my head that I don't have to bake a 3 or 4 tier cake to practice a new technique. It is difficult for me to comprehend though.... but I'm getting there. I plan to try and fit a LOT of my practice cakes on 6" or 8" from here on out. I might be making more one layer cakes also. Just the practice ones.

JuJu23 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:32pm
post #28 of 82

I am trying to get it through my head that I don't have to bake a 3 or 4 tier cake to practice a new technique. It is difficult for me to comprehend though.... but I'm getting there. I plan to try and fit a LOT of my practice cakes on 6" or 8" from here on out. I might be making more one layer cakes also. Just the practice ones.

I think that way too. I really should just play with 6 or 8s to really have some fun. Then i get into fillings though... and i go overboard.I need to learn self control... decorating is so addicting.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:37pm
post #29 of 82

If you want to practice a new technique cake dummies are alot more affordable

Rosie2 Posted 8 Jan 2010 , 7:39pm
post #30 of 82
Originally Posted by poohsmomma

Everyone in my family gets a birthday cake-or other special occasion cake just because I want to and can.

Congratulations on being retired and doing what you love to do!!! I'm not retired yet and the way I see it is like this...I raised my 3 kids as a single parent working 2 jobs and going to school --I thought I was never gonna see light---although, yes there's light at the end of the tunnel and no is not another train coming your way!! icon_biggrin.gif so now, my kids are grown, I have a good job, only work one job and......I get to have a fun hobby!!!!! icon_smile.gif

BTW, I went on the cake cruise and I traveled with Collete Peters, Norman Davies, Zane Behg etc took classes with them and had the vacation of my lifeeee!!!!! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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