How Would You Feel About This...and How Would You Respond?

Decorating By JohnnyCakes1966 Updated 28 Apr 2010 , 5:49am by prterrell

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:30pm
post #1 of 21

This has never happened to me before, but I just had a call from a lady ordering a cake for a child's birthday party. She said, "It has to look like I baked it, so don't make it look too good." !!!!

First, I don't want someone passing off my cake as theirs. And second, obviously she won't be referring me to her friends if she's telling them she baked the cake. I don't want to turn the order down, but......

What would you do in this situation? Has it ever happened to you?

20 replies
7yyrt Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:34pm
post #2 of 21

How badly do you need to pay your shop rent?

No problem for me, that's all I make; my folks like that home-baked look.

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:38pm
post #3 of 21

Well, of course I took the order... icon_biggrin.gif But it IS frustrating that I won't get any referrals from her!

tiggerjo Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:40pm
post #4 of 21

no no no...tell her that every cake you make only leaves your shop with your name on it and looking the very best that it possibly can. letting her pass the cake off as hers is a no win situation for you.

cheatize Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:42pm
post #5 of 21

Shoot, if her friends know her, they'll know she can't bake/decorate. I bet the beans will be spilled at some point.

KHalstead Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:45pm
post #6 of 21

I would tell her that if it doesn't look "professional" you won't send it out.........however if she wants to pay the same amount for an uniced, undecorated cake.....sell it to her! lol

I had a lady do the same thing.......she wanted baby block cakes but didn't want to pay the $3.00/serv. I quoted she ordered 2-1/4 sheet cakes from me, uniced, undecorated, and she cut them herself and stacked and decorated.

I charged her exactly what I would have charged if I had iced and decorated those 2 sheet cakes...........she called later to tell me that everyone raved about the flavor, but they looked horrible! lol

In any case, she's one of my BIGGEST customers because everyone at the party has requested she "bake" cakes for them as well!! lol But since she didn't "bake" the cake, she doesn't have my recipe......she always jokes that she's waiting for the day that I agree to accept $500 for my recipe, I told her no way lady! lol

TexasSugar Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:45pm
post #7 of 21

Tape your card to your box. Or even better, to the board under the cake. icon_wink.gif

Chances are with that phrasing she may try passing the cake off to her friends. We can't really say what happens to any of our cakes after they leave our hands.

I really wouldn't worry about it much myself, as long as she pays for it.

kake4me2 Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:51pm
post #8 of 21

Come on...who's she kidding? If shes going to extent of buying a cake from a cake artist and not costco/walmrt/local grocer, she's no baker and you can bet her friends and family already know it!
Make your best cake and place it in a box with your business name all over it ...chances are she'll hide the evidence and take the credit anyways, but maybe people will see her in town with it and you'll get a referal that way.

kake4me2 Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:54pm
post #9 of 21

Oh others had my same thoughts....LOVE the idea of the card on the bottom of the cake board...she wouldn't check there until someone in the party helps clean up and therows it away and then....he.he.he icon_evil.gif

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:02pm
post #10 of 21

TexasSugar - Ultimately, that's why I took the order. We don't really know how many people pass of our cakes as their own once they leave us. This lady simply ADMITTED to me that she is going to! icon_rolleyes.gif I know someone who orders from a gourmet deli for her dinner parties and passes it off as her food! icon_confused.giftapedshut.gif

KHalstead - That's hilarious! I guess the worst that could happen is that she has to order from me all the time when her friends start begging her to bake cakes for them! icon_lol.gifthumbs_up.gif Imagine how upset they'd be at her if she refused to do it! icon_biggrin.gif

So....Now I have to decide if I decorate it as a cake I'd be proud to send out and tell her that's the only way I'll do it, or if I try to make it look like she did it....don't smooth the buttercream, make the border uneven, and...don't do a crumb coat so that crumbs get all in the frosting! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I'm almost certain she won't buy the unfinished cake and decorate it herself.

kake4me2 Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:04pm
post #11 of 21

What happens if you send it out looking "homemade" and she does give you credit...that would be worse for your biz then refusing her.....

KHalstead Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:11pm
post #12 of 21

I would give it the "iced with a knife" look............but nix the crumbs in the I'm sure she wants them to think she did "ok" on the cake.

I would ask her how "unprofessional" do you want it?? Most people's idea of "homemade" is just that.....iced with a knife and swirls in the buttercream......not necessarily horrible looking!

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:12pm
post #13 of 21

kake4me2 - I actually asked her why she didn't just buy a cake from Wal-Mart. She said, first, she's had my cakes and loves how they taste. And second, Wal-Mart cakes have a "look" and "I don't want it to look like a Wal-Mart cake, but I don't want it to look like YOU did it, either."

And...I'm also concerned that she WILL tell people I baked it. So I think I'm going to decorate it more professionally than not. Do a few tricks that she would have to be somewhat skilled to do. I absolutely won't make it look bad, that's for sure!

TexasSugar Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:13pm
post #14 of 21

I would honestly decorate it as you would any cake you would let leave your kitchen. You can explain to her that your cakes come out as they do and that you can't make them look any different.

I have trouble doing the unsmooth rough icing because I have spent years making a smooth cake and I wouldn't put special effort into making the boarders uneven of anything like that.

Just make the cake as you would for any other customer.

To me by doing this, you have less of a chance of her really passing it off as hers. And if she doesn't like it, well then you won't have a customer ordering from you in the future only to tell others she did all the work.

AKS Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:15pm
post #15 of 21

I'd give her a really professional looking cake, and upon receipt, before she can even look at it, go on and on about how you did your best to make it look homemade and how much you hope she likes it. This in one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't things, but ultimately you have to protect your business's reputation. Good luck!

7yyrt Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:34pm
post #16 of 21

If one isn't going to give a customer what is requested, then one shouldn't take the order.

She TOLD the OP she didn't want it to look perfect like a professional made it, and will be royally pissed (with good reason) if it looks like it came from one. It shouldn't look as if the decorator never picked up a piping bag.

NOT this:

Or this:
disclaimer: NOT my cakes!

foxymomma521 Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:45pm
post #17 of 21

Anyone remember that thread about the kooky lady that was secretly buying cakes and passing them off as her own to her new husband? I remember she used to make the CC member meet her at night in the driveway with the headlights off icon_biggrin.gif That was a funny one!

TexasSugar Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:48pm
post #18 of 21
Originally Posted by JohnnyCakes1966

She said, "It has to look like I baked it, so don't make it look too good."

To me that means she wants a nice looking cake but not a super fancy one. OP didn't say what the design was, but I would guess she isn't ordering something too wild if she is trying to play it off as her own.

I'm not suggestion she create an intricate 3d design in place of something more simpler. I'm just saying she shouldn't intentionally dumb down her skills either. I would hope the design would reflect something a home baker or hobbiest could do. And just because someone may be a home baker or hobbiest it doesn't mean the work has to be sloppy or uneven.

I do think there is a middle ground here.

Chasey Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 7:20pm
post #19 of 21

I am not a professional so when I first read what the customer wanted, I pictured a two layer, 8 or 9 inch cake with swirled frosting and a simple shell border around the edge.

No cut outs. No piping. No tiers.

Any home baker with very little experience can turn out that kind of cake!

The difference in you doing it and her doing it will be a straight border, no crumbs in the icing, a tall cake (unless she is thinking sheet cake) and one that tastes delicious.

Don't over think it! thumbs_up.gif

marknelliesmum Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 7:51pm
post #20 of 21

How about contacting the client and say you have been stressing about this and the potential business consequences if someone not 'in the know' finding out and thinking the cake she wants is reflective of your talents. How about this as a compromise - you do the cake and cover with fondant or whatever and provide embellishments for the client to attach to the cake giving it her personal touch and since she is not a decorator she won't have a decorators eye or end up with a too professional looking cake- just a suggestion x

prterrell Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 5:49am
post #21 of 21

We got requests like this from time to time when I worked at Publix. We would explain to the customer that we had standards in place that had to be met and no cake could be sold that did not meet those standards. One customer told me that she would just mess up the icing herself when she got it home, which is annoying, but once they've paid for the cake, it's their to do with as they wish.

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