Family Grad Cake Rant (Long, Sorry!)

Decorating By allthehobbies Updated 8 Dec 2011 , 11:53am by escaliba1234

allthehobbies Posted 14 May 2010 , 10:56pm
post #1 of 54

My brother graduates from high school in a few weeks. My mom asked me over a month ago to make the cake/cupcake/cookies/undetermined sweets for his party, which is for him and four other boys. I told her that night that I needed to know an estimated number of people, and they needed to figure out whether they wanted cake, cupcakes, a combination, etc. She told me to "start coming up with ideas". I have told her many times since then that I can't really come up with ideas until I know at least a rough number of people, and what type of food they will be wanting.

I've talked to my brother and his friends who are sharing this party with him about what they might like on the cake (assuming it is a cake), I took my mom to the local cake supply shop to look at different display options, and I've discussed cake ideas with both my brother and my dad. My mom and I had discussed having two cupcake towers and one cake in the middle, more for display than for serving. I figured that cupcakes make better "carrying" food, but obviously I love decorating cakes, so since they needed 150 servings, I would just make a small cake that we could keep whole and on display throughout the party.

So last night, we were at an awards banquet, also for my brother, and my mom lays the news on me. They're now expecting 400 people at this party. She wants mini cupcakes on the Wilton 4-tier stacked tower (possibly two towers, but they would still require refilling throughout the party). And the half sheet cake that she wants will say "Congratulations Class of 2010", then have all 5 boys' names, and each college that they will be attending listed under each of their names. She doesn't want any actual decorating on the cake, and she hasn't yet given me a number of mini cupcakes, but I have to imagine it will be hundreds, and she thinks all of this should be okay, because "I'll buy you more mini cupcake pans if you need"

I don't even want to do this cake any more! I have always done the grad cakes for our family and friends, and I have promised my brother a cake forever, but none of this sounds like fun any more! Sorry for the long rant, but I'm so frustrated!

53 replies
KayMc Posted 14 May 2010 , 11:00pm
post #2 of 54

So, your mom doesn't know how much work and planning goes into making a cake? Who is paying for all the ingredients for 400 people?

allthehobbies Posted 14 May 2010 , 11:11pm
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Yeah, she obviously doesn't have a clue. Since we were at the banquet, I really didn't want to get into it last night, but once I came home and started talking to my boyfriend (who gets it, he's been with me through enough baking projects), and I talked to a woman at work about it today, I realized I was more and more upset about it. I had all these great ideas I was working on, and now she wants me to do this crowded, boring sheet cake!


On a positive note, I thought it was funny that as I was describing what she wanted, my boyfriend said it didn't sound too crowded for a sheet cake. And I said "All that on a 12x18?!"...he said "That's a half sheet, that's not what you said"! He's been with me too long!

Butterpatty Posted 14 May 2010 , 11:16pm
post #4 of 54

Families, sheesh! icon_biggrin.gif - just "happen" to decide that you need a particular new "cake toy" for the cake or cupcakes that your mom needs to buy for you. It makes the frustration way less icon_lol.gificon_redface.gif

PiccoloChellie Posted 14 May 2010 , 11:23pm
post #5 of 54

400 people? icon_eek.gif

Recruit your mother for dish duty, wrapper-placer-in-mini-pan duty, piping bag filling duty, floor-mopping duty, and so on. Let her be involved firsthand with exactly how much work this is going to involve since she seems so willing to help. icon_twisted.gif

chellescountrycakes Posted 14 May 2010 , 11:25pm
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((((poor thing!!))) it seems that our family is the first to 'forget' that they couldnt do it, and yet expect miracles. icon_sad.gif

I'd get mom over to 'help' me ice the cupcakes. It wont help for this thing, but it will make her see you in a whole new light. at the very least, you can smile to yourself when she whines about frosting in her hair, and on her shoes, and on her clothes, and her skin, and her eyelids, and ......

allthehobbies Posted 14 May 2010 , 11:29pm
post #7 of 54

Thanks, I knew you guys would understand my pain! Did I mention the party is on a Tuesday, and I am a hobby baker with a full time office job, so I will be taking Monday and Tuesday off that week just to accomplish whatever it is that we decide on?

Anyone have any alternative ideas I could pitch to feed these 400 people? I think the mini cupcakes are what's killing me, people don't eat just one of those, right? I have to believe that it's going to take at least 600 minis to feed everyone!

cakesbycathy Posted 14 May 2010 , 11:38pm
post #8 of 54

I'm sorry but if you are doing all the work then you get to decide what you are making. Make what you want and what's easiest for you and if mom has a problem with it tell her she can go hire someone else.

Clearly she has NO clue how much work is involved and you NEED to educate her.

Doug Posted 14 May 2010 , 11:39pm
post #9 of 54

my gift -- my choice.

so...

no mini cupcakes for you!

----

as it is, even if you did just sheets -- at 54/12x18 that would be EIGHT half sheets (four full sheets) just to get to 400 servings.

---

of course, are those CONFIRMED rsvp'd guests or just "well, we invited/asked/said could bring...." guests?

PiccoloChellie Posted 14 May 2010 , 11:40pm
post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemh7

Anyone have any alternative ideas I could pitch to feed these 400 people? I think the mini cupcakes are what's killing me, people don't eat just one of those, right? I have to believe that it's going to take at least 600 minis to feed everyone!




5 graduating high school boys....I assume a chunk of the guests will be their friends - other teenage boys?

You'll need a hell of a lot more than 600 cuppies. Double that amount for minis if that's going to be the main dessert, in my opinion. 3 minis a person on average...if any real number of the guests are teenage boys you've got to figure they're probably going to eat 4 or 5. Impromptu cupcake eating contests, tossing minis into each others' mouths from 10 feet...cupcake juggling...oh jeez, I can picture it now.

Perhaps you could augment the cuppies with some sort of bar-type dessert you could bake in big sheets. Brownies, maybe? Bake 'em in jelly roll pans, cut 'em small. Drop cookies like chocolate chip that you can scoop with a wee little disher? You can portion those ahead of time and freeze them so you're not doing everything last minute.

This is going to be a huge undertaking and you really might want to consider getting some help....(ahem MOM ahem)

allthehobbies Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:02am
post #11 of 54

Oh, I didn't even think about things like eating contests and egging each other on! Just last night at the banquet, several people told a story about my brother eating an Arby's gyro in 3 bites for $5...so clearly, they do things like that!

You're right, I would need over 1000 minis. I had originally suggested regular cupcakes, but now that the number of guests has more than doubled, I'm not even sure how realistic that is. At least with a standard cupcake, I think people are more likely to average 1 per person, right? I like the bars/brownies idea. All I know is, mom and I are going to sit down and have a chat this weekend.

Joanne1944 Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:09am
post #12 of 54

What about one sheet cake for each boy with his name and the colors of his college. It would be a lot easier and each of the boys would have something personal. Serve those first. Then you could do one elaborate cake (your choice of design) with the high school logo/colors that would stay on display until the end.

SugarFrosted Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:10am
post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemh7

All I know is, mom and I are going to sit down and have a chat this weekend.




my mom would call this a "Come to Jesus" meeting... make sure to have kleenex handy!

Good Luck! thumbs_up.gif

Butterpatty Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:14am
post #14 of 54

Also thought of this- if you handed my human garbage disposal (as in , my son) a mini-cupcake, he would look at you as if you had lost your mind and then ask for a "real cupcake" or a big slice of cake. Teen boys eat like pigs (literally and figuratively). Your mom seriously needs to stop and think about who/what icon_biggrin.gif she is feeding.

Also thought= what about a sheet cake (your choice on size) with each boy's name and college, done in the colors of the college they will be attending? Would get you quite a bit of servings and make a nice display. Also easy to cut.

nanikins Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:19am
post #15 of 54

A long time ago I saw, in a MS mag my MIL had, a tower of cereal treats. Each "tier" was made with a different cereal - some with Rice Krispies, some with Fruit Loops, etc.

I did one for an outdoor concert get-together later and was surprised at how quickly all the teenagers scarfed those things up...and how many adults were elbowing their way in there to get a treat themselves. (I just alternated regular and chocolate treats.)

I tried to find the picture and can't, sorry.

Good luck with what sounds like a HUGE project.

allthehobbies Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:28am
post #16 of 54

Ooh, I like the ideas of both the one sheet cake per boy, and the cereal treats tower! I think I could bang out enough cereal treats a heck of a lot faster than any type of baked good, plus they can last longer, can't they? Meaning I could even start on Sunday on those?

This is exactly what I needed, more ideas to get me back to excited about this project, and to give me more things to propose to her that will still hopefully keep her happy. If we can't come to an agreement, I'm going to have to tell her I can't do it, and that will not go over well.

Side note, I pulled up the menu of a local bakery that most people around here love, they charge $10.50 per dozen (undecorated) cupcakes. Assuming I sent my mom there instead and she went with one cupcake per person, that's $350 right there, and that's without the decorated sheet! The more I sit and think about this, the more I feel like she's taking advantage of the fact that she knows I promised this to my brother.

Mrs-A Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:52am
post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemh7

.......I promised this to my brother.




yes you did, so whats with the extra 4 names and 400 people SHE is planning on you supplying cake to?? i think you should email her a list of supplies and approx cost and tell her to buy them/drop them off at your place icon_smile.gif

goodluck!

Doug Posted 15 May 2010 , 12:59am
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs-A

Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemh7

.......I promised this to my brother.



yes you did, so whats with the extra 4 names and 400 people SHE is planning on you supplying cake to?? i think you should email her a list of supplies and approx cost and tell her to buy them/drop them off at your place icon_smile.gif

goodluck!




excellent point.

by rights, you ONLY have to do HIS cake and not the other 4 nor the desserts for the mob.

----

the other 4 and the mob -- mom and the other parents have to pay full freight for

PiccoloChellie Posted 15 May 2010 , 1:15am
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemh7

Side note, I pulled up the menu of a local bakery that most people around here love, they charge $10.50 per dozen (undecorated) cupcakes. Assuming I sent my mom there instead and she went with one cupcake per person, that's $350 right there, and that's without the decorated sheet! The more I sit and think about this, the more I feel like she's taking advantage of the fact that she knows I promised this to my brother.




It sounds like it, unfortunately. icon_sad.gif

Look at it this way. If you do minis, and let's figure you only do 1000 of them, that's 41 1/2 pans' worth (for the 24 mini pan). If you've got a nice big oven, you could potentially bake 4 pans at a time, rotated halfway through - that's 11 total "loads" at, what, 15 minutes minimum per "load." Two hours of *just* baking time, not counting the time to unload each pan from the oven, turn the cuppies out onto racks, allow the pans to cool for the next batch, and load the oven back up. You'll need a massive number of cooling racks to cool them and a LOT of surface space to set the racks on. That's 1000+ cupcake liners. That's 1000+ scoops of batter (make sure you get a disher if you don't have one!). That's 1000+ little swirls of icing. That's 1000+ applications of sprinkles. Then you need to have some big boxes at the ready to tuck the finished cuppies in and enough room to store them.

I'm not trying to scare you or anything, but minis for 400 people is going to be a big job out of a home kitchen. It's going to take a long time and you'll need to do it assembly-line style, preferably with a helper or two, to keep your sanity!

Make sure your mom fully understands what she's asking for here. She may be thinking minis are easier because they're small ("I'll buy you a new pan!") but I suspect she has no idea how much more difficult they can be.

chellescountrycakes Posted 15 May 2010 , 1:20am
post #20 of 54

I love the idea of cereal treats, and making the kids a 'special' cake. that would work in SOO many ways. for the boys to 'play with' they get cereal treats, for the serious cake eaters and a great memory, they get a beautiful cake.

and I'd make mom pitch in some money. I know its hard to ask, but surely she knows that materials alone will run you well over 100.00.

allthehobbies Posted 15 May 2010 , 1:29am
post #21 of 54

Piccolo, thanks for breaking it all down for me! I think I will use those exact details to explain why I can't possibly do it, let alone in my particular kitchen set up, and by myself!

chelle, I will definitely be telling mom that she's gonna have to chip in some cash for me to even attempt this! We're talking about 20+ batches of batter and buttercream just for the minis, and the sheet would be another 3 more.

Luckily, my dad gets it. When my mom made the comment about buying me a pan, I asked her how many ovens she intended to buy me, and my dad chipped in and asked "and how many baker's carts, cooling racks, etc"? I will definitely have this conversation with the two of them together, he's a math teacher with a very logical mind, so I know he'll help me make her understand all the numbers.

terrylee Posted 15 May 2010 , 1:42am
post #22 of 54

So with all the others grads included in this party, what are there family suppling for this party.....I would be quite upset, brother or not, for him to expect me to do cupcakes for 400 people, regular let alone mini. 400 people.....the whole school must be invited . and just out of couriousity......where are you putting these 400 guests.....????

I would have a serious talk with my family members.......I like the idea of a sheet cake for each grad.....less work....5 different flavors, and plenty of cake for all. The investment in paper plates and time to cut the cake sure out weights the time you will have to put into baking all those cupcakes. (and where are you going to store them while you are baking and decorating them.) Boy I think there are enought reasons NOT to bake that many cupcakes....

Hope the party is a success....that's a lot of people.......!

cakesbycathy Posted 15 May 2010 , 1:42am
post #23 of 54

Not only should you include your dad, but if this party is not just for your brother but other boys as well, then where the hell are their parents and their checkbooks icon_confused.gificon_confused.gificon_confused.gif

Seriously, come up with a plan that you are comfortable doing and tell your mother what it is. If she doesn't like it, point her to the other bakery. You might even want to have a print out of their prices ready so she has an actual idea of what it would cost her otherwise.

What about a 2 or 3 tier centerpiece cake and then either cupcakes or rice krispie treats?

allthehobbies Posted 15 May 2010 , 1:56am
post #24 of 54

To be honest, the whole party is ridiculous to me. I've been telling my brother since September (when these 5 guys decided to have their party together) that it was a bad idea to have a joint party, and that he should just have an individual party like my other brother and I did. Of course, being a teenager, and me being an old lady of 28, he has an inability to listen to my opinion.

The high school is 2500 kids, and these five boys seem to know everyone, so I'm really not surprised by the guest list, but they're having it at a local place that's used a lot for weddings. The 5 families are splitting up the responsibilities, and my mom told them she'd "take care of" the cake.

The thing that cracks me up, is that they're having this exorbitant party, paying for a location, and a huge amount of people, and then I asked my mom what was up with the Tuesday party day. She tells me it's because they're trying to keep the costs down, and it was cheaper to have it during the week than it was on the weekend. HA! Try not letting 5 boys join forces to invite the whole town!

allthehobbies Posted 15 May 2010 , 2:02am
post #25 of 54

BTW, out of curiosity, I've never really made a large quantity of minis. Are they about half of a standard, or what? For example, if a standard batch of batter would make 24 cupcakes, will that make 48 minis, or more or less?

dahir Posted 15 May 2010 , 2:12am
post #26 of 54

Wow, Sure seems like things got out of hand very quickly. I know it's hard to do but there really should be a limit on what they expect of you. I would have my meeting with Mom and Dad and have a spread sheet of all the Cost involved in baking all these things. Incude the TWO DAYS OFF WORK - that's just bottom line loss.
Also, arm yourself with PLAN B - A price quote from the local bake shop , just to make it easier on everybody.
Good Luck I know your heart is in the right place but with two days loss of income and expenses that's alot to ask.
How about having a family Cupcake Baking Party and try to have fun with it. icon_biggrin.gif

Tracy

Jenny0730 Posted 15 May 2010 , 2:23am
post #27 of 54

At this point, I would make mini's off limits.

I also like the sheet cakes for each individual.

Have fun with your coming to Jesus meeting. The numbers laid out really do put it into perspective.

denetteb Posted 15 May 2010 , 3:29am
post #28 of 54

I got 72 minis out of one standard cake mix. The little buggers would be a HUGE pain in a big quantity. You promised your little brother you would make his cake. So honor your promise and make HIS cake. Do what you would do to make his cake special for him. Let the mothers determine the rest of the menu. If they want other cakes, cuppies, bars, etc, let them take care of it. Your mother is WAAAY taking advantage of you. So don't ask your family any more questions or tip-toe around. Your hints, suggestions, questions haven't gotten you anywhere. Just tell her what size cake you are willing to make, how many servings and be done with it. Period. Move on. Make a cake that will make you and the brother happy and bring joy to the two of you. The rest is on her and the other moms, and you really shouldn't have to justify your gift with a lot of reasons, timetables, equipment needs, spreadsheets. If she doesn't get the HUGE burden she is putting on you, it is probably hopeless to get her to understand.

erinalicia Posted 15 May 2010 , 1:34pm
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb

I got 72 minis out of one standard cake mix. The little buggers would be a HUGE pain in a big quantity. You promised your little brother you would make his cake. So honor your promise and make HIS cake. Do what you would do to make his cake special for him. Let the mothers determine the rest of the menu. If they want other cakes, cuppies, bars, etc, let them take care of it. Your mother is WAAAY taking advantage of you. So don't ask your family any more questions or tip-toe around. Your hints, suggestions, questions haven't gotten you anywhere. Just tell her what size cake you are willing to make, how many servings and be done with it. Period. Move on. Make a cake that will make you and the brother happy and bring joy to the two of you. The rest is on her and the other moms, and you really shouldn't have to justify your gift with a lot of reasons, timetables, equipment needs, spreadsheets. If she doesn't get the HUGE burden she is putting on you, it is probably hopeless to get her to understand.




Amen! That's a very large gift she expecting you to give your brother and 4 other boys. I'd just do my brother's cake as a gift and the other parents can figure out what they want to do- if that's additional cakes for each child, etc. they need to pay for it.

ladyonzlake Posted 15 May 2010 , 1:51pm
post #30 of 54

I don't think your mom realizes how much this is going to cost you in ingredients, time and 2 days worth of pay.

I agree with the others that if it's free...you choose. Loose the cupcakes, make a nice small decorated cake for your brother...and sheet cakes for the remainder. Include your mom and anyone else that will help you in this.

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