Cake Donation Question

Business By tchitwood Updated 30 Sep 2010 , 1:17am by madgeowens

tchitwood Posted 22 Sep 2010 , 10:15pm
post #1 of 46

Hello everyone icon_smile.gif

I'm not sure if this is the right forum section for this question so sorry if it's not!

I've been making cake just for family members and close friends for their birthdays as gifts but I'd like to try my hand at making a wedding cake. Normally my husband takes my cakes from cake class up to work and him and the other tech guys "take care" of them so I'm not drowning in cake at home. I'd like to try making an actual cake wedding cake, not styrofoam tiers but this would be too big for him to bring to work.

My question is, if I were to donate/gift the wedding cake to a friend of a friend who is getting married and on a tight budget (I'd hate to see it go to waste!) would there be any liability issues? I wouldn't be selling it, all supplies would be out of my pocket, but I'm not sure with all the people I don't know at a wedding eating it and if someone were to get ill (not that I think that would happen, but you never know) and get sue-happy, would it be my arse on the line?

Am I better off just going with the styrofoam or using cake and bringing it to a gathering with close friends and family? Although we aren't enough people to eat a whole wedding cake! If I go with the fake cake layers and it's covered in fondant with fondant and gum paste decor, how long would that last as a "display" cake? I'd really love to get the experience of making it with real cake though.

Any opinions or suggestions would be much appreciated!

45 replies
jason_kraft Posted 22 Sep 2010 , 11:58pm
post #2 of 46

You can still get sued if someone gets sick (as anyone can sue anyone else for any reason) but since it is not a commercial transaction the bar for the other party trying to prove negligence is much higher.

However, it could potentially be construed as a commercial transaction in that you are getting free advertising for your budding cake business as compensation for the cake.

Of course the risk of something going wrong is very low, so you'll probably be fine, just some points to keep in mind. If you can get liability insurance that would make the decision much easier.

tchitwood Posted 23 Sep 2010 , 1:09am
post #3 of 46

Thank you for your input and info! I worry a lot about these things so I think to be on the safe side I will play with fake tiers until I'm ready to get my LLC, liability insurance and rent out a commercial kitchen. icon_smile.gif

Also if I'm just doing it for fun on the fake cakes I can just do whatever my heart desires, which is a lot of fun, heh heh!

Thank you for replying!

deMuralist Posted 23 Sep 2010 , 1:22am
post #4 of 46

I think you should do the real cake, then when you get done and get some great photos, disassemble the layers, and freeze them, then send one at a time to work with your dh or off to some other needy work crew. Working on a real cake is vastly different than working on styrofoam. imho

tchitwood Posted 23 Sep 2010 , 1:31am
post #5 of 46

Oh that is a great idea! I never would have thought of that. Thank you so much for posting the idea! I really did want to work on real cake because it sure is so much different but I hate to see wasted cake and I won't be eating any. And that way him and the guys at work get their cake "fix", haha! icon_smile.gif

tokazodo Posted 23 Sep 2010 , 1:37am
post #6 of 46

I think it's important to work with real cake too. It will give you a feel for the stacking/support a real cake would need.

deMuralist Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:11am
post #7 of 46

Then again, there is always cake balls!

madgeowens Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:41am
post #8 of 46

Not only that, but actually delivering a wedding cake would be so stressful to someone who does not do that....I tell you I give cakes away all the time, and if I have to worry about people suing then I guess I will throw them down the disposal.....what a sad statement for today.........its sad but unfortunately true...I guess I better stop being so nice.

tchitwood Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 3:20am
post #9 of 46

Thank you again everyone for your great ideas and info. I haven't been worrying about the cakes I send with my husband to work but I was worrying about a wedding. icon_smile.gif I'm new to all of this so I think I worry too much!

Apti Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 3:46am
post #10 of 46

OP, I take my practice cakes to the elementary school where my great-niece and great-nephews attend. I put it in the teacher's lounge and they LOVE it! I'm at the school all the time and know just about everyone, so I don't have any liability concerns. The nice part is no matter how large or how small the cake, it will be eaten and enjoyed.

Another great place with a lot of happy cake eaters is a rest home. If you know any staff or patients in a skilled nursing facility, the staff have shifts around the clock and love cake, especially free, surprise cake.

I haven't made a dummy cake yet. My first wedding style cakes (2) were made for the Cake Display Hall for the 2010 International ICES (Cake) Convention in San Diego where I live. It cracked me up that I was the only person out of about 450 cakes to bring REAL CAKE! I learned a huge amount about making the 3 tier and the 4 tier cakes, for delivery on the same day, no less! It is very different than 2 tiers--especially the time, ingredients, planning, transport and stability. Whew!

scp1127 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 3:59am
post #11 of 46

While I was gioing through being licensed, my health dept said I could give away my cakes I used to take pictures. The only place she said to be careful was with the elderly because of diet issues. I also had to mark each cake as made in an unlicensed kitchen so that the public would be informed.

Apti Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 5:48am
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

While I was gioing through being licensed, my health dept said I could give away my cakes I used to take pictures. The only place she said to be careful was with the elderly because of diet issues. I also had to mark each cake as made in an unlicensed kitchen so that the public would be informed.




sorry, should have been more specific, if you donate to a skilled nursing home, the cakes are for the STAFF, NOT the patients who will have all sorts of dietary specific problems. Also, I would only donate to school or skilled nursing if I actually know the people there.

scp1127 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 6:15am
post #13 of 46

Apti, that was just what my health dept said. The health dept said that until I was licensed and protected with insurance, even the staff could overlook someone's allergies and if someone got sick, I would be better off to have my ducks in a row before donating to a more sensitive group of people. I agree about the volunteers. They really deserve a treat!

madgeowens Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 6:39am
post #14 of 46

Wow.....I was making cakes for the free cakes for kids program.........I guess I wont do that anymore.......what a shame

granniehelen Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 12:39pm
post #15 of 46

I've made several wedding cakes as gifts to the bride and never worried about it. I just plain refuse to be that paranoid. You wanna sue me because I made a cake? Bring it on.

Apti Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 3:19pm
post #16 of 46

You go Grannie!!!!!!!

scp1127 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 7:09pm
post #17 of 46

It is not paranoia, it is good business. And any advice from the health dept is good advice.

chrisviz Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 7:18pm
post #18 of 46

You Go GrannieHelen! I feel the same way! icon_smile.gif

yums Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 7:27pm
post #19 of 46

I posted my cakes on craigslist for free. I took the wilton classes and was so tired of making a cake for class and having it go to waste. I posted the day before I had class and had someone to pick them up in line. Never had a problem.

madgeowens Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 11:51pm
post #20 of 46

lol granniehelen

madgeowens Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 11:53pm
post #21 of 46

when did the "health dept" take place of kindeness and good sense....government always knows better than us dummies I guess

jason_kraft Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 12:14am
post #22 of 46

There's a difference between paranoia and being informed about potential worst-case scenarios and how to avoid them. The biggest risks are probably food-borne pathogens and allergic reactions...it is pretty easy to mitigate both those risks by learning and practicing safe food-handling procedures, and clearly labeling any products you give away to indicate which allergens they contain or could have potentially come in contact with.

A confrontational "bring it on" attitude (from either side) only serves to line the pockets of lawyers.

madgeowens Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 12:58am
post #23 of 46

lol talk about paranoid.....right like I am gonna label ingredients on a cake I am making out of kindness for someone...........I would rather throw the dam thing in the trash if I have to go that route....like I said....its sad..........and grannyhelen you are Right ON

jason_kraft Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 1:05am
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by madgeowens

lol talk about paranoid.....right like I am gonna label ingredients on a cake I am making out of kindness for someone...........I would rather throw the dam thing in the trash if I have to go that route



You would rather throw the cake out instead of spending 30 seconds writing "may contain eggs, dairy, gluten, and nuts" on a small label and sticking it on the box?

icon_confused.gif

scp1127 Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 2:27am
post #25 of 46

I just stated that I asked the health dept if I could give away my cakes until my license was granted. They said yes, stay away from giving to the very old and very young, label that the kitchen is unlicensed, and warn about any potential food allergies. And people say that's rediculous? We live in a country where commercial food is regulated by strict laws that protect the public. We can buy food from street vendors, etc, with no worries. We know that when we get our ice cream that it is safe, and we know that our butcher practices safe hygiene. So is everyone in the food business subject to those stringent laws but a chosen few? And even when the health dept approves cake donation, those few little public safety requests are too much to ask? I have only been on here about a year, but I have not seen where this question has been brought to the attention of the health dept, so I did ask. The answer was exactly what I wanted to hear, so I shared it. They even said I could say that my new bakery is opening in October.

So for those people wanting to know about donating cakes, pick up the phone and ask. This is a site where we share information. The law is not an opinion. But if someone has an opinion, it would be nice if it was stated in such a way as to not call the people with the information names. And no, I am not paranoid. My husband is a doctor and I would not jeopardize his assets.

madgeowens Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 3:52am
post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by madgeowens

lol talk about paranoid.....right like I am gonna label ingredients on a cake I am making out of kindness for someone...........I would rather throw the dam thing in the trash if I have to go that route


You would rather throw the cake out instead of spending 30 seconds writing "may contain eggs, dairy, gluten, and nuts" on a small label and sticking it on the box?

icon_confused.gif




Yes I would rather throw it away.........I am a retired nurse and know how to wash my hands lol.......I know where you are all coming from, but I still think its a shame that a person can't be a good neighbor and bake a cake in a nice gesture and have to worry about being sued.........if you can't see that is sad, then I guess we just have to agree to disagree icon_smile.gif

scp1127 Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 4:11am
post #27 of 46

It's not about being sued, it is about informing the public. Give your cakes to friends and family, but when you donate to charities and other strangers, give them the opportunity to know where it came from and if there are any ingredients that may be harmful to them. If uncle Joe is allergic to nuts, you are going to tell him there are ground pecans in the spice cake. Just tell the stranger too. Don't make someone sick with your gift. Not being sued comes from due diligence, knowing and doing the right thing.

jason_kraft Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 4:33am
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by madgeowens

I know where you are all coming from, but I still think its a shame that a person can't be a good neighbor and bake a cake in a nice gesture and have to worry about being sued



There's a big difference between giving a small cake to your neighbors for them to enjoy and providing a wedding cake that will be served to dozens or hundreds of people you've never met. This thread is about the latter.

I find it baffling that you are so opposed to taking a few seconds to label a box. Obviously this is not a big issue when giving food to the neighbors, but for the aforementioned wedding cake it's just about the cheapest CYA out there, not to mention common courtesy.

Quote:
Quote:

I am a retired nurse and know how to wash my hands lol



Food safety involves a lot more than just washing your hands. Before you "lol" again you might want to take a look at a few examples of course content.

http://www.servsafe.com/Help/foodsafety/course/
http://www.servsafe.com/Foodsafety/solutions/options/online/overview/
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/foodsci/distance/micro/syllabus.htm#courseoutl

scp1127 Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 4:37am
post #29 of 46

Well said again, jasonkraft!

scp1127 Posted 29 Sep 2010 , 4:43am
post #30 of 46

Why do we again have to defend ourselves for following the law in the CAKE BUSINESS FORUM which clearly states its purpose is to discuss business and legal issues, not illegal issues. You have a right to say anything you want, but again, we are in a situation where illegal advice is being touted as an option in the BUSINESS FORUM.

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