I am an amateur cake decorator, SAHM, who is taking formal cake decorating classes at the local college. It was not my intent to become a professional cake decorator (although I'd love it) but as I progress through these classes I'm finding I have 3 problems. 1. My practice cakes are piling up in my fridge (my SECOND fridge!). 2. If I eat them, I gain weight 3. making them costs money. Now, I know that I could just practice on a "fake" cake, but the expense isn't in the cake, its in the frosting which I clearly can't fake.
Here's my dilemma. I'd like to sell my practice cakes. They're all beautiful and in this economy, I bet there are plenty of people out there who would like a nice cake at a discount price while I learn new techniques. But in Florida, selling homemade cakes is against the law. What I want to know is, has anyone ever bartered for their cakes when they first started? Of course I'm speaking specifically about states where selling homemade goods is illegal, but I'd also be interested in hearing the experiences of anyone who started out that way. The upside, the downside. Things to watch for, how to keep from getting ripped off.
Also, does anyone know if bartering is a viable way around the Florida law that prohibits selling homemade cakes. Or is bartering considered the same as selling? If not, could I barter for things like gift cards that would replace cash at places I shop at regularly?
Not sure how the laws of your state are, but I'm pretty sure a gift card is considered the same as cash. It's money in a plastic form, like a check is money in an (alternate) paper form. I've read that bartered items need to be reported as income but again ... not sure how each state works.
Good questions, though, and I'm interested to hear what others' experiences have been.
I know that I could just practice on a "fake" cake, but the expense isn't in the cake, its in the frosting which I clearly can't fake.
The frosting isn't anymore an "expense" than the dummies are, if you scrape it off and use it again just like reusing the dummy.
You should ask your accountant, but I bet if you donate them to charity (homeless shelter, church, etc) you could write off the ingredients and supplies. You'd have to get a receipt of course. Just a thought.
I agree with tinygoose. There's an organization that provides birthday cakes for underprivileged children, but I can't remember the name of it. There are some members here who participate in it, so I hope they jump in here and remind me.
I have already donated cakes to the local shelter and to a couple of fund-raising events for their dessert table.
I'm not sure about the bartering issue in Florida, but I do know that, overall, the state is very strict on food laws. Any kitchen that is licensed is prohibited from serving food from a non-licensed and/or insured kitchen. This includes most homeless shelters. This protects them, and while it is frustrating, it is certainly understandable.
When you barter you're supposed to count the value of the goods that you receive in trade as income on your federal income taxes (and I'd assume on the state taxes as well.) Given that, I'd also assume that if someone is receiving your goods in trade and that counts as income, you're technically not supposed to barter unlicensed food items in a state where you can't be licensed to sell them from home. You need to check with an accountant on all of that, though. Gift cards and "tips" are the same as income, it's all money, so don't try to be fancy and sneaky, check to see what's legal to do and don't get yourself into trouble.
The idea of donations is a good one, but again, check with an accountant to see what you can deduct.
Practice icing -
1 cup of shortening and about 3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar and enough water to reach a smooth consistency.
Use it on a dummy, then scrape it back in the container, stir it up, and use it again... and again, and again...
You will not need to worry about eating it.