I have a question, what is everyone's policy for tastings with brides or others who are ordering a large cake. I find that people want me to bring 4 or 5 completely different flavors and I don't want to bake a whole bunch of different cakes, cupcakes, frosting, filling etc for just that one consultation. I just updated my list of flavors after spending some time going over the gourmet flavors thread also. Do you use cupcakes or cake slices for this? Many times I can make the extra cake from a batch into cake pops but there is still all the time and effort involved in making 4 or 5 different cakes and then all the different frostings to go with it! Please help! Thanks everyone!!
Here's my "tasting info" email I send to prospective clients. It took me a while to come up with this and it's still a work in progress:
I typically hold tastings at my home on the first and third Sundays of each month. These 45 minute appointments start at 1pm and run until 5pm. You have a choice of two different types of tastings: Bakers Choice where I select a few flavors and fillings for you to sample and Brides Choice where you can select up to 3 cake flavors and two fillings. Both tastings include buttercream and fondant samples, if applicable, as well. Bakers Choice tastings are free, but Brides Choice tastings are $25, must be scheduled at least 1 week in advance, and paid in advance via PayPal from my website.
During the appointment you can ask any questions you may have, and we can discuss design. Please do your best to be on time to your appointment as I usually have back-to-back appointments. If you need to cancel or reschedule, please let me know as soon as the conflict arises so I can give your slot to another bride.
Prior to your appointment, I would like to know the basics of your wedding (number of invitees, colors, theme, reception location, etc) and the type of cake you are looking for (shape, fondant or buttercream, flavors/fillings, etc) in advance of the appointment so I can prepare accordingly. If you have not made all these decisions yet, that is fine, just let me know as much as you can.
My wedding cakes start at $4.00 a serving for a buttercream cake and $5.00 a serving for a fondant cake. The start price includes up to two different standard cake flavors, fruit or vanilla buttercream filling, and a non-labor intensive design. Prices may increase on cake flavors, fillings, buttercreams, and design chosen. Sugar flowers are extra and priced individually. Wedding cupcakes start at $2.25 each and increase from there.
Delivery and setup is included as long as the delivery is within 15 miles of my location (per Google Maps). Deliveries outside of this area are $0.50 a mile round trip plus $10 an hour with a $25 delivery fee minimum.
Please remember that all cakes are reserved on a first come, first serve basis by deposit and that in most instances, I can only take one or two wedding cakes per day. Prices and policies are subject to change.
How do YOU view the purpose of a tasting appt?
I view it as the time when a bride is comparing bakers and wants to see if she likes my baking. If she taste my 3 flavors of cake (that I select) and if she likes my baking, she books with me and then she tells me what flavor she wants her wedding cake. I do NOT view it as a time when they get to have free pieces of cake, one of every flavor in the world, so they can decide if they want white, chocolate or red velvet cake. I can't go into Pizza Hut and get a free slice of every kind of pizza they make so I can decide what kind I want for my party of 100.
When I offer white, chocolate and a 3rd flavor, I also serve them naked, meaning no icing. The bride can then mix-n-match my icings and fillings. This is super helpful as I can demostrate how different the same chocolate cake will taste with chocolate fudge filling or red raspberry filling. When all they do is swap out the filling, this makes it MUCH easier on me to bake just one or two cake flavors and then change up the taste of the cake with fillings.
If you're going to serve cupcakes, think about how much cake you really expect someone to eat. Even *I* can't eat 5 or 6 cupcakes in one sitting, so why would a baker expect a bride to?
I baked one 8" square cake of each flavor, then cut it into 9 pieces (3 columns x 3 rows). This roughly 2.5" x 2.5" piece was PLENTY for four people to "sample". I just pulled one square of each flavor out of the freezer for each sampling. That meant I baked once for every 9 appointments. These squares took literally 10 minutes to thaw, so I didn't have to spend a lot of time baking and prepping for an appt ... 20 minutes tops.
Thank you! Do you keep a stash of cakes and flavors in your freezer for tastings that you typically use for your choice of flavors? I just don't want to get stuck with a bunch a cake and filling, frostings wasted. Thanks again for responding!
my samplings were typically white cake, chocolate cake, and red velvet cake. So I only had 3 cakes in the freezer at any one time. After the 9th appt, when I ran out of cake, I'd bake 3 more. I only use one icing .... my icing .... and it stores well on the counter, so no add'l prep work there. I use sleeve fillings and always had 4-5 flavors on hand (they keep forever in the 'frig).
As your business grows, you will find the need to work smarter, not harder; to streamline; to develop an assembly line process; to develop and implement systems that add to a smooth work flow that cuts yoru time in half.
I have a tasting menu and allow brides to choose 1 - 3 from that smaller menu. I serve the fillings along side in a small cup and I only have 1 type of icing, bc, well plus fondant.
Thanks! some people can be so understanding about this but others just think they can get all the free cake in the world! As my business grows I find I have more questions because I get busier and busier (but busy is good!) so again, thanks to the pros for sharing their advice!
I hold tastings once a month at my cake studio. I schedule brides every hour throughout the day (busy months I add an additional day...the very next day...so I don't have to bake again). I bake my samples into loaf pans and slice for the tasting. I bake whatever flavors I'm baking for that weekends wedding. So, it's really simple to just add the extra batter to the pans. They get 4 or 5 cake flavors (depending on how many flavors I baked that week) in small slices (I slice the loaf, then cut the slices in 1/2). Then they get a little cup of my buttercream along with two other fillings. The buttercream is topped with a heart fondant cut out so they can taste the fondant.
It's a chance to show off my work and I wouldn't want to leave them unimpressed. This way impresses them and also cuts back on the amount of time I'm actually in the kitchen preparing.