Is This A Simple Cake? What Are Your Thoughts?

Decorating By Bubbl3h3ad Updated 2 Mar 2011 , 4:08pm by TexasSugar

Bubbl3h3ad Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 11:34pm
post #1 of 24

I got a call from someone at my mother's church for a cake. Her son and his girlfriend had eloped and she was giving them a reception in one month. She said it would be a small reception with basically just family. She said that if it was a real wedding with all the guests she would go all out and get a regular wedding cake. But since it wasn't she wanted something "real simple" to feed 50 - 75 people. She left all of this on a message. I have a full time job so I couldn't get right back to her. Before I had a chance to call her back, my mother called and repeated what the mother had said and started giving me all these ideas. I have to say, her ideas were good and simple, just like the mother had said but I still didn't know if I wanted to do it, I hadn't talked to her in person yet. So when I called her back, she started telling me again that it was going to be real simple and that the colors were red, purple, and black. She had a picture of it somewhere and would email it to me. SO, it turns out that the cake she wanted was 3 tiers. The 2 bottom tiers were round and the top tier was heart-shaped and also separated by pillars. The 2 bottom tiers were to have red and purple roses all the way around each one with a black bow in between every so often. Then she wanted a big pile of red and purple roses between the top tier and second tier. So I called her to actually tell her that I don't consider that a "real simple" cake. Before I could get a word in edgewise, she says to me, "I want the roses to be made out of sugar, not any real or silk ones. And you need to be there by 12 to set up for the reception, it starts at 2. And we've already spent $500 on just the food, so we need to keep this cake at a lower budget." So that was the stick that broke the camels back. I feel like she was going to take advantage of me because I grew up at the church she attends. Why does everyone think the cake has to be the most inexpensive thing at a reception? So what do you think? Was that really a simple cake and I'm just making too big of a deal? Maybe if I didn't have a full-time job and school I wouldn't think so much of it.

23 replies
Bubbl3h3ad Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 11:37pm
post #2 of 24

Oh and also I should say, I did email her back quickly and tell her that the cake she wanted was a bit too much for my busy schedule. She said to let her know if I changed my mind but I know I won't.

sillywabbitz Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 11:48pm
post #3 of 24

LOL, all those sugar roses would have taken forever. To me truly simple is buttercream and swiss dots and buttercream border. Once you start talking gumpaste flowers, we've past simple. Those are also very hard colors to work with in buttercream so if you went with fondant then there is a lot more expense. Good call on telling them no. Always go with your gut.

Lcubed82 Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 11:50pm
post #4 of 24

Doesn't sound simple to me! Just the colors got me! The hardest ones to get rich!

platinumlady Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 11:51pm
post #5 of 24

I think she knows how much it was going to cost. You were right in saying that she was going to take advantage of you since you grew up in the church.

I understand why you didn't want to do the cake. If you did change your mind I would just quote the price that you would charge someone you just met. However, it is probably a headache you just don't need!

Sucrea Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 12:03am
post #6 of 24

You were right to walk away from this one. Sounds like she would have been a pain to work with and she would want the cake free!

jo3d33 Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 12:10am
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywabbitz

Once you start talking gumpaste flowers, we've past simple.




Agreed!!! thumbs_up.gif

ayerim979 Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 12:13am
post #8 of 24

I too would of ran. And I totally hear you most people think because you don't own a bakery per say the cake should be cheap

Unlimited Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 12:21am
post #9 of 24

I think everyone has their own idea of what simple really is. To me, it sounds simple, normal, or average (except for the heart-shaped top tier), but I don't mind making roses. Simple can be more time consuming because there are fewer decorations to hide flaws, which means simple needs to be more perfect.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 12:47am
post #10 of 24

In a word... no.

I find that when someone starts in with "I just want something simple"... they are looking for cheap. You were right to tell her that it wasn't simple and that you can't fit it in. Sugar flowers equal the complete opposite of low budget and simple.

Bubbl3h3ad Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 2:46am
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

I think everyone has their own idea of what simple really is. To me, it sounds simple, normal, or average (except for the heart-shaped top tier), but I don't mind making roses. Simple can be more time consuming because there are fewer decorations to hide flaws, which means simple needs to be more perfect.




This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Is simple, to you, making roses? Or is it having fewer decorations to hide flaws? Hmm...


But I really do appreciate everyone's input because I know that there are some things that I'm not very comfortable with yet and thought maybe I was just feeling overwhelmed. I am still learning how to say "no" to certain people. Also learning to charge enough to certain people. I'm getting there though!! And yes, Sillywabbitz, starting to listen to my gut!

cheatize Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 3:07am
post #12 of 24

No, it's not simple.

BTW: you could have purchased the roses. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy than to make.

Bubbl3h3ad Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 3:12am
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheatize

No, it's not simple.

BTW: you could have purchased the roses. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy than to make.




Really? Where can I buy gumpaste roses? I really wasn't aware of that, thanks for that idea, I will consider it in the future!

artscallion Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 3:14am
post #14 of 24

My S-I-L sent me a pic this morning of a cake that her "best friend" (who I've never even heard of before) would love me to make for her niece's 13th BDay...adding that "She doesn't want to break the bank though."

Warning bells start going off right away. The pic is of a large two tier fondant with moderately complicated bells and whistles on it. This is not the cake to order if you're on a budget. I email her back quoting $150. She emails me back, "it's only a 13th birthday, she doesn't want to spend that much."

I tell her the cake doesn't care what the occasion is and a cake like that costs $150. She asks if I can do the same cake, but not as nice for $50. I tell her I can't make any cake for $50 and have it compensate me for my time and ingredients, never mind make it worth my while, especially for somebody I've never even met's niece.

She doesn't bake at all, but she does cook. So I ask her what if I called you and told you a friend of mine wants you to spend two days in the kitchen making lasagna with homemade pasta and sauce and hand ground sausage for fifty people, but this stranger only wants to pay you the amount of the ingredients, not for the two days of your time, cause it's "just lasagna for a potluck so I don't want to pay much." I think she got it.

thallo Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 3:36am
post #15 of 24

Over the years I have learned that whenever someone says that they want a "simple cake", that it normally means two things. 1) It is going to be a royal pain to do and 2) They want it cheap! No getting around it. And they think that by saying the "simple" word that you will automatically become a "simpleton" and do exactly as they wish. I simply set a price and they either say yes or no. It really doesn't matter to me at that point if I offend them with the price because they have already offended me. Life goes on.

You did the right thing by standing up for yourself. You will never regret it. Good luck and great caking.

Bubbl3h3ad Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 3:40am
post #16 of 24

Oh my gosh! What a good response!

Unlimited Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 4:41am
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbl3h3ad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

I think everyone has their own idea of what simple really is. To me, it sounds simple, normal, or average (except for the heart-shaped top tier), but I don't mind making roses. Simple can be more time consuming because there are fewer decorations to hide flaws, which means simple needs to be more perfect.



This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Is simple, to you, making roses? Or is it having fewer decorations to hide flaws? Hmm...




Yes, simple/normal/average for wedding cakesnothing out of the ordinary except the heart.

No, definitely not, because fewer decorations don't hide possible flawssimple can take longer... (no borders to cover the top edge means it will take longer to ice a cake more perfectly, etc.)

Bubbl3h3ad Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 4:50am
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

No, definitely not, because fewer decorations don't hide possible flawssimple can take longer... (no borders to cover the top edge means it will take longer to ice a cake more perfectly, etc.)




Ok, then that is what I am saying. This is not a simple cake because she does want all those decoration, whether they cover up any flaws or not. And the heart tier, that was the simple part to me so... anyways, I was asking about simplicity due to the amount of roses and pillars, trim, etc. not about simplicity due to having no decorations. Sorry for the confusion about that.

Thanks everyone for your support, I guess sometimes we all just need to be reassured that we are doing the right thing!

cheatize Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 5:13am
post #19 of 24

http://www.avalondeco.com/Icing_rosesmainframe.htm

http://www.discountsugarflowers.com/SearchResult.aspx?CategoryID=1215

I've seen my sugar flowers. It would be a lot cheaper for the customer if I purchased them. icon_smile.gif I keep practicing, but until they look decent, my plan is to buy them. I haven't had to buy them yet, but I do know that Leah_s recommends these two places.

carmijok Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 5:14am
post #20 of 24

You might consider having a few 'simple' cakes in your portfolio ready to show to people so they will understand what YOU mean by simple! So when they start talking about simple cakes, you can say...oh yes...here are a few for you to look at...which one will work for you? I can change colors but anything beyond these basic designs will be considered custom and more expensive. Just a thought! thumbs_up.gif

Bubbl3h3ad Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 5:22am
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

You might consider having a few 'simple' cakes in your portfolio ready to show to people so they will understand what YOU mean by simple! So when they start talking about simple cakes, you can say...oh yes...here are a few for you to look at...which one will work for you? I can change colors but anything beyond these basic designs will be considered custom and more expensive. Just a thought! thumbs_up.gif




Good idea! I seriously am going to be prepared next time I hear the word "simple."

And thank you Cheatize for the links, I learn something new all the time. I had no idea about these. I've only seen the ones you can buy at walmart, lol, and it never occurred to me to look further. So glad to have my CC peeps for tips like these!

Unlimited Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 6:05am
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbl3h3ad

Ok, then that is what I am saying. This is not a simple cake because she does want all those decoration, whether they cover up any flaws or not. And the heart tier, that was the simple part to me so... anyways, I was asking about simplicity due to the amount of roses and pillars, trim, etc. not about simplicity due to having no decorations. Sorry for the confusion about that.




I see your viewpoint, and to answer the question "Is this a simple cake?", my answer is "Yes", if simple means normal or average, typical to most wedding cakes.
It's round, not square (except for the more difficult to ice heart which may also need to be handcarved for a cake that small to serve 50-75).
It has food coloring as most do (compared to all whitea little more time to mix, yet minimal added cost).
Pillarseasier to set up than stacked, easier to lift, box, and transport because they're more manageable.
Roses (or other flowers)fairly typical whether you made them or purchased them... without flowers, time would still most likely be spent on other decorating (swags, scrolls, dots, stringwork, etc.).
Black bows in betweenif made of ribbon, insert pics.
If it's all buttercream, it's easier and quicker than fondant for most.

It's sounds like you've made up your mind not to do the cake, but if you change your mind, you could do:
10" x 8" (62 servings) + 6" heart (14 servings) = 76
9" x 7" (51 servings) + 5" heart (10 servings?) = 61
12" x 8" (80 servings) + 4" heart (6 servings?) = 86

tryingcake Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 6:18am
post #23 of 24

I would have told her to get a quote from other bakeries and you would gladly deduct the price by $25... LOL...

That alone would cause her to change the look of the cake - real quick.

I've done this several times with people who try to "budget" me. Sure - call around, get quotes in writing and I'll take $25 off.

Sounds fair to me.

TexasSugar Posted 2 Mar 2011 , 4:08pm
post #24 of 24

When people use the word simple they often mean 'cheap' unfortunetly their ideas of simple and a cake decorators are often very different.

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