From what I've been reading on here the past few days I can tell this is a bit of a hot button issue. I'm pretty much a by the book kind of girl myself, and in TN it is ridiculously hard to get a home bakery licensed from what I understand. I was mostly looking into it for down the road when my girls are at least in school (5 mo. and 1-1/2 years right now). Obviously I need plenty of time to work on my skills. That being said, I also want to get plenty of practice in. I've truly only done cakes for my family so far, and I have 1 I'm doing next week for a friend's birthday bash. I've not charged anything except what the ingredients/supplies have cost, and basically done all the labor for free so there's no profit involved.
I suppose my question is would this be considered illegal? I don't want to have a "business" just yet per say, but a couple of word of mouth practice jobs (no weddings, just birthdays or small parties) would be nice since it would give me the practice without leaving large cakes around the house that are tempting my poor husband who's doing his very best to lose some weight, or just tossing them which is just a total waste in my book.
I don't want to upset anyone or steal anyone's business, but honestly, my cakes are no where near quality enough to really steal business anyway. Which is why I want to work on it.
Now I'm just rambling. Tips for a newbie here? I know we all had to start somewhere...
Moving to Cake Decorating forum.
Weird, I swear that's the forum I was in when I started typing. Huh. Still figuring these forums out. My apologies!
Charging even just for your costs (ingredients) is considered illegal if you aren't properly licensed. I totally hear ya bout it being not just difficult but really costly to get licensed but sadly, unless your state has an exception, making cakes for even just $1 is illegal.
If you're a hobbyist, caking is an expensive hobby - just like photography, or stamp collecting or anything else.
You could buy some cake dummies and practise on them? Then just wash off or peel off the decoration and use them again and again.
You wouldn't get the practise of stacking and dealing with cake textures and issues that go with it but you would get some decorating skills down. ??
What about making them and donating them to a women's shelter, nursing home etc. If they are a non profit, you may be able to take a deduction on your taxes for charitable contribution. (But check with your accountant)