Cake Tasting Parties?

Decorating By augurey Updated 27 Sep 2011 , 11:01pm by cakeandpartygirl

augurey Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 10:24pm
post #1 of 26

First, I apologize if this post is in the wrong area. I'm not really sure the best spot for this.


I did a google search (for CC) about cake tasting parties. It was something I had started thinking about on my way home from work today. My search didn't really come up with too much (two old threads) -- but they were more business oriented.


I'm starting to try out scratch cakes more often, and there are so many different recipes. Sometimes it's really hard to pick and choose.

My boyfriend and I are my main testers. I know if the flavor of my cake is something I feel good and confident about. My boyfriend is able to constructively tell me his opinion and if he thought it was better than another recipe I tried.

Other than that, the only time other people really try my stuff is if it's for an occasion or if I'm just trying something new and make something to serve after dinner. So I do get some feedback from others, but I'd also like to expand on that. Plus I'd like to get a handful of insight and opinions on multiple flavors rather than doing it one at a time for an occasion.


I've become known as "the baker" amongst my boyfriend's friend's and family (even those that I'm only meeting for the first time ask if I'm the baker). So I'd like to get more of a variety of opinions.

No, I don't have a business at this time (nowhere near good enough or ready for that yet), but I hope that my time and practicing can hopefully someday get me to a point where I'm good enough, confident enough and able to do so.


But what I'd like to do is invite some people over (there's a nice group of people that I think would be interested in helping me out with this). But since I am working to perfect all the different flavors, I thought this might be a good way to do it.

Maybe bake 6 or so flavors, have everyone try them, and then have them rate them (anonymously). If everyone loves the white cake, then I know it's a keeper. If everyone hates the chocolate cake, then I know I need to keep searching, etc.

Plus I'm thinking about sending some with my boyfriend to his Wednesday night group (they love it when he brings my cakes lol).

But I just thought this might give me a good idea of where I'm going on these cakes (especially because I can't always trust my own opinion... sometimes the things I make for dinner my boyfriend gawks at, then makes a disgusted face, so...).


Any thoughts? Has anyone done this from a non-business standpoint? Has anyone have people rate the flavors/texture of their cakes? If so, what are your categories?


Any other insight would be appreciated icon_smile.gif

25 replies
carolinagirlcakes Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 10:56pm
post #2 of 26

I was thinking the same thing too! I too am switching from box baking to semi / scratch baking and want opinions in flavor. My husband is a Marine and has taken them to work and I have received rave reviews but seriously they would eat anything homemade, lol.

My thing is I really don't have all that extra cash to spend out to make all theses different cakes for sampling because I too am a home baker and SAHM. So I was thinking about asking at least 5 girls if there would be interested and charge $2 per person to sample, this way my supply cost is covered at least. What do you think about this?

aligotmatt Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 11:18pm
post #3 of 26

I see no issue with inviting people over to eat some cake! If I lived closer I'd be looking for an invite icon_smile.gif When I try out new flavors I just put it on my personal facebook and let some friends come pick up a piece. A lot of times it'll come with a playdate for my kids too.

Charging people...... I don't know. That may be something you would want to talk to your friends about (as opposed to sending an invitation that requires them to pay you) and tell them you want to try a bunch of cakes, but you can't necessarily afford it and see if they want to kick in for a coffee and cake ladies night.

carolinagirlcakes Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 11:43pm
post #4 of 26

It's not like I am saying "hey come try cake and oh by the way you have to pay"... and I can afford to make cakes without paying but I have TONS of recipes that I want to try out and if I do 5 cakes a week that will add up.

I would simple say something along the lines of "hey I am working on my cake profiles and looking for some people who would like to taste cake. There would be a minimum charge of $2 per person and I am looking for 5-6 ladies to fill my chairs. I will divide up the left overs for you to take home and enjoy with your family!"

So really they will each end up with probably a 6" cake... I don't think paying $2 is to much to ask but once again it is just an idea.

augurey Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 11:44pm
post #5 of 26

carolinagirlcakes, I went from boxed to doctored, and have recently ventured into scratch. There are so many different recipes out there (as well as for doctored!) that it's hard to choose. I tried the Chocolate WASC which turned out great, but when I added cocoa it tasted even better -- words from my boyfriend, and I know I rely on those types of comments (better or worse).

I agree with aligotmatt on the charging. It's difficult because something like this is expensive -- something I would have to try and figure out myself. I agree on the coffee/cake ladies night. Or maybe if donations are welcome? They aren't required to pay, but if they'd like to donate and chip in, it's optional?


aligotmatt, for your facebook -- how do you do that? Do you just say that you made a cake and say that they can stop by and pick up a piece? Curious as to how you do this, it sounds interesting.



I know I wouldn't be able to do this for awhile. I have some experimenting and other flavors I'd like to try first. Once I can find something I like (and my boyfriend likes... and others if they've had it before for an occasion), I'll add it to a short list. I'm going to do some experimenting this weekend with some tweaks.


Now, from a business standpoint (to spread the word/gain customers/orders) I see where you'd serve the samples/tastings with filling choices and frosting. But if you're looking for cake flavor, would serve with icing and/or cake alone? Or give the option of icing (to put on themselves) but encourage a bite without?


I think this would be a lot of fun, especially in the colder weather. Serve hot cocoa and maybe just do something else for fun so it's not something "boring" that someone would not want to go to. I would want to make it fun because if it were something that turns out to be successful, I'd like to do more in the future once I start finding other flavors.

augurey Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 11:50pm
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by carolinagirlcakes

It's not like I am saying "hey come try cake and oh by the way you have to pay"... and I can afford to make cakes without paying but I have TONS of recipes that I want to try out and if I do 5 cakes a week that will add up.

I would simple say something along the lines of "hey I am working on my cake profiles and looking for some people who would like to taste cake. There would be a minimum charge of $2 per person and I am looking for 5-6 ladies to fill my chairs. I will divide up the left overs for you to take home and enjoy with your family!"

So really they will each end up with probably a 6" cake... I don't think paying $2 is to much to ask but once again it is just an idea.




It's definitely an idea. Maybe feel it out with your friends?

Some might say, "no way!" but other might be happy to help.

I'd feel it out. Your friends may be completely okay with that.

Are any of the recipes you have something you can halve? I know some recipes it just doesn't work with, but maybe halving the recipe may cut down on cost? (That is if you know that you can or feel comfortable taking the chance -- but then again, maybe you can for all? I'm not very experienced in that, so I really can't say for sure).

One of the things that I'm going to be experimenting with this weekend is trying a base recipe that I can alter to make several flavors. I doubt it's going to work, but I'd like to give it a try.

That's the only difficult thing with this -- it gets expensive. I can't tell you how much money I wasted on a new recipe the other weekend. It didn't turn out at all and had to throw it out.

But maybe see what your friends think about it. You never know.

SweetDelites Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 12:04am
post #7 of 26

This is something I was thinking about. I want to do a cake tasting too, but don't know where to start. I'm testing out new flavors also.

I know a few people who have done this thing called pop-up restaurant, they pick a spot, come up with a few menu items and charged $5 per person, put up posters,and emails of when and where. It works.

aligotmatt Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 12:37am
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by augurey


I agree with aligotmatt on the charging. It's difficult because something like this is expensive -- something I would have to try and figure out myself. I agree on the coffee/cake ladies night. Or maybe if donations are welcome? They aren't required to pay, but if they'd like to donate and chip in, it's optional?


aligotmatt, for your facebook -- how do you do that? Do you just say that you made a cake and say that they can stop by and pick up a piece? Curious as to how you do this, it sounds interesting.



I know I wouldn't be able to do this for awhile. I have some experimenting and other flavors I'd like to try first. Once I can find something I like (and my boyfriend likes... and others if they've had it before for an occasion), I'll add it to a short list. I'm going to do some experimenting this weekend with some tweaks.


Now, from a business standpoint (to spread the word/gain customers/orders) I see where you'd serve the samples/tastings with filling choices and frosting. But if you're looking for cake flavor, would serve with icing and/or cake alone? Or give the option of icing (to put on themselves) but encourage a bite without?


I think this would be a lot of fun, especially in the colder weather. Serve hot cocoa and maybe just do something else for fun so it's not something "boring" that someone would not want to go to. I would want to make it fun because if it were something that turns out to be successful, I'd like to do more in the future once I start finding other flavors.




Not on my business facebook page, but on my personal one, I'll just say, trying out some mint chocolate ganache with chocolate cake today. Then people will say, oh that sounds good, and I'll say, come on by and get a piece if you want! Normally one or 2 people will come try it.

I'm not knocking the idea of getting people to pitch in, it really adds up. And recently during a hurricane here I baked up a bit so we would have sweets if the power went out or we were trapped for a few days and everyone was like, great, we know where to go. Uhh no. I'm not the free sweets supplier even if you are my mom or my bff. So I said - great I have a bargaining chip, hope you're stocking up on wine icon_wink.gif

Maybe if it's a friend kind of night you could ask different people to bring different things, wine, cocoa, coffee, maybe a little fondue pot...

KayMc Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 12:43am
post #9 of 26

I wouldn't think favorably if a friend asked me to help her out by taking the time out of my busy life, and going over to her house to taste cakes for her hobby/business. And, oh by the way, you need to pay money, too! Really leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but that's just my two cents.

enchantedcreations Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 1:06am
post #10 of 26

I work in a phys. office; we have 16 employees. So I make everyone's Birthday Cake! I choose the flavors and the design. I keep track of what flavors I've made so I don't repeat. Everyone's been really great about letting me know what works and what doesn't. This way, I'm not eating all this cake and I'm getting honest taste tests. I don't about you guys, but I've sorta gotten burnt out on tasting this stuff. LOL

But anyway, that's my spin on tasting parties............

carolinagirlcakes Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 1:26am
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayMc

I wouldn't think favorably if a friend asked me to help her out by taking the time out of my busy life, and going over to her house to taste cakes for her hobby/business. And, oh by the way, you need to pay money, too! Really leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but that's just my two cents.




Okay first off I am new to an area so really don't have friends to gather to bounce flavors off of. I am on a community forum where I could post a message about a tasting and have girls that would be more than willing to do it. Like I said previously, which you must have missed, that I would not invite someone over and THEN tell them that they have to pay. I would however invite them and on the invite say there is a $2 charge for who ever is interested! I would never not be up from with my plans.

I don't mind spending the money to make one cake sample for tastings but I want to try out three to four cake flavors, filling and different icings. Then box up the left overs and send home with each person... so they would be taking home almost a 6" cake for $2, I don't think that is that bad its not like a am charge $20 a head! Must are stay at home moms like me and would be able to bring there child along to play with my son also.

So I would be spending money not only ingredients but boxes to take cake home and beverages. Once again $2 is not bad and if they participate they would know from the get go about haveing to pay.

It was just an idea but now I think I am going to try it and let everyone know if it works and how everyone reacted to "pay" to sample cakes.

KayMc Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 1:44am
post #12 of 26

I never even thought about you inviting them over, and THEN saying there was a cost. That thought never entered my head. I hope it works well for you. I was just telling you what my reaction would be to an invitation like that. But, there just might be plenty of people interested in doing it.

CocoaBlondie Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 1:57am
post #13 of 26

When I first started out I always thought about doing this. Not so much to try new recipes, but to aquire new business. To open my home (since I'm a home based business) & say check out my kitchen & my portfolio & try my wonderful cakes while your at it. Not sure how it would work out in your case. I know you didn't want to get into the business end of it. But before sending out community flyer or such maybe check w/ your town to see if charging is okay. I now it's only $2.00 but you may be suprised how people can act.

cookiedoescakes Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 2:03am
post #14 of 26

In June I held a "cupcake and wine" tasting party. I am a home baker and I wanted to try out some new flavors and get people's opinions. I felt the best way to do it was to host a party and it turned out really. We had fun and we played games... No one was required to purchase or order. It was my own peronal focus group and my friends just thought it was a party.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 11:18am
post #15 of 26

Carolinagirlcupcakes,
I am in the same boat that you are in....new to an area and don't have friends to try cakes. I am also on a community forum but I would be afraid to post for a tasting! So hats off to you for that. I have seen people doing scentsy , (all of those party type businessess) open houses so maybe you could do that with them to sell a sample box.

ETA: one more thing honestly $2 is not even enough to cover the cost of the boxes so you may want to reconsider that price.

cownsj Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 1:30pm
post #16 of 26

It did a duplicate post and won't let me delete, sorry

cownsj Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 1:31pm
post #17 of 26

We had a cupcake tasting party at our home one time for family and friends. We made all mini cupcakes. We did about 8 different flavor combinations. We had questionaires on all the different ones, plus asked what flavor combinations they may like to see in the future. We had other foods for them to try so it wasn't all sweets, but all they wanted were the cupcakes and coffee. It was their chance to be really bad and not feel guilty about eating all those cupcakes.

By using mini's everyone was able to sample all the flavors and go even go back for 2nd's and even sometimes 3rd's. It lasted for several hours, so it was easy to go through lots, drink coffee, giggle, and have loads of fun.

Debbye27 Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 2:34pm
post #18 of 26

That sounds fun!! I am just starting my new business- in planning phase still, so this would be a great idea for me to find out which recipes work, and which don't!! Thanks for the tip on the mini cupcake....I'm glad your party turned out lovely!!

SammieB Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 3:07pm
post #19 of 26

Whenever I have a new cake to try, I typically will make cupcakes, then post on my personal fb page to see who wants to try them. I have a friend who works at a local college so he takes some in there, and of course he takes some home too. icon_smile.gif Usually I have at least 2-3 people want some. The only thing about doing it this way is usually you just hear whether they like the recipe or not, not specifically what about it they love or would change since there is nothing to compare it to.

I've been thinking about hosting a small cupcake party, and I think the minis are an excellent idea. I would probably do 2 different recipes for each flavor though. See which white cake is the best, chocolate, spice, so on... That way I was making sure I get the best one out there. Toss in some of my homemade wine, and I think that sounds like a pretty good night! Maybe I'll set aside some of my cake budget over the next couple of months to save up for it.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 3:25pm
post #20 of 26

I was just thinking about this again especially when someone mentioned wine and cupcakes. I have seen wineries host tasting parties and they charge for them. I was just looking in my area for things to do and they are having a taste of the area with different chefs and its 60 if I remember correctly. So 2 in not a whole lot of money,

MyDiwa Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 5:59pm
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by carolinagirlcakes

I would simple say something along the lines of "hey I am working on my cake profiles and looking for some people who would like to taste cake. There would be a minimum charge of $2 per person and I am looking for 5-6 ladies to fill my chairs.




If you do decide to post this - not sure if you really did mean minimum charge of $2 (as in, it could be higher) or if you meant nominal?

augurey Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 8:54pm
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayMc

I wouldn't think favorably if a friend asked me to help her out by taking the time out of my busy life, and going over to her house to taste cakes for her hobby/business. And, oh by the way, you need to pay money, too! Really leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but that's just my two cents.




I understand and respect your opinion, but I don't see anything wrong with inviting over friends and family to sample cakes and give me constructive feedback. I respect and understand that everyone may have better things to do or may be busy, and if that's the case, I understand and would not hold it against them. If they were asking me to do the same for them, I would, and I would also ask that they understand if I were too busy to go at that particular time, maybe another. If they make an honest effort to support me, they know that they will receive an honest effort on my part to support them just the same. Just my two cents icon_smile.gif


enchantedcreations, I think that's really awesome that you get to do that! I'm really not sure my office's policies on bringing food in for others (such as bakery and whatnot). I have considered asking so I could bring in some treats. The only problem I worry about with a 60+ person staff is not having enough for everyone.


carolinagirlcakes, I'm sure that has to be difficult being new and not knowing a lot of people. I'm only just getting to know people, and really, they are only my boyfriend's family and friends that I've gotten to know. As for your $2 charge, you should do what you feel comfortable doing. Just a suggestion: Explain to them what you are doing. Explain about the $2 and that they take left overs home. If someone is unable to do so but would like to attend, maybe they can provide something else? Maybe it can be more of a party where everyone can pitch in with something? Especially if everyone can make it a playdate with the kids involved. It can be something fun. Just do what you are comfortable with. icon_smile.gif


CocoaBlondie, For the sake of the cake tasting party, it wouldn't be the business end of it, but as I'm hoping to get there some day, I think this would be a positive step towards going in that direction. And from their help, I'm sure (or would hope) that they would know that the help they can provide me with in helping taste my cakes and give me constructive feed back, I would absolutely pay it back to them some how. As for a business prospective, your experience is a good way to go, having your portfolio on hand.


cookiedoescakes, thank you for sharing your experience! I'm glad that it turned out well icon_smile.gif My boyfriend I had an endless shrimp night last year (making mock recipes from Red Lobster) and it was just a lot of fun, and I would like to have a cake tasting party that is something similar. It's not just to have them try my cake(s) and give me feedback, but to just have a nice time. I want to make it nice and make it worth their while as they are taking their time to help me out.



cownsj, I was thinking mini cupcakes would be the way to go as well. My boyfriend suggested leaving them un-iced and let the people choose their combination. I really like how you asked about what flavors/combinations that they would like to see. There are so many flavors/combinations that I would love to try, but with there being so many, sometimes it's impossible because you end up in so many different directions. At least with this suggestion it can help focus on some new things to try first. As for having other treats there, I joked with my boyfriend that we could do an endless shrimp night afterwards lol Not quite a combination I could imagine. Thanks for sharing icon_smile.gif


SammieB, I had considered that, about doing two recipes of the same flavor, but I haven't quite decided. Though I would like to do that with my chocolate cakes. My chocolate I've considered using interchangeably depending on what I needed to do with the cake design/decoration. Makes me think of a scratch off.

carolinagirlcakes Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 8:50pm
post #23 of 26

So after receiving some negativity about charging people to come to my place and do a cake sampling I decided to do one.

This is what I posted in a FB group:

'Okay so I bake cakes I am wanting to try out new cake flavors, filling and icing. I was thinking about getting 4-5 interested ladies together at my place for a tasting. All the leftovers will be divided, boxed up and sent home with you. There would be a small fee of $2 per person... if you are interested please let me know. I am thinking during the week day but will let majority help pick day and time.'

To my surprise I got great feed back... noone had issues paying the small fee. So today was the sampling and I offered 3 different cakes with filling and icing.

- chai cake with honey cream filling and BC icing
- white cake with lemon curd and BC icing
- pumpkin cake with cream cheese filling/frosting

The ladies were really great and loved the cake and gave good contructive criticism. I plan to do another one next month to try more recipes!

augurey Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 9:04pm
post #24 of 26

I'm really glad your tasting party went well carolinagirlcakes!

What was your set up? Did you have them all iced or did you have them ice them themselves (if they wanted to have the icing)? Did you encourage them to try the cake by itself?

Did you have written feedback or was it more open discussion?

I'm curious about your details icon_smile.gif

Did you have anything else going on or was it just cake and talk?

Again, I'm really glad it went well, and I hope I have a successful one once I'm ready to do mine icon_smile.gif

carolinagirlcakes Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 9:23pm
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by augurey

I'm really glad your tasting party went well carolinagirlcakes!

Thank you Augurey!! icon_biggrin.gif

What was your set up? Did you have them all iced or did you have them ice them themselves (if they wanted to have the icing)? Did you encourage them to try the cake by itself?

I made one 8" round and torted, filled. Then with the extra batter I made cupcakes. I had them taste the cake by itself first, splitting a cupcake between them. I placed the filling in a seperate bowl on the table and my BC. Then as I was slicing the completed cakes for sampling I had them try the filling on its own. Then they tried the cake as a whole. This way I could get feed back on each component.

Did you have written feedback or was it more open discussion?

I asked if they preferred to write down or talk.... so we talked, lol. After each tasting of I asked their options and I took notes. This way I could go back and have reference on what to improve on.

I'm curious about your details icon_smile.gif

Did you have anything else going on or was it just cake and talk?

I had a cake I did on Monday and I have a few cakes this weekend. But for the most part I just focused on this tasting. I also have an active 3 YO to keep entertained icon_lol.gif

Again, I'm really glad it went well, and I hope I have a successful one once I'm ready to do mine icon_smile.gif




If you have anymore questions feel free to ask!

cakeandpartygirl Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 11:01pm
post #26 of 26

I am glad it went well!

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