I'm mostly a hobby baker although I do sell occasionally and mostly to people I know. I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen making other people's recipes, taking their recipes and tweaking them, etc...I finally, after experimenting, made up my own recipe. Well, at least it's one I've never seen out there, and it has one ingredient that I've never seen used in this particular recipe and I've researched a lot.
This past week my mom had a get together with her work friends. I made these cupcakes for her. She called and one of her friends wants the recipe. Hmmm...not sure about that. I mean, I'm never going to open a bakery (more than likely never although I'd like to!), but I'm not sure how I feel about giving my recipe out! I'm happy to give out others' recipes (and of course give them credit). I'm sure she thinks it's not a big deal because it's not like I'm a bakery owner, which makes sense.
So am I being silly and I should just give her the recipe? I mean, who cares right?
I have people ask for my recipes all the time - but I never give them out. It might be kind of mean, but it took me a lot of time and money to find the recipes that I love.
I don't give out my recipes either. I've worked for years to perfect them and I'm not going to share them. I strictly bake Gluten-Free and all the box & bag mixes suck, and I've tried so many recipes I can't even count. But I have come up with some sure fire winners that are not dry, dense, heavy or wet. And since I've worked hard at coming up with these cakes I'm not willing to share. How can I sell them if I give away all my secrets.
My advice is keep them to yourself. It isn't mean or selfish. Just good business.
People will understand.
Good Luck & Take Care
Even though I'm a mix baker I agree w/the other posters here. Find a way to make a joke out of saying no - like
"Sure, but I'd have to kill you" - something like that.
A few years ago I sent out a tweet asking for a good black and white cookie recipe. A well-known bake shop in New York responded back saying they couldn't give me THEIR recipe but they could, and did, give me a link to a recipe they thought was very good. The link led to Martha Stewart's recipe and it was very good.
I would suggest saying the same thing.
Personally the only reason I wouldn't give out a recipe would be because it's like a family heirloom that I want to pass down to my children. I think it's very hard to give up a recipe, especially when you've put so much time into it. It makes you feel special, it's something you have - and no one else does, and things like that are rare in this day and age. But then I think about all the things people have shared, that was theirs and theirs alone, that have helped me learn and grow as an artist. It's hard to give those things up, but if no one ever did we'd all be a little worse off. Sharing isn't something to feel bad about, it should make you happy to know your recipe will be cooked by someone else, and make the person who eats it happy! (Even if they don't know you, and you never get credit )
I share some recipes, and some I don't. Here's what I've found, though. Except in rare cases, people don't really want the recipe. It's their way of complimenting you, kind of like saying you should open a bakery or go on Challlenge...they don't really mean it but the intent is the highest compliment they can think of, which is very nice of them. When someone asks for a recipe that I prefer not to share, I just vaguely say "oh, sure" and then just never follow through. Rarely, if ever, do they ask twice.
Ivy Cakes, that was such a thoughful response.
Thanks everyone! If my mom asks again, I'll probably give it to her or something similar that is good. It's just that it's the ONLY recipe I've really made myself If it was one of many, I probably would. Oh well, I'll probably just give it to her. It's not like I'm going to open a bakery, and even if I did, so what!
Don't really understand not giving it out. It's not like they are going to trademark it. I think it's the highest compliment. What are you going to do with it?
Another thing to consider, is that some people don't follow a recipe exactly. They tweak it (as you have done) or don't measure correctly, or don't follow the correct method....and if it doesn't turn out very well blame you for the recipe. A friend of mine never gives out her recipes for this reason. She's had it happen too many times where they don't follow it to the letter and then the blame comes back to her.
I guess it's one of those personal things whether you share or not. I don't mind sharing my recipes, simply because I know that I will probably not get the opportunity to open my own shop and if others can create something delicious with a bit of help from me then that makes me happy.
I totally understand if you've put time and effort into a recipe and it makes for successful business and is a signature recipe of yours then I probably wouldn't, I would suggest something similar.
I too think of all the recipes that I've been given and have had given to me, without them I'd still be baking from a box and I'm always grateful so I like to give a bit back if I can.
As I said, I'm more a hobby baker and I do sell some of my stuff at times but I also find that I get repeat business even from people who I've given the recipe to, simply as they don't have the time or the love of baking to achieve the same results.
I've found that 2 people may bake the exact same recipe but they usually always turn out differently.
Good luck with the decision - I would definitely take it as a compliment.
You never know who may remember that great cake they had that your mom brought to work made by you and it could generate an order later on so I say don't share, if your mom questions say your not opening a bakery today but you never know what the future holds down the road. Good luck.
I'm from the south. Sharing recipes is a way of life and a high compliment.
I work very hard on my recipes and I'm happy to share. The person who can execute one of my recipes is not a customer.
For heirloom recipes, I'm sure my grandmothers would want me to share just as they did. I don't have many on there yet, but my heirloom recipes are already on my site. I have many in draft form that will go up over the next year.
The trend in marketing is to give back or give something. For me, it will be recipes and tutorials. My draft of my cheesecake tutorial guarantees a perfect cheesecake the first time.
I know I'm the opposing view on this one, but you have to be confident in your product, branding, and the strength of your business. Kindly sharing a recipe will go far.
As many of you know, I am generous with sharing my recipes and techniques in pm's.
If I had any recipes someone would want, I certainly would give them out. Just because they have the recipe, doesn't mean it will come out just like mine.
If the recipe is widely available, I tell them. I don't give them the recipe but I'll say, "It's Confetti Cakes' recipe" or something like that.
If it's based off a widely available recipe I'll say, "It's a tweaked version of Confetti Cakes' recipe."
If it's a recipe I've gotten from someone and cannot share I'll say, "I was given the recipe with strict instructions to share it with no one. However, another really good recipe is Confetti Cakes'. I think you'll really like it."
I don't have any recipes that I feel are truly my own, just tweaked versions of other recipes, so I don't have a response for that. If I did, I suppose I would say, "Thanks so much for the compliment. I wish I could give you the recipe, but it's my secret recipe. Have you tried Confetti Cakes' recipe? It's quite good, too."
I don't get too freaked out about it. After all, if someone could bake and decorate like I do, they wouldn't be my customer. Additionally, my cakes are usually for those occasions where the host, even they could do it, do not have the time to do so because they've got the rest of the event to plan and execute.
Overall, I try to make the conversation one where the asker goes away with enough of an answer to be satisfied without doing harm to my business.
I'd like to point out that many of us purchase and use recipes from some of the most successful bakeries in the country. They can have a cookbook on the bestseller list for a year and it only increases their business. Not one of these bakeries has suffered for sharing their recipes. And you can be sure that their competitors are the first to order the book.
This is proof of how goodwill only helps a business. Sharing recipes hasn't hurt anyone. I am "business friends" with many of my competitors and we refer to each other all the time. We know each others' strengths and many time talk generally about recipes. We don't share, but established businesses in close proximity don't want to sell the same product. I'm sure that is true everywhere.