Making Cakes For Family Members??

Decorating By puddles_gal Updated 20 Feb 2013 , 7:06pm by jgifford

puddles_gal Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 12:50am
post #1 of 20

I'm a little frustrated right now. I have a little cake business in a small town, and today my mom emailed me and asks if I can make a themed fondant cake for my brother's birthday. I told her "yes" as long as she is willing to pay for the ingredients. Well, now she is in a huff, and thinks that she shouldn't have to pay for ANYTHING, because, and I quote her: "He's your one and only brother." I can't help but be upset- I work a regular job in addition to having 2-4 orders almost every week, so I thought that donating my time was reasonable and thoughtful enough, but apparently not. So I told her then that if she would feel better about it, she can go to our local grocery store and pay for a generic-looking/tasting cake there, but that she has to tell them she wants a cake but doesn't want to pay for it. She made a joke about me being cranky, and then she says: "I'll talk to you later and let me know how much the damn cake will cost." Now I'm just mad, and don't want to do the cake because she obviously doesn't appreciate it. I'm just wondering if anyone else encounters the same problems with family members and cakes, and how others go about it- do you charge full price, a discount, not at all? etc. I feel like I'm being taken advantage of...

19 replies
Norasmom Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 1:06am
post #2 of 20

It depends on how close you are to your brother as well as your financial situation. I always make cakes for my family for free, but we are very close and I have enough money to cover the costs. However, my family is also very appreciative and loving, and if I ever told my mother I needed her to help with costs, she would.

MimiFix Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 1:17am
post #3 of 20

For immediate family, I never charge. But I don't always make their first choice. I'm sorry you feel so stressed. Working full time plus having a cake business can make anyone feel that way. Maybe a fondant covered cake for your brother isn't necessary Perhaps a simpler buttercream cake would be a nice birthday celebration.

Momofjaic Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 1:30am
post #4 of 20

I make them at least pay for ingrediants. (unless I tell them I want to make it)

VaBelle Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 1:47am
post #5 of 20

I make cakes for birthdays and such for my local immediate family, but if they want a cake for someone else, then they pay. It's something I started and sometimes resent because we're talking nine nieces and nephews. I'm not usually asked to make cakes for my siblings birthdays, but I would. Well, one brother wanted a 3-D deer head and I told him to stuff it. In saying that, I let them choose flavors and theme. I create my own design. It works for now. We'll see how it goes in a few years as the kiddies get older and want more elaborate cakes. Oh, and my cake is my present.

cubbycakes Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 2:03am
post #6 of 20

I can see your moms point, and I would never charge my immediate family for a cake. But....on the same hand we own a family auto body business and I know that my brother would fix my car for free (which i would never expect him to do) but he's definately NOT going to pay for the parts to fix it! Maybe instead of buying your brother a present (if you were going to) you could gift him the cake? Anytime I have been asked by family to make a cake they always offered to pay, so I guess I have never felt taken advantage of. But I never charge them. I'm just a hobby baker and I enjoy any chance to make a cake.

BizCoCos Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 2:23am
post #7 of 20

cakes for my mother and sister are free. that's it. your business should be respected. good luck

DeniseNH Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 2:37am
post #8 of 20

Ok, let's disect this situation. Your mother will be giving the cake to her son,.......... it's from her. You will get no credit but will be paying for all the ingredients, and taking time away from your family so that she can be thanked by her son. Oh yes, experiencing the same problem in my family. The male is king, females are expected to do all the work for the sake of the family - without reimbursement. Yup, been there, done that.

cabecakes Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 2:57am
post #9 of 20

My finances won't allow me to make cakes for free. Ingredients aren't cheap. When someone asks me if I will make a cake for them that is family, the first thing I say to them is that they will have to buy the ingredients. I don't make cakes for my family's friends. I work full-time and I do this as a hobby. My schedule won't allow for doing freebie cakes for everyone and their brother. I enjoy doing this and I want to keep it that way. It won't if it puts a stress on my finances or my time.

valerieInga Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 3:32am
post #10 of 20

My situation is similar to Norasmom, I am a hobby baker and do cakes for family for free. I work full time and do cakes for friends and coworkers for the cost of ingredients. This way I get my hobby paid for. And everyone raves about the cakes and makes me feel very appreciated.

valerieInga Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 3:33am
post #11 of 20

My situation is similar to Norasmom, I am a hobby baker and do cakes for family for free. I work full time and do cakes for friends and coworkers for the cost of ingredients. This way I get my hobby paid for. And everyone raves about the cakes and makes me feel very appreciated.

valerieInga Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 3:34am
post #12 of 20

My situation is similar to Norasmom, I am a hobby baker and do cakes for family for free. I work full time and do cakes for friends and coworkers for the cost of ingredients. This way I get my hobby paid for. And everyone raves about the cakes and makes me feel very appreciated.

puddles_gal Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 4:48am
post #13 of 20

Thank you for your responses! I think I am being fair in asking her to pay for the ingredients- cakes are not cheap to make, and I just don't understand why she thinks that I should pay for it, plus I have to bring to a gift on top of that. If I wasn't a baker, she would still have to go out and spend money on a cake from the grocery store, and she would never suggest then that I foot the bill for it. The funny thing is, she got mad at my brother when I made my nephew a birthday cake last year and HE didn't offer to pay for anything, and now she is doing the same thing! I guess I'm more upset that the offer wasn't even there, and I certainly didn't appreciate her reaction. I just don't think that I should be expected to make these extravagent cakes for family members for free- I could actually end up losing money if I have to turn down other paying clients b/c I'm booked up with a family cake, and she doesn't seem to realize this, or just plain ol' doesn't care.

carmijok Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 5:20am
post #14 of 20

I don't blame you for wanting the money for ingredients...especially if you're expected to provide a gift as well.

Why not just tell your mother that you will do the cake as your gift and then be the one to present it to him? It would save having to shop for something in addition to baking and decorating--even if you did get the money for ingredients, it would be extra work! Just a thought.

GrammaA Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 2:52pm
post #15 of 20

I always make the cakes for family, but it is part of my gift, or it is the gift period.  There is no shame it making that known.  Most people appreciate it very much!!!!!!  Good luck!

kimmisue2009 Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 3:25pm
post #16 of 20

If they ask, they get to chip in. If I offer, it's all free.

car1979 Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 5:23pm
post #17 of 20

AIf they ask me to make a cake then i charge for ingredients if I offer then its a gift depending on size and detail I some time charge for ingredients then my time and decoration is the gift

bittersweety Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 5:38pm
post #18 of 20

i do immediate family member cakes for free.  if they are requesting an over the top design/fondant cake etc. i still won't charge, but i consider this my gift to that person in place of a normal gift.  i also let my family know that a cake like this takes time and if it affects my paying customers orders, then i will have to simplify the cake a bit to accomdate that schedule.  however, if they are ordering it for a work event or basically any event that you or other family isn;t going to, then charge. 


haha, its kind of along the lines of just because aunt joan owns a restaurant and she happens to make an awesome turkey, doesn't mean she should charge the family member who called her to say shes in charge of the turkey for thanksgiving dinner that year:)


i've struggled with the same dillemas, its never easy.

jenmat Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 6:46pm
post #19 of 20

Hey, it's family, so when you are in business for yourself, you are GOING to have these issues. Decide what you want and let your family know. I like the idea of "if I offer it's free, if you ask, you pay", BUT with my passive aggressive mom (and it sounds like yours is like mine), I would be "in trouble" with her   if I then didn't OFFER to make every cake for every person in the family. 


I had this with my sister's wedding. I agreed to make the cake, then my mom insisted that sister have a tasting (she's had my cake, good grief), insisted that she needed 5 fondant tiers and cascading sugar flowers, insisted she have a custom bridal shower cake, and then my sister added to it by ordering a custom groom's cake last minute so "she could be nice to the groom and give him something wonderful too." Yeah, so thoughtful when you don't have to pay for it. Then, they were upset that I didn't buy a wedding gift. Yup, pretty much.


My point? You aren't the only one with screwed up special family members... chin up and stay firm for us all! 

jgifford Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 7:06pm
post #20 of 20

When my dd got married, I made - and paid for - her dress, the bridesmaids' dresses, the groomsmen's vests and bowties, the flower baskets everybody carried and all the boutonnieres. But according to the groom's parents, we didn't "give" them anything for a wedding gift. Really???


Families are the worst to deal with.

Quote by @%username% on %date%