GlykaBakeShop Posted 12 Mar 2013 , 9:39pm
post #1 of

Hello all! I just came to the realization that I have been making cakes for customers for exactly the number of guests they have attending an event. Some threads/forums, however, say cakes should be made to feed less than the guest count as not everyone takes a serving of cake. This has prompted me to ask, am I going about the this the wrong way?!
 

What do you offer clients and customers? Do you suggest a cake should feed a certain percentage less than the guest count or create cakes exactly the size needed to feed exactly the guests anticipated to attend? 

Look forward to hearing your opinions! 

 

37 replies
jason_kraft Posted 12 Mar 2013 , 10:00pm
post #2 of

AI recommend that customers order more servings than guests in case anyone wants seconds, unless other desserts will also be served at the event.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 12 Mar 2013 , 10:09pm
post #3 of

I never suggest making less cake than there will be guests, I've attended two weddings where they ran out of cake, kinda sucks being in line and being told, "sorry, no cake for you".

Not to mention, the couples were really embarrassed.

AZCouture Posted 12 Mar 2013 , 10:15pm
post #4 of

If I know, and I ask point blank too, that there will be heavy partying at the bar, then I suggest about 80% of the expected count. Sometimes, I suggest 100% of the count, and sometimes more. Just depends.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Mar 2013 , 10:23pm
post #5 of

i have had brides purposefully order a cake too small like by half or more because that's all they could afford and when it runs out it runs out--that mighta been one of the lines you were in, scrumdiddly ;)

 

i just make what they pay for

leah_s Posted 12 Mar 2013 , 10:51pm
post #6 of

I always told brides to order the same number of servings of cake as the number of plates of food/beverages/chairs.  Why should cake be different?  Especially if they want the caterer to cut and plate and the servers to deliver the dessert to the tables.  Then you really do have to have a serving to put in front of each guest.  I have even been so snarky as to ask if they think all the guests will be bringing gifts?  Then why would you short your guests on food?

 

Worst case scenario is leftover cake.  And that's not a bad thing at all.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Mar 2013 , 11:22pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s 

I always told brides to order the same number of servings of cake as the number of plates of food/beverages/chairs.  Why should cake be different?  Especially if they want the caterer to cut and plate and the servers to deliver the dessert to the tables.  Then you really do have to have a serving to put in front of each guest.  I have even been so snarky as to ask if they think all the guests will be bringing gifts?  Then why would you short your guests on food?

 

Worst case scenario is leftover cake.  And that's not a bad thing at all.

 

 

bwuwahahahaha--love a good snark story

tracyaem Posted 12 Mar 2013 , 11:29pm
post #8 of

When giving a quote, I give a few options for tier sizes around their expected turnout and recommend rounding up. Better to have too much cake then not enough!

costumeczar Posted 12 Mar 2013 , 11:37pm
post #9 of

I ask these questions: Will there be another dessert? Is there going to be an open bar? Are your guests big cake eaters or more of a drinking crowd? Are you doing a candy or cookie table? Based on that kind of thing I recommend 80% plus or minus some of the number of guests for the number of cake servings, Not everyone has cake after a full meal, drinking and dancing, and there's absolutely no reason to provide 100% of the number of guests for the number of cake servings unless the cake is the only thing people will be eating. If they want to order more than what I'm suggesting that's fine, but I tell them that they'll probably have cake left over, which for some people is good, but some would prefer not to pay for something they're not going to eat.

 

There are also some kinds of weddings where there's so much food there's no way that people are all going to be eating cake. Indian weddings come to mind, but I ask about the food too in most cases. The venue managers who I talk to say that when the brides order a serving per guest they always end up with half the bottom tier left over. I can't see running out of cake unless you only buy half the number of serving compared to guests, which would be too low anyway. Most venues cut the cake smaller than we think they do, so you end up getting more servings out of the cake, too.

CWR41 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 2:00am
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 
The venue managers who I talk to say that when the brides order a serving per guest they always end up with half the bottom tier left over.

I'm always surprised when I hear this... the venue should be smart enough to know to serve the largest tiers first because smaller leftover tiers are easier to box, bring home, and freeze!

jason_kraft Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 2:12am

A

Original message sent by CWR41

I'm always surprised when I hear this... the venue should be smart enough to know to serve the largest tiers first because smaller leftover tiers are easier to box, bring home, and freeze!

The venue employees are also smart enough to know that if all the cake is served there won't be any for the venue employees to box, bring home, and freeze. ;)

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 3:56am

The Leland Awards cake worked out to just enough cake for everybody who wanted a piece to get one, with maybe one or two people getting seconds, and my dairy-allergic fellow docent getting her made-to-order dairy-free cupcake (literally the only cupcake I've ever made).

costumeczar Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 10:32am
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41 

I'm always surprised when I hear this... the venue should be smart enough to know to serve the largest tiers first because smaller leftover tiers are easier to box, bring home, and freeze!

 

There's an idiot baker in town who goes around telling venues how to cut the cake. He says to start at the top and work your way down so that you don't have to disassemble the cake while you cut it. I suspect that a lot of people do it that way because they can serve the cake from the cake table without moving it into the kitchen first. Jason might be right about the extras in thkitchen, too. I once had a country club call me from the kitchen while they were cutting the cake and plating it up to tell me that it was the best cake they ever had, and they almost didn't want to send it out to the guests. I thought oh, that's so nice of them to call to tell me that, then I realized that it meant the staff was in the kitchen eating the cake before they even gave it to the guests!

mcaulir Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 11:39am

I worked at a fairly dodgy wedding venue when I was at uni, and the boss used to cut a big slab off the cake and take it home before serving the guests.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 1:05pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 

The Leland Awards cake worked out to just enough cake for everybody who wanted a piece to get one, with maybe one or two people getting seconds, and my dairy-allergic fellow docent getting her made-to-order dairy-free cupcake (literally the only cupcake I've ever made).

 

awesome james, any pictures?

 

'just enough' is code for 'ate all gone' ;)

 

such a thoughtful nice touch to have a dairy free cupcake for your allergic friend

 

very cool

cazza1 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 1:28pm

I love going to events where people drink heavily and don't want desert.  That usually means that I can have at least one extra and sometimes more.  Yes, I know, I'm a guts! (for those who don't know that's an Australian word for glutton)

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 3:04pm

i love y'alls' slang, cazza

 

and thanks for interpreting!

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 3:35pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 

The Leland Awards cake worked out to just enough cake for everybody who wanted a piece to get one, with maybe one or two people getting seconds, and my dairy-allergic fellow docent getting her made-to-order dairy-free cupcake (literally the only cupcake I've ever made).

 

awesome james, any pictures?

You asked. Although it's been broadcast on Cake Central before. It was my first attempt at using edible images.
Cake for 2012 Leland Awards (Concept sketch, spare edible image, and finished cake) Cake for 2012 Leland Awards: the Dairy-Free Cupcake

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:03pm

fantastic!!!

AZCouture Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:06pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 

 

He says to start at the top and work your way down so that you don't have to disassemble the cake while you cut it. 

I serve top down when I do this art center fundraiser each year, only cause I know that whole tower of cake is getting gutted and snarfed down for sure. :D 

FromScratchSF Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:08pm

Yeah I think it depends on your market, the client, and their culture.  For example, I always ask my millenials, what is the percentage of "grown-ups" to friends?  If there are going to be a lot of friends and there will be a lot of drinking, I go 20% less.  If the bride has her heart set on a design from Pinterest (those stupid ruffles.  Grrr, I HATE those stupid ruffles) and can't afford it, we will play with serving sizes so they have budget for the over-the-top design, which I have had one client opt for 20% less.  I meet with a lot of Asian clients and after the 10 course 500 person Chinese banquet, they don't eat sweets (and if they weren't born here I find that most I meet think American cake sucks).  So although I was super excited to book my first 500 person wedding, they only wanted cake for 130 because they will only serve slivers to be polite, and probably only the non-Chinese at the wedding will actually eat all the cake they are served.  I can't blame them - anyone been to a proper 10 course Chinese banquet?  No way is there room for cake!  

 

But if it's a traditional affair and very formal, if it's a small wedding (60 people or under), or they want to keep the top tire, we go 100% based on how many plates they guarantee at the venue.

 

But again, I think it really depends on your market and the client!

AZCouture Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:32pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF 

 

 

But again, I think it really depends on your market and the client!

It really does. 

kikiandkyle Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:35pm

The servers at my wedding cut the cake from the top down, literally. Goodbye 1st anniversary cake. 

AZCouture Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:41pm

I offer my brides a free 4" ruffle iced anniversary tier for year a later later. Rarely does anyone ever remember to redeem it.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 4:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF 

Yeah I think it depends on your market, the client, and their culture.  For example, I always ask my millenials, what is the percentage of "grown-ups" to friends?  If there are going to be a lot of friends and there will be a lot of drinking, I go 20% less.  If the bride has her heart set on a design from Pinterest (those stupid ruffles.  Grrr, I HATE those stupid ruffles) and can't afford it, we will play with serving sizes so they have budget for the over-the-top design, which I have had one client opt for 20% less.  I meet with a lot of Asian clients and after the 10 course 500 person Chinese banquet, they don't eat sweets (and if they weren't born here I find that most I meet think American cake sucks).  So although I was super excited to book my first 500 person wedding, they only wanted cake for 130 because they will only serve slivers to be polite, and probably only the non-Chinese at the wedding will actually eat all the cake they are served.  I can't blame them - anyone been to a proper 10 course Chinese banquet?  No way is there room for cake!  

 

But if it's a traditional affair and very formal, if it's a small wedding (60 people or under), or they want to keep the top tire, we go 100% based on how many plates they guarantee at the venue.

 

But again, I think it really depends on your market and the client!


Totally off topic, but I almost always do Japanese cheesecake with a traditional Chinese reception. (I know, different parts of Asia, lol). It's really light and not very sweet, it goes with their cuisine so much better than typical American cake.

ellavanilla Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 6:22pm

My sister always orders so much more cake than she needs because she wants the cake to look dramatic. I just made her a 12 x 4 square to serve 20-30 people! Her wedding was 100 people and she ordered a 14" 12" 10" 8" 6".

 

I always worry that if I over bake then customers will get wise and start ordering smaller cakes. As a result, I try to be very clear about what the customer wants and what I will be providing. 

 

Those caterer stories are appalling. It's one thing to feed the staff AFTER service, but quite another for the staff to take theirs off the top. WOW. I will add that an experienced caterer will make a cake look good. An inexperienced one is horrible. I heard about guests at one wedding, I provided the cake for, getting slices with supports in it! How embarrassing! Off topic, this is one reason I am an SPS convert!

GlykaBakeShop Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 10:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s 

I always told brides to order the same number of servings of cake as the number of plates of food/beverages/chairs.  Why should cake be different?  Especially if they want the caterer to cut and plate and the servers to deliver the dessert to the tables.  Then you really do have to have a serving to put in front of each guest.  I have even been so snarky as to ask if they think all the guests will be bringing gifts?  Then why would you short your guests on food?

 

Worst case scenario is leftover cake.  And that's not a bad thing at all.

That's  always been my view on the subject as well and so I've always made cakes to accommodate the number of guests and then some. Until I started reading a few threads/comments saying otherwise yesterday and began to question that. But I will stick to the way I've been doing things. Because when a cake is going to a catering hall and being served to each guest at every table, there should be enough for everyone!

-K8memphis Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 10:41pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellavanilla 

 I heard about guests at one wedding, I provided the cake for, getting slices with supports in it! How embarrassing! Off topic, this is one reason I am an SPS convert!

 

ouch!

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 4:51pm

Hmm. And if multiple flavors are involved, the bride (or other customer) might want to get it in writing, from those responsible for serving it, whether or not guests will have a reasonable shot at getting their own choice of flavor, before committing to a multi-flavor cake. It seems such a waste to go to the trouble and expense of accommodating guests with allergies or strong preferences (I fall into the latter category, with a deep-seated loathing of both chocolate and the citrus fruits), only to find out two weeks later that the wait-staff sabotaged those efforts.

 

(Indeed, it was my own strong preference that led me to go the extra mile on the Leland Awards cake, baking that cupcake with the maple-cinnamon glaze just for the dairy-allergic docent. And it had nothing to do with the fact that she's cute, given that she's also married, to a friend, and probably young enough to be my daughter.)

AZCouture Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 5:19pm

Oh boy, did a bride and I make a bad decisions once. icon_redface.gif I made a 7 tier cake for this awesome lady, and she still orders something every once in awhile. But she decided she wanted a different cake/filling for every tier. And then I thought of the brilliant (<----said sarcastically) idea to make a framed menu to put next to it. We were both excited. So there sits the cake, with a framed menu next to it, and I get my pics and go home. 

 

Fast forward a year later when she comes to get her anniversary tier. Come to find out, there was no proper service that night, guests were left to their own devices when it came to the cake. So what happened? Yeah, most of them took several slices from different tiers.icon_mad.gif

 

Bride and groom never got a slice. She wasn't mad, in fact she was happy that they liked it so much that it all got devoured and got lots of compliments, but I use that incident as an example now when people start getting carried away with choosing flavors. I tell them it could be a fun thing to do, or it could make people take more than one slice, so if you choose to get many flavors, watch how it's served.

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