tsal Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 12:48pm
post #1 of

Hi,

 

A posted recently about a baby shower cake that I offered to make and about a week out, I was told to make 100 servings (which I vetoed after asking CC what you thought).

 

Here's another example of how hobby baking continues to make me frustrated with people:

 

A friend (not a close one by any means) asked me to make her sister's 40th birthday cake. I told her that I had a very busy weekend right before the cake would be due, but she said it was only for 20 people.  When I heard 20 people, I told her that it was fine since I thought, 'well, an 8-inch round is not a big deal - I can bake and freeze.'  We discussed design and she was thrilled.

 

She texts me later on in the day saying, "My mom said to make the cake for 40."  To which I replied, "40?!  Yikes, that's a lot more cake."  She then wrote back that she was sorry and didn't realize that her mom was planning that big of a party.

 

I wrote, "Well a cake for 40 is a lot more work because the bigger the cake, the more surface area that needs to be covered, and it is a lot more expensive for me.  The fondant alone is going to cost me about $40."

 

No reply.  No offer to pay for supplies -  nothing.  I emailed her a few days later (because I know that I will run into her at my kids' school and I just wanted to kill any awkwardness) to say that I had never heard back from her and that she should call me.

 

I intend to tell her (in the nicest way possible) that I realize that people truly have no idea about cost, but that my cakes cost me a lot to make.  I don't know anyone who would just give away $50 gifts to people they don't know (like my friend's sister - whom I don't even know).  And that's not even taking into consideration the hours and hours of my time.  She wouldn't even take the time to return a text, for crying out loud.

 

I'm thinking about making a 'Cake FAQ' post on my FB page that would say (among other things) the following (although I think my tone sounds kind of pissy but I guess that reflects my current state of mind):

 

1.  Why don't you go into business? 

Because once anything becomes work, it's becomes less fun.

 

2.  I got quoted on a cake at a professional shop and it was RIDICULOUSLY expensive.  What gives?

Cakes are EXPENSIVE TO MAKE.  As a hobby baker, on average, my cakes cost me between $50 - $75 (some a lot more if there are many servings).  Fondant is expensive, the chocolate I use is expensive, and then there are the overhead costs like electricity, paper towels, etc that are all involved in the process.  Cakes are very labour intensive - hours and hours go into each creation.  Professional cake artists charge what they charge because otherwise they would not make a living.  Trust me, you are being quoted fairly.

 

Sorry for the rant, CC - I'm just bummed out by people. :(

22 replies
NJsugarmama Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 12:58pm
post #2 of

AThis is why only only bake for close friends and family. I enjoy giving and making cakes, joyfully, for the people I care about. They are the ones who know and appreciate the time it takes to make one. Everyone else is ignorant of the process, cost, time...

Plus, when it's a gift...I usually have free range as to size and design.

Sorry people are getting you down. Keep your head up. try to make a solid decision about who you make cakes for. It makes it easy to say no.

Goreti Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 1:10pm
post #3 of

I only make & decorate cakes for my family.  Both my husband & I come from big families so there is plenty of opportunities for me to practice new techniques.  I have had many requests via facebook but I tell them sorry only for family.  I have no desire to go into business.  My family is loving the gift of a free cakes especially designed for them.  Even though they are far from perfect, they don't seem to notice.

NJsugarmama Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 1:17pm
post #4 of

A

Original message sent by Goreti

I only make & decorate cakes for my family.  Both my husband & I come from big families so there is plenty of opportunities for me to practice new techniques.  I have had many requests via facebook but I tell them sorry only for family.  I have no desire to go into business.  My family is loving the gift of a free cakes especially designed for them.  Even though they are far from perfect, they don't seem to notice.

Exactly!!

viannescakes Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 3:50pm
post #5 of

People are just ignorant of the cost for making a customized cake! Not to mention the hours and hours spent...

 

I have a close friend, by "close" I mean we see each other very often and help each other out, who is recently dating a guy. She feels their relationship is getting serious. So one day she was telling me "ah, I think this time it's serious, and I will get married soon.... will you make my wedding cake? that would be a nice gift from you!" 

 

She was then talking about a 3-tier wedding cake, with flowers, beads, etc.

 

I gladly answered "oh sure, you just need to pay for the ingredients, and that would be my gift." 

 

She was surprised and said "oh, I have to pay for ingredients? why don't you just give it to me?"

 

Then she goes "you know what, when you need to go run some errands or go out to meet friends, you can just leave your daughter with me, I will babysit her. Now you don't want me to pay for ingredients, do you?"

 

Ha!  I just dropped the topic and we went on talking about other stuff. But the conversation made me uncomfortable, even till now. She's usually generous with friends and quite nice. I think she just has no idea of wedding cakes. She probably was using the supermarket $20 cakes as benchmark, and considers wedding cakes at about $100.

Rosiepan Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 4:28pm
post #6 of

The problem is the people who want free cakes are the ones who wouldn't look into the real cost of making a cake because' it's only flour and sugar right?'

The only thing they have to measure against is the supermarket jobs.

I primarily only do cake for family , friends and work colleagues special celebrations I love to be able to bless people with them and usually I have free reign on design but more and more people were asking me to do a cake for cost for them , their great aunt ten times removed and Uncle Tom Cobbly and had no idea of the true cost of cake . At first I was flattered that they consider my cakes good enough to want one but when all my spare evenings, weekends and precious family time got taken up with them I put a stop to it and now only do the cakes I want to do .I  make the most of every opportunity to educate people on the real cost of caking. I started to send cake picture  links with the cost of the cake in view to people who asked for an elaborate design so they got an idea of what the realistic prices were.

I often get told I should go professionally but tell them they wouldn't afford me if I did.

I believe you need to put a halt to this now as some people really have no idea and others have an entitlement attitude.  I discovered that if you don't value your time and skills and the cost to you others certainly won't.

auntginn Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 4:47pm
post #7 of

When I started to make cakes, I was asked by a family member why I wanted to take it up.  I replied to them that I had a large family and we were growing  and felt I could make and give them a cake as a gift.  Yes it started out that way.  Today its not only my passion its my job.  I still love it and YES I still get asked to make cakes for  free.  (And I get lots of request)

 

What I did is started sending out pics or posting them with "SRP"  I tell them that I have a charitable organization that I donate cakes to (And I do aside from my family)  That they are welcome to apply to them for a free cake.  That since my "friend" is asking for help I will be willing to give them the cake for 50% of the suggested retail price and some other form of compensation.  To which then I ask right away, "What can you offer?"

 

That usually ends those things.

Norasmom Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 6:10pm
post #8 of

Since you are a hobby baker, I wouldn't get into pricing or expenses of any kind on FB.  Limit FB posts to photos and light-hearted comments only.  You need to have a personal policy of only baking a cake when YOU decide you want to bake it, not when someone asks for one.  That will give you control over cost and if you want to spend the time or not.

 

If you can get a legal kitchen, I recommend doing so.  You don't have to be a "business," but you can charge people for ingredients and time as necessary.  It's not super expensive to get a licensed kitchen under the CFL.  In fact, you may have spent more money on baking free cakes than a legal kitchen would cost.  That's why I legalized my kitchen.  I wanted to charge for my hobby.

Carrie789 Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 6:36pm
post #9 of

I was asked by a relative to make a baby shower cake. It was a two-tired, two flavored cake with seven hand-molded figures to feed 75 generously. No charge. Soon after I arrived with the cake, I was thanked profusely by to father-to-be for the cake and "whatever gift you brought."

BakingIrene Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 7:40pm

Even if you choose to donate the cake, there are basics of good manners that you MUST insist on:

 

ADVANCE BOOKING  no excuses for last minute changes or other crap.

 

A FORMAL AGREEMENT as to size, flavour, theme. In other words, a written "order".

 

And finally YOU get to decide how many $$$ of groceries you donate in a year's time.  If you want to say "limit of 20 servings  per party" that's fine. Limit to immediate family?  Even with just first cousins, some of us run out of fingers and toes to count them on.

 

Somebody chooses to be so rude as to step over your line? no fuss, no argument, just no more cake for them...

kvand Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 11:43pm

I have done a couple of freebie wedding cakes but that was when I was just a hobby baker and it was for my best friend and my cousin (who is like a sister to me).  They did not ask.  I offered because I wanted to do it.  Honestly, had they asked me to do it I would have asked for supplies to be covered.  I think its kind of rude for someone to ask you to give them a free cake! essentially, depending on what you are making that is like giving someone a $200-$$$$$$ dollar wedding gift.  I'd rather just save myself the time and money for a gift that is obviously not that appreciated and give them cash or a gift card to another bakery...lol... here's my contribution to your cake... lol... I think I'm funny!

NJsugarmama Posted 27 Mar 2013 , 11:47pm

A

Original message sent by kvand

I have done a couple of freebie wedding cakes but that was when I was just a hobby baker and it was for my best friend and my cousin (who is like a sister to me).  They did not ask.  I offered because I wanted to do it.  Honestly, had they asked me to do it I would have asked for supplies to be covered.  I think its kind of rude for someone to ask you to give them a free cake! essentially, depending on what you are making that is like giving someone a $200-$$$$$$ dollar wedding gift.  I'd rather just save myself the time and money for a gift that is obviously not that appreciated and give them cash or a gift card to another bakery...lol... here's my contribution to your cake... lol... I think I'm funny!

I think you're funny, too. Lol

Crimsicle Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 8:15pm

I have a basic rule...if I offer to make your cake, it's a gift.  If you ask ME to make a cake, you pay a fair price for it. 

 

I've been a hobby baker for probably 40 years and just recently really got concerned about accepting payment for it, even if it's just to cover costs.  I happen to work for a nonprofit organization, and so I've decided that cakes people ask me to do must be paid for via a donation to the nonprofit.  I'm struggling with how to enforce whether or not they actually do make that donation.  Do I ask for it up front?  I'm thinking yes - just as I would handle payments if I was an established shop. 

AZCouture Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 8:31pm

Too many people in here are letting their friends and families run all over them. What is all this about making cakes left and right for family functions and being free and discounted? EVERY SINGLE FUNCTION DOES NOT CALL FOR AN ELABORATE CUSTOM CAKE. Yes, I just shouted that. Reign your people in, start standing up straight, CHARGE as you would for anybody else, unless THEY can offer a similar discounted service on whatever they do for a living, or you will regret it someday. 

thecakewitch Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 8:43pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

Too many people in here are letting their friends and families run all over them. What is all this about making cakes left and right for family functions and being free and discounted? EVERY SINGLE FUNCTION DOES NOT CALL FOR AN ELABORATE CUSTOM CAKE. Yes, I just shouted that. Reign your people in, start standing up straight, CHARGE as you would for anybody else, unless THEY can offer a similar discounted service on whatever they do for a living, or you will regret it someday. 

I agree. Respect your work and people will respect it too.

AZCouture Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 8:52pm

My son gets a free cake, in fact he just got the most elaborate dang thing I've made in a long time, but he's 5, and my son, so there's no explanations necessary there. :D 

Nin55 Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 9:11pm

I love decorating cakes and only do it for family.  People do not realize the time and money  involved in baking and decorating. You are letting people take advantage of your good nature and "free" stuff.  Put your foot down and do not be afraid to say "no".

cakesbycathy Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 10:13pm

Tsal, at this point I think you need to text your friend and tell her "Sorry I cannot make the cake."

When she asks why you tell you her you cannot afford it.  She can either take the cake for 20 like you originally agreed to, give you the money to cover the ingredients or go somewhere else for cake.  Don't be wishy-washy about it.  Be direct and to the point.  You can do that and still say it kindly.  If someone gets upset about it they are not your friend.

 

I read all about the baby shower cake and sweetie, you really need to be more assertive or people or going to continue to take advantage of you.  That's what happened with the baby shower cake and that's what's happening here.

 

Nip it in the bud now.  You will feel so much better about it in the end.
 

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 10:39pm

All this sounds like a perfectly good reason for me to continue to let the Printing Museum buy Costco cakes for our Ben Franklin Birthday event (the head of our theatre department channels both Franklin and Dickens), and for me to stick to my proverbial guns about not repeating my "wood type cookie" project without LOTS of help, and to ONLY bake cakes for staff and docent events.

 

Was enough of a pain in the butt just cutting and plating the Costco cakes. And actually, the cakes themselves weren't half-bad.

punkin90 Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 10:55pm

I guess I am lucky, my family won't let me give them a free cake. They insist on paying me what they would have to buy the cake for from a bakery. On the occasion that I make a cake for someone else and I try to get enough to cover my cost & time, people usually think it's too much. So I have been pretty bummed out about it also. It's like they think you have nothing else to do!

Carrie789 Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 11:33pm

ALL RIGHT, AZCOUTURE! You are so correct. I thought we earned the right to stop being doormats in the '60's. So let's do it! No more letting people take advantage of us.

 

And, Crimsicle--not sure what your working for a non profit has to do with charging for cakes (I ran one for many years), but if that is what you want to do, definitely, get the donation made out to the non profit in your hand upfront. Otherwise, you will hear every excuse in the book later as to why the customer can't do it.
 

lorieleann Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 11:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

My son gets a free cake, in fact he just got the most elaborate dang thing I've made in a long time, but he's 5, and my son, so there's no explanations necessary there. :D 

 

 

Whaaa??? you DIDN'T charge him.  I totally would have made him pay up 20 favorite Hot Wheels and a baggie of legos for that masterpiece.  (tee hee icon_wink.gif)

AZCouture Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 11:49pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorieleann 

 

 

Whaaa??? you DIDN'T charge him.  I totally would have made him pay up 20 favorite Hot Wheels and a baggie of legos for that masterpiece.  (tee hee icon_wink.gif)

No kidding huh?!?! He had to settle for a slightly understated version though, cause his budget didn't allow for more. ;)

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