LoriMc Posted 8 Apr 2013 , 11:32pm

Just curious if you guys have an opinion on how far you will go to please customers.  This is a minor example, but it got me thinking of other times when customers wanted me to do flavor or color combinations I thought were gross.  

 

This lady, who has never gotten a cake from me has asked me to do almond flavored cake with almond flavored buttercream.  I've always made my buttercream the same way with vanilla and butter flavoring.  Maybe it will taste good, I don't know because I've never tried it.  I just think almond tends to be strong to some people's palettes and I would hate people at her party to think my cake wasn't good. On top of it all, she sent me a Pink Cake Box photo and wants to stay under $65. Gotta love that.

 

Is there a point when you guys say you won't do something because you don't think it will taste/look good?

25 replies
noosalucy Posted 8 Apr 2013 , 11:45pm

Of course there's a point where most people will say no, and after getting a few crazy requests you wish you didn't take on it gets easier.

 

Almond is a very strong flavour (I know I wouldn't like the cake).  You should always feel comfortable offering your suggestions to your clients, as you are the professional and they will almost always go along with it.  I would perhaps suggest that if she wanting almond flavoured cake and icing that the icing be only very subtley flavoured almond and vanilla so that the cake isn't too overpowering.

 

I find most people are happy to be guided, so I don't have to say no to orders because the client is insisting on something that won't look or taste good.

shanter Posted 8 Apr 2013 , 11:46pm

I would love an almond cake with almond buttercream! <drool>

 

If you don't want to make the cake, then don't. However, if you want to make a cake, you are able to make the cake requested, and the customer is willing to pay the price you ask, why not? You're not responsible for her tastes. Maybe she has a whole family full of people like me, who go nuts for almonds (pun intended). icon_biggrin.gif

 

If you decide to make the cake, you could ask if anyone eating it would have a nut allergy. My niece is deathly allergic to nuts, but loves the flavor, so I just use imitation almond flavoring for her.

 

My mother taught me sewing and tailoring. If someone asked me to make a hot pink dress with orange sleeves and a taupe collar and was willing to pay lots of money and I needed the money, I would make it, even though I can't stand that color combination. And I might not put my label in it.

mrs76 Posted 8 Apr 2013 , 11:47pm

If I'm making American Buttercream I almost always flavor it with a combination of butter flavor and almond extract. It is a very nice flavor and people usually really like it.

 

I had a cringe moment recently because someone ordered a yellow cake with lemon curd. I made it for them, and they were happy, but the whole yellow on yellow thing was very blah. Also, I really don't like Red Velvet cake - I would probably make it if I was asked, but I wouldn't be happy about it.

AZCouture Posted 8 Apr 2013 , 11:50pm

I probably would, it can be done without being too overwhelming. I add almond oil to my fondant, and it definitely makes a nice touch, since I won't use fake vanilla to keep it white. 

 

Could turn out to be a good flavor option that other people might like? Maybe.

lesucreaufour Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 12:01am

I think you should have a list of flavors...and your customer should choose from that!

I wouldn' t give a cake (new recipe) without tasting it or trying a couple of them to find the best one.

I never except a flavor request if i'm not sure it's good!

 

I would say no...choose from my flavor list :)

Chellescakes Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 12:03am

I'd be more likely to say no to the $65 budget than a flavour that the customer wants. I don't like chocolate much and I think that white chocolate mudcake is BLAH . But I make them all the time because my customers like them. 

jason_kraft Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 12:10am

AWe sometimes get customers who want unusual combinations of flavors. I tell them that the pastry chef recommends a different combination that would be more complementary, and every customer has agreed to the more complementary combination. If they didn't agree I would still go ahead with the original order, since everyone has different palates and you can't assume that everyone will have the same taste you do.

An exception is when there is a request for specific fresh fruit filling in a cake or a fruit tart...if we can't find high quality fruit when we are making the product we reserve the right to substitute different fruit.

Of course in OP's example the budget would probably require scaling back the customer's expectations considerably. But if you feel the almond will be too strong, just use less of it.

Sissys Goodies Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 12:16am

I dont know.... IMO I would give the customer what ever flavor they asked for. Even if it is Red velvet cake with strawberry Filling (recent order I had)...... We may not like it or agree with it, but its their cake. I know that if I were paying a large amount of money on something, i would expect it to be exactly the way I want it to be. I may offer my opinion to them, because honestly, some customer just dont know how to pair flavors or designs. But if they choose not to take my advice, then that should be okay. They're the one paying for the cake.   Thats just the way I feel about the situation.

 

I do understand your reasonings however, that it may turn potential customers away...... Of course there will be boundaries you must set for the decorations if theyve given you a small price limit...

ellavanilla Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 12:28am

I don't have a problem saying no to a customer, if it's something I don't do or won't do. I had a request for a purse cake recently. I don't do entirely enrobed cakes, and it just wouldn't look good, any other way. 

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 12:36am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sissys Goodies 

I dont know.... IMO I would give the customer what ever flavor they asked for. Even if it is Red velvet cake with strawberry Filling (recent order I had)...... We may not like it or agree with it, but its their cake. I know that if I were paying a large amount of money on something, i would expect it to be exactly the way I want it to be. I may offer my opinion to them, because honestly, some customer just dont know how to pair flavors or designs. But if they choose not to take my advice, then that should be okay. They're the one paying for the cake.   Thats just the way I feel about the situation.

 

I do understand your reasonings however, that it may turn potential customers away...... Of course there will be boundaries you must set for the decorations if theyve given you a small price limit...

lol, that is actually quite popular around here, along with raspberry. I fill my red velvet with blackberry puree.

 

I won't sell something I haven't tried before, but beyond that, as long as the customer is willing to pay, I'm willing to make the cake they want. That said, I've never had someone ask for something outrageous.

Most of the time they give me an idea of what flavours they like, and I set up a tasting, and they choose from that.

 

As far as appearance goes, I've done cakes I don't personally like the look of, but I am very careful about not letting the customer know I don't love it. The majority of my cakes are for weddings, and I would hate to make a bride feel like her dream cake idea wasn't gorgeous.

kazita Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 12:53am

AI personally hate the taste of almond flavoring or extract. Nope no way would I be making a cake with almond on almond just to have people that she feeds the cake to bad mouth the cake than she ends up saying that you are the one who chose all the almond flavoring and you look bad. Than she said $65 is her budget does that match up with how many severings that she's demanding or no? This happened to me once and never again.

BeesKnees578 Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 2:03am

You could always toast and grind the almonds and use that as the cake flavoring.  It won't be over powering at all.  Any almond flavoring tastes fake to me and I have used almond paste in a cake before and it was to fake-y tasting to me.  But the actual ground nuts are delicious...but, of course, that adds to your cost with an already tight budget.

SweetMelissa730 Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 4:11am

 I guess it's a southern thing, or maybe just a New Orleans thing, i don't know lol but White cake (almond flavored) with Almond flavored buttercream is my most popular flavor. If someone says they want it taste like "wedding cake" they want that almond flavor. We even have snowballs (variation of a snow cone) in "wedding cake" flavor and it just takes like almond flavoring.

 

 I would say never make something your not comfortable serving, but I wouldn't say not to make it because you don't like it. Everyone has different taste, some will love it and it won't be for others, that's life. icon_wink.gif

DeliciousDesserts Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 8:31am

A

Original message sent by SweetMelissa730

 I guess it's a southern thing,  

Popular here in Charleston

Relznik Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 9:59am

I'm not being contrary for the sake of it, but I don't see the problem.

 

I do choc sponge cake with chocolate buttercream; vanilla sponge cake with vanilla buttercream; caramel flavour sponge with caramel flavour buttercream....  why would almond flavour sponge with almond buttercream be a problem?

 

As long as you're not heavy-handed with the flavouring, if almond is a flavour the customer likes, then why not?

AnnieCahill Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 11:34am

Design-wise there are things I wouldn't do, but flavor wise it's got to be something really off the wall for me to say no.  Granted, no one has really asked me for anything crazy so it hasn't been an issue.  I don't see a problem with the almond-almond combo.  The way I see it is like any other cake flavor.  There are people who don't like chocolate or red velvet or whatever, so if that's the party cake then they may not eat it.  I am making an apple spice cake for a wedding on Saturday.  I think it's kind of strange for a spring wedding but whatever.  If someone requested anchovy-lemon, that might be a different story.

Crimsicle Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 1:00pm

Almond is one of the flavors I get the most raves about (Lorann Champagne is another).  I always use pure almond, not the fake stuff.  Every once in a while I run into someone who doesn't like it, but it's very popular with most people I know.  But, then again...I've lived most of my life in the South, so maybe it IS a regional thing....

kikiandkyle Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 1:02pm

I have a hard time with flavors I don't know or like, because I wouldn't want to serve something without being able to taste whether it's right or not. I'd probably at least look for a couple of recipes to try out though before simply saying no. You could probably get away with doing a vanilla cake with a hint of almond flavor, it doesn't have to be a full on almond assault. 

LoriMc Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 2:35pm

I explained to her that that much almond might be overwhelming to some of her guests.  She doesn't care, so I'm doing it anyway. I'll just not put much in the icing.

 

It's funny because I'm in the South too, and I've never had this request before.

 

Also, the Pink Cake Box cake has been scaled waaaaaaay down.  I'm no fool icon_cool.gif.
 

AtomicBakes Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:42pm

I agree with the other Southerners on here, almond is very popular and white cake just isn't the same without it. I use a good quality pure almond extract and for the vanilla/white cake recipe that I use (Elisa Strauss), instead of the full amount of vanilla I use half vanilla and half almond and it comes out perfect. I wouldn't say no to a normal flavor that I don't personally like but that many others do. I would probably say no to something that is a combo that I really think wouldn't work together (but it would have to be pretty out there) or one that is strange enough that I needed to do a taste test and I didn't have time. I would tell them that they would not be able to get their design for that price point, but in that case I would try to give options that would give them a similar look, but maybe in buttercream or something that is less expensive.

Spooky_789 Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 5:44pm

I'm surprised no one has brought up the popularity of a WASC cake.  One of the flavor components of it is almond.  Plus, many ABC recipes that I've come across also includes at least 1/3 of the total flavoring to be almond.

 

I've used amaretto in my cakes and it gives them a nice almond flavoring. 

 

We can't be limited by our own palette's preferences.  It'd be a boring world if we were limited to only a few flavors.

 

One question I would ask your customer is if she is aware of any guests who may have an almond allergy.  If so, then I'd use imitation almond flavoring.

tracyaem Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 6:01pm

I'm personally not a fan of almond, but if that's what the customer wants so be it.

 

One of my biggest selling cupcakes has a Guinness buttercream filling. I hate Guiness. As in, I start to heave just smelling it, forget about tasting it! Fortunately, hubby is more than willing to taste test for me :)

 

Anyway, my point is that just b/c we think it's weird or gross doesn't mean others won't love it. I wouldn't say no to any request. If I was horrified by the combo, I might suggest an alternative but if they insisted I'd make it.

lesucreaufour Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 1:09pm

I would do any flavors if i thing it would be popular...but not without tasting and testing it. I don't need to fall in love with it, i just need to make sure the texture is ggod, the flavors is ok. Almond extract is very strong (and i think taste like cherry hihi). I would defenetly us real almond.

 

And testing new recipe will take time...you might not like your first try. If you think you have enough time to test some new recipe for here, good! 

When I want to had a new flavor to my list...i take my time, make sure it's super good and then add it to my list.

That's why, I always ask them to choose from my list...that way, i know my recipe have been tested, and approuved!

 

Good luck

CakersbyEggers Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 5:20pm

Almond is pretty popular here to in Iowa. There is a cupcake place here and one of there cupcakes is called Wedding day and it has an almond flavored cake with almond buttercream. I don't find it overwhelming. I am sure they went lightly on the almond flavoring because there are just hints of it. I like it pretty well.

PLAmom Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 5:48pm

I am sure most have extra buttercream around, try a sample if you think tastes gross, call customer to taste. Better to show the effort and let customer decide and then offer suggestions than to loose customer because she thinks you are not giving her what she wants or that you think she has bad taste.

 

I get sometimes they don't really know what they want and as cake designers its our job to guide them. But having said that sometimes we have to accept the "Customer Is Always Right" even if we think they are not. :-) 

 

As for the budget.. I have learned the hard way, stick to your price points and let her know what size she can have for her budget. Ingredients have become way to expensive and if you sell your self short the first time, they will expect it always. And words spreads.... Then everyone wants same price.

 

Take care, many blessings.

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