Petals_and_Pearls_cakes Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 6:47am

AHi everyone I haven't posted on here much but I really needed to vent this situation to some people that understand what it's like!

A few months ago I offered to make a "friends" wedding cake for free (I use the term friend loosely the grim to be is a close friend of my partners and the bride to be I see from time to time at social gatherings but we've never hung out together alone or anything) and yes i said FREE, for someone who isn't much more than an acquaintance when this is a business I run and my only source of income.. stupid I know, we were having a few friends over for dinner and I'd had a few glasses of wine an was obviously feeling joyful but by the next morning I instantly regretted it. I knew I couldn't withdraw my offer and I'm not the type to do that to someone.

So I thought ill just suck it up and do it thinking shed only want a 3 tier cake which is all she neede to feed her guests (desert was served with her reception package so only coffee size servings needed) anyway she contacted me the next day to let me know she wanted a 5 tier cake! 5 tiers! I've only done one 5 tier cake in the past and it was soo much work! I told my partner I didn't expect it to be that big but he told me I had been quite insistent that I would make their dream cake whatever it was *facepalm! Damn wine!)

Well this is where the issues started I told her She needed her to pick a design ASAP as her wedding was only a few months away and I needed to know early if there where any special tools etc that's I'd need to order... I sent her through possibly hundreds of photos of wedding cakes trying to give her some inspiration but she couldn't make up her mind, in the end it took her about 6 weeks to pick a design, which is fair enough but the design she picked has soooo much fine detailing work on it it's rediculous! It was also square which i have very little experience with. On top of that she told me she would like each tier to be double height (8" tall!) I really couldn't believe that one, I explained to her that I am only one person and it would be physically impossible for me to make a cake that large also she was only having 150 guests and there was really no need for so much cake. (especially for free! I mean it would be the size of a 10 tier!!!) she was disappointed but she said that regular height would have to do.

Fast forward a month or 2 and times have been getting a bit tough financially for my family so much so that I had to make a decision to step back from my business and go an get full time employment elsewhere I love making cakes but I'm just not bringing in enough of a profit. I had been trying to put this off until after her wedding but things were getting to tough and I couldn't put it off anymore,

I contacted her and old her I will likely be working full time by her wedding (40+ hours a week) and I just wouldn't physically have time in the day to do a 5 tier, I apologised repeatedly but told her I can still make a 3 tier for her... she told me she really had her heart set of a 5 tier. so i said if she really wanted she could book someone else and have the 5 tier but I'd recommend her doing it ASAP. She asked if I could just start it early but I said I would need o start it at least 3 weeks in advance by which point the cake would be stale an the cream cheese filling shed requested would be off and could make her guests ill.

I though about other options and offered to do the 5 tier as a dummy cake with a slot in the bottom tier so they could still have cake cutting photos, then I would do slab cakes to feed her guests and nobody would knowte difference, this way I could get all te fine detailing work of the dummy cake done weeks in advance then make the slab cakes the week of the wedding so it was yummy fresh cake too.

I thought this was problem solved but she didn't get back to me for days , then weeks and after sending her more msgs it wa apparent she wa angry at me and was ignoring me, this brake more obvious when we all had one of our social meetings and her partner turned up on his own... Now I felt like crap like I'd done something wrong but it was still costing me over $300 in ingredients tools and dummies to make her cake for her, I'd also told her I'd set her candy buffet up for free on the day. All this and she still thought it was appropriate to send us a wishing well card with our invite asking for cash knowing that we were giving the cake as a gift....

Well eventually she wrote back to me saying to be honest it's two months out from my wedding and I thought the cake was sorted..... I told her I was sorry (again) but ive been struggling to feed my children and I had no choice but to return to full time work.

Eventually she decided to go with the 5 tier dummy cake and the slab cakes but honestly after all this I really don't want to even go to the wedding. I do feel like I'm being used and although she has thanked me it still doesn't seem like the effort I'm going to is really being appreciated

32 replies
angelbutler Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 7:01am

AAaarg...those kinds of situations are very annoying. I don't make free cakes for friends. Either it counts as a gift, or I give a special price. In your situation, since you did offer it free, after she sprung on the 5 tiers I would have said that the cake to serve 150 was free, the rest would be x price.

Petals_and_Pearls_cakes Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 7:06am

AI'm too much of a softie lol I'm so bad at saying no or speaking up for myself! I should add that if I was making this cake for a paying customer the price would be over $900! I'm in Australia so prices here are much higher than the us. Most other places you'd be paying well over $2000-$3000 for this cake depending on where you went

Godot Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 8:24am

AYou need you some cake balls sister.

You should have nipped this in the bud from the get-go and TOLD her what she could have.

Why do YOU feel bad that she's angry at you? It was she who was trying to take advantage of you. Honestly, at this point I'd just cut her loose. Tell her that it's obvious that you can't make her happy with your offer of a free cake and that it's best for both of you if she organises her cake elsewhere

Do NOT feel guilty about this. She's a git.

goodvibrations Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 8:51am

" I don't make free cakes for friends. Either it counts as a gift, or I give a special price. In your situation, since you did offer it free, after she sprung on the 5 tiers I would have said that the cake to serve 150 was free, the rest would be x price."

"It was she who was trying to take advantage of you. Honestly, at this point I'd just cut her loose. Tell her that it's obvious that you can't make her happy with your offer of a free cake and that it's best for both of you if she organises her cake elsewhere. Do NOT feel guilty about this."

 

THIS! Good advice!

It happens to most of us at least once before we learn our lesson. Sorry you had to learn it with such an expensive cake! You've made a very generous offer by doing a fake cake and kitchen cakes. I totally agree with Godot . At this point it seems like she'll "bad mouth" you whether you make her cake or not. Something similar happened to me a couple years ago and I knew I would never be able to satisfy the customer. I made up some fictitious story about a fictitious relative in another state that required my presence on the date of her event. It was still 8 weeks prior to her event so I didn't feel too bad about it. Had to make sure not to post any cakes on facebook that week :)

Petals_and_Pearls_cakes Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 9:09am

AHahahaha cake balls! She really is a lovely person very sweet which is why I wanted to make the cake for her in the first place. I just think she has turned into a bit of a bridezilla and really doesn't understand just how much time goes into a cake like this , I told her last time I did a 5 tier I was up at 5am and working till 9:30pm everyday for a week to get it done. Add a full time work schedule into the mix and how the hell am I meant to do that? Just give up sleep for a week? Plus I do this from home and have two kids (one of which is a baby) so that definitely makes it even harder. She told me originally a lady had quoted her $400 for a 5 tier cake which I find very very hard to believe!! There is no way anyone in their right mind would do a cake this large for that price, but I think she may be thinking I'm making her a cake that is of $400 value since that's what she was quoted elsewhere and $400 isn't that much when it comes to her wedding budget so its not that big of a deal and she isn't asking too much... When in reality it's a $900 cake I'm making her and a hell of a lot of hard work will be going into it. I'm also super scared now that she won't be happy with it, the way she's been acting it wouldn't surprise me.

Petals_and_Pearls_cakes Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 9:16am

AAnd I do feel bad because I did give my word that I would make the cake for her and now 2 months out from her wedding I changed the plan on her. I do think she could have been a bit more sympathetic to my situation though, if someone had offered to make me a free 5 tier wedding cake then contacted and told me look I'm really sorry but I've been struggling a lot with $$ at the moment to the point that I've struggled to feed my children is it ok if I do you a free 3 tier I wouldn't have understood and taken the 3 tier... Apparently that extra 2 tiers of cake is more important than my children and I should totally get my priorities sorted! Lol

Petals_and_Pearls_cakes Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 9:17am

AWould have ***

tesso Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 10:05am

Ahow to avoid that situation... even if it is a free cake for a friend, we both treat the situation as if she is a paying customer, get out that cake contract, where you have all your rules, their requests and dreams... then come to terms. i will cover this expense for this cake. any changes and you are then responsible for the extra costs. so remember...contract always. ALWAYS darling always.

jgifford Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 11:04am

This person is not your friend.  And no, she can't be a lovely, sweet person and suddenly turn into a greedy witch.  IMO there is no excuse for any bridezilla - we are all quite capable of controlling our own behavior.

 

You made a very sweet, extremely generous offer and you're obviously a kind person.  However, there are times when our priorities must shift and I believe this is one of those times.  Your family must always come first - you've had to make some tough decisions and I applaud you for doing just that.  If this "friend" can't be understanding enough to realize that her free dream cake will be - at the very least - a hardship for you, then you're going to have to cut her loose.

 

A free cake is like a donation, and all details are completely up to you, the giver.  You should obviously take into consideration her guest count and color choices, but ultimately you make the decisions regarding size, shape, decorations, etc.  If she can't be gracious enough to accept what you are able to give her, then she doesn't deserve to have anything.

 

Godot always gives great advice and I agree completely in this case.  Tell her goodbye and DON'T YOU DARE FEEL THE LEAST BIT GUILTY ABOUT IT!!!  And tell her now so she has time to go elsewhere for her cake.  Let her see what she'll have to pay for a 5-tier anywhere else and maybe she'll realize how generous your offer really was.

Norasmom Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 12:09pm

So sorry this has happened.  She should have said okay, 3-tier works for me!  When someone offers something for free, she should take it and say "THANK YOU!"  Plus, when a professional cake decorator suggests a size for a cake, it means that's the right size and anything more would be a waste of cake.

Jenna1588 Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 1:19pm

Talk about taking advantage! It does sound like she is using you for what she wants, and like someone else said, she isn't a friend, a friend wouldn't expect someone in your situation, full time job, kids etc to make them a 5 tier cake free of charge.

 

I was just looking at wedding cakes this morning, the very basic 3 tier was £200. So for her to reckon she has found a 5 tier at such a cheap price she is only kidding herself!

 

As hard as it is I would tell her its a 3 tier or the only tier she will find is the ones coming out of her eyes on her wedding day! 

DeliciousDesserts Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 1:20pm

AI'm going to deviate from everyone else's comments. This was your fault. You were trying to be nice, but you set the situation for failure.

You promised someone the cake of their dreams. Not knowing what goes into a cake (money or time), this poor girl picked the cake of her dreams...just like you said. Even worse, this dragged on for a few months. Now, it would be difficult to get a new baker. The girl is disappointed. I know you feel frustrated and used. Had she known the guidelines, things would be very different. I'd bet lesson learned!

Since we can't go back to that night, all you can now do is try to make it right. Pick up the phone (don't email) & have a good honest talk with her. Explain how sorry you are acknowledging how disappointed she must be. Let her know you recognize the mistakes you made and the position you are in. Then, tell her you know it will take time but really hope things can be repaired so that the two of you can enjoy each others company.

denetteb Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 1:38pm

I am with DD on this.  You said you would make her dream cake.  The next morning when you realized what you said you should have called her and been more specific.  You could, and should have, stopped this way back at the very beginning.  All you had to do then was inform her that you would provide 150 servings of buttercream cake, 3 round tiers, or whatever you are comfortable with.  Period.  The fact that you wasted your time researching hundreds of pictures to send to her, strung things out for months, talked about not being able to feed your kids but never really saying no.  If the design is too intricate you could have said no and to  pick another design.  And then offering to do a 5 tier dummy cake plus kitchen cakes?  That is even more costly.  At any point early on you could have reigned  this in.  Plus you offered to set up her candy buffet?  Seriously, this is on  you.  Sorry to be so harsh but if you are in business you need to handle things. 

cakefat Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 1:40pm

Agree with all the posters here. this 'friend' totally took advantage of the situation but not accepting a 3 tier cake graciously. 

 

As painful as it may be, I'd cut bait on this one and let her know asap so she can arrange for another cake. Seriously. 

kikiandkyle Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 1:44pm

AIf it was me I'd probably get the men involved, especially since they are the ones who actually are friends. Obviously your partner knows things are tight and if the groom is a close friend he probably has an idea too. You made a promise while drunk, then thought you'd do the right thing and follow through but things have changed and you find yourself now unable to. I wouldn't worry about your friendship with the bride, she's obviously not a very nice person for taking such a generous offer and then expecting even more from you. But the boys are friends and for their sake, it's time they got together and sorted it out.

If he's not willing to step in and help you out with such a stressful situation, then I think it's just time for you to grow a pair of cake balls and tell her simply that you are not able to do the cake, and you wish her well for the wedding. I'm sure the $400 baker will still take her order. Yes you are going to feel bad about it for a long time, but you'd feel worse about driving yourself into the ground and taking food out of your kids mouths for someone as unappreciative as she will be.

catt11 Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 2:15pm

OMG! You're too kind! You gave her your hand and she wants your arm!! I also make free cakes to friends and relatives but that means I'm the bossicon_evil.gif.. I'll consider what they like but there's no room for other demands.

 

Next time... don't drink and talkicon_lol.gif... just kidding.  Goodluck to you..

 

If only you live nearby, i could give you a hand.

dawnybird Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 3:02pm

My reply is no solution, just an observation. If she has dessert included in the reception meal, plus a huge wedding cake, plus a candy buffet - - -  those guests are all going home with a sugar rush! Wow! Seems like overkill.
 

remnant3333 Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 3:15pm

I agree that this person is no friend to you!!! Sorry that you are having to deal with a person who has no heart about your financial difficulties. It is even worse when you have kids to feed and clothe. 

 

Many on cc have had this issue happen also. Sometimes we are too nice for our own good!!! You are not the only one. After this wedding, I am sure that you will never let this happen to you again. People often take advantage and want a bigger cake since it is free so they end up inviting a lot more people to their wedding!! They have no idea of the time and effort involved with making a huge tier cake especially a five tier one!!! All they know is that you offered it free so they take advantage of a good situation for them!!!  

 

Good luck!!!

yortma Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 3:29pm

This does not help you to to decide what to do, and I am sorry it happened.  It is probably filling your life with worry. It does not matter who was right or wrong, what matters is how you will feel about it afterward.  If you decide to make any sort of cake for her, planning and organization will help tremendously.  I also work full time plus and have made several large cakes recently, including a 5 tier with 250 servings.  (I admit I took the day before off work for that one).  They are all for love not money, but had to be very carefully planned out and made ahead as much as possible. Before a big cake, I do a little bit every day, beginning weeks ahead. I measure out all the dry ingredients for cakes and place in containers and label one for each cake.   I mix up and bake cakes over several weeks leading up to the event.  I level and tort (less work later) and freeze.  I make lots of buttercream, and  as many of the fillings ahead of time as possible and freeze. (Lemon curd and raspberry filling freeze beautifully BTW).  Any prep work such as chopping Oreos, grating chocolate, chopping nuts, can be done ahead of time.  I use purchased fondant (Massa Grischuna), but it can be tinted beforehand, and homemade fondant can be prepared in advance.  Fondant figures, sugar paste flowers and decorations keep well for a long time.  Prepare the cake board in advance.  The day before, everything comes out of the freezer. The cakes are assembled, crumb coated, frosted/covered in fondant.  Decoration is completed that night or early the next day, depending on the time of day it is due. HTH.  Good luck to you.

liz at sugar Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 3:42pm

I am going to try to say this directly, but kindly.  Having a well honed skill (like baking and cake decorating) does not equate directly with being able to run a business.  Some people are too nice, too shy, too unsure of themselves, and get into situations just like this.

 

Please take some business and assertiveness classes before continuing with your cake business.  You owe it to yourself and your family to have all the skills needed to make a profit, and in time, be able to make an offer like you made to your friend, but with you in control of the details and outcome.

 

I think you need to apologize quickly and tell her to make other arrangements.  The stress of this situation over the next two months will not be good for your health or well being. :)

 

Liz

keepingitreal21 Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 7:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeliciousDesserts 

I'm going to deviate from everyone else's comments. This was your fault. You were trying to be nice, but you set the situation for failure.

You promised someone the cake of their dreams. Not knowing what goes into a cake (money or time), this poor girl picked the cake of her dreams...just like you said. Even worse, this dragged on for a few months. Now, it would be difficult to get a new baker. The girl is disappointed. I know you feel frustrated and used. Had she known the guidelines, things would be very different. I'd bet lesson learned!

Since we can't go back to that night, all you can now do is try to make it right. Pick up the phone (don't email) & have a good honest talk with her. Explain how sorry you are acknowledging how disappointed she must be. Let her know you recognize the mistakes you made and the position you are in. Then, tell her you know it will take time but really hope things can be repaired so that the two of you can enjoy each others company.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb 

I am with DD on this.  You said you would make her dream cake.  The next morning when you realized what you said you should have called her and been more specific.  You could, and should have, stopped this way back at the very beginning.  All you had to do then was inform her that you would provide 150 servings of buttercream cake, 3 round tiers, or whatever you are comfortable with.  Period.  The fact that you wasted your time researching hundreds of pictures to send to her, strung things out for months, talked about not being able to feed your kids but never really saying no.  If the design is too intricate you could have said no and to  pick another design.  And then offering to do a 5 tier dummy cake plus kitchen cakes?  That is even more costly.  At any point early on you could have reigned  this in.  Plus you offered to set up her candy buffet?  Seriously, this is on  you.  Sorry to be so harsh but if you are in business you need to handle things. 

I agree 100% with these two. One brides dream cake could be 3 tiers, simple flavor and filling throughout, with some simple flowers, ribbon or lace borders, another's could be 10 tiers, various flavors and fillings and intricate designs or piping. When a cake is gifted, you have to get out the contract just as you would a paying customer. You have to set boundaries for free, unless you can guarantee you will be able to pull out all the stops and the skies the limit(and really, there are no guarantees).  I don't have that kind of time or money to give away.

 

Apologize, make what time allows and hope the relationship is salvageable. I think the dummy idea is a good one. GL

Norasmom Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 8:15pm

Also, maybe you can get her to pay for the ingredients, even if you promised it for free.  Good luck!  Wine does tricky things...

auntginn Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 8:24pm

Sorry, but I am siding with Delicious Desserts and liz at sugar.  I give cakes away on a somewhat regular basis.  If I tell someone they can have what they want, They are in control even if that means I have to use my staff to get the job done.  When this rule changes, I show them a cake and explain what they get and they accept, I'm in control but they still get the cake for free.  

 

If anybody is taking food out of your babies mouth, it was you.  Nobody can forsee the future, planning is everything.  A Wise cliche, "Nobody plans to fail, they just fail to plan"  If you can afford to give away cakes it should have been in your budget before you did it.

 

Attitude is everything, you mention her bridezilla attitude, have you stepped back to image how she sees yours?  Maybe you think you've apologized for your actions but she doesn't see that coming thru.  

 

You say you've had to go back to working full time, do you plan on returning to the business.  Here is your testimonial.  Regardless of how you feel, do the job you promised, smile all the way to the wedding.

maybenot Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 11:08pm

Make the best of a bad situation and make sure that you return home with the complete dummy cake.  You can use it decorated as a prop, a rental, or a photo op and then strip it down and save the styro forms.  At least you'll recoup something.

 

As for the slab cakes, make sure that she gets 150 coffee serving sizes only--no leftovers.

 

Clearly a learning experience and, as my DH often says, "No good deed goes unpunished."

Petals_and_Pearls_cakes Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 1:00am

AWell I did tell her 2.5 months before the wedding that I was intending on looking for work and that if she was unhappy with the possibility of it on being 3 tiers that she should book a new baker ASAP, its a Friday wedding in winter (off season) so I know she wouldn't of had trouble finding someone else. I've talked to her on the phone but she didn't seem to understand where I was coming from, it's not that I dot want to make te cake for her but if I'm working full time I just can't do a real 5 tier cake in a week it's just not possible, her wedding is on a Friday ad she has splashed ALOT of cash on her wedding so I know she could afford to pay someone else for a cake if she wanted to. Anyway I'm making her the 5 tier dummy now I've already started on it and will be making the slab cake the week of. It wasn't about the money! Although money is very tight I made a promise and I'm sticking to it I just couldn't make her 5 tier of real cake while working full time, I knew that an I wasn't going to risk having a nervous break down, giving her a crap cake and losing my new job trying to get it done

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