feuerrader24 Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 4:03am
post #1 of

AHello fellow cake artists, bakers, designers, etc etc etc! I've spent a lot of time lurking on the Cake Decorating Business forums and I've learned a lot about the business. I've also learned that I am not the only one who experiences frustrations when it comes to pricing cakes and the backlash of being "too expensive." I currently bake out of my home and am mostly self-taught. My cakes are good, but I know I have room to improve. I don't take orders for things I cannot do and I do not over promise on anything. I do charge more than the local grocery stores but am less expensive than the formal bakeries, simply because I cannot offer what they do in terms of tiers, decorations, flavors, etc. I have had people ask me to make wedding cakes and I always refer them to other local bakeries that I know will do a great job. With that said, I must tell you the story of how one cake ruined my relationship with my in-laws...

When I first got started, I made a lot of practice cakes. These practice cakes were always given away to family members as freebies. Eventually, I was asked to make a congratulatory cake for my niece. It was a simple chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, shell border, some writing, and a few buttercream roses. My father in law offered to pay to cover my ingredients and I accepted. I donated my time as part of her gift. No complains, only rave reviews on my cake.

A few months later, my husband and his brothers enrolled in a pistol safety class. After the class, they decided to get their instructor a "thank you" gift...in the form of a cake. Because the instructor is of Italian-descent, they wanted me to make a cannoli cake (I make excellent cannoli filling if I may boast!) complete with firearm decorations. Someone suggested I sculpt a gun and some bullets for the decorations. I figured out my cost, sice mascarpone and ricotta are expensive, and concluded that $75 for a 10" round cake, filled with cannoli filling, covered in a mascarpone buttercream and chocolate chips with handsculpted fondant decorations was MORE than reasonable. I made a lifesized glock, some bullets, and a shooting target for the top of the cake, spent an entire Saturday working on it in the summer heat, and spent around $45 for the cake ingredients alone. $75 for such a cake was highway robbery in my eyes, especially since each brother and my husband would pay me $25 each for a custom creation. The brothers gave me cash for the cake, I delivered the cake to the instructor, and gained returning business (woo!). I didn't think anything else about the cake....until the rumors....

I had 2 family members place cake orders with me and drop out last minute with no explanation why. Eventually, the rumors caught up to me -- I overcharge for my products! Apparently, the brothers thought I robbed them blind with the cake, and told other family members that I wasn't worth the money. The one brother complained that I wasted his money and he never saw an invoice - surely I was inflating the cost of my materials. I asked him if he was interested in seeing my receipts, which he was. I made a detailed list of my cost (including how much each egg was that went into the cake), the cakeboard, the box, the gas I spent going to the store, and so on. When I tallied eveything up, I ended up working for a QUARTER an hour! Trust me, I am dsgusted in myself for charging so little, I was shocked when I was accused of charging too much.

The whole situation spiraled out of control. I was accused of being passive-aggressive by creating the invoice (even though I was asked to supply one) and that I was trying to scam the family out of money for my own, nefarious purposes. That was the first cake I ever charged anyone in the family, and everyone was more than happy to pay when we sealed the deal. I figure the business I lost wasn't worth my time, either, so no harm done. But one cake and $75 later, I became a huge, money grubbing, no talent witch who should be giving cakes away (yes, they said this to me!) because it is unfair to charge people for cakes, especially family members. My husband and I are now shunned from the family for being greedy and trying to steal from our family. Who knew that ONE CAKE would have such disasterous results? Lesson learned; never, ever bake for family!!!

45 replies
AZCouture Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 4:11am
post #2 of

ASounds like an absolutely crappy group of family members, and I'd do everything I could to avoid their ungrateful a$$es. What can you do, but never again offer your generosity and valuable time. That ensures no hurt feelings. And don't ever agree to make something that they would offer to pay for either, although that seems like an unlikely situation. Strictly non family customers only.

feuerrader24 Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 4:49am
post #3 of

AI was told they have no need for cakes or baked goods so they won't be asking me for my services again... which I am more than okay with! Who knew a cake would expose people for who they really are!

cakefat Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 5:25am
post #4 of

Firstly, thank you for using paragraphs (it's surprising the number of people on CC who've never heard of one).

 

Secondly, your brothers in law/etc are a nightmare and complete jerks. I'd probably be happy to be shunned by the likes of them- that may actually be a blessing in disguise. I wouldn't do anything for any of them ever again. Game over.

 

$75 for that cake was a gift. 

 

 

Ps- sorry that happened to you too!

morganchampagne Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 5:37am
post #5 of

AGirl I understand your pain. I will NEVER EVER do a cake for extended family. Now you know. I'm sorry you had to experience it like that though!

enga Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 6:10am
post #6 of

~That was horrible but it's exactly why I'm on the outs with some family member right now. I told my one and only niece that if she gets married I would gladly make her cake for the cost of the ingredients only. Family members buy cases of butter or frozen egg whites, what ever I'm low on for the cost of the cake.

 

Well she's getting married (in ceremony only) next month. They got married last year and invited only their close friends and family, so I guess me and my kids were not considered close family because we were not invited. Now their putting on this big wedding production with no kids allowed and you have to pay for your own dinner 8O.

 

Her mom called me a few months ago to ask my prices, I guess they forgot what I said about doing her cake, so I played along and told her that my tiered cakes start at $4.50 a serving. She yelled and said I already talked to this woman who said she would do her daughter's cake for....... wait for it........$1.75 a serving with free delivery and set up. I almost choked on my coffee, so after getting myself together, I said that it was a steal so she better book with her. Dead silence........

 

I offered to do the cake basically for free but to try and insult me by throwing a cheaper price in my face like I was suppose to say, Oh, I'll do it cheaper than that, no freaking way!!! So they don't talk to me anymore, good riddance!

 

Who said you have to take crap from them just because they are family? The only people I make cakes for now is my grand mother, my kids and a few select friends. I tell everyone else that I don't make cakes anymore.

morganchampagne Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 6:27am
post #7 of

AEnga, I so get it. I had a cousin who threw a lower price at me. I told her that she better go get her blessing lol. Because at that price shes donating! She didn't like the response. Oh well.

JWinslow Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 6:30am
post #8 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by feuerrader24 

The whole situation spiraled out of control. I was accused of being passive-aggressive by creating the invoice (even though I was asked to supply one) and that I was trying to scam the family out of money for my own, nefarious purposes. That was the first cake I ever charged anyone in the family, and everyone was more than happy to pay when we sealed the deal. I figure the business I lost wasn't worth my time, either, so no harm done. But one cake and $75 later, I became a huge, money grubbing, no talent witch who should be giving cakes away (yes, they said this to me!) because it is unfair to charge people for cakes, especially family members. My husband and I are now shunned from the family for being greedy and trying to steal from our family. Who knew that ONE CAKE would have such disasterous results? Lesson learned; never, ever bake for family!!!

 

Who is being greedy and trying to steal from family?  Not you!   Sorry this happened to you

enga Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 6:33am
post #9 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by morganchampagne 

Enga, I so get it. I had a cousin who threw a lower price at me. I told her that she better go get her blessing lol. Because at that price shes donating! She didn't like the response. Oh well.


LOL!!!  Her mom is a wedding planner and does flowers for God's sake. Boy these cheap people really work my nerves!

nannycook Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 7:40am

AOh dear, that should never happen to what is supposed to be a well respected dear member of the family, very sad!

Crazy-Gray Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 10:31am

AIt wasn't your cake that caused the problem; their true colours would have shone through some day anyway be it from a christmas gift they didn't deem expensive enough.... a holiday you go on to a place they wanted to go to first (lol I have a SIL like this!).... there are so many names for these people but I can't post any of them here!

Don't blame yourself.

And since you were paid a quarter an hour just to end up taking their abuse you could always offer to pay them a quarter an hour to stay away, you'll be getting a real bargain!

ellavanilla Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 4:15pm

I was going to relay this long story about how one sh*t stirring family member caused a giant fight and problem within the family, but I decided to spare you.

 

I suggest that you let things calm down and  when you get a chance to address the group you tell them that you were hurt by their reactions and as a family member you expected them to give you the respect that they would give a common stranger, by talking to you when there is a problem, instead of gossiping and whinging behind your back. 

 

Point out that it's not really about cake and charging for cake, it's about treating each other in loving ways, and the only way to resolve family problems is with love and respect. 

 

then drop your mic and walk out. Don't give anyone a chance to respond. Let them ruminate on their own behavior. My good friend says, "you can only do what you think is right. You cannot control how others react to it."

BeesKnees578 Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 4:27pm

AWell you sound like a perfectly wicked and greedy person. NOT.

People are nuts!

gemmal Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 5:21pm

Ok, people are totally oblivious to how much time, effort and especially money go into making a cake, people tend to fly of the handle if they don't understand things and think they are being ripped off, me included (or, well mostly me...) but the fact that you, AS REQUESTED broke everything down individually for them and you are still the bad guy says one of two things to me. One, they either have been proved without a doubt to be acting like $%$&%*$% and have realised they have caused a massive feud for nothing and saying sorry would be admitting they were wrong which of course, cannot be done under any circumstances or two, you are single handedly responsible for the cost of mascapone and ricotta, in which case I'm with them and you are ruining it for the rest of us ;) 

 

If I were a lesser person I would cry to their significant others/parents/friends/neighbours how they ripped YOU off only paying for 15 mins working time and how used YOU feel used, see how they like it... but, um, yeah, I'd never do that....

-K8memphis Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 6:14pm

i'm really sorry this happened--it's very unfortunate.

 

while custom cakes are worth all that you just cannot put a price on family -- they think they got screwed -- they handled it wrong and while the cake is long gone they are still his (estranged) family and your husband needs to fix it imo not you.

 

he needs to totally stand up for you and get this as untangled as he can -- at least get a truce where the shunning stops-- i didn't gather from your post that things were that bad previously where you are better off being shunned? but maybe so--but your husband definitely needs to clear the air on this--

 

because life events will come up of course that will bring you together with these people whether you like it or can control it or not and you both need this silly thing resolved --

 

best to you

mrsmuske Posted 12 Mar 2014 , 6:53pm

When I agree to do a cake for family, I go into it with the expectation that any cake I make will be free, so any money I do get is a bonus (when I do quote a price, any cakes I make for family are either free or 'price of supplies' which always ends up only 1/2 the price of the actual supplies.). I'm not saying this will work for you, but it saves me from getting angry or resentful because I set no expectation, and I agreed to the cake knowing it's all out of pocket.

BomCakes Posted 13 Mar 2014 , 2:05pm

It's politics.

I have a sister in law and an adult niece who almost never pay for cakes they order. If there's to be peace in my husband's family toward the only DIL (me) I will make the cakes and never ask for a penny. Crappy deal, but that's been the situation so I completely sympathize!

 

 They always ask " how much do I owe you?" out loud in front of the room, but the check never materializes. I think the attitude is, "Well, but don't you LOVE your nieces/nephews?.." so I guess in their mind it SHOULD be a gift. (therefore asking for money for a cake, of course, shows selfish greediness) These are the same people who I've seen pay 7.00 for a single slice of cake at Olive Garden.

 

I guess the point could be made in a conversation at a holiday get-together- Easter dinner for instance.. " Do you feel you're worth your hourly wage? (answer is always a resounding YES!)  I agree, so-and-so, I spend XX hours average on every cake, not to mention ingredients/utilities, so if it were you, how much would YOU charge?"

 

In my "in-law" family, they don't want to pay because it's ME. Case in point, Not long ago I attended my SIL's Mary & Martha party (home décor) and she had a spread laid out complete with "gourmet" mini cupcakes (1.75 ea) featured at a coffee shop here in our town. Being the well known cake lady in the room, I felt the slap. I decided to bring a real cake to the next get together to illustrate to her group what gourmet actually looks like.

 

Incidently! that clever baker who made those mini-cupcakes-I checked her out of course- is franchising her little business all over our area.  Her cupcakes, at 3.75 each, seem to be in every coffee shoppe in 3 counties. Smart girl! No brick and mortar costs! just a logo cling in the front window of the shop. Brilliant! Around here the trend is Purse shop, gifts in the front/ bakery in the back etc. Ladies splitting costs. Go ladies!

BomCakes Posted 13 Mar 2014 , 2:06pm

 

 

ibeeflower Posted 13 Mar 2014 , 7:22pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by BomCakes 

These are the same people who I've seen pay 7.00 for a single slice of cake at Olive Garden.

 

 

They think that bakers who are not established should not get paid accordingly. My boyfriend's mother told me about a girl that quit her secretary job at the school to do full time cottage law baking. When my boyfriend's mom asked her for pricing she was pretty outraged at the price. She told me that why did she think she could charge almost 3.00 for a cupcake if she didn't have a "real" bakery. I had to pretty much school her on that. That changed her mind when I explained why her prices were reasonable for the product she was getting.

costumeczar Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 1:22am

If all it took was one cake for you to get rid of those jerks, you got off lucky. They go on the "no cake for you" list, because they sound like the types who will forget all about this when something else comes along to offend them and they'll be asking you for cakes down the road. Tell them to go pound sand when they do ask.

lorieleann Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 8:40pm

i have entitled family members who would never pay more than $0.99 for a box mix let alone for a custom cake.  I once did a joint birthday cake for two of the cousins, and charged what I thought was a nominal 'pay what you can' price of $25.  She had to call me on the way over to see how much again it was b/c they hadn't cashed their paycheck and didn't have money and could they post date a check?  I gifted it, as it was already a 80% discount, what's that extra $25?  Then she started having her kids call and ask for cakes, like I wouldn't be able to say no to a child! LOL! (that backfired!!! No problem whatsoever with that!) She pretty much knows that unless I offer, either I'm booked or not doing something for free. 

feuerrader24 Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 2:02am

AI'm having such mixed feelings about all of this. Firstly, it is comforting to know that I am not the only person in the world to experience this when it comes to family members and cakes. But then there comes the secondly part, which makes me sad that there are others out there who identify with my situation....shouldn't cakes make people HAPPY? I mean, with all that sugar, someone is about to experience some sort of sugar-induced high, right?

In the end, the cake was, well...the icing on the proverbial let's hate on our brother's wife cake. It was just one thing on a lengthy list of things that his family finds objectionable about me (I thought it was weird that "charging for cakes" would even be considered offensive). In my mind, I was thinking, you might not like me, my family, my clothes, my weight, my political beliefs, my history, my personality, whatever, but darn it, just like my cakes! More shame on me for expecting to win people over with baked goods, although they usually do the trick. LOL

Fortunately, the reaction I received was a warning of things to come. If someone is able to get that upset and offended over the price of a cake (which, as we have established, was made for a more than reasonable price), imagine what else will set them off. It was a good lesson for myself and my husband that you just can't win with some people and some people just love being miserable!

There was a period of time where I really doubted myself, my talents, my pricing, everything. I even stopped baking/decorating for a few months. Then one day, a co-worker asked me to make her a cake. I was so hesitant after everything that happened with the in-laws. But she insisted, so I named her my price. She was more than happy with it, loved the cake, and I made a profit. I just needed to get over that bump, and now I am happily experimenting with new flavors and techniques. You can't keep me down! (and the husband is certainly enjoying all the samples and experiments!)

feuerrader24 Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 2:09am

A

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

If all it took was one cake for you to get rid of those jerks, you got off lucky. They go on the "no cake for you" list, because they sound like the types who will forget all about this when something else comes along to offend them and they'll be asking you for cakes down the road. Tell them to go pound sand when they do ask.

 

The BEST part of all of this was the brothers got a cousin involved in all of this mess, and she felt she was overcharged for her cake as well (background: I made her son a birthday cake, 10" 2 tiered lemon pound cake with homemade raspberry filling and lemon buttercream, airbrushed to look like some swirly design from his favorite pair of Jordan's PLUS I cut the Jordan logo out of fondant for a whopping $40) since it was "dry" and "flavor-less," even though there were RAVE reviews over the free sample I gave her, but she never approached me directly about any of these problems, just complained to the brothers. WELL, when she posted to Facebook that she was looking for someone to make a princess cake for her daughter and needed a "good" and "reasonably-priced" baker, the ONLY responses she got referred her back to me! HAHA.

She ended up buying a Wal-Mart cake.

enga Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 2:19am

I'm so happy to hear that you are feeling better about the whole situation. Me, I'm in therapy :-P. We cant pick our family but we can pick great friends that appreciate us! Me and some of my family members will never get along and I have accepted that, even though it hurts because I know I have done nothing wrong to be subjected to their behavior. Some people are just toxic, let them be toxic alone without your fabulous cakes.

 

You keep caking girl! ;-D 

costumeczar Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 2:27am

A

Original message sent by feuerrader24

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

If all it took was one cake for you to get rid of those jerks, you got off lucky. They go on the "no cake for you" list, because they sound like the types who will forget all about this when something else comes along to offend them and they'll be asking you for cakes down the road. Tell them to go pound sand when they do ask.

 

The BEST part of all of this was the brothers got a cousin involved in all of this mess, and she felt she was overcharged for her cake as well (background: I made her son a birthday cake, 10" 2 tiered lemon pound cake with homemade raspberry filling and lemon buttercream, airbrushed to look like some swirly design from his favorite pair of Jordan's PLUS I cut the Jordan logo out of fondant for a whopping $40) since it was "dry" and "flavor-less," even though there were RAVE reviews over the free sample I gave her, but she never approached me directly about any of these problems, just complained to the brothers. WELL, when she posted to Facebook that she was looking for someone to make a princess cake for her daughter and needed a "good" and "reasonably-priced" baker, the ONLY responses she got referred her back to me! HAHA.

She ended up buying a Wal-Mart cake.

That's classic,hahahahaha!

dreamcakestoo Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 2:46am

I agree.  Where was your husband in all of this?  Did he see you spending all this time making this cake?  Did he agree to pay for all these groceries for this endeavor?  He should be reading these guys the riot act about trying to make his wife their own personal slave and taking your time away from his family.

 

As for my family, I don't make cakes for them unless I am giving it away.  If they want to pay for ingredients, I give them a list of what they need to buy and let them go get the stuff.  Then, they know what it costs.  I supply only equipment and talent.  Everyone else pays for my time and I make it evident that I don't work for free.  If I don't want to do a cake because it's going to be a mess dealing with them, I price it way over what I know they will pay.  If someone came back to me that so-and-so would do it for less, I would tell them to jump on it because I don't really have the time anyway.  I begrudgingly make cakes.  Do I love to do it?  Yes, but I will never let them know it.  Just like a job, I complain about having to clean up the kitchen afterwards and when will I find time to go get all the ingredients, etc.  Then, and only then, do they realize that it is a job and an imposition to ask me to make them a cake unless they are making it worth my while and they better want it pretty bad and pay for it. 

cazza1 Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 12:14pm

...and keep in mind guys that this was not really a cake for family members as they were giving it away as a gift.  Bet they didn't complain about the cost of the shooting course.

costumeczar Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 12:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by feuerrader24 



In the end, the cake was, well...the icing on the proverbial let's hate on our brother's wife cake. It was just one thing on a lengthy list of things that his family finds objectionable about me (I thought it was weird that "charging for cakes" would even be considered offensive). In my mind, I was thinking, you might not like me, my family, my clothes, my weight, my political beliefs, my history, my personality, whatever, but darn it, just like my cakes! More shame on me for expecting to win people over with baked goods, although they usually do the trick. LOL
 

Really, what it all boils down to is that THIS is the issue, not a cake. The price of a cake is just a convenient way for people who already had a gripe with you for whatever reason to focus on. Just put them on the no cake for you list and realize that not everyone is going to like you and you shouldn't care if they're all a bunch of idiots. And as long as your husband has your back that's okay. You can't choose your family members, some of them are just rotten, miserable people who you wouldn't want to hang out with anyway, so why do it? Let them enjoy their walmart cake while complaining about whatever thing is it they're complaining about this week.

howboutbake Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 5:54pm

AWhat is it about baking that seems so personal?

I have been called mean names, been disliked, dismissed, a job where I am physically attacked on a semi-regular basis and NONE of that bothers me

But tell me my cake is dry, heavy or whatever and it cuts like a knife :lol:

If this were my situation, I would be having a serious talk with my husband about limiting my contact with these people, even if it means him attending family functions on his own. Life is way too short to invite that negative energy into your life.

OneHotMess Posted 22 Mar 2014 , 6:12pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by howboutbake 

What is it about baking that seems so personal?

I have been called mean names, been disliked, dismissed, a job where I am physically attacked on a semi-regular basis and NONE of that bothers me

But tell me my cake is dry, heavy or whatever and it cuts like a knife icon_lol.gif


If this were my situation, I would be having a serious talk with my husband about limiting my contact with these people, even if it means him attending family functions on his own. Life is way too short to invite that negative energy into your life.

 

Because it's something a baker put his or her personal time, energy, effort, and talent into creating. A ding against a person's cake is essentially saying, "You're a talentless lump capable of producing only ugly, dry, tasteless things. It's a miracle you didn't burn it, but that might actually have improved it. Actually, why didn't you burn it? Can't you write down my order correctly?"

 

The person criticizing the baker is implying a level of superiority that the baker, on some level, knows hasn't been earned by the critic - but the critic is somehow empowered to take that superior position, while the baker has to stammer out apologies and justify each swirl, crumb, and crackle. It completely flips the balance of power from what the baker logically and rationally knows it should be and forces it into an illogical, farcical framework. Even worse is when that framework is being climbed by someone in the baker's own inner circle of friends and family - how often is it said here that people come to CC to get honest feedback from other bakers, because they feel their own F&F will only spew niceties? When the people who are expected to provide unwavering support break that social expectation, it smarts doubly.

 

Goofy as some of my other posts are, I feel very strongly on this subject. Family and friends often assume they can cut deeply and be forgiven quickly, simply by virtue of the positions they hold in the lives of the people they hurt. Work to remove their toxicity from your sphere of being and doing, and watch how rapidly and massively your life improves.

 

There's my Zen for the day. *Aaahhhhh-Oom!*

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