Cake For Family Expected Time After Time!

Business By puddles_gal Updated 16 Jun 2014 , 2:26am by puddles_gal

puddles_gal Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 1:03am
post #1 of 67

AMy family is really starting to drive me nuts when it comes to cake! It's become an expectation now that I bake all the birthday cakes in my family, free of charge. When I put my foot down last year and said that I would donate my time but they can pay for the ingredients, they did in fact pay for the ingredients, but still were hesitant in handing over the money, even though I offered to provide them with a detailed list of all my ingredients and the cost of each. Last year, my brother had a combined birthday party for both my nephews, and I had to make 2 separate themed cakes so they would each have their "own" cake- there was enough cake to feed 24 people, and only about 10 people at the party! However, I didn't say anything because any time I do, I receive backlash ( I was "dis-invited" to a party one year b/c I said I couldn't make the cake b/c of time constraints). These cakes are very detailed, with handmade figurines and everything, so they aren't simple in the least. :-(My brother did not offer to pay for the ingredients, so my mom did, but not without making it known that I should be making these cakes for nothing because they are my only nephews. So it's that same time of year, and he is having yet another combined birthday party for my nephews. I am at the point where I am trying to come up with excuses not to go just so I don't have to make the cakes! I love my nephews, but my family does not seem to understand that their expectations are quite unrealistic- they want extremely detailed cakes that take hours to create, want me to pay for it out of my own pocket in ADDITION to bringing gifts, and don't understand that I have to turn down other PAYING clients in order to make their free cake! I've already had my 9 year old nephew request what he wants for his cake, and I blame my family for letting him have the expectation that I am going to make it. How can I turn this situation around and not look like the bad guy all the time? :-(

66 replies
sha1col Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 1:36am
post #2 of 67

AWell I just had something very similar happen, but this was the first time and will be the last. Yes, it's very time consuming and supplies and ingredients do add up!!! This is the way I view your situation, your family is not appreciative of your time, talent, and your business.

You have a business to run just like the next business owner and that's what they're not seeing. To them you're a family member that bakes and decorate cakes. Maybe you should have them help you, and maybe then they'll understand the fine detail that goes into cake decorating. I'm sure they won't help...but they should.

As far as getting out of it, you may have to be blunt and say no. No need to make up an excuse, because one excuse will lead to the next, then the next. If you don't get invited because of that then that's pretty lame because you're family. You're being taken advantage of because someone doesn't want to go elsewhere and pay the big bucks! Unless you volunteer, you should be compensated for something; supplies, your time. Anything would do just to show that you and your talent is much appreciated! I hope this works out well for you...good luck :smile:

IAmPamCakes Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 1:39am
post #3 of 67

AFamily is tough. Once I started charging more for my time & efforts, I stopped getting requests for cakes. My own family is great about paying up; it's my boyfriend's family that gives me a headache. And they are the ones who have all the kids & parties.

IAmPamCakes Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 1:41am
post #4 of 67

AI would explain your breakdown of costs, and leave it at that. They can take it or leave it. That's what I did.

buglady Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 1:53am
post #5 of 67

AI tell my family that for ingredients only I have complete control over design, if they want to have a say other than flavor(1) then they have to pay for it. No one expects me to make oneand sometimes I do because I want to, even then they offer to pay. Have them call a bakery and see how much they would have to pay for their cake, they might realize how much things really cost.

IAmPamCakes Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 1:59am
post #6 of 67

AI do give an invoice with the full price of the cake, and showing the discount. Dollar amount AND percentage, so there is no mistake about a discount.

puddles_gal Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:00am
post #7 of 67

AOh, I've had my mother request cupcakes for her workplace before and when I told her she had to pay, she replied " but I'm your mother!". I told her to go to our local grocery store and ask for cupcakes but tell them she wants them for free and see how far she gets. She still didn't get my point! Everyone feels like they are entitled to my cakes because "he's your only brother" and " they're your only nephews" etc etc. They don't even leave room for me to offer, so when their birthdays come around, I don't ever want to make anything special because they take it for granted.

Norasmom Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:10am
post #8 of 67

Is it that you can't afford to make the cakes or that you don't like your family?

IAmPamCakes Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:11am
post #9 of 67

AIt is family taking us for granted. Neither of those options, Norasmom.

puddles_gal Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:12am
post #10 of 67

AI can't afford to make the cakes, plus be expected to spend $80 on gifts!

puddles_gal Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:13am
post #11 of 67

A

Original message sent by IAmPamCakes

It is family taking us for granted. Neither of those options, Norasmom.

I agree!

cakefat Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:20am
post #12 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmom 
 

Is it that you can't afford to make the cakes or that you don't like your family?

That's a really weird/rude thing to say/ask. Do you let people walk all over you just because you're related to them? If so, that is sad! 

 

Just because people are related to you doesn't give them the right to take advantage or mistreat you. 

IAmPamCakes Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:28am
post #13 of 67

AThank you cakefat. I thought the same thing.

bilbo Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:31am
post #14 of 67

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norasmom 
 

Is it that you can't afford to make the cakes or that you don't like your family?

Or option 3 - she doesn't like being taken advantage of. I don't think it's an either or situation and I agree with cakefat.

cakefat Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:32am
post #15 of 67

PS- OP- Certainly don't give up a paying client in favor of someone who doesn't value the gift you're giving them- and the guilt trick- that's pretty pathetic. I'd probably throw that one back to them.

 

Also- I'd give them an invoice for the cost and discount included. I'd probably not buy the supplies until they've paid up front.  I don't agree with people using other people, family or not, so you have to make some boundaries for these types of people- otherwise, they will continue. 

carmijok Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 2:51am
post #16 of 67

AThere's an easy solution. Go to a bakery and buy them a cake. You paid for it so it's your gift!

Or if you want the ingredients let them do the shopping...and don't hold back. Besides eggs, flour and such you'll probably need fondant, gum paste...and hey that fancy mold you need to make the figure your nephews want so bad...and that cake pan you'd have to buy to get the right size they want, etc., and guess what? No ingredients...no cake! No reimbursements to weasel out of.

They are taking away the joy and specialness of your gift by treating you like a dollar store vendor. So what if they are your family? Does NOT making a free cake mean you don't love them or they shouldn't love you? Excuse me but what do YOU demand of them for free?

They may love you, but they are not respecting you or your time or your talent. Ultimately it's up to you how you want to be treated.

Me? I'd go the bakery route and purchase a cake or cupcakes and maybe stick some fondant decor on it and be done with it. ;). Good luck!

thecakewitch Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 3:11am
post #17 of 67

AOP, you do not respect yourself, your time, your skills. And your family knows it. People will treat you the way you treat yourself. Grow a pair and set your boundaries.

denetteb Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 3:49am
post #18 of 67

Sadly, no.  You probably can't change what has been happening without being the bad guy.  You have two choices, set some new ground rules, no exceptions.  Several options have already been suggested.  Or keep doing what you are doing and being resentful about being taken for granted and losing business.  Wait, I thought of a third option.  Keep making  the cakes but at least put a stop to giving expensive gifts on top of it.  That is beyond crazy.  Good luck.

cakefat Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 4:01am
post #19 of 67

Quote:

Originally Posted by carmijok 

There's an easy solution. Go to a bakery and buy them a cake. You paid for it so it's your gift!

Me? I'd go the bakery route and purchase a cake or cupcakes and maybe stick some fondant decor on it and be done with it. icon_wink.gif. Good luck!

 

Great idea!!! That's exactly what I'd do too- go to Safeway or something and get a sheet cake. Happy Birthday!! 

Nadiaa Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 4:12am
post #20 of 67

Only you can decide what you want to do. I do think though, if you decide to keep making the cakes, they should become that persons birthday present. Meaning they DON'T get another wrapped present as well. Your time and the cake should be gift enough (and is probably a higher $ value than anything anyone else will get them!!!).

cakebaby2 Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 7:17am
post #21 of 67

Yes I'd go the Carmijok route and buy the cheapest most lurid cakes I could find and pipe their names on it.

(And buy your family new doormats each so they wont use you anymore)

embersmom Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 8:04am
post #22 of 67

I lucked out with a similar situation after asking my SIL to buy ingredients for a birthday cake.  There was a specific flavor my nephew wanted and specific ingredients needed for the decorations, so the shopping list sent her hither and tither.  She was not a happy camper.  After that, nobody asked me to make a cake for a family function ever again.

maisie73 Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 8:30am
post #23 of 67

AI agree with a lot of what's already been said but it's gona be hard for you to change things now without looking/ feeling bad. You said your nephews birthday is coming up soon, you know they'll put their cake "order" in so be prepared when they do. Say yes and then the day you "planned" to you can't go shopping for ingredients because you're waiting in for a delivery/repair; got a doctors/dentist/hospital appointment; too many paying customer orders that week, whatever. Give them a list of ingredients, let them go and buy them. Are they going to come back from the shop, hand you the shopping and hold their hand out for you to pay them for the ingredients they've just bought for their own sons cake? I doubt it.

Don't turn down a paying customer to make them a free cake, tell them you can't afford to, that's reasonable, if they complain about that, they're being unreasonable.

And I agree that a present on top of a cake is too much, especially if you're paying for ingredients.

I'm just a hobby baker and if my family ask me for a cake they offer to pay for the ingredients. If I choose to make one, it's a present.

Families eh? Much as you love em they're hard work sometimes aren't they? Good luck. :-)

remnant3333 Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 11:22am
post #24 of 67

Tell them you are already booked and do not have enough time left to make them a cake.

 

It is sad when family takes advantage of you like that. My heart goes out to you!! Good luck and hang in there!!!

Mmmcake25 Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 11:36am
post #25 of 67

OP, I feel your pain. I go through this every single family birthday or holiday now. At this point, they even expect I make all the holiday deserts, even though only about 1/3 of them get eaten. I put a stop to that after the second holiday of baking all night with no one eating because they were too full from holiday dinner.

Im not sure about your case, but I suppose its probably from the fact that when I first began, they were essentially all my "taste testers"....now they all expect an elaborate beautiful cake that ends up costing me way to much money, with hardly a thank you in return.

 

My mothers last birthday, she requested a specific type of cake, I made it with my own "twist", she was furious and made that quite clear, I in return told her I was never making her another cake and finally broke it down to her how much time effort and money I have to put into these. Long story short, she told my family, and now they offer to pay me, it may not be what I would charge a customer, but at least they are slowly getting the point.

Put your foot down, family is always the hardest to deal with. Show them receipts if you have to, let them know how long it took you. And if any of your family has a specific skill set they have that they make a career from, try getting something for free over and over and see how they like it! lol

 

Sorry for the novel, but I hope it helps to know youre not alone!

Norasmom Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 1:01pm
post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakefat 
 

That's a really weird/rude thing to say/ask. Do you let people walk all over you just because you're related to them? If so, that is sad! 

 

Just because people are related to you doesn't give them the right to take advantage or mistreat you. 

I don't mean to be rude or weird, but I see that my comment was ridiculous!  Sorry!  What I meant is that sometimes to keep the peace it's better to just give in. It stinks, it's hard and it's not fair.  I do think it's awful for her family to take advantage of her and I hope she can make them understand what they are doing is wrong.

aprildaisy Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 1:45pm
post #27 of 67

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norasmom 
 

I don't mean to be rude or weird, but I see that my comment was ridiculous!  Sorry!  What I meant is that sometimes to keep the peace it's better to just give in. It stinks, it's hard and it's not fair.  I do think it's awful for her family to take advantage of her and I hope she can make them understand what they are doing is wrong.

...giving in gets old and builds resentment.... A simple "no", "not this time, please look elsewhere", or such is a valid answer. Some people never see anything they're doing as wrong...it's up to us to decide what we will and won't do for free. 

SweetCarolines Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 5:44pm
post #28 of 67

Your family is being ridiculous. They seriously dis-invited you from a party because you couldn't make the cake? You missed out your window to tell them to eff off right there and then. No more cake for anyone anymore, period. "Oh, then I can't come to the party? Boo hoo. Big freaking loss. I'll be at home, comfortable, in my bed, watching Orange is the New Black. Have fun."

 

When I make a cake for a family member or friend that is my gift to them. That's it. The cake is the gift. And I only make one when I feel like it. If they get pissed, I pick up my cake and take it home and let them know I'm never making cake for them ever again. Thankfully this hasn't happened yet. If they ask me to make the cake they usually give me money for ingredients. I live with my mom, so she sees how much money and how much time I spend making cakes. 

 

People walk all over you because you let them.

 

Also, I guarantee you that your brother would pay another cake decorator for the cakes for his sons. Yet he won't pay you, his own sister. These people don't deserve to have nice things.

madcobbler Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 5:52pm
post #29 of 67

I too was the one always asked to make the desserts for family functions for years. Then I got the idea to say I would rather bring the appetizer or veggie tray because as much as I like making desserts I don't always want that burden. I occasionally still make desserts but only when I want to. It's one thing to bring a dessert to a family potluck where everyone is contributing. But events that you are not invited to such as making cupcakes for your mom's work then you should be compensated for the ingredients. I don't charge family and friends for my labor because I'm a hobby baker. But if I ran a full time cake business then I would charge for my time. It's okay to say no if your too busy or simply don't want to.

Apti Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 7:33pm
post #30 of 67

Were you excited and thrilled to provide cakes and cupcakes BEFORE it became an "expectation"?  They probably think they are doing you a favor by letting you "shine at your hobby".  They probably have NO idea of the time and cost (cake muggles never do...).  It is up to you to tell your mother and brother (separately), that although you were excited to make cakes as you were learning the skills, that it is now becoming an expectation that takes time and money you don't have.  

 

Tell them what you told us:  "I love you mom/brother, but  extremely detailed cakes  take hours to create, cost "xxx" in ingredients and supplies,  and most importantly, cause me to turn down other PAYING clients in order to make a family cake."

 

As for your nephew, after you talk to your brother, talk to your 9 year old nephew and tell him you are not able to make a fancy cake this year, but want to be sure he still gets a yummy cake for  his 9th birthday!  Then ask him what flavor of cake and frosting he wants and make a PLAIN CAKE.  Trust me--the kid will NOT care.  When they are 9, all they want are presents.  At every single 9th birthday party, the adults have to make the kids quit playing and "come do the cake". 

 

 

 

 

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