I Am Not Just A Cake Baker...!!!???

Decorating By gma1956 Updated 31 Oct 2005 , 11:10pm by mudpie

ThePastryDiva Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 9:14pm
post #31 of 53
Originally Posted by emi

I'm amazed how bold some people are, When they called to confirm, we asked if we were to bring anything. No, they said. They had everything. We got there around lunch time, then they asked if we brought our own food, since they brought enough for only 3 of them.
Did we miss something? It amazes me how people can be!

See, that's why most people think I'm a "witch"..I would've packed up my family and car...and said...

"Oh, I'm sorry..( with a S*** eating grin on my face!..lol) I should've realized that you were having financial difficulties when you asked me to make a cake for 40...on your budget of $25.00 dollars..."

That would've been on a bad day...lol but I STILL would've gotten back in my car and left!

Grrrrrrrrr..I am NOT a nice person am I? But I only allow someone to fool me once...they fool me twice shame on me!

twindees Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 9:15pm
post #32 of 53

It all comes down to my saying. "Good cakes aren't cheap, Cheap cakes aren't good"

winter Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 9:34pm
post #33 of 53

that's very true. I wish my people couldn't understand that. icon_cry.gif

gma1956 Posted 30 Oct 2005 , 3:54am
post #34 of 53

Just wanted to post an update to this topic....

The chairman of the committee called me again today... seems other members of the church got wind what was going on and they took up a collection for the cake. Something I think they should have done in the first place. That is what my church does.

Anyway --- I am making the cake after all and getting the price I quoted for it. icon_biggrin.gif

ThePastryDiva Posted 30 Oct 2005 , 4:04am
post #35 of 53

Good for you and the committe..!

adven68 Posted 30 Oct 2005 , 4:44am
post #36 of 53

I read through the whole post and before I read the outcome I was going to write the following:

Perhaps the person who asked really had zero knowledge about cakes....I doubt very much they were snickering to eachother behind closed doors saying..."he he...watch how cheap I get this cake...he he.."

I would simply state the facts to them and suggest that they discuss the cake budget amongst themselves again because it just doesn't work for that amount....

Secondly...I may stand alone on this because several members posted the opposite, but just because it is a church....YES...I do discount. Especially my church...or my mother's church. Like I said...this is just my humble opinion...

I'm very glad that it worked out for you because now you can continue doing this without resentment.

DEEVE....(My new name for Diva)...are you always a witch or just for Halloween? Ha Ha...just kidding....

ThePastryDiva Posted 30 Oct 2005 , 4:56am
post #37 of 53

*...Diva cackling...lol

( I also discount..at times...when I'm in a good mood..lol)

I'm waiting for your call...hehehehe!

adven68 Posted 30 Oct 2005 , 5:01am
post #38 of 53

You always make me laugh! Thanks and have a great Floridian night...it's cold up hear in NYC!!!! Gotta go...my eyes are closing........

ThePastryDiva Posted 30 Oct 2005 , 5:08am
post #39 of 53

* tucking Advent in...

and looking out for that PAINTED EYE!...

Now..THAT'S spooky!

SquirrellyCakes Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 7:22am
post #40 of 53

Well, I am glad it all worked out in the end. Good news!
I discount too, heck I used to only do for cost or for free. But I have found, that the people that get you to do these cakes for charity type groups, also expect the same prices for their own cakes. You get the line, "well that is how much you would charge someone else, but what is my price?"
And you may get one of these folks that sit on the committee for everything their children are involved in, so it isn't one cake a year, it is one cake a month. The cakes are often highly specialized and they tell their friends and before you know it, half of your business is with people who want a discount. It snowballs, trust me.
I spent many, many years doing freebies for friends and family, neighbours, schools, churches, any organization my children were involved in. I saw that as being useful and giving back to the community. I still do that often.
But you have to exercise caution. Because before you know it you are investing a good portion of your time and money in charity works. And it can get so that your own family will resent it and your bank account will be crying out for a good paying customer. Next thing you know, you need a full-time job to cover your charity works alone. And not only that, but you get yourself stuck doing cakes that you have no interest in, no fun at. You get burnt out.
I was recently in a situation where a friend of a close relative was interested in having me do cakes and desserts for her two restaurants. Turns out, she had been buying Costco desserts, even though she has a culinary school graduate chef working for her. Apparently his product was not consistent or was consistently bland and she did not want him making her desserts. No, what she wanted was Costco prices and to get her 300% mark-up and for me to have her purchase the ingredients at her wholesale prices, so she could control whatever I stated costs to be. I don't think so, I don't work for slave wages or work that hard for someone else to be getting a 300% mark-up. I told her very politely, sorry not interested.
Where I am heading is here, sometimes we have to teach people how to treat us. Personally, I am not much for being a doormat, I am flat enough thank you. I don't have a sign that Welcomes people to step on me.
That is why I lecture people on sites about charging a fair price, fair for them. You have to stand up for yourself, stick to your guns and protect your time and your bank account. You are going to have some people that are always going to find your prices too high. Some will be bragging at weddings about how they bargained down your prices to dirt cheap. But I have very rarely heard anyone say that somebody charged what they felt was a fair price, at least not behind a cake decorator's back. And if you do hear that, chances are you undercharged them, haha!
Hugs Squirrelly

ThePastryDiva Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 12:42pm
post #41 of 53


I was recently in a situation where a friend of a close relative was interested in having me do cakes and desserts for her two restaurants. Turns out, she had been buying Costco desserts, even though she has a culinary school graduate chef working for her. Apparently his product was not consistent or was consistently bland and she did not want him making her desserts. [quote]

some culinary school graduates don't specialize in Pastry Arts. I know that at my school they are just taught the basics and they don't bake from scratch really. They are taught how to make pie dough...for quiche and fruit pies..fruit pies made with commercial fillings) they make cookies and I think danishes...

they specialize in culinary skills.

Now, if this is someone that has gone through a baking and pastry program....ewwwwwww! double ewwwwwwwwwww.

I would run not walk to you and get on my knees to have you bake for me!! She's lost out on a good thing for having her eye on the bottom line and not on getting the best for her customers!

SC, you're better off not working for someone like this!

SquirrellyCakes Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 6:09pm
post #42 of 53

Haha, knew I should have been more specific, after I posted. Apparently he is both a qualified chef and pastry chef. I think his issue is that he does his own thing and doesn't listen to feedback. They had to throw out a lot of his creations.
It is like anything else, a person can be trained but sometimes they get it in their heads that they know better than the experts that trained them and I think this is one of those cases. Since the dessert market is a minor part of the business and a part that the owner is just beginning to explore, she is happy to retain his services for main courses and look elsewhere for the desserts. As you probably know, there is a huge turnover with chefs and rather than deal with someone new, he is being kept on because he does well in other areas.
Didn't mean to imply that all culinary graduates are of the same cloth, goodness, all training and education is invaluable. In fact, in my opinion, anyone that can afford an education in this field or any other, should go for it if they want to pursue a career. A certificate or degree usually gets you in the door faster and at a higher rate of salary when your years of experience are limited. Unfortunately, we live in a time when education is often considered a more valuable commodity than many years of practical experience in a field. But I would like to think that talented people no matter what their education or experience, will achieve success based on their reputation.
But I do sometimes take issue with the quality of commercial product. I think, that food cost budget restrictions often also restrict the quality of the finished product. You cannot make a quality diamond ring using a zircon. And I suspect this owner "bottom lines" it too much when producing a product. Some wholesale grocery product outlets do not deal in quality ingredients and when you use less than good quality, it will always be detectable. That is a key issue that I have with most bakeries in my area. The products are fairly similar and bland, for the most part. They are likely using the same ingredients from the same wholesaler. I know that these desserts, other than the purchased Costco items, are "from scratch" and are not "bake-off" or from mix products.
Interestingly, there is another restaurant nearby that has just a few desserts on their menu and these choices change from time to time. I was surprised at the quality of a dessert that I had there recently and asked the waitress who was making their desserts, because the cake used in this dessert tasted very much like a recipe I use and it had the same texture. In other words it tasted homemade. Apparently the chef liked to dabble in desserts though that wasn't his main field of expertise.
I take issue with commercial product where the time element is the issue that the products produced are most often based on, along with keeping the ingredient costs low. I find that this results in many items tasting the same, not necessarily good. They use the same sleeve fillings, the same artificial whipped toppings etc. There is often an almost chemical taste to the items offered.
And yes, there is most definitely a difference between what is expected from a commercial bakery and what is expected from a pastry chef. But I am finding that the line is very much so blurred.
As in just about any other product being produced it has become an issue of what people are willing to pay for and what they are willing to accept for the price they want to pay. Sometimes quality doesn't stand a chance.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

Kitagrl Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 6:32pm
post #43 of 53

I have definately had to learn not to be shy about pricing my cakes! People really do not understand about cake pricing. I recently made a bridal shower cake for someone, it was 60 servings (actually its in my photos, its a 2 layer 11x15 victorian cake with a hat and gloves and pearls)... I told the lady to just pay whatever she wanted but she didn't have to pay....it was basically a gift and that's fine...

She gave me $50, which to her I guess was alot for cakes! What she didn't know was that after I bought the lace mold and the ingredients and the luster dust, I was pretty close to that amount out of pocket! Which is okay....I offered, but it just goes to show how people do not understand.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 7:01pm
post #44 of 53

Yes, that cake looks more like $150 to me! What a beauty, that is just perfect! The guests must have been thrilled! Love it!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

Sammy-2002 Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 7:10pm
post #45 of 53

What a bummer! People just don't understand what goes into creating a cake like this.

I'm glad you stood your ground with the pricing. They'll soon have a rude awakening when they start to get prices from other places and find out your's was the least expensive!


twindees Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 7:24pm
post #46 of 53

I am so glad everything worked in your favor. thumbs_up.gif I can't wait to see the cake.

Good Luck

Phoov Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 7:33pm
post #47 of 53

I'm with Adven68 on the church thing......I donate cakes to my church many times. It's sort of like a mission-thing for me. It's something that I can do to "give back" in thanks for the little bit of talent that I certainly didn't invent myself.....LOL. Credit where credit is due... icon_smile.gif

It's good advertising too........my church friends have to buy their personal cakes SOMEWHERE, ya know..

traci Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 7:41pm
post #48 of 53

I am glad that it all worked out. I can't believe people can be so ridiculous!!! I had a lady ask me to do a wedding cake before and I quoted a price of about 175.00...and she said that was too expensive...I totally turned that order down. I felt completely insulted...I do not argue with different stores over prices and I am not a garage sale!!!!

Phoov Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 7:45pm
post #49 of 53

...another thought....I donate to MY church, but I would charge other people's churches.

Thought I should throw that in!!!!

Kitagrl Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 10:40pm
post #50 of 53

I don't charge anyone in my church, mostly because I am "the pastor's wife" and I would hate to have people upset at me or my husband because I tried to "cheat" them for a cake! Luckily we have several other cake decorators in our church so I rarely if ever decorate for anything unless I volunteer to do something. At my old church though I was doing cake orders right and left for people, and dirt cheap too, so I am glad I don't have to face that again. I despise charging people I know for money!!!!

I am getting better about charging what I am worth to others though...they can either order again, or they don't have to. icon_biggrin.gif However I feel I am not getting very many orders lately...I guess I just need to put some money out for advertising.

mudpie Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 11:02pm
post #51 of 53

well, i just had to put in my two cents....
I think it all depends on the skill level of the decorator. If it's more of a hobby, and one is pretty new to it, then i don't think one should feel that they are entitled to charge an arm and a leg. For the very experienced, professional or extremely talented..it's a different story.

Everyone has to start somewhere. And, charging less for a friend isn't all that bad. A relatively simple birthday cake for example: I would not charge a friend for my time, because i figure my time is part of my gift to them, i enjoy them and enjoy making them happy. Hopefully, other people from that party (Who you aren't friends with) may hire you and that's when you raise the price, because the price between friends really isn't anyone's business anyway. And in the beginning, you'll never earn enough for your time, because with skill comes speed as well.

People who are looking for a BARGAIN don't care what the cake tastes or looks like really. They figure it is cheap for you to do at home without overhead, etc. So let them go on their way. And it is true that people don't know what is involved, so you can't really blame them. If they think you just do it for fun, then they figure they are helping YOU out!!!

But i do believe it all boils down to skill and experience.

Kitagrl Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 11:06pm
post #52 of 53

I do agree a cake should look very good to charge alot for....sometimes if I am not satisfied with a cake I am tempted to give a discount but then I figure it will show I am not confident and buyers will be tempted to complain and continue to get discounts. So I try to act confident even if a cake isn't up to my expectations. Most of the time, it is up to the buyer's anyway. icon_smile.gif

We cake decorators know what its like to be a perfectionist, don't we!

mudpie Posted 31 Oct 2005 , 11:10pm
post #53 of 53

yep..that's true as well...I always know where the flaw is, or what could have been better executed, but as you said kitagrl, the customer usually does not even sense it.

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