How about a 3 tier cake for 18 people with 10 servings being sugar free?
I'm not exactly partial to heavy coats of frosting, myself. And I do prefer a dense, hand-blended BC to any kind of whipped frosting.
I am a new hobby baker, so I don't very often have cupboards full of ingredients, I tend to just buy them in as and when I need them.
Last Saturday at 22.30pm I got an email from a family member that just said, 'can you do a cake for my sons 21st? It's on Monday'!!
She ended up going to the supermarket and getting one of those you have the picture printed on....
Welcome to the world of bakers where all cakes for friends and family are of course "fast and free"! It's unfortunate, but they will continue to do this unless you firmly explain why it's not feasible. Key word is firmly!
No, you don't refuse. The way to get people is to hit them where it REALLY hurts, their wallet. Sure, you can have it Monday but there will be an extra fee of oh, say $50 or whatever would be a rather shockingly high fee for last minute notice in your area of the country or compared to the normal charge. It's sort of the opposite of that fee they charge at the doctor's office if you cancel at the last minute because you're too ill to keep your appointment. Rather STUPID don't you think! They're a doctor's office and they charge a fee because you're too SICK to keep a check-up appointment? Go figure! It's not like a person canceling because they remembered a hair appointment you had or some type of unnecessary thing. I have fibromyalgia and contrary to what is required, I can't predict 48 hours in advance when I'm going to be having a very bad day.
So.....do the opposite, anything less than a 48 hour or 72 hour notice for an order and there is an extra charge. People will either pay it, which then gives you extra money, OR, they get the hint and stop doing things like this. After all, this wasn't a funeral or something unexpected that happened in life. You would think wouldn't you that her son has the same birth date every year, doesn't he? And being his mother she ought to be the one who knows, you would think so, after all she was there wasn't she?
Well, if you used that line on the right customers, they'd probably both get a good laugh and take the hint.
And I'm sure that even if it were "crap" to you, it would probably be better than anything I've baked and decorated.
(Indeed, the only reason why I'd rather bake and decorate my own -- other than of course the sense of accomplishment -- is that I don't think I'd be able to find a professional who'd want to duplicate the texture of my favorite dense, non-whipped, hand-blended, all-butter, cold-process buttercream, and I don't especially like the texture of the whipped buttercreams I've eaten, at least not as much as I like the texture of my own: they're not dense enough for me.)
James: There's a difference between baking and decorating. If you're not in the custom cake decorating business then taste-aroma-texture is more important than how it looks. I've never once looked at the mountainous top of a home baked banana bread loaf and thought to myself........"Damn that's ugly".
(PS: I've got my first batch of MimiFix's Vanilla cupcakes on the counter cooking, and it smells like Madagascar heaven in here.)
And then there's your local grocer's bakery counter, where neither appearance, nor taste, nor texture matter: it's all about combining a low price with a high profit margin.