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The Cake That Ruined a Family

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Hello 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!!!
post #2 of 46
Sounds 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.
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post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 
I 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!
post #4 of 46

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!

post #5 of 46
Girl 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!
post #6 of 46

~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.


Edited by enga - 3/11/14 at 11:17pm

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"You don't have to be great to get started but you have to get started to be great"

 

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post #7 of 46
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.
post #8 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by feuerrader24 View Post

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

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post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by morganchampagne View Post

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!

"You don't have to be great to get started but you have to get started to be great"

 

By a very smart 6 yr old

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"You don't have to be great to get started but you have to get started to be great"

 

By a very smart 6 yr old

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post #10 of 46
Oh dear, that should never happen to what is supposed to be a well respected dear member of the family, very sad!
post #11 of 46
It 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!
post #12 of 46

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."

post #13 of 46
Well you sound like a perfectly wicked and greedy person. NOT.

People are nuts!
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post #14 of 46

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....

post #15 of 46

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

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