Free Cakes - Keeping Materials

Business By harmonhouseofraymond Updated 16 Jul 2007 , 5:59pm by BrandisBaked

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harmonhouseofraymond Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 1:27pm
post #1 of 42


So I am starting out and really love to decorate. I recently posted on Craigs List that I will make any cake for free as long as they pay for all the supplies and write a letter of recomendation. - Why am I doing this ? I love to decorate, I am not licensed and would like to create a portfolio of not only pictures but the letters and I will get the oppertunity to try a wide variety of cakes one if for a carved transformer head - lol.

I have started getting responses which I am so happy about.

The question I have is say a bride comes to me (which one has) and she wants a cake in a pan say a hex shaped and I don't own it can I say that the pan needs to be purched by her but I am keeping it. I can see both sides of this for me it helps me begin to have bigger stock but for the person I advertised as free they may feal like I am decieving them which is totally not what I want to do.

I have already decided that if I need 5 eggs I am charging for the whole carton and a cake is going to require luster dust I am going to make them buy the jar and keep the remaining but these are more reasonable and what are they going to do with left over luster but a set of cake pans they might get a little fistey about.

I am at a quandry about this. Thanks

Here is the ad I posted

As "Duff" says on his show Ace of Cakes - Everything is better with CAKE

Ok so here is the deal. I really want to decorate cakes. I have taken classes and work in all kinds of mediums - fondant, gumpaste, luster dusts, carving, 3d etc. and tons of flavors!

Let me do your cake for free. The only thing you pay for is the supplies to make it. You can supply them yourself if you like. The only thing I ask is that I get to take pictures of the cake before you cut it up. I hope to make a portfolio of my work. And hey if you want to write me a great recomendation I can deal with that as well.

You tell me the idea and I will create you a great cake -

You want a bouqet of cupcake roses I will do that.
How about a cake that looks like a purse or luggage.
No cake idea is to strange.

I just can not make any more cakes for my family without having them go into a sugar rush.

41 replies
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cocorum21 Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:28pm
post #2 of 42

First I think this is a great idea! I wish I would have thought of it....

Second, your ad says they must buy the supplies. if she wants something you don't have that's part of her supplies. even if she does pay for the pans she is still getting a GREAT deal! I just looked in the cc shop and they don't have hexagon but I think you can get some from wilton and their only about $40.....even if you get better pans she is still getting a heck of a deal!

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darandon Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:38pm
post #3 of 42

I agree, that the hex shaped pan would be considered as part of the supplies.

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cococakes Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:42pm
post #4 of 42

I think that's a fantastic idea.

Wilton's definitely sells the Hex pan, I purchased the 3 Hex pan set for close to $40.00.

Good luck and Congratulations on a fantastic idea.

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tyty Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:44pm
post #5 of 42

I agree with cocorum21, the client would have to buy the pans if you don't have them. Even if she buys the pans she is getting a great deal.

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harmonhouseofraymond Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:55pm
post #6 of 42

thans guys, she hasn't said the shape but I really wanted to be ready for any senerio. I am hoping for some crazy cakes in crazy colors with specility tools so I can keep everything icon_evil.gif

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StephW Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:57pm
post #7 of 42

Why don't you add that to your ad up front. Tell them that if the design they request requires a certain pan shape that you don't have, then that will part of the supplies that they will need to cover. It's still a great deal - so if someone passes by because of that, then they are really cheap!

As for who keeps the pan, I don't know why someone who is not into cake decorating would want to keep odd shape pans, but if they want the pan back, I would not argue with them, since they were the ones that purchased it. In most cases - I can't see them wanting the pans... but who knows.

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briansbaker Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:57pm
post #8 of 42

Yes, this is a great idea.. Buying ALL materials needed is the only way to go.. If you would have posted something like this " I will make your cake free of charge, so long as you purchase all edible items to make the cake" THEN JUST MAYBE THEN you would be decieving them.. BUT you asked for all SUPPLIES to be purchased. This to me means, if you dont have everything needed to make the cake I will have to purchase it. Even it was a pan.. or two or three.. And this is an awsome idea.. OMG do you mind if I use your idea???? I am still in the process of NOT KNOWING HOW TO CHARGE. And this could really get me stocked up!
Great Idea!!! thumbs_up.gif

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Cassie1686 Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:58pm
post #9 of 42

good idea, let me know how it works out for you, definitely keep the pans, what would she need them for anyway? and like someone else said, it is still a GREAT deal.

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joenshan Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:58pm
post #10 of 42

Absolutely! Supplies are supplies. This is a brilliant way to build up your supply inventory as well. Everybody wins. If I'm the bride and I have the choice of paying hundreds of $$$$ for my cake or buying your cake pan for $50...go pick out your cake pans!!!

Just let them know and maybe give them the option to choose a cake from the pans you already own if they don't want to spend the extra money.

Great idea!

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Katskakes Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 2:58pm
post #11 of 42

I think what you are doing is a great idea! Good luck with this and don't forget to post pics for us to see & enjoy!

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gabbenmom Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:07pm
post #12 of 42

That is defiantely part of the supplies! Buying a set of cake pans for a custom cake is rather inexpensive than actually buying the cake! GO for it! Good luck and keep us updated!

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lillykaci1 Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:11pm
post #13 of 42

I think that would be part of the supplies. As well as all support that the cake would need and the cake circles and the plates. I don't think that is a bad deal I mean $40 for the pans and Maybe MAYBE at the most you say $80 for supplies....that's only $120 for a wedding cake. I mean where else are you going to get that. I mean Walmart starts out at $137 for thier wedding cakes. One heck of a deal and one Heck of an Idea. Love it.

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breelaura Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:17pm
post #14 of 42

Just put in your confirmation e-mail that you'll be keeping all supplies afterward - sort of like you would confirm flavors, shapes, colors, etc., just put at the end of your list of supplies that the decorator retains all equipment and extra supplies (and maybe a statement that the smallest quantity of any supply sufficient to complete the order will be purchased, but there may be extra, which you will retain - just so they don't think you're buying huge things and making them pay).

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grams Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:20pm
post #15 of 42

I agree, based on your add, that you could ask her to buy the pans but I think she might have a problem with with you keeping them since they are a non-consumable item.

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vdrsolo Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:12pm
post #16 of 42

It sounds like that I'm in the minority here. But got to give my $.02

Someone who wants a wedding cake for almost free is going to get it if they can have it. What I mean is, say for example this bride wants a hexagon cake, and you tell her, "I don't have these, you will need to buy it". She will most likely come back and ask WHICH pans DO you have, and pick from there.

So I'm not for sure if you are going to actually build up your pan inventory doing this. That is just my opinion.

Fast forward a year have been giving these cakes away for almost free, may start to feel a little burned out, and want to start getting some $$ for these cakes. Say the "freebie bride" refers you to a what you want to be a "paying bride". That second bride is going to expect the same thing. See what I'm's going to roller coaster out of control. You will be known as the cheapie wedding cake baker.

Time is money in my opinion. You also have to take into consideration the electricity/utilities to make these cakes.

This is just my opinion, building up an small inventory of luster dust is not what I would call stocking my cake decorating supplies.

If this works out, good for you, but I just can't see it...

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harmonhouseofraymond Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:32pm
post #17 of 42

Thank you all for your support and for those who want to copy the idea go for it. I undertand what vdrsolo is trying to say but for me I just want to bake and feel creative and the extra supplies is great but the learning and the experience is what I am doing it for.

As for not being able to get the price I want later on I don't think I agree with that. And honestly I do not want to be high priced. I want to be able to relate to my customer and have them come back over and over -

I was always told you need these two things in life - LOL
A good doctor to take care of you
A good mechanic to not tuck it to you

and now I say a
Fantastic baker (me) for all the occasions in between icon_smile.gif

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gabbenmom Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 5:36pm
post #18 of 42

You could always put in your "advertisement" that it is a limited time offer and may end without warning, type of thing. Then you are covered that way. I would also state that it is up to your disgression on whether or not you are comfortable doing the cake they order. A just in case kind of thing.

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hsmomma Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 7:19pm
post #19 of 42

I agree~ put a "limited time offer" on your ad. That way, if it's not working for you, you can pull the plug. If it is, then keep going...
BTW, I know what you mean about wanting to decorate just to do it! That's the only way my creative side is satisfied. Sometimes its not about the $...other times it is icon_wink.gif

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StephW Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:14pm
post #20 of 42

I just reread your ad after reading the suggestions about having a 'Limited Time Offer' disclaimer. I think that is a great idea. And I think you need some type of language in there to protect yourself if a cake comes along that you don't want to do.

What if you are busy when they need the cake? What if the cake they insist on having is way beyond your skill level? What if they give you two days notice for a cake to feed 200? What if they are idiots and you decide that you don't want to do it for them?? There is nothing in your ad to protect yourself - and in today's world, sad as it is... someone may try to give you trouble about it.

I think you have a pretty darn good idea there to get some practice - but just be careful!

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JulieBee Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:21pm
post #21 of 42

I think you need to spell it out in your ad that you keep the "leftover" supplies....even cake pans. You need to be specific about that.


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alicegop Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:25pm
post #22 of 42

RUN AWAY RUN AWAY from this Bride. Bridezilla alert! She is getting a cake for free and is balking at buying some cake pans?! This is not someone you want to make cake for!

I love your ad. I would change it to say that the letter of rec is required. Also just expand your definition of supplies to include any supplies that you need to purchase and they will not be returned.

I would also give the bride an invoice that says what she is getting and all the details, just like if they were a paying customer AND I would include what you would charge IF YOU WERE A PROFESSIONAL so they know what kind of a deal they are really getting. Then write discount on it.

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coreenag Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:31pm
post #23 of 42

Great idea! I am new too and have been trying to build up my pictures and skills. You can only eat so much cake yourself! Let us know how this works out for you. As for putting in your ad that you can decline any job I don't think this is necessary. Does any baker put that in their ad? If you can't do the job just tell them. Good luck to you! I will be watching your photos icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif

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mnmmommy Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:33pm
post #24 of 42

Great idea! I would say you would keep anything that was needed to make the cake!

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CourtneysCustomCakes Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:39pm
post #25 of 42

I agree. I think you have a brilliant Idea. I just hope you can do anything you can to protect your self. I'd also make up some kind of contract saying that the only cost of the cake is supplies IE: (make a list of supply items.) Promising the best cake to your abilities. Clairfying that You are doing this as a hobby to build up your skills. What they are getting is as is. ETC. (Sort of an enter at your own risk type of thing, Your not responsilbe for.....)

This way someone can't come back and bite you in the butt with some cockamame complaint. And you have documentation for your own records. And please make sure you have your Craigs List ad in a file so you can show it if you ever have to.

I know this sounds rediculous but some times there are people out there who are looking to make a deal (scam) and I don't want to see you getting dragged through the frosting because you didn't have all your bases covered.

But thats just my opinion.

I just really think you should enjoy what your doing.


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CakeRN Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:49pm
post #26 of 42

I would edit the "craigs list" advertisment and say. Pans are included in the supplies needed and I keep the supplies. You should also specify size or you might end up doing a cake for 3000 people sometime.

I noticed you said " And if you want to write a recommendation I can deal with that too"..... To me that says you get the free cake whether you write the recommendation or not.

You should also specify whether you buy the stuff or they buy it with your direction of what is needed and where to buy it. You might also specify that you can do the cakes as time you don't get overwhelmed.
Oh and what about delivery....if it is a wedding cake do you deliver and set up and is that gas considered a supply? You might get someone who is hours away and expect you to deliver it. You should think about that too. And you won't probably get any of your plates back since there will be no incentive (deposit) for them to bring them back if you use the plastic plates etc for tiered designs......just some things to think about..

Good luck...hope this helps...

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gidgetsmom Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:57pm
post #27 of 42

I think this is a great idea and the suggestions for improving on your "business model" are good ones.

It's so true that we live in such a world where you have to think of just about any inevitability and try and cover yourself...

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missym Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:58pm
post #28 of 42

I have done this several times and it has worked like a charm!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

I have built up my cake displays, plates, pillars etc!!!

My first wedding cake in my photos was done this way. I ended up with 7 wilton cake plates, all the balls, and pillars.

And on another project the wilton tall tiered set (14 or 16 pieces).

I've never advertised this, but folks ask me becuase they know I'm new and trying to build up my supplies and get more experience. I say cover yourself in your advertising like what is mentioned above and you should do great! Good luck!

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wysmommy Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 6:57pm
post #29 of 42 first thought was, "what a great idea". Then a bunch of thoughts came flooding in that I just wanted to throw out there.

You aren't insured. If someone gets sick, or claims they did, you are at risk of a lawsuit. It probably won't be covered under your homeowners insurance because technically you were doing business.

Techincally also, it's paying you, even if it's in trade of purchase goods, and that puts you in the area of unlicensed home bakery. It doesn't matter how much you are being paid, it still counts. If you get caught, you might get fined. I don't know what the laws are in NH but in MA it's up to $5000.

If someone is unhappy with the cake, no matter how cheap it is, they may try and recoup some of the cost. I've had people try and return a $2.00 sale item to my store and the whole time I'm thinking it cost them more to park than this is worth.

I don't mean to be the voice of doubt. I do think it's a clever idea, but I'd just be very careful.


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buffim Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 7:11pm
post #30 of 42

I think I'm going against popular opinion here, but my interpretation of your add is different: quote"The only thing you pay for is the supplies to make it. You can supply them yourself if you like."

You say that the person can supply them themselves, which to me would mean that she doesn't have to leave you with the pans.

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