Martha Stewart's Cake Book Pg 44, I Need Expert Advice

Decorating By wrightway777 Updated 27 Apr 2008 , 3:52am by wrightway777

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wrightway777 Posted 18 Apr 2008 , 2:56am
post #1 of 15

I have a potential client that wants the embroidery cake on Page 44. It needs to feed 200 people. I figure I would need at least 20 pounds of fondant to just cover all the cakes alone. All the flowers and RI detail will take me hours. The bottom seams will have to be perfect. It also looks like I will have to pipe the swags on AFTER (?) I assemble the cake together. So two questions:
1. Would you insist on moving the swags (at bottom of each tier) up a little so you wouldn't have to do it after you assemble?
2. Ok now the all time favorite question: is $4 to $4.50 a slice perfect or am I crazy? Please take note that I live 2 hours south of a big city so I cant charge "big city" prices. But please give me the honest truth of the rock bottom that you would go. I havent talked price with her yet (wedding is 3 months away).

14 replies
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Petit-four Posted 18 Apr 2008 , 6:50pm
post #2 of 15

Hi! I just received this book today -- it's wonderful, isn't it?

To answer #1) You could pipe the RI loops/swags on before assembly --the piping is on the vertical surface, rather than relying on the horizontal surface (lower tier) for support. RI is really strong and light, where with BC or fondant, it would tend to sink down. But, I'd be prepared to have a touch-up bag, of course, when you deliver, as RI is brittle.

Myself...I'd feel free to change design elements to ensure the client has a beautiful cake -- but that's just my opinion. Some minor differences can make for much safer delivery -- e.g. if you want to pipe a tiny white butter-cream ball border, for example, it would not really (at least to me) really affect the overall look. icon_rolleyes.gif

I can't help you with #2, but perhaps someone else can.

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wrightway777 Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 4:54am
post #3 of 15

thanks Petit-four I really appreciate your response! And yes - I love the book - great pics!

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Petit-four Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 12:35pm
post #4 of 15

You're welcome! I'm also changing around another design (p. 49) to make it easier to deliver too..... icon_smile.gif

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costumeczar Posted 23 Apr 2008 , 3:06pm
post #5 of 15

I don't have the book, so I can't help you with the design question, but I can give you some advice on the pricing! Do this: Start with your $4.50 per serving estimate and see how much that will end up being. How much will your raw ingredients, boards, supports, etc. be? Subtract that out from your original 4.50 a serving total. Now estimate how long it will take you to shop, bake, decorate,clean up, and deliver (if you're not charging a separate delivery fee) then add 25% to that because you know we always underestimate! Divide your total hours into your profit (materials cost minus expenses) then see if your per-hour rate is okay for you. I don't know what you'd charge per hour to decorate, so it has to be something that you're okay with, not necessarily what I'd be okay with! Think about it this way...When you've been piping royal icing swags for five hours, will you think "I'm making X amount per hour for this" and be happy or will you want to slap yourself for accepting such a low amount at that point? You might not be able to charge big-city prices, but you need to charge what your time is worth!

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wrightway777 Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 5:17pm
post #6 of 15

thanks costumeczar for your response too I appreciate the straightforwardness. You should go to Barnes and Nobles (or equivalent) and look at the book. It is beautiful - every page absolute "cake love." If you dont want to pay the big price for it go to:
I was able to make out with 5 hardback "cake/pastry" books for $28(including shipping) (Martha's was one of them)! Heres a tip: For the 50% off 4th book find the cheapest book of your selection and have that be your "5th pick." The reason for this is that their is no code stopping you from doing this. Then within a year all you have to do is buy 1 more book! Too good! One thing is they dont have "everything" so do a thorough search for all the books you think you would be interested in....oh they even have "Confetti Cakes" book (a must have if you ask me). icon_smile.gif

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Chef_Stef Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 5:27pm
post #7 of 15

What an adorable cake!

I'd put that whole thing together and transport it stacked, but that's me. I hate piping on site, because there's always someone who will want to stand there and watch you over your shoulder, and I hate that. See if there is a rolling cart you can transfer it in from the car into the venue with, or have someone along to help carry it, and take it stacked. That's my advice...

I'd charge a bit extra for the plaque (like $10), and $4.25/sv is right where I'd be for the cake.

Post it if you do it--it's beautiful!

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Petit-four Posted 24 Apr 2008 , 5:32pm
post #8 of 15

It is such a wonderful book...I was able to get it through an Amazon seller for $20. I come to cake decorating from an art/design background, and my teachers always told me, "just look at great design. And look some more." You truly learn so much from looking at all the oversized images. They are crystal clear, and you can see every last detail, even though there aren't a lot of instructions. But that's ok, since I think many of us are visual learners.

It also is a great investment because there is such a range of styles -- classic to whimsical -- to please many clients. Anyway -- if you can recommend other great cake books (I have Toba Garrett's and Wilton ones), I'd appreciate it ...

Oh dear, sorry, I sort of took over your thread... icon_redface.gif

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wrightway777 Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 3:12am
post #9 of 15

Homecook - oh my gosh you are not going to be believe this, but as i wrote up the estimate and a summary of the work that I was going to give to this lady earlier this week, I had your saying in mind! I've seen a good bit of your posts and just know that your saying put me in the mindset to stand up for my price!

petit-four - nonsense, I dont mind at all! I am so 100% with you on the "visual learning" thing. Isnt Toba Garretts French Vanilla Buttercream the best in the world!!!
Ok, other books:
- I have all of Colette Peters books (including the approx $100 one thats out of print) off of Ebay. The lady was "cleaning out her bookshelf" - I about screamed when I got them in the mail!
- You have to get "Confetti Cakes" its a must.
- I like "The Cake Book" by Tish Boyle (BTW its offered through that book site above).
- "Sweet Celebrations" by Sylvia Weinstock - its an oldy but goody - I so admire her work.
I'm after the Whimsical Bakehouse book (not the cupcake one) next (I hear thats good). I'm waiting for B&N to get it first so I can scope it out if its worth it or not.
- Book to stay away from: Culinary of Arts cake decorating book - honestly I wasnt really impressed.

- I wish Ron Ben Israel would write a book - I would savor every page! He is one of my idols!

........ I could go on and on.....I think I will start a post now on "whats your favorite book" TTFN

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Petit-four Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 11:39am
post #10 of 15

Thank you, Wrightway! I appreciate your ideas, because like you, I don't mind if there are few instructions...but I HAVE to have great photos.

Yes, I saw the Culinary book too...not so helpful for some reason. Seemed mostly geared towards restaurant-style desserts, not so much decorating.

Your "library list" is great -- I'm going to go search the web... icon_smile.gif

Thank you again!

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wrightway777 Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 11:48am
post #11 of 15

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! She said yes to the cake! I feel like I am the one being proposed to (ok a little too dramatic). I cant wait to do the cake (wedding is in July).

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playingwithsugar Posted 25 Apr 2008 , 11:50am
post #12 of 15

Just an FYI on buying the book.

You don't have to join a club in order to get a discounted price on that book. If you go to barnes and noble's website, or border's books website, you can sign up for e-mail coupons. I've already saved as much as 50% on a single purchase (regular priced item) then saved another 20% with my B&N card.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

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wrightway777 Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 3:21pm
post #13 of 15

playing with sugar - I am so going to do that! Thanks for the tip!

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playingwithsugar Posted 26 Apr 2008 , 3:22pm
post #14 of 15

Oh, you're welcome, and congratulations on the order!

Theresa icon_smile.gif

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wrightway777 Posted 27 Apr 2008 , 3:52am
post #15 of 15

I am going to order some choco pan white...but I noticed they have two "whites" (bright white and wedding white).
Anyone: Is there really that much of a difference? I'm going to order Satin Ice too to be on the safe side. detective.gif

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