Difficult Request? Or Is It Doable??? Sounds Haarrd

Decorating By missmersh Updated 12 Aug 2005 , 5:25pm by Fishercakes

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missmersh Posted 10 Aug 2005 , 10:26pm
post #1 of 22

Hi Everybody!!

I got a request for a cake today and here is what this man wants:

Two people playing Badminton with the net, racquets, and shuttle (birdie). And I think he assumes the birdie is going to be suspended in the air.
He wants this on top of a cake shaped like Jamaica.
Do any of you have any suggestions for this?

Thank you so much!
Leslie icon_redface.gif

21 replies
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debsuewoo Posted 10 Aug 2005 , 10:30pm
post #2 of 22

Yeah, it's called "edible image"!


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missmersh Posted 10 Aug 2005 , 10:32pm
post #3 of 22

Hi Debbi,
No, I think he is expecting this to be 3-D. I asked him if he wanted a flat cake and he said 3-D.........

If it were just an image I could do that no problem....

Thank you for your reply!!

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jjandascog Posted 10 Aug 2005 , 11:54pm
post #4 of 22

You could make a net out of chocolate and probably find plastic figures somewhere and stick the birdie to one of the raquets like they are hitting it. We toured a lot when we went and took home lots of Blue Mountain Coffee so I would probably put a smaller cake on top for a mountain with a waterfall and jungle around it. Maybe make a coffee mug out of fondant or something in front of the cake that says "Blue Mountain Raquet Club".

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beachcakes Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 1:14am
post #5 of 22

You could cut the cake into the shape of Jamaica and decorate it with the Jamaican flag. Wilton sells plastic people playing sports - i know i've seen baseball and soccer - maybe they have badminton? Or maybe you could model them from fondant? Not sure how you would have the shuttle iin the air - unless it were on wire of some sort?

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aslate Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 1:21am
post #6 of 22

I like the idea of cutting the cake in the shape of Jamaica----or doing a pattern transfer of Jamaica onto a sheet cake that nearly fills the cake surface. You could even fill in the map with the flag colors. You could get a plastic net and figures to place on top. I like the idea of affixing the birdie to the raquet, rather than suspending it in mid-air.

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missmersh Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 6:31am
post #7 of 22

Oh my!!
You ladies have helped soo much!!! Ya'll have come up with things I never would have thought of!!! I love the idea about the Jamaican flag (I might cover the board with the flag colors in fondant)! And the chocolate net sounds PERFECT!! And I never thought about affixing the birdie to the racquet. I like the coffee idea too. Now my mind is rollin!!!
The only problem I don't have a fix for is how do you get fondant people parts glued together good enough to stand them upright? I haven't worked with it that much, but I made some football players this week and they don't seem like they are going to be secure enough to 'stand on their own'. icon_sad.gif

I found a picture of the map of the island and thought I could get hubby to blow it up so I could cut the cake into that shape.

This doesn't seem as hard as it did earlier!!!

Thank you ALL!!! The cake isn't due until October, but I need that long to work on all this! LOL icon_biggrin.gif

You ladies are fantastic!! thumbs_up.gif

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KayDay Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 7:48am
post #8 of 22

Sounds like it will all come together...my only thing is...I really hope you are charging what this is worth, it sounds like a TON of labor.

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missmersh Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 8:33am
post #9 of 22

Hi Kay!
I appreciate your concern ALOT! I tried to ask him tonight what he was willing to pay for this (I am doing another cake for his daughter that same weekend) And his response was 2 for the price of one? I didn't know how to take that. I might figure up a price somehow and quote him before I attempt to tackle this project. The only thing is I am unsure how many people each cake needs to feed. I have only recently started charging and based on the prices I have seen from grocery stores to specialty stores, $2 per slice is in the middle so that is what I have decided to charge. At least for now...since I am still learning. But since he made that comment, I don't know what to do. I don't want to to all that work for $25 if you know what I mean. icon_smile.gif

I hate to ask this, cause it seems like a recurring question here on CC icon_wink.gif
but, could you offer a suggestion for this cake as far as price based on what was discussed? If not, that's ok....but you seem to realize (even more than I)what it might take to do this cake. I am attaching the sketch he gave me.

Thank you so much for your reply!! icon_biggrin.gif

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pump_jc Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 10:34am
post #10 of 22

I definitely wouldn't do 2 for the price of 1. Maybe give a little discount on one because he's ordering 2 for the same day. For the Jamaica Badminton cake, if you are making the people out of fondant, then you need to charge more than if you buy plastic figurines. Don't forget to consider your time in your price...

good luck!

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loree001 Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 11:30am
post #11 of 22

If you'd rather purchase your players and net to save time, I found some tennis characters that you could make work, maybe, (you'd have to make the badminton birdie out of fondant, I guess). The sight is BabyCakes


Good luck, sounds like a fun cake!

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missmersh Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 3:36pm
post #12 of 22

Pump_jc and Loree,

Thank you both so much for your replies!!! I wasn't going to do the 2 for 1 deal, it wouldn't be worth my time (I hate to put it that way, cause I see every opportunity as a learning experience) But I could be doing another cake if I wasn't doing that one.

I found a REALLY cute cake that I might try and use to go by. I will attach it to this message. I could definitely make the people sitting down/lying down, I just don't feel secure with my 'stand up men' yet. This is the website I found it on....http://www.newmansofradcliffe.co.uk/html/birthday_cakes.html

Thank you Loree for that website! They have some really cool things!!

Thanks again!
Leslie icon_smile.gif

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Godiva Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 4:00pm
post #13 of 22

Are you kidding me???
I would charge $150 for the cake you posted...That cake looks like a 9x9, plus the characters..
If I were to sculpt the island of Jamaica, plus the scene on top, that cake would go for $200.
You are way low on your price range dear...I havent' seen your work, but if you can pull something off like this, you shouldn't charge less than $80.
And this is your starting price for something like this...
If he wants a piece of art, he should be willing to pay for it.


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KayDay Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 4:11pm
post #14 of 22

Godiva said it very well! If he was wanting something this elaborate, surely he was expecting to pay well for it! Even though people often surprise me by wanting the moon for chump change! I would have said somewhere between $100.00-$200.00 depending on your skill level. I know ...I know I always get beat up for saying the experienced decorators should charge more...but it's the truth as it is with everything from bakers to good lawyers.

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itsacake Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 5:06pm
post #15 of 22

I want to go on record as agreeing with Godiva and KayDay. This will take a big chunk of time and a lot of creative energy, not to mention that fondant is expensive too. You ought to be compensated for your time--and this has to include research time for a one-of-a kind cake like this and of course, your clean-up time too. Of course, if you are slower than most (like me), you need to consider that, but it is just a little piece of the equation. I don't know about prices where you live, but here, something like this would be more like $4.00 or $4.50 per serving plus extra for the sculptures.

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Calejo Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 6:38pm
post #16 of 22

I am in COMPLETE agreement with the previous posters on $25 being WAY too low. I do have to say that I'm kind of disappointed that you won't be doing the stand-up versions anymore. That would have been sweet. But I am excited to see the end product either way, I'm sure you'll do great.

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itsacake Posted 11 Aug 2005 , 7:19pm
post #17 of 22

Just a thought... Any chance you could shape the gumpaste or fondant figures with bamboo skewers or toothpicks inside? Then they might be sturdy enough to stand. I haven't tried this, so I don't know. You'd certainly have to let the customer know as one wouldn't want to bite into the support. Some people do try to eat the decorations.

Also, I have a book called Debbie Brown's Magical Cakes. She talks about modeling figures from fondant and she uses something she calls sugar sticks for support. To make 10 - 20 sugar sticks she kneads 1/4 tsp CMC or gum tragacanth and 1 tsp of royal icing together until they form a paste. She rolls this out and cuts out strips of various lenghts or forms sausage shapes. Then she lets these sticks dry 4 -8 hours. Again, I haven't tried this, and 10-20 sticks from this tiny amount sounds strange, but she uses these or dried, uncooked spaghetti. The pictures of her figures are really wonderful.

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missmersh Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 8:45am
post #18 of 22
Originally Posted by Calejo

I am in COMPLETE agreement with the previous posters on $25 being WAY too low. I do have to say that I'm kind of disappointed that you won't be doing the stand-up versions anymore. That would have been sweet. But I am excited to see the end product either way, I'm sure you'll do great.

Hi Everybody! icon_wink.gif
Thank you all for your replies!!
I was basically using the $25 figure, because I am sure that is what he is only expecting to pay. That is not what I would normally charge. I am trying so hard to stick to my guns so that I don't get taken advantage of. But sometimes I feel like if I can at least get more practice, then maybe one day, I will be top notch!!! I was thinking of asking at least $40 for each cake, which still may be too low. If I quote that, though, I think he will probably have a coronary. And if I quoted the $150-$200 that one of you mentioned (sorry I am really tired right now) I think I would have to resucitate him. LOL

Kay, I think it is absolutely correct that decorators charge according to their ability. And that is what I have been doing. All the cakes I did last year, I did for nothing. I figured my skills weren't up to par and each cake was a learning experience. Now that I feel a little more confident in my ability, I feel I am justified in being able to charge for my cakes.

Calejo, I must have been a little unclear in my post. Sorry!!icon_rolleyes.gif
I didn't say that I wasn't going to do the 'stand up' figures....I just meant that I don't feel very confident that my figures would stand properly. The more research I do and all the fabulous suggestions I receive here have opened my eyes to all sorts of possibilities.

Ya'll are so very sweet to respond so kindly!!! icon_biggrin.gif
Thank you all!!!

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missmersh Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 8:56am
post #19 of 22

Hi Itsacake!
That book sounds great!! I haven't had the extra funds to buy the fancy books (just the MBN and Wilton's yearbooks) I go to the book store and look at them, but feel guilty if I stand there and study them....so I just depend on whatever info I can find on the internet, mostly.
All of the ideas you mentioned sound great! I always tell the people that I make my cakes for that even though everything is made out of some sort of icing, they may not want to try and eat it. LOL I just made a cake for my hubby that had fondant 'rocks' on them. I told my neighbor that they were icing but that he might not want to eat them cause they would probably be a little too tough. He picked one up and ate it!! ha ha It was still chewy, so he didn't break a tooth.

Thank you for suggesting that book! I will have to check it out!
Leslie icon_smile.gif

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sgirvan Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 2:55pm
post #20 of 22

Ok I have to say something too, If you are goingt o charge $25-$40 then that is how much work you should put into it. I know we tend to undercut ourselves because especially in the beggining we don't think our experiance is good enough to charge how much we should.
For $25 I would do a basic cake, make a medium sized BCT of Jaimaca then use royal icing or white chocolate to make a small net and use 2 plactic people for the badminton players. Take a piece of thin wire and attach a small blob from royal icing and let dry. Then take the wire and attach it to one of the players and it should arch up and down in a way that it looks like the birdie is suspended.

I am sure that i didn't make any sense to anyone but me icon_biggrin.gif but if yo give away to much and they ever want you to do a cake for them again, you will NEVER be able to get what you are worth from them and you will be undercut every time!!!!

Good Luck with the cake

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itsacake Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 4:57pm
post #21 of 22


I really think sgirvan is correct. You can't spend hours and hours and then charge like you just whipped something up. (I learned this spending too much time trying to write perfect itineraries as a travel agent.) You owe it to yourself to put the proper amount of effort into what you are selling--be it trips, cakes, or whataever. Not only that, if everyone thinks their cakes are not good enough (and your pictures look really good!) and undersells themselves, it brings prices down for everyone.

Madonna doens't get a lot of money for concerts because she is stupendous, she gets it because she is well marketed. We need to educate people as to what cakes are worth--do some marketing, in other words. I'd rather give cakes away and avoid the stress of having to live up to a sale, than sell for less than what a cake is worth (Does that make sense to anyone?)

For example, I did a 4 foot long cake this year and was standing at the party with two friends who were telling me I ought to sell my cakes. This one happened to be a gift to a very good friend and was a replica of a local private airport with the proper runway markings and a model of the control tower (I'll get the picture up soon.) It was made to serve aobut 120 people. I said I'd like to sell cakes, but what did they think people would pay for something like this. One said $200.00 and the other said $275.00. I thought "heck this took me a week and my husband and another friend helped for several hours at the end Also the ingredients cost about $200.00 (It was covered in marzipan and fondant.) It absolutely wouldn't be worth it to do these kinds of things if that was all I could charge. Just them my husband came by and told me another friend who is a caterer walked by the cake and remarked. "Well, there is an $800.00 cake!" $800.00 is just what I had decided I would have had to charge, if this wasn't a gift! This made me realize that we just have to educate the rest of the world.

OK, I'll get off my soap box now. Sorry to have written a rant, but I really needed to vent!

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Fishercakes Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 5:25pm
post #22 of 22

itsacake: I could not have said it better myself. But I am still a newbie here, so you do not have to take my word for it. I am still new to decorating also but I feel that I had the advantage of growing up and watching my mom making cakes and putting herself through college with two kids. So I may be new but I do have a wealth of knowledge (from memory).

I can also understand about pricing and giving someone a coronary...I live in a small town and when someone asked me to do a wedding cake from the Wilton yearbook "Lady Windermere" I priced it at $225.00, which I know is extremely cheap but I thought that since I am new that sounds about fair. The mother about fell over and started rifling through the book trying to find a cheaper cake. So i do know where you are coming from. You just have to get these people to understand that the type of cake that they are asking for is not something that they can get from the local market, otherwise they would!

So they should expect to pay for your services and talents!

Sorry to ramble, but I do get worked up on these issues! icon_redface.gif

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