Cakes For Free

Decorating By beachcakes Updated 15 Aug 2005 , 6:50pm by Thalia

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beachcakes Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 8:47pm
post #1 of 29

Melissablacks' post got me thinking. What is it with people expecting free cakes? If i volunteer that's one thing. But lately at work it's kind of expected that i make the cakes b/c they're so much better than the grocery store next door. Well, that's b/c they're torted & filled & from scratch! Years ago, we used to chip in each birthday and buy $30 8" single layer, ganache-coated cake from an upscale bakery. Then after they closed, we had to get the $10 model from the grocery store next door.
I probably would refuse the money as I like to make cakes and I try out new things on them, but the offer would be nice. My cost is more than $10. I was even on vacation last week, missing a birthday, and came home to a voicemail saying the birthday boy was postponing his birthday so he could have one of my "signature" cakes. Flattering? Yes very! It's a good thing i like the guy! LOL (He's the one I have to make a "gross" cake for.)
Sorry for venting. Just wondered if anyone else had the same problem. I guess it's good practice.

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ckirkland Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 8:52pm
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I am starting to have the same problem, but it is from family members. Aunts, Uncles, cousins, In-Laws,-everyone- seems to think we'll just get Crystal to do them and they don't offer anything. Like everything is just free. I know I should have put my foot down on the first couple b/c now it is going to be harder. But the last one I did, I just said to the person "here is you present" and handed them their cake. We'll see now. My Aunt's party is on the 28th of this month, so we'll see if I get stuck doing another free cake.
Sorry for no advice.

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briansbaker Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 9:37pm
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AAHHGGG!!!!!!! Same here.. family members don't understand, even though they buy the ingredients I should at least get a few bucks for my time.. I did the same thing, showed up at the party with the cake and no gift.. LOL sometimes I feel like a cheap o deapo icon_confused.gif (not a real word) with no gift. But dang it I was busy making a free cake that I didn't have time go buy a gift. icon_razz.gif After adding up all my free ones this weekend alone. I lost out $70.00 doing them for free.. I could just kick myself, with school starting and all I could have used that towards school clothes.. I'm so mad at myself. (sigh) I am starting to get real irritated with the whole " their family members be nice " concept.. I'm thinking real hard about being nice and saying, " Oh no! My oven broke ! ". That is a nice way of saying no and not being rude.. tapedshut.gif (little lies never hurt anyone!)

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tcrema Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 9:48pm
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Brainsbaker...I love your Nice theory...I'm going to have to use that one...When I don't want to oven is broke.

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SweetCreations Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 11:51pm
post #5 of 29

Oooo My I totally Understand,, If you want to give a Cake Away, its Your Choice. & shouldnt be expected. I feel If you Make a cake and take the time and effort to put your special touch to it,,& You Give it as a Gift, You should Never ever feel like a Cheepo oo Deepoo.

~Sweet~ =0)

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 11:53pm
post #6 of 29

It just shows you, it is the difference in people.
When I was working outside the home, I used to make birthday cakes for everyone in the office and also for their children's special celebrations. I refused to take money for them, but you know, those folks always offered to pay. Thinking back, I know that if they had just taken it for granted, I would have felt like you do. But because they offered to pay, it made me feel that they appreciated the effort.
I don't have family members that expect free cakes, so I guess I am lucky. I do have a few customers that expect special treatment when it comes to their cake orders and prices. I find that puts me off a bit, especially when they ask for something really complicated at Costco prices.
If you are depending on the income from cakes, you really shouldn't have any qualms in letting these people know. You have back-to school clothes to buy or you need to pay hydro and ingredients, you need pay for your time, you need to replenish items that have had a lot of wear and tear.
One trick I used for one of these customers that always wants a bargain, was to attach an itemized costs list along with the time it took to make the cake, broken down into details. Haha, she is still looking for bargains and now comments that I am likely making absolutely nothing on her cake orders, but at least she knows, haha!
You have to think of yourself as any other type of business person. If you were a mechanic, you would be charging parts and a set labour rate, you would have to. If you were a unionized employee, you would get into trouble not doing so. So tell these folks that the folks down at CakeCentral Union, would revoke your union membership! Without your membership, you wouldn't be able to afford to fix your broken oven, haha!
Hugs Squirrelly

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loree001 Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 12:37am
post #7 of 29

I have the same problem, only I do myself in because I do them for free and can't bring myself to ask for money. icon_redface.gif I feel somehow cheap or chintzy if I tell them that it costs... icon_rolleyes.gif I'm such a dweeb when it comes to this! We need to figure this out...grow a backbone...something! icon_wink.gif

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janethorp Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 12:48am
post #8 of 29

I know why we do it for free... because we fear rejection. Case in point my husband was always harrassing for the time I spent doing a cake and making $2.00 per hour on it. Then I got brave and had a friend pay a lot of money for a baby shower cake. Guess what happened no more cake orders from them and all of the people they know. So my cake career is derailed now.

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LemonLyme Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 1:18am
post #9 of 29

I've always maintained my slogan:


I really dislike the folks who think they "know" you and want to get a " deal"
What are we.. Monty Hall? is this a game show?
we have to use resources gas,electricity human energy and effort and our brains to come up with ideas.
I'd like to see them pull the expected free cake off at Costco or Sams or any other bakery for that matter
As for getting over that hurdle, I like the" my oven's broke" concept
You know what I had to do to a relative recently ..she wanted this really time consuming cake done that requires a lot of fruit and liquer,a cake like that is VERY costly
I said
Hey if you buy me the following list of ingredients I'll do your cake because those ingredients for the cake you want are so hard to find in my local grocery store.
And guys I'm telling you she thought twice about getting me to do a cake for her all off a sudden she called back and said she changed her mind that her husband was going to have some of his relatives do the cake. I thought better them than me.


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nanni Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 1:44am
post #10 of 29

I really like the CAKE CENTRAL UNION CARD idea-we should make those up and show them with a list of rules/regulations---no freebies unless we volunteer them for a gift or something like a raffle, etc., that would show them!!! It is really hard sometimes when you feel you really want to make the cake but are always put upon to do so-taken for granted that you have nothing better to do or that your time isn't worth anything-"it's nothing for someone like you to do.." routine..sorry folks-flattery don't pay the bills!! I've turned down last minute orders with-I'm sorry-we have plans with out of town guests, don't answer the phone when I have that "feeling" from someone I know is good at last minute orders, etc. Caller ID is a wonderful's funny how when you start to charge-no matter how minimal the fee-people don't come to you-how rude of them to do that to you...if it's good enough to eat then it's good enough to pay for otherwise its shoplifting!!!

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briansbaker Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 1:52am
post #11 of 29
Originally Posted by SquirrellyCakes

So tell these folks that the folks down at CakeCentral Union, would revoke your union membership! Without your membership, you wouldn't be able to afford to fix your broken oven, haha!
Hugs Squirrelly

Hey that really sounds like a good idea.. JACKIE!! I have a card that reads " licensed to bit**". I would like a CakeCentral Union Card to add to my wallet!!

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Daniela Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 2:31am
post #12 of 29

I'm really glad that this came up in our forum. Since I've read your posts it's really gotten me thinking and I've definately learned something from this!!! I will not be taken for granted. I'm going to set the record straight right from the beginning that way later on I won't run into any complications!! I mean it's one thing if you offer but it's a whole different story when it's expected!!!


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mrsfish94 Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 2:48am
post #13 of 29

Sometimes...even the cake isn't enough!!! I made my sister a cake for her birthday. I told her it would be her gift. So I am making this cake for her (she was at my home while I was making it) She tells better be using real whip cream....and you are going to put pink on my know I just love pink. icon_mad.gif I was really starting to get upset because I had showed her the exact cake I was doing earlier that week and she never mentioned PINK!!!!

So...the next day (her birthday) I come over with the cake....having added her name in pink. It was suppost to be an all white cake (it is pictured on my photos...white cake with pink name on it) She never even said thank you or it looks great or anything.

Here is the kicker.....Two days later I see this step stool that had been tole painted. It was really pretty. So I commented on it and she says to me..."Thanks, it was the ONLY present I got this year" I was so shocked I was speechless. As I turned to leave the room I said to her "I am so sorry to hear that". I nearly cried as I left the room. After all the time it took to make those little white flowers and make and decorate. I just could not believe my own sister could do that to me. And she is the one who is always ordering cakes from me!! She pays of course!

Anyway...I didn't mean to hyjack your post...just wanted to vent!!!

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 2:59am
post #14 of 29
Originally Posted by janethorp

I know why we do it for free... because we fear rejection. Case in point my husband was always harrassing for the time I spent doing a cake and making $2.00 per hour on it. Then I got brave and had a friend pay a lot of money for a baby shower cake. Guess what happened no more cake orders from them and all of the people they know. So my cake career is derailed now.

That is upsetting and I really feel for you. But it sounds to me like you need a new group of friends and customers! I just know there are folks out there who will pay for the kind of amazing quality cakes that you make, you just need to find them.
Tell your hubby that at $2. an hour you are likely making about 6 times the labour costs I usually get, haha!
Seriously, I understand his point of view. I am at a point in time when what I make is not an issue, generally. So I can put myself in a position where I will do a cake for cost or less or even free if there is something I want to try and a customer that is willing to give me free rein.
Your hubby's reaction is much like mine has.
But I have no qualms about charging what I feel something is worth, ok, I lie, charging about half of what something is worth, haha!
The thing is, there are customers out there that will pay you what a custom cake is worth, you just need to find them and sometimes finding them costs!
But don't give up trying, I know you will find them! In the meantime choose to make cakes for those that will appreciate them so that you can continue doing what you like to do!
Hugs Squirrelly

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briansbaker Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 3:01am
post #15 of 29

Sorry to hear your story.. I too made my sister a pink guess purse for her birthday.. (its in my photos).. I was the one dissappointed because it was suppose to be a victoria secret bag.. LOL it started forming round, so I thought dang it! I looked on the internet for ideas and found a purse...and tada I made a purse. She loved it, I think I would have slapped her if she gave me lip icon_mad.gif .. LOL that's just me..

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 3:19am
post #16 of 29

Ouch Mrs. Fish, that must have hurt! I don't know what to say! There have been times over the years, where my sister was not in a position to buy gifts and so she made them. Crocheted items, Christmas decorations, cookies, the odd birthday cake and such. Somehow these gifts meant more to us than if she had gone to the store and purchased something. She isn't a baker, but gradually becoming one and though she doesn't do decorated cakes, she makes a mean carrot cake and a wonderful chocolate chip cake.
Personally I have always loved it when someone took their own time and ideas to create something homemade! It takes a lot more effort. Perhaps that effort is wasted on some folks?
We really need that Cake Central Union Card with a catchy phrase, like, "we won't work for crumbs or crumby people"!
Hugs Squirrelly

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mrsfish94 Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 3:05pm
post #17 of 29

Thanks guys!!! I love homemade gifts. Reading this post about free cakes just made me think of this because of people who...just don't understand the time and effort it takes to make these cakes. I love decorating cakes...Especailly children's cakes because I love seeing their faces light up when they see it!!! But when you give a Free cake or a Gift cake and they don't appreciate is really a downer. Or when they expect your cake for free.

I can say I only have one family member who really can't even afford to purchase a cake for their for them I have for the past few years purchased or made the cake as the gift. And those kids are so grateful. And they are the only ones I will ever do a free cake for...even if their parents expect the cake for free.

Thanks for all the support icon_smile.gif

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loree001 Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 3:50pm
post #18 of 29

icon_lol.gif I just thought of something really great, that I actually did! I had one friend who just 'assumed' I would always make her cakes, for free, any 'idea' she had...and trust me, she always had 'great' ideas...I taught her how to decorate (not everything, but she picked up stuff from my friend and me when we were all together in a shop). Now, she makes her own 'free' cakes, and I listen to her moan and groan about how people get shocked when she tells them she'll do their 9 x 13 sheet cake for $25, no less! icon_razz.gifthumbs_up.gif

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debsuewoo Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 3:52pm
post #19 of 29

You know, we are in a service oriented buisness and we need to let people know that our 'services' cost. If a friend is asking for a free cake, why not ask your friend to do you a service for free? If your friend was a manicurist, would she be willingto give you free manicures to equal the cost of the cake? Probably not, especially since cakes a lot more time than manicures. The point is, if we are going to perform services, we need to be paid for said services. Give your friend a break in price, okay, especially if he/she is going to throw buisness your way. However, for those friends of a friend, full price.


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sheilaattaway Posted 13 Aug 2005 , 4:23pm
post #20 of 29

Everone I know knows my prices. and they all pay the same thing. I charge 20 dollars for birthday cake usually 10inch round. Lots of kids. 1/2 sheet is 30dollars, if it is a special cake, sculpted or whatever it is always 100% profit. if I spend 50 making the cake It is 100 dollars. If it is a wedding cake i start at 200.
When I started making cake for money I sat down with some on the woman in my family and asked thier advise about pricing. This was they knew up front what it would cost.
Just from family I ussualy have 3 cakes a week, give or take.

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APCakes Posted 14 Aug 2005 , 12:03am
post #21 of 29

Holy cow! 3 cakes a week just from FAMILY! It's a good thing they pay you for it! icon_smile.gif

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briansbaker Posted 14 Aug 2005 , 4:50am
post #22 of 29

ok it's late here in TX. Just got back from a birthday party a few hours ago. I was AGAIN expected to do the cake for free. So I did. They were for my twin brothers, but my step mother just expects everything done for her.. (rolling eyes) anyhow I made the cakes. two 11 x 15 one chocolate with chocolate pudding filling and buttercream icing. The other tres leches with whipped cream icing. I even made a BCT of Shrek on both. I was so busy, I had a tres leches to make for Friday for a teen neighbor. (she bought all ingredients I just baked, iced it and put a few flowers on and a name) No biggie..I know, I know still took time. Anyhow I had the two Shrek cakes for Saturday and a PAID baby shower due Sunday. Well I did not get very detailed on the Shrek cakes due to lack of time and trying get prepared for the baby shower cake. But my 4 yr. old twin brothers loved them!! And so did everyone else. The step mother asked "where are the cakes, I'm dying to see them". So I direct her to the fridge, she looked at them and just walked away. No reaction, no " they look good or even (her real opinion) they look bad". Just peaked at them and walked away.. I was sooooooooooo mad. I just thought you know what you "$##$##$#$". Can't say what I thought. But because of the way I was feeling at the time.. I left the party and told my kids that is the last dang cake I do for free!!! I can't do this anymore. Although everyone loved them. As a matter of fact I received a pending order from HER cousin that I never even met.. AAHHGGG!! I am so mad..This feels like a cinderella story! I feel like I was on my knees scrubbing the floor for nothing!!!! (sigh) Thanks for letting me vent!

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mvucic Posted 14 Aug 2005 , 6:53am
post #23 of 29
Originally Posted by SquirrellyCakes

"we won't work for crumbs or crumby people"!
Hugs Squirrelly

That's hilarious! I love it icon_smile.gif

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nanni Posted 14 Aug 2005 , 1:10pm
post #24 of 29

Vent away-how ungracious of her-the next time she says anything about a free cake tell her paid cakes get priority-would she like to join the list of paying customers??? I would have left too-don't know if I would have held my tongue or not though-well Cinderella-you are getting an order from her cousin so get up off your knees and celebrate-don't let her keep you down..easier said than done I know-have a SM too-but you should be proud of your work whether she likes it or not-the guests of honor appreciated it and that's what counts.

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 3:19am
post #25 of 29

Hhmn, sounds to me like a bit of jealousy and insecurity on her part? Jealous because she couldn't make the cakes herself and insecure that you would be in the limelight? Sad really, but it takes all kinds of people! Bet the twins loved the cakes though! Good for you, you got an order out of it and good for you for being such a kind-hearted soul!
Hugs Squirrelly

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Mchelle Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 1:38pm
post #26 of 29

I can totally understand! I had a family member tell me that she was going to buy the ingredients so that I could make her a cake. icon_surprised.gif I told her OH NO sweetie, I don't work like that. If you want a cake you will have to order one. I decide when I feel like giving a cake to someone, not the other way around. Now everyone knows that, Michelle does not do free cakes. Surprisingly enough, people spread the word real fast that you don't give free cakes. They don't spread it nearly fast enough that you make cakes as a business. Go figure. I just want to know, since when do people think that you don't have to make a living too?

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aunt-judy Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 6:16pm
post #27 of 29

loree001: no backbone? icon_wink.gif you could always use a dowel rod...

just because you have a hobby that produces an edible product, doesn't mean it's of any less value than someone who makes more permanent crafts or has a service skill (like haircutting or manicure). all sorts of people want things for free, but they can only take advantage of you if you let next time someone asks you to donate your time and money to make a cake for their party, ask them if they're a registered charity and do they offer tax receipts for your donation? if someone wants a special cake from you, and you insist on taking no payment for your work, they should at the very least offer to pay for your supply costs. if your neighbour was a mechanic and offered to do the work to replace some of the parts of your car for nothing, would you expect them to also pay for the replacement parts? so why are baked goods any different? my theory is that because home-made cakes are generally made by women, there is an automatic devaluing of both the work and the product.

if your office has regular birthday observances and there's an expectation that you'll be making the cake, tell them that you need to know what their budget is so that you can determine the quality of the ingredients and plan for the complexity of the cake. you'd pipe up if the folks at your office expected you to buy lunch for everyone once or twice a month out of your own pocket, wouldn't you?

i'm rather lucky; my mother insists on paying $50 for one of my simple chocolate truffle cakes, and i've never had a problem telling my sister where to go when she has offered to pay a lousy $10 on top of my supply costs for cakes for her friends. love her dearly, but i don't take my sore little hands out of retirement unless i'm really keen to make the cake, and/or i'm being remunerated appropriately.

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thecakemaker Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 6:38pm
post #28 of 29

I had a His and Her's bridal shower at my house just over a year ago. Bought all the food and paper goods. Baked two cakes (the tux and the cala cake in my gallery). Invited a ton of people to my house and played the good hostess. The bride and groom seemed happy. Would you believe that at the last shower I had at the house - another his and her's - when the bride opened my gift to her - a cake cutting/serving set - the other groom had the nerve to say out load "did she get us one of those? - no!" I had to bite my tongue! I am the matron of honor at the most recent wedding so I wanted to give a gift other than the shower. The first wedding shower I had because the brides mother was having a shower "only for her friends and family". )(*&^%$#@! I told her - if we're not friends or family what the heck are we!? If it weren't for me the entire one family wouldn't have gotten them anything! As far as i was concerned - the shower cost more and was more personal than a trinket I could have purchased at the store!

Thanks for letting me vent - you gotta love family!


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Thalia Posted 15 Aug 2005 , 6:50pm
post #29 of 29

I did one free cake for a work "pot luck" to show them the difference between buying store bought or home made/decorated. They were impressed and asked me if I would do one each month for birthdays. I said I would be happy to, but that I would need to charge $50 a cake, which is still a bargain since the cakes would have to feed 60 people. They thought that was now I have a standing order..and they still got a discounticon_smile.gif


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