Bride Wants Damask Design But Buttercream Icing!!!!!

Decorating By chrissysconfections Updated 11 May 2010 , 9:52pm by OCakes

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chrissysconfections Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 1:05am
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I'm having trouble with a bride who wants me to do their cake. She picked out the Martha Stewart damask cake but wasn't willing to pay the price (big surprise) so she's given me a budget of $300 for 200 guests. Every design I've offered up she's shot down. She really wants a damask design to match the invites but she also wants buttercream because it's the cheaper choice. She wants an ivory cake with brown damask or possibly scrollwork with salmon and lime green ribbon around the bottom of each square tier. Any ideas??? Can stencils be used on buttercream without it pulling off??

Thanks in advance!

36 replies
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Baker_Rose Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 1:12am
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Wow!! Talk about a beer budget!! Is she getting some sheets for the back for $300 or just a tiered cake?? That's only $1.50 a serving. Cakes are cheap around here, but $2 is about the base price. I wouldn't do any fancy decoration past the ribbons for that price. She's going to have to settle on the money she wants to pay or the cake she wants to serve.

How to do the damask on buttercream? I really don't know how without fondant.


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BlakesCakes Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 2:14am
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OK, she has a budget of $300 for 200 guests--first of all, THAT'S HER PROBLEM, NOT YOURS.

Her budget dictates what she gets for a cake. You have no obligation to give her an $600 cake for $300.

Given her budget, she can't have what she wants. period.

What can you give her for that amount? Tell her and if she doesn't like the options, cut her loose.

You can stencil on buttercream, but it can be a time consuming and trying process--$$$$$$$$$$$--so with her budget, I wouldn't even offer it as a possibility.

If I go to a car dealer that sells BMWs and Fords and I want a BMW but can only afford the Ford, guess what I drive home in-----------NOT the BMW!!!!!!!!!!!


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dlcamp Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 2:35am
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There's actually a good video on the site here on how to do it.

I used the video to try it on a cake for a wedding renewal ceremony. It was a little scary because it was a black stencil on white buttercream, but it turned out really nice and wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

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nwnest Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 2:37am
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Designer Stencils recommends using a crusting buttercream and chilling your cake at least 30 minutes before you stencil so the stencil doesn't stick. You use the same buttercream thinned down a bit to stencil with.

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tlreetz Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 2:38am
post #6 of 37

If she is set on buttercream....could you possibly do an edible damask frosting sheet like this:

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tcakes65 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 2:47am
post #7 of 37

All of my damask stenciled cakes have been done in buttercream. I haven't had a problem yet. If you're not used to doing it, have someone hold the stencil for you while you apply the buttercream to the stencil. Just be sure not to get it too thick, and the stencil should come off fine. I personally love doing the buttercream stencils...quick and easy.

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all4cake Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 2:53am
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It can also be done as a rbct too...

cut strips of freezer or waxed paper the dimensions of the sides (if doing rounds, these strips can be sectioned off after stenciling then, aligned one at a time). Stencil in buttercream onto the paper strips...allow to set up in the freezer. After final coating the tier, apply the rbct strips (removing and applying one at a time from freezer).

They can also be done ahead of time in ri...stenciling onto LIGHTLY greased freezer/waxed/parchment paper (for round tiers or any otherwise curved tiers, simply attach strips to same size pan or dummy to dry...MAKE EXTRAS. Apply to sides of tier before icing has crusted.

The above is useful to those of us who are intimidated by the whole idea of apply contrasting colors directly to the cake surface...the thought of marring up the last or next to last section...OH! THE HORROR!

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ladyonzlake Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 3:07am
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Her budget is way too low for a damask style cake. For a stenciled fondant cake I charge $4.50 per serving and my base price is $4.00 per serving. I actually charge the same wether is BC or fondant.

I have stenciled on IMBC and it's a PITA. Haven't tried on crusting BC.

I just had a friend ask me this same question but her bride want non dairy icing....I suggested purchasing fondant damask cutters and placing them on the cake or making a stencil and cut out your fondant and placing on the cake.

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leslie2748 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 3:10am
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I just did a damask stencil for a friend, I would tell this chickie to take a hikey!! icon_surprised.gif)

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JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 3:50am
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$300 for 200 guests?? She'd be lucky to get FROSTING on the cake, much less have it decorated! I don't even think I'd spend time smoothing the buttercream for $1.50 per person! It's always the ones with no budget who are the most demanding! I would tell her..."with your budget, this is what I can give you." If you give her the Martha cake for $300, you won't make a penny on the order once you factor in your time.

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leah_s Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 4:16am
post #12 of 37

Good advice.

The bottom line is, her budget is her problem. She can't have what she wants for that amount of $. I want a new Esclade too, but I only have $8,000.

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tcakes65 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 11:46am
post #13 of 37

Stick to your guns and pricing on this one. I agree with Leah that the bride's budget is her problem. You aren't obligated to accommodate a potential client's unrealistic budget. If she really wants the design and for you to do it, you'll be surprised at how quickly she can come up with the money. Is this her true budget or is she trying to see which baker will cave and give her a lowball price? I would let this one go.

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JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 12:44pm
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I'm reminded of another thread I recently read on here. When a bride says, "I have 200 guests and $300. What can I get?" her a box of Twinkies! icon_lol.gifthumbs_up.gif

And tell her she'll have to cut them into thirds!! icon_biggrin.gif

Your bride needs a reality check. It's unfortunate that not every bride has the $$ for their dream wedding, but as others have said, that isn't your problem! I'd flat out (but politely) tell her..."Let's be realistic. The Martha cake is a XXXX dollar cake and there's simply no way it can be done for $300. Unless you increase your cake budget, you have to accept that you can't have the cake of your dreams. Now, let's talk about what we CAN do for $300."

I'd also show her what can be done for $500. You'd be amazed at how quickly the budget can go up a few hundred dollars for a nicer cake! (Realtors do this all the time. Budget of $250,000 and they'll show you a $350,000 house just so you can see what you're missing!)

In any case, take charge of the situation. If she doesn't bend, you might not get the order, but at least you won't lose money either!

And whatever cake you do for her for $300...remind her to cut THIN slices!! icon_lol.gif

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thecakemaker Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 12:57pm
post #15 of 37

I've used the stencils with buttercream over crusted buttercream with no problems. That being said - I still wouldn't let the bride dictate to me what she will get for what price!


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CoutureCakeCreations Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 1:04pm
post #16 of 37

Invite her to shop other bakeries to find out pricing. Have her provide you with written quotes and you can beat their pricing.....BUT there is no way she can have a wedding cake for 200 people for $300. Please dont short your talents. If she does not want to pay then tell her that you are unable to provide her with a wedding cake.

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leah_s Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 1:10pm
post #17 of 37

You may remember a previous story I told on here. It went something like this, "BB & G (at wedding show) "We have 200 guests and a cake budget of $300. What can you do for that?"
Me, "Frankly, nothing."
B&G, "OK, we oculd go $400." See, that budget is starting to go out the window.
Me, "Unfortunately, still nothing. My base price is going to be $600, and there's still an equipment fee and delivery fee on top of that. I'd suggest to try a neighborhood bakery or possibly WalMart."

I didn't get the job, but then I didn't want the job either.

Frankly, my year is a wee bit slower than last year, but I'm not going to pay someone to let me work for them. Naps are nice. Time for marketing is a good thing.

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Kitagrl Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 1:15pm
post #18 of 37

I'm going to be airbrushing a stencil on a buttercream cake soon for the first time...I imagine having a nice cold cake will work fine, doing a tier at a time. I've done only two fondant cakes in using royal icing and one using airbrush.

The lady's budget stinks BASE price is $3/serving and that only includes plain buttercream and a ribbon. Maybe swiss dots if I'm in a good mood.

Stenciling is a pain especially if you haven't done too much of it so...I definitely would never make a cake for 200, all stenciled, for only $300. I'd rather spend the weekend with my kids. Send this chick far away unless you can get her to "remember" the correct budget.

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hsmomma Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 8:07pm
post #19 of 37

You set your prices, not your client. Certainly work within their budget if you can...give them alternatives to stick within it. But, don't lower your price because it is outside of their budget.

Imagine how unhappy you will be when you deliver a cake that you didn't get paid what you should for and see a company setting up their 1,000.00 photobooth at the venue.

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leah_s Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 8:22pm
post #20 of 37

I always request a picture of the bride's gown prior to the appointment. When I get sent a designer dress that I know costs upwards of $3K and they've rented a $1500 room at the venue, then I do a fairly upscale design to start with. I know there's $ in there somewhere.
Insert evil grin here

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PhotoFrost1 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 8:27pm
post #21 of 37

If it is to be buttercream frosting and the design doesnt need to be raised off the frosting, I would defenitely consider an edible frosting sheet printed with the design. You could fit her budget and would be a huge timesaver for you as well.

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JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 8:50pm
post #22 of 37

Photo, I was going to suggest that as well, but still......$300 for 200 people??!! icon_rolleyes.gif I would make her increase her budget. The last thing you want is to become the baker that does $300 cakes for 200 guests! Or...maybe you DO want that. If so, go for it!! thumbs_up.gif But I'd say, you'll be busy busy busy and won't make much money money money!!

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Bfisher2 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 8:50pm
post #23 of 37

icon_eek.gif 200 servings for 300 bucks..... someone had better get kissed when that cake is delivered icon_surprised.gif

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chrissysconfections Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 7:36pm
post #24 of 37

Thanks everyone! I sent her a very polite email suggesting I put her in contact with another baker that perhaps is more within her restrictions. She hasn't emailed me back to say whether or not she'd like to contact this person. I did offer her other options in the $500 range and she said that was still too much, when I finally asked her what her budget was she told me $300 or less because they are doing everything themselves. I can understand that because my husband and I paid for our wedding ourselves too BUT the two things we didn't skimp on was the dress & the cake!! She did agree to only 3 tiers from 5 at one point but now I'm kinda fed up, I've spent 2 wks trying to help her out and I'm getting no where (but frustrated). Below is the email I sent to her hoping to put her off me doing the cake.

"Hello. I'm glad you still want me to do your cake however, since we still have time and aren't easily able to find the right fit with a cake design I had an idea. I have a friend on FB that also does cakes, she actually taught me some basic classes when I first started out. She a Wilton instructor, has her own cake business and she has been doing wedding cakes for probably close to or more then 10 yrs. I know she has quite a few albums full of different cakes to choose from and can do just about anything you want. If you would like, I can put you in contact with her through FB and you can see what she has to offer, maybe she will be able to do what you'd truly like on your budget since she probably has most, if not all the supplies (which I don't). I don't know what she charges but she may even be able to do the cake you first mentioned cheaper or something along those lines at your budget. I would hate to see you settle for a cake you didn't truly love and this will give you many, many more options. If you speak with her and see her work and decide you still want me to do your cake then maybe by then we will have a better idea on what direction to take. I think all brides should have the cake of their dreams on their wedding day and if I am not able to produce that then I am more then happy to direct you to someone who can icon_smile.gif If you would like to be put in contact with her please let me know and I would be more then happy to do so for you. If nothing else you can get another perspective on things and perhaps even find exactly what you want."

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leily Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 8:20pm
post #25 of 37

just out of curiousity, did you ask her how many people she invited? If she invited 200, then you could use the 60% rule and probably get closer to her budget. Then you're only looking at about 120 servings instead of 200, big price difference.

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chrissysconfections Posted 30 Apr 2010 , 9:10pm
post #26 of 37

Her orignal quote was for 250 guests and I explained to her about not everyone coming and those that do may not eat cake since they are serving alcohol as well but she was firm at 200. They are fairly young and assume that everyone they have invited will surely be attending. I explained to her that as much as they would like that to be the case it often isn't but she wasn't willing to budge. I even stressed the issue of paying for servings that wouldn't be used and that they would end up having to eat or give away but she still wouldn't budge.

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ladyonzlake Posted 1 May 2010 , 1:05am
post #27 of 37

You could always suggest a smaller cake with her design and then sheet cakes for the remainder.

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Minstrelmiss Posted 1 May 2010 , 1:25am
post #28 of 37

I love the edible images idea...easy and within their budget!

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Shalott Posted 1 May 2010 , 6:26am
post #29 of 37

We got our wedding cake for a complete steal -- it was ridiculously cheap! One thing that made it cheaper, however, was the fact that we had an additional dessert on top of the cake. See whether it might suit her budget more to get a cheap dessert (have a friend make it), and then, perhaps, a two-tiered cake, smaller, butter-cream cake?

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QueenMo Posted 1 May 2010 , 6:59am
post #30 of 37

I can admit that i have made cakes for close friends of mine for "steals"...for instance, i made a cake for a friend of mine for much less than it should have cost, and as a trade, got a good 100 very professional business cards in return. Most of the time i do them so cheap just to build my portfolio, honestly. A favor for a friend is one thing, but someone who is being inflexible is another...

Give her the walmart brochure.... icon_lol.gif

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