I am a teacher in Texas and I decorate cakes as a hobby. I do cakes for friends and family but lately I have been doing more and more cakes for fellow teachers. There is no where in our area (extremely secluded small Texas town. Think 45 minutes to the nearest Wal-Mart that is in Kansas...) that does cakes so there is a real need for it. Anyways, I don't charge above cost but I usually get a large tip so I do make some profit. Whatever I make goes right into buying the supplies for the next cake or a new cake toy.
My question is... I have been asked to donate a coupon for a free cake for a March of Dimes auction. They want me to make a free cake for the highest bidder. Will this get me in trouble since I'm not a liscensed bakery?? Everyone says I should charge more for my cakes and they don't seem to get that I could get into serious trouble since I don't actually own a business. I would really like to do this, March of Dimes is my favorite charity, but I am worried I am going to get into trouble...
Ask your health dept what is required to donate cakes. Mine said to stay away from age groups that are more sensitive (young and old), and to add a disclaimer that this was baked in an unlicensed home kitchen. But everywhere is different.
People all over the world bring or donate cakes to events. No one makes them get inspected beforehand.
I say donate it as a private individual, not as a business.
Most states exempt cakes done for charity but double check. You mention that you don't charge above costs but in most states that is probably illegal if you are not licensed. Be very careful as you have a lot on the line (being in a profession, teacher, that is licensed)
It is very risky to donate to the public without getting prior approval. And as pattycakesnj said, most areas have exceptions for charity. Yes, the recipient may not check, but if someone gets sick, you will not have the health dept on your side. If you are a business, then you have a license. THIS IS ABOUT INDIVIDUALS donating cakes. It is one thing to bring a cake to your church social, and another thing to make a cake for a stranger. That stranger has the right to know if the cake is from a licensed or an unlicensed home kitchen.
If all you need to do is call the health dept and add the disclaimer label to lower your liability, it is poor advice to ignore the rules and just do it anyway. Advice on this site to ignore the law is unfair as many people look to this site for valuable, correct information.
Thank you all for your replies!! Around here peope don't understand at all why I don't just do cakes as a side business out of my home... And when I try to explain it to them they still don't get it!! It's very frustrating... I hope the Texas Cottage Food Law passes soon...
Anyways, I think I am going to turn her down. I am getting wwwaaayyy too much "publicity" and too many people trying to order cakes from me as-is.
Thanks for the advice!!
As someone who had done this out of my home for years and took stuff to a "public" event...I was caught and FINED by the health department. It does not matter if you get alot of money or a "little over cost", once you start doing for the public (IE: people you do not know personally), you open yourself up to the health department. Also, the legal aspects if someone gets sick from something you made--maybe someone at the party has a food allergy.
Thanks for sharing, Mac.
You just have to call your health department. I was told by some friends that I couldn't sell cakes out of my home but when I called and talked to the right people at the health department, they said that a new regulation was passed allowing vendors to sell things from their home kitchen. I just have to label everything with the ingredients, date, stuff like that and I have to give the customers a disclaimer stating that the product was made in my home kitchen that has not been inspected and that I am not licensed. He said all that differs depending on where you live. I just happen to be lucky!
I still hope you have liability insurance. Just because you have the disclaimer and they knew they were buying from an unlicensed, uninspected kitchen does not keep you from being sued. They may or may not win but what a headache that would be to go through...as well as ruin your reputation.
Thanks for the tip. I'll check into that.