I Know I Should Not Be Annoyed, But Sadly I Am

Business By RebeccaBloomwood Updated 13 Mar 2012 , 12:40am by vgcea

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RebeccaBloomwood Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 10:38am
post #1 of 23

I know I shouldn't be annoyed by what I am going to post, but as I was working, I kept thinking about it and kept getting frustrated. And my confidence level has also been shot and I keep thinking, I guess I'm just not good enough at this if I can't do something so "simple" (according to the person)

The other day, I got an order for cookies and loaf cakes and pastries from a relative, they were due today. This morning I got a call from this relative and she told me could you put in less sugar or something? I want the cookies less sweet. I said it would be a little difficult for me to change my tried and tested recipes at the very last minute because changing even one component could alter the entire thing, like the texture, the chewiness, the crunch, the appearance, and of course the taste and several other things. I said I didn't have enough time to change the recipe right now, if I do change it, I won't have enough time to really experiment on it and I won't be 100% sure about the outcome. Then she said, it's simple, just reduce the sugar, what's so hard about that? I didn't want to argue anymore and just said okay fine. There was no use explaining that changing the amount of sugar would change the whole recipe by a lot, I mean, I spent so much time and so many batches trying to perfect my recipes and this is actually the first time somebody has told me to change my recipe.

So now I'm thinking, maybe I'm in the wrong business when such "simple" things aggravate me, and couldn't be more flexible with my recipes. icon_sad.gif And now that I think of it, that my recipes were not even good enough to begin with. icon_sad.gif

The cookies turned out okay, but am just not 100% happy with them.

22 replies
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karateka Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 12:13pm
post #2 of 23

She's an idiot. I don't change my recipes. I've let people make me feel bad before, and I refuse to allow it now.

People who don't bake from scratch don't know how it works, and just don't understand. If she doesn't like your goods the way they are, why is she ordering from you? This kills me. If I don't like a particular restaurant's lasagna, I don't ask them to change it for me. I just don't eat that when I go there!

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MimiFix Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 12:32pm
post #3 of 23
Originally Posted by karateka

She's an idiot!

I would have said "moron" but I agree with everything else.

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bobwonderbuns Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 1:14pm
post #4 of 23

Dump customers like that -- EVEN if they are relatives!!! Trust me, I have a few relatives that I won't even make a free birthday cake for. They want to whine over every little thing, then go to WalMart and whine over there. I don't have the time for it!!!

As for your recipes, they are what you, the cake baker, are known for. Make sure your very honest taste testers are happy with it as are your regular customers. They're the ones who count.

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LKing12 Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 1:34pm
post #5 of 23

The answer was, "NO." Baking is chemistry. Changing any part on purpose or by accident changes the whole outcome. If you weren't comfortable with change, you should not have felt obligated. The only thing customers can change on my orders is the quantity!

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icer101 Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 1:50pm
post #6 of 23

Don,t. let anyone make you change a thing about your recipes. You have developed them and let it be. Stand up for your beliefs and who you are. hth

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TheSweetTreat Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 2:39pm
post #7 of 23

Someone else's ingnorance should not make you quit doing what you're doing, and I'm sure very good at. They don't bake so they don't know the science behind it. It's a matter of having the confidence to stand by your original arguement that changing the sugar won't work. Be ok with your decision to say NO, I can't change my recipe on such short notice. Don't worry about hurt feelings or the appearance that you may not know what you're doing because you can't change the sugar so quickly. That again is ignorance on the part of your relative who doesn't understand baking.

Be confident in the recipes you've perfected and make them for peopl who love them as is. Maybe now start a project to create a low sugar version of your recipes for others when they ask. But you've done nothing wrong here by trying to educate your relative. She sounds like a charm to deal with. I'm an extremely sensitive person and definitely would have felt very sad and frustrated if this had happen to me, but at the end of the day I would know that the problem is THIS person..not me. They were being unreasonable.

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Karema Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 7:57pm
post #8 of 23

I understand how it hurts your feeling but you have to stand up for what you believe. I hear all the time complaints like "this is too sweet, it has too much chocolate, this has too little nuts, this is too much frosting on this cupcake, this cupcake doesn't have enough frosting bc that's the part that I like!" I've heard it all!! I even get told why are your prices so high? I get it all but they don't have to buy it and that is what I told them!!! I do offer a splenda version of two of my cookies for customers and they can choose between those two and that is it!! Everything else stays the same bc I have had hundreds of people tell me how much they love my cupcakes and cookies. So know who you are brush off all the negativity!!!

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RebeccaBloomwood Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 8:51pm
post #9 of 23

Thanks so much everyone. I have learned my lesson. I'm very new to all of this, so I am not used to people demanding me to change my recipe. I mean, it's okay, but give me some time. People think it's so easy to change recipes, like when you do when you're cooking a stew or something, you can easily add a pinch of this and that.

What everyone said made me feel reassured. I should really know when to say NO. I'm sort of a people pleaser so it's difficult for me to say no, specially to relatives and friends. I guess you have to be really tough in this business because a lot of criticism comes in. I also think I've been pricing my stuff too low because I've heard someone say that they're too pricey.

I'm such a doormat when it comes to relatives/friends asking me to make stuff from them. I once had a friend ask me make a cake and she kept hinting and hinting that the store bought cakes cost this much and that much. I should've said then go buy your cake there, but of course I didn't want her to get angry with me. I need to be less sensitive. I've got tons left to learn about this biz. I've got to learn and get used to taking negative feedback and criticism.

Thanks everyone for the responses. You all made me feel reassured. So glad I joined CC! icon_smile.gif I'm new here btw icon_smile.gif

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RebeccaBloomwood Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 8:59pm
post #10 of 23
Originally Posted by TheSweetTreat

Maybe now start a project to create a low sugar version of your recipes for others when they ask. .

That is a wonderful idea, I'll definitely do that! Thanks! icon_smile.gif

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Karema Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 9:24pm
post #11 of 23

Well welcome to CC glad to have you here. You will learn a lot. When i first came I was doing cookies and cakes and I was charging way below what I should have. I kept thinking well if I add the ingrediants and mulitply it by three that sould be a fair price. I was was wrong!!! lol It also depends on your area. When I lived in buffalo I charged $1.00 per regular cupcake but you know what? I moved to NYC and the price when up to $3/ regular cupcake. It sounds crazy but it's what I had to do bc I had to match my prices to those in the area. It didn't make sense to keep it that low just bc my cost was low. You will learn. Do your research and see what others in the area are charging. And invest in Cakeboss software it lets you know how much profit you are actually making!!! Good luck wishing you all the best.

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LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 9:31pm
post #12 of 23

The bottom line is you can't please everybody. We just opened a storefront, and while we are getting overwhelmingly good responses, there are a few people who just can't help but find something to complain about. One lady got all huffy because we don't keep gluten free stuff in our case and it has to be special ordered. Another has come in twice and complained about our cupcake prices both times (as she bought 3 or 4 other things that were the same price as the cuppies).

Don't let someone who is obviously ignorant about baking tell you that you are wrong in your knowledge of YOUR recipes. YOU are the expert, not her.

And don't think that you are in the wrong business because it annoyed you that she was questioning you. It would annoy me too! Just let it roll off and keep going!

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cakelady2266 Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 9:52pm
post #13 of 23

I understand your frustration. I'm convinced people that ask these stupid questions don't cook or bake anything. You have to have the right amount of sugar to flour ratio or the whole thing is screwed. You can always add nuts, dried fruit, coconut, chocolate chips or something like that to a base recipe without screwing it up. But you do not take out things like sugar or fat.

I love it when they ask for icing that is not so sweet. Oh sure I can do that but it will be real greasy. Dumb people.

Dumb request from a customer lately. One wanted chocolate icing but she wanted it to be pink. She didn't want white chocolate icing, she wanted it to taste like regular chocolate except pink. Couldn't I just make the brown icing pink? Really? One didn't want icing made from shortening, butter, cream cheese and did not want fondant. Okay what I'm I going to ice a 400 person wedding cake in? Mashed potatoes, mud, my imagination?

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mcaulir Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 10:20pm
post #14 of 23
Originally Posted by cakelady2266

Dumb request from a customer lately. One wanted chocolate icing but she wanted it to be pink. She didn't want white chocolate icing, she wanted it to taste like regular chocolate except pink. Couldn't I just make the brown icing pink? Really? One didn't want icing made from shortening, butter, cream cheese and did not want fondant. Okay what I'm I going to ice a 400 person wedding cake in? Mashed potatoes, mud, my imagination?

Ha! Did you get out of her what she thought icing was made from? She probably wanted it to be sugar free, as well. icon_rolleyes.gif

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cakelady2266 Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 10:28pm
post #15 of 23

My head was reeling so I didn't bring up sugar. I can't wait to see what she comes up with. Somebody ask me once to make their cake in cornbread.

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MelaMang75 Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 10:49pm
post #16 of 23

After making cakes for 13 years, the one thing I've learned is you can't let one customer get you down! Especially when it's something as absurd as them asking you to change your recipe at the last minute. They ordered "YOUR" cookies, had you changed to less sugar, they wouldn't be "your" cookies anymore. Sometimes customers are just idiots! Sorry to be so blunt, but it's true. I had a customer get mad at me this week because she picked out an $85 cake and she wanted it for $50, not to mention it was a fondant cake with fondant decorations, but she wanted it all in buttercream because she didn't like fondant (never had mine) I said no, that I couldn't do that specific cake in bc, and that if she wanted a cake that size with bc the cheapest I would go was $70. She got mad, but oh well. I have plenty of good customers willing to pay my price and are happy with what I give them. Those are the customers that keep me going in this business! Call up one of your faithful customers who love you cookies, and have them tell you why they love them so much, then you will see why it's worth forgetting about someone who wants to criticize your work and try to change it! Chin UP! icon_wink.gif

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Burnsygal Posted 11 Mar 2012 , 10:59pm
post #17 of 23

Baking is a science and cooking is an art form stupid woman! I can't be doing with people like that

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ncsmorris Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 12:46pm
post #18 of 23

It's frustrating but honestly, some people really do not know! I have a friend who is a WONDERFUL cook, but a she cooks, she changes the "recipe" however she deems fit (I do the same) - want it spicier? Add more hot sauce. Want it less garlic-y? Use less garlic. Get my drift?

She tried her hand at baking bread and was baffled when her modifications didn't work. I told her, "don't be frustrated. Baking is different - you HAVE to follow the recipe. EXACTLY" [or know the science behind changing it].

Anyway, my point is she may not have understood BUT you did nothing wrong. Changing one thing in baking changes everything - it's not like cooking in that regard.

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RebeccaBloomwood Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 3:34pm
post #19 of 23

yes baking is definitely different, and no offense to cooks, way harder. when you're cooking, you can modify your food as you go along, but when you're baking, specially cakes, its not like you can take a chunk off of it, taste it, and put it back in the oven and re-bake the same cake it when it doesn't taste right, you've got to redo the entire thing. plus, people think it's easier because "all you have to do is measure ingredients and put it in the oven". um noooo.. that's not just it. there are humidity factors, altitude, oven calibration, oven hot spots, you can over mix the batter, tons of things can go wrong! you don't "just measure and bake"

i can't blame other people for not knowing things, but sometimes they're just too inconsiderate. we're not magicians.

I don't know if you've all already read this blog post, you probably have. it's soooo true!


January 3, 2012 Category: Cakemechanic Blog 120 Comments


By the end of this post someone will have just finished working 12 hours and 20 minutes working on a cake for a birthday, baby shower or wedding. They will have skipped sleep, missed a day with their family and spent a good penny on ingredients. Pushing themselves as they juggle between sleep and sanity. All for a free cake! Yes you heard it here. FREE CAKE!

How is this cake free you ask? Im sure you want to grab one of these for your next event. You too can have a cake as seen on tv for free!

Let me explain something to you. When cake artists are at work. They usually put in about 300% more work than most people. Like many artists they are in this for the passion and love. Like they say love dont pay the bills.

Well the reality is, the bills have to get paid. No matter how appealing a free cake sounds and you would love to get a great deal. Its like stealing! Yes you are robbing someone, who has worked incredibly hard to make you edible art that will adorn your function. Feel guilty yet? If the answer is NO then my time is wasted on you. I suggest you go to your local grocery store to get your next dream cake. If you have little respect for the artists then this cake is not for you.

So perhaps stealing is too strong a word. But borrowing implies youll be giving it back. Im not sure rent-a-cake is going to catch on. Or whether anyone would want their borrowed cake back after youve had a slice.

Wondering why I am against the free cake idea. Well lets say many of us in the industry have been asked for discounts that are often insulting and sometimes a little crazy. Its understandable that we all have reasons to save money and love a good deal. But this is not the place for a bargain. Cake decorators dont exactly make a lot on cakes. Well you have a few who do. But thats only the ones you usually see on television with brands that represent them. The majority are not on television and are equally talented. They do not demand remarkable prices. Many undervalue the costs of their cakes. So when someone requests a 3 tier cake with all the trimmings and sparkle for under a $100. Well its just unfair.

So lets make a resolution starting this year. Lets forget about the free cakes and start appreciating the workmanship and time these artists invest in your cake.

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Sassyzan Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 4:09pm
post #20 of 23

Just wanted to add something for future situations like this. When you start giving a lot of different reasons why you can't change your recipe or do one thing or another for people, it makes them think they have room to argue and change your mind. Sometimes saying less means a lot more. Rather than giving all the reasons you described in the OP, you could say, "I have worked out the perfect recipe that works for me, and I don't alter it."

If it's someone you will be getting a lot of repeat business from, you could say, "I'd love to work out the perfect recipe for you for a future event. I'd like at least one month notice to get it to taste great for you," or something like that. But more talking just makes it sound like you're willing to compromise. Keep it short, sweet, and precise.

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costumeczar Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 4:21pm
post #21 of 23

You also have to remember that relatives are the worst customers ever. And that food is personal preference, so just because one person says that they don't like something doesn't mean that the next ten people who come along won't like it. I've done tasting appointments where one group loved a flavor, then the next group hated it. It makes no difference to me, isn't a comment on my baking, it's just their preference.

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instant-gratificaketion Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 11:34pm
post #22 of 23

I had someone ask me to make a smash cake and cupcakes for their daughter's 1st birthday and through the course of the conversation said the baby doesn't like sweets/sweet things umpteen times. I wanted to scream, "YOU'RE ORDERING A CAKE!!!!!" Needless to say, I didn't take the order. Not worth it.

I would have been like, "Less sugar? Sure!" and went ahead and made my cookies as I normally do. Unless they're diabetic or have an issue with sugar, I would have not changed a thing. If they did have medical issues, I would have wondered (probably out loud) why they were ordering cookies.

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vgcea Posted 13 Mar 2012 , 12:40am
post #23 of 23

I'm pretty new to the cake business myself, and have felt discouraged (for like 10 seconds) when someone criticizes my cake but I never let it get to me. The funny thing is, it's usually ridiculous stuff like: "Oh, that citrus icing is too tangy." I'm thinking: "Really? Did you miss the part about it being "CITRUS?!" icon_rolleyes.gif
Or this one where the girl said my IMBC was too buttery. This is the same IMBC another girl called "the best icing" she has ever had in her life.

I say all this to point out that people will have their preferences, and that's good for them. But you can not go around changing your product on the whim of some person. If you do that you'll be changing your recipe everyday. If you feel the conviction to create a reduced sugar version of your stuff, go for it but don't go bending over backward because someone wants it at the last minute.

If your original recipe was bad to begin with, she would not have ordered from you. Please, don't ever discredit all the hard work you put into your recipes. And show some respect for that hard work when some ignoramus makes unreasonable demands by telling them NO.

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