I Am Not Just A Cake Baker...!!!???

Decorating By gma1956 Updated 31 Oct 2005 , 11:10pm by mudpie

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gma1956 Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:38am
post #1 of 53


I had a call two days ago from a member of the hospitality committee of my mothers church.

I had recently made my Mother's seventyth birthday cake and the party was held at her church, so naturally the churhc was invited to the party.

When the committee met two days ago to plan their pastor and his wife's 50th wedding anniversary, They decided ask if I would make the cake.

I said yes, the lady that called asked how much it would be and after asking her several questions about what they wanted, I had the general idea. I told her I would send them a list of three choices; listing the description of each choice (what each choice included) and they could decide if they still wanted me to make the cake after they saw my prices.

This is what they wanted.

1. A double ring cake - I do scuplted cakes - so that would be no problem.

2. It needed to serve 150 people. - no problem. They wanted my to use the 16" round cake.

3. They wanted 2 different types of filling. I can do that too, but I charge extra for more than one flavor of filling.

4. They also wanted fresh flowers on the cake. That is fine too, but I don't have a flower garden, so these would have to be purchase.

I gave them three choices, I even gave them a discount, since it was for my mother's church. For 150 people the prices ranged from 175.00 to 350.00 - Each price increase the cake would have much more detail decorating. I did not think this was unreasonable.

I got a call today from the "Committee Chairman". "Our budget will only allow us to spend around $50.00 for a cake." (50.00/150 = .333 a serving) "We didn't want a wedding cake" (just a cake shaped like double rings, with 2 fillings, and fresh flowers) "Would you just make us a sheet cake to serve 150 people and just write their names on the cake with a few flowers for around $50.00?"

My mouth fell open. I calculated the cost of the cake, just for the ingredients it would have been $30.00, that did not include the flowers.

Needless to say, I told her I just could not make a cake for that price that served 150 people, and I did not think you would find anyplace that would give you much of a cake (that size) for $50.00.



52 replies
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peachstate Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:44am
post #2 of 53

I feel your pain. Dont sell yourself short.

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TinaRe Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:48am
post #3 of 53

OH MY!!! there are some that say "it's just a cake!" well you aren't paying for the cake you are paying for the decoration too!!! People just don't get it!! If we were just bakers we wouldn't need to decorate what we make!!! I am going through something like that now!! I sympathize too!!! Good luck with things.

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katerpillrgrl Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:50am
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I totally think you did the right thing. Some people just have no idea of the kind of work that goes into our cakes.

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msty112 Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:50am
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It's someones 50th wedding anniversary and they only allow $50 for a cake that size?!?
That's crazy!!
OK, a cake shaped like double rings, with 2 fillings, fresh flowers, and serves 150. That pretty much IS a wedding cake!!! Plus 50 years of marriage is VERY honorable. They deserve way more than a $50 cake budget.

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Lenette Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:52am
post #6 of 53

I'm so sorry that happened to you. I have heard many people say that people generally just think that cake is cake. They have no idea what goes into it, no appreciation for the cost of ingredients, or the amount of time it takes to make a quality product. I had that frustration last week. A lady was referred to me that got married in Vegas anad is having a small reception here. She wanted a cake to feed about twenty or so but wanted it stacked with a fall theme. I was trying to give her a break since she' s a friend of a friend and this would be my first "wedding" cake. Anyway, I told her I could do 5 and 8 inch rounds, stacked with leaves cascading down for $50. She told me she only wanted to spend $30. I told her I couldn't go any lower, and haven't heard from her. Did I mention that this conversation took place last Wed and the reception in this Sat. , the 29th? I know I'm still learning as a decorator but all my cakes and frostings are from scratch and I do a decent job plus this was VERY last minute.

Can you tell I'm still irritated??? It seems that when we try to bend over backwards for people they just don't appreciate.

Now, sorry for my long rant, didn't mean to take over your post. I totally understand your frustration.

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msty112 Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 4:57am
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You know what gma? You should just go slop them together a sheet cake and throw some weeds on it.

OK that was harsh but come on this is their PASTER AND HIS WIFE!!!!!

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bikegal Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 5:00am
post #8 of 53

*hugs* You get enough of those customers and I'm sure it starts to grate on the 'ol nerves. If only more men would order cakes instead of women. I had no problems selling $75-$150 floral arrangements over the phone to men. Both are perishable items but I'd take cake any day. icon_smile.gif


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lastingmoments Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 5:07am
post #9 of 53

all I can say is WOW>>>>>>>>>>>>im speechless .....way to stand your ground. I wouldnt have done it either

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stephanie214 Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 5:14am
post #10 of 53

People are so crazy...want something for nothing.

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antonia74 Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 5:19am
post #11 of 53

I heard a quote a few years ago from a baker...

"Sure, for $25 you can lick the batter from the whisks...and for $40 I'll even turn the mixer off!" icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif

or something crude like that!! (not meaning to offend)

It runs through my head everytime someone asks for a ridiculous price on a cake or cookie order.

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JennT Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 5:22am
post #12 of 53

antonia74...that is so funny!! icon_lol.gif we all have those moments when saying something like that goes thru our minds and stops just at our teeth!!

I can't remember who it is here on CC, but someone has in their signature...."Cheap cakes aren't good, and Good cakes aren't cheap!"...that just about says it all, I think! icon_razz.gif

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Mac Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 5:22am
post #13 of 53

I hd someone call me for a large wedding the weekend after Thanksgiving. They were sending out 600 invites but expected only 200 since it was a holiday weekend. Asked my prices and the number of servings. I gave her my price quote and she had mentioned that another bakery here in town quoted a bit higher price. She asked about pearls and fondant ribbon, I told her that would increase the price by $30.00.

Well, I haven't heard back from her. No love lost there--I'll just enjoy my holiday weekend. The way some things have been happening around here, she will probably call the week before to talk cake. If she does, it will give me great pleasure to tell her, I could not possibly do a cake of that size on such short notice.

People have no clue when it comes to time and difficulty doing a wedding cake.

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SquirrellyCakes Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 5:33am
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Well, you have me beat. I charge $40-$50 for an 11x15 cake. I had an organization that needed two and I do make them for that organization for $30 each. Because they need both a white and a chocolate, I make them separate and follow their designs. But I quote 30 pieces from each cake for a total of $60 for 60 servings. Sometimes they send me an elaborate design and I must say, sometimes, I resent it because they are getting a good deal.
I am glad you stuck to your guns. I don't know of anywhere or anyone that would do cake for that many people for that price. Not even a sheet of brownies. Heck, renting a dummy cake would cost that much and more.
Hugs Squirrelly

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farney0125 Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 6:39am
post #15 of 53

I'm sorry, but what the heck were they thinking? Just because it was for a church or whatever doesn't mean you shouldn't charge what you deserve. To serve that many people is going to cost people! DUH....my husbands work wanted me to make a HUGE sheet cake, I mean HUGE 3feet X 4feet Huge! They were going to pay me $500.00! But, I had two other orders previously, and with my twin babies and daughter there was no way I could transport them, and the sheet cakes (un-assembled of course) to his work...watch the kids while puting together this big of a cake. I think the other orders were a blessing in desguise. I was not looking forward to such a big order. Thank goodness I didn't have to do it. I say good for you for saying no. I wouldn't do it that cheap either. People think we just whip cakes up like it's nothing....we spend hours and hours on details. HELLO!!! I love the saying of someone on here.....I use it too! "Good cakes aren't cheap, cheap cakes aren't good!" LOL

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KayDay Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 7:57am
post #16 of 53

I have sounded off on this topic myself so many times I am sure everyone is tired of hearing ( reading) me..lol. But once again like everyone else I am glad you stuck to your guns! Some think that a home baker should be CHEAPER than a grocery store cake or regular bakery...they are simply crazy...No actually most of them figure they are doing us a favor by using us and have no idea what goes into what we do.

I am usually shy about telling people this and was asked by a prospective customer once about my pricing. And I just stopped right there and broke it down for her and told her..I work on a smaller scale than --mart or whomever and I do make my stuff from scratch and on shorter notice and from better ingredients and put a lot more into it than they do. And YES I charge A LOT more than they do. After explaining it she not only understood, but is a regular customer now. And I try now to throw it out there kinda jokingly with people who make it clear they are hunting a bargain that if they are concerned ONLY with price, I will let you know now ..you might want to go to bargain mart or where ever. That while I am competitive with the other wedding cake bakers and specialty bakery ..I am a SPECIALTY baker and my cake will not be the cheapest they are going to find. I make it a point to include boxes and a few little extras so I usually go the extra mile more so than the other bakeries. But I just shoot em straight from the first few minutes and ask them nicely "do you want a cheap cake" or do you want an awesome tasting .....amazing looking ...unique cake made exactly to your specifications? And I make it clear that it is no sin to be on a budget and that if they are having to pinch pennies they don't want to use me.

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vitade Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 9:46am
post #17 of 53

For an event such as this, what are they thinking!! Let them go buy a crappy cheap cake. When someone doesn't want to spend the money, let them get what they pay for. I know it's hard to believe, TO US, that to some people a cake is well, just a cake. I wonder how they'll decorate the room!

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TickledPink Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 11:21am
post #18 of 53

But the same people probably eat Taco Bell and Golden Corral and consider that "gourmet".... they might even drink wine out of a box for $4.99.

If you find the right clientele they will have no problem spending the money.

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JennT Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 1:23pm
post #19 of 53
Originally Posted by vitade

For an event such as this, what are they thinking!! Let them go buy a crappy cheap cake. When someone doesn't want to spend the money, let them get what they pay for. I know it's hard to believe, TO US, that to some people a cake is well, just a cake. I wonder how they'll decorate the room!

That's what I was thinking too. I mean...this IS a 50th anniversary for their pastor. Pastors & their wives/families give so much of themselves and their time to their churches and congregations....I would think they'd be willing to go the extra mile on this one. But I, too, wonder if they only want to pay $50 for a cake then how will the whole event be done?? They could even call the members privately and tell them they want to have a really great cake for the celebration, but the budget can only afford a store cake....would they be willing to make a donation so they can have a beautiful, unique, custom designed cake for their pastor & his wife?? I bet they'd get enough to pay for it very easily. You never know what's possible if you never ask!! icon_smile.gif

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flayvurdfun Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 1:30pm
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Originally Posted by SquirrellyCakes

I am glad you stuck to your guns. I don't know of anywhere or anyone that would do cake for that many people for that price. Not even a sheet of brownies. Heck, renting a dummy cake would cost that much and more.
Hugs Squirrelly

I couldn't agree more Squirrelly!!!! I would have "sold myself short" and done it just because I hate confrontations..... but you ladies ROCK and I could understand why your would price the way you do..... I have seen worse cakes done from a bakery and it would cost even more!!!
"here here!!! Thumbs up to ALL of you CAKE DECORATING ENTREPENEURS (spelled X icon_redface.gif )

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Lisa Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 1:46pm
post #21 of 53

I've had this problem a couple times but mostly with organizations that are on budgets like schools and churches. I offer cupcakes to the local schools for half price .50 a piece. Then I had one of the teachers calling me to ask if I could do some bridal shower cupcakes for her friend at that price...very ornate. I told her I would but they'd have to purchase the royal icing flowers for me to put on them since I couldn't spend my time making them for .50 a cc. I was very nice but matter-of-fact about it. I told her where she could purchase the flowers and if it was something she wanted to do, to call me back. Never heard from her icon_smile.gif Those sugar flowers get expensive when you want 10-20 on a cc.

A local church also approached me about making their baby shower cakes. They have showers for their members and a large congregation so it would have been a lot of orders but they wanted me to match the price they paid to their previous decorator...Walmart!

At my nephew's birthday party, I made him a 3D Spider-Man and another parent approached me about making a type of 3D cake for her son. When I told her it'd be $80, her eyes 'bout bugged out of her head...LOL! No matter that the bakery down the street starts their 3D cakes at $100.

I don't think they mean any disrespect but some people only have experience ordering cakes from grocery chains.

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Fishercakes Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 1:54pm
post #22 of 53

I am glad that you stuck to your guns! Maybe they should consider "passing the collection plate" around a few more times around. I mean, come on, it is not every day that you celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary!!

Just because it is for a church doesn't mean that they should get special privileges to run over you! A grocery store would not give them that size cake, special shape and fresh flowers for $50.

Hmmm, some people's children!! Go figure!

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okieinalaska Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 6:23pm
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Good for you for doing your price list and then sticking to it. icon_smile.gif

People just honestly don't know what all is involved. I didn't know before I started decorating myself.

Of course I also never ordered anything from other than the grocery store bakery, LOL. -see I didn't know better (ok and I was on a budget, that's how I got started decorating for myself). icon_lol.gif

The first cake I ever sold I was not prepared but I learned a lot from it. I am not trying to sell cakes at this time (I do trades and cakes for my kids). But this time next year will be moving and want to (in our new house in MI) get a legal kitchen and sell my cakes. So for the last almost two years, I have been listening and planning how I want to do things.

I think it's best to try to educate people like someone posted earlier (sorry I don't remember who).

You can even just ask them their budget up front and if they say $30 and you know you can't and won't do it for that price save yourself the hassle and suggest walmart (nicely). Just say that you do you speciality baking and custom decorating, you can't do it for that price. But if they find they have a little extra money they can get x, y and z from you. (and pull out pictures and show them why your cakes are more expensive)

If they say no thanks, I just can't afford that right now. You can say I understand, keep me in mind next time.

It's hard to remember not to take it as personal....but it's not personal.

If you have it thought out ahead of time, what you are going to say, how you are going to respond, it will be much easier for you. And the other person won't feel aukward saying no thank you either. -which will happen sometimes, you can't get around that.

If you want to be paid a professional wage, you need to present yourself professionally at all times. Be prepared. : ) And be prepared to say no too, that is really important. icon_smile.gif

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bubblezmom Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 6:32pm
post #24 of 53

Perhaps they were hoping that you would donate a cake and that's where they got the $50 from??? People do expect a home baker to be cheaper than a real bakery (not cheaper than walmart) b/c the home baker doesn't have the overhead costs of a bakery (leasing and insurance costs). However, $50 for a shaped and filled cake for 150 people is just plain crazy.

Sorry you got sucked into this whole mess. Your poor mom will probably have to hear about this for a while.

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alimonkey Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 7:57pm
post #25 of 53

I don't think there's much I can add to this, just wanted to say thank you for standing up for yourself. thumbs_up.gif

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ThePastryDiva Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 8:11pm
post #26 of 53

When someone asks me how much do I charge...I raise an eyebrow and kidding ..( but dead serious...) say...with my wagging eyebrow..."if you have to ask...you can't afford it..."..an laugh

that kinda put's the stop on any..."BARGAINING" that the client was hoping for....

I do the same...I also ask...about the budget..and...try to "soft sell"...up..lol

The only ones that get free cakes from me now...are my kids and my sister...that's IT! my kids are very happy with simple cakes..my son..chocolate ganache cake...no decorations..

My daughter..rum butter cake...no icing..

My sister...of course whatever she wants..lol!

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emi Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 8:46pm
post #27 of 53

I'm amazed how bold some people are, and how stupid I can sometimes be. On occasional friend, that came to my daughter's birthday went on and on how amazing my daughters cake was. Later that evening she said she wanted me to do her son's cake, hinting that I should do it for free, but I told her that I charge for the cakes. She seemed surprised that I should charge her, but then, without giving me the chance to tell her how much, she said she had $25 and that it should cover it all for 40 people. I was dumbfounded, and didn't know what to say, so she took it as yes. Well, stupid me, I did make the cake, spending hours on it, thinking that they got a really good deal. They loved it. Two weeks later they invited us to visit their beach cottage for the day, and we accepted. When they called to confirm, we asked if we were to bring anything. No, they said. They had everything. We got there around lunch time, then they asked if we brought our own food, since they brought enough for only 3 of them.
Did we miss something? It amazes me how people can be!

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ThePastryDiva Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 8:56pm
post #28 of 53

Emi..did you kNOW she had a beach cottage?...just because you didn't say anything didn't mean yes...

I think you got "BULLIED" into selling yourself short...

I wouldn't have made the cake. I may have given her the curtesy of a call later on and ask her...was she really ordering a cake....hahahah...$25.00 you're too funny..blah blah blah....but no really....this is what I can do and this is how much it cost!..

Don't ever let that happen to you again..

Next time..just look at them in the face..and say...I don't want to talk business at my daughter's party..( or whatever event you're at) but feel free to call me and we can discuss it.

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okieinalaska Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 9:07pm
post #29 of 53

Oh pastrydiva, that is the perfect response!

Ugh, it does feel like you got bullied into doing that cake. Did she even tell you exactly how she wanted it decorated? icon_eek.gif

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emi Posted 28 Oct 2005 , 9:12pm
post #30 of 53

The beach cottage is her mother-is-law's, which they can use every weekend and can invite anyone. I've never been there before, but I honestly thought they were inviting us because they were grateful for the good deal they got on the cake. I had brought some snacks for my 2 year old to share with their 4 year old, but they offered to walk with us to the town shops so we can buy some food. We weren't there too long, and I haven't kept in touch since.
Now, I show a price list for people to look it. I tell them I'm not in need of money, but since I have to spend hours on it, I want to be paid generously. Or I'll rent a movie to watch till 2 am instead of working on their cake for free.

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