Friday, January 27, 2012

Sydney's Sweet 16 Cake

When I started selling cakes, I only made birthday cakes until I felt confident enough to make a wedding cake.  I think I made one wedding cake my first year in business and I was a nervous wreck! 

Now, it's the total opposite as I only do a handful of birthday cakes each year and they tend to be freebies to vendors or friends.  This cake was for a photographers daughter who loves to bake and came to visit me when they picked up the cake.  She was so sweet and genuinely interested in talking to me and seeing my kitchen (unusual for a teenager).  Had I known, we could have made it together!  

When I get a birthday cake order from a friend or vendor, I take the order like they are any regular customer.  I try to get an idea of what they want, size, and budget.  That way I can decide if I want to gift the cake or discount it.  I read on Earlene Moore's website one time that she does this with her family and wedding cakes.  She said that in her experience, if you tell people something is going to be free, they tend to take advantage of your generosity, whether intentionally or not.  In Earlene's case, in the beginning they picked the most expensive cake with large amounts of gumpaste flowers and she learned her lesson.  Now, I've never had that happen to us but it's because I took her advice from the beginning. 

I don't think any of my fellow wedding professionals expect a free cake.  That's not why they come to me.  I have always charged, but now if I can afford to, I like to repay the people that send me business and talk so kindly about me to brides.  Truth is, I would do this all for free if I could, as would Chaddy.  We really do enjoy all aspects of this business.  I'm really not blogging about this cake am I?  Well, sort of... right?  My point is that no matter what you "do" or "sell" don't let people take advantage of you by accident.  Be up front from the beginning by quoting a price or saying that you can offer a discount but can't work for free.  You never want to be in a position that you are resentful or a friend/colleague is mad.  Cakes are mostly time, but time IS money!

So that you got a little something "cakey" out of this I'll tell you how I made this cake.  Go to YouTube and type in "buttercream ruffles" or something similar.  There are many videos that show this new and popular technique.  It was super easy but used a lot of buttercream.  I used a BIG rose tip, the #127.  The "flowers" are just gumpaste circles that I thinned and ruffled the edges with a ball tool on a foam mat.  Real easy, just try it!  I let them dry in different size cups/flower formers so that they would have some variation.  Glued the circles together with dab or water and added pearl centers with a dot of buttercream.  Since there was no "flat" surface I choose to do the birthday girls name on the little circles floating on the edge.  It's not like you can pipe a name on top of these ruffles and it look like anything.  I'm tired of plaques and banners on my cakes, so voila!  Circles!  I know it's not all that, but sometimes you have to "embellish" your blogs!  :)

Have an awesome weekend!


  1. I know what you mean about people taking 'advantage' of a person's generosity. The girl who got this cake is very lucky.

  2. This is a great post Jennifer. Thank you for the suggestion about quoting a cake like you are selling it even if it is for a friend or family member. I also have noticed that people, indee, take advantage if they know you won't charge them.I love ruffle's cake.

  3. Thanks for sharing that. A very good point. Do you have any advice on determining a pricing list?


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