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If it's illegal to sell cakes from home, can I do this?

post #1 of 133
Thread Starter 
So I'm trying to find a loophole in the law in California, so that I can still make cakes for friends etc, and still get some money for them. I really enjoy making cakes, but I don't think I can sustain making them for free.

Anyways, I also have an interest in bow-making. I've been making bows for about a year, and I've sold several of them to friends with daughters.

So here's what I'm thinking to do. If someone orders a cake from me, I'd like to make the cake and make them a bow too (provided they have a daughter, otherwise I would have to handcraft something else). Then, I'm thinking to 'sell' my friend the bow for the cost of the cake (ie. $100). This way, I'm selling the bow, rather than the cake. Obviously the bow can't be eaten, so I'm still technically abiding by the law.

What do you think about this? Is this shady thinking to begin with? Is this even a feasible option? Can I realistically do this?

Please advise me. I really want to continue, but I don't want to break any laws. In fact, I'm hoping that the money that I make from the sale of the bow will be enough for me to eventually rent a commercial kitchen to avoid this loophole altogether.

TIA!
post #2 of 133
We can all do anything we want but no that's not viable or legal or anything.
favorite slogan "you sweet talker, Betty Crocker"

 

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favorite slogan "you sweet talker, Betty Crocker"

 

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post #3 of 133
I am a lurker here but will give you my opinion.
Very shady. What if you sell someone a bow for $150 and they also get a cake, which happens to make them sick, requiring hospitalization. They now sue you. It is their word against yours, them saying you sold them a cake. Is your defense really that you sold a $150 bow?
There are lots of very savvy posters on here. My guess is if there were a legal loophole, you would have read about it already.
post #4 of 133
It has been suggested on here before that a baker sell the customer a cake box for $100 and oh yeah by the way there happens to be a free cake in there, too! icon_rolleyes.gif

Litmus test: Will a judge see right thru that?

My opinion? In a heartbeat!
post #5 of 133
I think you'd be better off trying to say, "Oh, I didn't know I couldn't do that," than trying to convince someone you were just selling the bow. Also, it would sound weird to your customers...you have to buy a bow but you get the cake free, because I'm not allowed to sell cake. So you're telling them you're doing something illegal, which makes you vulnerable to different problems.

Why don't you stick to making cakes for your close friends? The ones you don't have to come up with a loophole for because you know they won't report you to the health department. People have suggested different loopholes to me, but eventually I hope to have a business, and I don't want to have a record of doing the wrong things when I start my business. I do still bake for friends and I let them buy the supplies. That's not legal either but they get upset when I tell them I can't make them a cake, and then I feel guilty and end up doing it for free since it's not legal to charge, and then I blow my grocery budget on someone else's cake.
post #6 of 133
You should check your local regulations as well. And maybe contact a lawyer (or law association) for a bit of free advice. Most can give you a rough yes/no answer.

I'm sure that some people have spent way more than $150 on a bow - no one I know, though. Usually, people with more dollars than sense (cents).
Always be sincere ... whether you mean it or not!

Everything slows down with age ... except the time it takes for cake to reach your hips!!
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Always be sincere ... whether you mean it or not!

Everything slows down with age ... except the time it takes for cake to reach your hips!!
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post #7 of 133
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone.

It's a sad realization that my dream may be coming to an end. icon_sad.gif I really enjoy making these cakes. I'm already making one for a friend, but I will not charge anything for it.

I want everything that I do to be legal, because *if* somewhere down the line I do have the means to open up my own shop, I don't want any skeletons in the closet to follow me.

My only other avenues are to contact church/school kitchens to see if anyone will rent the space to me. I'm not sure if they will even allow that.

Thanks again.
post #8 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsNancyB

My only other avenues are to contact church/school kitchens to see if anyone will rent the space to me. I'm not sure if they will even allow that.


If they do, don't be afraid to think outside the box.

I have a caterer friend who gets a kitchen rent free. She cleans the church once a week at no salary. They let her use their kitchen for no rent. A sweetheart deal, if I ever heard of one! thumbs_up.gif
post #9 of 133
Just contact your county's health department and ask them if you can sell cakes to your friends and family. Even in one of the strictest counties in one of the strictest states (Texas), my Health Dept. rep told me I could sell cakes to people I know "and even a couple of weddings a year".

Not friends-of-friends.
Not referrals from friends.
Not people who say they know me so I can do their cake.
Just people I know.

Just ask them. You may be pleasantly surprised by the answer.

I agree with the others about the "sell a bow for $100" plan. No, doesn't work.
post #10 of 133
It's frustrating, huh?

Makes me glad I live in Ohio.

Kelleym has a great suggestion, though. Most HD's know that at some point, someone at home will make something and atleast have to be reimbursed the cost of making it.

Many prefer you keep that circle very tight, as well.

It's worth checking into.

Atleast you get to practice, and aren't working for free. Check it out.
You don't HAVE a soul, you ARE a soul...you HAVE a body. C.S. Lewis
I'd rather see badly done cake than well done styrofoam.
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You don't HAVE a soul, you ARE a soul...you HAVE a body. C.S. Lewis
I'd rather see badly done cake than well done styrofoam.
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post #11 of 133
I agree with kelleym, when I called my county's HD he told me if I sell 2 cakes a week from my home, he dosen't care because it is a grey area I am suppose to go through the Dept of Ag If I don't have a seperate Kitchen But they told me only if I am selling to Farmer's Market
God Makes all things Possible
Stressed Spelled Backwards Is Desserts.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Delicacies/174954222544316
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God Makes all things Possible
Stressed Spelled Backwards Is Desserts.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Delicacies/174954222544316
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post #12 of 133
Oh yeah, and if you get an answer that you like, write down that person's name and phone # just to cover yourself. thumbs_up.gif
post #13 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Oh yeah, and if you get an answer that you like, write down that person's name and phone # just to cover yourself. thumbs_up.gif



Yeah, because the next person you call and ask the same question will tell you no way, no how!
post #14 of 133
Also, do you have any community centers or senior citizen's buildings in your area that have a health rated kitchen? That's what I do. My office is in my home, but all of my cakes come from a local community center. They only charge $35 for 2 hours, then an add'l $5 per hour after that.

We have a culinary center that rents kitchen time too but they're really expensive ($25 an hour). But apparently for the culinary center or the comm. center kitchen, as long as most of your finished product comes from there, it's ok. Like, you could bake your cake layers at home, and then decorate them at the culinary center and it's considered okay.
Of course I match Wal-Mart's price on cake! :eyeroll:
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Of course I match Wal-Mart's price on cake! :eyeroll:
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post #15 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarleyDee

Also, do you have any community centers or senior citizen's buildings in your area that have a health rated kitchen?



Check with your HD. Just because the community center kitchen isn't HD approved, doesnt mean you can't use it.

My caterer friend uses a church kitchen. It was not a HD approved kitchen but the HD came in and did the approval process for her use. I know another caterer who uses a community center kitchen that is not HD approved for the comm ctr, but she got HD approval for her use.

So dont' let that barrier stop you. Check and see anyway.
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