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Should I refuse custom buttercream orders?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I apologize if this has been asked before. I did a search and couldn't find anything, but don't shoot me if I missed it!! icon_biggrin.gif

 

Does anyone refuse doing buttercream custom cakes? Or charge more for a buttercream custom cake? 

 

I am a perfectionist and HATE putting my name on a buttercream custom cake. I find there is too much room for error and they actually take me longer than when I cover them in fondant. I typically hear two things from customers. They hate the flavor of fondant and only want buttercream used. (They have never tasted MY fondant, and I put plenty of buttercream under the fondant and between layers). Then I get the second excuse..."I just know that fondant costs more"... 

 

So anyway I am perfectly fine doing basic round or sheet cakes in buttercream, but the custom cakes which people typically seek me out for are just too much stress. I often think of just making a blanket rule that fondant must be used in custom cakes, or just jack up my buttercream prices higher to cover the extra cost of my obsessive laboring and stress. Does this seem unrealistic and bossy? Part of me thinks it's going to give me a bad name, and part of me thinks "heck it's my business I can do what I want". I just hate putting my name on those buttercream cakes that go out the door when I know it would look a 100 times better in fondant. 

 

As an example, I did this cake a couple weeks ago. There is obviously a LOT of fondant work, however the customer would not let me cover the whole thing. It ended taking twice as long for me to get it "just right". 

 

 

 

Opinions? 

post #2 of 25
The part of you that says "This is my business and I can do what I want!"; listen to that part!
I also find that getting buttercream finished to my satisfaction takes longer, so I price it the same as fondant. I have been questioned about this but I don't care! Anyone who wants to nickel and dime over which is going to cost them less is not a customer I want anyway.
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by as you wish View Post

The part of you that says "This is my business and I can do what I want!"; listen to that part!
I also find that getting buttercream finished to my satisfaction takes longer, so I price it the same as fondant. I have been questioned about this but I don't care! Anyone who wants to nickel and dime over which is going to cost them less is not a customer I want anyway.

I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one! And I agree...I really don't want to get in the habit of bending over backwards for a customer that only wants to pay less. Especially when each cake is "advertising". 

post #4 of 25
There are plenty of people here who don't do fondant, I don't see why you shouldn't do only fondant.

Ultimately you are the designer and if you know the design you came up with only works in fondant then you have to put your foot down. Do you think anyone calls Karl Lagerfeld and says I like that tweed suit you did but can you do it in anti-pill fleece?

The other advantage in my mind of doing brightly colored cakes like this in fondant is that the colors are all in the part 'people pick off', so if someone doesn't want their kid eating a faceful of bright blue then they can just pick it off and the kid still gets pretty much all of the cake. Perhaps you can use this as part of your selling technique!
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post #5 of 25

I started charging the same price for the same reason. Takes me longer to perfect the BC than it would if I would be covering it in fondant.

Now I don't even give the option. All of my quotes are based on fondant covered. If they ask, I explain in general my reasons and let them know that there is enough BC under the fondant for those (like me) who don't like it. It has become a non-issue these days.

... now if only I could stop getting requests for characters..... :)
 

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Live well, love long, play hard and laugh... well, long and hard.
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post #6 of 25
I agree with you! It takes me about 1-2 hours getting my buttercream perfectly smooth! I often wondered why I shouldn't charge more for buttercream cakes than fondant. I love making buttercream smooth but it is a pain to get it as perfectly as I would like. I'm used to using fondant! It is YOUR business and you can do whatever you like!

Ms Pinky LaRue, LLC -  Licensed, Inspected, Insured and Legal!

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Ms Pinky LaRue, LLC -  Licensed, Inspected, Insured and Legal!

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post #7 of 25

If you cannot smooth ice buttercream...then don't.   Don't worry or stress over it...just do fondant.   But also be prepared to lose some orders.   99.9% of my orders are butter cream so I understand how many people do not like fondant.   I know a well established bakery owner that cannot and will not smooth ice any cake..so she is a fondant only bakery.   She advertises as "fondant only" and is still a thriving business.   Smooth icing a cake to look like fondant takes a lot of time and practice.  I was fortune to learn in a bakery where I was icing hundreds of cakes a week so I was able to learn quicker.   Just pick your medium and be happy with your decision.  

Debbie - US Army (Retired) --aka "The Cake Sarge"

Good Cake Ain't Cheap! Cheap Cake Ain't Good!
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Debbie - US Army (Retired) --aka "The Cake Sarge"

Good Cake Ain't Cheap! Cheap Cake Ain't Good!
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post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

I love all of these thoughts and ideas! Thank you guys! I also LOVE the selling technique of mentioning you would be eating less food coloring with picking off fondant. All wonderful ideas. Thanks again! 

post #9 of 25

Usually the design dictates for me what medium I'll use. More often than not I use both. I use fondant on things where it just makes sense to, because it would be too big of a pia to do it out of butter cream, or visa versa. I price butter cream and fondant cakes the same because I save enough time using fondant to cover it's additional expense.

 

I don't think it's a good idea to promote "you would be eating less food coloring with picking off fondant". If your customers think fondant taste bad enough to pick it off, than of course they are going to choose butter cream cakes instead of fondant. Your promoting butter cream sales yourself.

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches View Post


I don't think it's a good idea to promote "you would be eating less food coloring with picking off fondant". If your customers think fondant taste bad enough to pick it off, than of course they are going to choose butter cream cakes instead of fondant. Your promoting butter cream sales yourself.
Really good point.
post #11 of 25
That's not how I would word it, but I know that amongst my mom friends, bright colored buttercream is a big no-no. Fondant is a way they can get the cake look they want without forcing people to have to eat the bright green stuff. Sure, most of the kids eat the fondant anyway, but for some reason the moms don't mind as much as when their kids have green teeth!
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post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle View Post

That's not how I would word it, but I know that amongst my mom friends, bright colored buttercream is a big no-no. Fondant is a way they can get the cake look they want without forcing people to have to eat the bright green stuff.

Somehow you could say, the ability to pick off fondant lets them cut down on their kids sugar intake (or fat intake).....that's a reason to choose fondant over butter cream. "Less messy" could be sales phrase.

 

But than cakes are an indulgence where we all put aside our calorie counting.

post #13 of 25
I guess it would on the individual client - I know there are plenty of people out there who actually do want bold colored buttercream, you'd maybe have to save it as a sales point for the customers who were worried about food coloring and mess etc.
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post #14 of 25

That's exactly how i feel about cream cheese!!!! I hate it! im in the south its hot and humid so naturally fresh home made cream cheese melts!! plus its not stiff so its really hard to pipe with!

post #15 of 25

I think you get into big trouble pretty quickly when you allow a customer to tell you how to best do your job.  You lose time, money, comfort, etc.

 

If you think a cake should be done in fondant, then fondant it is, or move on to another design or baker, if that's the case.

 

If the customer's response is, "...........but I want it in buttercream." then you need to get them to change their mind or to move on.  There's nothing wrong with that.

 

I needed a bathroom painted. One painter who gave a quote would only use a particular brand of paint.  I wanted it done with a different brand of low VOC paint.  He said no, he only uses the one brand because he likes the predictable results and feels that he can warrant those results because of his familiarity with the product.  OK.  I liked his work, but I found someone else whose work I liked and would use the type of paint that I wanted.  No harm, no foul.

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