Custom anything can take a while. If you order something custom, it’s perfectly acceptable to go into the process with a foggy thought of what you want to end up with but the essential part is to have a thought. Otherwise what’s the point in ordering anything custom? I love making decorative cakes and desserts for people. The creative process might be my favorite part. Maybe... I do really love seeing people light up when I give them their orders. Especially kids – their eyes get so bright. Anyways, specifically for desserts, there will always be a few questions that I ask to get the ball rolling.
1) When do you need this by? This is especially important for my business model. Firstly, I’m working with perishable items so I have to plan accordingly to be able to make sure that my clients get orders that are fresh. Secondly, due to the fact that I still operate out of my home and around my toddler’s naps/bedtime, it’s imperative that I schedule the time in to fulfill your order. I am not a bakery. I do not have items on hand available for sale. I cannot accommodate last minute orders and I do charge a rush fee for orders that are placed late in the game because those orders literally keep me up all night. At the end of the day, anything custom requires some time to create so plan accordingly and contact me early.
2) How many guests are you looking to serve? The larger the party, the harder it is to plan this part but even a rough estimate will do. I’m always more than happy to help construct a cake that will serve your needs and feed your guests. It can get a little tricky with tiered cakes. (I will also happily explain the difference between layered and tiered cakes but that’s another blog for another day.) In an effort to help make this as simple as possible, I’ve constructed a chart that’s available on my website that gives the serving sizes alongside every cake size I offer. Something to keep in mind when ordering a single layer vs a double layer cake is that a double layer does not translate to double the serving size. I know, I know… that’s silly. I’ve written a whole other blog about this that explains how to cut a cake.
3) Flavor is another part of the puzzle that’s important. I do offer a wide range of flavors but I also always make a point of offering to try something new if you’re looking at my site and don’t see whatever it is that you have your heart set on. The way I have my little business set up is that I offer a few standard flavors that are the most common and widely accepted. In addition to the basics, I offer specialty flavors. These are selections that require specialty ingredients and therefore come with a slight price increase. I also offer fillings. Yes, they can go in single layer cakes, cupcakes, and cake balls upon request. Since they are not standard, fillings also come with a small price increase. I’m happy to share what the most popular flavors are if you ask and I’m also happy to share any feedback I’ve received from clients who are adventurous enough to try uncommon flavor combinations. Some of my menu items have been added specifically after special requests that I didn’t previously offer. Oreo cake is now one of my most popular options that I didn’t offer prior to a special request. Almond buttercream would be another and it’s surprisingly good with Strawberry cake, in case you were wondering.
4) Let’s talk about the reason you really want a custom cake though… the design. Aaahhh the design! This is the most flexible part and I do always try to stress to all of my clients that I welcome as much communication as they can stand with me. This is an effort to make you something that you love, tastes great, but also doesn’t break your party budget. Custom work is known to come with a price tag and while I have no problem making something elaborate and charging you for it, I also want to make sure that you know I am happy keeping it simple if that better fits your needs. While in the design process, I absolutely encourage my clients to send me images and share with me what they like and what they don’t like. Typically, these are of cakes but they don’t have to be. I have a design background and am also happy to design a dessert based off an outfit, a landscape, a building, a painting, a pet… anything that inspires you I can use as an inspiration for a custom cake for you. I am happy to quote a replica of a cake that speaks to you or mix and match your favorite parts from various images. Talk to me, yo. Again, this part of the process has actually inspired a whole other blog for reference.
After all that is said, I cannot stress enough how important it is to reach out to me, or anyone offering custom anything, early on in the process. Communication is key and that takes time. Nothing stresses me out more than offering something that takes three days to create four days before it’s needed – I feel like it’s unnecessary pressure on my client to make quick decisions that involve a fair amount of money and I just don’t like doing it. If I quote you something that requires $100 decoration charge, you deserve the time to think about that. In the same line of thought, I need time to make that happen for you. You can’t tell me last minute that you want to go with the most complicated version of a decoration that I offered you a week ago. The time for that option has passed. Point is – let’s talk early. Most celebrations are predictable enough to do so and I won’t judge anyone for reaching out far in advance. Those are some of my favorite clients and by default they get the most time dedicated to their cakes because they claimed it early on.