Forum: Cakes & Cake Decorating

Do you feel bad about saying you can't do a cake?

My friend as asked me to make her grandson’s christening cake which I would have loved to do.However the blessing is on Sunday 14th Oct but I go on holiday on Friday 12th. In addition it’s my granddaughters birthday on Tues 9th so I will be icing her cake on the Sunday/Monday & delivering it Tuesday. I work Thursday morning & my husband & I had planned to do a wine tasting tour (a gift from a friend) Thursday afternoon then eat out in the evening.

The cake is 2 tiers (10" & 8") with 5 cake building block squares spelling out his name. There’s a train & star spray on the top. Other than that it’s quite plain with jst a few stars on the top tier.

My friend sad she doesn’t want to put me under any pressure to say yes but I felt really guilty saying no! Since Monday night I’ve been feeling awful & racking my brain trying to work out hw I could do it. I could make the train & star spray next week. Obviously, as well as my granddaughter’s cake I would have to make the other 2 & freeze them. (Oh, just as an aside I have to make a sponge cake cake for my local football club as well!) I’ve never frozen a Madeira cake before & this means I would have to defrost and ice/ complete Weds. Now as I said, the blessing is on the Sunday so this means finished cake (Weds) wouldn’t be eaten until Sunday. I would worry about it keeping moist.

My husband is very matter if fact & said they’ve known about this for weeks/months & should have asked me before now,. We only booked the holiday last Saturday & I was asked this Monday. Had I of known beforehand & committed to this we could have chosen a different week to go away.

Sorry about going on but I do feel guolty. What would you do?

Just a hobby baker but love seeing other people's work & aspire to creating something as beautiful one day.

Tags: advice

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10 Replies

Prima Cakes Plus ...

I know exactly how you feel. I hate saying no to people. But your husband is right. It was not fair of them to only give you a 2 weeks notice. I know you would really love to do it but trying to squeeze it in may not be the best thing. If you rush you may not be able to put your best foot forward and the cake suffers. Plus like you said it would sit for 4 days before it is eaten. Probably not the best thing.

This is just my opinion as a hobby baker who very often has to try to finagle cake and work, but I hope this helps you out and good luck with the guilt :)

Roberta ...

Thanks Jennifer. I know he/you are right but even now I’m still thinking how I can do it!! :(

Guilt isnt a very pleasant thing is it? Especially when they are really good friends.

By the way, I looked at your cakes. They are brilliant. :)

Vena Glendon ...

Wow perfect topic for me. I just had to turn dow a friend today who wanted me to do a wedding cake for October 6. Because she is a friend I would have tried to do it for her but she e-mailed me a photo of the cake she was looking for and it was a 3 tier topsy turvy cake with lots and lots of details and dark colors. She also wanted me to somehow include “Jagermister” in the flavoring. I had NO CLUE what Jagermister was. I had to go on line and found out it was some type of very strong very dark alcohol.

Felt really bad that I had to say no but 10 days is definitely not enough time for something that complicated.

I always do my best not to turn down customers and especially friends but some requests are just impossible. If they are good friends and repeat customers they will understand

Roberta ...

Thank you glendons goodies. I appreciate you & Jennifer (above) taking the time to reply. It’s reassuring to hear from other bakers who feel the same.

OMG that would be horrendous. I’ve never made a topsy turvy cake so wouldn’t even entertain it. 10 days!!! That’s even worse than my request. I bet they would want you to give it as their wedding gift too! I just said no to a wedding cake request from a member of family who never contacts me, lives 1.5 hrs drive away & told me I could give it to them as their gift!! ( This was ONLY 2 tiers one choc & one vanilla with flowers tumbling down the side! Who said I could do flowers?? Then get it to them in one piece without all the lowers falling off! )

I am only a hobby baker but love a challenge of creating something beautiful. I just think people want a bespoke cake, have no idea if the work involved & want to pay supermarket prices. (Sorry, rant over!!! Lol)

I know what you’re saying is right. The trouble is, in the past I’ve made cakes for friend’s birthdays & as my friend’s husband’s birthday is the same as another friend I’ve ended up making 2 carved cakes for the same day! (One was a SLR camera & the other a carved golf bag) I honestly think they have no idea of just how long it takes. When I did these I had all week to bake & decorate & spent Thursday ,Friday doing them & finished one off Sat morning. I don’t sell my cakes, they have been gifts so they’re not repeat customers.

My friend was understanding & in fact was cross at her husband for mentioning it (happened to bump into him down a supermarket aisle Monday lunch time!)

My most important cake is my granddaughter’s so that will keep me busy creating something special for her. :)

Thanks again ladies for listening to my rant & reassuring me I’ve made the right choice. :) x

Prima Cakes Plus ...

Bobbi glad to help you (even if it is a just a little) that you shouldn’t feel bad about saying no when you really can’t get them a good cake.

And thank you very much for your kind words about my cake… I looked at yours too and love the doggie!

Nikki Belleperche ...

If I can’t do it I can’t do it. I don’t feel bad about turning people away, even friends and family. You cant overbook yourself by taking on more then you can handle and if you already have other commitments that isn’t your fault! People have to understand that you have a life on top of your work/hobby and that sometimes you wont be available. Those who want better chances of having you available have to learn to order months in advance! That’s just how it works, don’t be hard on yourself!

Priscilla ...

I USE to feel bad saying no until people started taking advantage so now if I can’t oh well I can’t.. I’ve overbooked myself before and man it wasnt a good idea. So never again will I do that. I even cried and threw my cake on the floor because I got stressed lol I laugh at it now man that was stupid look at the mess you just did!!

Roberta ...

Thank you ladies. It really does help getting replies from other cake bakers, especially those who do it on a regular basis as a business. , And know the work involved.

To my husband it’s very clear cut , but there you go, he doesn’t let emotions intrude on a decision like this! :)

Hope you all have a good weekend. Xx

Karen MacFadyen ...

I would go away on my holiday and have a nice relaxing break. Sorry to be harsh, but they knew ages ago about the date and if they had really have wanted you to make this cake, they should have booked you in. I would say that people should be more respectful of the cake decorators time too. They would not dream of going into an into town bakery and asking them to stay open all night to serve their needs (without paying a premium for the privilege) so why would a ‘friend’ expect you to move heaven and earth to accommodate their request at short notice? I am guessing what I am really saying is that we all need to get tough – it is not easy when ‘friends’ ask for a cake. I have done the very same myself – offering a cake for a present – and then getting massively stitched up with a totally increased specification, the cake doubling in size and complexity, which took over 9 hours on a New Years Eve – and I should have charged over £150 for. I couldn’t because I had already offered it as a present. So lesson learnt. I stopped being so ‘kind’ after that!!

Roberta ...

Thank you so much for the reassurance. I saw my friend on Saturday & she has sorted it out with a local baker. It will be delivered on the Saturday for the blessing Sunday so that’s much better. At least I can sleep now without worrying! As I said, in fairness, she was cross with her husband for asking. I have said no to ‘friends’ who haven’t bothered to contact me for years but these are really good friends.

Still all sorted now so everyone is happy. :)

Crikey that was some ‘stitch up’ you had! I honestly don’t think people know how long cakes take. I’m only a hobby baker & usually give them as birthday/anniversary gifts in addition to their present but I’m sure they don’t appreciate the cost involved. You do it as a business so you would normally charge for your hours as well!

Thanks again for the support. :)