Cake & Deal Breakers



(in business and politics) a factor or issue which, if unresolved during negotiations, would cause one party to withdraw from a deal.

"fringe benefits are now seen as an important part of any salary package and base salary is no longer viewed as the deal-breaker” (Oxford Dictionary)

Let’s talk about Deal Breakers!

You know what I’m talking about - those things that are absolutely NOT negotiable when it comes to creating a Cake for a client…  I know for a fact that I’m not the only Cake Artist who has a list of “no-can-do” or “absolutely nots”, and these rules exist for entirely professional reasons, as I will explain in more detail below…

I’m sure that my non-cakey colleagues in the Wedding and Creative Industries could resonate with a good portion of my list of deal breakers - just substitute “Cake” for the appropriate terminology in Photography, Event Styling, Floristry or Hair & Make-up…

Here is my own list of non-negotiables:

1. I will not copy exactly or imitate another Cake Artist’s design…

This one is Numero Uno for a very good reason, and put simply, it comes down to old-fashioned etiquette.  I regularly have clients send photos of cakes when requesting a quote, with images of cakes created by myself or by other artists, with the request that I replicate that design exactly.  Manners aside, our cakes are hand made and hand decorated, it is virtually impossible to duplicate a previous design - even if I try to duplicate one of my own designs that I have done previously.

It is a well known “rule” of etiquette in our industry, that you should never copy another Cake Artist’s design without permission, and if you have chosen to replicate a design, you should show the original creator the respect that they deserve, and give a Design Credit.  This also goes for any designs that were inspired by another Artist’s work, whether it be a unique colour palette, an unusual shape, a floral arrangement, or texture effect.  Basically, if you got the idea from someone else, you credit the original Artist with the Design Inspiration, it's just good manners.

2.  I will not create a cake that doesn't align with my personal style…

I used to oblige every client’s request, even if I didn’t particularly like the overall theme, colours, or embellishments.  I am now a lot more selective about the types of cakes that I take on.  If it just isn't my style (and not something that I’d like to add to my portfolio), I will politely decline and refer on to another Cake Artist who is apt at that particular style.  For example, I am not skilled in and do not enjoy working with fondant or gum paste (and believe me, I really tried to make friends with sugar paste, but it just wasn't to be!), so any requests for fondant wedding cakes, sculpted cakes or hand modelled figurines get referred directly to a couple of my very clever Cake Sisters who are excellent working with that medium.

3.  I will not create a “blank canvas” or undecorated cake for the client to decorate their own way…

Baking is great, but it is definitely the most “boring” part of the job for me. The absolute best part of creating cakes for my client’s special occasions is the styling.  As an Artist, it just doesn't feel right sending an unfinished work out the door, so I will never agree to a request to make an undressed cake for a client.  There are plenty of other bakers out there who are happy to do this, so I will always refer to another business for this type of request.

4.  I will not allow the client to self-transport cakes that are very large &/or a long distance…

I know, I know, I’m really not much fun am I?  All these rules, and “no’s" and “cannots”…  This rule is really important, because it comes down to the safety of your cake.  Anyone who has transported a fragile item any distance, will testify that it is a nerve-racking experience.  Every road is 100 times more bumpy, other drivers are so much more erratic and your own personal stopping distance is invaluable, while this precious cargo is on board.  I will insist on delivering anything larger than a tall single tier cake, because I have my delivery procedure refined; with an insulated carrier to protect cakes from the harsh Queensland heat, a dedicated & spotlessly clean cargo space (because I believe that cakes should definitely not have to share a space with muddy dogs or filthy football gear), and we have YEARS of experience with negotiating difficult roads carefully but defensively.

Another thing to note, is that if you do choose to transport your cake on your own, and something happens to it in transit, I’m not there with you to save the day with any minor repairs that may need to take place.  When it comes to weekend events, my schedule is jam-packed, and I don't have time in my day to “pop out” to wherever you are located to repair a damaged cake - so when I tell you to drive your single tier cake “like a granny” with slow corners and no sudden braking, I am advising this to prevent an injury to your cake.  You can absolutely resume driving rally-style after the cake has safely arrived at its destination (I know I do), but most definitely not a moment before!

5.  I can’t supply embellishments outside of their normal seasonal availability…

I am not a magician. Sorry!  If you have your heart set on a Wedding Cake styled with stunning peonies, but your wedding is in March, it is my job to inform you that peonies are most definitely not in season at this time of year.  Likewise, if you would love summer fruits on your birthday cake - cherries, figs, blackberries and strawberries - but your birthday is in Winter, I can’t promise that these fruits will be available.

We can sometimes source imported fruits or flowers outside of their normal seasonal availability, however they are usually more expensive (as you are not only paying for extra freight with items coming from afar, but thee items are also subject to Import Tax, and Handling Fees), and they're still nowhere near as amazing as our own Australian grown produce.  I will always do my best to supply everything that you have requested, but sometimes, there is nothing that we can do to make those things magically appear.

I hope this gives a little bit of insight into how I run my business, and how I think, as a Cake Artist.  I know that some of these rules might seem a bit “tortured artist”, but this is what works for me.  I run my business my way, and these rules are absolutely necessary to ensure that I work efficiently AND enjoy what I do.

“Be picky with who (or what) you invest your time in. Wasted time is worse than wasted money” - Unknown.