I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cakes Have Fat And Sugar

One of the more entertaining side lines to the new business is the funny or just head-scratch-worthy phone calls I get. One lady called asking for baking advice - "How do you know when a cake is done?" Several have called and asked for recipes ... ummm, yeah. I'm really going to give those away for free. Go try allrecipes.com, would you?

One guy called asking for cellophane bags so that wedding guests could take away pieces of cake with them. Cake which *I* didn't make. When I suggested he ask his cake maker, he said, "Oh. Hadn't thought of that."

Some people call and ask for toddler-sized 3D cakes and then wonder why it's more than $50, and why I say it will probably feed more than the 12 people they want to feed. Others ask for the impossible - like the lady who called at 5:15 on a Friday night wanting a cake for 8am Saturday morning, because she forgot it was her daughter's birthday the next day. (Mom of the Year award, anyone?) I *could* have done it for her - but by then I'd just finished cleaning the entire kitchen after a 9 hour marathon decorating session. So, sorry, but no.

Then there was the ancient old lady who called for a price on a wedding cake. Mud cake, to feed 100 people. Decoration? "Oh, something nice dear." Nice as in a ribbon or two, or nice as in an entire cascade of handmade sugar flowers? "Just something NICE, dear." Tiers? "I'm not sure. Perhaps 2? Is that what people do these days?" Icing type? "Oh! I can't...oh...I...well..I...I'm not sure they've thought about any of that." At this point I saw no point in discussing it further, so I gave her a price and said it's "not less than XYZ dollars." "OH! ...that much? Oh, well, that seems quite pricey." I then nicely suggested that she have the couple in question contact me to talk about the details, and ended the conversation. The poor woman is destined for a massive coronary when she calls the other Melbourne custom cake makers and finds out that what she thinks is quite pricey is actually quite reasonable.

I'm ALWAYS nice to the people who call - they're my bread and butter, after all. Plus you never know when a bit of kindness can go a long way. So if I can't help, I'll redirect them to someone or somewhere that can. Sometimes, though, I'm just left shaking my head.

Yesterday's phone call left me, literally, speechless. Now the actual request wasn't all that unusual. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Good afternoon, Three Sweeties, emzee speaking.
Customer: Oh. Hi. I need a cake for my 2 year old's birthday party, and I was wondering if you make any healthy cakes?
Me: Healthy cakes?
Customer: Yes, as in, less sugar than other cakes, not as much fat. You know, a healthy birthday cake. Maybe with all fruit or something?
Me: Um, no, sorry. Pretty much all the cakes we made are not healthy. Healthy cake goes against my cake philosophy (yes, I said that, but I laughed to soften the blow.)
Customer: Yes, well, I thought that might be the case. I've been ringing cake makers ALL AFTERNOON and they all pretty much said the same thing.
Me: I don't think you're going to have much luck on this one ....

...and then I went on to suggest some healthier options for her...

- Fruit tart (which is pastry and custard and fruit)
- Meringues (which is sugar, but no fat)
- Searching on-line for something like a zucchini cake or a banana bread or something which she could make herself

See? I was nice to the lady. Heck, she sounded totally desperate! At the end of the conversation, I hung up and found myself thinking, "Surely after calling people all afternoon, you would get the hint that cake is not generally a health food? and anyway, healthy birthday cake? For a 2 year old? Guess who's going to be needing eating disorder therapy in 10 years?!"

I am totally for kids eating healthier. I even wrote more than one article about it.

Birthday cake, though? That's SACRED. Holy. Not-to-be-messed-with. You've got a birthday ONCE a year (or in my case, twice...but that's another story.) If you can't forgo your tofu and steamed quinoa diet for that ONE day, when can you?

For what it's worth, I'd rather run around the neighbourhood naked with a lit firecracker up my ass than bake or eat zucchini cake.

But I was nice to the lady.


Heidi said...

One of my friends makes a cake for her daughter's birthday every year that is (if I am not mistaken) sweetened with applesauce, but not an applesauce cake. Luckily, she has her daughter's parties in the park, and hopefully she doesn't see that it ALL ends up in the trash. Her own poor child won't even eat it.

emzeegee & the hungry three said...


LOL, that's hysterical! I know that you can often replace some or all of the sugar in a cake with apple sauce...but, pray tell, WHY would you bother? Okay, so maybe you're diabetic...in which case, eat a SMALL piece of cake. But please, for the love of god, eat REAL CAKE.

Life's too short for shitty cakes. .. a philosophy which serves me well when faced with crappy desserts. I often leave them behind (thus saving calories)!