I know there is an entire website and blog (and even a book) devoted to cake wrecks, so here are a few helpful hints that might help you avoid a wreck and get the cake you want.
- Know how many people you would like to serve. Even if you don't have a specific cake design in mind, it really REALLY helps if you know about how many people you're planning to serve. You don't have to know the exact number, but tell us if it's fewer than ten, 20-25, or several hundred. It's one of the first questions we ask when we design a cake because it gives us a starting point in terms of size, shape and structure. You'd be amazed how many people say they want a three tier cake to serve 5 or 6, or a flat cake to serve two hundred.
- Plan to come in and talk with us in person if you want something specific or detailed. Your definition of "big" might not be the same as ours. Ditto for "simple", "bright," "girly" and "beautiful." I won't even start with colors. Ask the person taking your order to draw the design on the order form. Review the order before you leave to be sure it reflects your wishes. If you want the colors or designs to match your invitation or decorations, bring in a sample.
- Remember where you ordered the cake. There may be only a handful of bakeries in the Tuscaloosa area, but we have had more than one customer come in to pick up a cake that was ordered from another bakery. We called a customer yesterday to remind her to pick up her cake -- she berated us for calling her when she had already been in to pick it up, we had obviously lost the order, and she had "made other arrangements." I had been in the shop all morning; she had definitely NOT come to our bakery to pick up her cake.
Now, about that stupid question...
We recently redesigned our website to include a search engine. You can search our cake galleries by size and occasion (such birthday, baby shower, graduation, wedding, etc...). When you click on any thumbnail photo of a cake, a larger photo pops up along with a description of that cake including the number of servings and approximate price.
I invested in this redesign because the vast majority of phone calls to the bakery were from people who had been on the website and wanted to know the number of servings and price of specific cakes they had seen. I wanted to make that information readily available on the website, hoping that when a customer called about a specific cake, they would have a general idea of how many people it would serve and about what it might cost.
Someone called Tuesday and wanted to know the price of a specific cake they had seen on the website. I was elbow-deep in batter and not standing in front of a computer, but I explained that the price was displayed directly under the photo of the cake. "Ohhhhhhh."