Baker's FAQs

We appreciate that a significant amount of time and expense is involved in creating custom cakes.  We want to make the process as easy as possible for our baking partners by addressing many of your frequently asked questions.

How do I become a partner?

It only requires a love of baking and a passion for our kids.   Simply fill out the volunteer application, and we will include you in our database.  In order to get on our “individual cake” list, you will need to provide us with pictures of your work or a link to an on-line photo gallery.  If we don’t receive pictures, you will be placed on our general baking list and will be contacted for baking goodies for our non-profit partners.

How do you determine who you serve?

We serve all children suffering from a critical illness that is life threatening or requires frequent or extended hospitalizations.  We will serve the medical child and their sibling provided that the request is made before their 19th birthday.

Why do we serve siblings?

We feel strongly that siblings are the unsung heroes in these families.  They consistently put their own lives on hold and sacrifice the attention of their parents while their families are helping the medical child.

How much notice do you provide?

We try to schedule our cakes up to 3 months in advance, but due to the timing of requests, that is not always possible.  We will not accept any requests with less than 3 weeks' notice unless a child is terminal or hospitalized.

Can I turn down a "call to action"?

You will never be obligated to accept a call to action.  We have a large network of partners and simply ask that you reply to your call as quickly as possible, so that we can have the best chance of finding another partner to create the cake should you be unable to do so.

What should I do if a family contacts me directly to request a cake donation?  

If a family contacts you directly, please refer them to our website to submit an application.  It is important that all cakes come through our organization so that you are protected with liability insurance, so that you may receive tax documentation for your donation, so that you may receive reimbursement for cakes donated in excess of two per year, and so that we can recognize you as a Sugar Angel.  

What is the difference between a "dream" cake and a "fun" cake?

We offer 2 types of cakes for our families: "dream" cakes and "fun" cakes.  Dream cakes are tiered, 3-dimensional or carved.  They require significant labor hours, and each child is currently allowed one under our program.  Fun cakes do not have those elements and can be used by the family for other events.  They provide us with an opportunity to utilize more of our hobby bakers or relieve the pressure on our professional bakers who have less time.  These cakes are just as important to our mission.

What should I expect on the delivery?

The reward for our baking partners is the reaction of the child when they see the cake.  Unfortunately, this may not always be the experience you imagine.  Should you not receive an enthusiastic response, please understand that it is not a reflection on your cake, but may be related to how the child is feeling or news that they received from a doctor.  On the other hand, many of our kids undergo treatment for extended periods, so the family often requests a cake between rounds of treatment when the child is feeling well.  Should the child be playing and running around, do not feel that they are less deserving. These moments are often few and far between for medical families, and they should be treasured.  Regardless of the circumstances, you are Baking a Difference, and the impact of your kindness may never be known.

How do we determine which baker is contacted?

There are multiple factors involved in deciding which baker receives a "call to action."  The factors include but are not limited to the following:

  • Proximity to the family
  • State laws regarding licensing
  • Type of event
  • Quality of work
  • Date the partner signed on
  • Number of cakes previously donated
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How quickly do I need to respond to a request?

Until we are able to increase our notification time, we would like a response 24-48 hours after receiving the request.  This gives us the best chance of finding another baker if you are unable to donate a cake.  In cases where we have less then a month's notice, we may send out up to 3 requests at a time and the first baker to respond will be offered the opportunity to provide the cake.

Do I need to bake in a licensed kitchen?

Most states do not require a licensed kitchen for food donations through a nonprofit.  The administrative team will determine the laws for each state.  If you are not a licensed baker, we require that you appropriately label your cake.

Am I covered by insurance?

Most states have laws that indemnify donors of prepared foods provided that they donate to a nonprofit organization.  However, to ensure complete protection for our baking partners, we carry liability insurance.

What size does the cake need to be?

Families are permitted to request a cake that will serve all of their guests, but we will only guarantee a cake with a maximum of 40 servings.  If you are unable to provide the requested size, please contact the family and request that they supplement with other desserts.

How do we decide on the design?

While the theme is determined by the family, the design is determined by the baker.  For dream cakes, the only request we make is that you include a “wow” factor in the cake and try to avoid sheet cakes unless requested by the family.  If you keep in mind that our mission is to provide an escape and to help the family focus on something besides the medical world for a short period of time, it will be easier to decide on a design.  We advise our bakers not to accept pictures of cakes as examples.  We feel that this puts undue pressure on you and sets the family up for disappointment if the cake is not exactly like the example.

What about dietary restrictions?

We request that the family list dietary restrictions on the application.  Please notify the administrative team immediately if you cannot satisfy their requirements.  We will either identify another baker or ask the family to provide a dessert that can be enjoyed by the child.

Do I have to deliver the cake?

We ask the family to pick up the cake at a time that is agreed upon between you and the family.  There are however, two exceptions: if the medical child is hospitalized or if the family lives more than a 45-minute drive from the baker.  If you are unable to assist with the delivery in those two situations, we will do our best to find a volunteer to handle the delivery.

What do I do if the family offers me money for the cake?

We recommend that the family make donations directly to Icing Smiles so that they receive the benefit of the tax deduction and to ensure equity among our baking partners and administrative volunteers.  We are all donating our time.  While our baking partners are asked to donate supplies, many of our administrative volunteers are covering corporate costs.  If donations begin to exceed our costs, we will then increase our reimbursement policy (see below).

How does Icing Smiles promote their partners?

Photos of the cake will be posted on facebook, and you will be identified as the baker.  We will make your page a “favorite” of our page and include a link to your website on the Icing Smiles' site (at your request, if you are a licensed baker).

Do I get reimbursed for my costs?

We ask that the first two cakes in any calendar year be fully donated by the baker.  For all remaining cakes, we will offer reimbursement at a flat rate of $25 per cake.  Since we are young and funding always lags behind enthusiasm, we ask that you make the request for reimbursement prior to committing to the cake.  This will help us to budget our expenses and ensure that we are being equitable.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Under IRS rules, your time is not deductible. However, if you are not reimbursed, all supplies and mileage are tax deductible.  If you own a retail bakery, you may be able to deduct up to 2x the cost of your supplies under IRS rules.  The “extra” deduction is to help businesses donate appreciated inventory at a fair value since labor is not deductible.  Please contact your accountant for information on how these rules apply to you.