Family FAQs

Is my child eligible?
We serve children who have a life-threatening medical condition that is considered progressive, degenerative, or malignant and are within two years of their most recent treatment.  We also serve children who require frequent or extended hospitalizations and are within two years of their most recent inpatient stay. 

Do you serve siblings of medical children or surviving siblings?
We serve siblings of qualified medical children, including siblings of qualified medical children who have earned their wings within the last two years.

Do you provide memorial cakes for families who have lost a child?
We provide memorial cakes for families who have experienced the loss of a qualified medical child within the last two years.

How early should I request the cake?
Please make your requests as early as possible, even if you do not know the exact date of the event. This helps us line up your baker with plenty of time for them to plan and design the cake. This is especially helpful during peak seasons. It is not unusual for us to receive requests a year in advance. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept any request for an event within four weeks of the date your eligibility is confirmed, unless your child is terminal or hospitalized. We can accept requests for eligible children who are hospitalized on their birthdays as late as one week prior to the child's birthday. 

Is there an age limit?
The child or sibling must be 18 years of age or younger on the date of the request.

Is there a cost for the cake?
We provide our cakes free of charge, regardless of financial need.  If you are in a position to do so, we would gratefully accept tax deductible donations.  Your donations will help us to expand our service and reimburse our bakers for their costs.

Does the parent or guardian need to request the cake?
In order to protect both Icing Smiles and the family, we ask that a parent or guardian make the initial request.  At any point, a surrogate can be appointed by the family to work out the details.

How do you verify the child's eligibility?
We try to make it as easy as possible by asking for a blog, CaringBridge or CarePages site, or facebook page dedicated to the child.  This method is ideal because we like to follow up with our kids after the cake is delivered.  It also helps us to recruit bakers because they feel connected to your child. If you do not have a blog, you can confirm affiliation with another nonprofit organization, such as Make-A-Wish, by providing a copy of your acceptance letter dated within the last two years.  In addition, you can have your doctor complete a Medical Eligibility Form. Once eligibility has been verified, it is valid for a period of two years and applies to all children in the family.

Once eligibility has been confirmed, we will contact the parent by email using the address provided in the application.  Because of the volume of requests we receive, we are unable to follow up with telephone calls and ask that you monitor your email, including your spam folder for a response from us. 

How does Icing Smiles communicate with families?
Our communication with families is handled through email for several reasons.  Email allows us to have a record of our correspondence with you, which is especially important when we ask for the details of your request so that we may share this information with your child’s baker.  We try to avoid phone calls so that we don’t disturb your family during rest time or medical appointments.  Many of our administrative volunteers also hold full-time jobs and are not available for phone calls during the day, and phone calls are difficult for our volunteers because of the volume of requests we receive.

We understand that the care and treatment of your child takes priority, and we want to make it as easy as possible for your family to work with us to provide your child with an Icing Smiles cake.  If you feel that you will be unable to check and respond to email regularly, we ask that you appoint a liaison to communicate with us on your behalf.  The liaison can be anyone you choose who is willing to respond to emails in order to facilitate arrangements for your child’s cake.  If we contact you twice by email without a response, we will try to reach you by phone and will then require that you appoint a liaison to communicate with us and the baker on your behalf. ​

What is the difference between a "dream" cake and a "fun" cake?
We offer two types of cakes for our families: Dream Cakes and Fun Cakes.  Dream cakes are tiered, 3-dimensional, carved, or have another type of "wow" factor for the child.  They require significant labor hours, and each child is currently allowed one under our program.  Fun cakes do not have those elements and are typically sheet cakes or single-tier round cakes that are customized for the child.  Currently, each child is allowed one fun cake per year under our program. A child cannot receive both a dream cake and a fun cake in the same year. 

What size cake can we receive?
We cannot guarantee a cake larger than 40 servings.  Should the baker not be able to provide the size requested, they will contact you so that you know to supplement with other desserts.

Can we ask for a particular design?
In order to make the experience positive for the family and the baker, the family can choose the theme, but the volunteer baker will determine the exact design.  We advise against sending the volunteer pictures of sample cakes, as our bakers have a wide range of experience.  Pictures of cakes that may be beyond their experience level will create a significant amount of pressure for the baker and may create unrealistic expectations for the child.

Will you deliver the cake?
We ask our medical families to pick up the cake, unless your child is hospitalized.  If the baker is located more than 45 minutes from you, the baker will try to arrange a meeting point that is convenient.  If your child is hospitalized, we will coordinate delivery.

Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
While we attempt to take dietary restrictions into consideration, we cannot guarantee that the kitchen was free of trace ingredients during preparation.  Should the restriction be critical, please work with your baker to determine if you are comfortable.  We are a nonprofit organization that does not receive payment for our service.  As the recipient of the donation, you accept liability and assume the risk associated with the consumption of the donated cake.

Will our baker be licensed?
We are in compliance with state laws, but the laws vary by state.  Many states allow for home bakers to make donations to nonprofit organizations.  If you want a cake from only a licensed baker, please note that in the comments section of your application.  Please note that the restriction may limit our ability to serve.

How do you control quality?
Our families are our best resource for quality control.  Your honest feedback is essential to ensure we provide the best cakes possible in the future.  Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the quality of either the design or taste of any cake.  Our volunteers dedicate an incredible amount of time and energy to your cake, and we hope you will be able to sense the amount of love poured into it.  If you requested a "dream" cake, we will ensure that the cake met "dream" cake standards.  If it does not, we will offer to provide you a dream cake for a future event.