The New Bakers Dozen
Selling cakes from home -Pipedream?

The The Bakers Dozen: Selling cakes from home -Pipedream?
By Samantha (Samantha) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 02:14 pm: Edit

Hi Group-
I live in NYC and I like to bake cupcakes.
Last weekend I took a batch to a friend's house party and a woman who is a party-planner approached me -assuming that I was a pro who did this sort of thing all the time- and wanted to know how much I charge and how she could order cupcakes from me for her clients' parties. She even asked for my business card!

I'm delighted to sell her a few batches of cupcakes, but the last thing I need is to find myself in some weird legal situation.

I am completely lost in the Departments of Health and Commerce labyrinths of information. I can't tell if it's possible to obtain a license or a permit to do this sort of thing from home.

So, here is my question:
Is there a legal way to sell baked goods made at home?
Can I get anyone to insure this kind of operation? And what kind of insurance would I need?
And finally, does anyone on this forum have a success story about operating a home-based baked goods biz?

I can tell you are all highly experienced and passionate about baking. I hope I'm not annoying anyone with my naive questions.

Thanks much,

By George (George) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 04:42 pm: Edit


The simple answer is no, not in NY.

Read through the posts this has been discussed dozens of times, also try a key word search for "legal", it brings up 109 different discussions.


By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 09:31 pm: Edit

or.....find someone in N.Y. who is looking for your talents and be an outside contractor for them, and work at their shop or place of biz.
you would get paid.
people would start knowing your stuff.
and.... maybe down the road someone may want to expand on what your doing.
(read that...invest in YOU.)
good luck.

By Samantha (Samantha) on Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - 12:26 pm: Edit

Hi George and Spike-
Thanks for your responses. Believe it or not I did search the archives, but I didn't think to try "legal". Either way, I found a lot of philosophical discussion about home kitchens, but what I really needed was the short answer. So thanks to George for that! Hopefully the next New Yorker finds this post!
Anyway, becoming a free-lance cupcake baker. Now that's an inspired idea! I could pursue that. There's another woman here doing something with cupcakes. I've contacted her and we're going to speak over the weekend. Maybe she'd be interested in some sort of party cake partnership... Working with someone else is a good idea. I'll see what I can make of that. The holidaysa are just around the corner...
Third point- even though I can't 'sell' cupcakes, can I give them away? I ask because I thought sending out batches of free, yummy cupcakes would be a nice way to promote my real business which is photographer.
A potential client gets a dozen cupcakes to stick in the breakroom. They each have a toothpick with my business card stuck to it. Then they think, if this chick has time to sit around baking cupcakes, she must need an assignment. Let's hire her. Or something to that effect.
I just wonder if I wouldn't run into the same sort of liability issues. I know how to handle food safely- years in the restaurant biz. But still there is that unlikely possibility that someone gets sick or chokes on my business card or something.

If you have any thoughts on that point I'd love to hear them as well.

Thanks again!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - 07:05 pm: Edit

don't stick anything in with the cup cakes.
keep your biz cards separet.
and the only thing someone could choke on would be those toothpicks.
so don't use them.
other than that, giving away "promo's" is not a bad idea.
You could make a couple of cakes and take photos of them then put the photos in with the cupcakes.
then people not only could see your work but eat some of it too.

By George (George) on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 09:08 am: Edit

In NY you can give them away but you cannot sell them.

Nice pix.


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 12:10 pm: Edit

So, give them away and charge $200 or whatever the price is for delivery!!!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 02:23 am: Edit

what pix ?

where you been? Manny.
I thought that last storm might have blown you out to sea. LOL!

I think a service charge IS charging for them.
i could be wrong, its happened a couple of time before.

By Samantha (Samantha) on Sunday, October 17, 2004 - 01:37 pm: Edit

Hi Guys,
Thanks for all the advice. You're a savvy bunch of businessfolks.

I've decided it is in my best interest to remain a hobbyist. Woe to NYC partygoers- who aren't personal friends, but that's life, eh? And woe to my waistline with little asistance in disposing of these cakes!

But now I have a technical bread question about "par-baking" for you all that I'm going to post in a new thread and I'd surely appreciate you best advice here as well.


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