ARE YOU A RETAIL BAKERY OR ARE YOU A CAKE SHOP?
Both! Top Tier Cakes has existed as a cake operation for some time by Ashley Zinicola. After getting married and moving to the West Side, Ashley (now Joslin) and her husband opened the retail bakery that is here today. Half of Top Tier's business is custom cakes - from weddings to birthdays and everything in between. The other half of the business is the walk-in Bakery in Westlake, featuring fresh baked treats daily, Tues - Sat.
HOW SOON IN ADVANCE SHOULD A CAKE BE ORDERED?
We like to give a general rule of 1 week notice during the first 4 months of the year and 2 weeks notice during the rest of the year. If we can do something on short notice, we will, but to insure quality, we can only take on so many cakes per week. We can take cupcake orders on shorter notice, but we generally stop taking all weekend orders by noon on Wednesday because we need to start prep work.
Note: some dates book up fast due to holidays. We always suggest placing orders sooner than later.
DO CAKES AND BAKERY ORDERS HAVE TO BE PAID IN ADVANCE?
We recommend pre-paying for everything as it can save time during pick-up. With that stated, all custom orders (or any order over $50) requires a 50% deposit to get on the schedule. Because we only take on so many cakes per week, once you make an order, someone else may not be able to get on the schedule. The deposit guarantees that a customer is definitely committed to getting a cake and it also generally covers ingredients, which have to be acquired ahead of time. Deposits are not refundable once the cake production process begins and/or the schedule becomes full for the day of your order.
Also, please keep in mind, once the cake is complete, the entire balance is due - if your event is canceled, while we feel bad for your event, the labor and materials for the cake have already been incurred and the bakery needs to be paid.
Note: deposit policy does not necessarily apply to corp accounts, and wedding cakes have a policy that is discussed with couples individually.
SOME PLACES HAVE CAKES READY IN A MATTER OF HOURS, WHY DO YOU NEED MORE TIME?
Note: some operations, especially grocery stores, have pre-made items that are kept frozen then thawed and heated and frosted with a "Crisco" type product from a bucket. They can whip out cakes on short notice. This is not what we do. A gourmet cake takes time: batter is made fresh (it's not pre-made sitting in a freezer), fillings have to be created and the frosting has to be made - our buttercream (and even our fondant) are made in-house. The cake gets baked, it's cooled, torted, filled, partially frosted, cooled again, frosted again -- then it has to be decorated. Some of the more intricate designs are like creating a piece of artwork, which just can't be rushed.
BUT DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE CAKES AVAILABLE IN YOUR CASE?
We always try to have a couple 6" round cakes in our case, ready-to-go. These are based on first come, first serve, just like all bakery items. The catch is, once we sell one, we usually can't replace it the same day (see question above). You can always call ahead to see what we have, if there's a cake you want, we can save it for you.
DO YOU DO CONSULTATIONS AND TASTE TESTS IN THE BAKERY?
Scheduled consultations and taste tests are reserved for larger wedding cakes only. All other orders can be discussed on a walk-in basis or over the phone. Along with the e-mailing of pictures, we can usually cover most anything via phone or short impromptu walk-in. If a cake seems like it will be more detailed (like wedding cakes are), then we may suggest a more formal meeting, but again, we usually can handle most orders in a less formal matter.
CAN I PLACE AN ORDER ON E-MAIL OR VIA TEXT/DIRECT MESSAGE?
Generally we need to discuss orders over the phone or in person. Although, initiating contact via e-mail or social media is a good way to start the process or ask quick questions / send pictures, to officially be booked on the schedule, you will have to speak to a bakery employee. This system is in place for protection against multiple employees responding (or not responding) to the same email. Also, details can get "lost in translation" on email threads and our experience is finalizing the details "live" is best.
DO YOU DO GLUTEN-FREE, NUT-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, VEGAN, SUGER-FREE, ETC?
We often get requests for Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free and Nut-Free Prepared items. We will always be happy to discuss your special needs. While we do not carry these items as regular bakery selections, with notice, we may be able to make special orders. We have done gluten-free cupcakes and vegan carrot cakes as examples. These items do take special time, require a minimum quantity and may cost a little more than our regular daily selections, but we are happy to discuss your needs.
Please note: one type of allergy we cannot accommodate is any allergy to nuts, including peanuts. We simply do not have a setup to 100% guarantee no cross-contact. Also, while we have done gluten-free items, it is important to remember we are not a gluten-free environment; we do not have separate prep stations and therefore gluten particles could be present in preparation. We are happy to discuss all allergies and options and to talk to you about things we have done for other customers.
WHAT ABOUT BREAD?
Sorry, we don't do bread. It requires different equipment and set-up then what we have now. Our focus is on cakes and pastries.
DO YOU DELIVER ITEMS?
Generally, we only deliver large wedding cakes (as they have to be set up on site). However, if you need an item delivered, and if we have staff available at the time/day of delivery (or if we can contact an outside delivery vendor), we will consider delivering an item. Keep in mind, delivery charges are based on labor time or the fee of an outside delivery vendor, so the fee will generally be much higher than a business that has a full-time delivery operation (like a pizza shop for example). NOTE: cupcake delivery options will soon be available from Grubhub.
IS EVERYTHING MADE AT YOUR BAKERY AND DO YOU FREEZE ITEMS?
Everything is made fresh at the bakery. As far as freezing -- we don't even own a freezer.
CAN YOU MAKE A DISNEY CAKES OR OTHER TRADEMARKED ITEMS?
Generally - "No" However, we can create themes based on different genres and purchased trademark items can be added. For instance, action figures that you own can be added to a cake that is in the colors and decor of your theme. Also, if you have permission to use a trademark, then we will be happy to use it. For instance, if you want your company's logo on a cake, assuming your company is OK with it, we can do that. Same with local schools, clubs, etc. We are always happy to discuss options and work with you to find ways to create fun cakes.
CAN YOU MAKE EDIBLE IMAGES?
We do not print edible images, but we can direct you to an outside vendor where you can order images, which you can then provide to us to incorporate into a cake. Most vendors need at least 10 business days to print and ship.
WHAT ARE YOUR CUPCAKE FLAVORS?
We literally have featured over 80 flavors and continue to introduce more. Obviously we can only feature so many each week -- six in fact. Each week we rotate flavors, but we always have our Vanilla Wedding Cake and Chocolate with Buttercream. Other popular flavors in the rotation are Red Velvet, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Fudge. Form there the flavors vary - we post the weekly flavors each Tuesday morning on Facebook. So if you follow us, we'll keep you up to date.
Keep in mind -- you can order any flavor you want if you get them by the dozen. Just give us enough notice. This also goes for any bakery item, from cookies to macarons to scones, etc. We happily take special orders!
Feel free to contact us with other questions as the above are just a summary of the more popular ones we have received.