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Volunteer FAQ’s

Bake a Wish Austin

Volunteer FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. What services do we provide?
A. Our primary mission is to provide free birthday cakes to children who wouldn’t otherwise have one.  Soon we will also expand our mission to serve elderly and disabled in city housing developments.  (We will change our name and website address accordingly.)
Q. What other services do we provide?
A. In addition to individual birthday cakes, we provide deliveries for our agencies’ group birthday parties, holiday parties, fundraiser events, and the like.Regardless of the types of agencies we serve, you need only sign up for the cakes that YOU want to provide!  However, we’ve been grateful to offer our expanded services to the many agencies with which we work, and they have  been grateful to have us.  Every dollar they do not spend on cakes can be spent on their other needs instead.  Just visit the “Warm Fuzzies” section of our web site any time and you’ll see some samples of their gratitude.We are all, first of all, philanthropic volunteers.  We are also bakers.  That is our gift that we enjoy sharing.  Remember, you only need sign up for the deliveries that fit with your personal mission.
Q. Do I have to be a professional decorator to qualify as a volunteer?
A. No, but you do need some basic cake decorating skills such as being able to make a homemade buttercream, use a pastry bag to pipe a simple border and write legibly on a cake, and know how to package your creation properly using cake boards and bakery boxes.
Q. How do I know what cakes need to be baked?  How do I sign up for one?
  • Once you are approved as a volunteer, you will be provided access to our “cake board” on Google Docs.  The cake board contains information on all of our current requests, such as child’s first name, gender, which birthday they’re celebrating, requested cake flavor, requested theme or favorite characters, whether they prefer a cake or cupcakes, any food allergy information, and delivery date/time/location.
  • To protect the integrity of the data, the cake board is read-only.  When you find a cake you’d like to sign up for, you email me and let me know.  I will email you back and confirm the cake you want is yours, or let you know if it’s already been taken.
  • I’ll send you a reminder email a few days prior to your delivery.  We do not want to miss a single delivery!
  • If you’d like, email me a photo of your creation and I’ll put it in our monthly newsletter.
  • Please send me an email after your delivery is complete so I can include it in our monthly cake count
Q. Do I also deliver the cakes that I sign up for?
A. Yes.  The Google Doc will list the delivery address.
Q. Do I get to meet the recipient of my cake?
A. Each agency with which we work is slightly different, but due to privacy and confidentiality you will most likely not get to meet the recipient of your cake.
Q. Will anyone say “thank you” when I deliver my cake?
A. Although it would be nice for lavish thanks to be heaped upon us when we make our deliveries, that is not always the case.  Most of the agencies with which we work have limited budgets and may rely on volunteers or lower-wage employees to staff their front desks.  We cannot guarantee everyone you encounter will be as grateful as you may wish.  However, remember that the recipient of your cake is the one who matters, and they may never forget the cake you made!
Q. Is there a minimum number of cakes I need to commit to each month?
A. No.  If you can do several a month, that’s great.  If you can’t do any that month, no problem!  However, if you are inactive for 60 days (i.e., you do not make any cakes), you will be removed from our list of active volunteers and from our email distribution list.  This will help keep our volunteer list limited only to active volunteers and will help keep your in-box clutter-free.  You can re-active yourself at any time without having to re-submit an application by sending an email request.
Q. Do we cater to recipients with food allergies?
A. Yes!  Part of the information we collect with the cake request includes any food allergy info.  The most common food allergies we get are nuts and gluten.
Q. Do I deliver a homemade cake, or a store-bought cake?
A. Our volunteers bake, decorate, and deliver the cakes.  We only deliver a store-bought cake in case of emergency.
Q. Do I deliver a cake, or cupcakes?
A. The cake request list will indicate whether the recipient prefers cake or cupcakes.  Sometimes the recipient requests a cheesecake, a pie, cookies, or something else.  It’s their special day so we let them decide.
Q. How many servings do I prepare?
A. If your delivery details do not specify a minimum number of servings, we prepare a standard size order, which is 2 dozen cupcakes, a 9*13 sheet cake, or a 2-layer cake (8” or 9”).  You are always welcome to make a bigger cake if you’d like.  Some volunteers like to make larger cakes, shaped cakes, or tiered cakes.  No cake will go to waste!
Q. What do I put my cake on?
A. Bakery supply and craft shops sell “cake boards” that come in various shapes and sizes.  If your cake will not fit on one of these standard sizes (as is sometimes the case with special shaped cakes), you can get a foam board and cut it to size.
Q. Do I need to cover my cake board?
A. It depends on the cake board.  Some are covered with a special waxy coating so they don’t absorb grease from the frosting.  Others are plain cardboard.  The plain cardboard cake boards as well as a foam board should be covered with special cake board foil.  It can be found near the cake boards at bakery supply or craft shops.
Q. What kind of container do I use to deliver the cake or cupcakes?
A. A covered container that can be left with the recipient.  Disposable bakery boxes come in assorted sizes, and are recommended.  They are inexpensive and can be purchased at a bakery supply shop or craft shop.  (See question below about where to buy supplies.)
Q. Should I put candles on the cake?
A. That is completely up to you!
Q. Do I deliver plates/forks/napkins too?
A. Nope; just the cake!
Q. May I put plastic decorations or small toys on the cake?
A. Yes, as long as they are clean.  Small toys such as Hot Wheels on a “car” themed cake are fine, but please do not provide a gift.  (see next item)
Q. May I deliver a gift?
A. No.  Please do not take a gift.  If you take a gift and the next volunteer does not, that will not seem fair to the children.
Q. Is it OK if I use a box cake mix?
A. Yes!  The recipients are normally most intrigued by the way the cake is decorated.  Therefore, box mixes are fine as long as there are no food allergies for your particular request.
Q. Is it alright if my kids/grandkids help me?
A. Yes!  The official volunteer must be at least 18 years of age, but your kids/grandkids are welcome to help you with the decorating.  It’s a fun way to get them involved in community service!
Q. I saw the photos on your web site.  I can’t decorate cakes like that!  What do I do?
A. See the info below about cake decorating instruction.
Q. Will you send me a reminder about my delivery?
A. Yes!  You will receive an email reminder a few days prior to your delivery.
Q. What if I signed up for a cake, and then something comes up last minute?
A. You can deliver a purchased cake instead of a homemade one.  However, if there is no way you can complete the purchase and delivery, please let me know ASAP so I can try to reassign that cake.
Q. I know someone who may be interested in becoming a volunteer.  What do they do next?
A. Have them contact our Volunteer Coordinator or download the Volunteer form and complete the details.
Q. What Austin area agencies do we currently serve?
A. Check out the “Who We Serve” page our web site at The name of each agency is actually a link to their web site.
Q. Where can I get cake decorating supplies?
A. Local retailers include Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann, All in One Bakeshop.  If there’s something you can’t find locally, there are many cake decorating suppliers online.
Q. Where can I get cake decorating instruction?
A. Classes are fun and you will learn the easy way to do things you never thought possible!  (plus you get to eat your homework)  Wilton provides beginner and advanced classes.  Go to Click on the link for Classes, then Local Wilton Classes.
Q. Where can I get cake decorating recipes and ideas?
Here are a few great web sites where you can get recipes (cakes, fillings, and frostings) as well as some amazingly creative ideas for decorating your creations.  When you get tired of these, just Google “cake decorating ideas” and you’ll get a lot of great links! Check out our Pinterest Board for inspiration!

Q. What if I have additional questions?
A. Just ask! Email and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.