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Topic: TN Laws, Please Help!!!
ashcake 01/22/2008 4:13 PM
I am not wanting to start running a business, but I am wanting to sell some cakes on the side. Does anyone know what the Tennessee laws are on selling them? I've talked to people around the country and some states say you can't sell cakes from your home unless you have a commercial kitchen. I have set up a website and trying to get my name out there that I'm doing cakes now. Like I said I don't want to start a business, but want to do it on the side. But I don't want to just give them away, can't afford to do that. I need some help please!!!!
hpjmom 01/23/2008 4:04 PM
Most people I've talked to go through the Department of Agriculture. Call them & ask about the laws. They vary by locality, not just by state.
Nana's Custom Cakes 01/24/2008 10:47 AM
What part of Tn. do you live in? I also am in Tn, and I spoke with the Dept. of Ag, and they told me that as long as this was not my only source of income and was only doing "occassional" cakes out of the house, there was nothing special that needed to be done.

What is your website, and how do I go about setting one up?

luelue1971 01/24/2008 10:56 AM
Email the department of agriculture and ask them to mail you the regulations for a home based cake baking and decorating business. In Tennessee home kitchens are allowed.

Edited: 01/24/2008 10:56 AM by Moderator

ashcake 01/25/2008 11:33 AM
Thanks everyone for helping. I have contacted the dept of Ag. I received a packet yesterday, but haven't had time to go through it.

Nana's Custom Cakes--I live in Livingston, near Cookeville. Where do you live? My website is Right now I only have it up for family and friends to see what I have been doing. Most of them don't live close and it's easier than emailing pictures. My husband set it up on You can buy a domain name and run it like that but it cost money. is free. You can email me at if you need any help!

Edited: 01/25/2008 11:33 AM by Moderator

amyfj1 01/28/2008 10:46 AM

I looked on the TN Dept of Ag. website and who do you contact? I live in Knoxville and am very interested in baking cakes and selling them out of my home too. The website is monstrous and I was hoping you could tell me who or which department you contacted. Thanks so much!!!
luelue1971 01/28/2008 4:28 PM
Ronald Murphy is the contact at the Dept of Ag. Email me at and I'll give you his contact info.
fairedust 10/01/2010 7:43 AM
Hi everyone. I know this post is a couple of years old, but I'm hoping that someone here can help me. I'm in Murfreesboro, and like you ashcake, I'm just wanting to do cakes on the side, not quite ready to make it my full time business. I went to the TN state website. Found it hard to navigate, didn't really know what to look for. Luelue, is Ronald Murphy still the contact for the Dept of Ag and do you still have his contact info? If so, may I please have it? Thanks. Also, ashcakes, I was wondering how everything was working out for you, selling from home? Any other information anyone can give regarding selling from home for extra cash and not as a business would be great. Thanks so much.
m_mckinney1 10/01/2010 9:28 AM
Here is what I found online for the state of TN. A lot of it is in "legal" speak, so I still have a lot of questions and I can't help with the contact info. You could probably do a search on yahoo or google for Tn dept of Agriculture and come up with contact info that way.
fairedust 10/01/2010 9:37 AM
Thanks, m_mckinney. I have that information, also. I'm in an apartment, with a really small kitchen, so there is no way I would be able to meet all those requirements. (Maybe when I get a house in a couple of years.) However, when I read Nana's Post about not needing to adhere to those guidelines for "occasional" cakes, my ears perked up. That's what I'm trying to determine, if those rules still apply to the occasional sale of cakes two years later. I went onto the web site for the tn ag, it is so confusing. I will keep checking, though. Thanks so much for taking the time to research that and help me. I appreciate it.
vthorse 10/01/2010 10:28 AM
making a phone call is the easier way to understand, in my opinion. that's what I did. In Vermont, I am very lucky to be able to sell out of my home w/o a license as long as my weekly income from it doesn't go over $124.00.

I also asked if it was legal for me to have business cards to advertise, and was told yes.

good luck.
fairedust 10/01/2010 2:21 PM
Yes, I will need to make some phone calls. I should start getting together a list of questions to ask. Thank you, everybody for your help and advice.
m_mckinney1 10/01/2010 7:01 PM
Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Be sure & post back what you find. It may help someone else out
thecakediva40 10/05/2010 8:20 PM
I live in Murfreesboro, TN as well and I found some information that states that in TN you are allowed to bake from home. I am just trying to remember where I got the info. from. I have a license to cater from my home and I had to get a license from the city and county to do so. I didn't have to make any adjustments to my kitchen. However, I don't cater everyday either. There is a cite that gives all of the states that allow baking from the home and TN was one of those states. I believe I found this info. on another forum.
fairedust 10/05/2010 11:18 PM
Thank you, cake diva. When the time comes, I will contact the city and county for the information. I'm still getting my feet wet, and not quite ready to dive right into the cake selling biz. When I came across this post, I thought I'd take advantage of it and see what I could find out. It's nice to have a neighbor on the forums.