I am in the process of making a castle cake. I'll finish it tonight, but all told it will have taken me about 15 hours of work from baking through decorating using fondant. Cake decorating and learning about cake decorating has become a passion and a creative outlet for me. I've recently started thinking about doing it as a business as well when I am a little more experienced. I already have a few people who have asked for cakes. Since I've gotten into the craft, I realize how long it takes to actually construct and decorate a cake. I recently called around to some local bakeries that do sculpted cakes with fondant to see what they charged. The average was probably about $75 for the size I just made, which would feed about 15 people. That would mean if I charged that for the cake I just made, that I would be making $5/hr! I think in time I will be faster, but even $6-7 an hour is not much.
I know there are many tricks like baking cakes ahead of time and freezing, making flowers up ahead of time and storing for use later that makes the process more efficient, but that is still labor that goes into the finished cake. I am single so am a one income household with a pre-schooler. This would have to be just a hobby for me, which is fine. I don't see how I could quit my day job and support my household on this.
Yet, I am curious...those of you who do have your own cake decorating business and make a living doing it, how do you resolve wanting to put alot of hours into a cake for the "art" of it knowing you will not be able to charge adequately for those hours with also needing to make a living? Do you make your money on sheet cakes that can be turned out much faster? When doing this as a business, do you face the dilemma of feeling you need to sacrifice art for business?
Curious and learning....
I do cakes because I love it- not for the money. I don't have to do it for the money though, if I did I probably wouldn't enjoy it as much! I don't see how you could do it full time and make enough money to support yourself either unless you went full steam ahead and started up a bakery or something.
Hi. I have a small cake decorating business here in Houston, Texas. I think you would find the most success doing wedding cakes. You can charge more money for those...however...you have to find the best way to get customers. Sometimes it is not always that easy. I am always looking for wedding coordinators to give information to...but that does not always mean they will call you. I just keep looking...in the meantime...I take whatever orders I get. Right now...it has been kids cakes!!!! It sounds like you are very creative...maybe you could start out doing it on the side and then see what happens.
Hi! I am a part time teacher and a mother of 2 little ones. I have been decorating for years but just recently (in the last 2 years) started charging for my cakes. I too agree that the money is in wedding cakes. I do cakes for all occasions, but prefer to do wedding cakes. They do require a lot of time and planning, but it is all worth it to me. Sometimes I get a little sad thinking about all the hard work I put into it just to have it eaten within a few hours of set up, but when the bride sees it and gets excited about it, you know you have done your job.
Why don't you keep cake decorating on the side until you are more comfortable with it. I think you can still enjoy it while having another job at the same time. And then who knows maybe one day you may decide to open your own business.!!
I'm having the same delima. Only difference is my wife is a nurse and I'm a respiratory therapist. My wife works during the week while I take care of our kids, then I work on the weekends. However, I'm trying to make my cake hobby a business and like you figuring out how to make money is difficult. I researched every bakery and at home bakers prices in my area and just set my prices in the middle. Problem is unless you are a bakery, how can you make enough cakes to earn a living? I can't make more than 2 custom cakes a week because it's just me and everyone usually needs their cakes on Saturdays. Good luck.
15 hours on a cake could not be tolerated in a bakery. While that cake was in the oven you would be bashing out traybakes, cookies and brownies.
15 hrs is almost 2 days work..even at minimum wage (without ingredients electricity and materials such as pans and boards) you can see how much this has already cost?
So far, no art involved. I love baking, have for 30 years and have made wedding and competition cakes for the last few. I have also worked (briefly) in a high end bakery.
If you had bought ready made Costco cakes, a roll of fondant and ice cream cornets and ready made gumpaste decorations you could have assembled the castle cake in a couple of hours. That's what a business would have done, and charged accordingly.
Every town has legions of home cakers desperate to make the big time, and spending hours on "art" that will be consumed with a few nice comments in a few minutes.
A hobby is different, its enjoyable and if we are using cake dummies can be played with for 15 hrs and upwards. No hard feelings, no worry about cost, just the pleasure of making something beautiful.
I urge you to resurrect the old threads on here in the Business section where bakers have lived and petered out and given up because they realized that Art and Business and even worse.."The LOVE" poured into their cakes are very different
things and finding customers to support these love filled artistic labours are very few and far between.
Hey Joey, I followed YOU LOl! Look at the date on this thread? Just shows you how quiet it is around here. I wonder if those cake artists ever made the big time or if they folded up their fondant ?