How Do You Determine # Of Servings In Carved Cakes?

Decorating By Danielle111 Updated 19 Oct 2007 , 2:33am by Danielle111

Danielle111 Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 5:35pm
post #1 of 16

What's the consensus out there on the best way to determine the total # of servings in a carved cake? I love doing carved, 3D cakes, but I'm always nervous that after the carving, the customer isn't getting the # of servings they paid for, or they are getting too many for which I am not getting paid. Is there a tried and true method, or does everyone just kind of guesstimate? Thank you for all of your help!
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15 replies
DianeLM Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 5:48pm
post #2 of 16

Start with the number of servings BEFORE you start carving. So, if you're carving something out of a 2-layer 9x13, your starting point is 45 servings. Guesstimate the number of servings you've carved away. If you keep all your trimmings in one place, you can kind of eyeball how much you've removed. Then, subtract about 10% from the final number of servings to account for how difficult it is to cut a sculpted cake.

Example:
2-layer 9x13 = 45 servings
Approx. 10 servings carved away = 35 servings
Less 10% (4 servings) = 31 servings

KimAZ Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 5:42pm
post #3 of 16

I'm glad this question got asked. I always try to figure it out mentally before I start carving but Diane's method is a great way to do it. Thanks!

KimAZ

jen1977 Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 5:45pm
post #4 of 16

I do it like Diane does. do you guys charge for the number of servings you started with, or the number you have left that they ordered?

BakingGirl Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 5:46pm
post #5 of 16

I would charge for the amount of servings you have to bake. You still have to pay for the ingredients you cut off and discard to create the shape you want. With regards to number of servings it is difficult to know, it really depends on each cake and the shape. I would guesstimate based on the what size cake you baked and how much you cut off while carving.

Danielle111 Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 5:56pm
post #6 of 16

Diane - thank you so much! This is sort of what I do already, but I hadn't thought about subtracting 10%. It makes a lot of sense!

beachcakes Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 5:56pm
post #7 of 16

Thank you so much for the info! I usually just guess and hope it's right, or end up giving them too much!!

dabear Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 6:41pm
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jen1977

I do it like Diane does. do you guys charge for the number of servings you started with, or the number you have left that they ordered?




That's great question.

DianeLM Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 7:04pm
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jen1977

I do it like Diane does. do you guys charge for the number of servings you started with, or the number you have left that they ordered?




Although a lot of people charge for the number of servings they BAKED, I have a hard time charging $5 or more per serving for bare, undecorated cake. My per serving price is based on the complexity of the design, but the trimmings are not part of the design. The amount that I charge for the cake itself more than makes up for the couple of bucks worth of cake I cut away.

dabear Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 9:32pm
post #10 of 16

Thanks DianeLM!

indydebi Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 10:54pm
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeLM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jen1977

I do it like Diane does. do you guys charge for the number of servings you started with, or the number you have left that they ordered?



Although a lot of people charge for the number of servings they BAKED, I have a hard time charging $5 or more per serving for bare, undecorated cake. My per serving price is based on the complexity of the design, but the trimmings are not part of the design. The amount that I charge for the cake itself more than makes up for the couple of bucks worth of cake I cut away.




It's called scrap factor and it's a very real and very legitimate part of any pricing structure. It's a very real and legitimate cost of the product.

In my tenure with a large power cord mfg'r, I learned a lot about this aspect since my job was pricing the product for my 250 distributors. During the production process, our factory would have to strip off 1/2" or so of the outer jacket to expose the copper wires. When you're making over a million of these things, that 1/2" adds up.

That 1/2" of material IS part of the list of materials. The cost IS figured as part of the base cost. Margins ARE figured on the total cost of production, including the scrap factor.

If you started out with a 12x18 and carved it down to a one-serving Twinkie sized cake, you wouldn't sell it for three bucks. You'd base your price on the cost you had in it .... PLUS the extra labor fee for the carving.

It's very much the cost of the product.

DianeLM Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 11:33pm
post #12 of 16

Debi, I agree completely. I hope my post didn't imply that the cut-away cake should not be charged for. If so, I apologize for not being clear.

Scrap or waste was an important topic covered in my culinary classes. There is hardly a single ingredient that doesn't need to have waste taken into account - from the shell of an egg to the last 1/4 teaspoon of mayo left in the jar.

What I meant was, although the cost of the cake baked IS figured into the total price of the cake, I don't price the SCRAP at the same rate as the intricately decorated part of the cake.

indydebi Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 11:42pm
post #13 of 16

Diane, appreciate the clarification! Yep, looks like we agree! thumbs_up.gif

vickster Posted 18 Oct 2007 , 11:56pm
post #14 of 16

This is a little off topic, but how did you come up with 45 servings for a 2 layer sheet cake? I've been figuring one layer at 26 2x2x2 servings, allowing a little extra for waste.

DianeLM Posted 19 Oct 2007 , 12:56am
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by vickster

This is a little off topic, but how did you come up with 45 servings for a 2 layer sheet cake? I've been figuring one layer at 26 2x2x2 servings, allowing a little extra for waste.



I used the Wilton serving chart for party cakes. According to them, a 4-inch tall, 2 layer 9x13 yields 45 1-1/2"x2" servings.

Danielle111 Posted 19 Oct 2007 , 2:33am
post #16 of 16

Wow - thank you guys! I appreciate all of the responses to this, and all of the facets covered. I am new to selling my cakes, so I'm still ironing out all of the details, and this issue was just one that I couldn't be sure of without asking.
Thanks again, love you guys! CC is the best!

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