I have been selling cakes for $20.00.
I dont mind doing that if it is just a character cake but, when I invest hours doing fondant decorations to make a cakes special and original I feel I should get more. Is there a rule of thumb for pricing cakes.
I am not talking about wedding cakes.
1. scope out the competition -- price a standard cake, say 10" 2 layer filled round decoed in BC -- at WalMart and local bakeries.
2. calculate what the $/serving is from the prices you receive based on 35 servings for 10" cake.
example if local bakery sells the 10" for $50, their $/serving is $1.43
3. find the mid-point of the prices -- that would be about where you should start.
example if the prices range from $1 to $3 -- midpoint would be $2 -- about where you would want to be to start.
4. this then is your price of buttercream iced cakes -- I am, as others like IndyDebi, that cake is cake whether b-day or wedding and the $/serving is the same for b-day or wedding. so that 10" cake would be $70 at $2/serving.
5. if you do fondant covering -- that can be at a higher $/serving. -- add at least 50 cents to $1.
6. only if they want some outrageous extra detailing would I add a extra fees.
example -- real ribbon vs. fondant ribbon --- to me fondant actually cheaper once you consider the time, the GA$, the running around it will take to find the right fabric ribbon!
and standing by for advice, amplification by others
Welcome aboard to our obsession scotias3!
There is not an easy answer for pricing cakes here especially since different parts of the country charge differently and before the crash we had loads and loads of threads on this subject.
Anyway you didn't say what size cake it was for only 20 bucks. That is extremely cheap to me and probably only a 5 to 6 inch plain Jane round cakelet for me. And I would not turn my oven on for that small and cheap cake!
There are programs out there that takes your cost of the recipe ingredients, plus box and board plus the energy of turning on your oven and price out the cake per recipe. You might want to start by figuring out that cost, then the rule of thumb is to times that cost by 3 for your labor.
I would also see the types of cake your competition has in your area and what they charge so your price accordingly.
After averaging in all that you can get a feel for the cost per slice depending on your design.
I have a minimum and I'm also in a metro area and charge anywhere from $3.50 per slice for plan 'ol BC without any fancy dancy decoration to $5 for fondant. Then I add additional costs for gumpaste bouquets, extension, lace points etc. If it is a carved cake then I charge for the cake not the slice and have preworked out my designs and the timing and cost of ingredients and charge accordingly.
And remember, that you make custom cakes and not cheap cakes and depending upon your talent level you can charge more for customizing.
Edited to add: Groan......Doug you beat me again......LOL.
Thank you for your reply...
I am very rural...a true country bumpkin.
The character cakes I was mentioning are the Wilton Character cake pans that you do mostly in stars. To me that is a $20.00 cake but, I also do cakes with lots of fondant/gumpaste flowers or 3d figures. They are the ones I have trouble with the price.
In that case, I still price by the slice accordingly and then add on costs for individual sculptures or bouquets. HTH
Very good advice has been given on this thread. I would add:
Dont' compare yourself to walmart pricing. With their large buying power, limited selection and not actually making the cakes (as I have been told by a number of "w" employees, the cakes are shipped in to the stores already baked and usually already iced), you cannot compete with their costs. Do not even try .... you are not in the same league .... you are better.
Careful selling character pan cakes. If they are Disney or other copyrighted characters, you are in violation of copyright laws.