I have only started decorating cakes. Recently I have made cake for no charge for a couple of children who's families couldn't afford a cake, and for a few seniors in homes that had nobody to celebrate with.
Well I guess people have told other people, and someone at one of the nursing homes has a sister who is getting married on Sept 20th (so less then a month away), and they were not going to have a cake at all, they were just going to have a dessert with their meal as they can't afford a cake.
Anyways, this lady contacted me, asking if I would be willing to make her wedding cake, she's covering all costs of supplies.
It will have approx 75-80 guests, they want a small cake (guessing 6 or 8" round) just for pictures and cutting, and either sheet cakes or cupcakes for their guests.
So heres my questions, if I did cupcakes, how many would I need? if I did sheet cakes, how much?
And for costs? what do you think I would need in supplies?
They want pretty basic, the small cake fondand covered (I make my own), with fondant flowers. The cupcake or sheet cakes would be buttercream icing with matching flowers from the small cake. Boxed mixes, no fillings, and nothing special.
Any ideas? suggestions?
I really don't mind doing it for cost, I am just starting out...only made a couple cakes. I don't think I am anywhere close to being good enough to take orders. I am just doing this for experience as there are only so many cakes my family can eat
I don't think anyone can give you a price on your costs without a quantity and a recipe. And the cost of ingredients varies from one area to the next. Especially when comparing costs from one country to the next. To figure out how much a cake costs me, I took the cost to purchase each ingredient (say a bag of flour) and divided the item by the number of units you can get out of it (cups for flour, Tsp for vanilla extract), then multiplied that number by the amount of that ingredient needed for my recipe. do that for each ingredient, then add them all up. Remember to add cake boards, etc.
I would check out the serving guide under the articles tab for the cake and figure out what size you will be doing and if you think everyone will be eating cake (which I'm not sure that everyone does) do one cupcake for the remainder.
Also, perhaps you can make out a list for the ingredients and have them buy it for you???
I'm going to sound cynical here, but if they can "afford" to have 80 people there, they can afford to feed them a slice of cake. Even still, if they determined that they wanted to go with the dessert that the caterer is providing, they may not even need a cake at all because many caterers offer the choice of dessert options (usually at least one is cake, and if the couple asks nicely the caterers will even find a way to let them have a "cutting" photo op...
You know, not worth the hassle because "materials" is a misnomer, there's electricity to power the mixer, paper towels to wipe your hands/surfaces, dishwasher detergent for the 20 loads you otherwise wouldn't have run, the delivery/takeout that you're going to order because you're busy doing a wedding cake, and after all that, there's the base ingredient price for the cake itself. Figure $4/slice... They can't get that going to Perkin's...
The thing is, if budget WERE a true issue, they wouldn't have selected a FONDANT covered cake... They'd have gone for a Duncan Hines Dollup, the cheapest possible cake design out there... As for the cupcakes or sheet cakes, think of it from the perspective of the guests, who gets the large slice of filled wedding cake (even if it's only buttercream, it's still filled!!) and who gets a boring kiddie cupcake that's about half the finished size? Also, those "matching flowers" are going to have you swearing by the time you hit cake/cupcake slice #12.
Like I said, don't want to be cynical here, but they're trying to take advantage of you... And especially when you're new, you've got to nip this stuff in the bud or you'll be paying for these cakes for a good long time!!!
If I were you.....and I've been doing this for a very long time....I would definitely provide them with sheet cakes instead of cupcakes. Cupcakes are "trendy" but they are also a pain because you have to deal with each one individually. I would recommend that you provide an 8" cake for the photo, spending your time on that cake to make it nice. Then make a two layer 11 x 15 sheet cake. We call them "kitchen" cakes here as they are typcially sliced and served from the kitchen and not decorated. Since you are doing this out of the goodness of your heart, this will save you lots of time and still allow you to help these people. The slice of cake will have a filling and can be sliced into 1" x 2" slices, just as if it were a wedding cake. The only thing I would do to decorate the kitchen cake is ice it in buttercream and add top and bottom simple borders.
As for ingredient cost you should make your shopping list and tally up the cost. Then, you should add an additional $50 to $100 to help cover your electricity etc.
It's fun to learn and I can respect your feelings that you may not be ready to "take orders." I can also relate to what the reader posted about people who are ready and willing to take advantage of folks. What I would like to add is that you offer a service that is of value to people. They expect to pay for it, although they may tell you that they "can't afford it." It's unlikely that their meal for their guests is being provided by someone like you who is doing it for cost. Your time and talent is valuable, even when you are learning. Word of mouth spreads like wildfire once you start delivering a few cakes and all of the sudden, whether you think you warrant it or not, you are viewed by others as "good enough" to accept orders. If you were not, then they wouldn't call you. I encourage you to tiptoe out into the water a bit and feel good about charging for your services. It will become increasingly important that you learn to sell your value. In order to do this effectively, you should do a little research about what other bakers charge in your area and don't undercut them. Everyone expects and is willing to pay a fair and reasonable price for something of value to them. If this is something you would like to do for income purposes, it is critical that you don't establish yourself as someone who will provide her services at cost. Otherwise, the circles that your word of mouth will spread in will be those people who are unwilling to compensate you for your talent and time.
Please don't get me wrong, I do my share of donating cakes for worthy causes, but I also market directly to people who can appreciate and pay a fair price for my work. I know how easy it is to be our own worst enemy when it comes to "evaluating" our own work, especially at the beginning. I would be happy to help you in any way that I can if you decide to pursue your hobby as a business interest. Please feel free to bounce ideas and questions off of me....I've learned quite a bit over the years and would love to pass along any information that will help you.
I tend to agree with sumfun and couturecake. It is nice to do nice things for people-----I am making a free wedding cake this weekend for our pastor's daughter as their gift But I think everyone will begin to take advantage. Seriously, if all they wanted was a plain cake with a few flowers JUST for the sake of a picture, go to Walmart. They are not expensive there. Or, they could make one themselves and buy some silk flowers at the dollar store. Either way, good luck and God bless. You have a kind heart.