Please Help; I Have Questions About A 3-D Cake Order!

Business By Swede-cakes Updated 18 Sep 2008 , 12:27pm by Swede-cakes

Swede-cakes Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 12:07am
post #1 of 18

Hi all,

I've been asked to price out a 3-D 1980's boombox cake to serve 50 ppl. And, yes, the mother got the idea from watching Duff. She loves the show and is intent on finding someone to do this kind of cake for her daughter's surprise 30th birthday party.

She wants each of the speakers as gold cake, the center unit as chocolate. Buttercream finish.

My questions are these:
How are these types of tall/multi layer 3-D cakes cut for serving? If this sucker is, say, 4 layers high, that's a pretty tall slice 'o cake! Or do they cut the top 2-layers into slices, and then the bottom 2-layers once the top two are gone? I'm trying to wrap my brain around how to calculate the servings.

How do I support this cake? stack all layers together and use dowels into the center, left and right?

My starting price is $3.75 for a carved cake here in So. NH. What do you guys think I should price this at?

I'm really at a loss here. If any of you with 3-D experience could chime in with advice, I'd be very greatful! I've not done a 3-D cake for this many people before.

Thanks!
~Kristen

17 replies
mellormom Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 12:29am
post #2 of 18

I'm from MA icon_smile.gif You would deffinaltey need to dowel it. I would put a cake board under every two layers of cake. (like you would for a normal 9x13) Then dowel each layer but the top and put a center dowel through all the layers. But depending on how big it is you may need more support than that.
As far as cutting I believe that you should cut the top layers first then work your way to the bottom. You will be able to cut easily because the boards will be in there.
HTH
Jen...

Swede-cakes Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 12:37am
post #3 of 18

Jen, your answers helped a lot. Thank you!

Since it's going to be a rectangle shape made up of multi layers, each boarded, would I still be able to frost the entire thing? You know what I mean? With wedding cakes, you ice each layer then stack them, trimming out the seams with some border or flowers. Easy to separate before cutting. I'm picturing a Boombox as one seamless box shape, so am wondering how to do this.

I don't know, maybe my "I can do it" brain just made my mouth agree to a project that's out of my league. icon_cry.gif

FromScratch Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 12:50am
post #4 of 18

An upright boom box is what I am picturing.. so if I am wrong.. ignore me.. icon_wink.gif

You would treat it like a 2 tiered cake when supporting it. 4" of cake (whatever that is for you 2, 3, or 4 layers of cake) then dowels and a cake board and then another 4" of cake and so on. I wouldn't go much taller with a skinny cake and I woudl add a couple central dowels as well for stability in transport.

Bake four 8" square layers cut them in 1/2 so you have eight 4 x 8" pieces of cake and bake two 12" layers square and and cut them in thirds so you have six 12 x 4" pieces (you will have some extra). Then frost and fill them like any other cake so you have four tiers made from the 4 x 8" pieces and two tiers made from the 4 x 12" pieces and then stack them so you have all of your pieces.. 2 speakers and one central area for the cassette deck and controls and add two central dowels in each of the three pieces. I'd lay the fondant over the whole thing so it was boucd together..
LL

FromScratch Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 12:58am
post #5 of 18

The more I think about it.. it might be best to think of it as two tiers up 1/2 of it (1/2 the speaker, half the midsection, and 1/2 the other speaker) and then put a cake board that spans the whole thing to really anchor the pieces together.

Oh and you can definitely make it smaller.. the sizes I gave would feed more than 50. icon_smile.gif

Swede-cakes Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 12:59am
post #6 of 18

Oh Jeanne, I would never ignore you...you're my cake idol! icon_wink.gif And your detailed instructions will go in my "never-lose-these-instuctions" folder!

That's what she's asking for, an upright version. Are the sizes and # of layers you gave me enough to feed 50 servings?

If I cover it in fondant, how do they separate the layers before serving? Or do they even DO that? (Can you tell my eating and creating experience have both been limited to wedding-type cakes? lol!)

Kitagrl Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 1:11am
post #7 of 18

They don't need to seperate them...they just cut down until they hit the board...serve all the way across...remove the board....and then serve the bottom half.

Good luck!

FromScratch Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 1:25am
post #8 of 18

The sizes I gave you would feed more than 50 ppl.. let me see if I can come up with better dimensions for you. icon_smile.gif

Kitagrl Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 1:32am
post #9 of 18

Usually what I do is figure out how many servings I need. Then, find the sheet cake that serves about that many or slightly more...then, figure the dimensions based on how much cake is in that sheet cake.

Swede-cakes Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 1:33am
post #10 of 18

kitagrl, thank you for explaining that. With everyone's advice here, I'll be a 3-D cake virgin no more! icon_lol.gif

Kitagrl Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 1:37am
post #11 of 18

You'll do great! 3D is mostly trial and error and practice anyway, I think.

With the boom box shape, it will be easy to cut from a sheet cake and even piece some of it together if you have to.

The more you cut away, the more you will have to plan for (extra servings) but with that, you shouldn't have to waste too much cake.

Have fun!

FromScratch Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 1:57am
post #12 of 18

Okay.. you could bake one 12x18 sheet cake layer that is 2" deep (make sure you fill the pan well so it bakes up nice and full) and you can cut that into eight 6x4" pieces to make 2 speakers and then bake two 8" square layers (again make sure they bake up nice and full) and cut each of those in 1/2 so you have four 8x4" pieces for the cassette deck and controls.

The 8" squares will feed 30 and the 12x18 will serve 50 less some for the scraps you will have and I'd call it 65-70 servings.. charge well for it. I start carved cakes at $7/serving and only do them in fondant. No less than $4-5/serving..

Kitagrl Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 2:01am
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

Okay.. you could bake one 12x18 sheet cake layer that is 2" deep (make sure you fill the pan well so it bakes up nice and full) and you can cut that into eight 6x4" pieces to make 2 speakers and then bake two 8" square layers (again make sure they bake up nice and full) and cut each of those in 1/2 so you have four 8x4" pieces for the cassette deck and controls.

The 8" squares will feed 30 and the 12x18 will serve 50 less some for the scraps you will have and I'd call it 65-70 servings.. charge well for it. I start carved cakes at $7/serving and only do them in fondant. No less than $4-5/serving..




Wow you charge well...that's great! I've been slowly raising 3D prices...finally this last time someone ordered a 3D cake (a car, which I hate doing, but hopefully Mikes Amazing DVD will help, although add more work!) I just sat there and decided what I wanted for it and quoted that, rather than "per serving". It ended up being about $8/serving plus a delivery fee...but then once you get up to those numbers, I think people like it better if you just quote a lump sum for the "3D artwork" really. Sometimes it seemed that when I was doing "per serving" I'd end up with a cake that was really alot more work than I expected and wasn't worth the money, especially if the servings were only like 25-30 which seems to be a very common amount.

redhare Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 2:18am
post #14 of 18

I made an 80's boombox cake it's in my photos if you want to take a peek. It is my all means not perfect or even great. I would recommend a cake that can handle the weight of being stacked...
I did 5 -9x13 sheet cakes stacked. I did going from bottom up 3 cakes board then 2 cakes crumb coated and covered w/ fondant.
Everyones directions on here were way better than I could give but if you need any help just let me know and I will assist w/ what I can.

mellormom Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 10:58am
post #15 of 18

Not to be off topic but Mike has a DVD on how to make cars! icon_biggrin.gif Where can I find this and how much is it?
Jen...

FromScratch Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 12:09pm
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

Okay.. you could bake one 12x18 sheet cake layer that is 2" deep (make sure you fill the pan well so it bakes up nice and full) and you can cut that into eight 6x4" pieces to make 2 speakers and then bake two 8" square layers (again make sure they bake up nice and full) and cut each of those in 1/2 so you have four 8x4" pieces for the cassette deck and controls.

The 8" squares will feed 30 and the 12x18 will serve 50 less some for the scraps you will have and I'd call it 65-70 servings.. charge well for it. I start carved cakes at $7/serving and only do them in fondant. No less than $4-5/serving..



Wow you charge well...that's great! I've been slowly raising 3D prices...finally this last time someone ordered a 3D cake (a car, which I hate doing, but hopefully Mikes Amazing DVD will help, although add more work!) I just sat there and decided what I wanted for it and quoted that, rather than "per serving". It ended up being about $8/serving plus a delivery fee...but then once you get up to those numbers, I think people like it better if you just quote a lump sum for the "3D artwork" really. Sometimes it seemed that when I was doing "per serving" I'd end up with a cake that was really alot more work than I expected and wasn't worth the money, especially if the servings were only like 25-30 which seems to be a very common amount.




When I do carved cakes they start at $250.00 (plus delivery) which works out to about 35 servings @ $7/serv. They are a pain.. to frost.. to cover in fondant.. to plan.. to waste ingredients that get cut away.. etc. I use my per serving amount to calculate cost and tell them that their cost will cost $xxx.xx. Most 3-D's are hard to calculate actual servings and you need to be compensated for the waste.

Kitagrl Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 12:21pm
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mellormom

Not to be off topic but Mike has a DVD on how to make cars! icon_biggrin.gif Where can I find this and how much is it?
Jen...




Yeah it just came out...you can go to his website....also sign up for his mailing list, that's how I found out first. You have to order it via phone right now but I got mine in like three days. It really is very good. Supposedly he plans on making an entire series, and this was only the first! (Which is good cuz I hate doing cars!!!)

Swede-cakes Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 12:27pm
post #18 of 18

You all have my appreciation for the advice you offered last night. Thank you for being so generous with your ideas and calculations!

I emailed the person with a recap of the order, and quoted her $300 for a BC finished version. Then I thought about offering a fondant version, since this woman I'm dealing with is an interpreter for the Spanish-only speaking Mother and didn't know if the Mother would want fondant "like she saw on Duff". So I threw in a $400 price if she wanted to upgrade to fondant.

I have no worries about getting or not getting this order, strangely enough. If they get sticker shock, then they'll head to Hannaford or Market Basket. And if they really want the cake, then they'll get a great cake and I'll get paid nicely.

Have a great day, all!

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