A former colleague has asked me to make cupcakes for her daughter's wedding. She has asked for 150 chocolate cupcakes. Her daughter's wedding theme is spring flowers so this will be somehow reflected in the cupcakes. We haven't met yet to discuss all the details (ie design and price). And I haven't actually agreed to it yet...
I just started cake decorating in May 2008 and don't have my own cake business yet as I've only been doing this as a hobby but it is something that I would like to do. I see this as a great opportunity to hopefully showcase my talents (if everything works out!) but at the same time I'm also terrified!
My head is spinning with all of these questions. I was hoping to get some help from you seasoned experts. I don't do this for a living so I apoligize in advance if some of these questions sound dumb:
(1) Do you give your friends a discount?
I'm not a seasoned decorator so I guess depending on the design should I charge market price or discounted price?
(2) How on earth do I transport 150 cupcakes?
Are there giant boxes with cupcake inserts so that the cupcakes won't tilt? Am I better off packing them in smaller boxes?
(3) How far in advance can I start making and decorating the cupcakes?
I can bake 4 dozen in my oven at a time. Do they need to be refrigerated to stay fresh or can I just leave them in boxes in a cool place?
(4) Should I be delivering these cupcakes or do clients pick up? Do you charge for transportation?
(5) Do you do the set up or is this up to the client and if you do the set up is this an extra charge?
(6) Do they provide a stand or is this something that you would rent to them?
(7) Any other tips or advice?
Thanks in advance for any advice
Congrats on your first wedding order!!!
(Insert here all the usual stuff about legal, licensing, flying under radar, etc.)
Moving on .......
Discounts are up to you. Most cakers (me included) will encourage you to stay within market value/pricing. Otherwise you devalue everyone's work. (Like the guy who sells his $100,000 house for $75,000, so that when comparables are done on YOUR house, now YOUR house is worth less because your neighbor's house sold for less. He devalued the neighborhood.)
4 dozen at at time in the oven, means you're only going to go thru 6 or 7 baking cycles. Cupcakes bake 15-20 minutes? Which means you only have about 2 to 2.5 hours of actual baking time. Not bad!!
Another CC'er posted info that she got from Cooks Illustrated that putting cakes in the refrigerator actually speeds up the "going stale" process. (Putting cakes in the freezer HALTS the "going stale" process.) So according to Cooks, putting cakes in the 'frig is bad ... very bad. I never (!) refrigerate my cakes.
If I deliver, I set up. Cupcakes are unlike wedding cakes, though, because there's nothing to setting them up. A client COULD do it. It depends on whether you want to provide this service or not. Delivery fee is also up to you. I have free delivery within a certain area ... I charge for outside the area.
Thanks for your reply indydebi. I would have replied earlier but I've been having troubles logging onto Cake Central. I would love to charge full market price but I guess I am not that confident in doing so because I'm just starting out.
Thanks for your info on refrigerating cakes. I had no idea that it actually makes it staler!
Sorry but just one more quick question. Have you ever transported 150 cupcakes to an event? If so what kind of boxes would you recommend so that they do not topple over?
i have clear perspex stands i rent out to my brides and yes i deliver and set up but i charge extra for this service. i have transported many cuppies and minis and i box them in the largest cake boxes i can get as these are quite sterdy and have lids to avoid disaster if something was to drop on the box (i stress about stupid things ) if you are worries about them touching you can make up your own dividers with bits of card with slots in them to make up a grid, i used to do this but found fondant cuppies dont need it and bc cuppies are usually ok to if you don't overdo the icing at the edges. if the cakes are having some soaught od decoration (if they are bc cuppies) i tend to pop these on at delivery as they can sink or move in transport. a tip in decoration KEEP IT REALLY SIMPLE!!!! or you will not sleep for a week, on mass cuppies only need a little bit of decoration to look amazing so think less is more!! call around and get some prices to base your price on, then if you want you can pass on a 'friends' discount. i have a rule of thumb that if i am attending the wedding as a guest the cake is my present but that pay for ingredients and utilities and sundries, my time is my gift (and a very big one at that!!) so you need to think about what sort of friends rules you want to create as believe you me what you do for one all others will just expect!!! best of luck and think production line set up in a large area (dinning table is good) and do everything in stages, bake all, ice all, decorate all, box all. i store all my cuppies and minis at room temp in boxes once i am decorating, prior to that if there is a gap between baking and decorating i freeze them. hope i helped!!
Big no-no on refrigerating cakes. Baking 101 it does make the cakes go stale much quicker.
Thanks for your replies. Adatay thank you for your advice. They haven't decided on a design yet so hopefully it will be something simple.