Huge Order... 300 Cupcakes!! What Do I Do?????

Business By kellertur Updated 25 Jul 2011 , 5:11pm by Debcent

kellertur Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:34am
post #1 of 90

Hello, (sorry this is so long)

I've just been asked to make 300 cupcakes for (collective) monthly birthdays at my husband's office... this will be a monthly thing.
300 cupcakes at the end of each month... icon_eek.gif I should be happy icon_confused.gif

My problem, you ask? (I know, get to the point!)
I've NEVER done an order close to this magnitude (I'm cursing my tiny kitchen). I called the bakery they usually use (a reputable place, nice people) and I was surprised by how little they charge. They were charging $187.00 for 300 cupcakes.

If the order were to be done as a HUGE sheet cake, the price was only $250.00. That averaged about $0.87 per serving... I can't compete with that price. I use mostly organic ingredients... it adds up fast.

What would you all charge for 300 cupcakes? My husband said they would pay more if needed, I just want to be fair to both myself and them. ALSO: am I insane for taking this order??? My kitchen is beyond TINY~

~Thanks for reading my usually long winded posts. icon_smile.gif

89 replies
summernoelle Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:40am
post #2 of 90

I don't know-if $600 too much? You are talking many, many, many hours here.

Cookie4 Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:44am
post #3 of 90

What type of decoration is required? Also, how will you deliver and in what type of container(s). I assume buttercream and not fondant/gumpaste - right?

Mencked Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:49am
post #4 of 90

I'd charge 1$/cupcake if they're basic cupcake with basic swirl of icing and buy yourself a baker's rack at Sam's (if you're a home baker) and try to convince yourself that it looks great in the middle of your living room icon_smile.gif. JK....but that's what I did when I had to make 400 cupcakes for a wedding icon_smile.gif. I know that my price suggestion is low, but where I live that would be the going rate.

Karema Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:49am
post #5 of 90

I think that $187 is ridiculas and you wont be able to compete with that. If i were you I would find a different recipe that didnt use organic products and maybe a cake mix extender recipe would help with the cost. Just keep trying to come up with a cheaper produc that will be up to your standards. I would charge about $300 because that would be $1 per cupcake if price is an issue and you really just want the experiance. If they can pay more go for $400. I doubt they will pay you $420 more than the bakery. The economy is too bad. You could also make the cupcakes during the week and toss them right in the freezer. I think you can make batches of butter cream a week in advance. You could freeze cuppies brush with simple syrup after they thaw and top with buttercream. Just an idea. Just trying to help

kellertur Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:59am
post #6 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karema

I think that $187 is ridiculas and you wont be able to compete with that. If i were you I would find a different recipe that didnt use organic products and maybe a cake mix extender recipe would help with the cost.




The only problem with that is that I bake from scratch and I'm vegan (so mixes are out). It was a good suggestion though. I'm starting to think there is no way I can do this... I don't even know how long it would take. And my poor oven... thankfully we have insurance incase it dies.

All they want is a swirl of BC... sounds easy enough, but then I times that by 300!!! I'm not the world's fastest baker... Maybe I'm just not ready for this yet... icon_sad.gif

FromScratch Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 5:06am
post #7 of 90

I'd decline.. it's not going to be worth the headache. You have to think where you will store them while they are at your house.. how will you transport them.. If you think about it.. one dozen will fit in holders in a 10X14 box.. that 25 boxes. Will your car hold that? You will be baking for days.. then decorating?

If you are using organic ingredients your cost will be way more than $187 for just the ingredients.. nevermind the containers and all that. I charge $3.50 for a plain unfilled cupcake. That's over $1000 right there, and I don't use all organic ingredients.

A bakery is using comercial mixes, has a nice big mixer and can mix and bake them dozens at a time. Your home mixer and oven will handle what.. 2 dozen at a time.

I'd decline.. say thank you so much for thinking of you and if they ever want a special cake for a special occasion then you will be more than willing to go that route.

aligotmatt Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 5:08am
post #8 of 90

300 cupcakes with a simple swirl from me would cost $1200. And people pay it. what you should charge... I don't know. Work up your cost and time and decide what it's worth.

Just so you know, I do bake from home, I have done cupcake orders as large as 500. I can rotate 48 cupcakes in 4 - 1 dozen pans into my oven at a time, they come out, cool for 3 minutes, then move on to cooling racks, the next batter is already waiting, put it in, back into the oven. Takes 1 hour to bake 96 cupcakes. Make 2 batches of buttercream before you start the baking, that way once the cupcakes are cool, you ice them, and then right into a sheet box. Keep the process rolling. It's a solid 6 hours to bake and ice and box 300 cupcakes for me.

kellertur Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 5:12am
post #9 of 90

You want to hear (well, read) something funny???

I only have a "6 cupcake" tin !!!! icon_eek.gif Can you imagine how many YEARS that would take???

I would have bought a larger one, but that made me laugh right out loud, which is just what I needed. icon_lol.gif

I guess I'm going to decline, because of time, space, cost ~ I hope there are more orders though... just not so large.

Thanks everyone. icon_smile.gif

CakeForte Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 3:50pm
post #10 of 90

I've had to do 500 cupcakes before...basically they had a choice of chocolate or vanilla. Then I PURCHASED the cupcakes from the store in bulk for about $150, undecorated, took them home...added some simple syrup for extra flavor and moisture and then put my own icing and decorated them. It worked, they loved them...and I didn't have a HUGE headache.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:17pm
post #11 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

The only problem with that is that I bake from scratch and I'm vegan (so mixes are out).




Does the client want vegan cupcakes? If you are serving the public, you do as the client wants not what you want. If they know they are getting vegan cupcakes then do them at a price that is consistant with what it would cost you plus your time and a profit margin. So to me, $2 or more per cupcake would be right. They probably won't go for it being spoiled on $187 price. And honestly, unless you are a vegan you won't enjoy a vegan cupcake...believe me I know. I have 2 vegan sisters, 2 vegan nephews, and a vegan daughter. All have made me a vegan cake before....veganism is an aquired taste, and a chosen lifestyle.

Granted there is a niche for vegan baked goods, but make sure that is how you market your business to the public, that way no misunderstandings...your client seeks you out because you bake vegan and organically.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 4:40pm
post #12 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

The only problem with that is that I bake from scratch and I'm vegan (so mixes are out).




Does the client want vegan cupcakes? If you are serving the public, you do as the client wants not what you want. If they know they are getting vegan cupcakes then do them at a price that is consistant with what it would cost you plus your time and a profit margin. So to me, $2 or more per cupcake would be right. They probably won't go for it being spoiled on $187 price. And honestly, unless you are a vegan you won't enjoy a vegan cupcake...believe me I know. I have 2 vegan sisters, 2 vegan nephews, and a vegan daughter. All have made me a vegan cake before....veganism is an aquired taste, and a chosen lifestyle.

Granted there is a niche for vegan baked goods, but make sure that is how you market your business to the public, that way no misunderstandings...your client seeks you out because you bake vegan and organically.

kellertur Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 6:17pm
post #13 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Does the client want vegan cupcakes? If you are serving the public, you do as the client wants not what you want.
And honestly, unless you are a vegan you won't enjoy a vegan cupcake...believe me I know. I have 2 vegan sisters, 2 vegan nephews, and a vegan daughter. All have made me a vegan cake before....veganism is an aquired taste, and a chosen lifestyle.

Granted there is a niche for vegan baked goods, but make sure that is how you market your business to the public, that way no misunderstandings...your client seeks you out because you bake vegan and organically.





I respectfully have to disagree with you. I am upfront about being a vegan baker and I'm always told by customers that their guests had NO idea the cake was vegan. I don't think I'm a lesser baker because I bake vegan.

Truth being: vegan cakes (or any cake for that matter) will taste just awful if they are done wrong. Believe me, there is a right and wrong way to bake vegan...just as there is any baked good. The fact is... you do not NEED eggs or dairy to make fantastic, delicious cakes. The only difference is that they are a bit healthier (if you can call cake healthy. icon_rolleyes.gif )
My cakes are moist, rich, and I've had NO complaints about them being sub-par to egg/dairy cakes. ( If this were a question of religion and baking no one would have a problem, but for some reason you mention vegan baking and everyone panics... )

Yes, baking vegan is a lifestyle choice... so is baking with dairy and eggs. icon_smile.gif I do respect your opinion and am very sorry your experience has tainted your view of vegan baked goods. icon_sad.gif

littlecake Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 6:43pm
post #14 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeForte

I've had to do 500 cupcakes before...basically they had a choice of chocolate or vanilla. Then I PURCHASED the cupcakes from the store in bulk for about $150, undecorated, took them home...added some simple syrup for extra flavor and moisture and then put my own icing and decorated them. It worked, they loved them...and I didn't have a HUGE headache.




i was going to suggest the exact same thing....cause i've done this before too....it's really the only way to do cupcakes in bulk these days that the "masses" can afford.

"donning flameproof underwear...and handing cakeforte a spare pair."

chocomama Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 6:55pm
post #15 of 90

Could you share some of your recipes? I tried a vegan cake recipe last night and it wasn't that great. I'd really like to find some yummy ones.

cupcakemkr Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 7:00pm
post #16 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

[And honestly, unless you are a vegan you won't enjoy a vegan cupcake...believe me I know. I have 2 vegan sisters, 2 vegan nephews, and a vegan daughter. All have made me a vegan cake before....veganism is an aquired taste, and a chosen lifestyle




I also have to disagree with this, I am not vegan but I have a good friend that is as well as a friend whose daughter is allergic to eggs and a nephew allergic to dairy so when I bake for family gatherings I bake a vegan cake and I can tell you that not one person that had cake knew it was vegan until they were told so, you can absolutely have a good vegan cake that is just as delicious as a non vegan cak, if not more. K2cakes is right the cakes you had just must have been done wrong.

K2cakes - I'd RUN away from this one especially for the money they are looking to spend. Why are they leaving the bakery that was making them in the past? Is it because the bakery is looking to up their prices? It really is a lot of work to ice 300 cc's even if it is just a simple swirl - I'd be charging minimum $2.50 a cc and if all organic $3.50!

CakeMakar Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 7:08pm
post #17 of 90

IF you took on this order, I'd recommend buying nut cups. They are stable enough to hold their own shape and not need a cupcake pan. I can fit a lot on a sheet pan. This is how I do my cupcakes for my daughter's school and I can bake all 60 in one batch. (Two sheet pans in my oven and I alternate them halfway.) I could fit more, but I like giving them a little space in between each cup. Both Michaels & my cake store sell them for $1.50 for 25 or so, but I'm sure you could get them cheaper at a restaurant food supply. (We have Smart N Final.)

alvarezmom Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 7:22pm
post #18 of 90

If your this hesitant about the order than I would decline it. iI find that I bake better when it's when I want to and looking forward to it rather than feeling like I have to.

Buying in bulk is an option. You could look that route if you want the order. I dont think it matters why HD's work is looking for another baker. This would be great business for you if you decide to order! 300 cc=300 NEW customers!!!!

aligotmatt Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 7:31pm
post #19 of 90

Just wanted to chime in to say I agree with cakesdevine. I have not had a single tasty vegan cake, other than carrot. We had a vegan bakery here, and being how I am, I went and tried it, and maybe it was a whole bakery of sub par stuff, or I don't have the acquired taste... but ick.

Not the point though, if you don't want to/can't take the order, don't do it. Maybe just put out the price you want, like $3.00 per cupcake, and if they are like, no that's way too much, then move on. But if they accept, it could be a wonderful steady income...

stephaniescakenj Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 9:24pm
post #20 of 90

Hey Kristi!!! i would take the order.. I know, I'm like the only one saying this. Think about all those potential customers out there though!!! Here's what I would do... My oven (it's so old, it's harvest gold yellow, yea, from the 70's) so I would imagine newer ovens can do this as well. I have 4 cupcakes pans that hold 12 cupcakes each, I put two pans on each rack and bake all four at once. So you can bake 48 cupcakes at a time...I have plastic cupcake containers like the grocery store has, they have 6 holders but you can get them bigger (I got mine from Brenmar), so when they're done baking, let them cool a few mins, then put them directly into the cupcake container to cool completely, I don't close the lid. Once they're cool, put the big star tip on a big piping bag, pipe your swirls, close the lid, literally takes less than a second to pipe it. I can stack my containers 4 high I think. so just keep working in batches, as you finish a set of cupcakes, close up the containers and stack them up til you're done. I bet you could do this in a day... now, the trouble would be the price. you have to figure out how much it's going to cost you to make all these cupcakes. For a simple swirl I would only charge $1 but I don't bake vegan, so once you figure out your costs, I would give them the price and just explain to them that it might be higher than you're used to paying but they're getting a far superior product. Maybe even bake a few cupcakes and send them into the "decision maker" at your hubby's office so they can see the caliber of product they'd be getting to justify the cost.

jammjenks Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 10:49pm
post #21 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mencked

I'd charge 1$/cupcake if they're basic cupcake with basic swirl of icing and buy yourself a baker's rack at Sam's (if you're a home baker) and try to convince yourself that it looks great in the middle of your living room icon_smile.gif. JK....but that's what I did when I had to make 400 cupcakes for a wedding icon_smile.gif. I know that my price suggestion is low, but where I live that would be the going rate.




I agree with this. Since you use organic ingredients, does that mean you bake from scratch only? If so, your price should probably be a little more because it is probably more expensive to bake than cake mixes.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 11:04pm
post #22 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

I respectfully have to disagree with you. I am upfront about being a vegan baker and I'm always told by customers that their guests had NO idea the cake was vegan. I don't think I'm a lesser baker because I bake vegan.




I in no way meant to imply that you were lesser of a baker. It is just your client needs to know that you are a vegan baker. The texure and flavor is so very different in a vegan cake than a typical cake that uses eggs. Not saying it is bad, but I find it hard to believe that someone would say they couldn't tell something was different.

But I commend you on your choice. Like I said there is a market for this and I am sure you are a remarkable baker otherwise you wouldn't have been asked to do this massive order.

jammjenks Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 11:45pm
post #23 of 90

OK-it is obvious that I didn't read the whole thread before posting earlier. I would definately do it, but the first thing I'd do is buy more cupcake pans. I can only bake 2 doz at a time in my oven. You may have to call other vegan bakers in your area (if there are any) and see what the going rate is.

kellertur Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 11:46pm
post #24 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by cupcakemkr

Why are they leaving the bakery that was making them in the past? Is it because the bakery is looking to up their prices? It really is a lot of work to ice 300 cc's even if it is just a simple swirl - I'd be charging minimum $2.50 a cc and if all organic $3.50!




They were just trying to give my new business a jumpstart, which was one of the nicest gestures I've seen in a long time. It's where my husband works, and I'm always being asked to make the cakes.... I was just asked today to do a wedding in February for NON VEGANS... so I guess I'm doing something right... icon_rolleyes.gif
It's the decorative flowers, etc I still need to work on....

kellertur Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 11:52pm
post #25 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

The texure and flavor is so very different in a vegan cake than a typical cake that uses eggs. Not saying it is bad, but I find it hard to believe that someone would say they couldn't tell something was different.




At the risk of seeming defensive~ I really don't know what to say... my cakes are the same, if not more moist in texture than regular cakes. I'm selling my dessert cakes in a small cafe, and the owner keeps telling me how people are commenting on the rich, moist texture. How is that differnt or not as good? I'd love to bake for you sometime so you can experience the guilt-free wonders of vegan baking. All of the flavor, no cholesterol, no animal was injured, and fewer calories. I do respect your feelings, but again I disagree that ALL vegan baking is below regular egg/dairy cakes. icon_smile.gif

For those wondering: I'm upfront about my ingredients as it's a draw for people trying to eat better or those with allergies.
ALSO: my icing uses organic non-hydrogenated shortening.
icon_confused.gif WHY AM I STILL DEFENDING MY VEGANISM ?? icon_confused.gif
I must be tired.... icon_rolleyes.gif

3GCakes Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:18am
post #26 of 90

I would atleast throw out a price that would make it worth while. Atleast 1.25 or more per cupcake.

There have been many opinions on oranic vs. non-organic, vegan vs. responsible "mainstream" baking (cage-free chickens and such)... I'd want to know if my "scratch" cake contained a Vegetable shortening icing and not a butter icing. From what I've read, butter is the more natural product, even with cholesterol (which in itself is not such a bad thing).

If these were icing-less cupcakes, I'd say maybe less calories, or if they were smaller...maybe. But I am not sure where the whole "vegan cupcakes are healthier" has been proven, especially since most vegan buttercream is made with a product that up until a few years ago, made butter look like raw carrots. Completely hydrogenizing anything doesn't make it healthier.

And I would LOVE to have recipes that are healthier, which is incidentally, why I switched to IMBC instead of a Veg-shortening icing.

Anyway, I'd still throw out a deal that reflects yours costs and a profit for you, and I wouldn't be shy in making sure they know you are vegan. I don't think there's anything wrong with your choice, but claiming it is healthier or less animal-friendly may not be the absolute truth IN ALL CASES.

CAKE ON!!!

kelleym Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:18am
post #27 of 90

There isn't enough money in the world to pay me to make 300 cupcakes 6 at a time. icon_eek.gif

indydebi Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 1:08am
post #28 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

There isn't enough money in the world to pay me to make 300 cupcakes 6 at a time. icon_eek.gif



Amen!! thumbs_up.gif

On the vegan thing, though .... at one of my fraternity caterings, one of the attendees was vegan. I worked with him directly via email to determine what kinds of foods I need to bring for him. He was very easy to work with. One night, I made cookies for dessert. I looked up a vegan choc cake recipe and made him 12 cupcakes. No icing because I forgot to bring everything I needed for icing. I gave him 11 of them and said we had split one to see what they tasted like. It was great! If I hadn't made them myself, I never would have guessed or believed it was a vegan recipe.

(He sent me a wonderful thank you note after the event, which I posted on my "Comments" page on my website! He was great!)

kellertur Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 1:27am
post #29 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakemom777


If these were icing-less cupcakes, I'd say maybe less calories, or if they were smaller...maybe. But I am not sure where the whole "vegan cupcakes are healthier" has been proven, especially since most vegan buttercream is made with a product that up until a few years ago, made butter look like raw carrots. Completely hydrogenizing anything doesn't make it healthier.

And I would LOVE to have recipes that are healthier, which is incidentally, why I switched to IMBC instead of a Veg-shortening icing.

I wouldn't be shy in making sure they know you are vegan. I don't think there's anything wrong with your choice, but claiming it is healthier or less animal-friendly may not be the absolute truth IN ALL CASES.

CAKE ON!!!




My above post explains that I DO NOT use hydrogenated shortening. The very first thing anyone sees on my cards, website, etc is:
"VEGAN cakes", etc..... it's not some deep, dark secret and I'm here trying to fool everyone... icon_rolleyes.gif
I could argue that it has been proven to be a healthier way to eat/bake, but what would be the point? I'd make a bunch of enemies, and that isn't my intention. I'm no BETTER or WORSE for being vegan... so why does this seem to have become the topic of this thread!!!???

By the way: the 6 cupcake comment was a joke~ I would have obviously bought larger tins... I just needed a laugh. icon_lol.gif

3GCakes Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 1:42am
post #30 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakemom777


If these were icing-less cupcakes, I'd say maybe less calories, or if they were smaller...maybe. But I am not sure where the whole "vegan cupcakes are healthier" has been proven, especially since most vegan buttercream is made with a product that up until a few years ago, made butter look like raw carrots. Completely hydrogenizing anything doesn't make it healthier.

And I would LOVE to have recipes that are healthier, which is incidentally, why I switched to IMBC instead of a Veg-shortening icing.

I wouldn't be shy in making sure they know you are vegan. I don't think there's anything wrong with your choice, but claiming it is healthier or less animal-friendly may not be the absolute truth IN ALL CASES.

CAKE ON!!!



My above post explains that I DO NOT use hydrogenated shortening. The very first thing anyone sees on my cards, website, etc is:
"VEGAN cakes", etc..... it's not some deep, dark secret and I'm here trying to fool everyone... icon_rolleyes.gif
I could argue that it has been proven to be a healthier way to eat/bake, but what would be the point? I'd make a bunch of enemies, and that isn't my intention. I'm no BETTER or WORSE for being vegan... so why does this seem to have become the topic of this thread!!!???

By the way: the 6 cupcake comment was a joke~ I would have obviously bought larger tins... I just needed a laugh. icon_lol.gif




K2Cakes, I apologize profusely for missing your post where you said you didn't use hydrogenated oil. I, for one, use butter for my icing, and often times organic butter. Many farms practice not hurting animals for gain. I could get into the whole religious thing (animals are here for our use) but as your said, what would be the point? I am as convicted at my choices as you are.
Statements were made, however, why wouldn't someone want something vegan...and the point is...at what cost financially, and is it worth it to you (and them).

When you asked your original question....it involved many factors, including that fact that your ingredients cost more than, say, what "I" would use....and what a "mainstream" bakery would use. That got into the factor of "why" must such and such ingredient be used, and the price/cost ratio, and subsequently the whole vegan/non-vegan discussion. It's not meant to be an attack on you. I'm all for healthy, and I'm also for what makes sense to me.

I hope you take the order, and charge what it's worth.

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