I have a few question re: mini cakes:
I was wondering how much do you guys charge for mini cakes?
How big are they, width and length?
Can they be filled?
Can I use a sheet cake or small pans? Which is easier?
I was trying to attach a photo but it's not working.....
Ok, brutal honesty here....these are a huge PITA! Around Toronto, I've seen pricing in the $10-25 range and after doing them ourselves for weddings, I don't think that's enough.
Sure, they are cute and little, but don't let that fool you. These take an outrageous amount of time to make one-by-one.
As for making the tiers, just use cookie cutters, either square or round and cut out the shapes from a thin sheet cake. (We use cookie sheets with a 1" depth to make the cake.) My best advice is to really chill the cake (like, semi-frozen) first before you cut. That gives nice clean shapes that are easy to cut and slip out of the cutter.
As for sizing, that depends on how many tiers you are making? If these are a single-serving single tiered cake.....about 2.5" - 3" is plenty with two layers and filling. If these are single-serving tiered, I wouldn't bother filling the tiers. That gets REALLY complex and there's enough icing on the exterior to skip a filling! The simpler the better, trust me. (Just wait until you're trying to fill a 1.5" tier!!??)
If you have the option, pick fondant for the exterior. It's a LOT easier to ice a teeny tiny cake in fondant than to try to do a smooth buttercream exterior.
Mini cakes are REALLY time-consuming if you have to make a lot (like 50 - 100+) so do try to give yourself a lot more time than you think. We did a wedding of 200 three-tiered mini cakes once and it took 4 people 5 days to do it!! (Or was it 5 people 4 days, not sure now!?) We tripled our price after that incident because we'd FAR underestimated the work involved. The true dollar amount we have to charge for each one to make it worth it has some couples shocked, but it still hasn't stopped inquiries.
I offer them for 1st anniversaries for customers whose wedding cake I did the previous year. I make them a little 5" tall replica of the wedding cake design I did for them. Here's a few samples of ours.
(Oh, and if you don't want to special-order in those little 3"-4" cake boards for each one or have to cut out those little beasts by hand....just use a sugar cookie or even an upside-down Digestive cookie as the base!)
antonia74 I love your cakes!!!
thank you iva1976 for starting this post. i have had these questions on my mind all week and kept forgetting ask.
thanks antonia for all your info. it really answered alot of questions.
i think i have one last question though - how tall it a mini cake. i am going to be using a 1" sheet cake and cutting out using cookie cutters.
what should the size difference between each layer be - im thinking to do a 2"/3"/4". would that look proportionate? also if each layer is 1" high this would make my cake around 3-3.5" high. does that sound correct? is this average height?
Thank you so much Antonia74 for all the information!
Thank you Zakia6 for your question, it was going to be my next question...
I think in the end, our 3-tier mini cakes are about 4.5" tall. We do ice the tiers in a thin crumb-coat of buttercream and then add the fondant overtop.
My set of round cutters are at work, but I "think" we use 1.5"/2.6"/3.8"....which is pretty much the same ratio as your 2"/3"/4", yes
One other tip I really should mention, I would definitely recommend using a denser/heavier cake for these....the light/airy chiffon and sponge cakes are a bit trickier to ice on such a small scale. A pound cake-type of crumb is much, MUCH easier!!
I've done mini cakes 3 different ways... sheets that are cut with cookie cutters, iced and stacked; mini tiered pans where all 3 tiers are baked at 1 time altogether; and another method with the sheets but using white chocolate and molds.
As a previous poster mentioned, either use a heaver, denser cake, or at least slightly freeze your minis before icing.
Another tip: I apply the buttercream icing with a bag and a tip rather than trying to put it on with a spatula. If the tiers are slightly frozen first, it makes it a little easier to pipe on the icing, stab it with a skewer, pick it up and smooth it, then cover it with fondant. Or just smooth them and put them together if you're not using fondant.
fondant tip: If I'm covering a 2" round fondant tier, I roll out the fondant, and then use another round cutter about 2-3" larger in diameter to cut out the fondant. This gives me enough fondant without having too much excess to deal with.
The 3rd method I've used, still requires sheet cakes, but it's using white chocolate (or regular chocolate) as your "finish coat". I have a set of cutters for the cakes, but the nice part is that you can make your "shell" several days ahead of time, cutting down your assembly process.
I have a cake/candy mold that gets filled with chocolate and we create a shell. The cutters used will give us a piece of cake just slightly smaller than the shell. First pipe in some buttercream then place your piece of cake in it. Finish filling in the rest of the "mold", throw it in the freezer to firm up and when it's done, you have a perfect tier.
I'm not sure that I explained it very well, but I'll attach a couple pictures so you'll be able to see the finished product. Good luck on your mini cakes!
j-pal--with the chocolate shell method, are you referring to Kathy Scott's molds? If so, do you find that the cake doesn't really fill the shell well and quite a bit of chocolate is required?
handymamma - yes, I'm referring to Kathy's molds. I've not had a problem with the cake filling the mold because I usually make up the difference with the buttercream. I will admit that if the shell gets too thick, it's a little more difficult to "cut" the cake, but I think the benefits outway the negatives. Have you tried them? They definitely cut down on the time factor and they give a flawless finish!
j-pal--yes, I own all of them plus many of her toppers and impression mats. I have to say I have a love/hate relationship with the petit fours. They're cute and I love the smooth finish. On the other hand, they are usually way too sweet for my tastes. Are you saying that you fill in the sides with bc as well as a squirt in the bottom? Do you coat the bottoms with chocolate? I've tried icing the cake with a thin layer of bc before using the cutters; works well but is terribly messy. I then pour in chocolate until the sides are filled and bottom covered, and often have trouble getting a smooth bottom. Any suggestions you have for flavors and techniques are very greatly appreciated. I have a huge investment into these!
All of these mini-cakes are so beautiful! But they do look extremely time consuming!
handymamma - Yes, I pipe a thin layer of buttercream into the "shell", then I place my cake piece, then pipe in the sides with buttercream anywhere there's a gap, then go back over with a layer of chocolate to "finish" it. This is particularly helpful if the cake is dark and the white chocolate is a little thinner in certain areas.
Re: the bottom... I've found that if they're lumpy or uneven on the bottom, it's because my cake was too thick. I trim the cake down just a tad before putting it in and then it sits flat. I've never tried icing the cake first -- I can definitely see where that would get messy. Kathy recommends that you add some paramount crystals to your chocolate. It's to help make the chocolate a little less hard and easier to cut into. I haven't tried that yet, but I'm sure that would be a great benefit.
I've gotten nothing but great responses from using these molds and from mini cakes in general. Obviously, they're expensive to buy, but since I charge so much for mini cakes anyway, they usually pay for themselves after the first use. Good luck with yours!
j-pal--I charged an average of $3 each for mine, depending on what's on top, but that still comes out to a pretty poor hourly rate. I'll try to attach a photo here, although I've never had much luck with that. If I don't achieve it, there are a couple of pics in my photos here on CC.
Handymamma - I looked at the pics you have posted here... you did a great job on your pfs... definitely $3-$4 price range with all the work you did. What do you charge for the mini tiered cakes? I start at $15 for a 2-tier and go up from there depending on degree of difficulty and details.
The closest I've come to making a mini-tier was a 2-4-6 for my DIL. Not really mini--and icing that 2" was such a pain I swore I'd never do it again!
j-pal - thanks for the info. im going to order the set. in your opinion is it worth it to get the cutters too?
To me it is much easier to use the cutters rather than trying to cut it myself and then go back and trim it some more, or realize I've cut off too much. Please note that if you're going to do A LOT of the mini cakes, it's handy to have multiple sets of molds. (Still just need one set of cutters, though.) Of course, try one set first... if you like it, you can always get more. Good luck!
These cakes are super cute! I'm having a quince in the next couple months and me and my mom where talking about having these on the tables..i was wondering where i'd be able to order these from? helppp?!
Countrygirl--where are you located? Someone here might be near you.