Ok, How Do You Price Your Dummy W/ Sheet Cake Weddings?

Decorating By SaraClassic Updated 18 Mar 2009 , 9:25pm by LaBellaFlor

SaraClassic Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 9:05am
post #1 of 21

I have a bride whom has asked for a cake for 200, instead of a 5 tier real cake, she would like a dummy and a couple sheets. I dont have a problem doing this, but how do you guys price it? I could wing it but just wonder how far off Id be. So my questions are...
--Im assuming you price by size at this point, buttercream vs fondant on the cakes...so are both ok to apply, and how to you price each size?
---How many people does a sheet cake really feed?
---What are your sheet prices filled and unfilled?
Any other general info on this would be great. Ive done small ones who needed 1 tier to boost it up but never the whole cake ( minus 6 in for cutting )
THANKS!!

20 replies
JaimeAnn Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 11:01am
post #2 of 21

This trend has really got me wondering who started the fallacy that it is cheaper to have a dummy cake and sheet cakes instead of a traditional wedding cake. It takes just as much time to decorate a dummy as it does a "real" cake. I guess you don't have to worry about stacking (ie: dowels and cake boards) but by the time they pay for the decorated dummies and the sheet cakes I don't see it being that much cheaper.

If they are planning on getting the sheet cakes from you also and not some cheap sam's or grocery store cakes they should still be about $2 a serving depending on filling etc. then the cost of the dummy of 5 tiers would be at least $200 (minimal decorating) so you are looking at a total somewhere around $600 . Why wouldn't they just spend the $600 on a nice cake?

I may be off on my pricing that's about the going rate where I live could be more or less where you are .

springlakecake Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 11:20am
post #3 of 21

at least the same price as if it were just a real cake (or maybe more!) Now you have to decorate a 5 tier wedding cake and bake the sheet cakes. YOu certainly are doing at least the same amount of work (and probably more work) if the cake was just....cake.

JaimeAnn Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 11:21am
post #4 of 21

Oh I forgot.

at 1" x 2" servings

a quarter sheet cake 9x13x2 = 54 servings

a half sheet 12x18x2 = 108 servings

a full sheet 16x24x2 = 192 servings

playingwithsugar Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 11:48am
post #5 of 21

Have you actually priced dummies? The larger ones often cost more than it would to make a real cake that size (just the cake, not the frosting).

JamieAnn -

The theory that dummy cakes cost less than real wedding cakes comes from the supposition that the sheet cakes which are ordered to go with it are the $40.00 jobs from the supermarket.

This is often not true, because many brides want the slice of sheet cake to look like they were cut from the actual wedding cake, i.e. two layers, filling, etc. All that doubles+ the cost of the sheet cake.

It was the venue managers and the media which created this work of fiction. Venue managers charge a per-slice fee for cutting and serving wedding cakes. In some areas, that per-slice fee can be as high as $10 per. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to cut a sheet cake, so many people recruit a relative to cut a sheet cake in the kitchen instead. Bridal magazines, newspaper articles, talk shows - all have had someone blab about this concept. It's promoted as reducing the cost of a wedding.

If I were selling cakes, I would charge just as much for the dummy cake as I would for a real cake. Hence, if they were my client, and they really, really wanted this set-up, it would be $500 for a 100-person sized dummy cake, and another $500 for the sheet cakes.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

yh9080 Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 12:10pm
post #6 of 21

I agree with everyone else that it takes as much time to decorate a dummy as it does a real cake. Dummies do cost a lot and you have usually have to pay more shipping since it is oversized. That cost would need to be factored in as well, especially if you are not getting them back.

The way I see it, it's way much more work because the dummy has to be decorated and the sheet cakes have to be baked/iced (not to mention the kitchen space a couple of full-size sheet cakes will take up). And another issue with dummies is that if you do get them back, you have to clean them at some point which also takes time and effort.

I think I would print out the cost of dummies/shipping and just sit down with her and go over the costs of the dummy cake with sheet cakes vs. a real wedding cake. Personally, I'd much rather do a real wedding cake than sheet cakes.

Now, I'm the first one to emphasize about saving money since my budget is very limited too. However, I think she would end up spending more in the long run.

Another thought - if she pays for the dummies & shipping and keeps the dummy cake, what would she do with it? I've always wondered about that. icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 12:14pm
post #7 of 21

If she thinks it's going to be cheaper, odds are good that she's wrong (unless you're practically giving away your sheet cakes).

Direct her to my website, the FAQ page (see link below) where I've already done the math to show her that she will pay MORE for a dummy+sheets than she will for a "real" tiered, traditional wedding cake.

To answer your original question of how do I price dummies+sheets? It's never really come up because I don't do them. And I dont' do them because once they find out they will pay more, they drop the whole idea.

JamieAnn, I'm assuming your number of servings are for a 2-layer sheet cake? Serving size of 1x2x4?

SweetSweetCreations Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 12:42pm
post #8 of 21

Just me but the only way a Dummy cake would be cheaper is if it was one I already had made up for a display and she wanted to rent it. Even then it would be as is and would require a deposit to ensure that my display was returned to me. I agree that brides are being mislead about the price of a dummy cake.

playingwithsugar Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 12:48pm
post #9 of 21

And let's not forget what a pita they are to decorate! Unless there's some magical trick out there which I do not yet know (enlighten me, please) they are difficult to decorate because they are light, and end up sliding all over the place.

The first time I covered a dummy, I got so pissed off that I drilled holes like a bowling ball would have, in the bottom, and held it with my thumb and two fingers.

I would venture a guess that it takes twice as long to put the base coat of bc or fondant (I use piping gel to cover a dummy with fondant) than it does a real cake.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 12:52pm
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

The first time I covered a dummy, I got so pissed off that I drilled holes like a bowling ball would have, in the bottom, and held it with my thumb and two fingers.



Oh I'm LUVIN' that idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

I would venture a guess that it takes twice as long to put the base coat of bc or fondant (I use piping gel to cover a dummy with fondant) than it does a real cake.



I agree. Especially those freakin' 6" ones! icon_mad.gif

SaraClassic Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 2:54pm
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetCreationsByJodi

Just me but the only way a Dummy cake would be cheaper is if it was one I already had made up for a display and she wanted to rent it. Even then it would be as is and would require a deposit to ensure that my display was returned to me. I agree that brides are being mislead about the price of a dummy cake.




This is actually how it started... icon_surprised.gif She wanted a sake isplay I had, I have her a quote... over 1K and she started...thinking!
Thank you all SO SO much for your help on this thread, I have lots of info and price info to go off of.
CC'ers are so great !

SaraClassic Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 3:03pm
post #12 of 21

The first time I covered a dummy, I got so pissed off that I drilled holes like a bowling ball would have, in the bottom, and held it with my thumb and two fingers.


ha ha , I could SO see me doign this, all ticked off at 1 am to finish something! Just drill into the thing!!

PinkZiab Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 4:21pm
post #13 of 21

I think the mistaken idea that dummy cakes are cheaper come from these cake rental places. Yes it's cheaper to RENT a decorated dummy and serve sheet cake, but for people who want a custom decorated dummy, and sheets, it wouldn't save them a dime, by my accounting.

MicheleH Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 7:14pm
post #14 of 21

Ok, I may be taken out back and have stones thrown at me for this one, but I actually LIKE to do dummy cakes & sheet cake weddings. I live in the middle of nowhere, and for me it is worth the extra effort not to have to worry about making/stacking/transporting huge real cake tiers.
Don't get me wrong, I agree that it takes just as much work to do them, and I hate to price quote them because the brides are always like, "but they are fake, why do you charge so much?" icon_mad.gif
But in the end, it is less stress on me, so that has to count for something doesn't it?
Also, alot of the weddings around here are short on people space at the reception, so some brides like to have a nice fancy cake sit out all night in one piece for others to admire, then just serve sheet cakes. I guess if they are going to pay alot for the fake cake, then they may as well get as much look time as possible! icon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 8:09pm
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MicheleH

Also, alot of the weddings around here are short on people space at the reception, so some brides like to have a nice fancy cake sit out all night in one piece for others to admire, then just serve sheet cakes.



This is confusing to me .... a real cake takes up the same amount of space as a fake cake, so what kind of space are they saving? icon_confused.gif

JaimeAnn Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 8:38pm
post #16 of 21

indydebi - Yes Those servings were for a 2 layer cake , sorry I forgot to state that. Thanks for pointing that out. I meant to put 9x13x4 ooopppsss , It was late & i was tired. ahhahah icon_smile.gif

A single layered sheet cake yields fewer servings I believe it is

at 2"x2"x2" servings

9x13x2 = 24 servings
12x18x2 = 54 servings
16x24x2 = 96servings

MicheleH Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 8:43pm
post #17 of 21

Ok, say the bride wants a 5 tier cake with each tier a different flavor. They either have to serve each layer until it's gone and limiting the flavor choices until each flavor is gone, OR, take all the tiers apart and spread them out over the table.
When you have a fake cake you can leave the whole thing in one piece and serve many flavored sheet cakes from the kitchen, giving the guests more flavors to choose from at a time.
I hate it when they only have vanilla out and you take a piece of vanilla, but then see someone else later on eating a piece of strawberry. It makes you want to eat another piece!! icon_lol.gif
Am I making sense??

LaBellaFlor Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 8:47pm
post #18 of 21

I can't see how a dummy cake would be cheaper either. In fact, I think it would be more. If you wanted a custom dummy made, depending how complicated the design, no less then $150 (I know, I know, but I believe people not only pay for decorating skill, but also quality of cake & ingrdients), plus, $2.50 a serving for sheet cake, and they would have to be MY sheet cake. No way my dummy and Wal-Mart sheet cake will go hand in hand. Now if they wanted a dummy that was all ready fabricated, they could rent it for $50 with a $250 cash/money order security deposit, omly refundable if the dummy comes back EXACTLY how it left. No stains,no cracks, no missing flowers, no nothing. I think the best bet would be to always stress to a bride it more practical to just pay for an actual cake. Dummy cakes...once again those bridal magazines are so helpful to the baking industry.

indydebi Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 9:09pm
post #19 of 21

Michele, it's not that I don't LIKE doing dummy cakes. I don't like a bride coming in and thinking she can get the same amount of cake PLUS a creatively decorated dummy cake cheaper. I don't like being insulted about my time investment in this order.

If a bride tells me, "Yes, I know I'm spending excess money and I know it's going to be a much higher cost, but this is what I want" then baby I'm your man!! Sign on the dotted line and let's git-r-dun!

JaimeAnn Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 9:12pm
post #20 of 21

Ok , so out of curiosity I looked for dummy wedding cakes on ebay.

$195 for a kit with silk flowers that the bride would have to apply her own icing then assemble all the decorations.

$394 for the same kit but with the dummies pre iced with permafrost.

There is even one on there for $2000

Plus shipping cost,

Sorry I still don't see any savings over a Real cake.

Maybe I should just start selling the dummy kits on ebay looks like there is quite a profit to be made.

In their ads they say to serve your guests sheet cake for $16 to $30 each

WOW i bet that $16 sheet cake is YUUUUMMMMMYYYY.... I would probably rather eat the dummy cake hahahahah

LaBellaFlor Posted 18 Mar 2009 , 9:25pm
post #21 of 21

What size sheet cake is that?!?!? A 1/4 sheet Wal-Mart starts at $14!

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