Do You Have A Hard Time Charging For Sheet Cakes? (Long :()

Business By sjholderman Updated 9 May 2009 , 6:29pm by Ayanami

sjholderman Posted 7 May 2009 , 8:15am
post #1 of 50

Obviously prices vary by location, my personal cost etc etc, but here it goes anyway:
I recently (as in two days ago) decided to make a pricing "matrix" based on the difficulty of design and size. I'm not sure if this is actually a good idea or not yet, but moving on. While designing my matrix I decided that my "sheet" cakes will in fact be 4 layers of cake/3 layers of filling just like any other cake and therefore priced the same, which makes a 11 x 15 cake $130 (about 1.75 a serving for boarders and writing) at the cheapest. My goal is to get people to order the cake they need not just a sheet cake because that's what they would get at a grocery store. So my question is, to anyone who might have tried this, do you have a hard time explaining this concept to people and also does it seem to turn people away from you altogether?
TIA(and thanks for suffering through my rambling)

49 replies
Lambshack Posted 7 May 2009 , 8:31am
post #2 of 50

I just tell people I don't price by the final size, but by the serving, and that way I can judge by how many recipes of cake batter I will need. I also tell them I don't do sheet cakes - they can get those anywhere at any bakery or grocery store, and I'm not wasting my time on their creation just so it can be compared by final size to 'those other' cakes.

Besides, if a recipe makes 12 servings and the customer wants 30 servings (3 batches of batter), I just size the cake accordingly and use the extra batter as cupcakes for my official 'taste-testers' - aka the kids and their friends that always appear when I'm baking! LOL

MLopardi Posted 7 May 2009 , 8:40am
post #3 of 50

I have an order for a 4 tier cake to serve 150, (I'm charging $4/serving for fondant covered cake with elaborate black lace pattern). The bride was going to get sheet cakes at Costco to feed the other 200 guests at the wedding. Just got a call from bride requesting that I do the sheet cakes so they taste the same as the main cake. I explained that I don't do sheet cakes and there was no way I could match the pricing she could get at Costco. I quoted her three 14" rounds (200 servings) in the same flavor as the main cake with buttercream frosting and simple border for $2/serving. I was certain she would go with Costco, but she agreed to it and already sent me the check. Holy cow!

Looking back, I'm comfortable with the pricing. She's getting cake with real butter, sour cream, eggs, etc. My thought is, charge what you would be willing to work for. And like you said, if they really want a sheet cake, they can get it at the store. If you're torting and making it tasty, then $1.75 seems fair to me!

sjholderman Posted 7 May 2009 , 8:42am
post #4 of 50

Thanks for your reply! I definately won't be crying over lost sheet cakes, but I don't want to drive off the customer altogether with a price that may seem initially unreasonable. That's definately my biggest fear.
O and I have looottss of coworkers to make fat with leftover samples icon_razz.gif

1234me Posted 7 May 2009 , 8:58am
post #5 of 50

Have you ever thought of doing away with sheet cakes all together? I did within the past year and have had no problems with customers just going with the round. Just an idea

indydebi Posted 7 May 2009 , 12:18pm
post #6 of 50

You wont' have the problem if you (a) stop using the terms "half" and "quarter" sheet cakes) and (b) just sell them the number of servings they need.

One, since they are 4 layes of cake and 3 layers of filling, they are not really "sheet" cakes anymore. They are much more labor intensive with much more cake than a "sheet" cake. So not only should you stop using the terms "half" and "quarter", you should stop calling them "sheet" cakes. thumbs_up.gif

Customer: I need a full sheet cake.
You: How big is that cake?
Customer: I have no idea.
You: How many people do you need to feed
Customer: 20
You: Oh, then you need no where NEAR a "full" sheet cake. Here's what you need ....

(yeah.... I've actually had that coversation!)

erinalicia Posted 7 May 2009 , 2:08pm
post #7 of 50

I hate doing "sheet" cakes. Every time I make one all I can see is a nasty grocery store cake. They just seem so unimaginative. Unless the design calls for the use of a sheet cake, I try not to make them. I think the last time I made one that wasn't cut, stacked and carved was last year for a graduation cake.

-K8memphis Posted 7 May 2009 , 2:19pm
post #8 of 50

I like sheet cakes.

I think you ain't a real caker unless you can do kick ass sheet cakes.

Just my opinion.

I mean there is nothing wrong with an oblong cake--it was just baked in a different sized pan yes?

Round cakes are better than 'sheet' cakes because...????? why???

Because they are easier to ice or something??? Who cares?

As free as we can be with our methods and recipes and et cetera, we are a very prejudice group when we profile and pedigree cake!!!!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Square cakes are easier for some people to serve. It's gonna be ok, really.

jammjenks Posted 7 May 2009 , 2:21pm
post #9 of 50

What I refer to as "sheet cakes" are one layer w/o filling. Basically just a flat rectangle. They make up about 1/4 of my orders, and I don't mind doing them. Actually, I can just about ice one of those things in my sleep!
I do charge the same amount per serving as other cakes and don't have a problem selling them. Most weeks I have to turn down about 3-5 orders because I'm full, so I can charge what they're worth and still have plenty of orders.

Sometimes I like to have a picture of a standard 11X15 cake and a round or tiered that serves approx the same amount. Then I say, "For that many servings you can have *this* or you can have *this*." More often that not, they choose the non-sheet-style cake.

sweetcakes Posted 7 May 2009 , 3:38pm
post #10 of 50

Having a cake that is a rectangle is no differant to one that is square or round. the benefit of cakes with corners it that they are easier to serve, from the novice point of view. Dont you just hate having to explain to them how they are going to get that number of servings out of a round cake! I do a fair number of sheet cakes but i dont compare them to the bakery sheet cakes. i decorate them how ever the customer requests, they certainly are not plain. Sure they can get the same number of servings in a small stacked cake i do give them options, but in the end its what ever they want.

indydebi Posted 7 May 2009 , 5:10pm
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

As free as we can be with our methods and recipes and et cetera, we are a very prejudice group when we profile and pedigree cake!!!!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif



icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif profile and pedigree! You are runnin' on high octaine today and you are SO right! Too funny!!!!

sunny2 Posted 7 May 2009 , 7:22pm
post #12 of 50

I also do a lot of "sheet" cakes. Most of them are filled, however some are just cake. They do not compare to a grocery store cake maore elaborately decorated- no plastic stuff! I do have one customer that has a son with allergies and I do a sheet cake (no filling) that he can eat- made from scratch. I also use canned frosting on it as he can eat one particular kind and it is what he likes. I usually put an edible image or fondant pieces on the cake. She has no problem with paying me as she doesn't have to make it herself!

sunny2 Posted 7 May 2009 , 7:29pm
post #13 of 50

I also do a lot of "sheet" cakes. Most of them are filled, however some are just cake. They do not compare to a grocery store cake maore elaborately decorated- no plastic stuff! I do have one customer that has a son with allergies and I do a sheet cake (no filling) that he can eat- made from scratch. I also use canned frosting on it as he can eat one particular kind and it is what he likes. I usually put an edible image or fondant pieces on the cake. She has no problem with paying me as she doesn't have to make it herself!

kandu001 Posted 8 May 2009 , 1:11am
post #14 of 50

Cake is cake, but I too feel that it looks like "just one of those cakes" no matter how pretty I make it.

LaBellaFlor Posted 8 May 2009 , 1:38am
post #15 of 50

icon_biggrin.gifLOL! icon_biggrin.gif "profile & pedigree cakes" You always learn something new on CC!

Kerry_Kake Posted 8 May 2009 , 2:03am
post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

I like sheet cakes.

I think you ain't a real caker unless you can do kick ass sheet cakes.

Just my opinion.

I mean there is nothing wrong with an oblong cake--it was just baked in a different sized pan yes?

Round cakes are better than 'sheet' cakes because...????? why???

Because they are easier to ice or something??? Who cares?

As free as we can be with our methods and recipes and et cetera, we are a very prejudice group when we profile and pedigree cake!!!!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Square cakes are easier for some people to serve. It's gonna be ok, really.




Your awesome K8memphis! icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif
I do sheet cakes and they aren't torted and filled. Just cake! But if I didn't do sheet cakes I might only sell 1 or 2 stacked cakes (or what I call specialty cakes) a month. I like doing sheet cakes myself....maybe because I'm still new at it but it makes me some quick ass cash! icon_lol.gif

Kerry_Kake Posted 8 May 2009 , 2:08am
post #17 of 50

Oh, to answer the question. My prices are set prices per size. All sheet cakes that is done in buttercream is a set price. But if I do something all in fondant than I will torte and fill the cake and it will be priced by serving.
HTH

cakecrazy09 Posted 8 May 2009 , 2:18am
post #18 of 50

So for those of you doing a lot of filled sheet cakes....Are you torting them or are you baking two cakes? I have a 11x15 pan and if its filled cake it takes four cakes mixes. I'm really struggling with this also and how to charge. I just die when people say "oh just make a simple sheet". Ugh there is nothing simple about a sheet cake.

kansaslaura Posted 8 May 2009 , 2:42am
post #19 of 50

I get real tired of people who consider sheet cakes beneath them. I do a lot of them because............ that is what *my* customers want! Gee.. maybe I'm just stuck in a big old field of yahoos who know no better. (For some reason I'm hearing the banjos from Deliverance...)

Not everyone has $150- whoever-knows-how-much to spend on a cake for a special occasion. Not everyone wants some piece of sculpture--some people actually want just a piece of REALLY DELICIOUS cake frosted with a lot of care, well done and in buttercream.

Kerry_Kake Posted 8 May 2009 , 3:03am
post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaslaura

I get real tired of people who consider sheet cakes beneath them. I do a lot of them because............ that is what *my* customers want! Gee.. maybe I'm just stuck in a big old field of yahoos who know no better. (For some reason I'm hearing the banjos from Deliverance...)

Not everyone has $150- whoever-knows-how-much to spend on a cake for a special occasion. Not everyone wants some piece of sculpture--some people actually want just a piece of REALLY DELICIOUS cake frosted with a lot of care, well done and in buttercream.



Well said my friend! icon_smile.gif

littlecake Posted 8 May 2009 , 3:12am
post #21 of 50

i'd have to close the doors if i didn't do sheetcakes...i'd like to do more stacked cakes....

i guess i'm out in the field of yahoos too.

they are alot less stressful to me....when you gotta make a living at it....(speaking for myself only)...i can't afford to turn sheet cakes away yet.

although i am methodically getting rid of small stuff one thing at a time....i've cut out cupcakes and little cakes....ironic since i'm called "little cake co"...ha ha ha

indydebi Posted 8 May 2009 , 3:22am
post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakecrazy09

So for those of you doing a lot of filled sheet cakes....Are you torting them or are you baking two cakes? I have a 11x15 pan and if its filled cake it takes four cakes mixes. I'm really struggling with this also and how to charge. I just die when people say "oh just make a simple sheet". Ugh there is nothing simple about a sheet cake.




You charge twice as much as you would for a single layer 11x15. Twice as much cake ... twice as much money.

When they say "oh just a simple cake", reply back to them, "Ok...one sheet cake, single layer, no filling, iced with a border. You got it!" (Notice I didn't mention ANYTHING about flowers, FBCT's, colors, etc.! icon_twisted.gif )

And kansaslaura once again shows why she is my hero!!! icon_biggrin.gif

littlecake, I'm with ya .... when you have rent to pay, any cake order is one step closer to getting it paid! I won't do anything smaller than a 11x15 and I won't do a 6" standalone (will do them as part of a wedding cake only).

icer101 Posted 8 May 2009 , 3:33am
post #23 of 50

kansaslaura.... well said!!!! we all bake what our customers want.... i really try too.... i will never compare my cakes to a grocery store cake.. mind you , lots of people go there because of the price.. that is ok with me.. as long as i get to make some too.. ha! my daughter.... she loves cosco cakes.. she doesn,t betray me , though .. ha! i have to try to duplicate it.. when she eats them.. it is at another party.. i tell her.. get your next one there. i am ok with it.. but she won,t.. so, all of our cakes are good.. we just have to please the ones that wants from us... i like the money too good.. not to do what they ask for..I wouldn,t say... I DON'T do that ... I get 'er dun!!!

MLopardi Posted 8 May 2009 , 7:07am
post #24 of 50

I hope I didn't ruffle any feathers by saying I don't do sheet cakes. I'd like to clarify that I don't look down upon them either. But I have found that when customers ask for a sheet cake, most of the time they are looking for an inexpensive cake and I just can't compete with grocery store sheet cake pricing. I am curious, though, for those of you that do sheet cakes often, what is your pricing range?

cakeandpartygirl Posted 8 May 2009 , 11:05am
post #25 of 50

I have often debated on the sheet cake thing. What I am about to say I know I feel indydebi slapping me with a paddle for my pricingicon_smile.gif ...... but I charge $40 for a 9x12 and $70 for a 12x18 and $130 for a 24x18 I know that my pricing is waaaaaay off but I am working on it. In any case that is for a basic cake with buttercream icing and decorations.If they want fillings, other icing, etc then it is more expensive. I know that my cakes aren't grocery store caliber. Especially where I live!!!!!!! Sometimes people tell me that I am too expensive and others tell me that I need to raise my prices. I am definitely lgoing to raise them when we move. Sorry for the rambling

kansaslaura Posted 8 May 2009 , 1:22pm
post #26 of 50

I'm not going to get into the pricing debate. I charge more than most in the area, won't even discuss pricing with someone who compares me to Wal-Mart, Dillion's or Sam's. But, I don't come close to charging what a lot of CC'ers do--because my market won't bear it. I am fair, I make a nice profit and my price sorts out those who seriously want a GOOD cake from those who want a CHEAP one.

And, Debi--for the record YOU rock!! Viva la older cake broads!

Shelle_75 Posted 8 May 2009 , 2:56pm
post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

I like sheet cakes.

I think you ain't a real caker unless you can do kick ass sheet cakes.




thumbs_up.gif

To me, a sheet cake is a blank canvas just waiting for some beautiful buttercream art on it!

kansaslaura Posted 8 May 2009 , 3:17pm
post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelle_75

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

I like sheet cakes.

I think you ain't a real caker unless you can do kick ass sheet cakes.



thumbs_up.gif

To me, a sheet cake is a blank canvas just waiting for some beautiful
buttercream art on it!




YES! Perfectly said! In the world of cakes and art, if *sheet cakes/canvases* were eliminated where would that leave the Mona Lisa? thumbs_up.gif

-K8memphis Posted 8 May 2009 , 3:35pm
post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaslaura

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelle_75

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

I like sheet cakes.

I think you ain't a real caker unless you can do kick ass sheet cakes.



thumbs_up.gif

To me, a sheet cake is a blank canvas just waiting for some beautiful
buttercream art on it!



YES! Perfectly said! In the world of cakes and art, if *sheet cakes/canvases* were eliminated where would that leave the Mona Lisa? thumbs_up.gif




http://acmecakes.com/images/IMGP0216.JPG
Take away the 'frame' and it ain't Mona but it's a Monet sheet cake.

But I cahhhn't tell you the pure joy/exhaustion when I finally got that dang little chick's face right after forty seven freakin' zillion attempts. <weak grin> I was fixin' to wipe it off again 'cause I was real good at wiping it off by then and I LOOked and I thought--hey wait...

So I put that up there to say, hey consider looking at sheet cakes differently. Get inspired. Now I loves me some sculptures, but each kind of cake is another medium for expression. From the homliest cuppy to the grandest 20 foot extravacakeza, yes?

-K8memphis Posted 8 May 2009 , 3:38pm
post #30 of 50

OOps I can't reach the edit button, it's too big for my page--so sorry!!!

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