This past weekend I made a cake for my daughter's softball team. At the party a dad was raving about how good the cake was. He started asking me more about my cakes and finally told me they are having a sweet 16 party for their other daughter and wanted to know if I would be willing to make the cake. Of course I said. Then he said its going to be for 250 people. 250! Thats a freakin wedding I thought to myself. I said ok. then he said they want 30 individual 8" round cakes one for each table instead of center pieces.....Ummmm....I'm just a home baker and not a bakery. I told him I would have to think about it. They only want one layer cakes w/ white fondant and some little topper maybe a GP 16 or something. It's sounds very simple but 30! My friends (who dont do cake of course) all want me to do it and think I'm stupid to pass up this opportunity. they all say we will "help you" well you know how that goes, but I would not be able to do this alone.
So my questions are should I even be thinking about doing it? And what would I charge?
I dont want to pass up some great business but I also dont want to get over my head.
Thanks in advance I know I can always count on you all for great advice.
First. WOW. 30 center pieces??? Seriously?!??!!?!? That will be a ton of work. Do you really want to put yourself through that?
I would do it, well look at it this way. I know it's 30 cakes but they'er simple, 8" covered in fondant with a 16 or a flower or whatever. So your really not breaking your head trying to make a huge cake and all fancy. As for price most people charge per serving, just not sure how much you charge for something like that. But hey, 250 people party could bring in good customers for you and future orders. Give it a try, I know you can do it.
Have a think about how many cakes you can bake at once, how much room you have - 30 cakes will take up a lot off space, can you transport that many if they want them delivering?
When it comes to pricing don't forget to allow for the extra boards and boxes it will take to do 30 separate cakes - much more costly than what you would need for a stacked cake for 250. It will also take a lot longer to make (rolling out 30 pieces of fondant instead of 3 or 4) so I would expect to be charging quite a bit more than if you did a wedding style cake for the same number.
Map out the details. How many 8" cake pans can fit in your oven at once? This would be ok if you have a convection oven. Do you have enough 8" pans? Think of how long it will take to bake, ice and decorate each one. Just think of decorating one simple cake x 30 and then figure out if you can devote enough time to the entire project. Then you'll have your answer. Good luck.
If you have enough time and freezer space you could start making the cakes quite a bit in advance. I would think you would probably have to do it that way with a standard oven. You could also get the buttercream and toppers done in advance. With lots of prep, it could be doable. The question is does he have any idea how much it should cost him to do this. Some people have no idea what cake for 250 people is going to cost. Just make sure you don't under sell your work. A two layer 8'" serves 24 so single layer should serve 12, with 30 of them that's enough to serve 360. Even at $3 a serving, which in you area is probably low for fondant, that's over a $1000.
If you have freezer space, go for it!
I do an annual banquet with an order of 80 - 100 cakes. I bake, torte, fill, and freeze a couple of months in advance. One week in advance, I make the buttercream, and then over the course of 2 days, I frost, fondant, and decorate them. I must admit, though, that my husband rolls out all of the fondant. I can apply the fondant to the cake in the few minutes it takes him to measure out, knead, and roll out another round of fondant....and so we go on, over and over and over.
Everyone here gives such good advice and things to take into consideration. Let us know what you decide to do.
Sounds like a good opportunity if you can work out the logistics and if you can get the help especially with covering the cakes in fondant, like cakepro said. You could bake, torte and fill in advance and freeze if you have the space.
Maybe give the dad the alternate cost of a stacked cake for that many servings. There is definitely a cost difference there! I don't see how anyone could think that 30 8" cakes would be cheaper than one stacked cake to serve 250.
Thanks for all your advice! I am going to have to price it all out this week and let the family know the cost by Sunday. When I break it all down in my head I think I can do it. Its just too good of an opportunity to pass up. My mom has a very large freezer I can use. Thanks for all the encurragement. I have a feeling once I give them the price they might not want to go ahead. As you all know people just dont know how much cakes like this are and with an order like this is just very time consuming with rolling out all the fondant 30x
I'll keep you posted on what they say
If you do end up taking the job, you'll have amazing arms for the summer after rolling out fondant 30x's!!!
Sounds like a great op. If you have freezer space and some help go for it. I'd really like to know how this all comes out for you. Good luck.
I helped a student of mine do 40 of the same kind of cakes (single layer 8" cakes covered in fondant) She even used MMF - just made EVERYTHING ahead of time. Froze the cakes, use 5 gallon buckets for the buttercream and the super large ziploc bags to store the fondant. We set up an assembly line - she went to walmart and bought huge sheet of vinyl to cover her island -
One person crumb coated the cakes and then handed them to the 2 of us rolling the fondant.
There were 2 of us rolling fondant (one on each side of the counter)
We would roll and cover the cake, trim it and then hand it off to the next person who would use buttercream to trim the bottoms of the cake edges.
She then took the boxes that computer paper comes in, and cut it down so it wasn't so tall - 2 cakes would fit in one box - they had lids, so if they needed to be stacked for transport, they could be.
YOU can do it!!
If he does go for it I'd ask for full payment in advance. I'd also tack on a delivery charge if he wants them delivered. It's going to take some time to load, deliver and unload that many cakes. Good luck!