Possible First Paid Cake - What Would You Charge

Decorating By meri1028 Updated 6 Oct 2009 , 12:14pm by iownajane

meri1028 Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 3:16pm
post #1 of 22

Hi all! I am getting together an estimate for my first paid cake for about 30 people. I'm trying to make it pretty simple. It would be carved in the shape of a shield with the crest on it & symbol. I've calculated this cake to cost me to make it about 40-44$ depending on the flavor. I was thinking if I charged 2.50$ per serving - that's $75. I would make a profit of about 35$. What about time and labor? Is this normal? How much would you charge for a cake like this?

Thanks in advanced!!

Here is the picture of the shield.

21 replies
lillermom Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 5:03pm
post #2 of 22

people calculate their prices differently. Some take the cost to make the cake and multiply by 3, others add the cost to an hourly wage. Just out of curiosity why are the ingredients costing you so much? $40 seems high but I don't have a ton of experience.

dailey Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 5:17pm
post #3 of 22

i was thinking the same thing...$40 seems high for ingredients?

KHalstead Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 5:23pm
post #4 of 22

I charge 2.00/serv. for 2-D carved cakes (flat sheetcake carved into a flat shape) which is what the shield would be. So I'd be charging $60.00 for that cake. It would cost me about $15.00 to make it

stephaniescakenj Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 5:26pm
post #5 of 22

I agree with the above posters... $40 seems way too high. My chocolate cake is $3 a batch (scratch) and my vanilla is about $4 (a version of WASC) now if it's a different flavor like carrot... it's goes up but nowhere near $40. I would look at reducing your costs but to me $75 seems reasonable if you're just carving a 9x13 sheetcake. Depending on how much you're carving away, you might need to go up a size in which case I would increase the price closer to $100

-K8memphis Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 5:35pm
post #6 of 22

Yeah but I mean you have ingredients leftover but still it's stuff you gotta buy-- but you can't buy one stick of butter--you gotta buy the whole pound or half pound. You gotta purchase a 5 pound bag of flour to get three cups--stuff like that.

The grocery list will cost more out of pocket than you'll use but you still gotta fork it over.

__Jamie__ Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 5:37pm
post #7 of 22

$200 starting price for carved or 3-D cakes. I learned not to fool around with pricing on "smallish" carved cakes. The smaller the cake, the smaller and more precise the detailing. Looks like I'd be using silver sprays, fine detailing on the leaves (fondant), something to age the mask and other areas that aren't quite silver. That's a lot of work, regardless if it's "just 30 servings."

More like $300.

Maybe more.

meri1028 Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 5:56pm
post #8 of 22

You guys are right. I thought it seemed a lot. It's basically four the cake (doubled WASC) for 2 layer 12 inch rounds - that I will carve to about 10 inches. Then the buttercream filling, dark chocolate ganache coating and to make my fondant.

I took the total price of the item, figure out what I'm going to need for the cake & divide that by the total cost of the item.

Like eggs, for example, at $1.22 for 1 dozen and I use 6 - that would be $.61. I using the total cost to make Michelle Foster's fondant & full recipe of Indydebi's buttercream. I just halved those and now I get about 35$ to bake & decorate.

Here's my spread sheet if you'd like to take a look. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

Texas_Rose Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 6:04pm
post #9 of 22

Your estimate doesn't seem that high...I just figured what it would cost me to do 2 12" rounds, 2 batches of Indydebi's BC and 2 batches of MMF and got 28.50. Then add the cost of cake board and box. Since you're using ganache it makes sense that your cost would be higher than mine.

meri1028 Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 6:13pm
post #10 of 22

Thanks, Texas_Rose. I was wondering what I'm doing wrong. It does include the cost of the cake board. I figured I could probably save about 6$ by using buttercream instead of ganache. But I think it gives the cake a much better finish. I'm not sure if the spreadsheet got attached. It doesn't look like it.

meri1028 Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 6:16pm
post #11 of 22

I thought I would try again to attach my spread sheet.

Texas_Rose Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 7:07pm
post #12 of 22

I couldn't see the spreadsheet...but I don't have excel on my computer so I figured that was why.

Anyhow, I think the other posters were figuring on a 9 x 13 single layer sheet, carved, rather than something as big as you're making...just from the number of servings.

In the Wilton chart, a 12" two-layer round serves 56. Most people charge for the servings they have to bake, rather than what's left after they carve, when they're making a carved cake. But even a 10" two-layer round serves 38, according to the Wilton chart..so at $2.50 a serving, that would be $95. Or if you're counting the whole 56 servings of the 12" round, that would be $140.

OregonCakeLady Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 7:11pm
post #13 of 22

$40 cost does seem a little much but not that much too much. I was thinking it would cost about $20. You have to take into consideration paper towels, water, electricity, your TIME!! It would take me about 6 hour of work after baking decorating, clean up and time spent at the store to purchase product. I pay myself $15/ hour. It should be more but I don't live in a place with an upper class. I would charge at least $100 for that cake.

meri1028 Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 12:54pm
post #14 of 22

Thanks everyone for their help & suggestions! I did give them an estimate of $75 for a 10" round and $90 for a cake carved into the shape of the shield. It was to be for Saturday and I haven't heard a response, so my guess is they weren't expecting me to charge that much. I don't want to start low just because it's my first cake. I've heard stories about how people increased their prices when they had more experience & customers questioned why. Anyways, thanks again everyone!

indydebi Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 1:54pm
post #15 of 22
Originally Posted by meri1028

I figured I could probably save about 6$ by using buttercream instead of ganache.

I couldn't open the spreadsheet either and I'd be curious on your ganache recipe. When I make ganache, I use whipping cream and ghiradelli chocolate chips. That's the whole recipe. The whole batch doesn't cost $6, so I'm curious on how the DIFFERENCE between BC and ganache would be six bucks?

Any cake that requires carving, I start out by saying, "Those start out at $150 and that's before I even pickup my pencil or hear one word of what you're looking for."

meri1028 Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 2:09pm
post #16 of 22

That's all I use for ganache too. If I use two bags of chocolate chips at $2.28 per bag, that's $4.56 plus the cream. I say difference, because I could probably use a lot of the buttercream left over from the filling for crumb coating the cake.

dabear Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 2:10pm
post #17 of 22

merri1028, your cost doesn't seem high to me. Everytime I have figured out a cake cost it always runs me about $35 to make sometimes it's even $50! I pay retail for eveything I buy. I break things down like you an egg-16 cents.....just wanted to let you know you aren't alone! icon_smile.gif

meri1028 Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 2:39pm
post #18 of 22

Thanks, dabear!! I was wondering what I was doing wrong. I mean it seemed pretty simple. I should've been more specific in what I included in all my calculations.

It's good to know I'm not alone!

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 7:35pm
post #19 of 22

Hi meri1028... I don't have the answer for you as I am a hobby baker. However, I do not think your cost is too high. I made a spreadsheet, breaking down the cost of every ingredient by how much is used in the recipe. My scratch yellow cake with basic buttercream icing (not IMBC) cost me $28.78 in ingredients (for a cake I did in April of 200icon_cool.gif.

But I want to wish you luck and success with your endeavor! icon_smile.gif

Caths_Cakes Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 7:51pm
post #20 of 22

I stick with indy, have a base price for carved cakes regarldess of size. My carved cakes start at £100, and then i work from there.

meri1028 Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 11:58am
post #21 of 22

Do any of you have a shpill or something you always say before giving a price to a customer? Like, "I put a lot of time into my cakes"... "it's all made from scratch".

I ask because after giving my estimate to this customer, they decided not to have me do a cake. I honestly expected them to think my price was too high ($75 for 10" round and 90" for carved). It was for a guys fraternity. I wonder if I should have said why I charge so much. I did say what they would be getting. Here's basically what I said:

I can either do a 10" round or carve the cake into the shape of the shield. The sides of the cake would be white, with the shield I've attached covering the top of the cake. The gold would be in edible gold dust so it would shine. The base board under the cake would be black and the trim around the bottom of the cake would be purple. . For it to feed 30 people, I can do the round cake for $75, or carved into the shape of a shield for $90.

Maybe I should have explained the price.

iownajane Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 12:14pm
post #22 of 22

I don't think you were high at all,more probably low.I'm in Canada,and also buy retail...I was asked for a "fantastic" cake for a friend,who had originally wanted 30 cuppies @ $3.00 each...I had quoted her $100.00,and she cancelled,and didn't want the cuppies either(had "already spent about $600.00 on the rest")...I calculated all the ingredients and boards,etc...$90.00...I would have made NOTHING..... icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif

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