Mega Cake - 850 Servings, 10 Tiers!!!!

Decorating By -Tubbs Updated 18 Oct 2009 , 1:37pm by purplecakediva

-Tubbs Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 4:34pm
post #1 of 41

I met a bride fairly casually last night who's having the wedding to end all weddings: 850 guests, huge Lebanese family. She wants a really showy, massive cake "At least 10 tiers". I tried to sound confident (but was internally freaking out), and said I'd get back to her with some prices and configuration suggestions. She wants squares, offset. Well, I can't see how she can get enough servings if she has an offset design, since I'd have to reduce each tier by 4" rather than 2" to fit it on.

Anyway, for anyone who has experience of this kind of thing, I would love to know:
How many servings would I get from an 18x18" cake (which I'd have to piece together from smaller sheets)? I'm guessing around 150.
20x20" approx 180?
If I went with 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6", I'm thinking I'd get about 730 servings, which would surely be enough (??!!!!) and that is 8 tiers. Are 22 and 24" dummies available?
I have NO experience with really large cakes - largest I've done is 150 servings. Is this too big a job for me? I would love to have something like this in my portfolio, but have to be realistic and don't want to screw it up for the bride.
Would SPS work for a mega cake? Would the supports under the lower cakes be strong enough to hold the weight above?
(By the way, the designs she likes are all reasonably "simple" (haha) - white fondant with minimal design andfresh flowers between each tier.)

As you can tell, I'm kinda freaking out and would appreciate any advice.

40 replies
mmgiles Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 4:53pm
post #2 of 41

Here are some thoughts that immediately come to my mind and I have not done a cake this size before.

I would have to piece the cake together too since I dont have a commercial kitchen and my oven will not fit anything larger than a 14" square. For anything larger I use square pans, not sheet pans, and reduce the size. For instance a 16" square is made up of 4 8" cakes in two layers of course.

Since I bake from home I would not even begin to attempt this cake though.

In addition to this cake being almost 4 feet tall on its own, assuming it was 10 4" tiers you're also adding in height from the table it will sit on, plus the height for flowers between the tiers. You are going to need a tall ladder just to assemble this cake. I'm picturing Jackie's wedding cake, plus some.

I've never used SPS so maybe Leah can chime in. If SPS wouldnt work, I would suggest pvc pipes and masonite boards.

Lets see what the more experienced bakers have to say here.

-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 4:58pm
post #3 of 41

Oooh--fun and games ~~ where's my ruler ~~ be right back...


MnSnow Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 4:58pm
post #4 of 41

All I can say is Holy Chit! That's one huge cake!

Good Luck

KHalstead Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:08pm
post #5 of 41

first thing that comes to MY mind.........rolling out a piece of fondant to cover a 24" square cake.......dummy or not......that's gonna be HARD!

This is gonna be a CRAZY wedding! Can you just imagine what kind of a reception hall they'd have to get to fit almost 1,000 people in comfortably?

LaBellaFlor Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:13pm
post #6 of 41

If your solid at constructing wedding cakes, YOU CAN DO THIS! Keep your confidence up. Just think of it as several wedding cakes...that eventually you will stack together. Plan well & stay confident. Thats the best advice I can give you.

-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:14pm
post #7 of 41

Which kind of offset are we talking here? The just random one or the each one set within the next one kind? Where the corner of the cake hits the midpoint of the cake below?

So if the squares are set into each other all even steven



Where it's balanced and equally offset (get what I mean?)

You can only get 6 tiers and you're already at 963 servings if my calculations are correct.

4 x 7 x 11 x 15 x 22 x 32 = 963 perfectly nested offset squares

So you just doing twisted offset ones instead?

Where the corner of the cake just rests within the perimeter of the cake below but not perfectly centered like a baseball diamond on top of it--just askew?

Then for that one---be right back---

__Jamie__ Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:16pm
post #8 of 41

Wow...that's like $6,000 grand worth of cake. Maybe more?

littlecake Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:23pm
post #9 of 41

would you use supports like they do on the food network, like a crazy thick dowel that runs thru the whole out fit?

that would be a lot of weight on the bottoms with those stress free supports huh?

congrats on the order,,,KA CHING!

-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:26pm
post #10 of 41

Well I mean for twisted offset squares not sitting like a baseball diamond--you can do any measurement--you could do a two inch increment--cause they'd all be twisted as far as a two inch difference could getcha.

So just basically just add up the Wilton square cake chart icon_biggrin.gif

To get 10 tiers you get a whopping 1292 servings with just--wait wait wait

We could start with a 4" on top and do better--be right back

-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:30pm
post #11 of 41

Well going by 2's from a 4" topper you get 1012 servings
if my math is accurate.

4 x 6 x 8 x 10 x 12 x 14 x 16 x 18 x 20 x 22


-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:49pm
post #12 of 41

Ok --follow the bouncing ball for a sec here---

So If we carried this out a bit & doubled the servings

4 x 6 x 8 x 10 x 12 x 14 x 16 x 18 x 20 x 22 x 24 x 26

You quickly get to 1640 servings.

Half of 1640 is 820--so you could do 2" tiers & get there yes?

(All math subject to double triple checking ~ but I think I'm close)

So would 12 tiers be ok though?

-Tubbs Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:53pm
post #13 of 41

Thanks for doing the figurin', K8. She's not really sure what she wants, to be honest, just casually mentioned she liked the offset. I think something that big would look too busy with the offset, personally, especially with flowers between each tier (can you even imagine what the flowers will cost??!!!)

Regarding supports, I'm thinking that the bottom 5 tiers would have to be on a custom-built structure, the rest could be SPS. DH is great at that kind of thing. We also have a big ladder icon_lol.gif I'm thinking if each tier is 6", plus the table and a topper, we're going to be looking at at least 9'!!!!

I'm thinking I quote at my standard rate + a fairly major PITA fee. It's not an order yet, and I'm really not sure I can even deal with it, but I will quote and see what happens. The wedding's not til May, so I'd have some time to research and learn enough to make it work. Surely this is something nobody's really ready for...?

prterrell Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:54pm
post #14 of 41

if you do this, I want to see the pics! Holy moly that's a lot of cake!

-Tubbs Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:55pm
post #15 of 41

Also, the lady who introduced us warned me that the family WILL haggle. If they start that, I will walk away. There's no way I'd commit to something like this without being WELL paid!

Lenette Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:13pm
post #16 of 41

I wish you the best on this and you definitely should be well paid so stick to your price.

However, just because they haggle doesn't they don't necessarily mean any disrespect. You mentioned above that it is a Lebanese wedding so it may be a cultural thing. I know in many other countries "haggling" is common and expected. Just putting that out there, no disrespect to anyone at all. icon_smile.gif

Mike1394 Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:22pm
post #17 of 41

Start the pricing at 10,000 give discount to 9,000 cause you REALLY would love to do this project. Then regrettably settle for 8,000. icon_biggrin.gif


pkinkema Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:24pm
post #18 of 41

WOW! Am I ever impressed....(1) that you could consider doing this, and (2) that anyone knows 850 people that would come to a wedding! icon_biggrin.gif

Mike1394 Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:27pm
post #19 of 41
Originally Posted by pkinkema

WOW! Am I ever impressed....(1) that you could consider doing this, and (2) that anyone knows 850 people that would come to a wedding! icon_biggrin.gif

They cut the guest list to ONLY the nearest, and dearest LOLOL


dandelion56602 Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:42pm
post #20 of 41

Middle eastern families have ornate weddings. My sil lived in the middle east for almost 5 yrs and said they go above and beyond and ornate and pricey too. Don't compromise on what you charge or you'll shoot yourself pretty soon into it. If they didn't want to pay I would pass them along and let them find someone else to do it.
You could probably talk her down in tiers. And if you are doing 6" tiers then you'll have 1 1/2 times the servings as a 4" tier

I too want to know about sps on such a large cake. And don't forget to charge for your supports too

-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:56pm
post #21 of 41

Me, I would not trust any kinda plastic on any of the bottom tiers. Big fat 3/4" or 1" dowel for me--I'd get the hardware store to cut them all the same height and have a masonite board to place between tiers (to place the succeeding bottom tiers on).

I'd probably dip them in wax to protect the flavor of the cake--wooden dowel can impart a woodsy musky taste to the cake right next to it.

Dandelion, I think she meant six inch high tiers once they get the flowers in there.

And if I was taking this order--I'd get one half down to hold the date asap. All payments are non-refundable.

vlk Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:57pm
post #22 of 41

Had to read this just to see what the heck !!! 850 people... do they invite everyone they ever saw or knew ??

I am with Mike... aim h$gh !!

I am cheering you on... from the side lines of course ! My lawn chair is ready and I am waiting for the ovens to be turned on!

Whew... you go girl !

beanbean Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 7:05pm
post #23 of 41

It is customary in many parts of the world including the Middle East to haggle and bargain when making a purchase. When traveling in Egypt and Turkey (as well as other parts of Africa and China) my husband and I figure we will pay ultimately about half the seller's first price offer. Certainly the ultimate price is not always so discounted and this is more likely to occur in areas with lots of tourists. However, it is expected that the first price offered is high and that the counter offer will be very low. So aim high (about 20-30% higher than your bottom line) with your quote and don't be surprised if they counter will a really low offer. You should be able to meet somewhere still within your acceptable range.

BTW: Would the bride consider sheet kitchen cakes to feed the masses and a more reasonably sized display cake? Sounds like she wants the large showpiece cake, but is would be another option to discuss with her especially if price becomes an issue.

-Tubbs Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 7:22pm
post #24 of 41

Yep, I know how haggling works - I've travelled throughout the middle east and Asia! I don't think I'd feel comfortable setting my prices really super-high, in the expectation that they will haggle though. I think I will just have to tell them that my price is my price, which will be higher than normal due to the PITA factor anyway.

I know, regarding the numbers !!!! I haven't even met that many people in my life, let alone know them well enough to invite them to my wedding!!

She will not go for sheet cakes. I'm pretty sure of that. She wants a BIG IMPACT cake!!!! I will have that up my sleeve as a cheaper alternative if they really won't budge on price though.

I probably won't even get the job, but hey - it's good practice doing the 'rithmatic! Thanks for the support guys!

-K8memphis Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 7:25pm
post #25 of 41

Kitchen cakes make me tired.

CBMom Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 2:29am
post #26 of 41
Originally Posted by KammKakes

Had to read this just to see what the heck !!! 850 people... do they invite everyone they ever saw or knew ??

I am with Mike... aim h$gh !!

I am cheering you on... from the side lines of course ! My lawn chair is ready and I am waiting for the ovens to be turned on!

Whew... you go girl !

Me too!!

That's a Cake-A-Palooza!!

I'm out in Edmonton fairly frequently - YYC is a quick hop - let me know if you need help!! LOL! icon_biggrin.gif

Good for you for taking the leap out of your comfort zone by even contemplating this - I think that's the biggest hurdle for lots of us...we just think we can't, so we don't..

We know you CAN!! You go!! thumbs_up.gif

-Tubbs Posted 18 Oct 2009 , 12:55am
post #27 of 41

I just gave them an estimate: nearly $6000. We'll see what happens next.

I can't thank you enough for your support - I wouldn't even contemplate taking on this job without knowing I had the entire weight of CC at my back!!

-K8memphis Posted 18 Oct 2009 , 1:50am
post #28 of 41

Like seven-ish a serving? Cool. Can't wait for the rest of the story.

Parable Posted 18 Oct 2009 , 2:06am
post #29 of 41

Holy Moly! And to think I was just stressing over 300 cupcakes. geez.

I normally would not suggest kitchen cakes but in this case consider the time it would take to cut that much cake. I would hate to be at the end of the line and have to wait hours to get my piece. icon_cry.gif

sadsmile Posted 18 Oct 2009 , 2:15am
post #30 of 41

The cake table is going to need some extra support...LOL I think slightly offset like this attatchment ...
would be such a grand thing done that large! It's going to be stunning. I have seen fondant rolled out huge look at the work Christopher Garren does. He used some vinyl liner or something to help flip it on to the cake.
The haggling is normal so yeah start way high and bid back and forth to an acceptable range. They have fun with it and like to see others having fun with it so smile! Even after the tense heated silence when an agreement is made it's all cheers. thumbs_up.gif

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