$50 Cake

Decorating By mommabuda Updated 20 Jan 2010 , 10:19pm by Darthburn

mommabuda Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 2:37pm
post #1 of 46

I have someone who wants me to make a birthday cake for her son. She wants either dragon, castle or star wars theme. Their budget is $50 or less. I really wanted to do a 3D dragon but for $50 it's just not worth it. What would you do? Any suggestions on cake ideas?

45 replies
Mug-a-Bug Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 2:48pm
post #2 of 46

You could do a really cute basic cake with a dragon toy or star wars figures. Just a thought? icon_confused.gif It amazes me that people want what they want for so cheap.

LaBellaFlor Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 2:50pm
post #3 of 46

I wouldn't do anything, but tell her no. Just cause she only wants to spend $50 doesn't mean she gets a 3D cake just the same. There is NOTHING I could make for her for $50. I am a CUSTOM cake baker, with CUSTOM prices. You know what I mean? icon_wink.gif

kjt Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 2:52pm
post #4 of 46

Maybe a 1/4 sheet cake with an edible image dragon ( or FBCT), but certainly not a 3D...

Darthburn Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 3:13pm
post #5 of 46

I'd make the 3D dragon cake... just make it cupcake sized. icon_biggrin.gif

mommabuda Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 3:24pm
post #6 of 46

lol, that's what i was thinking... maybe do a stormtrooper helmet cake but only use 3 6" round cakes... it'll be small but it's still a 3D cake. I'm just so sick of doing the sheet cakes and such but no one wants to pay for something a bit crazier... ugh.

LaBellaFlor Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 4:10pm
post #7 of 46

I don't care how small the 3D cake is. $50 for a 3D cake is seriously underpricing yourself.

Darthburn Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 4:12pm
post #8 of 46

Oh come on LaBella... you can't tell me a $50 cupcake is underpriced. icon_smile.gif

kjt Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 4:16pm
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

I don't care how small the 3D cake is. $50 for a 3D cake is seriously underpricing yourself.




Agreed!

AND for me, dealing with carving 6" cakes means adding a PITA fee icon_razz.gif

I understand being tired of sheet cakes, and they really aren't challenging-fun, etc. but you are setting yourself up to do $150 cakes for a greatly reduced price...just MHO. icon_smile.gif

MacsMom Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 4:18pm
post #10 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthburn

I'd make the 3D dragon cake... just make it cupcake sized. icon_biggrin.gif




I would simply tell her that for $50 she could get a 3D cake for 5 people.... or a simple round for 10 people with a gumpasste fugure. icon_wink.gif

Pricing depends on where you live and the competition - if you are a rare custom caker (if Costco is the popular bakery), you simply can't charge Costco prices.

jewels710 Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 4:20pm
post #11 of 46

To mommabuda...

If YOU want to do the 3-D dragon because you just WANT to do it, then I say do it. Especially if you don't get a lot of opportunities to do that sort of cake and you want to try it.
Yes, we ALL know that it is prob not worth your time or effort, but sometimes there is the thing we call doing something for the FUN of it, which I am sure was the main reason most of us got into decorating in the first place.

I have done a couple cakes for less only because I just WANTED to do them, I had the extra time and I just plain ol' felt like it. A couple I have even "given" away! Ugh, gasp! I can hear it now.

Your cake, your time, your life. Do what makes you happy.

jillmakescakes Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 4:21pm
post #12 of 46

Well, you have two options:

1. Do something that is within the $50 budget, which is probably similar to other cakes you've done. thumbsdown.gif

2. Tell her that you'll do the 3D dragon for a SIGNIFICANT price reduction because you want it in your portfolio. icon_eek.gif

With option 2, you get a new cake in your book (probably at cost, maybe just a tad over) AND you will have an accurate idea of how long it will take in the future, hence how much to charge in the future.

Its can be hard to get people to think outside the sheetcake if they can't see outside the sheetcake icon_biggrin.gif

Honestly, I'd probably do option 2 if I wanted something like this to entice customers. (not sure if this is gonna get me flamed icon_lol.gif )

Melchas Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 4:24pm
post #13 of 46

Angry caking is bad for the soul and for future caking...don't become a victim by underpricing!

You'll end up spending the whole time decorating kicking yourself for not being properly paid for the counless hours you are spending to make the cake...I've been there it's not fun!

LaBellaFlor Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 4:26pm
post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthburn

Oh come on LaBella... you can't tell me a $50 cupcake is underpriced. icon_smile.gif




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Not cupcake sized...but then again have you seen some of the cupcakes lately? WOW! And they have a wow price. And yeah, I get it. Do it fo fun, but heres the thing. It has the GREAT potential to set a precedent. "But you did her cake for $50?" It also stops being fun when you start to feel not valued. But to each his own. I like to think in long terms.

Darthburn Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 4:58pm
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthburn

Oh come on LaBella... you can't tell me a $50 cupcake is underpriced. icon_smile.gif



icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Not cupcake sized...but then again have you seen some of the cupcakes lately? WOW! And they have a wow price. And yeah, I get it. Do it fo fun, but heres the thing. It has the GREAT potential to set a precedent. "But you did her cake for $50?" It also stops being fun when you start to feel not valued. But to each his own. I like to think in long terms.




I do afree with that.. I was just telling my wife "well if she does her awesome cake for $50, you'll soon have a store full of references wanting even more elaborate cakes for less money."
I also agree with doing it for fun, after all I am a hobby baker. But I dunno, if I just wanted to make a portfolio cake I'd make it and give it to a family member or friend. But again... I'm not making a living off of it.
You wouldn't call a plumber and ask him to re-pipe your house for $100, and cake decorating is no different. That is your trade, you are schooled and experienced in it.
A lot of people can't think outside the sheet is because that is all they have had in their life. And they think it's "just decorating, how hard is it?"
Yeah... I want to see those people make ONE cake like you guys do. They'd retire forever!

misabel99 Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 5:01pm
post #16 of 46

quote="jillmakescakes"]Well, you have two options:

1. Do something that is within the $50 budget, which is probably similar to other cakes you've done. thumbsdown.gif

2. Tell her that you'll do the 3D dragon for a SIGNIFICANT price reduction because you want it in your portfolio. icon_eek.gif

With option 2, you get a new c
Its can be hard to get people to think outside the sheetcake if they can't see outside the sheetcake icon_biggrin.gif

Honestly, I'd probably do option 2

I do the same thing.

AverageMom Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 5:11pm
post #17 of 46

There is nothing wrong with doing a sheet cake. The customer did not specify 3D. However, if you really want to do a carved cake, do it for the $50. She was up front with you about her budget, and it's not the customer's problem if you are bored. Sometimes it is okay to do a cake for less than your usual price, so long as you make sure she understands that this is NOT a price to tell her friends!

2SchnauzerLady Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 5:16pm
post #18 of 46

If you do it for your portfolio, make sure you tell her what you would normally charge for the cake, and she can tell her friends that if they want to know how much a cake like that costs.

KHalstead Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 5:20pm
post #19 of 46

ya'll know I'm like the cheapest baker around CC LOL and even I would probably be offering something along the lines of a 1/2 sheet cake w/ a castle airbrushed on it and then set a 3-d modelled dragon figure.....but that's it for $50.00

mommabuda Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 5:37pm
post #20 of 46

K, I just asked how many people it's for (figuring it was a small bday party..) she said 50 people at LEAST! So... I told her the 3D cake would only feed about 10 and that I could do a half sheet instead with a picture of a dragon on it or something... now she said she'll get back to me.

I'm doing a 2 tier baby shower cake this weekend and already upsizing it because the 6" round and 8" square would look stupid in my opinion. I'm also doing fondant accents & a baby in a peapod on the top in fondant so yeah, I'm undercharging that one too BUT those are some friends and yeah, I'm giving them a deal (they know it). I'm sick of undercharging and won't do it anymore. Thanks for the advice!

Darthburn Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 5:49pm
post #21 of 46

Good form, Bravo!

mommabuda Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 5:55pm
post #22 of 46

I swear everyone's mainstream price for how much they'll spend on a cake is "$50" and they want some Ace of Cakes type stuff. lol... we are looking at adding onto our house eventually and I can't wait so that I can advertise and actually get people who are willing to pay for a decent cake.

Darthburn Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 6:02pm
post #23 of 46

The problem with Ace of Cakes is they see the elaborate cakes, but never see what the price is that goes with the cake.
Then they go to the store and see a box mix for $1 and a can of frosting for $2.50 and think "huh, for $5 I can have a nice cake."
They don't consider what your tools, materials, time, education, or talent is worth... just the cake.
Tell her for $50 she can have an elaborate cake that's 3D. Gather up all the tools she needs, and material to make the cake, and be at your house bright and shiney... you'll instruct her on how to make the cake for $50. If she does it, I promise she will NEVER think $50 is a lot for a cake again.

kimmisue2009 Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 6:15pm
post #24 of 46

I rarely ever post, because I have only been doing this for about a year, and not that well to begin with....BUT, I feel the need.

I have become quite frustrated and stopped doing cakes altogether. When I first started, my attitude was "omg, i cannot believe what people charge for these cakes when the ingredients cost no more than they do. i am gonna do this for the people who want to have great cakes but dont necessarily have a budget for them. It's my gift to the world." That's CRAP. I started doing it for "friends" at "cost" and IMMEDIATELY became overworked. I didnt even have time to practice and get comfortable enough with my skills - or lack thereof - to do anyone any good.

I have an undying appreciation - NOW - for all the excellent cakers out there. There is no way to put a price on the time and effort put into these works of art. This is time taken away from your family, your life. And if you do this, I think, it seriously undermines the industry.

I am currently out of the business and spending my time, when I want to, to practice so that maybe one day I can once again attempt be a viable caker. Again, this is just my two cents.

LaBellaFlor Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 6:19pm
post #25 of 46

Kimmisue I <3 you!

prterrell Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 6:24pm
post #26 of 46

Checking my price list...

$50 will get you a SIMPLY (no FBCT, no fondant, no RKT, nothing 3D/sculpy) decorated 7" square or 8" round.

I really really really wish all those cake shows on TV would post what the cakes they feature actually cost.

Texas_Rose Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 6:33pm
post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommabuda

K, I just asked how many people it's for (figuring it was a small bday party..) she said 50 people at LEAST! So... I told her the 3D cake would only feed about 10 and that I could do a half sheet instead with a picture of a dragon on it or something... now she said she'll get back to me.




If she can afford to invite 50 people to a birthday party, then she can afford a bigger cake budget.

kimmisue2009 Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 6:35pm
post #28 of 46

Thank you, LaBella. That's the exact opposite of the kind of response that speaking my little mind usually gets me!

prterrell Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 6:39pm
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

ya'll know I'm like the cheapest baker around CC LOL and even I would probably be offering something along the lines of a 1/2 sheet cake w/ a castle airbrushed on it and then set a 3-d modelled dragon figure.....but that's it for $50.00




Wow! That's nuts! My 12"x18"x4" rectangular cake (it's 2 layers), iced and filled with BC and simply decorated is $216. The castle airbrush would be another $25. The 3-d dragon figure alone would be about $50.

BTW a 2-layer (4" high) 9"x13" rectangular cake (often called a quarter sheet) will serve 58 2"x1"x4" servings.

Darthburn Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 6:44pm
post #30 of 46

It's interesting to hear you say that Kimmisue... that is EXACTLY the thought I had when I started. Sure it was fun, but maybe I could make these cakes for people that can't afford an elaborate wedding cake. I could give back to people, in a way.

Your statement is well said, and makes me look at myself wondering now if I still have that same frame of mind. Mostly because all I get asked to make are birthday cakes for family and family friends (that I don't know of course) and it is a lot of work, even for my ultra low level of quality.

So thank you for speaking up. icon_smile.gif

And seriously, the Ace of Cakes stuff... they also have a LOT of people in the bakery to pay... so I can imagine the cakes are even more than what I think. I would like to see them actually post the price of the cake as they show it finished. People would come out of their seats.

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