Help With Wedding Cake Pricing Please Help!

Decorating By CutieMcCakes Updated 26 Apr 2010 , 3:01pm by sugarlovemom

CutieMcCakes Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 1:52am
post #1 of 23

I need some help. A couple that wants me to make their topsy turvy wedding cake decided on 5 tiers b/c they wanted a tall cake for their 35 person wedding. the top tier would be chocolate cake/peanut butter mousse, and the middle 3 tiers red velvet with cream cheese icing. the 12" bottom tier was going to be a dummy cake. 12"10"8"6"4". It is a fondant covered cake with scrolling cut out of fondant all over the cake. I am making things from scratch, and cost of ingredients is almost $100 with almost 15 hours labor. I quoted them $400-$420 (in Northern VA). Am I being unreasonable? What should I be charging? They give me the impression they think I am charging them way too much.

22 replies
Cakelayer Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 2:00am
post #2 of 23

That's a whole lotta cake for 35 people! Could you maybe do 12,9,7,5 and that way the ingredients would cost less. If you price per serving you're not charging that much if you do the larger cake.


cakesbycathy Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 2:03am
post #3 of 23

Yes, you are.

That cakes serves 380 people. I would charge $4 per serving (I"m in OH) so I would charge them $1,520 for that cake plus delivery and set-up. Trust me, there are cakers on this site that would charge a heck of a lot more.

I don't charge less because part of the cake is a dummy. There is still the cost for the stryrofoam and it takes the same amount of materials and time to decorate a fake tier as it does a real one.

Why on earth would you charge just over $1 a serving icon_eek.gif For a topsy-turvy cake no less! icon_confused.gificon_eek.gificon_surprised.gif

CutieMcCakes Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 2:24am
post #4 of 23

Oops! I mispoke,my layers were a size smaller. they wanted a tall topsy turvy cake, and when I showed them the 4 tier I had on hand (10"8"6"4") she said it wasn't tall enough. she wanted an extra layer on the bottom. that is where the 12" dummy came in to play.

They think I am charging too much.

prterrell Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 3:31am
post #5 of 23

They can think that all they want but they are flat out wrong. Bottom line is you are charging way too little. That is absolutely a $1,500 cake. It doesn't matter that they only need 35 servings, you charge based on the number they are getting AND charge full price for the dummy layer for the reasons posted above. If they want a tall cake, then they have to pay for a tall cake. I charge more per serving for a BC sheet cake than what you are charging for a fondant covered topsy turvy. Honestly, the next time the balk at the price, you should suddenly become too busy to take their order.

JaimeAnn Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 4:44am
post #6 of 23

I have done a lot of tiered cakes .. But I have never done a topsy , How are the servings calculated are they the same as a round?

Sorry if this is a dumb question but if it is the same as round tiers I only count 138 servings not 380.

I personaly would charge $6.00 per serving. So if the servings are the same as a round tiered cake that would be $828.

If you didn't even count the dummy cake it would still be $492. But like previous posters said I would charge full price for the dummy cake , after all it isn't going to decorate itself.

karateka Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 6:15am
post #7 of 23

They are delusional. That price is low.

indydebi Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 6:38am
post #8 of 23

She thinks it's high because she THINKS she should only pay for 35 servings.

Sorry sweetie but if you need 2 eggs for breakfast, you STILL have pay for the whole dozen at the grocery!

She's GETTING cake for way more than 35 so she's PAYING for cake for way more than 35.

She wants bells and whistles and the illusion of grandeur? Then she's paying for it.

Bfisher2 Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 7:07am
post #9 of 23

I want a rainbow pony... but I aint gonna get one of those for that price either.... holy cow .... your price needs to be a lot higher......

tron Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 8:16am
post #10 of 23

I totally agree with everyone......even though I'm just starting out in this business I know your price is too low. According to all of my research around my area (Portland, OR), the basic price for a topsy, turvy cake is $6 per serving. And depending on the decorations it could be higher than that.

Nacnacweazel Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 9:25am
post #11 of 23

I am in SoCal (about an hour north of San Diego). Places around here are charging around $8 per serving for TT cakes. I just recently had a similar issue with a bride wanting a cake for 175 to 200 people and the cake HAD to be this one she clipped from a magzine. It was completely covered in intricate lacework piping, 4 tiers...GORGEOUS! Of course, like every bride, it has to be exactly perfect. Once I gave her the quote for her "perfect cake," which included custom fillings, custom flavors, custom piping, custom pillar stacks...custom EVERYTHING, she literally asked me who I thought I was quoting $1400. She wanted to only spend $600 max on the cake. I told her that I could give her a BC for 200 and would give her a break...but it would still be $660. I told her to shop around. I got an email from her today asking if I could do her cake. I told her that I'd have to see if my schedule would fit her in. One of the bakeries she went to (with my quote in hand) called me to let me know she had come in. They gave her a quote for the same custom cake of $3000. My point? Brides are ALWAYS going to try and haggle a deal to the point of getting everything for free. If you don't watch yourself, you might just end up giving it to them. They pay for what they get...not for what they eat. If you go to a restaurant, order a steak and only eat they only charge you half the price?

indydebi Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 10:02am
post #12 of 23
Originally Posted by Nacnacweazel

If you go to a restaurant, order a steak and only eat they only charge you half the price?

Good one!! thumbs_up.gif

Ivy383 Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 11:08am
post #13 of 23

I don't think the price is to high at all. icon_wink.gif

JulieMN Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 2:49pm
post #14 of 23
Originally Posted by prterrell

They can think that all they want but they are flat out wrong.

If they want a tall cake, then they have to pay for a tall cake.

YOU decide what you need to charge for the cake that she is requesting and that has to include your time and all expenses (ingredients, supplies, utilities, etc). She may have a budget that she needs to stick to, but then she needs to learn what that budget can realistically buy. Her budgetary limitations should not determine how you charge for the work she has requested.

CutieMcCakes Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 2:54pm
post #15 of 23

I am charging $6/slice, but I suppose I haven't quite figured out the conversion for servings for a topsy turvy cake. I have only done one before, which came out great, but I really did undercharge it. Now that I raise the price, I get balked at? I feel like I can't win, even though I know they don't know how much work is going into a cake like this.
Sorry to rant on and on... but I agree with JamieAnn, I am not sure how many servings you would get out of that size cake with it being a topsy turvy?

leily Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 3:18pm
post #16 of 23

Well not sure you you do your TT cakes (i have seen to many variations of carved cakes, or the tiers tilted) but with the 4-6-8-10-12 combo that comes out to 140 standard servings.

So in reality they're paying for an additional 100 servings. My guess like others is they're looking at it for a cake for 35 people. Not a cake that could serve 140 (yes I know there is a dummy cake, but I would still charge the same amoung expecially since it's TT and would most likely be carved)

So at your $6/serving they went from a $210 cake for 35 ppl to a $840 for 140ppl. I imagine that would be a shock for anyone who can't do the math.

tmac670 Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 3:34pm
post #17 of 23

Here's the thing- the first time you let a cake go because the customer is not willing to pay the price you quote- it breaks your heart. I thought- I'll never get another cake order again! Word is going to get out that I charge too much and that will be the end of it. But you know what? The phone DID ring again- and I didn't lower my price ( I wanted to- but my husband told me to charge what the cake was WORTH- not what I thought I could sell it for). I quoted- they paid- they loved the cake-- and the phone rang again. The next time I had to turn down a cake it was much easier- so I guess it like a muscle- the more you use it- the stronger it gets

Lcubed82 Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 3:42pm
post #18 of 23

My understanding on a TT is you still would charge for the # of servings of a regular round tier. You still have to bake it, even if you carve some away. In reading on CC, TTs are harder to ice and cover, so it all washes out even.

leily Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 3:50pm
post #19 of 23
Originally Posted by lcubed82

My understanding on a TT is you still would charge for the # of servings of a regular round tier. You still have to bake it, even if you carve some away. In reading on CC, TTs are harder to ice and cover, so it all washes out even.

The topsy turvy I do is actually three 2" layers stacked and carved, so I get about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 times the amount of servings than a round tier.
But I have also seen where round tiers are made and then "tilted" so you get the topsy turvey effects (this would be without carving) So I just used this second one as an example. If the OP is doing the three layers of 2" and then carving then they will have more than the number of servings I mentioned.

KHalstead Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 4:00pm
post #20 of 23

Here's how I do pricing on my TT cakes (and I have done about 7 of them so far!).

First to figure out servings (my TT cakes are 3-2" high layers, then carved to taper in at the bottom, so you lose a little of the servings there, the top is cut at a slant and then rotated (so no servings lost there).

With that said..........I consider the top (largest part of the cake) as my "serving guide" Say for instance I have a TT tier that is 10" round on the top and tapers down to 8" round at the base of that cake....I consider it 35 servings, even though some of the servings will be 1"x2"x4" and some will be 1"x2"x6", but to make it all even out....I charge a high price/serv. for TT cakes.

My regular round 4" tiered cake layer iced in bc is $2.25/serv.
My TT round 4"-6" high tiered cake layer iced in bc is $3.50/serv.

So you see, there IS extra cake I'm not counting but the higher price/serv. more than compensates for that AND the fact that I'm carving!

JaimeAnn Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 9:48pm
post #21 of 23

I would count the servings the same as round then. So for the 12, 10,8, 6, 4.. I get 138 servings (I think someone else said 140 so close enough ahahahah)

By my price chart I would be charging for a fondant LV2 that is $6.00 /serving .

So whether you do or don't charge for the dummy layer that is up to you but you are still under price.

Even if you didn't want to charge the per serving price for the dummy layer, since they aren't getting any cake from it and it is the largest layer that would count for 56 of the servings and it doesn't have the be torted layered filled and stacked so technicaly it is easier than making it from actual cake , I would still charge them a decorating fee for that layer . Probably $100 or so , but only because it is an addition to a cake. This is just my personal opinion , I am sure others will see it different and say charge for the full amount of servings.

So I would think your minimum should be more like $600 not $400.

No matter what, it is your business and you can charge any way you wan't , But please don't let the customer make you feel like you are overcharging. If they cant afford cake for 100 people they should stick with the cake they need for 35 people. Tell them to price around I am sure they won't find that type of cake any cheaper!

Good Luck, I hope it works out for you!

CutieMcCakes Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 1:43am
post #22 of 23

icon_cry.gif Sad news on this... I am the OP and just found out today that the clients have decided not to get a cake at all! icon_surprised.gif Now, it makes me wonder if they just found a better deal somewhere else.. but oh my goodness! They said that they would "rather not have a cake than have one that they aren't 100% happy with". Oh my goodness! Who says that and what do they mean?? icon_eek.gif They were so excited and completely happy with everything during the tasting, and really, I know it was the price shocked them, but even when I mentioned the AMAZING deal they were getting, and told them what I should be charging, they still said it was too much. Brides just don't understand wedding cakes. Oh well, I'll get the next one. thumbs_up.gif

sugarlovemom Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 3:01pm
post #23 of 23

If you are planning a wedding you know you are gonna spend... and if you dont want to spend $800 on your cake ...why are you gonna order a TT for 140 people when its only 35 people??????? if you wanna show off with your cake at your wedding guess what? u gotta pay for it!!! your price is too low!!!

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