I couple I know wants to start renting out their business for b-day parties and asked if I wanted to do the cakes. I would be paid $25 per cake and the cake is to feed about 15 kids. What size pan would you use for 15 kids and would you use a character pan if you were only getting $25 for the cake? Any help would greatly be appreciated.
Character pans are copyrighted and can't be used for baking cakes to sell. You can't make any money making $25 cakes. The Wilton chart will tell you how many each pan size serves. http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-wedding-cake-2-inch-pans.cfm You charge for the number of servings the cake will feed, not the exact number they expect number ie:8" serves 24 but they only have 15 kids you charge for 24 servings. 6" serves 12 which is not enough so they have to order a larger cake. Serving sizes are 1 x 2 x 4. If they want bigger servings they have to order more cake.
Have you ever priced how much it costs you to make a cake? $25 isn't going to leave much in way of profit for you, especially with the time you will invest into the cake. Even if you went with the simplist design you are still looking at shopping, mixing, baking, cooling, making icing, icing, decorating and clean up.
I'd probably just make a 6" square or 8" round, and I'd be ok getting $25 for it!
Yes, she's looking for you to do what a wholesaler would do for her. However, a wholesaler can give her $25 cakes because they buy ingredients in bulk to fill lots of huge orders. If you are not a wholesaler, this job will never be worth near the expense and effort you will have to put into it.
This would be so easy... consider using those disposable 1/4 sheet aluminum foil pans with the snap-on clear dome. You can buy them by the case. They're barely 1" deep and probably don't even hold an entire cake mix worth of batter. Slap some icing on the top; smooth or comb, no sides to ice, no bottom border to add, no fancy foil-covered cardboard to prepare. Keep the decorations simple and only offer 6 or 7 design choices like basketball, baseball, soccer, floral, and something girly. (of course you can personalize them by adding the name of the birthday boy or girl, and maybe add some quick airbrushing accents.) They're simple to deliver or anyone could easily transport them if the party store wants to pick them up. If they are sliced into 3 rows by 5 columns, they would each serve 15. Perfect size for kid birthday parties.
Cakes for those type of party places are usually pretty small. Kids are eating it, they don't need as big a piece as an adult. They are also a one-layer cake, no filling.
Usually the customer gets no choice of what the cake looks like or flavor. The cakes are usually vanilla cake with either white or pastel colored frosting, and a colorful border, with some sprinkles. I don't even think they have the kid's name on them (though you could do that easily and it won't cost you much.) Chuck E Cheese does allow the customer to choose from chocolate or vanilla, and round or quarter sheet, but they probably have them all frozen.
One of the places by me only offers cupcakes.
Bake up a dozen cakes at one time and freeze them, that way you save a ton of time and make it more profitable (you'll use less energy too.)
Here are some examples. I bet that's all they're looking for.
I like CWR41's idea. Sounds super simple and probably just what they need.
I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude but, I have to politely object. If I was paying $200 for my kid's party and got a cake in an aluminum pan, I would be a very unhappy customer. After enough customer complaints, the party place would find someone else to make these cakes. (I know the decorator isn't getting that money, but the customer doesn't see it that way.) We have been to a lot of kids' parties at these type of places and never once have I seen a cake in a pan.
If you can streamline your process (assembly line fashion), this may turn out to be a good deal for you. Most of these places have up to 10 parties a weekend. You make them all at one time and deliver them at one time.
What kind of business is your friend going to start renting out space for parties? It sounds like they have some extra space, but are not necessarily a kids party place with activities and all. They might not get many bookings, if this is the case, which would allow you to make more customized cakes. If it is a party palace that's hopping with many parties, they may keep you busy with lots of cake orders. I used to make 14 of these cakes every weekend for a very busy place... it was their choice to offer these basic choices as a convenience, and many of the parents utilized it. Of course, they were allowed to bring in their own cake or order something fancier from another place. I have no idea how many made other arrangements, I only knew that what they offered went over well enough for them to continue offering it!