How To Decrease Cost Of Cakes I Give Away?

Decorating By Apti Updated 16 May 2010 , 6:07pm by KayMc

Apti Posted 16 May 2010 , 5:25pm
post #1 of 8

I am a "hobby baker". I am retired from a career in medical equipment sales and live alone with a small, but adequate kitchen area. I have been baking for 3 darling children (aged 7-10), their parents' work, school, church, friends, etc. I do not charge for my cakes.

I have taken Wilton course 1 and 2 and will be starting Course 3 soon. It has become VERY obvious that this is an expensive hobby. It has also become VERY obvious that for the first time in my life, I HAVE A HOBBY I MASSIVELY ADORE! I use doctored cake mixes, and buy everything possible on sale.

Can you recommend any way to decrease any further the basic cost of ingredients/supplies per cake.
Even with scrupulous bargain hunting, my rough figures for cost per 2-layer 8" cakes are as follows:

Cake (mix, sour cream, eggs, oil) $2.40
If ADD pudding to mix: $2.00
Buttercream with 1 lb. Crisco/2 lb. powdered sugar/cornstarch, flavorings, cake flour, toothpicks, gel color:
$4.87 (I find I use about 1-1/2 batches for a total of $7.30)
Supplies: Cake board(s), disposable decorating bags, baggies, wax paper, parchment, disposable icing containers (5 for $1.00), paper towels, hot water: $2.80
Ready-made bakery supply fillings (lemon, bavarian cream, raspberry): ADD $.60
Cupcake Bouquet: ADD $2.00-$2.60

Total per basic decorated cake (no pudding) with 1-1/2 batches buttercream, filling: $13.10

7 replies
bbmom Posted 16 May 2010 , 5:52pm
post #2 of 8

So first of all, a package of pudding is $2? Free cake, no pudding, no fruit filling, generic store brand shortening(which I use and works just fine)I also switched from all the disposable bags to featherweight bags. If its an event you'll be at put it on a cake plate to further educe the cost of board and foil.

mamawrobin Posted 16 May 2010 , 5:55pm
post #3 of 8

Can the people that order a cake from you bring you the ingredients that you need fot their cake? I know that if you're not "legal" then you can't even charge them for the cost of ingredients as this is an exchange of money
However, if they give you the cake mix, sour cream, powdered sugar, etc. then you're not out any money and they still get thier cake. Don't forget to add the cakeboards and such to their shopping list.

FullHouse Posted 16 May 2010 , 5:57pm
post #4 of 8

When I first started I was amazed at how expensive cakes are to make. I'd baked regularly in the past, but never really thought about the cost until I started decorating regularly. That said, I'm willing to bet that those you are making free cakes for have no idea of the expense involved either. I can't think of any way to reduce your costs other than going generic (which isn't that much of a savings and for some ingredients doesn't work as well). I would just ask those getting the free cakes to please help you be able to afford to continue making cakes for them by helping out with some or all of the cost. It's still a great bargain for them.

mamawrobin Posted 16 May 2010 , 5:58pm
post #5 of 8
Originally Posted by bbmom

So first of all, a package of pudding is $2? Free cake, no pudding, no fruit filling, generic store brand shortening(which I use and works just fine)I also switched from all the disposable bags to featherweight bags. If its an event you'll be at put it on a cake plate to further educe the cost of board and foil.

I agree. My pudding cost $2.00? icon_eek.gif I pay 56 cents for wal-mart brand and 79 cents for jello.
Also if it's a free cake they wouldn't be getting pudding, fruit filling, etc. I use the generic store brand of shortening anyway as it has transfat where crisco doesn't.

handymama Posted 16 May 2010 , 6:00pm
post #6 of 8

Use DH cake mixes and you won't need to add sour cream or pudding. Here they're about $1 on sale or at Walmart. I do use the WASC recipe from time to time--mostly for wedding cakes--but I find it to be borderline "too moist". Don't buy Wilton anything except maybe food color. As you get better you'll realize it's mostly junk and you'll end up replacing it. Get the disposable bags with a 40% off coupon at Jo-Ann's or Michaels. If you have an outlet mall near you, see if there's a party or paper supply store and check for cake boards. If there's one size you use a lot of order them from Pfeil and Holding at Make your own fondant--not MMF, it isn't consistent--and make your own GP using the Nic Lodge recipe. You're wise to include ALL of your costs, including gas to go for supplies. Look at forums here for lots of money-saving tips. Happy baking!

langranny Posted 16 May 2010 , 6:00pm
post #7 of 8

I don't know where you live, but if there is an Aldi in your town, try shopping for baking supplies there. I use their cake mixes (yellow, white and chocolate) that are 89¢ each. 16oz. sour cream is also 89¢. I love their shortening and I never even have to sift their powdered sugar ($1.19 for two pounds). Personally I like their stuff better than name brands. Also buy sugar and flour (now I buy 25lb bags at Walmart for about the same price and I don't have to buy it as often. Eggs are usually cheaper too unless someone has them on sale. Butter is usually around $1.50 lb. They have instant pudding in chocolate & vanilla - don't recall price, but not much.

I've been and Aldi shopper for over 30 years and have never been disappointed.

You can make your own cake flour - measure 1 cup of flour, remove two tablespoons and replace them with 2 tablespoons corn starch. Sift four or five times and you are good to go.

KayMc Posted 16 May 2010 , 6:07pm
post #8 of 8

I understand wanting to use the better ingredients and go the extra step. I don't want to keep cake in teh house, so I am giving away any cake I make as well (I'm a hobbyist). I, too, want to try the fillings, and different icing recipes, as I need to know what will work best.

It's uncomfortable to ask people to help financially with the cakes, as it started out as a gift from you. Here's a thought: give your cakes to a nursing home, or rehab center, or brownie troop - keep your receipts and use it as an in-kind tax deduction. I believe you are able to give $500/yr in in-kind donations (not cash donations). That would help deflect the costs somewhat. Good luck; I'm in the same situation. Very few hobbies are cheap....

My costs are lower than yours, though: I buy the cake mixes on sale for $.98, my pudding is MUCH cheaper than that, and using the re-usable bags is a good idea. If it's a gift, I wouldn't buy a cake board (I don't). If it's a round, two layer cake, you can put it on styrofoam disposable dishes, or save cardboard from boxes you have, and cover it with tin foil.

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