Hobby Bakers, Tell Family/friends What Cake Really Costs!

Decorating By Apti Updated 2 Aug 2010 , 9:00pm by samarinbooboo

Apti Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 6:09am
post #1 of 21

Since I've been on CC, I see a LOT of posts from hobby bakers saying family and friends have NO idea how much it costs to make a cake. Here's a list of what the ingredients/supplies would cost if you ask them to buy the supplies and then you'll bake the cake without charging for labor. (I used IndyDebi BC and Cake Doctor WASC to base prices on.) Hope this is helpful to someone. (I had it typed differently, but CC forum won't present as typed)


Ingredients/Supplies for two 8 round cakes or one 10 or one 12 round cake

Market/craft store prices, Aug 2010

Cake:

Duncan Hines Cake Mix    1 each          $2.79
Full fat sour cream    1 cup           $2.00 (16 oz.)
Eggs        3 each          $2.00 (dozen)
Canola oil      1/3 cup          $3.40 (24 oz.)
Wilton Clear vanilla extract, 2 oz* 1 tsp          $1.99

Buttercream Ingredients for two 8 round cakes or one 10 or one 12 round cake:

Crisco white (not butter) sticks  2 sticks          $5.99 (3 stick pkg)  
Whole milk      2/3 cup          $1.20 (pint)
Dream Whip, powder    3 TBSP          $2.50 (2 envelope pkg)  
Wilton Clear vanilla extract*  3 TBSP          none (see cake above)  
C & H powdered sugar    2 pound bag        $2.89    

For Chocolate buttercream (add):

Nestle unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup        $5.29 (8 oz.)    
Salted real butter       1/3 cup        $3.50 (16 oz.)
Hershey Chocolate syrup     ¼ cup        $2.00 (24 oz.)
Instant Coffee (supplied by baker) 1 tsp          $ .20

Fondant to cover buttercream (no decorations or fondant on cake board) add:

Wilton Ready-To-Use White Rolled Fondant, 24 oz. pkg*      $6.79

If you need decorations in primary colors (red, dark blue, green):
Wilton Rolled Fondant Primary Colors Multi-Pack  *      $10.49

For fondant/gumpaste decorations:

Wilton Ready-to-use Gumpaste, 1 lb. pkg*        $9.99

Non-Edible Supplies to be supplied by baker:

8 or 10 Wilton Show and Serve Cake Circle board*      $ .50
Plastic piping bags*              $1.00
VIVA paper towels for smoothing buttercream        $ .10
Toothpicks for mixing colors            $ .10
Wilton icing colors*              $ .50


* Available only at craft stores: Michaels, JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, etc.

20 replies
JanH Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 6:23am
post #2 of 21

Pricing is difficult because ingredient costs vary so much by location...

Additionally, even hobby bakers can lower their costs if they have access to wholesale type clubs (like Sams, Costco or Gordon Food Service or at the very least a Walmart or Aldi food store or equivalent).

And definitely use the 40% off coupons for Hobby Lobby or Michaels for fondant, extracts, or cakeboards, etc.

Of course, buying small quantities of anything always costs more than buying in larger sizes or bulk. (Just like shopping at a convenience store is convenient - but the prices are usually outrageous!)

A great resource for flavorings and other baking/decorating needs:
(Wholesale prices to the public.)

www.nationalflavors.com

HTH

soph917 Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 6:37am
post #3 of 21

Definitely price varies by location and where you shop. I don't ever pay more than $0.99 for a box of cake mix. I use the WASC recipe too, for nearly all of my cakes. And for sour cream I pay $3.50 for 3 lbs at Costco. And $1.20 for a pint of milk? I pay $2.29 for a gallon. I probably just have never priced it by the pint. Those are just a few of the things that you listed, but I did figure out the price I pay for WASC, but I would say that I pay less than half of the prices that you have, if not lower. And I'm in California.

Texas_Rose Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 7:47am
post #4 of 21

Prices do vary a lot. I'm in TX and I pay $2 for 1lb butter, $2.79 for a large can of generic Crisco, $1.69 for 2lbs of C&H or Domino PS. I think Dream Whip is expensive everywhere though.

JanH is right about buying in bulk when possible. I buy my favorite clear vanilla by the gallon...it's $26 a gallon and I have to buy two to get free shipping, but I was paying $2 for a 2oz bottle, so that comes out to $128 a gallon, so buying it by the gallon is a really good deal.

sweettreat101 Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 7:56am
post #5 of 21

Boy my husband said it was expensive to live in San Diego he wasn't kidding. I live in Northern Ca and I pay .89 a cake mix, .98 for one pound of sour cream, 1.38 two pounds powdered sugar, 2.28 pound of butter, 2.49 one pound hi ratio shortening, .99 dozen eggs, 2.18 Crisco oil and 2.09 two ounces clear vanilla. Our Walmart's up here sell Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker cheap.

Apti Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 8:12am
post #6 of 21

These are prices at my Vons in San Diego County and the Wilton prices are off the Wilton website. I didn't include "sale" prices or "coupon" prices because if someone just went out and bought the ingredients, these are the prices they'd probably have to pay. Obviously, there will be ingredients left over. If someone was supplying you with the ingredients, they could just bring 3 eggs, not a dozen, but it's kinda hard to just buy 3 eggs, or 1/3 cup of canola oil, or 1/3 cup of whole milk. In my Word document, I used a different typing set-up to indicate how much was needed for the recipe, then used pricing for the smallest quantity for that particular ingredient.

I don't pay $2.79 for a Duncan Hines mix, but I also watch for sales and buy about 20 boxes at a time when they are only 99 cents. I never, ever, buy anything from Michael's without a coupon. I have a pantry full to the brim of ingredients I snap up when they are on sale; but if I had to run out and buy everything needed for a cake two days from now, I might not find sales, and would certainly have to shop at several stores to get the best prices.

Price Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 2:29pm
post #7 of 21

Prices do vary across the country and across the world. I guess the point is, everything adds up and it's not cheap to constantly make baked goods and give them away for nothing or practically nothing. I'm a hobby baker too. I have made wedding cakes for both my neice and nephew. I gave them both a choice. I would either make their wedding cake as their gift, or they could pay me for the cake and I would give them a gift. Of course I knew they choose the cake as their gift. They knew they were getting a great deal!

Not everyone understands the cost and investment of time that goes into making a decorated cake. Another neice's husband wants me to make a custom cake with lots of fondant figures for a ceremony for his boy scout troop. It would be a "camping" cake. Although it would be a fun project, I just don't have the time or money to always be giving cake and my time away. If it was legal for me to sell cakes in my state, I would gladly make the cake for him to purchase, but I don't think he could afford it! LOL. Can you imagine the hours involved in making 10 customized figures of boyscouts? icon_eek.gif

bakencake Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 2:54pm
post #8 of 21

I agree with Apti. I know that a lot of people are clueless when it comes to just how much money it takes to make a cake let alone how much a well made cake is worth. I blame the cake shows because they show amazing cakes but never show how much they charge for them. If they showed one of their cakes and posted exactly how much time it took them to make and show the price they charged for it most people would be in shock. I know that some of those cakes run in the thousands but most people will never know.

cakesbycathy Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 6:38pm
post #9 of 21

I think the point of the post was not about getting some items cheaper or on sale. It's about people not having a clue about what it costs to make a cake (not including labor).

I think the idea was more like someone wants you to make a cake for them and you can hand them the shopping list and they will very quickly come to the realization that it actually costs quite a bit of money and time (all the running around to get things) to get a cake made.

Donnabugg Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 10:28pm
post #10 of 21

Apti..thanks so much for posting this. Very, very helpful! thumbs_up.gif

Maria925 Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 11:01pm
post #11 of 21

I actually just today started a list of what everything is costing me. I'm making a cake for a friend and have never really added it up. I can't wait to see what my bottom line is when I'm done!

Barb00 Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 11:33pm
post #12 of 21

I broke out the cost as I went for the last cake I did. I did not include the Viva paper towels nor the plastic wrap because I was not sure what I had paid for them. Total came out to be much more than I thought it would and my DH was shocked it cost so much. This was a two layer 9X13. My purchases were not made at Sam's or Costco and I was able to get the foam board that I used free.

kansaslaura Posted 1 Aug 2010 , 11:43pm
post #13 of 21

I'm pretty sure the OP was pointing out it's really pretty simple to figure out what you have in a cake--it was an example.

I've done that very thing many times. Good topic.

Apti Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 4:26am
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

I think the point of the post was not about getting some items cheaper or on sale. It's about people not having a clue about what it costs to make a cake (not including labor).

I think the idea was more like someone wants you to make a cake for them and you can hand them the shopping list and they will very quickly come to the realization that it actually costs quite a bit of money and time (all the running around to get things) to get a cake made.




Thank you everyone for the comments. Cathy got it exactly correct. I quickly found that MY cost (shopping for bargains like crazy!) is about $10 for two 8" rounds with BC, and about $11 with fondant added. It is rather shocking what our little hobby costs, is it not? But, hey! We make people happy!

Texas_Rose Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 6:33am
post #15 of 21

Another thing you need to do when figuring out supply cost for a friend or a relative is to add a misc. cost for the things like paper towels, plastic wrap and icing colors. I usually add $5, then I just set that aside until I need icing colors or tylose, or something like that.

Kayakado Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 5:15pm
post #16 of 21

I made a cake for a co-workers birthday. I paid $19 for the white chocolate. The European high fat butter was likely to be about $10, The organic lemons and eggs were probably another $10. The other ingredients were probably about $5 combined.

She is one of our most dedicated staff members and always has a smile-- so yes she deserved the best cake possible.

Apti Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 5:25pm
post #17 of 21

Kayakado, I went to your cake photos to see if you'd posted a picture of that yummy sounding white chocolate cake. Did you take a photo?

Then I went thru your wonderful cake creations. The "first dog" is AWESOME! I loved the last comment where you were told "it is not very sanitary to sit a real dog on a cake board!" Made me laugh out loud!

mamawrobin Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 7:16pm
post #18 of 21

I agree with whoever said that cost varies by location. I pay only $1.12 for DH cake mix and only $1.37 for 24 ounces of sour cream for instance.

A two layer 9" cake cost me, including cake board, about $6.32 to make. That cost includes buttercream and with fondant my cost would be about $8.05. I make my own fondant and it cost me $5.87 for about 3 1/2 pounds. I've also calculated my cost to make a batch of Indydebi's bc and it cost me about $4.20 to make a single batch.

debbief Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 8:40pm
post #19 of 21

I've been trying to tell my DH it doesn't cost me that much to bake and decorate a cake. I have admitted that since I've really gotten into the decorating more in the last several months, I've spent quite a bit on tools and gadgets....but once I have it, I'll use it again and again.

BUT just this weekend he told me our public service/power bill has doubled what it was last year (May & June) because of the extra use of the oven and mixer. I just rolled my eyes at him but he's probably more accurate than I give him credit for. icon_redface.gif

samarinbooboo Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 9:00pm
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Prices do vary a lot. I'm in TX and I pay $2 for 1lb butter, $2.79 for a large can of generic Crisco, $1.69 for 2lbs of C&H or Domino PS. I think Dream Whip is expensive everywhere though.

JanH is right about buying in bulk when possible. I buy my favorite clear vanilla by the gallon...it's $26 a gallon and I have to buy two to get free shipping, but I was paying $2 for a 2oz bottle, so that comes out to $128 a gallon, so buying it by the gallon is a really good deal.




where do you order the clear vanilla by the gallon?

samarinbooboo Posted 2 Aug 2010 , 9:00pm
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Prices do vary a lot. I'm in TX and I pay $2 for 1lb butter, $2.79 for a large can of generic Crisco, $1.69 for 2lbs of C&H or Domino PS. I think Dream Whip is expensive everywhere though.

JanH is right about buying in bulk when possible. I buy my favorite clear vanilla by the gallon...it's $26 a gallon and I have to buy two to get free shipping, but I was paying $2 for a 2oz bottle, so that comes out to $128 a gallon, so buying it by the gallon is a really good deal.


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