How Do You Charge Cakes?

Decorating By PastrySwaggaPro Updated 4 Aug 2010 , 7:39pm by TexasSugar

PastrySwaggaPro Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 3:20pm
post #1 of 11

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Hey guys, I finally made a Cake Central Account, out of curiosity, and everyone seems to be knowledgeable about what they know! I'm impressed to say the least!

Anywho, I am a 17 year old cake designer, and can I tell you, it has been the best decision I have made in my career to this date. I love everything about Pastry Arts, and I can't wait to go to culinary school after high school. Thank God!

Hahaha, anyway, I don't rent out anything. I'm simply based at home, in the suburbs of Chicago. But I always tend to ponder....PRICES. I've read TONS of forums, but I don't seem to catch on. I'm embarrassed to say that most if not all the time, I undercharge my cakes. I am not making a substantial profit. I need a really set system. I know most people charge by serving....but what exactly is "a serving"? No pun intended, a serving for me might be three times the regular amount! Hahaha. I mean, do you put in intricacy, labor, ingredients, inedible ingredients, time, delivery if there is, and all that jazz? I have heard of the Wilton, and Earlene Charts...but I don't even know how to convert with those...when I check my local bakery what should I look for? I want to be competitive, but at the same time still make sufficient profit. I don't want the common " WOW. _____ FOR THAT CAKE?! THAT'S TOO MUCH!". I mean, in the future, I plan on owning my own upscale bakery, that serves top notch food. Incluing specialized wedding cakes and specialty cakes. So a good profit is a must. I know this a touchy subject. But really though...can someone help me out with this...I don't want the to say " Ohh yeah, it'll be just 25 dollars" for a two tiered fondant covered, hello kitty cake. "... ANY help will be GREATLY appreciated.

10 replies
leah_s Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 3:27pm
post #2 of 11

A standard serving is 8 cubic inches of cake. For a sheet cake, it's a 2" X 2" X 2" square.

If it's a layer cake, it's a 1" X 2" X 4" slice.

all4cake Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 3:52pm
post #3 of 11

" WOW. _____ FOR THAT CAKE?! THAT'S TOO MUCH!".

Regardless of your pricing, there will be times when your customers (almost customers) will exclaim just that.

As a trial for pricing, get a shipping box (an old one will do) and set it aside. Have ready a pretend (or real) order. Check the "mileage" on your electric box. Start your timer and begin making the cake. Place everything...from paper towels to toothpicks used in that pre-prepped box...everything. When done, stop timer. Check the "mileage" on the electric box. Make note of everything used. Calculate cost of each and every item that went into making that cake. Figure your hourly wage and add that in. Throw in a miscellaneous that covers a percentage of taxes/license/other fees. That is the COST of the cake. Now, add the amount of profit you wish to benefit from the sale of each of your items plus sales tax. That is the Price of your cake.

CHoxie Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 3:53pm
post #4 of 11

For me, being a Hobby Baker, I generally charge for the ingredients (box mixes, eggs...), then guesstamate the amount of time it could take me to create the cake. Usually, I take longer than what I guesstamete. LOL

I spent some time in Excel and created an order sheet that helps me to calculate these expenses. I have checkboxes for dowels, cake boxes, cake boards... I know I should charge more than I do, but this is a hobby for me, and I do it for fun and extra money. With the money I cleared last year, I took my wife for a nice week touring wineries in Michigan. icon_smile.gif

BTW, I am in a suburb (kinda) of Chicago too.

all4cake Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 5:03pm
post #5 of 11

Or, you could just find the most expensive person in your area and charge 1 cent less. I am only kidding. I think one should know EXACTLY what it costs to make a cake. If for no other reason than to confidently state your price and not flinch when someone belches out, "egads! the price! it's just too much! Harry, did you hear how much the cake is????!!!???".

ClassyCat Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 5:06pm
post #6 of 11

Welcome to the boards! I'm new here as well, and like you I am very interested in how people come up with prices for their cakes. At this point I am only a hobbiest, but would love to either work in a bakery or sell my own cakes at some point in the future. However, unlike yourself, I am much older!! You are lucky to have discovered your passion at such a young age, with your entire future ahead of you. Best of luck to you in your journey!! icon_biggrin.gif

leily Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 6:51pm
post #7 of 11

welcome to CC. You got some good pricing advice already, but you said a couple of things in your post that I just want to give you a little more detail on.

You said your "Based at home in Chicago, IL" - just so you know it is illegal in the state of Illinois to use your home kitchen to prepare food for sale. They do have a clause that you can have a seperate kitchen (and i think it has to have a seperate entrance and possibly be completely detached from your home - i don't remember exactly how it reads)

You also mentioned making a Hello Kitty cake - please be aware of copyright and trademark characters / logos / sport teams etc.... It is illegal to reproduce these copyright and trademark items. You can get written permission from the copyright/trademark holder or purchase toys for the characters (which is the easiest as people like Disney won't give you permission)


There is lot of information about the two above topics in the forums, but the forums can be overwhelming when you first get in here as there is so much info.

Tinabarena Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 7:13pm
post #8 of 11

I've asked this before on this site and never got a response - I understand about the illegal reproduction of characters/logos/sport teams, etc. However - what if you get one of those pans - say the Dora pan - and do a cake using that pan? Would that be illegal?

TexasSugar Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 7:25pm
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinabarena

I've asked this before on this site and never got a response - I understand about the illegal reproduction of characters/logos/sport teams, etc. However - what if you get one of those pans - say the Dora pan - and do a cake using that pan? Would that be illegal?




Yes, those pans are made for home use only, not to be sold.

Tinabarena Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 7:33pm
post #10 of 11

Ohhh....I've never used any of those pans, but a couple years ago I made a Sponge Bob cake from scratch...now I know that I can't do that! Thanks!

TexasSugar Posted 4 Aug 2010 , 7:39pm
post #11 of 11

As far as pricing goes...

1. How much money so you spend making your cake? This includes everything from your cake box and boards to pillars, to mixes or ingredients. You also need to factor in oven useage and so on.

2. How much money do you want to make an hour? Your time is worth something and if you were somewhere else you'd be paid for it.

3. How much profit do you want to make?

Figure the above for a basic cake, such as a 8in round.

Just to show the math I'm going to pick some numbers out of the air. Lets say it takes costs you $15 to make the cake, and you are estimating about 5 hours worth of time invested in it and you think your time is worth $10 an hour. Then lets say you want to make at least $30 profit. Your math would look like:

$15 (supplies) + $50 (hourly wage) + $30 (profit) = $95

Divide that number by the number of servings in the cake (24 in an 8in round), so 95/24 = 3.96

Round that off, and that means you need to charge at least $4 a serving.

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