How Much Should I Charge For This Cake?

Decorating By beauty4151980 Updated 20 Jan 2011 , 1:29am by Unlimited

beauty4151980 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 8:38pm
post #1 of 25

A lady whose kids are in my kids' playgroup asked me to make the cake for her and her husband's 25th. wedding anniversary/vow renewal reception. She requested no fondant and wants tiers containing different flavors. The cake needs to feed approximately 250 guests. I am thinking about making the cake in the attached photo, but it will contain 5 tiers on pillars. The tiers will consist of the following flavors:

8"- Carrot cake with cream cheese buttercream filling
10" - Red velvet cake with cream cheese buttercream filling
12" - Spice cake with banana cream filling
14" - Devil's food cake with chocolate Bavarian cream filling
16" - White almond sour cream cake with Bavarian cream filling

The roses would be made out of royal icing and the ruffles would be made out of buttercream. Any guidance you could offer for pricing would be appreciated! I've never baked a cake for a paying customer (only for family). Thanks!

24 replies
jason_kraft Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 8:56pm
post #2 of 25

For any cake, you can set a good price by determining the ingredient cost, the labor cost (number of hours you plan to spend on all aspects of the cake * your hourly rate, usually $10-30/hour depending on skill and location), and your overhead per cake (the sum of all annual overhead costs including licenses, insurance, advertising, etc. divided by the number of cakes you make per year). Add these together, then add 20-30% for your profit margin.

Before you accept money from a stranger, make sure your state allows you to legally sell cakes made from home (assuming you are making them from home). If it doesn't, either donate the cake or refer the customer to another bakery.

CWR41 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 10:28pm
post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by beauty4151980

The cake needs to feed approximately 250 guests. I am thinking about making the cake in the attached photo...




Those tiers would serve 296, at only $3.00 per serving the price would be $888.00, at $3.50 per serving the price would be $1036.00. Depending on where you live, you could charge upwards of $5, $7.50, or even more per serving, but I'd think the minimum price you'd find for any area would be at least $3.00/pp. You'd probably get more replies from folks in your area if you wanted to tell us where you're from, otherwise it may be helpful if you did some research online or called some bakeries in your community for a quote to be able to compare the going rate locally.

You forgot to attach the photo.

icer101 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 10:45pm
post #4 of 25

determine how much each tier will feed. Wilton has a good chart. Don,t make them for less than $3.50 a serving. This is a lot of work. Don.t tell anyone your business, especially on this site. lol!!! You didn,t mention being legal, and most of all, its none of our business. This might be a bigger and different cake than you have done before and needed our help in pricing. Don,t undercut yourself.Just check around where you live , that will help you determine. hth

BoozeBabe Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 10:57pm
post #5 of 25

Have you made a stacked cake that big before? It is a big responsibility to take on if its your first LARGE stacked cake. I am from the midwest and depending on your experience I would expect to pay a minimum of $500. if I were ordering a cake that size with buttercream. And obviously more depending on decorations. I hate making different flavors. Its a big hassle for me, but I don't bake that often. I just do it for fun. If I cant afford to donate the cake I dont make. No amount of pleading will convince me to make a cake I dont want to make.

beauty4151980 Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 5:55pm
post #6 of 25

Thanks for your responses. No, I have never made a cake that big before. Here's the photo: Image I don't know why the attachment didn't work the first time!

BoozeBabe Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:15pm
post #7 of 25

This cake looks like it is entirely fondant. it is beautiful but wouldn't have exactly the same look with buttercream. Have you practiced those ruffles & roses in buttercream?

beauty4151980 Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:18pm
post #8 of 25

The cake is made of buttercream with royal icing roses, and there's no fondant at all (according to Wilton) icon_smile.gif .

matthewkyrankelly Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:27pm
post #9 of 25

It is a beautiful cake. I would be prepared to make sure that I had a tip that was big enough for the ruffles and practice ahead of time. The design is entirely based on the ruffle piping and the roses. Very doable. My second caution would be to familiarize yourself with stacking and transport ahead of time. Therein lies the devil.

BoozeBabe Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:31pm
post #10 of 25

WOW with that info and knowing how precise you would need to be with the buttercream I would use CWR41 rates. This looks like a $750. cake to me. Is the client expecting a "cheapie"? With all this work it definitely should NOT be a cheapie cake. Go for it if the client is willing to pay for it.

BluntlySpeakingKarma Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:35pm
post #11 of 25

Um, that's really perfect and has a very specific look. I highly recommend you practice that many many times, or there may be some serious dissapointment on the part of all parties involved. Personally, I don't give a rat's patootie if that was all BC, I wouldn't do it in BC. I would imagine it's really stiff royal icing, and the Wilton people just say it's BC to get people to try it.

3GCakes Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:44pm
post #12 of 25

Wow. That is a very ambitious cake. I love to pipe, but I agree that ruffles ain't no joke. They seem simple but they're really finicky.

I hope it all works out for you....

Motta Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:51pm
post #13 of 25

I just made a ruffled buttercream cake and once those ruffles are in place...well, you better not smudge them! I think that cake would be very difficult to transport without extreme care. I would even be inclined to pipe the ruffles on site to avoid any mess ups.

alvarezmom Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 7:02pm
post #14 of 25

WOW! The ruffles look like fondant or like BluntlySpeakingKarma said "really stiff Royal". Ruffles are hard to do even if you are doing them on a border.

Unlimited Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 4:55am
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by beauty4151980

A lady whose kids are in my kids' playgroup asked me to make the cake for her and her husband's 25th. wedding anniversary/vow renewal reception.




What date will you be making it?
Do you have tip #127D (giant rose) or do you have time to order it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by beauty4151980

I am thinking about making the cake in the attached photo, but it will contain 5 tiers on pillars.




Will all of the tiers be separated with pillars? (the cake in the photo has oval tiersare you making round tiers instead?)

This looks like such a fun and easy cake to make with buttercreamI'm so excited for you! I'd love to make this cakethanks for posting the Wilton photo. Lots of luck making it, and let us know how it goes.

K1976 Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 5:21am
post #16 of 25

Don,t make them for less than $3.50 a serving. This is a lot of work. Don.t tell anyone your business, especially on this site. lol!!! You didn,t mention being legal, and most of all, its none of our business.

Yes ma'am well said!

Apti Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 6:28am
post #17 of 25

OP, first of all, I don't think there's any way in heck that this lady is going to pay $888 OR $1200. She probably wants that cake for $200 (maybe $300 max), so I don't think you need to stress about it.

2nd: That is a HUGE undertaking! Even IF all the layers were the same flavor and texture. When you factor in that you would be making 5 different flavors, textures, etc., no way. Each cake flavor will bake very differently and rise differently, and so on.

IF the lady says, "Why, Yes, dear friend of the kids' playgroup, I'd be happy to pay you $1200 for that cake", then the pressure on YOU would be overwhelming!

Unless you can whip the cake shown in the picture out during a practice run (and spend $80-$100 on ingredients, SPS, supplies, etc.), AND unless you get this $80+ practice cake PERFECT, and practice driving the cake around in a car and then taking it back into your house with NO damage, I'd strongly suggest you tell this lady nicely:
"This cake would be enormously expensive. May I suggest a xxxxxx? Then suggest something you ALREADY KNOW you can make, and charge $2.00 a serving. (She probably still won't pay that much. I can almost guarantee that she's NOT thinking 250 times $2 = OMG!! HOW MUCH!!!!)

3rd - IF you do end up doing a cake, make darn sure the venue will accept your cake!

Let us know what happens, ok?

tinygoose Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 9:42am
post #18 of 25

Honestly if you were my best friend or sister I would tell you not to do it. I don't mean to be negative or critical, but I don't see a lot of tiered cakes in your photos that would suggest you can smoothly pull this one off (although the most recent is from 2007, so perhaps you have more that are not shown). Anyway, just having room in the fridge for a 16" tier (20" board) is tough...my fridge is only 17" wide, thus I only make cakes that take 16" or smaller boards...so for me that's a 12" cake.

The second things is why would you want to make this cake? I mean it's great that someone wants you to make a cake for them, but it's ok to say no too. "No. Is a complete sentence." Why not start with a 3 tier, then 4 tier, then if you're still standing, take on a monster 5.

I'm also guessing this lady is expecting a huge deal, and it sounds like she will probably get it. So in the end you are going to go through a ton of stress (on you and everyone around you), for little to no money after expenses, for what? That's the real question...for what? This is what you will be asking yourself when it's all over, if not before.

If you decide to go through with it, I'd suggest a 3 tiered cake for 74 people that's a 6, 8, 10" and tell her to buy kitchen cakes elsewhere. Then practice. I really I don't mean to sound mean or negative, but it's no fun staying up until 3-4am, crying in your kitchen, the day before the due date. I think we've all been there at one point or another wondering how in the heck we got ourselves into this mess.

Cakeartist5523 Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 10:22am
post #19 of 25

@tinygoose..............WELL SAID!!!!

I Definelty have been there before at 3 or 4 am.....wanting to run away!!
Then having to answer to my husband who wants to know what happened to his sweet wife!!! I would do this cake for NO less than $550.00,,,,,oh and lots of practice!!
I have noticed that the cakes I feel I get paid correctly for are the ones I am the happiest doing. My head is clear of "wish I had, should I have, why didn't I, Is this enough!"
Good luck dear, if your like me your probably going to do it, just give yourself the correct amount of time and be ready for anything!!!!
Let us know how it goes!!!!

Unlimited Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 9:11am
post #20 of 25

I made a video decorating Wiltons Ruffles and Roses buttercream cake design on styrofoam dummies. ( Wilton instructions: http://www.wilton.com/idea/Ruffles-and-Roses-Cake )

If this direct link doesnt work, you can click on either of the two links in my signatureit will take you to the same place to view the video. ( My video: http://s984.photobucket.com/albums/ae322/Unlimited1cakes/?action=view¤t=127Drufflecake.mp4 )

The OP is doing five tiers (8x10x12x14x16), I only did four tiers (8x10x12x14)youll soon find out why I didnt decorate the 16 dummy.

I had hoped that the tip would form the ruffles simply by using enough pressure, but that was not the case, so it wasnt as simple as I originally thoughtbut still fairly easy considering the ruffles are the only decorations on this cake (excluding premade roses).

Start by using a creamy medium-consistency buttercream (not too stiff or dryyou want it thin enough to pipe easily, and wet enough to stick to the cakes sides without falling off). To form each ruffle, you need to twist your wrist forward and back while piping with even pressure. ( for more detailed instructions, see Wiltons ruffle technique: http://www.wilton.com/technique/Ruffle )

It took 14.5 minutes to decorate four tiers with ruffles (this includes refilling the pastry bag multiple times because I only have one giant rose tip #127D). It isnt perfect, but it was fun... sort of! I discovered that I can make the bottom ruffles better than the top ruffles for some reason. It took me a while to figure out why my hand was killing me trying to pipe with soft creamy buttercream in my pastry bag... I also discovered at what temperature buttercream starts to freeze! We thought it was a good idea to film the video outside for better lighting and no background mess (plus I wouldnt break a sweat), but unfortunately, I live in one of the 49 states that got snowso it was COLD! (I think it was 37 degrees, but my stainless steel tables must have been colder!) Freezing buttercream is the reason I didnt decorate the 16 dummy.

The video is edited to show the 8 dummy being decorated (first 2.5 minutes), a leaf tip ruffled border being piped in between the upper and lower ruffles (next 45 seconds), and the end result of all.

When adding royal icing or buttercream roses to the center of the tiers, Id recommend piping the leaf tip ruffled border in the space between the 127D ruffles to give the roses something to stick to. If you arent adding roses, the border will also be necessary to help hide the seam since the 127D tip will leave a gap on 4 tall dummies where the roses are suppose to be.

agemyers Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 11:50am
post #21 of 25

im new in this decorating but i make same for fun, this looks something i will like learn and its looks great. Thanks for shearing

Apti Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 6:40pm
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

I made a video decorating Wiltons Ruffles and Roses buttercream cake design on styrofoam dummies. ( Wilton instructions: http://www.wilton.com/idea/Ruffles-and-Roses-Cake )

If this direct link doesnt work, you can click on either of the two links in my signatureit will take you to the same place to view the video. ( My video: http://s984.photobucket.com/albums/ae322/Unlimited1cakes/?action=view¤t=127Drufflecake.mp4 )

Start by using a creamy medium-consistency buttercream (not too stiff or dryyou want it thin enough to pipe easily, and wet enough to stick to the cakes sides without falling off). To form each ruffle, you need to twist your wrist forward and back while piping with even pressure. ( for more detailed instructions, see Wiltons ruffle technique: http://www.wilton.com/technique/Ruffle )

The video is edited to show the 8 dummy being decorated (first 2.5 minutes), a leaf tip ruffled border being piped in between the upper and lower ruffles (next 45 seconds), and the end result of all.

When adding royal icing or buttercream roses to the center of the tiers, Id recommend piping the leaf tip ruffled border in the space between the 127D ruffles to give the roses something to stick to. If you arent adding roses, the border will also be necessary to help hide the seam since the 127D tip will leave a gap on 4 tall dummies where the roses are suppose to be.




Unlimited1--I was already in total awe of your roses on a stick (which I have tried, but, big surprise, they aren't 'quite' like yours.....) Now you whip out those ruffles in 37 degrees!

I bow deeply to you in respect.

and BTW, OP, what happened with the cake order? Let us know, ok?

Unlimited Posted 17 Jan 2011 , 6:56pm
post #23 of 25

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti

and BTW, OP, what happened with the cake order? Let us know, ok?




The OP and I have been PMing. The order isn't due until the fall.

(I took my time trying to get over a headcold before attempting the video!)

CWR41 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 8:45pm
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!)




I enjoyed it too... I can imagine how much easier it would have been for you to film without the freezing BC, and faster with extra bags and tips!

That was very nice of you to make a video... thanks for sharing.

Unlimited Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 1:29am
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41

I enjoyed it too... I can imagine how much easier it would have been for you to film without the freezing BC, and faster with extra bags and tips!

That was very nice of you to make a video... thanks for sharing.




Awwww, thanks cake buddy.

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