Baking By LynnzieJean Updated 2 May 2011 , 5:23pm by sweetthang1

LynnzieJean Posted 9 Mar 2011 , 4:29am
post #1 of 20

so i'm an amateur baker, its my passion. I bake cakes for friends here and there. So what I am wondering is i just got asked to make a 500 cupcake wedding with a little cutting cake. How much would you charge for it?

19 replies
Mac Posted 9 Mar 2011 , 4:48am
post #2 of 20

For cupcakes, I charge $2.25 to $2.50 per cupcake and at least $45 for a 2 layer 6" cake

lilmissbakesalot Posted 9 Mar 2011 , 4:52am
post #3 of 20

Tough to say. Where are you located? Will the reception be in a hall? I only ask because some venues can be sticklers for making sure that any food that comes in comes from a licensed kitchen. Some states have cottage food laws and some do license home kitchens, but many do not so that would be where I'd start. It might not be legal for you to provide cakes for sale from your home kitchen. Hopefully that won't be an issue, but getting licensed takes time so I'd look into that immediately.

Where you are also can have a bearing on what you can charge. What will the cupcakes have for decoration? Ask yourself too if you have the capacity to make and store 500 cupcakes. You can't make them too far ahead since they will dry out, so you will have to make them close to the event date, and 500 cupcakes is just barely under 42 dozen. 2 dozen will fit in a 19x14" box... that's 21 rather large boxes. Will that fit in your vehicle?

Not to sound like a debbie downer, but these are things you don't think about when you are all high on the thought of your first order... I know I didn't think about it in the beginning... but after 4.5 years of doing this I'm all hardened... LOL.


I can tell you what I would charge, but I am in the north east and generally speaking prices up here tend to be higher than in, say, the midwest. I charge $3.00 per cupcake for a simple swirl and upwards of $12 each for ones with complex fondant flowers and figures and stuff like that. So on the low end 500 cupcakes would be $1500.00 and much more should they want decorations.

Clari_cakes Posted 9 Mar 2011 , 10:50am
post #4 of 20

I would agree, At least $2.50 per cupcake if not more.

FromScratchSF Posted 10 Mar 2011 , 6:06am
post #5 of 20

Hello! Welcome to the forums!

So I'm totally gonna rain on your parade, but the real answer is: Zero. If you are not licensed you shouldn't be charging anything. This is the suckie answer, I know. It is state dependent on weather you can legally run a baking business from your home etc, but asking licensed people how much an unlicensed person can charge, the uniform answer is... nothing, not even the cost of the ingredients.

But OK, realistically it happens all the time, so... you want to break down what to charge - have you ran the cost of resale ingredients for 500 cupcakes? Packaging? Decorations? Eeek. Start there. You can't compare yourself to bakeries (or, ahem, us) in your area because they have overhead, insurance, staff etc... but we buy in bulk and have the proper equipment. You have no overhead but will be paying full price for everything.

But I feel the need to break down some practical stuff here - 500 cupcakes is a lot. Like, a lot. How much do you value your sanity? LOL! Assuming you are using a regular home oven, I don't even want to calculate how long it would take you to bake 500 cupcakes. Probably days in advance, and then where are you going to put them? How are you going to store them? How are you going to transport them? I say this because I am legal, have access to a commercial kitchen and buy my ingredients in bulk - and I would turn down that job. Maybe some solo bakers can produce in that quantity, but I can't. I can't bake, store and transport more then 300 full sized cupcakes at a time, and that takes a lot out of me. And they want a cutting cake too? Girl, if you are seriously considering taking on this responsibility I send positive mojo your way because you have guts and must really really love your friend!

Good luck,


jo3d33 Posted 10 Mar 2011 , 6:45am
post #6 of 20

I would run, run, run, run......500 cupcakes in a home oven! You have got to be crazy!!! (I mean that lovingly) I can only do 24 cupcakes in my oven at home at a time, SOOOOO 500/24= 21 batches 21 batches x approx 22 min per batch = 462 min which is almost 8 hours of JUST baking time! That does not include mixing batter, filling cupcake liners, cleaning dishes/pans, re-baking if something goes wrong, cooling, frosting, decorations ect..... If you could find a way to get legal before the wedding, then you might be able to do it with some help. The place I rent has 2 ovens, with 5 or 6 racks each, but I still wouldnt have a way to transport that many without multiple trips or trusting someone else to help (which I dont like to do) I dont like to do cupcakes, but if I do, the base price is 2.50 per cupcake and goes up from there depending on decorations.
Good luck!!!

scp1127 Posted 10 Mar 2011 , 7:28am
post #7 of 20

I am a stickler for everything being fresh. It would be tough to do that many, if not impossible in a home oven (freshness vs. timeline). I would make a timeline going backwards from the time you need to leave your house. Pack time, frost time, cool time, bake time, mix time, frosting making time. And make a small cake too. The under bed boxes with shelf liner in between will work for transport (if they will fit in your car). Each 4 foot one holds 160 cupcakes, so you need to buy four. Lowe's has the heavy duty rubber shelf liner, $5.00 for four feet, you need four. Do you have the cooling racks? They are $5.00 each. You need 500 liners, plus more if you don't know if they will pull away (plus more cupcakes). I know $1250 sounds like alot of money, but if you don't use this stuff again, it will get costly. And what if three hours later, half of them pull away from the liners? You will not be able to deliver on a very important day. Even a friend may sue you for non-performance on her wedding day.

If you have never done this, good luck! And I am one of those who got my license before I ever took money for a cake.

Baker_Rose Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 1:56pm
post #8 of 20

Wow. I guess I don't look at it as being as hard as everyone else. At home you just bake in rounds. You have your ingredients in one section of the kitchen ready to go. Let's say you are using cake mixes for all cupcakes and buttercream swirls with a candy flower on top. You will need four - six cupcake trays.

First mix two cake mixes on the stand mixer, your trays are lined while you mix the batter.
Second scoop the batter into four cupcake trays and bake.
Third while they are baking mix your buttercream in your washed out bowl and scoop into a large bowl and take everything to your dining room table. Have your finished boxes waiting in the dining room.
Fourth when they come out of the oven cool a few minutes, then pull from the trays and cool. then repeat with the next two cake mixes. After the second batch of buttercream is made and scooped into the large bowl THEN you start swirling them with buttercream and boxing them. After boxing they can be stacked out of the way. So in essence when you are on your fourth batch of baking your first - third batch are already done and boxed. Once the icing is on them and in boxes they are not sitting out. Since they were super fresh when you finished them they will have less chance of quickly drying out.

You won't be baking them all, and then trying to find room for 500 cupcakes to sit on your counter while to make buttercream, you do it in rounds.

So. It would speed things up if you had two bowls to mix in, what I would do is mix the cake mixes with a hand mixer in a basic bowl, and use my stand mixer for buttercream, then I don't have to wash the bowl between batches, just scoop and make another batch!!

As for cost. I don't live in a place where people will pay those prices for cupcakes. I wish I did. You will have to determine your cost and the cost of your ingredients plus about 6-8 hours of your time. I personally think it's easier on us as bakers to make regular wedding cakes because cupcakes are a LOT more work, but I can't help trends. Many people also have in their heads that it's so simple, it's ONLY A CUPCAKE. Like that changes anything. I don't think I would do that, plus the delivery for less that $1.50 a cupcake. That is only for a basic cupcake, buttercream swirl piped on (I'm pretty fast at that) and a flower on top. If they want fillings or lots of flavors, then the price would go up accordingly. The 6-inch? Probably about $25 for a basic buttercream with flowers, more for fondant.

Also, I have put 70 cups in a full sheet cake box, and they stack pretty well, so you will need about 7 full sheet boxes and a half sheet box to carry. That fits in my back of my truck just fine. The most I've done at home is 400. But I have baked thousands of cookies out of a 8x10 kitchen in the past. You just need to be organized.


lilmissbakesalot Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 2:34pm
post #9 of 20

You still need to have the space... you need to have a safe place for them to sit until delivery and you need a vehicle big enough or make 3 trips.

I don't think anyone is saying it's impossible, but having done orders for 300+ cupcakes from my licensed home kitchen it's a lot easier to think about doing it than it is to do it, especially if you have never baked en masse like this before. It's not always easy to find full sheet boxes in the stores, but that's how I like to do really larger orders too. Order them online if you have time. Inserts so they don't topple over are a must too IMHO. Nothing worse than opening a box to find your cupcakes tipped over and icing all smooshed.

My first post is more just things to think about that you never do when you are in that elated "OMG this is the first time someone is trusting me to make cake for their special occasion" mindframe. You never anticipate the amount of icing you will need or how many eggs and all it will take to make that big of an order when you are just beginning.

flourgirlz Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 3:47pm
post #10 of 20
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

So I'm totally gonna rain on your parade, but the real answer is: Zero. If you are not licensed you shouldn't be charging anything.

This is not necessarily true, we don't know where she is. I can legally bake from my home kitchen without a license, and charge for my cakes and cupcakes. However, most venues in my area will not allow baked goods from an unlicensed baker, so that may be the bigger issue in the OP's case.

Anyway, I charge $2-$2.50 each depending on the decoration. I would check out what other bakeries in your area charge, depending on where you are you may be able to get more than that per cupcake.

Ali3971 Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 4:19pm
post #11 of 20

I just did a similar order and I had my sister halp me for 2 8hr days. I Charged $2 a cupcake and $1 for plain mini's meaning just a swirl + cost of ingrediants + delivery and set up + stand rental. The day before we worked on prep, I had her going on the little fondant flowers and butterflies, I was working on my bides cake and grooms cake decorations, I made up all the icing the night before and the next morning 5am I was doing the baking, as they were coming out after being cooled for 10 min I iced them she decorated them after I showed her how I wanted them, then she put them in the boxes and while in between switching pans out of the oven i was Finishing my cakes. I think you can do it but i definitily thing you need to bring in a friend and pay them to help you out. If you have to drive 2 cars make sure you add in that extra expense. Just a quick guess off the top of my head I think $1500 for the order would cover your time/expenses/cost.

vtcake Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 4:34pm
post #12 of 20

Good luck if you decide to go w/it. I know I wouldn't try it. Cupcakes are hard to keep as fresh as cake but you have tons of experienced folks who will give you great advice.

Also,welcome to the forums, but no need to be so dramatic on your headline. You'll also get answers by writing something less school girlish.

BrindysBackyard Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 4:41pm
post #13 of 20

have a 250 cupcake order next week and that is pushing my limits on space. 500 cupcakes is ALOT!! Do they realy need 500 or would a few sheet cakes in the back work?

lilmissbakesalot Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 7:26pm
post #14 of 20

That's another question I was asking myself when I read the OP... will there actually be 500 guests? That's a TON on people. You really only need one per person for a dessert.

Sangriacupcake Posted 11 Mar 2011 , 8:49pm
post #15 of 20

Once a month and on holidays, I bake 250 cupcakes for a local homeless shelter. I'm just a hobbyist baking from home, and when I'm done, I'm really beat!! As others have said, it's difficult to get everything done in a timely way, and it's hard to find enough space for all the little buggers. icon_lol.gif If you decide to go ahead with the project, here's what works for me:

I choose a simple tried & tested recipe for both the cake and the icing and mix up the icing the day before I bake.
I clear off the dining room and kitchen tables and set up an extra folding banquet table.
I have several sets of muffin pans and 4 large cooling racks.
As the cupcakes cool, they go into sheet cake boxes (I think mine are 13x20x4), then they're swirled with icing, and I try to get icing all the way to the edge to help them stay fresh.
The bakery boxes stack nicely in the back of my mini van.
DH picks up some take-out for dinner that night. icon_lol.gif

Obviously, my "customers" aren't too demanding, but I still take this task seriously and try to provide a delicious treat. The staff at the shelter tell me that the clients really enjoy cupcake day!
Good luck to you whatever you choose.

LynnzieJean Posted 12 Mar 2011 , 6:00pm
post #16 of 20

oh well she canceled the order. She said she was going to have her mother bake and decorate the 500 cupcakes.

Kiddiekakes Posted 12 Mar 2011 , 6:10pm
post #17 of 20

Yeah well of course she did...Cause she figured out how much it would cost her to have them made....Look at it this way...now you don't have to do it and I garantee you dollars to donuts....they aren't good look or taste as nice with her mother making them than if you would have! We all know the stories of what happens when MIL and such try and make the cake!!

LynnzieJean Posted 12 Mar 2011 , 6:12pm
post #18 of 20

yup lol i think she's going to regret it but oh well

Baker_Rose Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 7:59pm
post #19 of 20

HeHeHe. I had a woman tell me MANY years ago. "I can easily go to the grocery store and sink $100 into baking ingredients and I may end up with some great cookies, but I can also end up with a messy kitchen and ugly or even burned cookies, but when I give you $100 I get 100% delicious and beautiful perfect cookies!!!!"

Words to live by.


sweetthang1 Posted 2 May 2011 , 5:23pm
post #20 of 20

Gee, Whats with all the nit picking? We all had to start somewhere. Yes 500 cupcakes is a lot, but not impossible to do. When I first started out I had an order for 5 cakes one weekend. 2 were Wedding cakes. I did it with an apartment size stove in my lower level (which is now my bakery) I did have the help of my son who is now my full time employee. I was determined to do it and I did. So if you really want to do this get a little help and plan on a couple long days (and nights). Good luck. BTW I am in my 50s and also have a 40 hour a week job.

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