Making Cakes On A Budget

Decorating By pheonix31571 Updated 10 Jun 2011 , 6:17pm by kristiemarie

pheonix31571 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 7:34pm
post #1 of 12

Hi guys I am new to cake making and was wandering if their is any tricks or tips that you novices may know of that will cut down cost for a home baker.

Thank you so much for your response, thumbs_up.gif

newbie

11 replies
amygortoncakes Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 7:47pm
post #2 of 12

Well first and foremost depending on where you are collect your 40% off coupons from Michaels or Joanns. I rarely pay full price for anything cake related.

Make miniature cakes, or practice techniques on cupcakes.

Start telling friends and family that you will make cakes for the cost of ingredients. (I know that there will be people that jump on the chance to tell you that by accepting payment for ingredients you are breaking the law and will be prosecuted...but come on)

Look out for the $0.98 sale on cake mixes at the grocery store and then stock up.

Good luck...I was you just a year ago and now I am making about 3 cakes a month for friends and family.

SarahBeth3 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 7:52pm
post #3 of 12

Yes, the 40% off coupons are the #1 tip! I love getting new cake decorating stuff and the fact that it's 40% off makes it even more fun! If you have a Hobby Lobby in your area, they also do the 40% coupons, and Joann's and Michael's take competitor coupons, so you can go to one place and use 2 or three coupons all in one trip. (1 coupon per item)

DJSwans Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 7:57pm
post #4 of 12

Walmart has good prices on ingredients, also try buying in bulk at Sam's or BJ's and don't forget ACmoore's for coupons. I also had people buy pans in the shape of the cakes they wanted as payment for their cakes. Once people realized that I was serious, they bought pans 4 me just because I "might want to make 1 for them later" I also freeze cakes to have on hand in a hurray.
Making special cakes for holidays always gets you lots of orders. Good luck

cakegirl1973 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 8:03pm
post #5 of 12

Hello! This is the reason that I started the thread in the Recipes Ideas & Tips Forum about "Which ingredients will you only use a name brand?" I started with my cake biz using only name brands and it was taking a huge chunk of my profits. (Raising my prices was not an option, as my local area market will not support it.) Anyway, I started using generic for some things and I did not always like the results. This is why I was curious as to which ingredients other CCers only buy brand name. Take a look at that thread for ideas on which ingredients others suggest to pay for premium brands and which you might use a generic brand. Personally, I buy my eggs, milk, flour, granulated sugar, and pure vanilla at Aldi's. I use a brand name for everything else. That trip to Aldi's saves a little bit of money, though. Another suggestion is to make your own fondant, which is much cheaper than pre-made. Lastly, never buy anything at Michael's without using a 40% coupon.

I guess the bottom line is that caking is expensive, whether you do it as a hobby or as a business. But, I think that there are ways to save some here and there that add up. Good luck!

Texas_Rose Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 8:12pm
post #6 of 12

Since you're already selling cakes, raise your prices.

Looking at your website, you've estimated servings that are even bigger than Earlene's...most people use the Wilton chart, and Earlene's servings are bigger than the Wilton servings. If people want to cut bigger slices of cake, let them order a bigger cake. Using the standard servings will help you figure out where you're not charging enough.

For example, you've got a 9" round for $28...according to the Wilton chart that's 32 servings, so you're charging 86 cents a slice. You've got a 10" round for $34...according to Wilton that's 38 servings...89 cents a slice. 14" round for $100...78 servings...$1.28 per slice.

Your math is also wonky on the square cakes...for example, even cutting a 2x2 square, an 8" cake serves 16, not 12, and a 12" cake serves 48, not 25.

If you want to run a business, you need to figure out your costs and come up with prices that will give you the profit you're looking for.


If you're just wanting to practice for free, then flat out charge for ingredients and make sure your costs are covered that way (but be sure to allow for paper goods, cleaning supplies and home energy use...when I've done a cake for ingredients, I usually charge $10 misc to cover things like that, and the frosting colors, etc. which don't get used up each time, and so don't have to be purchased for every cake, but do end up costing money when you have to replace them.

Your post sounds like you're just trying to figure out how to afford to practice, I think you'll get more relevant advice if you ask from a business perspective.

Sangriacupcake Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 8:13pm
post #7 of 12

Craigslist often has listings for caking supplies by the lot. A few years ago I bought 25 Wilton pans for $2-5 each--and they weren't goofy out-of-date character pans....there were round, hexagon, sheet, heart, and cupcake pans. I now have some Magic Line sets, but those Wilton pans were a great way to get started. I've also seen sets of decorating tips, spatulas, mixing bowls, piping bags, rolling pins, etc. It's worth a look.

kristiemarie Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 8:25pm
post #8 of 12

I don't want to be a debbie downer but make sure you have permission to use Spongebob and Max and Ruby before selling. Most people probably don't get pinched but you just never know. icon_wink.gif

pheonix31571 Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 4:46pm
post #9 of 12

I live in wv and people around here want everything as cheap as they can get it not a big market for cake making. Thank you so much for critiquing on my website. i guess I am just trying to get my foot in the door so to speak. So what should I be selling my cakes at a slice? The sponge Bob I am not mass producing and I made it for a friend. How do you get permission?

Thank you so much ,

Newbie thumbs_up.gif

Texas_Rose Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 5:10pm
post #10 of 12

I wasn't trying to critique your website.

Just trying to help. The only time a cake should cost you anything to make is when you're making it for practice or for your family. Other than that, you should charge enough to make it worth your time and effort, plus cover the cost of ingredients.

When you're looking at competitor's prices, you've got to remember your niche in the market. Walmart and the grocery store are not your competitors. They can't make what you can make...and they're not even trying to make a profit on their cakes. They sell 'em cheap to get people in the door. You're providing a custom, luxury item.

Personally, I'd come up with a base price per serving and then use one of the industry standard serving charts. Yes, those are smaller pieces, but your competitors are going to be using them and charging per serving. Someone looking for cake is going to see that x bakery charges $2/slice and Linda charges $3/per slice (because your slices are bigger and you've got to charge more per slice to make a profit), and they'll automatically go with x bakery rather than you...without ever realizing that your slices are twice as big.

Some people talk about selling cheap in the beginning to build up a customer base...but those customers are going to expect cheap prices forever, or look elsewhere when you raise your prices.

jason_kraft Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 5:14pm
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Just trying to help. The only time a cake should cost you anything to make is when you're making it for practice or for your family. Other than that, you should charge enough to make it worth your time and effort, plus cover the cost of ingredients.



Just make sure you are legally allowed to sell from home, as some states require a licensed commercial kitchen in order to legally sell cakes. There's also liability to consider, so you should be insured if you will be doing more than a few cakes here and there for family and close friends.

kristiemarie Posted 10 Jun 2011 , 6:17pm
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pheonix31571

I live in wv and people around here want everything as cheap as they can get it not a big market for cake making. Thank you so much for critiquing on my website. i guess I am just trying to get my foot in the door so to speak. So what should I be selling my cakes at a slice? The sponge Bob I am not mass producing and I made it for a friend. How do you get permission?

Thank you so much ,

Newbie thumbs_up.gif




I think you have to write the company for rights to use their character if you are selling it at all. If you made it for someone and didn't charge, you can use it. Make sense?

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