5000 Cupcakes

Business By PoodleDoodle Updated 20 Sep 2011 , 8:48am by de_montsoreau

PoodleDoodle Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 3:23pm
post #1 of 14

Just had an event planner ask if I can make 5000 cupcakes for a corporate event.

1. Have you ever made that many cupcakes?

2. Where do I begin looking for a commercial kitchen to rent?

Any input would be appreciated.

13 replies
Cake_Karen Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 3:31pm
post #2 of 14

Just a thought but why not buy them ready made from a local bakery and then all you will have to do is make the decoration.

leah_s Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 4:12pm
post #3 of 14

I was contacted once by an event planner to make a cake in the shape of a cell phone.
Me: "How many people do you need to feed/ how big are you wanting this cake?

Planner: "Oh about 6 ft tall."

Me: "Oh I[m sorry, but I'm a one woman cake studio and can't accommodate an order that large. I wouldn't even have a way to transport it. But thanks for thinking of me."

My thoughts: Yes it would be fab to have TV and newspaper coverage of such a cake and my name would get "out there" for fab cake creations. Unless it went horribly wrong and then my name would be on it. Too much risk.

Know your limits and don't be dazzled by ginormous orders. If you can pull it off, great, but you're going to need help and know that whatever authorities regulate such things will take notice. And make such you have good liability insurance. 5000 people eating is a huge risk.

And 5,000 cupcake is a lot of work. But then $15,000 - $20,000 is a lot of money. Cause that's what I'd be charging - up front.

aligotmatt Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 4:23pm
post #4 of 14

Yeah, I agree with Leah. And with something of that magnitude you need to consider charging for extra help and for the space and all - not just price per cupcake.

I was asked 2 years ago if I could make a cake sculpted to look like a building to serve 4,000-5,000. I gave them the price of $26,500, it look me about a week to come up with that price. I knew that taking on that many servings meant renting extra equipment, hiring up some temp staff, renting a larger vehicle for delivery... ... ... They had to think about the price (which I was shocked about! I thought for sure tossing that price at someone would make them say no thank you!!) and eventually decided to pass on it. I'm glad they did, just getting a price was a ton of planning, I can't imagine actually having to execute it.

FromScratchSF Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 4:24pm
post #5 of 14

Solo bakers struggle with making 300 cupcakes. Established commercial bakeries struggle with 2000 cupcakes above their normal storefront demands. From the sounds of it, you are a solo baker. Have you ever even used commercial kitchen equipment? Have you made any of your recipes in that quantity before? Where are you thinking you are going to put 200 lb or sugar, 200 lb of flour, 400 lbs of butter etc? Have you ever purchase in that quantity before? Have you ever hired staff before? How many vans you planning on renting to transport all the cupcakes? Ever hired drivers before?

Not to sound harsh, but you need to turn this down right away and not spend any more time trying to work out "how". Unless you are a commercial bakery, and I don't think you are, you can't do it. No way.

jason_kraft Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 4:43pm
post #6 of 14

This would be a tremendous undertaking. 5000 cupcakes is 417 dozen. At our commercial kitchen we can bake 16 dozen cupcakes at a time in two ovens, but with this quantity you'll probably want to buy cupcake pans that can hold 32 dozen for maximum efficiency. Assume 30 minutes for each batch, and you are looking at 13+ hours of baking time alone.

If you can get a good process down ahead of time and you have a facility with enough space, this can probably be done with 2-3 people in 16-20 hours.

The logistics of transporting the cupcakes shouldn't be as bad, assuming you have enough space at the kitchen to store the cupcake boxes. With 208 half-sheet boxes you are looking at 128+ cubic feet of space, this should easily fit into a cargo van (most can hold at least 200 cubic feet), although you might need two vans to avoid stacking the boxes too high.

I would probably charge at least $20K, payable up front.

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 5:54pm
post #7 of 14

PLEASE read FromScratchSF's post again....and again....and once more for good measure!

There's SO much more involved here than just baking 5000 cupcakes, which that alone would be a huge undertaking! If you're having to ask how to begin looking for a commercial kitchen, I have to assume you've never used one before. An order for 5000 cupcakes isn't the time to learn! I'm not one to discourage someone and I tend to think I can do pretty much anything I set my mind to, but this might be a job you should turn down.

jason_kraft Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 6:00pm
post #8 of 14

If this order is for the next few weeks I would agree that OP should pass on it, but if there is still at least a few months of lead time there should be time to find a commercial kitchen and do a dry run of a few batches to test out the baking process. IMO it's worth the hassle for the potential to clear a few thousand bucks for about 2 days of work.

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 6:22pm
post #9 of 14

It's unlikely someone is going to walk into a commercial kitchen and get it right the first time. It's going to take time and a bit of money just to learn how to use a comm kitchen. Plus, doing a dry run of a few batches is totally different than ordering supplies, prepping, baking, and delivering 5000 cupcakes. Not saying it can't be done, but my sanity is worth a few thousand dollars. icon_lol.gif If the OP is set on taking this job, I'd be SURE to hire someone with comm kitchen experience to assist me!! (And the number of a good therapist at my fingertips!)

I'm curious to know the largest cupcake order the OP has filled.

rlowry03 Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 2:20am
post #10 of 14

I agree with the other posters that 5000 cupcakes is too big an undertaking for 1 individual. I've never baked in a commercial kitchen, although it would be awesome to be able to move up to that someday. This did make me wonder what is the learning curve when it comes to using commercial kitchens since that is the question most people asked. Is the difficulty in figuring out correct temp and timing in the ovens? Or multiplying recipes? I'm just wondering what is different than cooking at home, because I never would have realized there was a difference.

Annabakescakes Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 4:51am
post #11 of 14

Also to think about is the cupcake pans. Assumming you can find a kitchen to cook them all in, what are the chances of it having 25+ cupcake pans? Then, if you buy them, what are the chances of you ever needing them again?

StacyN Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 5:23am
post #12 of 14

I just made 200 cupcakes for friend's wedding. Never. Again. Ever. I baked them all in my little home kitchen and I cant imagine doing it again. I cant begin to imagine the space you would need for 5000 cupcakes! Also the amount of frosting! After frosting the 200 my hands hurt! So I would have to agree with most this is a huge undertaking. I think unless you have made anywhere close to this many cupcakes before you need to politely decline. JMHO

SRumzis Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 6:25am
post #13 of 14

If you have a LEAST a month's time to plan, and you crave challenges, and you consider yourself a fairly dependable and intelligent person, do it. You CAN do it! Make sure you plan everything out, hire adequate help, calculate costs, etc. etc.. Never back down! Never surrender! The naysayers are wrong, nay is for horses!! That being said...if you don't like being challenged to the brink of your possibilities and being taken close to or past the edge of madness... Don't do it. icon_wink.gif

de_montsoreau Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 8:48am
post #14 of 14

A few months ago I did a massive birthday cake for a large company. 2200 servings, 25 square meters big. I have a small commercial bakery on my property but it is not really designed for an order that size. I had help from my mother and my boyfriend. I worked for 80 straight hours(2 nights without sleep) as there was not way to freeze the 104 cakes needed beforehand, they were too large.

Never ever again. The logistics alone were a huge undertaking. Sure, cupcakes are easier to handle then large sheet cakes but believe me, you will feel like you are doing 500.000 cupcakes, not 5000. I was close to breaking down when I was doing cake 64 and could not believe I still had 40 to go. 40 cakes does not sound much, but believe me it seems endless.

You will need at least 3-4 other people to help you for a whole week.

Good luck if you do it, it will be ab achievement you will never forget!

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