Trying To Figure The Cost...

Decorating By EvArt Updated 12 Dec 2011 , 10:21pm by Apti

EvArt Posted 11 Dec 2011 , 8:06pm
post #1 of 6

Hello. I'm still trying to iron out all the details of pricing my cakes and still need a little help.
I have 3 wedding cakes already scheduled for this next year and next to design, my brides want price quotes. I am a home self taught cake designer, so I don't have all the resources available to me all the time. Like the wedding cake I have for February will probably be square and I have none of the square pans, so I will have to go out and purchase them. (I need them anyways, but it's a big expense). This cake will have a damask design on it, so that entails purchasing the stencils or the fondant/gumpaste cutters.
I have it figured that a 2 -layer 8" cake, baked and frosted costs me approx. $10 to make. That's one mix.
So a 5 - tier square or a 4 - tier round wedding cake (going by the amount of cake mixes used) would cost me about $120 just to bake, frost and stack. Then I need to account for the damask design on the layers which I'm thinking would better for me to hand pipe with buttercream.
I'm figuring that a 5 -tier square cake (14", 12", 10", 8" and 6" keeper x 4"), covered in fondant, wrapped with satin ribbon and hand piped damask pattern with buttercream, and adding a satin ribbon bow with brooch - I would charge $650
A 4 - tier round decorated the same would be $550.

Does this sound reasonable??
I'm scared to death to over charge, but I also know that I need to take care of me with the amount of work I put into these cakes.
1 more Q, would you ask for a deposit?? (remembering that I have to go out and purchase everything to make the cake since I don't have it all on hand)

Thanks for input. I really appreciate having people to bounce this stuff off of.

5 replies
Apti Posted 11 Dec 2011 , 8:52pm
post #2 of 6

Before the other, vastly more experienced bakers chime in, I'll send you to a generic, but excellent article on pricing cakes. There are FAR, FAR too many variables for anyone to accurately advise you on cake prices (geography, your skill level--are your cakes 5 out of 5 possible stars or just 3 out of 5 stars?, your customer base, how much will you pay yourself per hour, etc.). The other issue is whether you are legally licensed to bake from your home. Some venues will not allow unlicensed wedding cakes into their establishments.

I am a hobby baker, but was in business before retirement. Thousands of pricing questions online always lead to the same answers: RESEARCH. That is your responsibility. One of your best resources is the Business Forum right here on CC. They will give you contract templates, deposit advice, etc. all in existing forums searched with key word searches. The CakeBoss software has excellent reviews, by the way.

"How much should I charge for my cakes?"
http://www.cakeboss.com/PricingGuideline.aspx

Good luck on your endeavor!

designdiva22 Posted 11 Dec 2011 , 10:28pm
post #3 of 6

While the pricing and per serving rates depend on a lot of variables, including your state and location, I would like to add that you absolutely must get a deposit, specially for a wedding cake.

$650 for a 5-tier cake sounds less to me... how much is it turning out per serving? Someone more experienced might have a better answer!

Good luck!

EvArt Posted 12 Dec 2011 , 5:34pm
post #4 of 6

I just did the math and the 5 - tier cake @ $650 would be $3.25 per slice. The 4 -tier @ $550 would only be $2.75 per slice.

I am not a licensed decorator and yes, I work out of my home. I am self taught and still learning with every cake I make. Those are all reasons I strive NOT to overcharge people. I'm not so conceited as to think I can charge the same as a professional. But I do believe that my work is worth being paid for too.

Thank you to everyone who gives me some feed back. I really appreciate it.

jgifford Posted 12 Dec 2011 , 6:17pm
post #5 of 6

EvArt - - I just looked at your cakes and you are definitely NOT an amateur (love your shoe). As most people here will tell you, it's cost plus labor plus profit. Some figure the cost of a cake to the last kilowatt and some charge by the serving. This is something you need to get settled as early as possible. and stick with it. Your labor cost will increase with your skill level, and ingredients will only go up as well.

Find a formula that you can live with and that works for you and DON"T DEVIATE. Then everything will be uniform, which causes fewer misunderstandings and much, much less hassle for you.

Apti Posted 12 Dec 2011 , 10:21pm
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvArt

I just did the math and the 5 - tier cake @ $650 would be $3.25 per slice. The 4 -tier @ $550 would only be $2.75 per slice.
I am not a licensed decorator and yes, I work out of my home. I am self taught and still learning with every cake I make. Those are all reasons I strive NOT to overcharge people. I'm not so conceited as to think I can charge the same as a professional. But I do believe that my work is worth being paid for too.




EvArt~~I wasn't able to view your photos earlier (a glitch on my computer). You are most definitely NOT an amateur. You produce high quality, professional level work. If you are in a state that has a Cottage Food Law, you definitely need to pursue becoming licensed. In the meantime, be sure the bride's venue permits unlicensed cakes to be used at their place of business.

Your math and mine did not match. I used the Wilton Wedding Serving guide:
http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-wedding-cake-2-inch-pans.cfm
The guide assumes a 4" high cake: "The number of servings listed are intended as a guide only and offer a small portion of wedding cake. If cake is the only dessert and/or portions larger than 1x2 are served, then you will have less servings than the chart indicates."

I'll say further that ONLY a professional staff member trained to cut wedding cakes will be able to get that many servings.
The guide shows a square 14" cake serves 98 - 12" serves 72 - 10" serves 50, 8" serves 32. That is a total of 252 servings for your 5-tier cake NOT including the 6" top cake. If you divide 252 servings by $650 = $2.58 per servings

A 4-tier (12" - 72 servings, 10" - 50 servings, 8" - 32 servings - 154 servings, NOT including the 6" top cake). $550 divided by 154 servings comes out to $3.57 serving.

The CakeBoss article on pricing I mentioned earlier has this paragraph:
"How do I know what people will pay for a cake in my community?
Call other custom bakeries in your area and ask them how much they charge per slice for wedding, party and sheet cakes. Set your prices close to theirs, or maybe slightly lower if you are still building your skill level. Do NOT undercut them - this is a disservice to them, and to other decorators in your community."

You are no longer building your skill level, you are at the stage of perfecting your already excellent skills. Most bakeries (again--HUGE variables possible!) would charge a minimum of $4 per serving for fondant, and $3.50 for buttercream. This will range up from there.

Here are links to 2 articles that may be very helpful to educate your brides. If they do not have professional staff person to cut the cakes, copy this and give it to them with the cake:
http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/search/label/cake%20comb

Also print out and give them a paper/cardstock sample of a wedding serving size:
http://www.wilton.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=8&threadid=142470&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%