I friend has messaged me saying that her daughter wanted to know if I would like to do her cake for her wedding in September. And she wants a 3 tier but only wants the bottom to be real. So I've responded back indicated that I'd love to and that I'd need some information regarding size, # of people etc but what was her budget. I wanted to make it perfectly clear upfront that I wouldn't be doing this cake for free. I'm not even offering cost at this time. Until they can give me some idea of what size their talking about, I can't even begin to determine the price of the cake.
So for those of you who have worked with dummy tiers, as I have not yet, if there is one real tier, is it usually the bottom? I've asked if wouldn't she want the top tier real as well to keep for their anniversary. I'm just thinking about when the bride and groom do the cake cutting. I know they'll make their ceremonial cut in the bottom. But when the cake is taken away to be cut up and served? I guess the latter really isn't my problem?
She may think that it will be cheaper to have dummy tiers rather than real cake and that's why she's asking but she's not asked about kitchen cakes. So it is possible that the wedding is small and they don't have enough people to warrant a larger "all cake" cake, but still want the traditional wedding cake style. How do you price something like this? I've seen threads where some take $1 off per serving and others say reduce the price by 20%. If going with a price/serving method, is that based on what the overall size of the cake would serve? For example, if they had 50 guests, and they only wanted the bottom real, I'd be looking at a 12" round which Wilton says serves 56. I'd then be putting a 6" and 9" dummy on top. Those sizes serve 12 and 32 respectively. So overall, this 6/9/12 cake would normally serve 100. Would I be pricing based on those 100 servings? If i say it's $4/serving fondant price with basic floral decor, that would be a $400 cake? Or would it be 56x$4 for the bottom ($224) and 44x$3 for the dummy tiers ($132) for a total price of $356. Or would I take 44x$4=$176x80%=$141 and the cake would cost $365.
I think I've just answered my own question. It doesnt really matter which way it's done, it's almost a wash.
I realize I can't do anything until I actually get a response to my questions and find out if they are going to have me make the cake. I'm hoping that she says yes, and then tells me that they're having 80 guests or something because then I'd be asking why they wanted the dummy tiers in the first place. I'm also hoping that she has a reasonable budget for the cake.
Oh well, I guess I wait.
A lot of times, dummy tiers are used to get the look of a large cake when there aren't enough guests to warrant that, as you suggested. And since she hasn't mentioned kitchen cakes, that's probably what's happening in this case. As far as stacking, you shouldn't have any trouble with the order of the real cake and dummy cake tiers. They stack nicely either way, especially since, when you stack properly, the tiers below aren't really bearing the weight of the tiers above. As far as charging for the dummy tiers, the only thing you're not spending money on is the actual cake ingredients. Everything else - including the cost of the dummies, the fondant/buttercream, the decorations, your time, any helpers you have to pay, your overhead and your profit - has to be included in the price you're charging. So you might think of reducing the price of the dummy portions, but probably no by all that much. A dollar a slice discount sounds about right to me. Hope this order comes through for you and that you enjoy making it!
Thank you Marianna. You've basically confirmed what I thought, and I appreciate that. I haven't heard anything back yet about this, so who knows if I get the order. I hope I do.
And sorry for not responding sooner. I didn't get notification.