Cake To Feed 100....

Decorating By tripletmom Updated 18 Sep 2005 , 8:14pm by SquirrellyCakes

tripletmom Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 3:00am
post #1 of 23

One of my upcoming orders is for a pool table cake that should feed 100 people. This is my largest cake order to date! I was thinking of putting a 9X13 on top of 12X18. Technically a 12X18 should feed about 100 (or so I believe) so the 9X13 should be extra. Am i on the right track or completely off-base?



22 replies
lastingmoments Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 3:20am
post #2 of 23

I do belive thats what the wilton charts says for the 12x18...i think its double layer correct me if Im wrong.

would you need to stack both.....why make extra cake if you dont have too......

excuse me if that seems harsh but my husband has been ripping into me for doing extra work and not getting paid for it......
so i think thats why Im in that state of mind

PurplePetunia Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 5:09am
post #3 of 23

Actually, according to the Wilton serving charts for party sized servings (1.5x2 inches) a 12x18 sheet should serve 72 people.
Of course, if you're cutting the piece bigger, than it will obviously be less than that.


tripletmom Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 12:46pm
post #4 of 23

lastingmoments: Not harsh at all! Truth be told your hubby is right! I don't really want to do this cake. The lady who ordered it up said she saw pictures of my cakes, absolutely LOVED them and really wanted me to make one for her. She said she wanted a pool table theme and for the cake to feed at least 100 people. I do a lot of fondant work, all by hand plus I prefer to make scratch cakes. All this considered I said that we would be looking at $75.00. She just about died! That she would just go to Costco and get a 'cheap sheet-cake'. I was instantly steamed and a little insulted, so I should have walked away. But no, I then began to wheel and I said I would do the 9X13 on the 12X18 for $50.00! My hubby wasn't too impressed, just like yours, extra work and not getting paid for it.


Thanks PurplePetunia. I did look at the serving charts on this site however for some reason I am always confused by them...happens a lot these days. So I should be okay with the 12X18 AND the 9X13? Right?

mamafrogcakes Posted 14 Sep 2005 , 1:31pm
post #5 of 23

Oh Tripletmom!! What a pain! And for so cheap!? I hate situations like that! It seems like we're all too nice for our own good huh? Always trying to please everyone...I've had several cakes like yours---too much work, not enough money b/c of something I did! icon_cry.gif Each time I swear I'll never do it again, but then again....
Well, good luck to you, I hope it's works out. I personally would not make both cakes but if you already quoted her that price?! Unless you tell her somethings changed. Good luck!

lastingmoments Posted 16 Sep 2005 , 2:32am
post #6 of 23

sounds like me...........triplett mom ...the cake im doing is a pooh cake and i charge 75 serving for buttercream a serving ....i was quoting 50.00 on one then the mom was like I was gonna pay 24.99 at the grocery i said ok Ill make it for 25.00
long story short i tell my husband the story and he steamed over it and told me next time to let them walk away call the bluff........he goes I bet they will call you back I was thinking about this all night and I thought I was smarter then him and told him.....I was reducing the amount of servings. and making it for 50 servings at 50cents a serving so really im not knocking off as much as he thought I was.....
Little did I know he does listen when I talk and asked are you using mouth dropped and said yeah. which he replied yes you are.......
you figured I would have learned from my last cake....
Ok but you are now my witnesses this really is my last cake for cheap!!

PurplePetunia Posted 16 Sep 2005 , 2:43am
post #7 of 23
Originally Posted by tripletmom

Thanks PurplePetunia. I did look at the serving charts on this site however for some reason I am always confused by them...happens a lot these days. So I should be okay with the 12X18 AND the 9X13? Right?

Yes, both sheets would be enough. icon_smile.gif

They say "hind sight is 20-20" But don't worry about it. Just take this as another lesson learned. icon_smile.gif

Cakemaker Posted 16 Sep 2005 , 2:46am
post #8 of 23

You know what I'm going to start telling people, "cheap cakes are not good and good cakes are not cheap!" Some people are always trying to get something for nothing!

adven68 Posted 16 Sep 2005 , 3:05am
post #9 of 23

We should make a stipulation for members of this site. That is that none of us will ever sell ourselves short ever again! Otherwise you get the boot!!!!

Just kidding....I know it's so hard to deal with the money issues. I swallowed my fear for the first time a few weeks ago....I made a cake for a friend and I told her it would be between $100.00 and $150.00. I was truly giving her a discount because I want this business to take off. My DH who happens to be very business savvy told me to deliberately give a break on the first 10 or 20 cakes ...but let them know they are getting a huge discount! So....she was fine with the price on the phone.....then came the day for her to pick up the cake...she walked in and when she saw it she said.."how much do I owe you? $200?" I know my face turned all red but I said, "no...$150.00 will be fine" since that is what I agreed to on the phone. So I know it was worth much more...and I know I would have gotten much more but I'm trying out my hubby's advice.....and it is working.......word of mouth is the best way to advertise!

Also...if someone compares you to a grocery store....explain the differences and why your cake is more expensive. Entenman's is pretty cheap too but look what you're getting!

SquirrellyCakes Posted 16 Sep 2005 , 4:17am
post #10 of 23

[quote="tripletmom"]lastingmoments: Not harsh at all! Truth be told your hubby is right! I don't really want to do this cake. The lady who ordered it up said she saw pictures of my cakes, absolutely LOVED them and really wanted me to make one for her. She said she wanted a pool table theme and for the cake to feed at least 100 people. I do a lot of fondant work, all by hand plus I prefer to make scratch cakes. All this considered I said that we would be looking at $75.00. She just about died! That she would just go to Costco and get a 'cheap sheet-cake'. I was instantly steamed and a little insulted, so I should have walked away. But no, I then began to wheel and I said I would do the 9X13 on the 12X18 for $50.00! My hubby wasn't too impressed, just like yours, extra work and not getting paid for it.

Can I lecture you, oh fellow Ontarian!
You are way undercharging. This is a custom cake, she cannot get a cake like this at Costco, no way. The cakes there are, well not well done, at least not in my opinion. They don't use fondant, they don't do pool tables.
I do a 2 layer, 10 inch round, each layer 2 inch deep for $50 and 3 inch deep for $60. I do an 11x15 for $40-$50, sometimes more.
This cake at $75 was a steal, gosh, it should be $80-$100 for what you are planning, actually more.
Heehee, your hubby sounds like mine and he is right (but don't tell him I said that, haha).
Cake for $1 a piece is a heck of a good deal Have you checked bakeries lately? Gosh, simple 9 inch rounds are easily $60-$65 at a good bakery.
We all need to start thinking more of our skills and our time and start getting paid for it. Let her go to Costco!
Hugs Squirrelly

tripletmom Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 5:50pm
post #11 of 23


Wait until you heat the progression of this story, your gonna wanna whack me one for sure icon_redface.gif :

To makes matters worse with this cake the lady calls and asks if she can pay with a cheque. I say okay. I know, major no-no, but I did. She gets here and pulls out her cheque-book and it's empty! icon_surprised.gif Empty?!? I just sort of half-smiled at her and said something like that's okay...dumb again. She pulls $20 out and asks if her friend will be coming back this week and can she leave it with her? Now I am steamed but again I say 'okay'. She looks at the cake and says "that looks pretty good". Pretty good ??? For $50 you just got a custom designed pool-table cake to feed 100 people and it looks 'pretty good'??? Geez willikers!!! So she takes the cake (literally!) and off she goes. To her credit she did return with the remaining $30...

I know you are so, so, so right however I also know that I have always been undercharging for my cakes. It's funny, the people my hubby works with are all willing to pay but get me on the phone talking to someone and I cave. And I really do spend hours on each cake. I'm often not in bed before 3 or 4 am!

I am currently working on a pamphlet sort of thing that I can give people and in it are pictures of my cakes and prices. That way they will know in advance what to expect and I will have better managed their expectations. Proactive instead of reactive. Next step is the web-site with the same information.

You are also right, we all do "need to start thinking more of our skills and our time and start getting paid for it".

traci Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 6:28pm
post #12 of 23

I think the pool table cake looks great!!! thumbs_up.gif But please make us a not ever charge this little again for a cake like that!!!! I agree with Squirrelly Cakes...there is no way she could have got a cake like that from Costco. A good bakery would charge at least 100.00 for it as well. A good lesson time let her go to Costco!!!! icon_smile.gif

KayDay Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 6:52pm
post #13 of 23

I too ...have to scold I was in a bakery/bakeshop yesterday.. she is reputable and everything. But I watched a simple sheet cake go out of there for 70+ dollars. It had a spray of leaves and a couple of princess figurines on it. Nothing against her is great. But she does so much that her cheaper cakes have sort of become just standardized. The cake you let go for 50.00 was at least worth 100.00. Ill bet with the cake board and ingredients you had almost 50.00 in it! Not counting the extra on the electric bill etc. and your labor was basically FREE. Your work is FAR too good for that! If you do this for a hobby fine. you are getting better and they are made happy. But it sounds like she didn't even appreciate the hard work you did and the excellent result! I truly think all of us should learn to ask what we are worth...and people who say " I can get a cheap costo cake or ..wal-mart or whatever...thats what they NEED to do. In my humble opinion they are implying that you are an amateur..a homebaker who is not on the level with a grocery store bakery and that you should therefore be cheaper. I do NOT hesitate to point out to folks like that ...that I am a specialty baker. I do fondant and homemade things and gumpaste and edible images and so much more than they can get at a grocery store and that if they are concerned with nothing else except cheap that they shouldnt be asking someone who does this as an exclusive trade , we are in my opinion specialists. Maybe not to the degree a doctor is but we usually are trained.. we practice forever to perfect out techniques ..have to buy all kinds of equipment and ingredients and be a people person to boot! Lets be honest and admit that most of us are cake decorating junkies and put a lot of heart in these things as well! We put long hours into these things and I for one am not giving anymore of them away!

SquirrellyCakes Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 6:53pm
post #14 of 23

Haha, I won't smack you but let me at the customer. It looks 'pretty good"? Smack, it looks perfectly wonderful! What a not nice customer. First of all she play like a customer at a garage sale, trying to cut down your already low prices and this is how she shows her gratitude? Grrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
So there, after all that, she behaves like that! And that is why we have to charge the prices that are fair to us as decorators! Some of these people will go off and tell their friends about how they conned us into lowering our prices. Then these same friends will get the idea that they can pull the same stunt and before you know it you have a whole lotta offers for fabulous cakes at grocery store prices. So it is a lose, lose situation for you the decorator.
It looks "pretty good"? Well, she deserves a Costco type of cake that comes with the little plastic ornaments which likely taste almost as good as the cake!
It is like these customers are doing us a favour even ordering from us! Please give me the privilege of spending countless dollars purchasing equipment, using up hydro, making a huge mess to spend many hours cleaning up, disrupting my kitchen and my life, spending many, many hours to make a unique and custom cake, spending hours drawing out and figuring how best to come up with the concept - so that you the almighty customer can pay me a pittance and then offer a not generous comment about the quality of my work. I live for that! Yeah right!
Hugs Squirrelly

SquirrellyCakes Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 6:56pm
post #15 of 23

Amen Doctor KayDay!

KayDay Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 7:00pm
post #16 of 23

Well said Squirelly!!! I feel exactly the same! And I also KNOW that you can easily get to be known as the " Cheap" baker... so if everyone knows that cousin Martha got a 5 tiered wedding cake with gumpaste flowers ...made homemade to serve over 250 for 125.00 they are going to expect the same! I almost let myself get there when I was trying to build my portfolio and my biz. Then I put up a price list that my sister and myself worked all evening on. And I do not stray from it!

atkin600 Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 7:39pm
post #17 of 23

Y'all have made some great comments! I, too, am under-charging. I get a price in my mind, and then I start second-guessing whether my stuff is good or not. I always end up charging less. I need to grow a backbone!

traci Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 7:39pm
post #18 of 23

That is what I have been doing. Making a list of prices is a great idea. Be firm on your prices...if someone wants to go somewhere else...then let them. Make it worth your while.

alimonkey Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 7:39pm
post #19 of 23

Well, here's another idea, not sure if it's been brought up before, because it's just occurred to me.

Something to think about when you quote prices - How does this affect my fellow decorators on CC? When one of us quotes a price that low, does that raise expectations for the rest of us? Somebody that sees that cake and goes to their in-home decorator might say "I saw this cake at a party, and she only paid $50, you can do that, too, right?" In that situation, you can't really say you get what you pay for, can you?

Not that I'm trying to lay a guilt trip on you, tripletmom, but if we all ask ourselves that question every time we quote a price, maybe we will be a little less willing to sell ourselves short, since we're essentially selling our CC family short as well.

Just my $.02


Rainbow_Moon Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 7:40pm
post #20 of 23

I am starting to think NO ONE on this site be allowed to charge less than $1 per piece. That is highway robbery I think! icon_biggrin.gif

Anyway this discussion always reminds me of what I read on Earlene's site -

Short quote applying to this situation from above article -


Now, your friend who comes to the party - wants a cake for her little Suzy. Do you charge her for it? It is so much fun youll just do it because she is a good friend. WRONG. One, you will have expenses, two, you are using your time, and three, you should not feel funny about charging her. Up front from the very start - You should expect to be reimbursed for your time and expenses. Check out your area bakeries and DO NOT UNDERCUT their prices. If you are new at this you obviously cannot charge them for all of your time in decorating their cake. By the time you mix up one cake batter, bake it, make your icing and decorate your cake you have several hours of time in this cake. You are probably going to make about $1.00 an hour for your time (if you are speedy) for the first several cakes. You wont get rich but you will gain knowledge and experience and hopefully pick up some speed.

Bakeries make tasty cakes but you should also have as good or better tasting cake than your local bakery. But, you say your skills as a cake decorator are basic. We all had to start somewhere. If you only have basic skills then you may need to keep your prices the same as the bakeries - NOT LOWER THAN THEIRS. As your skills grow you can re-evaluate your prices. I had a friend once who told me. I feel like I should pay my friends to let me play and practice and learn. You can play, practice and learn on your family. If others outside of your family ask for decorated cakes they should be willing to pay you. If you are going to make this a business you must treat it like one.

I think she's got the right idea and I hope that I can follow the standards she has set! I think we should ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS start out with quoting the regular fee. Then, if you are going to give a discount, tell them the percentage off you are giving and SHOW them how much you are discounting, before you quote their final price. People should know how much they are costing YOU by getting a 'discounted' price, IMO.

atkin600 Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 7:48pm
post #21 of 23

God bless the friends out there that realize what you put into it. I did a cake last weekend for a friend. It was a small two-tiered Dora cake (6-inch and 8-inch). I charged her $25 but she insisted on giving me $50! I took it, but I still felt a little guilty.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 7:57pm
post #22 of 23

Good for you KayDay!
I always did cakes for free or for cost for friends, family, co-workers and anyone that knew any of the above. Then it started to become a job. So I started charging. What I discovered is that people haven't got a clue how long it takes to make some of these things. One lady gave me a rough time about costs, so I itemized everything, the costs, the time, everything. Since the cakes were for Girl Guides and I knew she had a budget, I gave her a deal. Well the parents were supposed to raise the budget but you know, when it came the next year, they wanted another deal and this time they gave me design suggestions, that were actualy pretty ugly, in my opinion. So I stuck with their design and I could tell she was disappointed when she picked up the cakes. But hey, 2, 11X15 inch from scratch cakes for $60 that I added 64 hand molded chocolate shamrocks to the borders so each girl would get one, that is a good deal. Had they gone with a two layer cake, it would have been less work for me and cheaper for me. But they insisted on two separate cakes of two different kinds. Easily each cake was worth $45-$50 dollars each.
The thing is, with this lady, she always needs a deal. But lately I have come to the conclusion that if she wants a specialty cake, she should expect to pay the price or she should get them from Costco. I don't mind for the Girl Guides, but I do mind for every other occasion.
I often will still do a cake for cost, to try out a new idea or design, when the customer gives me free reign. But sometimes, people are a disappointment. A few years ago, I did a gorgeous 50th anniversary cake for a lady that was a friend of a friend. I bought the Wilton candlelight stand, purchased gold candles for it, had my sister crochet gold and ivory wedding bells and hearts to decorate the stand with, made my first attempt at fondant roses and used gold lustre dusts and such. I spent many hours on this cake and only charged her the cost of the cake. The only thing I asked was that she take a picture of the cake, because at the time I didn't have a camera. Well , I am still waiting.
Now my motto, is to charge a price I am happy with unless I want to give a deal. But I don't want one deal to result in many deals for anyone and everyone because I don't want to resent the customers. Or get so fed up with it all that I stop all together!
Most of us aren't even making minimum wage on our cakes. So basically we are putting all of this time and effort in and making a smaller wage than the decorators at the Costco type of stores. Does that make sense?
Hugs Squirrelly

SquirrellyCakes Posted 18 Sep 2005 , 8:14pm
post #23 of 23

I totally agree with Earlene and everyone else.
I especially like the point made about decorators on sites charging low and the position it puts the other decorators in. I believe this is true. So if you aren't going to do it for yourself, do it for all the rest of the decorators out there. And please, don't set about to undercut the other decorators in your area, to get their clientelle. In most places, there are more than enough customers to go around. You will get your own reputations and your own clientelle. I cannot tell you how often I hear this from new decorators, trying to undercut others in their area. Upset because someone else that took the courses with them has the collasal nerve to try to get customers, geesh! Do you really have the time to get everyone coming to you?
I know of one decorator who is so afraid that others may get some of the customers in her area, that she will drive hours away to deliver a cake. She just happens to live within a couple of hours of my area. She is an amazing decorator. But she is so afraid that others are out to get her, it is unbelievable. She has a site as do many other folks in my area. She is continuously accusing people of copying her or stealing her customers and such. Gosh with all of the worrying and fighting she does, it is amazing she has time to bake. She changes her prices every time someone else does and even removed the prices from her site so others couldn't copy hers. Talk about paranoid. She grilled me like I was her competition out to get her or something, geesh, I have been doing this all far longer than she has and it isn't like I even would have the same customers. Or want them, I don't want to do this full-time. And since the area we are talking about is quite a span, there is no way she could ever make all of the cakes for the entire area.
She went so far as to advertise that she was looking for a decorator about an hour and a half away. I gave her a name and then, she got so paranoid that this person might get some of her business, she actually made the cake and delivered it herself. Geesh!
Well, it takes all kinds, I guess.
Hugs Squirrelly

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