Struggling With Birthday Cake Vs. Wedding Cake Pricing

Business By tabathaba Updated 2 Mar 2013 , 6:33am by vgcea

tabathaba Posted 16 Oct 2012 , 1:58pm
post #1 of 52

I make cakes from my home as a hobbiest and I do several a month. Nothing crazy. So most of my business comes from people I know personally or my Facebook page. Pricing is tough for me because I am from Orlando, FL but I live in Huntsville, AL.

I realize pricing is different for each area but do you charge different for birthday vs. weddings? I use the wilton wedding cake serving chart to charge per serving (plus fondant/extra decorations) for all of my cakes. But some of my larger birthday cakes just seem pricey using that method. Other times for a smaller cake, it doesn't seem like enough for my time and effort.

My main question is this: Do you use the wedding cake serving chart to charge for birthday cakes as well or do you use the birthday servings to charge for a birthday cake?

Second question: Do you have a minimum order in $ or in cake servings and how did you come up with it?

Thank you!

If you want to check out my work for reference, this is my Facebook page.

51 replies
BakingIrene Posted 16 Oct 2012 , 2:37pm
post #2 of 52

It's OK to do the calculations for the two different serving sizes.

But you MUST ask the customer how much cake they want to buy before you tell them a price. Some people really expect a full restaurant sized serving. If there will be no other food, they will need that much. You can't assume--you really have to ask politely, what other sweet food is planned (you don't need any details).

The way to look at this is that if they have no plans, you might also be able to sell them cookies or brownies or ice cream cake or helps YOU to ask.

Lowest minimum price runs about $50 unless you want to accept last minute orders for very small cakes. This would work better for a bakery that has baked layers already there, and they would just ice and decorate on a half hour's notice.

I came up with my number based on the shortest time it takes to bake and ice a cake from a cold start.

mommachris Posted 16 Oct 2012 , 2:43pm
post #3 of 52

Another difference in price may be because to me a party cake is only two layers while a wedding cake is 3-4 thin layers and over four inches tall.
So, yeah that's going to to cost you more than Auntie Ellen's birthday cake.


rdjr Posted 16 Oct 2012 , 4:27pm
post #4 of 52

I use the wilton wedding chart for both wedding and birthday cakes. I am using cake mixes now but this week im trying out scratch recipes as I want to do all scratch. I do Birthday cakes in two 1.75 inch thick layers with filling inside and wedding cakes with four .75 inch layers with filling inbetween. They come out to be exactly 4 inches in height, I use the SPS system for stacking so my layers need to be exactly 4 inches. Since it is more work and filling for the wedding cake my prices are greater.

costumeczar Posted 16 Oct 2012 , 4:42pm
post #5 of 52

I use the same serving size for every cake. If they want more cake they can buy more servings. I also charge the same for birthdays as weddings, because most of the birthday cakes I get requests for are way more complicated with modelled figures etc than wedding cakes are, and the clients want more attention and are crazier than brides are.

taartenmaker Posted 16 Oct 2012 , 4:55pm
post #6 of 52

I personally think the wilton wedding cake servings are very small

tabathaba Posted 16 Oct 2012 , 5:25pm
post #7 of 52

I sometimes feel like the wilton serving sizes are small too. Especially for a birthday cake, because I can't imagine getting 12 servings out of a 6 inch cake for a birthday party.

Lol, I had one lady asking for a birthday cake for about 30 and I told her a 10" round should do the trick and she flat out said that she didn't think that a 10 inch would feed nearly enough.

Anyway, I think I am going to start doing a $50 minimum order and if they want to add a dozen cupcakes or something to meet it with a small cake order they can. Still on the fence about birthday cake pricing...

Brendabeeper Posted 16 Oct 2012 , 5:40pm
post #8 of 52

I too am a home baker, I had to start doing a minimum order because I dont want to do this every weekend, and take away from family time for a 20.00 cake, or a dozen cupcakes and make ditto. I know I undercharge on birthday cakes ( but I am doing them mostly for friends or friends of friends ) and I like to do some bigger cakes to get kids a bigger awe factor. ** however if the same customer keeps requesting the bigger awe cakes I let them know I like to do that for my friends kids but at the lower price I give the child one awe cake for the underprice, and if they want that awe cake every year, then the prices will be higher. These birthday cakes sometimes are as big as wedding cakes, at a fraction of the cost. I have started to charge more because the cost of supplies & my time. I want to stay smaller and not do too many , to still enjoy what I do and to do it more as a hobby. Wedding and special occasion cakes should cost more do to all the planning, delivery, set up and stress factors . That is where the customer is willing to spend more on a cake. ***my favorite is to deliver a special cake to a ICING SMILES kid, or my goal of doing cakes for the special needs kids in my son's daycare. They are my favorite to do, and the reward is bigger then any check ***

wespam Posted 17 Oct 2012 , 12:29pm
post #9 of 52

First, let me say Welcome to Alabama! I'm a transplant here too from Mo. Your in a great area and your going to love Huntsville. It's a great place to live. Love your cakes, you do a great job with the fondant accents. Since your not from here you may not know that we are required to be licensed and inspected to run a food business. Selling cakes whether as a hobby or advertising as a hobby/business is not permited from home kitchens. Advertising of anykind, including Facebook, is a priviledge associated with our business license.

You can find information at or type in ST of AL restaurant codes. Rules for Food Establishment Sanitation to guide you through the process. You'll need a licensed and inspected commerical approved kitchen to work out of. My inspector comes from our counties Health dept, Environmental Health division. They are very nice and very knowledgable and will be happy to answer your questions. Sweet Blessings in setting up your business.

LKing12 Posted 17 Oct 2012 , 12:51pm
post #10 of 52

I use to struggle, but not anymore. Example: yesterday I started working on a two tier birthday cake that requires gumpaste in fourteen colors. At 10:00 my mind suddenly flipped from-wow, that's a lot for cake, to it is worth every penny!
I charge per serving and then add on for accents, special flavors, and individual pieces that will need to be modeled. I enjoy doing cakes, but I am not doing them for fun!

AZCouture Posted 17 Oct 2012 , 5:59pm
post #11 of 52

I use wedding chart for all. Not at any point since I began selling has anyone ever said they didn't have enough cake/slices were too small. But I don't base what a slice of cake should look like based on the Betty Crocker box either. What is that, like 3 servings worth of cake??

taartenmaker Posted 17 Oct 2012 , 8:22pm
post #12 of 52

lol! I also think 12 pieces out a 6'' really isn't possible. It may sounds a bit to crazy, but I always put the ammounds of the wilton servings in half. like a 6'' is good for 6'' portions and a 10'' for 15 etc

AZCouture Posted 17 Oct 2012 , 8:26pm
post #13 of 52

Taarten, have you ever actually sold a cake at wedding servings to see if you got a complaint or if people think they're too small, or are you just going by your own opinion or what other like minded people think as well? Not trying to be rude, I don't know how else to say that.

AZCouture Posted 17 Oct 2012 , 8:28pm
post #14 of 52

Actually, my chart's a bit more generous, before I go on about Wilton being "the authority". For example, I call a 6" 10 servings, and a 10" 35, a bit more generous, but I'm certainly not giving out huge honking servings.

kakeladi Posted 17 Oct 2012 , 9:18pm
post #15 of 52

I haven't read all the replies but here's my 2 cents on this:
If you make a 2-layer/4" tall cake *no matter what the occasion* the amount of servings is decided by using the Wilton chart for wedding cakes. PERIOD!

Letting a customer tell you have many servings they think they can get from a certain sized cake is like you telling a restaurant that their hamburger is not big enough for one serving.
Look at any canned food item and you see their 'servings' #. They decide how many servings any particular item yields NOT you - the customer.
The Wilton charts have long been used as the industry standard by thousands of bakers.
If a customer doesn't think a certain size yhou suggest is big enough, then offer the next size and let them *pay* for a bigger cake.

One side note: I agree that a 6" round does not serve 12 icon_smile.gif
I suggest you get a piece of wood or styro and cut it into the sizes (1x2"x4" and 2"x2"x2") so customers can actually see what the sizes are.
If you really study those sizes you will see they are **EXACTLY** the *same* amount of cake! (cut a 1x2x4 in 1/2 (so it is 1x2x2) and put the 2 halves together - it now is 2x2x2).

Taartenmaker said: I always put the amounds of the wilton servings in half. like a 6'' is good for 6'' portions and a 10'' for 15 etc......
You are cheating yourself! Not only are you are giving away your talent and knowledge but you are *hurting* other decorators when you do things like this icon_sad.gif

AZCouture Posted 17 Oct 2012 , 9:25pm
post #16 of 52
Originally Posted by kakeladi

If a customer doesn't think a certain size yhou suggest is big enough, then offer the next size and let them *pay* for a bigger cake.

I don't think it's really ever a case of the customer bringing it up at all. It's the decorator's own ideas that there has to be a difference, whether it's that they personally like a bigger slice, or are just going along with popular thinking that a party piece has to be bigger.

Evoir Posted 17 Oct 2012 , 11:26pm
post #17 of 52
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I use the same serving size for every cake. If they want more cake they can buy more servings. I also charge the same for birthdays as weddings, because most of the birthday cakes I get requests for are way more complicated with modelled figures etc than wedding cakes are, and the clients want more attention and are crazier than brides are.

Ditto. All my cakes are a minimum of 4" tall, so they all get cut using the same system. And I price the basic cake the same for wedding and birthday cakes, and for both each added item (intricate piping, modelled figurines, sugar flowers, gold/silver leaf etc etc) is an additional cost. Therefore a lot of birthday cakes end up pricier than a wedding cake with the same number of servings.

de_montsoreau Posted 18 Oct 2012 , 11:13am
post #18 of 52

Kakeladi, I think taarten is from the Netherlands and we Europeans have a different perception of how big a serving of cake should be icon_smile.gif

It took me quite a while to figure out the sizes that work for me here in Germany as the serving sizes suggested by Wilton will be snorted at over here.

For me, a 6" serves 8 as all my cakes are also 4" tall and have generous layers of filling.

tabathaba Posted 18 Oct 2012 , 12:00pm
post #19 of 52

Ok, this makes me feel better about pricing with the Wilton wedding chart. I have a lot of crazy birthday/shower clients too.

One follow up question though. Do you include a cutting guide with your cakes? Wedge slicing is so common that I worry clients will try to wedge cut a 10" round cake, then there will be huge slices...Just a thought.

FullHouse Posted 18 Oct 2012 , 12:21pm
post #20 of 52

I always include a document that contains cutting instructions, storage instructions for leftovers as well as transport instructions if they are picking up the cake. I have templates saved for a few different versions depending on if the cake is tiered, fondant or buttercream. I just update the # of servings listed for each tier then email it in PDF format to the client after I receive their retainer as well as provide a printed copy at pickup/delivery.

I do use the Wilton Wedding serving chart. It is always plenty of cake. For most party cakes, the client wants a design that will give them a lot more servings than they need anyway. For weddings, they generally order as close to the exact # of servings as possible. I explain to the customer when ordering that the cake will provide xx # of 1"x2"x4" servings and that if they want larger servings then they can cut 1.5"x2" slices and order more cake. I also let them know generally the men want larger than 1x2 and the women want much smaller slices so it more than balances out. I use the Wilton Wedding chart for my own parties as well and we always have more than enough.

tabathaba Posted 18 Oct 2012 , 4:36pm
post #21 of 52

Ok, that makes a lot of sense. FullHouse, would you mind sharing your document so I can get some ideas on putting one together?

FullHouse Posted 18 Oct 2012 , 6:19pm
post #22 of 52

Sure. Here is one for SPS on the larger tier and center wooden dowel thru the smaller tiers.






Godot Posted 18 Oct 2012 , 8:29pm
post #23 of 52

It's not so much that Germans/Dutch have a different perception of how large a cake serving is - what I've seen of cakes in both the Netherlands and Germany is that the height is much lower than a typical American cake. Am cakes are, on the average, about 10 cm tall, and many cakes in Ger/NL are anywhere from 4 cm till 8 cm. Comparatively, Am cakes are much heavier/more compact and servings look smaller, but probably weigh about the same.

crushed Posted 18 Oct 2012 , 9:12pm
post #24 of 52

Barbara, Thank you so much for posting your information sheet. It is very comprehensive and helpful. icon_smile.gif

FullHouse Posted 18 Oct 2012 , 9:31pm
post #25 of 52
Originally Posted by crushed

Barbara, Thank you so much for posting your information sheet. It is very comprehensive and helpful. icon_smile.gif

Happy you find it helpful. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

BrandisBaked Posted 19 Oct 2012 , 12:16am
post #26 of 52

I charge differently for tiered cakes vs. non-tiered cakes no matter the occassion. I charge more for tiered cakes because they require a support structure and more planning and work.

taartenmaker Posted 20 Oct 2012 , 8:25pm
post #27 of 52

AZCouture I'm just saying what I'm thinking, that's what a forum is for right?

taartenmaker Posted 20 Oct 2012 , 9:03pm
post #28 of 52

de_montsoreau haha yes we certainly do, and my cakes also are a lot of times 4'' tall, but some people just prefer a very small piece of cake for their clients, I just don't want to get the risk that my client ends up with to less cake

FullHouse Posted 3 Dec 2012 , 10:19pm
post #29 of 52

Someone sent me a message and was looking for the file.  For some reason, the file I had uploaded wasn't working anymore.  I reattached it to the above post, should all be good now.

johnson6ofus Posted 4 Dec 2012 , 4:01am
post #30 of 52

Friendly amendment to Full House's excellent instructions, I would add for the cake dummies (like me!) that they should start serving the largest tier first because the smaller tiers are easier to store and transport- if left over...


Just an obvious "duh" moment I had reading on CC one night. Something, I , as a customer, would find helpful.

Quote by @%username% on %date%