Are Small Cakes A Hassle?

Business By YamunaJivana Updated 24 Nov 2013 , 5:25am by kikiandkyle

YamunaJivana Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 3:10am
post #1 of 19

I'm wondering how everyone charges for cakes, especially small ones (6-8 servings). If it's covered in Fondant, I tend to charge $4 per serving. But even then, it seems more trouble than it's worth (profit-wise). I am definitely grateful for even these opportunities, but to potentially live off cake decorating, I wonder how it can be done most effectively. [:

How do you go about small cakes, do you have a minimum? Or how do you factor in time in the expense and how do you present that to a potential cake client, who may think in costco or vons price terms?

18 replies
Norasmom Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 3:36am
post #2 of 19

Just start at a minimum price and size and tell people they may have leftover cake and it freezes well.

i do this quite a bit with my customers, and they don't' mind one bit!

kikiandkyle Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 4:03am
post #3 of 19

APeople who think in Costco prices need to stick to buying their cakes at Costco. Those are not your people.

johnson6ofus Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 5:35am
post #4 of 19

Yes, a minimum order is key. I read a funny thread here where a groom wanted his wedding cake recreated for their 1st anniversary. He explained the details, decorating, etc. The baker was excited . He didn't complain too much about paying $10 a serving.


He want two servings. Ha!

embersmom Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 9:18am
post #5 of 19

Smaller cakes may be cute, but they're a PITA, IMO.  We have 5" cakes at work and nobody likes them because they tend to slip off the cardboard after being stacked and/or while you're icing them.  They also don't sell anywhere as well as our sheet cakes.  Ditto our 8" cakes.


I don't have a business, but if I did, I would probably have a minimum smallest size and tell people to freeze the extra.

ellavanilla Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 4:28pm
post #6 of 19

I only make a 6 inch cake if it's going to be on top of another cake. :D Otherwise, 8 inches is the smallest cake I offer. 

howsweet Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 5:05pm
post #7 of 19

I have a $150 minimum and have made several 6 in cakes for that price. But usually they are more like $80-$135 and  just part of an order. If a previous customer wants a cake that's under the $150, I go ahead and do it.


I charge $5 per serving, plus decorations. This cake was $150, but I felt like I undercharged and that's because smaller cakes really do tend to be more work for the price. If the cake had a bottom tier, it wouldn't have been that much more effort, but would have been at least $160 more.

johnson6ofus Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 5:29pm
post #8 of 19

howsweet- amazing cake!

howsweet Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 5:44pm
post #9 of 19

Thanks, I just copied a picture they'd found.

YamunaJivana Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 6:39pm
post #10 of 19

Thank you so much! Really sound advice--I think I'm ready to go back to the drawing board now and rewrite some standards for my website! :D

One more quick question, how do you factor light, medium, and heavy decoration in addition to your per serving price?

howsweet Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 6:49pm
post #11 of 19

AI don't know who you're asking, but I don't. I charge for each thing. Like extra stripes, big number 1, ball trim, etc. On the cake above, I charged per letter, for the glove, pockets, tees, clubs, grey top of cake,handle, zipper, zipper tag. If i don't do it that way, I'm liable to underestimate the work and under charge.

jason_kraft Posted 20 Nov 2013 , 7:35pm
post #12 of 19

AAll you need is a minimum order policy and a good understanding of the ingredients and labor required for different types of decorations. We focused more on birthday cakes and our minimum order was an 8" round (starting at $44 for basic BC), if a customer wanted a 4" or 6" round that's fine, but it would be priced the same as an 8".

If a customer requested a design that would take an additional 2 hours and $10 in ingredients to complete, we would charge an extra $80 or so (factoring in hourly kitchen rent, hourly labor, ingredients, and markup).

AnnieCahill Posted 21 Nov 2013 , 2:00pm
post #13 of 19

I don't have anything to add other than that's a cute cake, howsweet!

YamunaJivana Posted 22 Nov 2013 , 1:22am
post #14 of 19

Thanks! Makes total sense. And it's true, I think I have been neglecting to factor in the time, but it definitely deserves it! Luckily I work from home so there's really not much overhead. But it makes sense to charge for each extra thing individually. 

I will definitely be incorporating these practices in now when I correspond with clients.



howsweet Posted 22 Nov 2013 , 2:11am
post #15 of 19


Originally Posted by AnnieCahill 

I don't have anything to add other than that's a cute cake, howsweet!

Thanks, Annie :D

anavillatoro1 Posted 23 Nov 2013 , 2:35pm
post #16 of 19


Original message sent by AnnieCahill

I don't have anything to add other than that's a cute cake, howsweet!


Smckinney07 Posted 23 Nov 2013 , 6:28pm
post #17 of 19

APricing is the most difficult part in the beginning. I think it has a lot to do with confidence, as someone previously stated, those Costco/Kroger/Walmart customers aren't the ones you want.

As a home baker your still purchasing supplies, boards, electricity, and so much more. Make sure you factor those things in.

We all know it's largely based (or should be) on the time and detail that goes into decorating, you don't need to justify that to anyone. Be confident with your quotes, you value your time and your customers will too.

HowSweet-that cake is too cute!

howsweet Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 3:21am
post #18 of 19

Thanks, y'all!  :)   I agree, you have to confident about your price. Generally it takes longer to make most cakes at home compared to a bakery for reasons of mixer size and oven size. At a bakery, they can whip up 50 lbs of icing in almost the same time it takes to make one mixer full at home. A bakery buys its supplies at wholesale prices. Even if you buy some things wholesale, you are probably not getting the same low price they get.


Your prices should be comparable to similar work from a bakery. To think that you don't have the overhead a bakery has and that you therefore shouldn't charge as much is wrong for the reasons mentioned above and because it's not responsible to the community you live in.  If you're charging less than a bakery,  then you're undercutting them, which is NOT doing the right thing.   Never feel guilty for charging a premium price for your cakes. Feel guilty when you under charge.


THE reason that corner bakeries no longer exist is because grocery stores have aggressively put them out of business. Grocers will even operate the cake decorating department at a loss to keep people in their stores. Their lease agreements with strip centers disallow having a bakery in the same strip center.


Don't be the final nail in the coffin to the few cake shops that are left by undercutting them.

kikiandkyle Posted 24 Nov 2013 , 5:25am
post #19 of 19

AUnless you are getting free utilities, insurance and don't have to pay taxes there are few expenses that a storefront bakery has that a home baker doesn't have.

Quote by @%username% on %date%