TheSugarLab Posted 29 Jan 2014 , 6:45pm
post #1 of

Yes… I know.. yet another sheet cake thread. I searched through old posts but I wanted to get more current opinions. 

 

I hadn't put much thought into doing sheet cakes, especially for parities because people associate sheet cake with cheap (at least in my experience with customers thus far). However, I've been getting more requests for weddings so I thought I'd look into it. 

 

I have a few questions: 

 

1) What pans do you use? Brand, size etc?

2) Do you torte them or just bake multiple pans and just level & fill?

3) What servings do you say they serve?

4) (don't shoot me for this one!) What do you charge? If you answer this one, if you could say where you are and what your tiered cakes generally cost that would be great! I know I need to still calculate my costs but I would love to see what everyone else charges. 

 

I only plan on offering these for weddings, especially those who want to do a dummy cake for size plus a sheet cake. 

 

Thank you in advance! 

25 replies
CWR41 Posted 29 Jan 2014 , 7:11pm
post #2 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheSugarLab 
3) What servings do you say they serve?

My current opinion is still the same as the old industry standard...

http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-wedding-cake-2-inch-pans.cfm

CakeRae80 Posted 29 Jan 2014 , 8:10pm
post #3 of

I use a Wilton 11X15 pan and I make two of them to get a true full sheet cake size.  I just made one Sunday for delivery yesterday.

 

I don't know if you use box mix or if you make from scratch.  I know that I need about 14 cups of batter to fill my 11X15 pan where I need it to be to get a nice almost 2" high cake.  (It's only off by maybe a 1/4")  Using my scratch recipes, I have to make a double batter for one side of the cake.

 

Mine bake pretty flat, so I don't level.  I also don't torte/fill the sheet cakes.  They get the cake with the buttercream icing of their choice.  I don't fondant my sheet cakes either...that's just my preference.  I don't like messing with them much b/c they are big and awkward.

 

My 11X15 cake pan serves roughly 35, so doubled to a full sheet cake would be about 70 servings.  That would be about 2"X2" pieces.

 

I charge $1 a slice for my sheet cakes.  I am in south central PA.  That is about the going rate in my area for sheet cakes from bakers.  That is for my regular flavors, my "premium" flavors would cost a little more.

 

Hope this helps.

itsacake Posted 29 Jan 2014 , 11:06pm
post #4 of

I just did a very intricately decorated  " full sheet" cake this weekend.  It was four one-inch tall 12 x 18 cakes.  I placed two of them next to each other, then filled and stacked the other two on top.  They were baked in Magic Line pans. The finished cake was covered in fondant and was just over 2 inches tall. I said it was 108 servings but priced as though it were 100.

 

I price by number of servings and complexity of design.  Most tiered cakes start at $10.00/serving.  This was not going to be any less work so I priced accordingly.  I will say that it was for a high end caterer for a high end client.  I charged $1000.00 and got it no problem.  Just heard today that the client was very pleased.

 

So sheet cakes can be worthwhile....

CWR41 Posted 30 Jan 2014 , 6:06am
post #5 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by CakeRae80 
 

I use a Wilton 11X15 pan and I make two of them to get a true full sheet cake size.

 

My 11X15 cake pan serves roughly 35, so doubled to a full sheet cake would be about 70 servings.

Before you sell cakes, you should be aware that two 11x15 1/3 sheets never equal a true full sheet.

 

I wrote this in another thread... hope it helps:

 

A commercial Bun pan is 18" x 26" (outside measurement), and because they are tapered for nesting or making them stackable, the inside measurement is 16.5" x 24.5".

 

A commercial full sheet is 16" x 24". They are baked in 16" x 24" bakeable cardboard trays that fit into the Bun pans (flat surface portion) which are used during baking for support and handling purposes.

 

A true commercial full sheet (16" x 24") serves 96 (unit wt. 106-124 oz.).

 

If this size pan doesn't fit in your oven, and you are baking two 12" x 18" (54 serving) half sheets, they would serve 108 total.

CakeRae80 Posted 30 Jan 2014 , 1:44pm
post #6 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by CWR41 
 

Before you sell cakes, you should be aware that two 11x15 1/3 sheets never equal a true full sheet.

 

I wrote this in another thread... hope it helps:

 

A commercial Bun pan is 18" x 26" (outside measurement), and because they are tapered for nesting or making them stackable, the inside measurement is 16.5" x 24.5".

 

A commercial full sheet is 16" x 24". They are baked in 16" x 24" bakeable cardboard trays that fit into the Bun pans (flat surface portion) which are used during baking for support and handling purposes.

 

A true commercial full sheet (16" x 24") serves 96 (unit wt. 106-124 oz.).

 

If this size pan doesn't fit in your oven, and you are baking two 12" x 18" (54 serving) half sheets, they would serve 108 total.


I understand this, but I don't sell my cake by the 1/4, 1/2 or full sheet cake.  I sell mine by what people need serving wise.  So I never advertise that I actually make cakes that way.  But a local grocery store that sells their cake boards/boxes, what they use as their "full" sheet cake box/board is what I use for my larger cakes, and it fits nicely on there.  There is not too much room at the top/bottom or sides left over.  Like I said people are fully aware of the serving size.

debbiecakes75 Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 3:36pm
post #7 of

I'm getting more requests for smaller tiered wedding cakes and then supplemental sheet cakes as well.  It's a budget thing and I like to accommodate as best I can, while still staying firm on my prices.  I make sure that I let me brides/customers know that MY sheet cakes aren't like to cheap ones you'd get at Walmart, Sam's etc and that is why they cost more.  Most customers think this is completely reasonable and will book.  Those who don't, aren't in my target market anyway and will just go to a local bakery or Walmart and get a dry cake! 

 

1) What pans do you use? Brand, size etc?

I use Wilton pans. I offer a 13x9 (which is considered a 1/4 sheet).  I offer a 12x18 (which is considered a 1/2 sheet).  I rarely have requests for a full sheet size cake, but if I do, I just put 2 of the 12x18 together.  For weddings, I like to just add additional 12x18's and not FULL sheets.  I think it looks nicer and it's just what I prefer.

 

2) Do you torte them or just bake multiple pans and just level & fill?

I bake them in the 2" high pan and then cut them in 1/2, level and then fill.  They end up being almost 3.5" high after completion.

 

3) What servings do you say they serve?

My regular torted, non-sheet cakes are typically  5.5" high and have 3 layers of cake and 2 filling/frosting - - These are to be cut in 1.5x2 inch slices.  My sheet cakes are to be cut into 2x2 inch pieces and serve the following: 13x9 - 25 and 12x18 - 54

 

4) (don't shoot me for this one!) What do you charge? If you answer this one, if you could say where you are and what your tiered cakes generally cost that would be great! I know I need to still calculate my costs but I would love to see what everyone else charges. 

I am from rural Wisconsin (have a home based licensed/inspected kitchen), so I'm sure my cakes are less than yours. Since my torted cakes have more ingredients and take longer to decorate, my basic starting charge is $3.00 per slice for buttercream and $4 for fondant.  My "sheet" cakes cost $40 for a 13x9 and $70 for a basic buttercream cake.  The price increases for specialty flavors (25 cents per slice), fondant or decorative & time consuming accents.

 

Hope this helps :)

justdesserts Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 7:36pm
post #8 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by debbiecakes75 
 

3) What servings do you say they serve?

My regular torted, non-sheet cakes are typically  5.5" high and have 3 layers of cake and 2 filling/frosting - - These are to be cut in 1.5x2 inch slices.  My sheet cakes are to be cut into 2x2 inch pieces and serve the following: 13x9 - 25 and 12x18 - 54

 

4) (don't shoot me for this one!) What do you charge? If you answer this one, if you could say where you are and what your tiered cakes generally cost that would be great! I know I need to still calculate my costs but I would love to see what everyone else charges. 

I am from rural Wisconsin (have a home based licensed/inspected kitchen), so I'm sure my cakes are less than yours. Since my torted cakes have more ingredients and take longer to decorate, my basic starting charge is $3.00 per slice for buttercream and $4 for fondant.  My "sheet" cakes cost $40 for a 13x9 and $70 for a basic buttercream cake.  The price increases for specialty flavors (25 cents per slice), fondant or decorative & time consuming accents.

 

Hope this helps :)

I'm a little confused - if you say your 13x9 is 25 servings at $3-$4 a slice, shouldn't the base price be $75-$100 not $40? :detective:

itsacake Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 8:00pm
post #9 of

debbycakes75:

 

You said your "normal" cakes are 5.5 inches tall and you figure slices at 2 x 11/2 and your "sheet" cakes are 3.5 inches tall and you figure slices at 2 x 2.  These are much larger than industry standard slices, and your prices are low.   If you charge $40.00 for a 9 x 13 sheet cake and $70.00 for a 12 x 18 you are getting  $1.67 per serving for the smaller cake and $1.30 for a larger cake for a larger than normal serving of cake.  (I figured 24 servings for the 9 x 13 because they are usually cut 4 columns by 6 rows)

 

This is why we who have commercial kitchens get a little crazy about cottage food laws and home bakers.  Your costs may be low enough so you can make a profit with this, but it is training customers to expect that as a reasonable price for cake.  My 12 x 18 sheet cake is only about 2 inches tall.  I don't sell very many, but when I do I get $216,00 or $4.00/serving.  If I got less, I couldn't cover my costs, much less pay myself anything.

debbiecakes75 Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 10:36pm

itsacake:

Even though I do not have a storefront and am a licensed home baker, I still have expenses.  There's no reason to "get crazy" over my pricing and assume I'm bringing down the price in my area because you think it's too low.  I am not "training customers to expect that as a reasonable price for cake", my competitors have already set the price in this area (I did my research before setting my prices).  My prices are very comparable to them, and they do have storefronts.  I am certainly higher than a "grocery" store, but only about 10 cents per slice cheaper than my nearest competitors, who by the way are two towns away from me. There is one bakery in my same town that offers cakes, and I charge WAY more than them.  To me, they are like the low balling cottage food and home bakers that you were describing.

 

Honestly, for the area that I live in I feel my prices are spot on and I am certainly not bringing the price down here.  You mentioned that you charge $10/slice...well I'm sure in California you can get away with that, but certainly not in rural Wisconsin - I wouldn't have ANY customers willing to pay that and neither would the other specialty cake businesses in my area with storefronts!

debbiecakes75 Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 11:47pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by justdesserts 
 

I'm a little confused - if you say your 13x9 is 25 servings at $3-$4 a slice, shouldn't the base price be $75-$100 not $40? :detective:

justdesserts...

My layer cakes (rounds or squares), which have more layers and are much higher than my sheet cakes, are $3 - $4 per serving.  My "sheet" cakes are much less per serving, since they only have 2 thinner cake layers and 1 layer of filling.  So a 13x9 is $40, approximately $1.60 per serving.  All of the cake shops near me price their sheet cakes less per serving than their other cakes.

AZCouture Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 11:52pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by CakeRae80 
 


I understand this, but I don't sell my cake by the 1/4, 1/2 or full sheet cake.  I sell mine by what people need serving wise. 

So...if someone needed a sheet cake to serve say, 18 people, will you hack some off to make it exactly 18 servings? I don't quite understand, I'm not being a smart ass, I'm really wondering.

CakeRae80 Posted 1 Feb 2014 , 12:11am

ANo I wouldn't. When people come to me and want to order these huge tiered cakes for birthdays and such I ask how many people they need it to feed. Then I tell them how many people the cake they want would feed and how much it would cost. Then I tell them quotes for cakes closer to the serving sizes they need. If someone said they wanted that big of a cake and it was only for 18 ppl, I'd tell them how many that would feed and how much it would cost and then I would tell them sizes that better suit their serving needs. I think it's safe to say people see cakes they like but have no clue about serving sizes, so I'm upfront with them. Yes I'm there to make money, but I don't want to rip people off. Not saying anyone does, I'm just simply speaking for myself. You can't get to an exact serving size for people most of the time but I can get them closer with little left over.

justdesserts Posted 1 Feb 2014 , 12:34am

Quote:

Originally Posted by debbiecakes75 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justdesserts 
 

I'm a little confused - if you say your 13x9 is 25 servings at $3-$4 a slice, shouldn't the base price be $75-$100 not $40? :detective:

justdesserts...

My layer cakes (rounds or squares), which have more layers and are much higher than my sheet cakes, are $3 - $4 per serving.  My "sheet" cakes are much less per serving, since they only have 2 thinner cake layers and 1 layer of filling.  So a 13x9 is $40, approximately $1.60 per serving.  All of the cake shops near me price their sheet cakes less per serving than their other cakes.


Ahh, I see. I thought you were referring to your sheet cakes in that answer. :)

icer101 Posted 1 Feb 2014 , 1:19am

I just finished a 12"x18" one layer sheet cake(carrot with cream cheese icing) Made fondant farm animals and barn. airbrushed sky blue and grass green) Charged $150.00 for it and she was more that happy with the price. Sheet cakes can be a lot of work. I don,t set a price. I figure everything before I give the price. If they want it, fine , if not fine. I usually get to do it. If they got the money , honey, I got the time. lol!!!

AZCouture Posted 1 Feb 2014 , 1:34am

AOh yep. I get the opposite a lot too, people wanting to cram 200 servings into a three tier cake, for example. Yeesh, no, that's like 5 maybe 6 tiers.

AZCouture Posted 1 Feb 2014 , 1:35am

AHave you been accused of ripping people off or something?

CakeRae80 Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 9:28pm

No I haven't, I was just saying that I try not to have people order more than they need, that way they can't come back to me and ask why I didn't tell them better.  I know lots around my area that just give the people the amount of tiers that they come to them with instead of explaining how many servings the picture would really feed...then the people have more cake than needed.

 

I understand sometimes people don't care, they want the cake that they want...I just like to ask servings and go from there.

Mybearsbaby Posted 26 Jan 2015 , 6:23pm

ASo what would y'all's price be on a 11X15, single layer cake, torted, with piped roses on the sides and simple writing on top? Didn't want to start a whole new thread to get an answer and see if I am on target. I was thinking $60. I don't do sheet cakes much, and usually always do tiered or other specialty designs. (I honestly don't like sheet cake...just not my thing lol). The lady is wanting one per month for their nursing home residents. Do yall think $60 is good for something pretty plain Jane? I'm from semi-rural but quickly growing part of Alabama.

leah_s Posted 26 Jan 2015 , 6:29pm

That's about 35 servings, so no $60 isn't even $2 per serving.

I'm not a sheet cake fan either, but they are easy to serve.  You still have cake, filling, bc, board and box.  It adds up. However, if she'd going to guarantee a cake a month, I could be inclined to give her a break. . .  I must be gettin' soft.

Mybearsbaby Posted 26 Jan 2015 , 6:59pm

A

Original message sent by leah_s

That's about 35 servings, so no $60 isn't even $2 per serving. I'm not a sheet cake fan either, but they are easy to serve.  You still have cake, filling, bc, board and box.  It adds up. However, if she'd going to guarantee a cake a month, I could be inclined to give her a break. . .  I must be gettin' soft.

Thank you, Leah_s!! :)

lkern777 Posted 31 Jan 2015 , 6:33pm

A

Original message sent by CWR41

Before you sell cakes, you should be aware that two 11x15 1/3 sheets never equal a true full sheet.

I wrote this in another thread... hope it helps:

A commercial Bun pan is 18" x 26" (outside measurement), and because they are tapered for nesting or making them stackable, the inside measurement is 16.5" x 24.5".

A commercial full sheet is 16" x 24". They are baked in 16" x 24" bakeable cardboard trays that fit into the Bun pans (flat surface portion) which are used during baking for support and handling purposes.

A true commercial full sheet (16" x 24") serves 96 (unit wt. 106-124 oz.).

If this size pan doesn't fit in your oven, and you are baking two 12" x 18" (54 serving) half sheets, they would serve 108 total.

lkern777 Posted 31 Jan 2015 , 6:43pm

AI am getting lots of requests for smaller cakes with "kitchen cakes" for serving to guests. When you do this, do you just give 1 layer of cake with icing on top, or do you give 2 layers of cake with 1 layer of filling?

I am also interested in the cardboard baking trays mentioned above for the bun pans. Does anyone know where to find them?

With that in mind, does anyone cook in bun pans and then cut the size cake they need from that instead of using round or square cake pans? It seems like the baking time for the bun pans would be less, but the waste would be higher. Any thoughts?

I have a full-size commercial convection oven, but I currently use the round and square pans. I do have a bunch of the 1/2 size bun pans that I use for storing gumpaste or fondant decorations while I'm decorating (just to get stuff out of my way), but it would be nice to bake more in less time.

leah_s Posted 31 Jan 2015 , 7:18pm

I  make kitchen cakes with four layers of cake and three layers of filling, so it looks just like the "real" cake.  I also don't charge any less for them, since it's the same amount of cake, but just easier for some people to cut.

 

Baking in the bun pan and then cutting out shapes 1) wastes a fair amount of cake, unless you have a cake pop biz and 2) leaves you with cut edges that produce a lot of crumbs and are generally more difficult to frost, IMO.

lkern777 Posted 31 Jan 2015 , 7:26pm

A

Original message sent by leah_s

I  make kitchen cakes with four layers of cake and three layers of filling, so it looks just like the "real" cake.  I also don't charge any less for them, since it's the same amount of cake, but just easier for some people to cut.

Baking in the bun pan and then cutting out shapes 1) wastes a fair amount of cake, unless you have a cake pop biz and 2) leaves you with cut edges that produce a lot of crumbs and are generally more difficult to frost, IMO.

Thank you. I was thinking all of those things.

Also, I had a recent bride want me to quote the small cake/sheet cake scenario and quoting with a single layer sheet cake instead of the way you suggest saved her money and made a lot more work for me. Now I had 5 cakes to bake instead of 3 for the same number of servings, but less money. Oy! Not better for me at all.

I think, going forward, I will tell brides that the benefit of the sheet cake is easier cutting, but the per serving price is the usual base price for a buttercream cake.

I appreciate your help.

leah_s Posted 31 Jan 2015 , 8:41pm

I had pictures of a "propper" slice of wedding cake and a serving of sheet cake.  One was labeled Wedidng Cake and the other was labeled Birthday cake.  Whenever I heard the "no one will be able to tell the difference, right?" I'd drop that visual.  I think I even had it one my website for a time.

 

I always just tossed out, "ya know, a sheet cake it fine for a kids birthday party, but this is your wedding.  Shouldn't your cake be as special as everything else you've planned?"

 

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