Wedding Cake Help.

Decorating By Emma M Updated 10 Jun 2014 , 1:24pm by maisie73

Emma M Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 9:17am
post #1 of 16

AHi everybody I have just started my own cake business from home. I have recently been asked to do a 5 tier wedding cake similar to this picture. [IMG ALT=""][/IMG] I am after lots of advice on this one and any help would be appreciated. Firstly I have only ever done 3 tier wedding cakes and transported them fully assembled. I would ideally transport a 5 tier separately. However this cake looks to me like it needs to be transported whole. Any help and views on this would be greats also I live a far distance from the venue. Also with this being such a large cake I was thinking would you advise the bottom tier be fruit to stand the weight? Do you usually provide the cake stand or does the venue usually provide? I am considering buying one and collecting after the event but if the norm is that venues usually provide I won't waste my money. Also the most awkward question is how much would you charge for such a cake? I know this is a hard question to answer as a lot of factors are involve but if anybody could give me a idea I would appreciate it. My other wedding cakes I have ended up breaking even not to mention time and effort. I charged £80 for this and it was rich fruit cake and took days to do with all of the ruffles.[IMG ALT=""][/IMG]. To be honest the cost to me and the effort wasn't worth me doing. I don't want to fall victim to this again. As said any help is great fully received and TIA X

15 replies
Emma M Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 9:18am
post #2 of 16

AOh I forgot to mention I am from South Yorkshire x

Nadiaa Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 9:22am
post #3 of 16

Far out!! You should have charged a LOT more for that cake. I really have no advice for you (sorry!) except I would expect a cake like the one you've been asked to do to cost upwards of several hundred pounds. Maybe about 600? And that's just a figure plucked out of thin air, I don't have a business. But yeah, lots. 

Emma M Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 9:36am
post #4 of 16

AThanks Nadiaa. I really enjoy doing the cakes and I know there isn't much money in it but I would like to earn something at least lol. There is going to be 250 guests at the wedding for the 5 tier cake so big wedding.

Nadiaa Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 9:45am
post #5 of 16

Well there you go. At $3.50 per serve, (some charge more, some less) you're looking at over $800. That's without paying yourself, your overheads, and the detailing and decorations on the cake. So yeah, over $1000 easily for that cake. If you do it I really do hope you charge what you're worth xxx

maisie73 Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 10:25am
post #6 of 16

AHi Emma. I don't sell cakes but even I know you way undercharged for that!


This is four tiers, different flavoured sponges, for my sons wedding last week. I didn't make it, I paid £600 for it. Five tiers with that amount of work will be way more than that I reckon. I don't think the bottom would have to be fruit because it's the support system you use that takes the weight, not the cake. I might be wrong tho, I'm sure one of the pro's will correct me if I am. If you're in Yorkshire pop along to the UK thread, great bunch, really helpful. :-)

Emma M Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 10:44am
post #7 of 16

AThanks Maisie. I did have a quick look to see if there was a uk thread but couldn't find one. Quite new to this site. X

Cuppitycakes Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 10:50am
post #8 of 16

i made my first wedding cake earlyer this year, it was chocolate with white chocolate butter cream and kirsch soaked cherries , it was 3 teir with the bottom being 14 inches and the top being 10 inches. i charged 200 pounds as it was my first one and they were taking a gamble with me. it cost 150 for me to make because of all the chocolate cherries and butter, so i took home 50 pounds for 3 full days work. that's without including my over heads like electric and fuel etc. 80 is way under pricing yourself! if its for fun then you need to at least cover your costs. dont forget to include the price of boards dowel rods and boxes because they all add up fast.   

810whitechoc Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 10:50am
post #9 of 16

If you are running a business then you have to charge properly or it is a hobby.  A business makes money a hobby costs you money.


There are a lot of threads on how to price your products properly, you need to spend some serious time on pricing or you will never own a business. As you realised making the other cake you did, you spent a lot of time and effort for nothing.


After that stern talking to now for some advice.  Does your customer want a fruit cake? Have you established what your customer wants? This cake would need very sturdy internal support no matter what cake it is, centre pole, wooden boards under each cake, dowls etc.  My brother and SIL asked me for that exact cake for their wedding but they only needed the top 3 tiers.  I did a 6", 8", 10", I made it as a gift to them, if I had been charging it would have been $700.00 plus delivery.


Asking about pricing is difficult because that is what the price is in my area based on my costs and what my market will pay.  You need to work out your costs in order to price this out, be realistic about the time this is going to take


Just a word of caution, this is a very ambitious cake, do you feel you can achieve what your customer wants, if not don't take it on. Have you established what budget your customer is willing to pay?  The first thing I do when somebody sends me a photo like that is establish their budget, for example if they only have $500 I burst their unrealistic bubble then get them to be realistic about what they will get for that money.  You can spend a lot of time quoting on cakes that are never going to happen, ask what their budget is first before you go any further.

catsmum Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 11:06am
post #10 of 16

Good advice from 810whitechoc. We have all probably been "bitten" like that. Establish the budget first.


Re the wedding cake stand, usually venues that do lots of weddings have a stand to hire. If you think it is worth your while buying one if you are planning on doing more wedding cakes then do so, however you should then take a deposit on it and also charge for time and mileage if you have to collect it next day. As you say the venue isn't close by.


BTW the biggest stand like that I could find when I did my last wedding cake was 14" in diameter. You don't say what size the base tier is.

Emma M Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 11:12am
post #11 of 16

AThank you for your stern talking to... Lol. I think I needed it.

I have just started out in business and am trying to find my feet. I have made cakes as a hobby for a while now mostly novelty cakes. I have decided to take the plunge and try to earn some money from it.

I am quite confident that I could do the cake, it's just the transporting it that worries me. My other wedding cakes I have used a separate boards under each and dowelled them etc. but I haven't done any above a 3 tier and have never used a centre pole/dowel before.

Emma M Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 11:16am
post #12 of 16

ACatsmum - I was planning on doing a 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 so a 14" should probably do it. Would I need to use anything more than a standard 14" cake drum because of the weight?

catsmum Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 11:21am
post #13 of 16


Originally Posted by Emma M 

Catsmum - I was planning on doing a 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 so a 14" should probably do it. Would I need to use anything more than a standard 14" cake drum because of the weight?

If you were concerned you could glue 2 cake drums together and use wider ribbon to conceal the join. To b sure, to b sure!  Normally plenty of dowels and individual cake drums/cards in each tier distributes the weight but if it has to travel stacked I agree it should also have a central support.

natt12321 Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 11:28am
post #14 of 16

Firstly it definitely doesn't need to be fruit on the bottom, the support system should be good enough no matter what the cake is made of to take the weight of the cake.

I have never centrally dowelled a cake, I've done 5 tier cakes and transported them whole with no issues, I'm not sure what the Americans use to separate tiers but i've never been able to get a central dowel to go through the single thick boards so I stopped trying.


It's already been said, but £80 would be what 1 tier of that cake would have cost if they ordered rich fruit cake with ruffles from me, maybe more than that if I actually sat down and worked out how long it would really take me. You need to be working out ingredients + time + profit at very least if you are trying to be a business, if you undercharge you will quickly get more business from the people that want an underpriced cake and will struggle to make a profit from it. Something I always ask now is how many people they actually want the cake for, a 5 tier cake in a standard size like 14,12,10,8 and 6 feeds A LOT of people. I find often that they want the look and not the amount of cake so I have done a number of cakes where I have made a smaller version, 4 tiers instead of 5 or 12, 10, 8, 6 and 4. It helps a lot with delivery because the weight it much less and it's cheaper for the customer in the end so they tend to end up happier. You definitely need to be asking more questions regarding what the couple need/want.

nannycook Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 12:39pm
post #15 of 16

AEmma, go into the cupcake forum and you'll find us there, me, Natt and Maisie, chat away on an hourly basis.

Totally agree you undercharged for your cake.

maisie73 Posted 10 Jun 2014 , 1:24pm
post #16 of 16

AOr just go to "new posts" and look for "a thread for all UK bakers" there's usually a recent new post cos we don't shut up! :-D

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