Price This Cake :)

Decorating By Lyoshka Updated 13 Jan 2015 , 12:15pm by Lyoshka

Lyoshka Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 4:56pm
post #1 of 20

HI! want to get a general opinion on pricing a cake.  Please be gentle, the cake is mine ;)

 

I am trying to figure out what is the right amount to charge for a cake like this. Let me give you the info on the cake:

CAKE:

Top tier-6" round Chocolate Butter cake, buttercream, hazelnut mousse, chocolate ganache over the entire tier under the fondant basket weave.

Bottom tier-10" square Golden Butter cake, buttercream, hazelnut mousse, cookies'n'cream filling, chocolate ganache, fondant.

Decorations: Flowers, bow, curlicues, pearl balls-gum paste. Basket weave-fondant.

I count my servings as 1.5X2Xtier height, so the 6" is 12 servings and 10" is 30. 

 

Every single element in the cake (except for gum paste and fondant, those are Satin Ice) were made from scratch.  

 

Basketweave:

I couldn't find my basketweave embosser (brilliant planning, I know), so after losing a ton of time, decided to figure out how to do it by hand. Amended a tutorial I found online.. With my pasta roller, I cut fettuccine and spaghetti strips of fondant. The spaghetti strips (doubled) went up as vertical lines, then cut the fettuccine strips to fit spaces. Time-consuming, no doubt, but I think it turned out adorable. Will probably do this again, but will charge accordingly.

 

Made this for a customer's wife's 56th birthday.  He told me she likes hydrangeas and basket weave, so i designed the cake around that.  The top tier is actually a hat box, but I ended up with so many flowers (and wasn't about NOT to put them on the cake hehe) that it's hard to see the lid.   Cake: Top tier-6" round Chocolate Butter cake, buttercream, hazelnut mousse, chocolate ganache over the entire tier under the fondant basket weave. Bottom tier-10" square Golden Butter cake, buttercream, hazelnut mousse, cookies'n'cream filling, chocolate ganache, fondant.  Decorations: Flowers, bow, curlicues, pearl balls-gum paste. Basket weave-fondant.

 

View from the top, so you can see the top of the lid.

 

Basket weave :) Oh the basket weave. I love you. I hate you.  yes. I couldn't find my basketweave embosser (brilliant planning, I know), so after losing a ton of time, decided to figure out how to do it by hand.  Found a little tutorial and amended it to my needs. With my pasta roller, I cut fettuccine and spaghetti strips of fondant.  The spaghetti strips (doubled) went up as vertical lines, then cut the fettuccine strips to fit spaces.  Time-consuming, no doubt, but I think it turned out adorable.  Will probably do this again, but will charge accordingly.

 

 

Bow is gum paste rolled out to about a 6 (i think?), shaped, dried and sprayed with pearl color mist.

 

 

So... the cake serves 40, I charged $352.  The customer was really nice and actually asked what he should add for delivery and gratuity.  I suggested $30 delivery charge and told him gratuity was not necessary.. He told me that unless i built it into the cake price (ha, of course not), I was worth it and he'd add 20%.  So at delivery, he handed me a check for $450, which was a nice surprise.

 

So that's the entire background.  Am I on target? too low? Too high? Are my servings too generous a size? What would YOU charge for a cake like this?  Please share your opinion with me!

19 replies
remnant3333 Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 6:10pm
post #2 of 20

Since I do not sell cakes I can not say but I would like to comment at how beautiful your cake is!! It is gorgeous!! You did an excellent job!! Very pretty!!

Jedi Knight Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 6:52pm
post #3 of 20

AHave you added up all your overhead and costs, including all ingredients and non-edibles such as boxes, boards, supports, wires, etc? How much time did this project take?

Lyoshka Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 7:47pm
post #4 of 20

Thank you, remnant ;)

 

Jedi, good questions.. I haven't added up what the inedible cost, will do that tonight.  The cake probably took about 20 hours.  I didn't count exactly.  I'm slower than I should be with a lot of things, I realize, and getting faster and faster at a lot of things.  

 

I want to find that balance between what a cake should really be priced at and what people would be willing to pay (NOT comparing my work to Costco or anything like that).  Just trying to get a feel for what others think would be a fair price to charge.  Even though I realize markets will bear different caps in different regions, I would still like to hear opinions from seasoned bakers on what they would consider an fair price  tag.

goddessofmath Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 7:56pm
post #5 of 20

I think that cake is amazing! I agree with adding up your supplies and figuring in time. With time, figure an hourly wage that is equal to your talent. What you are doing with sugar there is something not every decorator can do. You can price up for that.  I've recently figured out I'm undercharging.  I was doing cakes for $50-60 that took me 5-10 hours.  Sometimes I was just breaking even on supplies!  I think the price you charged was perfect for such a highly decorated cake.

Lyoshka Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 8:02pm
post #6 of 20

AI'm actually going to invest in CakeBoss software and really break down the cake in there. I kept track of how many batches of batter each flavor took and how much ganache i used, so I feel I will be able to come pretty close to estimating what ingredients cost.

Not too sure about how to price sugar flowers. But estimated five hours and charged $20 an hour, but it took me way longer:)

eatmycakebaby Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 8:11pm
post #7 of 20

OMG where did you find the tutorial .

 

This is beautiful and where I from they wouldn't want to pay me 150 for it, because they don't understand the time and amount of money it cause for ingredients.  I too wouldn't know what to charge for this but lord knows if someone gave me 450 for a cake I would CRY....

 

Great job

-K8memphis Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 8:20pm
post #8 of 20

i would expect to use no more than 2 hours time to assemble the tiers and decorate this cake after shopping/baking including the time to make the flowers, not including the time to let them dry -- you've got a half dozen roses -- about three dozen blossoms on wires, a couple of pearls, the bow, some curliques, the fondant is impressed and i would use a different basket method or use a pasta machine to do the basket,  the two lids --

 

to me it's 60 servings and you charged under $6 per serving -- i think that's low for a 3-d sculpture --

your client is very generous -- is his name "grandpa"? :-D

 

what did you make the lids out of --

 

i love the colors -- it's a beautiful cake --

 

sounds like you were designing as you went along and that's how it got to 20 hours?

DeniseNH Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 10:28pm
post #9 of 20

Gorgeous Cake!!!  Your price is right on.  I would have charged $240 for the actual cake and another hundred for all the flowers then the delivery so you did well.  And everything is so pristine and well done.

Lyoshka Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 10:32pm
post #10 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by eatmycakebaby 
 

OMG where did you find the tutorial .

 

This is beautiful and where I from they wouldn't want to pay me 150 for it, because they don't understand the time and amount of money it cause for ingredients.  I too wouldn't know what to charge for this but lord knows if someone gave me 450 for a cake I would CRY....

 

Great job


here ya go :) https://www.facebook.com/notes/faye-cahill-cake-design/fondant-waffle-weave-tutorial/10151092122516717

Lyoshka Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 10:45pm
post #11 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

i would expect to use no more than 2 hours time to assemble the tiers and decorate this cake after shopping/baking including the time to make the flowers, not including the time to let them dry -- you've got a half dozen roses -- about three dozen blossoms on wires, a couple of pearls, the bow, some curliques, the fondant is impressed and i would use a different basket method or use a pasta machine to do the basket,  the two lids --

 

to me it's 60 servings and you charged under $6 per serving -- i think that's low for a 3-d sculpture --

your client is very generous -- is his name "grandpa"? :-D

 

what did you make the lids out of --

 

i love the colors -- it's a beautiful cake --

 

sounds like you were designing as you went along and that's how it got to 20 hours?


K8, thank you for your input and the comliment :)

 

No, I didn't design a cake as I was going :) I talk with a customer, get their ideas, design a sketch, we go back and forth until we have THE cake on paper, then I price it out and move forward.  

I'm not a professional baker, so a lot of things still take me longer than they should.  The cakes are made in my home kitchen, with limited space and equipment.  That will always equal longer time.  I have a regular KitchenAid mixer, so making two batches of cake batter at a time adds time (probably 2 hours to make batter, another hour for buttercream batches, another 30 min for other fillings).  This cake was different flavors, so extra time for that. 

 

I take great care to make sure my cakes are as spectacular on the inside as they are on the outside. So, all fillings are made from scratch (expected), but I also ganache the entire cake using the upside down method.  Another hour to hour and a half to cover tiers in ganache.  Hour to clean the cake up after chilling/freezing and cover in fondant. 

 

The fondant is not embossed, it's stenciled.  The basket weave was an unexpected bump in the road, but led to learning a new technique, so I'm all good with that.  I *was* going to use a basket weave embosser, easy peasy (but not as realistic looking), but misplaced it.  So doing the basket weave the way i did took 2 hours.  Next time, now that i figured it out, it'll take less time, for sure.  You are saying you would use a different method for the basket weave, can you share what you have in mind?

 

Flowers took me longer than i planned, I just need to make a whole lot more flowers to get faster :)

 

The lid is styrofoam that is covered with gum paste (let dry), then covered with fondant on top and sides.

My customer turned out unexpectedly generous for sure! He is my former sports chiropractor, so lord knows, I have paid A LOT for his service over the years.. but still, a very nice gesture :)

 

You say at less than $6 a serving, it's low for a sculpted cake.  What would *you* charge? and would you include the flowers into your per service price or add that on?

Lyoshka Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 10:47pm
post #12 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by DeniseNH 
 

Gorgeous Cake!!!  Your price is right on.  I would have charged $240 for the actual cake and another hundred for all the flowers then the delivery so you did well.  And everything is so pristine and well done.


HI Denise! thank you for the kind words.  Are you basing the $240 on 40 servings or 62? I see a lot of people say they measure cake slices as 1X2, not 1.5X2. 

Lyoshka Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 10:48pm
post #13 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by goddessofmath 
 

I think that cake is amazing! I agree with adding up your supplies and figuring in time. With time, figure an hourly wage that is equal to your talent. What you are doing with sugar there is something not every decorator can do. You can price up for that.  I've recently figured out I'm undercharging.  I was doing cakes for $50-60 that took me 5-10 hours.  Sometimes I was just breaking even on supplies!  I think the price you charged was perfect for such a highly decorated cake.


thank you! You are definitely undercharging. I don't see how it would even pay for your ingredients, if it's a specialized cake with luster dusts, etc..

DeniseNH Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 10:49pm
post #14 of 20

40 servings at $6.00 per serving then add the flowers and delivery. 

Lyoshka Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 10:50pm
post #15 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by DeniseNH 
 

40 servings at $6.00 per serving then add the flowers and delivery. 


Ok, that is exactly how I priced it out ;)

goddessofmath Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 11:00pm
post #16 of 20

A

Original message sent by Lyoshka

thank you! You are definitely undercharging. I don't see how it would even pay for your ingredients, if it's a specialized cake with luster dusts, etc..

Yep. I made the mistake of trying to compete with grocery stores. Impossible. Def working on bringing up my price point. It's hard to find customers who understand the value of a custom cake.

Jedi Knight Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 6:21am
post #17 of 20

AI'm most definately not seeing a sculpted cake here.

I see a square cake, a round cake, lots of flowers, and a lid.

K8 - you're the one who claims the sculpture - do you see something I don't?

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 8:34am
post #18 of 20

I wouldn't say it is a sculpted cake but i would say that it more than worthy of $450 (I think that's about GBP300 right now?).  While it's hard to see the exact finish and tinsey details on there, from the photos I can see, that cake would not look out of place in the competitions I have been to here in the UK.  It is stunning. x

Lyoshka Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 12:14pm
post #19 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedi Knight 

I'm most definately not seeing a sculpted cake here.

I see a square cake, a round cake, lots of flowers, and a lid.

K8 - you're the one who claims the sculpture - do you see something I don't?


Jedi Knight, I agree with you, I wouldn't treat it as a sculpted cake, since I didn't sculpt anything (though my discovery of that basket weave qualified by the time I spent on it teehee).  I treated it as a cake with two tiers with time-consuming decorations.  The flowers (hydrangeas) were new to me, so took longer because I was leaning them, but now would go much, much faster.  

Lyoshka Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 12:15pm
post #20 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowflakebunny23 
 

I wouldn't say it is a sculpted cake but i would say that it more than worthy of $450 (I think that's about GBP300 right now?).  While it's hard to see the exact finish and tinsey details on there, from the photos I can see, that cake would not look out of place in the competitions I have been to here in the UK.  It is stunning. x


Snowflake, thank you so very much for your compliment! It's heartwarming to think somebody on CC loves my work.  I'm not a professional baker and it's always been a hobby of mine, i just recently started looking into making it an actual business.  So it's great to see people think my skillz don't suck :)

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