Don't Know How To Price This Cake Or How Many Servings It Would Yield

Baking By Escakes1122 Updated 22 Aug 2015 , 3:59pm by Shockolata

Escakes1122 Posted 21 Aug 2015 , 2:01pm
post #1 of 16

OK, Hi everyone. So I am new to this forum and new to cakes (only about a year or two into it) and I had a customer ask for a carved '3' cake with four diffent superheros represented on it. Each superhero would have a section with their own colors and a 3D symbol made of fondant or modeling choclate. She needs this to feed 30-40 people. Would this work for her needs? Also my base price for carved cakes is $125 but this is way more fondant work than I have done on a single cake and am struggling to price it so it is fair for both myself and my client. Please help

15 replies
Pastrybaglady Posted 21 Aug 2015 , 2:22pm
post #2 of 16

If your base is $125 for a carved cake then I would multiply that by 4 at least.  Set your price based on what's fair to YOU.  The customer simply will order from you or not.  Don't sell yourself, skill and time short or every second you spend on this cake will be misery.

Norcalhiker Posted 21 Aug 2015 , 4:45pm
post #3 of 16

$125 x 4 = $500

$500/40 = $12.50 serving.

Consider for a moment that a top cake shop like Charm City starts at $6.50/serving for standard cakes; $8.50/serving for signature.  Custom cakes start at $300.

I'm not sure setting a systematic asking price of $500 for a cake like the one posted in the link seems appropriate.

Pricing is always a topic of dicussion.  It was the most asked question at a multi-day workshop I recently completed.  I believe the key to custom baking is managing client expectation.  Help the client navigate the gap between expectations and budget by listening to expectation and note key elements of the design. Knowing the budget and key design elements, you will be able to offer design ideas to capture the essence of the cake idea that also meets budget.

Pastrybaglady Posted 21 Aug 2015 , 5:12pm
post #4 of 16

Oops, sorry I missed the link.  I read 3 foot cake with 4 super heroes and I was thinking 3D sculptured figures!  This cake will still require a lot of time and coloring of fondant.  Start at $125 and maybe figure an hour of your time for each super hero represented?

Escakes1122 Posted 21 Aug 2015 , 10:21pm
post #5 of 16

Oh I'm glad you clarified you thought it was a huge cake and not a #3 cake... I was a little confused with a $500 cake. So I did out the math of how long it would take me for the fondant work and quoted her $200 (mind you this customer would not give me a budget, stating it was an open budget) and her response was "ha sorry I'm not paying that much for just cake" so I explained that everything is from scratch with top quality ingredients etc and even offered to make a smaller cake or one with less detail with cupcakes which would be cheaper and she said my prices are outrageous! Was I wrong? Why do people say no budget when they mean $50 or less? I guess I'm just confused. I've never had a client freak about a price after saying no budget! Sorry if I'm ranting... Very confused

-K8memphis Posted 21 Aug 2015 , 10:46pm
post #6 of 16

no you're fine -- i think your pricing is right on -- no worries -- she's just never encountered a custom caker who prices realistically -- set it safely and firmly behind you and move forward

costumeczar Posted 21 Aug 2015 , 11:30pm
post #7 of 16

You should be mindful when doing those superhero cakes that the logos are all trademarked by the various comic companies, too. Disney bought Marvel comics a couple of years ago so you'd be violating Disney copyrights if you use their characters.

One of my friends was the one who did that design first and she says she wishes she never had, hahaha! She doesn't want it traced back to her, but I think it's spread too far for her to get sued for it.

Escakes1122 Posted 21 Aug 2015 , 11:30pm
post #8 of 16

Thanks k8memphis. It has been the week from hell. I had a client try to cancel a cake late last night that was due on Saturday. She is my sisters friend so I never thought to ask for a deposit and I already had about 75% of the cake done. I was so baffled but my sister talked to her and thankfully I'll be getting about 75% of the total $$ tomorrow morning... Just not my week but you guys made me feel better

Escakes1122 Posted 21 Aug 2015 , 11:33pm
post #9 of 16

Really costumeczar? I had no idea. I do a lot of barbie cakes, did an Elsa doll cake for my daughter last may. Would something like that be in violation as well? Or professional sports logos?

Brookebakescake Posted 22 Aug 2015 , 12:07pm
post #10 of 16

I know for a fact that Marvel doesn't play around. I was contacted by them for a purse I had for sell on etsy. I don't take those chances anymore. 

Escakes1122 Posted 22 Aug 2015 , 12:34pm
post #11 of 16

So I was so surprised by this last night I actually looked at a few laws and it appears you can use things like dolls and toys in your cake because they already sold the rights to them to make it and you bought it so it considered yours... That's the only way you can 100% legally do it without contacting the company for rights

kakeladi Posted 22 Aug 2015 , 3:21pm
post #12 of 16

From my understanding you really canNOT even put dolls/toys on a cake!

You CAN make a 'generic background' type cake and sell the toys to your customer with instructions where/how to place the toys themselves.  Make out 2 receipts - one for a cake and one for the toys. 

Escakes1122 Posted 22 Aug 2015 , 3:36pm
post #13 of 16

It seems so confusing... This is the site I got the information from about using dolls etc. Number 11 is the point that talks about the dolls.

Shockolata Posted 22 Aug 2015 , 3:40pm
post #14 of 16

It pays to offer the client options that show you have thought about it and are not quoting prices off the air. So do not answer immediately but do your costings first. 

Give your client 3 options: the most expensive and complicated one, a mid range solution with some sculpting and the budget solution which will be the easiest and quickest for you to do. All cakes will feed 40 people and all cakes will contain quality ingredients and your love and attention. Let her choose. Also do let her know that copyrighted images mean you need to apply for permission to use which will be an added cost - however, no one can stop you making a cake with the colours alluding to the superheroes and words written that again would allude to them, e.g. Smash! (Please correct me if I am wrong.) If a client insists on you breaking the law, politely refuse as your future is in jeopardy (some companies do pursue copyright infringements, e.g. Sanrio of Hello Kitty fame. And you cannot count on the client not taking photos and videos and not putting them on social networking sites from where they can be traced back to you.)

Jinkies Posted 22 Aug 2015 , 3:45pm
post #15 of 16

Good advice @Shockolata  I do that when someone says they don't have a budget.  They usually decide their budget is the middle one.

Shockolata Posted 22 Aug 2015 , 3:59pm
post #16 of 16

It is also more professional to do your costings and offer them tangible options. And when they say 'it is only cake!' you say 'yes, I know. I used to be of that thought but when I began doing this for a living, I realised that I have to pay electricity and gas and petrol and phone bills. I have to purchase raw materials and consumables, even if it is for the printer that will be used to print a design to copy. I have to pay for cleaning and disinfecting materials and/or a person to help me. I have to pay tax on my income. I have to pay an accountant. And I want to be able to do all this and offer you the best quality without compromising neither my values nor your health. I also have to reinvest in my business so I can offer you more choice in future and I can keep up with emerging techniques by attending food shows and taking seminars. So whilst is is just cake, it is giving work to a great number of people and ensures the economy is booming which in turn comes back to you as you will be doing well and will be able to afford top quality!' Alright, I wouldn't say it in so many words, but you get the drift :)

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