Cake Pricing

Business By goldiesgoodies Updated 18 Sep 2015 , 2:27pm by OHaresTstyTrts

goldiesgoodies Posted 4 Sep 2015 , 8:51pm
post #1 of 31


Just curious what a cake like this would go for in your city? I charge $4 a slice then an art fee. this cake will be for 125 people with tiers being: 6/10/14. Im charging approximately $600. Comments greatly appreciated, thank you!  

30 replies
-K8memphis Posted 4 Sep 2015 , 9:36pm
post #2 of 31

all things being equal-- i consider that to be a respectable price -- i like to suggest charging as much or a little more than your local best bake shop -- 

i guess the art fee is for the ombre? that's one way to do it -- i would adjust the per serving price if need be to cover anything additional --say for example if something took over two hours to decorate -- well really i don't think i'd up charge till the three or  four hour mark -- i'm fast with decor -- it's nearly the most fun thing to do clearly the most anticipated and it goes real fast after all these years --

but I think your price sounds good just be mindful of not nickel & diming your clients -- just a different color icing shouldn't generate an additional fee -- it might seem unusual to the customer -- where you could just go $4.25 a serving and you'll collect $25/$30 to color the icing -- but  did they balk? I think most customers would not understand the art fee for this cake 

Norcalhiker Posted 4 Sep 2015 , 9:53pm
post #3 of 31

Custom wedding cakes in my area start around $8.50/serving, but the average runs $14/serving.  But then the food culture here is based on organic and seasonal, dramantcally increasing the cost of ingredients here.  And too, the area is a wedding destination, so limited availability & high demand drives price. Tourism, while good for the local economy, hurts local families.  A lot of vendors give locals a discount, knowing how tourism has driven products and services out of the reach of many local families.

julia1812 Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 12:49pm
post #4 of 31

@Norcalhiker  14$/ serving? I think I'm gonna move to wherever you are! Lol....Lucky you. Wish my area would be like that :/

-K8memphis Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 1:02pm
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julia, my son lives there -- years ago when he was a chef he paid $1,000/month for a bedroom in a boarding house with a shared kitchen/living space -- it's nearly impossible to buy a house -- ridiculously expensive and bone dry -- right now there's a terrible drought -- traffic is absurd -- however the food is really good there and the mountains are beautiful -- we actually got a rainbow when we were there this summer -- it's a nice place to visit

goldiesgoodies Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 1:32pm
post #6 of 31

Wow! $14 a serving ?! That's obsurd! People in my area would never pay that! Average is $5 but I don't have the overhead they do so I can get away with $4 per serving and still make a big profit. 

costumeczar Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 1:44pm
post #7 of 31

Northern California is expeeeeeensive. I'd like to make that much per cake but only pay the prices we have around here ;)

That ombre cake is pretty simple to do so your price sounds about right for my area. That's kind of a base-price design, nothing complicated about it, so it would probably be in the $4-5 a serving range.

-K8memphis Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 2:15pm
post #8 of 31

"People in my area would never pay that! Average is $5 but I don't have the overhead they do so I can get away with $4 per serving and still make a big profit."

you should be charging as much or a little more than the best bakeries in your area -- plus your big profit may be the difference between your out of pocket expense aka what you pay at the store for your supplies and what the client gives you but you are not making a big profit if you do the math on all the expenses involved --

not to mention if the going rate is $5 and you charge $4 -- why let that dollar fly out of your pocket -- wise up -- go at least $4.75 

oh i get it -- you say $4 a serving to sound more attractive then tack on the 'art fee'? 

Norcalhiker Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 4:36pm
post #9 of 31

K8memphis & Costumeczar are correct, the cost of living in my area is ridiculously high. I saw a post card recently with a photo of a delapidated shack, roof caved in, walls crumbling; the caption read: "California fixer upper $900,000."

The cost of a wedding here averages $300/guest, and that is for a nice, but not exceptional venue and menu.  Weddings held at exclusive venues are double that--easily costing $75,000+.  

because the majority of land is used for agriculture, there is a severe housing storage. The wine industry has also driven land prices extremely high, so what little housing is available is very expensive.   Oddly, there's still a very small town feel to the area.  Where's no mall in Napa. The biggest department store is a Kohl. No big wide highway.  I live in a very small community with a population of 150. We have a tiny post office where the post master knows us by name. Folks drive pickups and toyotas.  Discretion is valued here.  The pomp and circumstance is for the tourists, not the way of life for the locals.

Brookebakescake Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 4:45pm
post #10 of 31

Norcal, it sounds lovely.  I'm packing now.  See you in 4-5 days. ;)

Norcalhiker Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 5:27pm
post #11 of 31

Brookebakes, yeah, despite cost, we always say noone in the world feels sorry for us;)

OHaresTstyTrts Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 5:49pm
post #12 of 31

It all depends on where you live  where I currently live I charge 2.50-3.50 per slice then any additional is priced as a custom detail. But back home (ct) I could charge $6/$7 a slice starting with added custom details extra. I've seen people pay upwards of $14 a slice for big name cake shops. Some shops cakes start at $1,000 and go up from there. It all depends on the demographic .

Apti Posted 5 Sep 2015 , 11:59pm
post #13 of 31

GoldiesGoodies~~ FINALLY!!!!  A reasonable amount quoted for a beautiful cake.  I just want to hug you, over and over.   

We get so many posts with photos of gorgeous cakes like the one in the photo above and the newbie bakers ask, "Is $125 way too much for this cake? I told them $150 and then had to revive them when they fainted, so I lowered it to $125 because I felt sorry for them and told them I would deliver it 3 hours away at no charge and could be paid after the wedding since they didn't have any money now because the wedding has 350 guests."

The cake in the photo looks professional, finished, and the gradations of ombre colors are lovely.  The photography is also professional.  With that overall presentation, the automatic assumption is "This baker knows what they are doing and the cake WILL taste great!"   Well done.

Brookebakescake Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 12:05am
post #14 of 31

Apti, I assumed that's not the OP's photo, but I could be wrong. 

julia1812 Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 5:58am
post #15 of 31

@-K8memphis   ...I know...just kidding. Maybe if I rock up in an suv "breaking bad" style :-$ Do the baking, sell the product and head back to civilisation. ...hahaha! 

mccantsbakes Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 7:01am
post #16 of 31

I live on the cusp of the Bay Area of CA,  the drought is awful, but living isn't so bad.    In our town which is in an agricultural area (east contra costa for those in the know) we don't have much of a housing shortage.   There are tons of new developments popping up.  The market is rebounding on home values which is really exciting!  (We bought at the height of the downfall of the market which was perfect)  

i have only known CA life so it doesn't seem as dreadful as the perception presented by non CA dwellers.

I have lived in CA for 36 years and have only felt 1 earthquake....which tends to be what people associate with CA.  

mccantsbakes Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 7:05am
post #17 of 31

NorCalhiker- I grew up in Winters, I totally know what you mean by the small town feel.  

Were you at all close to the wragg fire?   I didn't really follow the path it burned after it was contained on my family's side of the mountains 

Norcalhiker Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 8:04am
post #18 of 31

Mccantsbakes, hey we're almost neighbors!  I live just outside of St Helena.  I used to live in the City; Berekeley; Walnut Creek.  My sis lives Pleasant Hill.  In another life I was a train operator at BART.

I was clear of the fire, but the smoke was very visible. The Clear Lake fires were really smoky too. I can't believe you've only experienced 1 earthquake.  Ive felt so many I lost count. I was at candlestick when Loma Prieta hit--that was terrifying.

i can't believe you grew up in Winters!  My ex's daughter lives there  I love the area--did you go to the rock at the lake on Senior Cut Day?

mccantsbakes Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 8:15am
post #19 of 31

I am down in the Delta area now but I lived in WC for a few years while I went to college.   Small world!   Uh, I cannot confirm nor deny any such cutting of any school....ever....*cough* who me?   :/

We cut many a class to go to the lake.....we never really went past markley cove though.   For as close as Berryessa is to where I grew up, I wasn't a "lake girl" other than tagging along with my semi delinquent friends :)

winters is really changing, totally becoming a little touristy place of artisan cheeses and wine and lots and lots of outsiders.   It's great for the economy there, but blah.......I like my small town that barely changed for many many years.  Sigh.  

I joke that I have earthquake narcolepsy.   Seriously, I have slept through all but one earthquake.   I remember loma-prieta, I fell asleep an hour before it hit, right before the game was about to start.   I remember that day very clearly.  Gosh, the only one I have felt was a little 5 magnitude that was centered close to yountville if I recall was back in 99 I think.  I was in WC at the time.  

Very cool to meet someone close!

trixie05 Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 3:27pm
post #20 of 31

I'm the same as Ohares Tsty Trts, I am charging $2.50 to $3.00 per serving, plus extra for custom decorating.   You'd be surprised at how many orders I don't get!  Our area just doesn't warrant a higher price, but I figured I won't work for anything lower, & then this way I have some free time for myself. 

*Last edited by trixie05 on 6 Sep 2015 , 3:28pm
MacsMom Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 3:56pm
post #21 of 31

I live in central CA and start at $5 per serving, but I only charge extra if the design is complex or there is an exceptional amount of decor. Several bakeries here start at $6 for wedding cakes.

mccantsbakes, are the prices where you are similar to Norcal?  I  heard that cakes begin at $12 per serving on average in Southern Cal.

costumeczar Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 6:56pm
post #22 of 31

Out of curiosity, how has the cottage food law passing affected business for the Californians? I know there was some version of it but I don't know what you're allowed to do without licensing there. In Virginia they passed a cottage food law about 6 years ago, and this year we've reached the point where prices are actually falling because of all of the cottage bakers who don't charge enough. There are so many people flooding the market who are charging $2-$2.50 a serving there have been a few bakers I know who have quit doing cakes completely. They were getting calls from people asking if they would match this or that price, and the prices they were being quoted were so low there's no way they could. 

I had a couple of people recently email saying they were having 150+ guests and their budgets were around $500 including delivery. I quoted one girl something like $600-650 for 120 guests for a cake with a gold tier and gumpaste flowers, and she eventually wrote back and said that she was going with someone who was "substantially cheaper" than I was. No big deal for me, but it's seriously a race to the bottom around here.

The cottage food laws here have basically allowed more people to make a business doing cakes so that they can earn poverty-level wages. Call me crazy, but I don't see the benefit of that.

Jedi Knight Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 7:10pm
post #23 of 31

The race to the bottom is short and fast.

costumeczar Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 8:17pm
post #24 of 31

One can only hope.

mccantsbakes Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 9:32pm
post #25 of 31

Honestly, I am not in the total circle of what market price is for cakes.  I kinda know about what things go for, but since I am a really enthusiastic hobbyist with the silly pipe dream of going into business MAYBE someday, I don't stay as on top of what the price trends are.    

It seemed for a while everyone and their sister had a new Facebook page peddling cake pops or whatever the trend was.  Some of the work looked super nice, but I see that many of those folks have moved on.   

costumeczar Posted 6 Sep 2015 , 9:40pm
post #26 of 31

The problem is that for every ten that pop up, 5 stick around. So while we're telling ourselves to just wait and they'll get burned out, the undercutting continues.

I raised my minimum to $500 for ANY cake recently, and that was partly because I was tired of people trying to nickel and dime me and asking me to price match. I figured that would eliminate a lot of the crapola that people try to throw at me, and it seems to be working so far.

Natka81 Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 12:34am
post #27 of 31

I just found two bakers that live in my neighborhood. They both do beautiful and neat cakes. I asked their prices. Both of them realize they aren't making money (1.75 per serving), but they love making cakes.

OHaresTstyTrts Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 12:59am
post #28 of 31

That's crazy.

costumeczar Posted 7 Sep 2015 , 2:13am
post #29 of 31

Oh for pete's sake...i hate that so much. That and the reasoning that "I don't charge much because everyone DESERVES a custom cake." Whaaaat? No. I have a friend who refers to that as the "jobbyists." They're hobby bakers who think they're running a  business.

OHaresTstyTrts Posted 17 Sep 2015 , 5:46pm
post #30 of 31

laughing.pnghahaaha I never heard that term before. 

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