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Sheet cake help.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

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! 

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post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSugarLab View Post
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

post #3 of 18

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.

Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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post #4 of 18

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....


Edited by itsacake - 1/29/14 at 3:15pm
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeRae80 View Post
 

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.

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41 View Post
 

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.

Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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post #7 of 18

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 :)

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by debbiecakes75 View Post
 

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:

Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; know that wisdom is thus for your soul...
Proverbs 24:13b-14a

 

~Licensed, inspected, home-based baker~

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Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; know that wisdom is thus for your soul...
Proverbs 24:13b-14a

 

~Licensed, inspected, home-based baker~

Reply
post #9 of 18

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.

post #10 of 18

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!

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by justdesserts View Post
 

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.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeRae80 View Post
 


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.

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post #13 of 18
No 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.

Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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Don't be afraid of cake, make cake be afraid of what you will turn it into!

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post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by debbiecakes75 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justdesserts View Post
 

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. :)

Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; know that wisdom is thus for your soul...
Proverbs 24:13b-14a

 

~Licensed, inspected, home-based baker~

Reply

Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; know that wisdom is thus for your soul...
Proverbs 24:13b-14a

 

~Licensed, inspected, home-based baker~

Reply
post #15 of 18

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!!!

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