Cheaper Chocolate Cake?

Baking By SugarAches Updated 23 May 2006 , 9:03pm by SugarAches

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SugarAches Posted 23 May 2006 , 5:49pm
post #1 of 9

Hi! I'm new here and was motivated to quit lurking because of this little dilemma. I'm JUST starting to sell my cakes, but have done them as favors for a while, and it seems when it comes to cakes as profit I have a bit to learn... as this proves.

A friend of mine requested a cake that we planned out together, and I gave an estimate price... It's a two tiered caked, 10 and 8 inch tiers with MMF, but VERY simple in design, and I estimated under or at 40 dollars for the price.

The only issue is I realized, after doing some math, that the ingredients themselves will cost almost $30! They INSIST on chocolate cake and ganache, and the only good chocolate cake recipe I have (i.e. the only one suitable and stable enough for tiered cake) has LOTS of cocoa (or at least lots in my opinion)... about 1 1/2 cups for 2 8-inch cakes. The cocoa itself is costing tons, not to mention the ganache!

I know the ganache is going to cost what the ganache is going to cost, but I was wondering if there's a somewhat cheaper cake recipe I could use in the future or, for that matter, if I should just doctor a cake mix? Any way for me to not spend quite SO much on ingredients. I already agreed on the price before I realized the huge mistake I'd made in calculations and I'm certainly not going to charge them more than first stated, and I don't want to lower the quality of the cake any either. If I can't save a bit more money on the cake itself I guess I'll just have to suck it up and chalk it up to being a beginner. icon_rolleyes.gif

8 replies
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Loucinda Posted 23 May 2006 , 6:03pm
post #2 of 9

I use the dark chocolate pillsbury cake mix, add 1/2 cup of sour cream and an extra egg to it, and it is wonderful. OR I add an extra egg and a small package of instatnt chocolate pudding. I have gotten rave reviews with both ways, and it makes a nice dark chocolate cake. I don't make cakes from "scratch" very often.....I have no reason to ~ everyone loves them and I always use a mix as the base. Put your ganache on that cake and it would be wonderful I am sure!

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KHalstead Posted 23 May 2006 , 6:09pm
post #3 of 9

I would doctor a cake mix...........I add an extra egg, box of pudding, and sub the water in the recipe for milk and it makes a delicious, moist, and rich chocolate cake. I say go for the mix!!!! People freak out when you tell them one price and then tell them you made a mistake and it is going to be more.....she'll probably never know the difference1!! Just chalk it up to a lesson learned.....always tell people you'll get back to them on the price and then figure your ingredients, and time.

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pancake Posted 23 May 2006 , 6:10pm
post #4 of 9

I'll only admit to this here icon_lol.gif , but I'm a boxed mix fan!....I always get compliments on my flavour, and I never bake from scratch. I add things to mixes and they always turn out, no matter what I do to them...I use Betty Crocker and add things like coffee (instead of the water) in a chocolate mix. There's my secret!...the cup of coffee I didn't get a chance to drink that morning!! icon_biggrin.gif

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SugarAches Posted 23 May 2006 , 6:24pm
post #5 of 9

Thank you, everyone! I'll definitely go for the cake mix, and try your suggestions... just not all at once, that might be a bit much. icon_wink.gif

I'd already stalled on giving them a price until the cake was all planned out... I did things in the right order, I actually just miscalculated quite a bit on how many ingredients I'd need, careless mistake, and by then I'd already given them a set price. Turns out it's not that much good to get back to them on the price when you're too distracted to properly crunch some numbers! icon_rolleyes.gif

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icedbycarrie Posted 23 May 2006 , 6:30pm
post #6 of 9

I like boxed mixes too - they're always predictable.

As for your ganache, it doesn't have to be expensive either - a bag of ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips is only about $3 in the grocery store, but I've gotten just as good of results from the store brand ones. I'm not sure what recipe you use, but I just heat 1 c. heavy cream, 1 T. butter, and 2 T. sugar on the stovetop and pour it over the chocolate chips. Let them melt for about 5 minutes and stir. $4 or less.

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MikeRowesHunny Posted 23 May 2006 , 6:40pm
post #7 of 9

WHOAAA are they getting a deal! A cake that size covered in ganache would cost $100 from me!!! We all live and learn, I did a profiterole wedding cake for 150 people last year (entirely made from scratch) and only charged $275 all inclusive. That was 3 full days of making and filling 450 profiteroles then 2hrs assembling it all at the venue. I've just taken a wedding cake order for a 140 piece brownie tower topped with a 6in cake and charged $340 all inclusive (and this will be less work!). So, sometimes we have to learn the hard way, but that's often how we realise our own worth! You'll know better for next time, and hugs for this time!

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fearlessbaker Posted 23 May 2006 , 6:42pm
post #8 of 9

if you don't want to spend a fortune on filling you can use the Nestle Choc Mousse Mix it comes in a box, like an oversized pudding mix box. just add milk and Bingo! No matter what I make or bake my DH always tells me it's wonderful and since he doesn't know the difference and since his family is always on some kind of diet, I only make box cakes and use as much ready made stuff as I can for them. Believe me, I do both kinds of cakes, scratch and mix. It takes a real foodie to tell the difference.

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SugarAches Posted 23 May 2006 , 9:03pm
post #9 of 9

Thanks so much for all the advice! I'm ridiculously glad I decided to un-lurk, I'm feeling downright giddy at finding such a huge source of help for the future. icon_biggrin.gif

Bonjovi, no joke! I know it's undercharging quite a bit, but it's a close friend who's not in the position to dish out so much for a cake... I caved to sympathy (it took courage just to ask for her to pay me, to be honest, as I've been giving them away constantly and she knows it), not to mention I'm JUST starting out and right now, for cakes like this going to parties (in a restaurant filled with people who might ask for cake orders, no less icon_wink.gif ), it'd be fantastic advertising. You had better bet I'm letting her know what a deal she got though, haha!

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