An old friend from high school contacted me and wants me to do her wedding cake.
She would like 100 cupcakes and a dummy cake with just a small part on the bottom with real cake for pictures...
How much would I charge for something like that...where do I even get started??? I don't have dummies...is that included in the price or does she just buy them separate?? ...who keeps them?? ...how do I display them??? where the heck am I gonna store all these flipping cupcakes!?!?on and on and on with the questions....
Please respond...any advice and input will help!
I'm meeting with her tomorrow and I need answers for all her questions.
Slow down .... sit down - grab your pen and piece of paper
Put your brain into gear and start thinking.... all those questions you have put down .
What sort of cake do I bake? Something that will last for at least 3 days!! I always use a moist really dense cake - mudcake - used by Aussie cake decoraters because of its ease in decorating, its lasting qualities and YES it tastes YUMMO - to decorate these number of cakes - you are going to have to work seriously hard in the lead up - no kids around - no interruptions - those fondant discs dry out quickly! try and work it like a production line - don't do one cake at a time
You need to decide how you are going to decorate them - there are literally 1,000's of pcis of wedding cupcake towers on Flickr - have a look - here are some of Kylie Lamberts
but there are many more
Are you going to do a buttercream swirl or are you going to do a fondant disc? the fondant discs normally have a chocolate ganache underneath (2:1 ratio sets hard and "preserves" the cake by sealing it) which gives you a bit more decorating time - they don't need refrigeration either where buttercream will.
Storage - invest in the large cupcake boxes - not sure of a supplier over there but we have ones that will easily carry 24 cupcakes - so 4ish boxes should do you - CONSIDER the height of the box when designing your cupcake
Display - you can purchase cupcake towers made out of perspex - but they would be a bit pricey for a one off use - you can make them yourself using nice flocked paper - or soemthing you like that co-ordinates - cover normal MDF cake boards (1/4inch) - trim the edges with ribbon or braid - or for very stylish look there are new beaded edging - the "tier supports" can just be 3inch high poly dummies (6 inch??) wrapped in fine tulle or ribbon
Louise from Cakejournal has a tutorial for making these
work out the size you want and the height between (I don't always glue 2 dummies together - I don't like a lot or airspace between tiers but thats entirely up to you)
As for the dummy cake on top - here we tend to use the small 6inch cake on top AS the cutting cake - so not use a dummy - but if you do - thats even easier you just purchase your dummy - dampen it with water - and cover with fondant - decorate as desired - can be done weeks ahead of time!! store out of the light and away from dust.
PRICING ??? OMG - I am not gonna even GO there!!
have a read of this thread - it really does HELP people understand what needs to be considered when pricing.
I can't help you with putting a $ value on your work - but YES you should buy the dummy and yes include it in your quote and yes then she gets to keep it.
As for the cupcake stand - I would try and price that into the quote as well - like if it is 3 or 4 tiers? add the cost of the boards and the coverings and the "risers" and whatever you cover them in - allow at least an hour maybe 2 to 'construct' it - you could get it back if you want and maybe only charge HALF if it is returned (you may find that it is returned damaged or dirty anyway!! so don't give it for nothing - a "hire" fee - that is equal to YOUR replacement cost of materials is the minimum you should be charging. You could also ask your friend if she wants to purchase a cupcake tower - or there may be places that hire them
LOTS to think about - hahahaha - good luck!!
theres some good posts over on the cupcake board, about all things cupcake, but also about doing a lot of cupcakes. storing those cupcakes might be an issue, i know i just couldnt do it, id have to say no. since she is a friend, you might have a chance of talking her into regular cakes!
(and how old a friend is she - i hope she hasnt dscovered you do cakes and come out the woodwork expecting a good deal!)
a point about dummy cakes is that they basically cost the same as real cake. the difference between ingredient cost and buying and shipping the dummy is little, and she still has to pay you for the time in decorating, which is basically the same too.
pricing, you need to sit down and figure out each and every cost in making cakes. trips to the stores, buying the stuff, shipping it, fuel for the house while you bake, it all adds up. figure out a price for your time. and check prices in your area to get an idea of what people will pay.
good luck! cup cake towers can be really pretty let us know how it goes.
Thank you both for all of your help!!! I'm meeting with her today and this had really helped me make some key decisions.