A Fine Line Between Too Much $$ And Not Enough $$ Per Cake

Decorating By SweetDreams Updated 7 Sep 2009 , 8:30pm by indydebi

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SweetDreams Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 5:34pm
post #1 of 3

I have been playing around with setting up a per serving cost for my cakes. At first I thought $2 per serving would be enough for all occasion cakes...........but if someone orders a 8" round x 3" deep cake (that is my normal pan size) which I say serves 20, and it costs me $15 in ingredients not including images which I use a lot on my cakes since I can not hand draw worth a bag of beans, I make $25 for my 3 hours or so of work. I already think $40 in my area is probably tops for that size cake but at the same time, $7-$8 per hour of my time does not seem like a lot either.
I really rely on those images to be able to pull off decorating some of those themes that I can not draw but if I add on $10 for images, now we are at $50 for an 8".

Granted, on bigger cakes 10" and up, I would make more at that rate but I am just not sure what $ per slice would be good to be fair to me and be a price that my customers would be willing to pay. I was hoping to make it easier by being able to say that my cake price is (?) per serving and leave it at that but I don't know what is the best way to go.

I have been also looking at where I can get my ingredients for less to cut a little cost there instead of just buying them at a regular store.

Any advise?
Sorry so long!

Thanks so much,


2 replies
MikeRowesHunny Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MikeRowesHunny Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 5:55pm
post #2 of 3

I think it is horrendously difficult to have a set-price-per-serving-no-matter-what for custom cakes. Whilst that may cover you for the 10in+ sizes, for most cakes below that, you will make little money. I have a minimum that I charge for every cake, no matter whether it serves 6 or 60. For me that's 65 euros. It's just not worth my time at any less. All told (shopping, mixing, baking, decorating, clean-up etc), I have NEVER put less than 5 hours into a cake, so that is the minimum you are paying me for!
I have STARTING prices on my website, but believe me when I say that's for the bare minimum of work (border and inscriptions that's all). Everything else will add to the price. My celebration cakes have ranged from 3-20 euros per serving, wedding cakes have never been under 4 euros per serving.
Am I busy? Mostly, yes! Why? I give great service, great product, BUT, I do expect my time and talent to be recognised and properly compensated! Those who don't want to do that can go elsewhere, no skin off my nose!

Edited to add: I have Cake Boss and use it religiously. It's the only way to make doubly sure I'm am getting paid what I'm worth AND covering all those expensive scratch ingredients!

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indydebi Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 8:30pm
post #3 of 3

The problem is you are NOT making $25 off of that cake. 3 hours to bake, decorate and ice the cake. $15 for cake ingredients.

What is the value of:
- the TIME it took you to talk to the client to get the order? (and in my experience, smaller cakes tend to take as much or more time than a big wedding cake client!)
- The time it took you to drive around and buy the supplies.
- The cost of your gas to buy the supplies (and deliver?)
- The cost of the wear and tear on your vehicle. Because of the extra miles you are accumulating (and they add up faster than you think!), you have to
.........change your oil sooner, so you have 2 or 3 more oil changes per year than normal.
..........Wear out your tires sooner
..........Add extra miles to the vehicles, thus reducing the trade in and/or blue book value.
- The lost opportunity costs:
.......... You had to pay for KFC for dinner because you're kitchen was tied up making a cake (you spent your $25 right there!)
.......... You couldn't attend the family get-together or go to your child's ball game beause you had a cake to make.
- utiliies for oven, mixer, dishwasher, water.
- Clean up supplies: soap, paper towels, wax paper, washer and dryer use/expense to wash your towels and dishcloths.

I am going to scream this over and over and over until people get it:

The cost of making the cake is MUCH MORE than the cost of the flour and eggs!

Also .... smaller items have a higher overhead. It takes the same amount of gas to buy supplies for a $300 cake as it does for a $50 cake. It takes the same amount of electricity to run the mixer to make a $75 cake as it does a $25 cake. That's why smaller items cost more proportionately than larger items. The overhead is spread out over more units.(i.e. in our case a unit is the number of servings).

It's a hard package to balance. We all hate the pricing side of this business. You have to do what works for you in your area, I know that. But I don't want you thinking you have a 200% mark-up when you don't. You're probably not even breaking even and once you add in ALL of your time, you'd be better off getting a job at McDonalds's for extra money.

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