How Do I Know How Much Cake To Use For A 3D Cake?

Decorating By cserr4 Updated 14 Jan 2015 , 8:04pm by -K8memphis

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cserr4 Posted 13 Jan 2015 , 7:36pm
post #1 of 4

Can someone please help in telling me how much cake to use for sculpted cakes? I never know if it will be enough when I make one.  I was asked to make a pickup truck cake for 70 people. I am not really sure how the structure would look and how much cake to use to feed that many. I also suggested that I could make a smaller truck for 30 and then just make a sheet cake to cut down on cost. I am charging $350 for the larger cake and $200 for the smaller cake with sheet cake. Do those prices sound reasonable? Anyone ever made a pickup truck cake before? I want to make one where you can't see the support underneath. 



3 replies
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petitecat Posted 14 Jan 2015 , 9:55am
post #2 of 4

It's a bit of guesswork (on my part anyway) unless you find a tutorial with the exact same dimensions as your cake. 


I'm doing a cake next week- it's a standing figure. The torso will be cake. For any 3d cakes, the very first thing I do is print out a picture/photo of the image I want to make in 3d, and print it out in the exact size I want it to be. I measured the torso after printing it out, the widest part is 6" and it will be 5" high. The torso is round, so I plan to bake enough 6" cakes so that with the filling, it will be 5" high. 


In your case, what I would probably do is look at sheet cake servings and use that as a guide to make the monster truck. Perhaps use a half sheet cake and a quarter sheet cake = 78 servings. You'll probably lose servings when you start carving. Those are based on 2"x2" slices. Then I would print out an image of a pick up truck that is slightly smaller than the dimensions of the cake. Print out the front view, side view and top view of the truck. Get the side view print out of the truck and put it next to the longest side of the pans and see if they are close in size. Get the front view print out and put it next to the shortest side of the pans and if they're close in size. You have to carve or add more cake to get the dimensions right. So your client may end up with less or more cake than planned.


You'll probably have to use wood to support a cake this big.. To make hidden support, have 4 cubes of wood and cover in black fondant. Hide all four cubes behind all four tires. 


Someone might have a better way of working it out. I've made a car cake this way, but serving numbers weren't an issue as it was for my husband. If I were to make a 3d cake for a client, I tell them verbally (and in a contract) that serving numbers aren't guaranteed because of the shape of the cake.


I think a truck for 70 will be HUGE (the half sheet plus quarter sheet together make 27"), so you were right to offer a smaller 3d cake plus a sheet cake. 


I don't know whether your price of $350 for a 3d cake is reasonable because I don't know how big a cake that is, how much cake I need, how much fondant to use, supplies (wood? cake board?) etc etc. I always work everything out first before giving quotes.

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ellavanilla Posted 14 Jan 2015 , 6:03pm
post #3 of 4

Just want to say, "good on ya" for charging for your work! I actually had a call last week for a last minute carved firetruck cake. There was no way I could do a carved cake in the time frame so I offered the customer a round cake with trucks on top for a mere $75. She totally balked at the price. I wonder how much she thought she was gonna pay for the truck?




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-K8memphis Posted 14 Jan 2015 , 8:04pm
post #4 of 4

geez i'd just make one cake for the $550 --


if you look at the truck in this link -- it's a fairly good candidate because it is more of an aerial view than other photos that just show the side or the front --


in the first photo of this that i found -- just holding a ruler up to the computer screen -- the dimensions were

  • 2" long from engine to tail gate   (24")
  • just over 1/2" wide from door to door  (6-7")
  • the cab was 3/4" tall (9")
  • the engine area was 1/2 inch tall (6")



so let's multiply everything by 12 and see how close we get to our target amount of cake which is 3/4 of a full one layer sheet cake --


you would be over on your servings -- since trucks don't make normal size servings i don't have a problem going overboard on servings for a sculpture -- or go back and multiply by 9 or 10 to get it a bit smaller  --


in other words you need three 24x7 slabs of cake that will stack to 6" tall for the engine, lower cab and bed of the truck and then a smaller section to get the cab up to 9" -- that's too big --


here it is multiplied by 10 --


  • 2" long from engine to tail gate   (20")
  • just over 1/2" wide from door to door  (5-6")
  • the cab was 3/4" tall (7.5")
  • the engine area was 1/2 inch tall (5")



so now you need a 20x6 slab 5" tall -- i think you'll just get there with a full sheet if it's 2.5 inches tall -- board and dowel the cab halfway up to get your servings


but i am not guaranteeing any of my math -- there could be a booboo or two -- i'm just thinking out loud here

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