I've just been asked for a quote for a 4ftx8ft American flag. It would be assembled on site on their plywood board. She said she had called Safeway and did the math and she would need 24 sheet cakes, 12 on top and 12 on bottom with a strawberry frosting in between and white on the outside. That leads me to believe she thinks it could be 3 sheet cakes by 4 sheet cakes. But I don't know what math she did. I have half sheet cake pans that are 12x18in and I determined it would take about 4 sheet cakes by 5.5 sheet cakes so about 22 half sheets and if I were to stack it, it would be 44 cakes. Does that math sound correct? (That would be 88 recipes of cake) I may need to talk to her about doing one layer cut in half.
I have never done something big like this and I don't know how assembling it would work as I would have to do it all on site at a location 45 minutes away and I am just one baker.
I have to come up with a quote but I don't even know where to start. I've been doing half sheets for a business each month for birthdays since I started baking and I charge them $40 for a half sheet but on my website I have half sheets priced at $75 which sounds like a lot and I don't think I've ever actually charged that. I want to hear what everyone thinks I should charge, although she is getting quotes from all over and will most likely choose the lowest price and I would really like to say I made this cake.
Any ideas/quotes are appreciated as I have no idea what I would do, thanks!
First of all, except for certain military uses, there are no regulations for the size of the American flag. I would suggest that you use 4 feet x 6 feet for your calculations instead as no regulations or norms are 1:2.
Second, I'm surprised that she is requiring 2 layers on a cake that large. That is unusual. And why would she take Safeway's word on something and then ask for quotes from private bakers? Safeway isn't necessarily going to use the same size pans as a private baker.
Third, whatever you do, DON'T lower your prices just to get the job. How many people is this lady wanting to serve? What is your price per serving? Don't undercut yourself just so you can say you made the cake...there will be other cakes.
I am going to strongly second cakefan's statement of not lowering your prices. This sounds like a huge endeavor and you deserve every single penny that you are going to charge.
I think a more in depth conversation with this customer is needed. Find out how many servings she needs. If the serving amount is far less then the size she is requesting maybe find out why she wants a cake so large. Sometimes people just want a huge statement cake so maybe if she doesn't need however many servings a cake that large produces you can always suggest making part of the cake fake. But I would definitely find out some more detail and then take some time to determine the overall cost and do not budge or hesitate when it comes to the number you decide on.
The other posters touched on some good suggestions. In general for pricing you should be charging about $3 to 5 per serving. Aside from the problem of figuring out how many actual cakes you will need - think about this: How in the world are you going to ice /decorate such a BIG cake? Can you reach more than 3 ft across the top of a cake w/o messing up the edges?? When trying to come up with how many to bake remember that cakes shrink so an 12x18 would yield a cake that is 11x17 then the icing adds back that 1" around but many of the edges would not get icing do to being butted together. Also because the board is that big you don't fill it from edge to edge. I'd say more importantly would be how many servings they wish from this giant. Also remember that red is one of the hardest colors to get in icing. There is a rule of (at least used to be) needing 1 batch of icing (using 2#s of sugar) per recipe of cake batter (actually per each cake mix). Would one whole batch of icing be enough red?? It should be made at least 24-48 hours before using so the color develops well. The last thing I'll touch on is how to bake up that many cakes. You better start NOW! LOL How many can you bake in one day 4, 5 or 6?? Is there a freezer you can store them in until needed? The *original* WASC cake recipe is a good choice for sheet cakes :) BTY: Safeway most likely would bake in those HUGE cookie sheet pans (They don;'t have cake pans like we do) that would yield a cake only 1 to 1 1/4" tall thus needing a 2nd layer.