Costs Overwhelming

Baking By MamaGeese Updated 7 Oct 2021 , 1:40am by jchuck

MamaGeese Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MamaGeese Posted 26 Sep 2021 , 3:40pm
post #1 of 15

Hi all, I'm just wondering how other bakers (on a smaller scale) are able to make any money doing this? With essentials skyrocketing, I feel as though I'm doing this for nothing! Customers have NO idea what it costs, or how much work it is to recreate an elaborate cake they saw on Pinterest. It's just getting too hard. I bought a pack of those candy bumblebees or a baby shower cake and they were $14! I can't buy in bulk because I don't have room, then you risk things going bad if you keep it too long. I use the best quality ingredients I can find but I feel like I'm shooting myself in the foot. From the gas you use in the oven, to cake boards, plastic wrap, paper towels.....the list goes on and on.....

14 replies
-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 26 Sep 2021 , 6:52pm
post #2 of 15

raise your prices like everyone else -- i mean not me exactly, not like other decorators, but i mean like all your suppliers -- that's the name of the game we're all in now -- prices and things are out of control -- it's a constant whammy -- sorry i'm being too honest blush

kakeladi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
kakeladi Posted 26 Sep 2021 , 8:02pm
post #3 of 15

Im with you MamaGeese :(    I donate cakes only.......... no selling.......... so its to the point I can only done one or two a month instead of a week :( 

kakeladi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
kakeladi Posted 26 Sep 2021 , 8:05pm
post #4 of 15

The organization require cake board and boxes be used shipping box or other things.  Have you priced those lately?  I dare say they are double from last yr.  

-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 26 Sep 2021 , 8:30pm
post #5 of 15

lynne, I have not priced any -- but lumber prices have gone way up and that made me think that I guess that effects the paper prices too plus gas prices plus labor is in high demand so hourly wages are going up -- whammy after whammy --

we'll get out of this economic thing before too long...please God

mrsmac888 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
mrsmac888 Posted 26 Sep 2021 , 9:54pm
post #6 of 15

I'm right there with you.  I had to alter my prices recently too.  A bride had me quote a 3 tier cake, the price was almost $300.  I did her sister's wedding cake 2 years ago, same size and it was $240.  She was shocked.  I explained that the cost of everything has gone up.  Boxes are crazy expensive on top of everything else.  Adjust your prices as needed to make it worth all the work.  If you don't you will get burned out and will hate it.  If you do, some of your customers will go else where, that's the rub.  For me, that's okay.  I know my cakes are worth it.  I do this job because I love to do it, not necessarily because I have to, though.

And yes, PLEASE GOD, let this end soon!

SandraSmiley Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
SandraSmiley Posted 26 Sep 2021 , 11:31pm
post #7 of 15

I've been thinking that same thing.  It is rare, indeed, for me to sell a cake because I do not want a job, but I donate cakes to Icing Smiles, make occasion cakes for friends, and right now am doing a large wedding cake for my best friend's (the one I lost to covid last December) grandson.  The cake is 14", 12", 9", 7", and 5", with all tiers a minimum of six inches.  Because the color is burgundy, I bought Satin Ice fondant, rather than trying to make the dark color.  I already have around $200 invested and I've only made the 12", 9", and 5".  Of course, it will have flowers, too, so more and more expense.  I cannot even imagine the price at which it would be priced to make a descent profit. 

jchuck Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
jchuck Posted 27 Sep 2021 , 7:24pm
post #8 of 15

So funny as on one of my Canadian fb decorating pages, a decorator was lamenting today about this very subject. Trouble with increasing prices is that for many, there wages have not gone up. And as MamaGeese posted, customers don’t seem to have a clue about cost. They think it’s just flour, eggs, butter, which in itself are pricey. But it’s, electricity/gas to bake, gas for purchasing and delivery, cake boards etc., etc. Customers don’t even consider any of these things.

 I had an acquaintance post a cake she purchased for her daughter’s university graduation. Was curious, I googled the baker. Turns out she’s not only in my city, but literally 10 minutes from where I live. Same neighbourhood.  I read her “quote” on her fb page. And felt insulted for all the hard working professional cake decorators.   Read on:     I’m a hobby baker, I make everything in my home kitchen. If you have dietary restrictions, please ask! I don't charge an outrageous amount for my baked goods, price will be for all ingredients, supplies, utilities, & a small amount for my time. 

I can almost guarantee with an amount of certainty this decorator isn’t licensed. First clue… I’m a hobby baker. And “I don’t charge an outrageous amount for my baked goods”. What the heck??? So if you charge enough to make a profit it’s “outrageous”??  Of course it’s her prerogative to work for next to nothing…. “a small amount for my time”.  If you’re not paying for a city permit/license, paying gst (a federal tax), retail sales tax, then you’re making money under the table. So that’s already a unfair advantage. 

MamaGeese Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MamaGeese Posted 5 Oct 2021 , 2:19pm
post #9 of 15

Thanks all ! This person jchuck just spoke of will be burned out in a year or two. This is HARD work! There will always be those newbies that come in and will do it for nothing. I'm just afraid products may even become hard to find. I sure am glad I don't depend on this for a living, but so many do. All our small businesses are in trouble. I may just start doing cakes as gifts (on my terms) like some of you mentioned. So glad CC is here so we have a place to blow off steam, see what others think and maybe have a few laughs along the way...

SandraSmiley Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
SandraSmiley Posted 5 Oct 2021 , 4:39pm
post #10 of 15

MamaGeese, you said a mouth full when you said, "this is hard work".  I am so much enjoying making the wedding cake for this weekend - already been working on it a week - but it wears me out!  This morning, I covered a 12" x 6" and a 5" x 6" tiers with fondant and I need a vacation!  Making big cakes, to me, is as hard as digging holes in hard ground.  I would NEVER consider doing it for a living.

-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 5 Oct 2021 , 8:21pm
post #11 of 15

y’know what shocked me? about ten years ago I had to appeal for disability and  during all this process I learned that cake decorating is classified as ‘easy’ work — that’s not the official wording — but it is way down the list—

I was stunned by that because we all know how back breaking it is — the lawyer kind of moved his hand back & forth like he was using a spatula icing a cake and said “how hard is that?” 


-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 5 Oct 2021 , 8:21pm
post #12 of 15

that’s the government’s classification— they are clueless bigtime 

-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 5 Oct 2021 , 8:26pm
post #13 of 15

y’know I mean you could ask them, have you wielded a 10, 20, 40 quart mixer full of batter or icing lately? scaled that into pans, trotted it in & out the oven, flipped those cakes out, etc etc — carted around a 16 inch cake five inches tall —


SandraSmiley Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
SandraSmiley Posted 6 Oct 2021 , 11:16pm
post #14 of 15

The government is clueless about most things, -K8!  Until I started this hobby, even though I've been baking since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I had no idea how hard it was.  

jchuck Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
jchuck Posted 7 Oct 2021 , 1:40am
post #15 of 15


The local decorator I spoke of…the “I don’t charge outrageous prices decorator”. I have a feeling she’s financially comfortable, and can afford to be a hobby baker and just charge for ingredients. She can take or leave orders as she wishes. Which is her prerogative, IF she wasn’t advertising her business on Facebook.,What bugs me is I’m pretty sure this decorator isn’t licensed. Flying under the radar. Other decorators have to pay yearly for the license, buy insurance, pay taxes…federal, provincial, retail tax etc. Plus lots of other expenses not mentioned. And decorators get inspected by local health authority, which is a BIG deal. Inspectors can shut you down if you don’t meet standards. So if you have no operating expenses, anything you make is gravy. Not a level playing field. 

K8memphis….cake decorating easy…ahhh ya, sure. Spoken from someone whose never done it!! 

Sandra you’re so right, it’s hard work. I honestly don’t know how so many decorators do it. For me it wouldn’t be just the money. But having no free weekends, especially if you do wedding cakes. There’s usually many pickups/deliveries on Saturday, and Sunday’s too. And so many evenings baking, creating flowers, figures and other embellishments. Also time checking messages, replying, formulating quotes. If you have a family, especially younger children, it gets difficult to spend quality time with them. Or you spend time, and work while the family sleeps. I could, and have never done that. But so many do. Both my kids were heavily involved in sports. Tons of traveling. Wouldn’t have missed that for the world. I would have had I’d had a dedicated cake business. Hats off to all those hard working cake decorators!!!!!!


Quote by @%username% on %date%