Ever wonder why the price of a custom-designed unique cake is so high?
Well… I can tell you why… because it takes a TON of TIME to turn ordinary cake into an extraordinary edible work of ART.
But a few weeks ago, I finally took the time to actually write down a list of ingredients and the number of hours that I spent making a 4-tier wedding cake that fed 130 people and 2-tier groom’s cake that fed 50 people.
The order total was $630 for the two cakes at $3.50 per serving, which is my base price for most nicely decorated cakes. I spent about $130 on ingredients and structural supports for both cakes. So that leaves about $500 for my time… and even though these were relatively easy cakes to decorate, I still spent 32 hours just baking, frosting, covering, stacking and decorating them. But that’s not where the work ends.
Before the cake was even made, I spent at least an hour designing and sketching the groom’s cake (the bride gave me a picture of the wedding cake she wanted, but normally I’d design and sketch the wedding cake, too), and another hour for the cake tasting (which I didn’t charge any money for because their order was over my $500 minimum, so the tasting fee was waived), plus more time spent going back and forth with the bride through email and on the phone quoting prices, scheduling appointments and ironing out all the details of the order (I actually didn’t track that time at all). Also, a few days before I baked the cake, I spent 3 hours making 6 batches of my homemade fondant (takes about 10 minutes per batch), and 15 batches of buttercream frosting (again, about 10 minutes per batch).
Anyhoo… figure 40 hours total, and that’s low-balling, because when I get wrapped up in caking, I really don’t pay attention to the clock. So a full work week by anyone’s definition; if you divide the $500 by 40 hours, that means I made about $12.50 an hour for my time. Now, I bet there’s a lot of you out there reading this who make less than that per hour of your time when you’re at work. But I’m also betting that there’s plenty of people who will read this who make more… maybe much more. And maybe a few of those folks have been the ones to tell me that I charge too much for my cakes.
“But it’s just a cake, right?!” No, it’s not just a cake! It is a memory and for most people it is one of the first things that will be remembered from your wedding or cherished event. A lot of people can make yummy cake, but not just anyone can make a moist and delicious cake that has all your guests at your special event doing a double-take before exclaiming, “Oh, my goodness… is that the cake?! It’s AMAZING!” Because that’s what I do. I don’t stop when a certain number of hours is up. I work and work and work on my cake art until it fits the vision that I promised to my customer.
I’ve seen a quote on several cake decorators’ pages before: “Good cake ain’t cheap, and cheap cake ain’t good.” I disagree. Cheap cake can be good! But… it’s not awesome!
And here at Fancy That Cake, we do AWESOME!!!! And awesome ain’t cheap.