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How Much is Cake

If only there was a simple answer to this question. There are so many factors that attribute to the cost of a cake that is “not mass produced”. Meaning, it was made specifically for you in mind based on your preferred flavor, design, colors, date of pickup or delivery, among other things. Cake that is made specially for you that did not come from a box and filled with icing from a tub. No my darling, this is not grocery store cake (no offense to grocery cake, I buy them too sometimes when I crave something that I don't make). Bear in mind, this post is meant to be light hearted and humorous. 

First and foremost, let us establish your budget? Meaning: How much are you willing to spend? Say, if you are willing to spend $2,000 for your party dress (wedding, bridal shower, anniversary, they’re pretty much the same), something you would only  get to wear once, how much are you willing to spend for cake that will be shared by everyone at your event that will have a lasting impression “to them”? Hmmmm….. Interesting, right?

I understand that most people may have no idea how much a custom cake would cost. Perhaps it would help to know that bakers price their cakes per serving and the number of guests invited, in short, how much would they need to bake – man hours, ingredients, and if it is worth their time. The cost is based on the complexity, size and design of the cake. Specialty cakes, custom cakes, couture cakes or layer cakes generally cost more because it is primarily labor intensive. It requires a certain creative skill set to make your cake.

Having said that, a good place to start when establishing your cake budget is by first taking a look at your guest count. If you plan to have 100 guests, your cake will cost less than a cake for 250 guests right? Well, yes…. maybe, but not always. Our cakes are priced by the serving, based on size and design. Let’s discuss a little bit more on that later…

Thanks to Pinterest, there are about a billion wedding cake photos to choose from! Typically, a buttercream cake will cost less than a fondant cake. However, not all designs can be achieved with buttercream, so keep that in mind when looking at cake photos. Also, butter cream have many types. We usually prepare Italian meringue butter cream, which is whipped egg whites, boiled sugar and high grade butter. Butter – not margarine, thereby this costs a bit more but I promise you, most think it is whipped cream.

Our buttercream cakes start at $4.75 per serving and our fondant cakes start at $5.75 per serving. So here is the easy part – if you want a tiered cake with 100 servings with buttercream, multiply $4.75X 100 and voila, your cake will start at $475 for buttercream. Does that mean that all buttercream cakes are $4.75 per serving? The simple answer is no. Just like not all fondant cakes will remain at $5.75 per serving, however, it’s a good place to start.

So, the other common question I get is, will having a “dummy cake” save me on cost? A big NO. Because the dummy cake will be covered, treated and decorated just like the rest of your real cake. Besides, a dummy is more difficult to work with than a real cake, so in my opinion, it actually takes longer to decorate them, thereby, more labor intensive resulting in more creative man hours. And just to give you an idea, a skilled cake decorator can cost between $12.00- $25.00 per hour. So if you’re thinking of those hand crafted flowers, it takes about 10 minutes to make each simple one by hand, thereby your labor alone for 1 flower is an average of $0.50. And of course you wouldn’t want to have just one flower, right?

And sheet cakes? We do offer sheet cakes, and they are a great way to supplement cake servings without paying for a huge tiered cake with 250 servings. What I mean by that is, if your guest count is 250, order a smaller tiered cake (the most common size cake we bake is a 3 tier with 80 to 100 servings and then supplement the rest of your cake servings with sheet cake. Sheet cakes are basic frosted cakes, delivered to the kitchen, cut by catering staff, and never seen by guests, therefore they cost less per serving than a tiered cake. It’s not a totally classy way to feed your guests but it does supplement. Bear in mind, that we will only make sheet cakes for wedding clients ordering a three tier or larger cake from us. Now, I always get questions about supplementing their custom cake with cupcakes. That too depends on what cupcake designs you have.  How many colors does it have, what design? It may just be a cupcake to you, but if it means I would need to have 5 piping bags with different piping tips with five to six different colors, I would say that is already 30 minutes of man hours per cupcake that you are looking at (thanks so much Pinterest!)

Now here’s the most critical part, the more detailed the cake design, the higher the price will be. And, just because a cake looks like a “simple” design, doesn’t mean that it is. there are many amazing cakes online, and in magazines and with cake artists pushing cake design to new limits. Things like hand painting, edible gold, sugar flowers, tons of little sugar pearls on the cake, all translate into beautiful designs, but also a higher cake cost. Sugar flowers will always cost more than fresh flowers. Why? Because they are very time consuming to make, and require a skilled hand, with knowledge on how to construct, wire, etc. a beautiful looking flower made from sugar! Sugar flowers can start at about $15 per flower – the more complex the flower design, the higher the price. As much a I love, love, love sugar flowers on a cake, most couples do not have the budget to spend $200-300 on just sugar flowers alone, I get it! And don't even start with edible gold treatments. Just so you know, a 1 ounce edible  shining shimmering glitter can cost from $5 to $20 dollars. Question is, do you want the cheap one, or the high end expensive product? So, unless you do have money to spend, opt for fresh flowers instead or something more practical. 

Some of the most fabulous cakes you see on Pinterest can run as much as $15 per serving – Yes, seriously! And please, just because you want the cake design to be on a smaller cake does not equate to having a lesser cost. It’s like asking an architect to build the exact same house, same materials, technique and construction, but only smaller. Honey, labor will just be the same if not more expensive. Why do you think miniatures cost so much?! 

Think about it, you go out to dinner at a chain restaurant and pay $15 for a regular meal  that was probably frozen and took about 20 minutes to make,  a cake artist will spend HOURS from start to finish on your wedding cake, and maybe even sleepless nights….(Any baker or cake artist will attest to this, we think of that particular cake that will be picked up by tomorrow morning!). Cake decorating is an art and not just anyone can do it. Not to mention ingredient costs, like fresh fruit, butter, eggs, fondant, edible glitter etc. And even before we make your cake, (my regular customers can attest to this), we do research. And sometimes, we have to buy specific ingredients overseas! Another reason why we need some lead time.

Lastly, don’t forget that there will be a delivery charge to deliver your cake to the venue. How much that fee will be, depends on the location of your venue from our bakery. The further we have to travel, the higher your delivery cost will be. In some cases, it’s not only the distance we have to travel, but the time it will take to make the delivery – traffic, difficult roads, lack of parking, etc. Our average delivery fee is about $50-65, within a 15 mile radius, outside of that is an average of $150. If you’ve picked up a three tier cake from us, you personally know what it entails making sure it reaches the venue in one piece (Yes Dads! I’ve seen your reactions trying to fit it right there at the foot of the seat and driving like your new born is the passenger). When you consider how stressful a wedding cake delivery can be, getting the cake to the venue on time, battling the heat or cold (god forbid, snow!), the weight of the cake, and the fact that we look silly awkward handling it as we enter your beautiful home or venue, we always recommend delivery for three tiers or more!

I hope I am able to enlighten you in some way. If there is anything I learned about Florissant or North County is that it is actually a great community of people who appreciate creativity and culture. I have made over 200 custom cakes since we opened in February 2017.  We feel  very loved and appreciated. That’s quite a bit for a humble start up local business like ours (Please keep them coming! :-)). Also, our Afternoon teas have been highly appreciated and we receive bookings from near and far away cities. We are truly happy to share our culture with you in this artistic form. We try our best and appreciate your support and patronage.

Merci beau coup  for reading!

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