It’s an all too common scenario. A prospective client describes their perfect cake, I give them an indication of cost then bam!… a sharp intake of breath with the exclamation “How much?”
I do everything I can to keep my costs and ultimately my prices low. Many cake makers in this business charge two or three times what I do but does that mean I can produce a three tier extravaganza for less than £20.00… er… no. So lets deal with the ‘How much?’ question and try to explain why so many prospective bespoke cake seekers are so way off base with their initial cost expectations. Interestingly I often get the response that they can purchase a cake for around £10.00 or so in their local supermarket. Yes you could. And if we are talking about cup cakes that I charge £1.25 for I might get the response ” you can get two for that price in a supermarket”
Well of course you can find all types of cheap celebration cakes in a supermarket… because, well let me think, it’s a supermarket!
Mass production means lower costs, supermarkets are huge organisations and when it comes to celebration cakes of any type they will not invest the love, time and effort that a local cake maker will put in to personalise it to your exact requirements. On top of that I can pretty well guarantee that mass produced cakes will never taste as good as a lovingly crafted bespoke one off ( you will not find any ingredients in my cakes that have strange names or numbers you have never heard of). The ingredients that go into my creations are all natural and freshly obtained.
There is a widely used quotation “Good cake isn’t cheap, cheap cake isn’t good” which just about says it all when it comes to a cake for your special day. Do you want a designer cake or a cheap cake?
If you bake cakes at home you are bound to realise that the best quality ingredients are never cheap and prices for the basic but very best ingredients are rising daily. I will give you an example. Lets take a two tier cake having nine inch and six inch tiers…. did you know that at a minimum there will be a dozen eggs, two packs of butter, half a bag of flour, half a bag of sugar, natural flavourings and more.
That’s just the start, what about the decoration materials, after all that’s a big part of creating a unique cake right?
To cover the cakes and drum we need sugar paste, and lots of it, more or less 1 kg for an eight inch cake at £4.00 /kilo. The cake needs butter cream to fill it and to stick the icing onto. A cake drum is going to be needed to put the cake on, that’s approximately £1.50 for a ten inch drum. What about a cake box for delivery and to keep the cake in good order, that’s around £1.50 for a ten inch cake box. Then there is the thin cake card that supports each cake that is to be stacked, without it the whole cake will come crashing down as it squishes into the bottom layer. Cake card is around £0.60 for a six inch round card.
Tiered cakes need doweling rods for support, at least 4 per tier otherwise the whole lot will come crashing down. Four doweling rods will set you back around £4.00. Then come all the ‘extras’ that need to be paid for such as wires, jewels, modelling materials, posy picks and not to forget the electricity or gas to bake the cakes.
If you tally up this lot you are easily looking at £30.00 worth of materials and ingredients for a two tier cake and nothing has happened yet!
You now need to take into consideration my time, experience and expertise to bring all this together to present you with the cake of your dreams. To make a sugar model, 3d cake or any intricate design that’s unique (that’s what you wanted right?) will take hours of work depending on how complex the final cake will be. Cake decorating by hand is a really time consuming task and often I can be working for a lot less than you might think, sometimes touching on minimum wage standards.
Now don’t get me wrong, you may be asking in that case why do I bother… the simple answer is that I LOVE what I do. I love being creative and to see the look of satisfaction and delight on my client’s face when they see their cake for the first time is well worth it.
So next time you ask an independent, bespoke cake maker to design and bake a cake for your very special occasion maybe you will be better prepared. Maybe ‘How Much?’ could turn into ‘So Little?’
You are never going to get supermarket prices for so much work but trust me the result will be awesome and will taste so much better-That’s a PROMISE.
So remember… “Good cake isn’t cheap, cheap cake isn’t good” .…and designer cakes are well worth the money!