It’s no Secret

This particular blog post is for my fellow cake makers and our valued Cakey customers.

We all know what goes into making a cake, flour, eggs, margarine, sugar,butter etc etc ….. And for some people when they decide they want a cake baked and decorated to order that’s still what they see, but there is just so much more that goes on, it’s no secret, so here is a snapshot of what actually goes into the bespoke cakes and cupcakes baked by me Yvonne aka Kake and Cupkakery

You see firstly I get a message

“Could I get a price on a cake”?

“Sure,what do you have in mind”?

The customer might have already undertaken some research and provided pictures of cakes they have found on google or another cake page but there is an unwritten Cakey rule that cakes are never copied to be identical so we always tweak, it is now the process can begin.

Day 1

So unless I’ve made the cake before I will not instantly know how much to charge, so i undertake some research on the design (unless I have a picture already) I get the spreadsheet up on the laptop and get costing. 

I now cost three different prices for cakes so that you the customer have choices from a simple design, midrange and then a higher end priced cake which is either a larger /tiered or a more intricate decorated cake.

The majority of customers choose the second option where cakes start from around £55 (8″)  this usually has a small amount of Modelling and detailed work.

I took some time out a while ago to do a costing exercise and now have a lot of the basic cost of making a cake already done so basically it’s add on the decoration time, delivery cost and supplies, I.e extra sugarpaste, ribbon, board and Box.

Then I need to determine how long it will take? this is always dependent on  what decorative work is involved in your cake,the more detail on a cake the higher the price will be.

 I have to calculate how much I will be paying myself to work on this cake as I run this as a business and pay tax on the income earned to HMRC,pay insurance (public liability) pay for a website etc… I have to make sure everything is covered because even though the business is based at home (and registered with the local council) there are still overheads to cover, less than a shop but regardless these cost must be included.

So my labour cost also includes getting the tin out and lining it,weighing out ingredients and mixing the cake. I pay myself just like I would expect to pay an employee the minute they start work as nobody works for free.

Day 2

Then it’s shopping,most of my suppliers are online but I have to go shopping for the more perishable ingredients such as fresh eggs ( only use free range) and butter (I always use unsalted) 

I like to buy in bulk when I can but it’s mainly the flour, sugar and chocolate ( usually Callebaut belgian chocolate) that I purchase in bulk, this reduces the time spent picking up supplies plus I always have a rolling stock.

Day 3

Cake is mixed and In the oven it goes in for 1.5 hours, (depending on the size of the cake) gas goes on, electric on (lights) and while that’s baking i will cover the cake board, begin making any models etc…. and then allow to dry

Day 4

Make buttercream,fill the cake,cover the cake, make more models if needed or add finishing touches to the ones already made,allow the covered cake to set overnight.

Day 5

Finish cake, add all the made pieces, photograph, box it up, add labels and business card/sticker which are purchased through the business.

Day 6

Delivery day, drive to deliver to customers home or venue.

Inbetween this is the cleaning,oh how I hate washing up any volunteers to do it for me?? (I’ll pay you in cake )

Now I’ve listed this in sequence but in fact dependng on orders this process could be 2 weeks or more in advance or only 2 days (for last minute orders) .  

So as you can see the whole process can be days and weeks in the making.

I’m lucky in that it’s rare a customer will tell me a cake is too costly but I can understand that some may think a quote they receive is too expensive because it’s just a cake,but in that cake is years of experience from starting as a hobbyist to launching a small business. And remember you are having a product specifically made for you,not mass produced but baked to order with care and attention to your own specific brief. And I always like to think of a celebration cake as memory making so to me they are even more special.

I know many cake decorators  feel insecure about what to charge and thousands constantly undercharge (I’ve been one of them). when you deliver a cake and realise it took 8 hours to decorate rather than the 3 hours you calculated,yes I’ve definitely been there and even now we can sometimes lose money on a order.

To my fellow decorators especially if your just starting out my advice is to get to grips with your pricing early on, understand what it cost you and what you would like to be paid for the skilled work you produce. I would allocate a few days to working it out,you’ll be happy you did as It is much harder to suddenly increase prices when you realise that the two tier cake you charged your customer £40 for actually cost you £20 to make. 

We have to make some money/ profit (it’s not a dirty word) or else your business is losing money and no matter what business your in losing money is very dishearting. 

You may lose 5% of customers if you suddenly need to increase pricing  but it’s better to get paid properly for two cakes than lose money working on 6


Now cake decorators across the land I know I may have left out some details because if we had to account for every single second a cake would cost £100 every time but I know you understand.

And to all my lovely customers who return and recommend me i just wanted to share my process with you as it’s because of you that 3.5 years later Kake and cupkakery is still baking.

And for those that are considering ordering a cake I hope this gives you a clearer idea what it entails.

Running a cake business is hard work and it’s not nearly as glamorous as people may think but I am absolutely loving it,so saying a Hugeeee Thank You to my customers and those that support there own local cake business.

So I hope you enjoyed this post because as I said in the beginning It’s no secret.

2 thoughts on “It’s no Secret

  1. THank you for posting this detailed blog, but I would like to ask how you can only charge £55 for 8″ cake wthi modelling, whilst including weighing out ingredients, electric, lighting ??? I also work from home and I charge £50 for very basic 8″ which barely pays minimum wage per hour and I don’t even cost electric and lighting, weighing? As you say there are many bakers out there not charging enough and I have been accused of that myself from my family in the past.

    1. Hi Trudy
      Thanks for commenting,on the blog. As mentioned I state 8″ cakes start at £55 and is dependent on decor, my next 8″ cake I’m making is in fact £65 because of the detail so it’s all relative.
      I have 2 different rates for different work I.e when I’m lining, mixing I pay myself a lower rate than when I am doing more skilled Modelling work etc… Which I cost at a higher rate for my hours worked.
      Also which I think is the most important I aim to keep food cost and non food cost as low as I can. I don’t compromise on quality but as I say I buy in bulk which reduces cost. boards and boxes are purchased also in bulk, (try ryepack)ribbon always bought by the spool rather than a meter, things like that.
      All these little tweaks make a difference as with cake decor our biggest cost is our labour cost so the focus is on making profit and making a wage.
      If your customers are happy to pay your prices then that’s excellent because I wouldn’t expect a baker to change prices based on what I say as its your business. So if it works for you keep doing what your doing, if your struggling to get people to pay then I might look at your cost again and try the tweaks.
      Thanks
      Yvonne

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