Wedding cakes are often elaborate works of art, and they inspire awe as much as they please the palate. The Bridal Association of America estimates that the average wedding cake costs more than £325, so a pastry chef or an accomplished baker should charge a fair price for her work. A wedding cake is a baker's artistic sweat equity, so it's essential to know how to price the cake appropriately to cover ingredients, supplies, time and creativity.
Calculate the cost of your ingredients and supplies. Total the price of flour, sugar, eggs, flavourings, spices and special ingredients. Remember to add the cost of your cake pans, spatulas, measuring spoons, cups, piping bags, knives, boxes, boards and implements. Factor ingredient proportions for an average recipe, such as 1 cup of flour and 2 cups of sugar, and figure the cost percentage based on those measurements. Adjust your estimate for a larger or smaller cake.
Determine the cost of your overhead. Depending on where you bake, your overhead costs may include utilities, refrigeration, dishwashers, fixtures, oven, pans, mixers, stationery, advertising, insurance and your rent or mortgage. Don't forget to include the cost of assembling a portfolio with large, colour photographs. A small fraction of this total should be added to the cost of your cakes.
Decide what your time is worth, and then determine how much time it takes to consult with your client, mix, bake, assemble and decorate the cake. Calculating your creative self-worth can be a difficult thing to quantify, so you should visit local bakeries to determine the market rate for wedding cakes in your area. Estimate whether you want your price point to fall at the lower or higher end of the market, or if you want to price yourself somewhere in the middle.
Total the costs of ingredients, supplies, overhead, and your time. Based on this figure, determine how much you should charge for a wedding cake.
Add a delivery charge that includes your round-trip mileage to the reception, automobile deterioration, insurance, parking fees, toll charges and a fraction of your car payment. You should base your mileage on the current federal reimbursement rate for mileage.
- Present your price in writing to the bride, breaking it down into price per slice, as most brides will comparison-shop based on how good the cake tastes as well as the cost per serving.
- Require a deposit to reserve the date.