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Why are my cakes so much more expensive than shop bought cakes?
This is the most common question asked when I’m quoting for a celebration cake, so I thought I’d run through a few of the items involved in making a cake. The most popular response from a person asking for a quote is that they can buy a cake for about £10 in a supermarket – which is true. You can get a cheap celebration cake in a supermarket because they are HUGE and turn out a large number of cakes at any one time. They don’t have the facility to put in the "time and effort" of a local cake baker to personalise exactly to your specification. As the saying also goes “Good cake isn’t cheap, cheap cake isn’t good” – I think that sums it up pretty well.
If anything, I often undercharge for my cakes.
Some people don't seem to realise the amount of ingredients that go into home made bespoke cakes, and quality ingredients are not cheap.
Then you have the decoration materials:
Sugar paste to cover the cakes, cake boards (which increase in price the bigger you need, especially for a tiered cake as there will be more than one)
Buttercream to fill the cake/s and stick the icing on.
A cake box or boxes to take your cake home in.
Dowelling rods – 3 or 4 per tier (these are vital if you are stacking cakes otherwise the whole lot will collapse)
Then you have extras such as wires, florist tape, jewels, posy picks, modelling materials (petal paste - at approx. £5 for a small pack, you need this for flowers and models as it dries harder than normal sugar paste), cake glue and not forgetting electricity/gas to bake the cakes.
All in all, you are looking at a fair amounts worth of materials and ingredients before you take into consideration my time. To make a sugar model you are looking at a good few hours work, depending on how intricate the model is. Decorating a cake is a time consuming task and very often I am working for less than the minimum wage. This is not meant to be negative and you may ask why I’m doing it, and the simple answer is because I love it. I love being creative and I love seeing the look on a customer’s face when they collect their cake. It’s all worth it.
So please remember, if you ask an independent cake maker for a quote, you are not going to get it for supermarket prices – but it will look and taste an awful lot better. Promise!