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Why Do Custom Cakes Cost So Much?

Many people see pictures of custom designed cakes in magazines and on web sites. When it comes time for them to need a cake for a birthday, holiday, graduation or wedding they start their search for a baker who can make a cake that looks like a picture they have or make a cake that will match the theme of their party. Most people talk with their first baker a...nd get sticker shock when they find out how much their oh so desired cake will cost. They will then go to a hand full of other bakers trying to get a better reply when they ask how much their cake will cost. Then they are shocked after all the bakers are quoting around the same price. They can do one of three things. 1. Keep searching for a baker that has a much lower price, this baker will most likely be a part time baker with very little experience and the end result may or may not end up the way you want, its a coin toss. not to mention you are likely getting a cake that was made from a box with a "secret ingredient" thrown in with it so they can call it their recipe. 2. Give up trying to get a custom designed cake and settle for a $25 grocery store cake. This cake will be one style that you pick out of a book, the store will not do much customizing for you and your cake very likely would have been baked 3-6 months ago or sadly longer and frozen until you order your cake and topped with buttercream that is sitting in a big bucket with an expiration time frame of 6 months, definitely not fresh. or 3. They will realize to get a cake that will be the talk of the party they will have to pay for it. Those who decide to go with a homemade, from scratch, customized cake will likely ask the baker why do cakes cost so much money??? With that being said so many times the detailed answer is below. Many people think that a baker that makes cakes from their home should charge less than a store front bakery. This is not the case for a number of reasons. A home baker can make the same cake a bakery can make. It requires the same tools, same pans, an oven, mixer, measuring equipment. Not to mention all the same ingredients. A home baker does not just bake one size of cake, they bake many so they need multiple pans. There are hundreds of decorating tools including tons of icing tips of all different sizes and shapes, piping bags, icing spatulas, storage containers, knifes, tons of flower making tools, rolling pins etc. A home baker also is using electricity, gas, water, dish soap, and paper towels just as a store would need and the have to have a location to bake in as well. The only difference is a bakery cooks in mass amounts so they have larger everything so they can make more in the same amount of time but when you look at the big picture and calculate it, each cake from a home baker and a store require roughly the same amount of money to make. Home bakers will put the same if not more dedication into your cake. Every baker does not just wake up one morning knowing how to bake every recipe and how to properly pipe icing using every tip in different ways. It takes time, practice and patience. That also means it takes many baked cakes to practice decorating, and many pounds of icing, many piping bags and many countless sleepless nights trying to perfect the art of making a beautiful buttercream rose or a beautiful basket weave on the side of a cake. There are so many cake flavors a baker needs to be able to offer so they must practice over and over again every flavor until they have the perfect recipe. All of which these bakers do not get paid for. Not to mention any training classes, food safety courses and cake decorating expos they need to go to to keep up with the current trends. All of the subscriptions to baking magazines. It takes many hours, many dollars in testing cakes and icings and many attempts to perfect the art of cake decorating, and a bakers education never stops. Now when a customer places an order, there are designs to be drawn up, and then redesigns and more redesigns as many people change their mind in the time frame of first going to order a cake and when their cake is actually made. There is uncountable hours put in to color matching to match that exact color in the napkins or dress or how to copy the exact lace pattern in piping that is in the picture the baker is given. If you get lucky enough to get a mom or bride that knows exactly what she wants from the start then the baker gets a very rare break. But then comes in a whole new set of stresses. Details on a cake. oh the beautiful details that make a cake a one of a kind, pop out of the crowd, jaw dropping cake. A single life size rose made of gum paste takes about 2 - 2 1/2 hours to make, that is after countless months of practice. Every petal must be pressed in a silicone mold to vein it perfectly and each layer of petals must be lightened in color so that it looks like real rose petals fading as the bloom out the a perfect full rose. Each petal is hand glued using hand mixed edible glue and shaped and curled to look just right. then you must add the stems and leafs of a different color. Each animal on a baby shower cake requires perfect precision, and weeks of practice to be able to get the correct proportions for the head, body, arms, legs, tail, eyes and ears. If one is off, that cute little monkey could end up looking like a cat or worse an unknown breed. Any larger cake requires what most people don't even realize. An entire internal structure of dowels and supports to keep each tier perfectly level and structurally sound and that it is evenly placed all the way up from the bottom tier to the top tier. A cake designers job is a cross between a baker, an artist and a architect. There is so much math involved in it that most people do not realize. A good baker spends hours planning the right support system then more time going to buy all the pipes and wood boards for those custom made cake boards. Not to mention the money to pay for a saw to cut the boards to perfect size and the skills to use a saw. Then we come to waste. Every cake must be cooked in a 2 inch or 3 inch thick pan. however it must be cooked so that the absolute lowest part of the cake reaches the minimum height necessary for the final cakes requirement. Every tier must be trimmed and leveled to make building this wonderful work of art structurally safe. A typical house cake pan is 1 1/2 inches deep 8 or 9 inches round which takes 5 cups of batter to make two cakes. Your typical wedding cake is made of multiple layers of 2 or 3 inch deep pans which must grow above the height of the pan to be trimmed perfectly level and require minimum of double the amount of batter for the same size pan in diameter. And of course this is not from a box mix either. these are homemade cakes using bakers sugar, specially sifted cake flour, real butter, pure vanilla etc. Next comes the fillings. The chocolate gauche is made of the best quality chocolate and cream or using fresh fruits that are carefully hand picked, cream fillings or lemon curd are hand made from endless egg yolks and lemon zest. Then comes the frosting. Real butter or whipping cream or both, double sifted sugar, creamed until it is perfectly smooth, not too little, not too much. Over the frosting on many cakes is fondant. Any good fondant is made from scratch using the best quality ingredients. And takes a huge amount of time to knead, roll and apply to a perfect surface to achieve the beautiful flat look that only a fondant cake can give. A home baker that is just starting out puts up at least $2,000 just for basic needs to start their business. And once they have finally gotten the typical supply of equipment and tools needed they would have spent well over $10,000, And we must spend hours explaining to our husband why we need to go the the cake store to get a new tool for just about every cake that we are going to make since each cake many times brings a new design. We must have a very supportive husband that has all the patience in the world to spend his day off shopping at cake shops and going to bakers expos and helping clean up after making 15 hours worth of cakes. And will watch all 4 of the kids so we can push through the late night hours to make sure we have the cake finished by little Johnny's 10am birthday party. So the next time you cringe at the price you are quoted by the baker for the price of your 100% hand made, home made, custom cake, think of the poor bakers husband and realize that more often than not, your cake will have so many hours of planning, shopping, baking, construction and decorating put into it that the baker is lucky to be breaking even hopefully. Most cake decorators are baking and decorating because they love it not because they have to. I love working. I love waking up to the reminder on my phone going off reminding me to start making that custom carved race car cake that is going to make a 5 year old boy the happiest kid ever on his birthday when he sees the race car cake that matches the car on the plates, napkins, and banners at his party. Also another thing to think about ... if you get together 20 or 25 of your very close friends and family and took them out to a nice restaurant for a special dinner, would you expect to pay any less than $3-$6 per serving for a special desert? 25 people at $5 per desert is $125 and that is for a basic desert that many other people in the restaurant are eating also not a custom decorated desert that is made special for your event. ---Article Source: From internet.


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