How to Charge for Cakes. How do I charge for cakes? How do I set prices? How do you know how much to charge? What price would you charge for this cake?
I receive emails and comments (and sometimes even phone calls) every single week asking me about how to determine what to charge for cakes or how to price cakes.
I've been debating on posting this for awhile, but since I've shared it with so many readers privately, I figured I might as well go ahead and make it public. So here's my answer.
Please note, this article primarily relates to home bakers, but hopefully anybody in the cake decorating business can glean some tips!
Pricing cakes is definitely one of the hardest parts of doing a cake business. When I started, I was just throwing our random numbers and guessing.
But after doing some research, I came to the conclusion that charging "by the serving" works best for me and is pretty much the standard way to charge across the cake industry. I have a base price for all cakes, then I add onto that price for details, difficulty, multiple tiers, etc. I also add on for delivery.
5 Top Tips for Pricing Cakes
For about the first 2 years of doing cake, I was charging $1-$2 per serving for cakes. That was not good.
Although I was inexperienced, flying by the seat of my pants, and learning as I went, I was still undercharging. I was killing myself with orders, making very little profit, and my home and homeschooling were suffering.
This is an older price chart for me - my prices are higher now:
I was also trying to “compete” price-wise with mass production bakeries and grocery store bakeries and not wanting to charge “too much” more than them. Learn from me: Don't even think about trying to compete with mass retailers!
After more than 2 years of that, I knew things had to change. I asked some trusted friends and other cake decorators and everybody agreed that I was undercharging.
In fact, a few of my customers would even comment on how "cheap" my cakes were, or how they were driving 45 miles to get a cake from me because it was nicer than some of the custom bakery cakes and "so much cheaper".
That's NOT a reputation I wanted. And it's not a reputation you want either!
You do not want to be the cheap cake lady!
Another older chart:
So in 2012 (and again in 2013), I had to change my thinking on How to Charge for Cakes. After evaluating everything I was doing, I increased my prices and started to take fewer orders. I’m proud to say I’m finally making good profit on a regular basis.
I still don't charge as much as some nearby bakeries (35 miles is the nearest “real” town - I live in the STICKS!), but since raising my prices, I regularly pay myself and it feels great! I'm also not undercutting local bakeries/bakers and stealing business with "cheap" cakes. PS - if you do that, you will make enemies!
I think that it's fine to have lower prices (but not super-duper grocery store cheap) if you're new and trying to get established but once you're experienced, you should be making a profit. Especially if you’re doing quality, comparable work.
Obviously, I can’t answer that question for you – some bakers/cakers just do better work than others, but you have to be honest with yourself and set your prices accordingly.
If you live in a big city where the average price for an intricately decorated cake is $7 per serving, and you know (or people are telling you) that your work is as good or better than theirs, then don’t sell yourself short – compete with those prices!!
If your work and the quality of decorating is more along the lines of what they’d find at a grocery store bakery, then you may want to gear your prices more toward what they’re charging (although NOT as low – they’re still not putting out homemade cakes and they’re not paying retail for ingredients!!).
You need to value your cake work & charge accordingly.
The most important thing is this... You need to value your work so that your customers will value your work! Never say or accept "it's just cake"! If they want "just cake", let them get it from somebody else!
OH, and let me say this. I was terrified when I first raised my prices, afraid of losing customers, etc. And it's still hard sometimes when people balk at my prices or decide not to order because they think I'm too expensive (especially local people in my tiny town)... but honestly, I'm still turning down 3-5 orders per week because I'm booked up! (PS - most of my customers... probably 90% or more drive 30+ miles to get my cakes.. I have a good reputation and people don't mind the drive!).
It's SO much nicer to know I'm really making money doing what I love without sacrificing my family life for nothing.
If someone can’t afford my cake, I’m okay with that. Sometimes it’s a genuine budget issue and I live within a budget myself – that doesn’t offend me. But sometimes people want something "extra special" for a not so special price and I can’t cater to that.
I consider what I do art and I usually invest 3-8 hours in every cake. I need to be paid for my time just like anybody else. This may sound harsh, but if people want to pay $.50 (or less) per serving, then they need to go to a grocery store and get a cheap cake where the frosting is scooped out of a 5 gallon bucket and the sheet cake is baked hundreds of miles away and shipped frozen.
I don’t look down on that – I’ve bought and eaten my share of Walmart cakes and it’s nothing to scoff at - but that's not what I do!
If they want a custom cake that requires me to take away hours and hours of my time, from my family, then it's not gonna be cheap. Period. You don't want the reputation of being cheap and you have to make it worth YOUR time or you'll burn out and quit.
I do make exceptions (of course) for family and friends. I often will give them a discount, but I rarely do them for free unless it's my immediate family and then they may still pay for ingredients.
How did I come to my "per serving" price?
I came up with my price list based on three things:
- Consider what other local bakers/bakeries are charging. Call them and ask if you can. Sometimes at home we have to charge less, but not much. Bakeries do have the added expense of paying for their building, extra utility bills, commercial equipment and maybe paying other employees, etc. But you want to be competitive. Charge $3-3.50 per serving if they’re charging $4… not you charging $1 per serving when they’re charging $4!
- The cost of your ingredients and other expenses. This will take some time and math but you have to know what cakes are costing you. Add up your ingredient costs (break it down per serving), cake boards, tape, boxes, gas for deliveries, business cards, even consider the electricity (if possible, check your previous bills and see if there was an increase after you started caking). All of these things matter!
- Your time. This is most important! As a homeschooling mommy of 6 kids, I have to really value my time. I don’t want to be spending my 5th hour on a cake knowing I’m only going to make $20 profit on it… that really stinks! When I first evaluated my money and profit, I was only profiting about $2 per hour. That was NOT acceptable. You need to know or be able give a really good guess on how much time you’re spending on cakes. Yes, there are times when you’re going to make a big mistake and something is going to take way longer than you anticipated, but generally speaking, you should have a fair idea of your time involved and decide how much you want/need to make per hour for it to be worth your time and energy!
So, I know you're probably still wondering ... but what do YOU charge?
My Cake Pricing Guidelines:
So here it is. This is not my exhaustive price list, but rather a general overview of my prices for decorated party cakes and wedding cakes. This is also subject to change without notice:
- $4.00 per serving minimum; very few exceptions. This includes buttercream and fondant cakes. (updated in 2018 - my current prices average $4.50-7.00 per serving). There is no exception to this rule. A simple sheet cake with 22 servings is minimum $88 (plus taxes). An 8" round with 24 servings is minimum $96 (plus taxes).
- For tiered cakes, they generally start at $4.50 per serving for 2 tiers and the price increases per tier (by $.25 per tier, so a 4 tiered cake would be a minimum $4.50 per serving) and for difficulty/design. A 5" + 7" round tiered cake with 26 servings is $120 minimum, plus taxes.
- I charge $15-25 extra for 3-D sculptured toppers and sugar flowers or other intricate details
- I charge $5.00 per serving and up for sculptured/carved/3-D cakes
- Smash cakes are $20-$35 when ordered with a party cake, depends on size and design. The $20 cake is a single layer 5" round that I torte and fill to make it about 3" tall. Always buttercream with minimal decorations. Here's an example:
- Delivery beyond 10 miles from my home starts at $75. (Update: most of my cakes go to larger towns around 40 miles away - this $75 fee covers those 3 towns and this only applies to wedding cakes - I don't deliver birthday cakes - they must be picked up in my tiny town)
- Cupcakes start at $20/dozen and custom decorations average $30 per dozen and up.
- Decorated cookies start at $30 per dozen.
If you want to get some "professional" advice on some of this, check out these Craftsy Classes: Small Cakes, Big Business and How to Start a Cake Business. Craftsy classes are awesome and I've not been disappointed in any of the ones I've taken!
And that’s it!! I think I’ve covered all the details and answered most of the questions I get! I wish you the best in your cake business and as always, if I can help, don’t hesitate to shoot me a message or email… and please keep reading at RoseBakes.com!!
A more recent post on cake pricing that might also help you : Let's Talk About Cake Pricing & Serving Sizes!!
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So, did this help you? Do you have other questions about how to charge for cakes? What do you think about my pricing? Good? Bad? On Par? I love to hear from readers and would love to have your input/opinions!
Awesome, so much help for a rookie like me!!! Thank you!!!
You're very welcome!
Thank you so much for posting this! I've not long started making cakes and spend all day (and most of my night) doing them. I wanted to give up because I sell myself VERRRRY cheap!! Thanks for showing me how to price 🙂
I do have a personal question though. How do you juggle homeschooling your children, and having a cake business? And do you have a partner that helps with the load?
Just wondering as im a single mother and I want to homeschool my daughter. Need advice.
My husband and children are very involved in helping me. One of my boys makes all of my frosting, my husband makes all of my fondant and some decorations, and my daughter does 99% of my baking these days. We definitely have a family business 🙂
Wow that's awesome! Kudos to you guys!
Do you need license to run a cake business out of your home?
In Mississippi, under our cottage food law, a business license is not required. However, I do have one to cover my business because it extends beyond my real-life cake business.
Thank you. I'm in Florida. Havent heard of cottage food law I'll ck into it. Thank you
You can check laws for different states here: http://forrager.com/laws/.
In California our cottage food laws are in two separate licenses. Cottage license A is a basic license and you cannot have any kind of cream or items that require refrigeration. License B allows you to use cream fillings, etc... You will need inspections with this license and with both options you cannot have children under 5 in the baking area or pets, if so it must have a door on the baking area.
Hi rose, all you shared was very informative , thanku so much for helping a new home based baker like me to have a better start . Bless u!
That's Awesome! Thank you for sharing.
I haven't stared a business yet but i love to make cakes for my family sometimes some friends ask me if I sell.
I been reading your chart pricing in 8" $65 ,9"$78,10 $91" round cakes how many layers on that cakes with prices?
I have a new post up about homeschooling & caking here Kat: https://rosebakes.com/homeschool-run-cake-business/
Hi i just read your blog with much interest, I like some of what you said, but I have some things to add. First about cakes and pricing, it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in business. I am in business for over 30 years and it still trips me up.
We used to price a cake by the slice but I really felt it was not fair all the way around. People who ordered a bigger cake was paying more but was it really worth that. When you are doing a smaller cake and the level of complexity of the design is difficult sometimes that does not translate or warrant the larger cake being charged the same way. They are almost penalized for ordering a big cake. So what we did is go cake by cake, We figure out the cost of a base cake and add on the design work. It also makes it easier for customers to figure out if we are even in their budget. So we tell them the base price of a cake for 50 people and if that does not fit in their budget and waste my time going in that area, I could offer them something else.
The other thing is about purchasing wholesale, it is not that much of a difference in cost for me and for you. Maybe for chocolate or something like that because I have to buy a pallet, but if you could by a pallet you could get my cost. It irks me that some home bakers are taking my business but I cannot fight this. I make delicious cakes, do you know how many times people come in here and say they do not care what the cakes taste like they are only concerned with the look. This makes me so mad I want to show them the door. I say instead if you do not want a cake that tastes good, go somewhere else, we are not for you. Do you know how many times customers come in the day of the event and a home baker who was suppose to make them a cake bailed out because someone got sick. I could never use that excuse, I have a reputation and a conscience. I pay m,y rent and pay my employees and pay my insurance, bank product, utilities etc. The home baker is here to stay there is nothing you can do about it. I'm not mad about it but it is like you say, don't make a cake cheaper then me, you have to be competitive.
I'm glad you shared this and I wish you luck in your career which seems to have a lot of titles attached.
Sounds a bit like a rant!
I would politely disagree with your comment. Although her stance is strong, she is fair in her reasoning. Most home bakers and bakery owners alike would agree that pricing is the most difficult aspect of the trade (especially because it is our passion!) To justify reasons for pricing to their more frugal audience can sometimes feel defeating for these culinary artists (especially when they are met with a rude response). I think Rose's article was not only extremely helpful to fellow bakers, but witty and blunt-- which let's be honest, is necessary in the business world to stay afloat these days. Thank you, Rose!
I too have been in business for over 30 years. I am happy to read your comment. I thought when I started my business you were supposed to protect the public by either opening a shop with a health inspected kitchen in a rented shop or your home with a separate kitchen for home and business. Also insurances for liabilities, etc... Busn. licenses, paying taxes for food tax, and state tax. Which takes a book keeper or CPA, so a home baker not charging tax for income is not legal. I do not understand this. I mean I see so many area bakers, that are not going by what the law allows in a food business. I don't know if there are so many they can never catch them all? BUT, I will say it costs me a fortune, and the prices mentioned are far more than I can price most of the time. I am loosing business due to home bakers undercutting prices. I have $35 buttercream floral designs with many flowers for an 8-inch. No one would pay what was quoted in this blog.. I really wish they would. My cakes are really moist and flavorful.
I honestly would love to know how to make money blogging. I need the extra income! My wedding cakes do start out at $3.25 per serving and go up depending on designs. Sheet cakes are a bit over $1 per serving depending on design. I cater full time also, but again, the home caterers are really putting the real busn. out by underpricing or not??? Imagine in your home, family members sticking their fingers in all the food that is made, can be the same with cakes.. that's why there are laws, but no one is abiding by them.. why should I?
The home bakery and/or cottage food laws vary by state, and I have disagree and say home bakeries ARE real businesses. In Mississippi (where I live), there are no inspections or insurance required, so yes, it's less expensive to work from home, but I also do it legally with a local permit. I do charge and collect sales tax according to the laws in Miss. but I don't need an accountant to do it - it's a fairly easy process. I also do not undercut my prices or my local competition. If anything, I charge more than most. OH and I have 6 kids that I homeschool but I assure you, NO ONE is sticking their fingers in my cakes!! Having said all that - I hate to see home businesses undercut other businesses - it really makes doing business and earning a good income harder for everyone. I'm sorry you're having to deal with that.
I had no idea you could work at home with out a separate health inspected kitchen, which you can do in my state. good to know you pay the taxes, I know many that do not. I thought you would abide by the laws, as you have all your business on the internet and well known. I guess I am just really beside myself, when there are so many not doing what they are supposed to, while many of us have worked so hard to do it by the law. Was also sure you didn't let your children in your work area.. some are not as strict in their homes around their business. IF you home schooled also you are to be commended, that is a huge accomplishment, so I can imagine how well your children are behaved. Take care and I will continue to read your blog, etc... I do find it useful, as I can learn something from people who haven't been in the business nearly as long as I have. Some that have just recently started.
Thank you Rose! I'm a home baker, I also sell in a local market. I'm currently renovating my cellar (separate from my house) into a studio, to work out of. I charge the same prices stated above, by Rose. I live in a very small town, but my work is such that it deserve the price tag, and people don't complain. There is another home baker in my town, that undercuts everyone's prices, but she doesn't have the skill to charge what I do. No one would pay that price for her work. She still takes many orders. Just because I choose to do this from my home, doesn't mean I'm less qualified.Or that I don't practice safe, cleanly baking habits. I am a mother first, working from home allows me to raise my child and help support my family. I have found that some people will always want cheap, some people want quality, that's what I offer. A business license doesn't automaticly mean skill, I can think of 3 "real bakeries" in my area, who's work isn't half as good as mine. I can assure you that none of my children have ever put their fingers in someone's cake. Which is just as likely to happen in a restaurant, by employees. As a home baker, I dont steal business from people, people choose me, and my work. Plain and simple.
Hi rose , I am rose also is my nickname.I have read your story about your cakes and I agree with your decision making.And I am planning to put up a small business like cakes decorating but I have doubt on how to get the profit or take a charges of any kinds of cakes.
Thanks 🙂 waiting for you response rose
Please explain how are home bakers "taking your business?" Did these customers you lost break a contract for your exclusive services? No? Then no one stole your customers. The customer has the right to choose between you and other bakers. And how arrogant of you to believe your cakes taste better than those that come out of a cottage industry baker's kitchen. Get over yourself or stay out of the kitchen.
I agree. I can honestly say that there is a bakery here in town and their cakes SUCK! They're dry and crumble and they charge an outrageous price. I do charge a lot less, but I'm also starting out. I'm saving for a shop that I can place behind my house, saving for the insurance and renovations. But because I work out of my house for now, doesn't mean that my cakes are subpar. I've had many compliments on my cakes and my name is now all over the midlands of my state. I came to this article because I do feel that i need to raise my prices, but some of these comments about home bakers stealing industry bakers customers really hit a spot. The customer chooses. I've already been told by my customers to raise my prices and that they'd pay. Okay, I'm done venting lol
Rant indeed. I'm a full time school teacher and I've baked cakes for 35 years from my home to make extra money; including to put my own self through college and raise our two daughters, and I too hear from people that want a cake and they've not been happy with a big cake shop's problems; inconsistent decorators because of employee turnovers, or inexperienced decorators, etc. so when they pick a cake picture out and then some beginning-decorator gets their order and it's NOTHING like they asked for. Everyone knows my work. It's widely known around our small towns. I also make wedding cakes for a state park lodge and deliver them myself. The big cake shops in a town near here won't even deliver there. Their loss is my gain. I have to pay full price for all of my cake supplies; so I do NOT pay the same as you for my ingredients. I pay the same thing the public pays for my supplies. I can already tell you do NOT sell cake supplies to local bakers either; or you would not be ranting and slamming them publicly. Again, your loss. You could be a friend to them and make even more money by selling supplies to them, like the one I buy from. She's awesome and we've even taken some classes together.
I do sell supplies to home bakers. I have to say that I do not feel that the home baker is fair, they undercut you on cake and dessert prices. They do not pay taxes, do not have liability insurance, (if someone got sick, you could be sued and the place you are delivering to will be sued. The other thing is I hire people and help support the economy, do you hire people to work in your kitchen. Do you get inspected, I get inspected every year. Cake supplies are pretty much the same for me as they are for you. So many sell to the home baker. If it has been something you do why don't you take the leap and open a shop. Put you b___t on the line. I have been doing this for many years and I do not have customers who do not get what they ask for. I know that goes on, but I also know of many home cake decorators who have disappointed also. They did not deliver because someone got sick in their family. Just my two cents.
I don't understand the animosity. Life isn't "fair." We all have to take the hand we're dealt and work with it. Every person has to do what's right for them. You want a bakery (or maybe have to have one based on the laws in your state) - that's your choice and your circumstances. Personally, I love baking from home and I have no desire to run a full-time bakery. It's not about not putting my butt on the line - it's about making life choices that work for ME. I can homeschool my kids and sell cakes from home. I couldn't homeschool my kids and run a full-scale bakery.
If you want to talk about "fair", it's not FAIR to say all home bakers undercut bakeries on cake and dessert prices. It's not FAIR to say I don't support the local economy. I charge MORE than the local bakery - sometimes 2-3 times per serving more. Also, I abide by every law in the state where I live. We have a cottage food law that allows me to bake from home without inspection. I do pay taxes and I do have a business license. I could have liability insurance but I choose not to. That doesn't mean I'm not liable for lawsuits - I could be sued and I'd pay the price. That's a risk I choose to take. Likely EVERY home baker is taking that risk because of our lawsuit-crazy society.
I pay my children to work for me and I pay other local people for edible images, cake delivery services, cake stand rentals, custom cake toppers, etc. I don't need to hire full-time help because I don't take that many orders. It's a simple matter of my home bakery is not that big (by choice). It doesn't mean I don't support the local economy - I buy ingredients locally when I can, and the taxes I pay to go to my local economy.
As far as canceling because of a family illness. I have NEVER.... NOT ONCE in 7 years of my home bakery canceled because I was sick or my kids were sick. I did cancel when I had to have surgery but that was a major medical event that even a bakery owner couldn't have avoided and I gave my customers 2-3 weeks notice so they could find another source for their cake. I'm sure there are just as many cases of bakeries failing to satisfy or follow-through with a customer as there are home bakeries doing the same. Just because you have a bakery (not from home) doesn't make you incapable of mistakes or disappointments, nor does having a home bakery naturally make you a flaky business owner.
Hi Rose, My now 17 year old son started a baking business 2 years ago in FL where we live. It is a lot of work and when he is in school I have to kick in and do all the baking. While at times he undersells he still gets paid fairly well for our area and always the price of the supermarket chain here. I applaud you for doing what you do and you really shouldn't have to explain what you do to others. I just hope my son take that energy to college -- he is also starting a clothing line. Always something. But i do have one question - where did you get your fondant training? Were you self taught. I am getting ready to youtube myself to death with the fondant animals. I usually tell customers I would do the fondant but charge 3 x's the regular amount because I really dislike fondant.
Rose you don't have to explain . Thank you so much for tjis information
I can see that might be a problem with some home bakers. I, on the other hand, take a commitment seriously when I am asked to make a cake for someone. Especially since they may live out of state and know no one else to ask. I had 2 cakes to do one weekend five years ago and my daughter went into labor at 5 months and her first child and her daughter did not live. My grandfather also died 3 days later while I was with my daughter trying to get through this, taking down a baby crib and ultrasound photos. But, I would never balk on a deal with someone that is about to experience their happiest day. So, I did the first cakes Friday and delivered them, buried my first grandchild Saturday morning, and my husband helped me and we finished and delivered the second cakes Sunday afternoon. We buried my grandfather 2 days later. I don't even remember decorating the cakes to this day. Not everyone bails out as you stated, when someone is "sick". Those people that do should already have a reputation and word of mouth should stop people from using them. It's sad they are still doing this to people. If public school teachers were paid as they should be, I more than likely would not do this for extra money either. I've also told many people to go to several cakes shops in another town when I was unable to do a cake for them. I enjoy doing cakes. I never intended to open a shop; I took lessons to bake cakes for friends and family. I only started doing them for other people because they kept demanding them. Greediness is very unbecoming.
So let me take back some of my comments and not lump everybody into the same category. In NY there is no cottage laws. People still make cakes out of their homes. I understand there are customers out there looking for a better deal. Will they get it? Maybe a better price but not a better cake. We have a Costco near us, I see the cakes they produce and I know that the cakes are not the same quality but people buy them. There are different customers with different tastes and different budgets, I understand that. I am happy to hear that you are running your cake business as a business and not entering it looking for the business and not the least expensive cakes you can sell. sorry I insulted you. You are right about liability, all it takes is one person to get sick (not even on your cake ) and they sue everyone. Your response Susan that greediness is unbecoming, you should think about what you are saying until you walk in someone else's shoes. I have to meet the rent for my location plus utilities every month. I have to pay withholding tax for employees every month, pay for supplies every week. Try to be fair to everyone and still stay in business. I don't think there is a night that I have gone home and not thought about my business and how I can make it better or is something going to break or whatever other things could go wrong that may effect my business. I am not greedy, far from it, I have helped more people then I can count, starting business, needing a job or sharing my knowledge with other business owners. I am a firm believer in helping whomever I can.
Thanks Rose, very helpful indeed. I only have one question what is an average height of the cakes in your portion/price charts? For example a 8inch cake round cake that serves 20-24 people, how tall would it be ? Just trying to see what are the common portion sizes are as i tend to do them slightly bigger. Thanks , Veronica
My cakes are generally 4" tall, give or take a little.
Would that be 3 layers of cake?
No, 2 layers plus filling.
(This was my question too!) How would you adjust prices for 3-4 layer cakes? Or do you only do two-layer cakes? Thanks!
Overall, I charge per serving. So if you add layers, you add servings and therefore, you'd charge more.
Thank you so much Rose for your advices, you are very kind to share your experience with us, and an admirable women.
I do baking in my home on fort Lauderdale, Fl since 2 years ago, doing catering. So now I want to start adding more custom cakes. But my fears don't let me progress. I am married and mother of twins and always dream about showing what I can do with my art. I would like to ask, what do you do about the city's regulations or permits? This is one of my concerns.
I really appreciate your posting, it help me very much.
Thank you Rose!
The laws and permits vary from state to state and even within some cities. You will need to contact your local health department and/or Small Business Administration to find out the regulations for your location.
Hello, I was wanting to start doing this for a little extra cash, I already love to bake. I'm a stay at home mom so I have the time, I was just curious if you could help me with a few pointers, if you could email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
That way I can ask you questions personally now and in the future, thank you so much!
Hi Amy, I actually get asked so many questions, I don't have time to reply to them all. I do offer one-on-one coaching services if you'd like some personal help. You can get that info there: https://rosebakes.com/my-coaching-services-wanna-pick-my-brain/
Hi rose, first you're very kind and helpful to let us understand how does it work when you think to sell cake, because of the passion for sure you had. I have the same passion, I've learn by my self and after I worked as a icream maker in Italy, I started to think maybe I can sell my cakes. Everyone always appreciated even because I don't use only frosting or icing sugar. (Those I use only for decorations).
Anyway I'm a bit scared how Can I do in US now.
I met people that told me I do able to do cake and loved the taste too. So because I always made cake for friends and my family I started to think maybe I can do it. But how ? Here food is so expensive and if you're not careful you loose money instead to earning.
Where to go?
Where I can buy things that we need for cakes.
And other worries are where is possible to by gluten free food ?
Because I cook for allergies and I've made gluten free cakes. I hope you've can give me more advices.
Thanks a lot
Thank you so much! I feel relieved! Your cakes are beautiful!
I have recently had a cake decorated10 b 10 square How much per hour should I pay She has not charged me but she has spent five hours of her time decoratingI made the cake
THANK YOU!!! Wonderful article. love your blog
You're very welcome and thank you!!
This has helped me so very much! Thank you for all the information. Now I know how to go forward!
Thank you so much this was a lot of help and very informative.
Thank you so much for the hints!!!! Really appreciated.
Palazzo Sweets & Cakes
Thank you for the information, I have been making cakes 30 plus years .I more from my home town 9 years ago, and had stopped bake due to not knowing anyone .but recently I have started baking again and I'm going calls from several people. So thank you it will help me .
I am SOOOO glad you posted this, Rose. I was just SCREAMED at by a friend who said I was WAYYYY undercharging. You are so right....who the heck wants to be known as the cheap cake lady. 🙂 Thank you for giving me more confidence to charge more!!!!! XX
Absolutely thrilled to help! I think undercharging is an epidemic among home bakers! Thanks for commenting 🙂
PLUS...I do lots of fondant and handmade flowers. I really need to give myself at least a bit more credit for my own time. Ugh...it's not easy!!!!
Thanks so much for this, my only question is how tall are your round cakes? this determines how many multiples of my recipes I bake for my cakes, plus icing in between. I also started out too low and have now got to a place where I think the work I produce has improved greatly and most people seem happy to pay it.
I generally don't deliver as I am either baking or have the kids.
I also believe if they can't afford it go and get a supermarket cake but don't compare them to mine. You need to target market your business.
My tiers are generally around 4" tall, so each of the 2 layers of cake are just under 2" plus I do a "dam" of frosting and then filling in between. Does that make sense? The pics are HORRIBLE, but you can see how I do that in a very old post here: https://rosebakes.com/adventures-in-cake-making-part-1/.
Thanks Rose, that is great !
You are just so awesome! In my area, bakers don't share anything with each other! You share so much that you have learned with us all, and you are to be commended for that! Pricing is still a big struggle for me. I wind up quoting each cake I do individually.... Hardly ever get the same order twice. My costs average out to be about $3.00 a slice for basic design. I tack on alot more for detailed work. I've lost many customers because of my pricing, but they were wanting a specialty cake for Wal Mart pricing and I just can't do that anymore. I must say, though, since I've learned to stick with my pricing and not feel back about what I charge, I've been blessed with some awesome repeat customers! You always encourage me so much! God bless!
Love you Renee!! Your comments always encourage me, make me feel appreciated, and make me smile 😀
You have NO idea how your recipes and tutorials have helped me! I live by your fondant recipe!!!!
Always nice to see that the pros struggled in the beginning as well. Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us!
You're welcome! xx
Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with all of us. When I first started I know I struggled with telling people the amount I charged. Why do we do this to ourselves? Many of us home bakers are better than bakers with brick and mortar stores!! What really clinched it for me was not wanting to be known as "the cheap cake lady." If you want a cheap cake, go to where you can get a cheap cake. If you want a cake from me, it will be custom and you will pay for it! LOL!! Thanks again!!!
Perfectly articulated, Rose.
Thank you Kim!
Thanks for the advice very helpfull as im just trying to turn this from a hobby to a small business. Admire your honesty.
Katy (Crafty Mama)
Rose, I hope to some day be more like you! My cakes are by no means bad. I'm still a little inexperienced, but I've been doing this on and off for about 5 years, and actually selling them for 6 months now. The bakery I worked at only charged $1.50 per slice and a lot of people thought it was outrageous. I charge similar pricing, so I can refer back to that bakery and say, hey, they charged the same! Unfortunately, this is what most of the local bakers charge (I've checked them all out the best I can!), and it's the price of living in a small town. I've finally come to terms with selling an 8 inch cake for $35 (so many people scoff at the price), but I still struggle selling a 2 tiered cake that costs $50+. I always feel like I'm over charging, and underselling myself. But I suppose I really need to build a client base before I can start raising my prices!
Wow love it even thought im in Colombia south América i can totally relate to it. I was doing the same thing 2 yrs ago charging cheap until one costumer send me one of her friends and she said that i work really nice and charge so cheap. after that i did my math and figure out how much i was suppose to charge and i do it the same way is per serving then add up details and tiers IT WORKS!! CONGRATS
A friend told me once that if your are far too busy and nobody ever balks at your prices, then you're undercharging. I definitely need to raise my prices but I think I have confidence issues . . . I don't feel like the cakes are perfect yet, so I'm hesitant to charge more. This was a helpful article--now I just need to act on it.
How do you deal with the issue of referrals from friends and family? I charge less for immediate friends and family, but most of the business I get is from referrals. So my friend Jane paid $35 for a cake and referred me to her friend--I'm sure Jane mentioned the price she paid when she referred me. How do I tactfully increase the price for the friend?
I'm so sorry I missed your question! I would quote her a price and if she mentions that so-and-so paid less, just tell her that you give discounts to family and close friends but you can't extend that to everyone. Most people will understand. You can also tell your family and friends that you are giving them a discount and ask them to not share that price when doing referrals, or tell them what you would charge someone else so they can pass along the full price.
very well said Rose!!
People need to understand that this is a job and we need to get paid for, if they are looking for a cheap cake, there are plenty at the grocery store.
When I get an inquiry that starts with how much... I am looking for something simple and plain... nothing complicated, just a purse, with standing handles and a little dog next to it, I just tell them the full price right up front. Either they book with me right away, or I never hear from them again.
People tend to want custom one of a kind cakes for the price of Sam"s cakes. mmm no, it is not happening. Great post!!!
You're so right Kathia! I know I'm probably in for a doozy when they start with, "I just want something simple, it shouldn't take much time..."
Very good article. I just started my business but will not back down on my prices. Baked from scratch (each recipe is tasted by me and others), I know not everyone is going to like all the flavors but if I can eat it and others clean off their plates then it is a recipe I use. Tired of I can get it for $30, please do have a great celebration and thank you for considering me. Lucky come January I can sell outside of my county. My prices are close to other counties.
Thank you, thank you! I remember how much I appreciated it when you shared with me your spreadsheet for calculating cakes a year (or two) ago!
When I started cakeing a year and a half ago, your blog helped me tremendously! I still go back and look at things when I need help figuring something out! As a home baker, I can totally relay to the "underselling" of my work! I work a full time job as a radiologic technologist during the day and 4 days out of 7, come home and bake and decorate, along with being a mom to two boys and a wife! I do still sell myself short sometimes, but after several "I can get a cake that size at Walmart for $30" instances, I realize I put MUCH more time, work and heart into my cakes than Walmart does! I live in a small rural town, where the nearest "big" town is 30 miles away! And again, 80% of my customers come from that town! I'm learning that most people will pay what you quote because they either love my cakes or know it's worth it (most of the time both!)!!!
Thanks for this guide Rose you're awesome!! Just another pricing question:: how would u charge for cupcakes and cookies. I lost out on a profit because i undercharged on a cupcakes and detailed sugar cookie order. And if u have time could you post on how to maximize your profit by buying the cheapest but best supplies and what is easier to buy premade or making from scratch. Thanks again!!
I generally charge $15-$30 per dozen for cupcakes... it all depends on how detailed the decorations are. For cookies, I don't have a good price set because I just don't do them often enough. Decorated cookies are always at least $2 each.
Rose you are such an inspiration love your blogs. this one was especially helpful. i charge by serving also. i just started almost 1 yr ago and i have been looking at the issue to of am i shorting myself. thank you so much. hope you can look at some of my work.
What do you use as a guide for serving sizes? I have looked and looked but every chart I see is different from the next!! I would appreciate some advice on this. Thanks so much!
I use the Wilton charts - they are on their website.
how much should I charge for pound cakes I was charging 25.00 for them and 40.00 to 45.00 for 2 tier cakes but some people was saying that is to much . I live in Pensacola florida and I charge 2.50 for cupcakes what should I do here is my number if you can help me I will love it 850-602-1722 cell thank you.
My question is how do you keep a cake fresh while decorating it? Some cakes take me, a rank beginner, two or three days to finish and I've found I can put buttercream decorated cakes into the fridge, but if decorating with fondant that doesn't work. Also, how long can one leave a fondant decorated cake before serving it?
I decorate most cakes in about 4 hours or less. I haven't ever had to have one out for that long. I have had fondant cakes picked up a couple of days before the party and they've held up fine, but obviously, I'd recommend not leaving them out that long if you can avoid it.
Thanks so much for the quick response Rose. I'm thoroughly enjoying your site, thank you for sharing and I hope March onwards is going to be a happier time for you.
This is the first I've seen this, and yet again I'm being reminded I'm undercharging. Thanks for all the information and advice. Pricing is hard. HARD. I've yet to come up with a price sheet, but this will be extremely helpful. Thanks!
Love you Stephanie! I'm sorry I missed this comment way back when...
what state do you live in?
What about sheetcakes and cupcakes? For graduations and birthdays? Just a general decoration on a 1/2 sheet. I live in a small town but have recently decided to stay homewith my kids and hope to get my cake business growing. I plan on raising to prices for decorative cakes but still have no clue what to charge for sheet cakes and cupcakes!!
I don't do many sheet cakes but when I do, I usually charge $3 per serving. Cupcakes start at $15 per dozen for plain frosted or with sprinkles unless I'm running a special. The price increases for individual fondant toppers or other details - up to $30 per dozen.
Ok, Rose, I have had a shop for 30 yrs now! BUT my sheet cakes for buttercream flowers for a 1/4 sheet to serve #24 ($35). Unless there are many more flowers or design. Still not much more though. 1/2 sheets start at $75+. I have seen so many home bakers, that charge less, or know so many with a good following, they get more business than I do now. I have not had a daily open bakery for yrs, and also do full catering to supplement for the same amount of yrs. I take orders by phone, appointment, internet. Your blogging has me interested if I have time, as I need to make more money and since my yrs. in the biz is specializing in buttercream, I would love to slow down in some areas to share some knowledge, and to make additional money. I have Nancy's Fancy's Cakes & Catering in Abingdon, VA. Enjoying the read/ info on your page. PS. the facebook page I put in the website info, I am not able to log-in at this time, but has hundreds of photo's where my work is shared. I sure hope I can get the page back!
I've been decorating cakes for 20 plus years but because of the law not allowing me to sell out of my home, I've only done cakes for friends and family and mostly at cost "to gain experience". I've just recently learned of Louisiana's new cottage food law ( yay Louisiana ) but my problem is that everyone I know is so accustomed to getting a "saxs fifth avenue" cake for a "goodwill" price, no one is really willing to pay. I had someone call me the other day and wanted a 3 tier cake with intricate piping design. I told her I would charge her $100. That was less than $2 per
serving! She decided to go with someone else who would do it for $65. How do you deal with so many home bakers who do it for pennies ( literally)
I have to just let those orders go. I am already overwhelmed with orders and booked for 6-8 weeks in advance so if I lose orders like that, it's okay. I know that's not as easy for someone like you who is struggling to build a customer base. Maybe you could gradually increase your prices and it wouldn't be so hard. The biggest thing is what's it worth to YOU? If you can't do a 3 tiered cake for less than $100 because of the time and expense involved - then don't (and you shouldn't by the way - that's just crazy!)... if someone else is doing it, maybe they are desperate for the money, or don't have other things pressing for their time or... whatever. It doesn't matter. You have to do what works for you.
I've been doing cakes for 20+ years. Mostly for friends and family due to not legally being able to sell cakes out of my home. Recently I've learned about Louisiana passing a cottage food law (yay Louisiana) but because of everyone I know getting cakes from me at cost for 20+ years. No one wants to pay for them. I've also run into problems with other home bakers charging $65 for a cake that serves70. Felling really frustrated!
I can only imagine how frustrating that is. I'm sure it's hard to break that kind of pattern. I guess my advice would be to simply explain that there are hours and hours of time involved plus the rising cost of ingredients and supplies. Tell them that since you are trying to take this from a hobby to a business, you will have to raise your prices so that you're benefiting from all of the time and money invested. If they still aren't willing to pay, I'm not sure what you could do. Maybe tell them to read this post!?
Thank you so much for your site! You gave me the courage to make my girls' birthday cakes and cupcakes this year! I am curious how you got started and when did you start charging for cakes? One of my coworkers asked me to make her baby shower cake and cupcakes instead of giving her a gift. I was invited to the party, so I had no problem with that. Now she wants me to make a cake and cupcakes for another shower and another coworker asked about a cake and cupcakes for her neice's graduation. I know I can't charge what you do because I am still very much a beginner. But, still, I have a full time job and two kids and you know each one takes hours to make. Since I am so inexperienced I don't know what is fair. Thanks for all you do, your site is the first I go to for ideas and tutorials.
Congratulations!! That's how I started too. At a minimum I'd start at $2/serving... and maybe $10/dozen cupcakes!
Thanks so much for this post! I have been a home baker for 10+ years but only recently have started getting occasion requests to bake for special occasions.
I was going to originally charge ~$40 for a 12x18 inch sheet cake (banana cake with brown sugar cream cheese frosting), but read your post and realized that I didn't want to be "that cheap cake lady" either! 🙂 I ended up charging $100 (50 people x $2/serving), but it was out of the customer's budget. I don't feel bad, because I value my time, as baking is something I do on the side when I'm not at my 'real' job.
Thank you so much for the encouragement and much needed advice!
Good for you!! You won't regret valuing your work - even if you do lose some orders. Just today I lost an order because of what I charge but I know without a doubt I'd have regretted doing that cake for what the client wanted to spend - and I don't like regrets so I backed out!
(By the way, I meant a 2 layer cake, not just one cake layer with frosting!)
Yanice Figueroa Colón
¿Cuál sería el precio para bizcochos en moldes cuadrados y rectangulares? ¿Sería el mismo precio por pedazo que los redondos?
Thank you so much!!
I needed to see what I am charging is correct!
Hubby keeps telling me I need to make it worth the time taken away from our family and home!
You hit the nail on the head, girl! Almost EXACTLY what I did starting out until I gained confidence and started charging more for my time. My daughter has been on me about under charging and only making $3 or $4 an hour for my time. I have developed the same attitude,"If you want a cheaper cake then go to the mass produced box store and get what you pay for." I really love creating special cakes for people's special occasions but I can not spend 8 hours on creating a that spectacular cake and only make $20. If cake decorators really charged what their time, expertise, skill and attention to detail was worth, then only a select demographic of cliental would be able to afford it. Let's face it, most of us do not have those kind of wealthy customers. But I love seeing a child's face when they see their special cake that you've created just for them. 🙂
Wow, thank you so much...your story sounds EXACTLY like mine. I'm killing myself with cake orders (I'm a full time teacher doing this on the side) and I'm making very little money. I have a good friend who also does cakes in her home and she said "If they are looking for a Cake Boss cake on a Walmart budget then I'm not the person for them". I thought that was well said! Thanks again for the info!
Thank you 🙂 you give me courage to keep on this path, cause i´m doing that, and it´s been hard cause i`m just starting and there´s a lot of people doing the same for really low prices, but now i feel that i`m doing this right, it´s hard when they go someplace else, but when i do get a costumer they become loyal to me, so i must be doing it right don´t you think? 🙂
thank you! I struggle with this every time I bake an ordered cake!
Thank you for this guideline...I worked 33 years at a retail grocery store in small town...now friends and family want homemade for same price!!! Several years of experience and talent should not go out cheap!! Very encouraging words!
Thank you so much for this information, you have been very helpful. My last cake, I charged way too little, I think I shocked myself out ot charging too little, funny enough. I think this happened for a reason, I don't even know why I did this, enough is enough 🙂 Thanks again.
Hi Rose, thanks so kuch for this! This is all i need. I am using cost a cake app but i didnt realized it only worked on my iphone and cant open the paid apps on my computer. It will be a bit of a hazzle when my phone doent work sometimes;((. I think My pricing is fair compare to other home bakers in my area. I dont charge my time and followed the proper pricing in my website as customers always compares prices and ended up not ordering ;(((.
Here is my pricing that you can find in my website:
-Tiered novelty and special occassion cakes range from $5-$12 per serving.
-Simple Buttercream cake is $3.50 per serving
-fondant covered cake is $4.50 per serving
*Note: It all depends on the complexity of the design of the cake and or additional fillings if requested.
Call or e-mail us for an estimate and we'll do our best to accomodate your budget and theme.
Prices for cupcakes
Basic $2.50 each
*add filling - $0.50
*add decorative topping - $0.50
*add fondant cover with design - $1.00 - $3.00
(minimum order one dozen).
One flavor per one dozen regular sized cupcakes.
$30.00 per 2 dozen mini cupcakes. One flavor per 2 dozen mini cupcakes (minimum order two dozens)
*Additional fees apply for custom fondant decorations or special liners.
Thank you all so much foe all who shares theirs too! It means a lot! Godbless!
What a selfless and generous thing to do. Thank you!
Hi! Rose thank you for the information on this topic! I notice u say you charge for both fondant and buttercream
Servings the same, But doesnt the fondant require you to purchase the fondant? Which would be an extra cost? Can you let me know more on this please.
I actually make my own fondant most of the time and it's fairly inexpensive: https://rosebakes.com/how-to-make-homemade-marshmallow-fondant-yummy/. However, if you buy fondant, you could certainly justify charging more!
Ditto on the thanks for this article! Two weeks in a row I have gotten 14 hours of sleep over a 4-5 day period, all because I'm killing myself for orders. I have been charging WAY too little for custom cakes, but yet CONSTANTLY have people go elsewhere due to my "high prices." But, they're wanting custom work at Wal-Mart prices. Starting out, I felt like some money was better than none, but making $2 per hour or less is just unacceptable! My work does, most definitely, speak for itself, I just need to be confident enough in the fact that the RIGHT customers will come and return and refer others. I also will establish a per slice price and stick to it. All this to say, thanks again for your words of experience!
great starter info! We have a storefront and with the additional cost of rent, utilities and payroll,. I have a minimum of 160$ for 6/8 buttercreme... 5$ per serving. Minimum for 8" is $100..... This will come with simple decorations. My fondant is 6$ per serving and comes with decorations. We do a lot of party cakes and they are very time consuming. I sometimes think wedding cakes are easier! We also do everything homemade.... No buckets and mixes and our tiers are approximately 5-6" tall.
Thanks for sharing
thanks for the info!! Your story is exactly what I went Thur and burnt my self out! I real enjoyed ur story and honesty thank for sharing!
Thank you for posting this! I always seem to struggle with pricing. I like very much the idea of having a set per slice price, that makes it so much more easier.
I've lost quite a bit of customers because of my pricing and I have to be completely honest—it's very discouraging. My prices are very close to yours and I find it's very true that ppl want the look, but don't want to pay the price.
I had a customer ask me once for a Wreck it Ralph Cake—a sheet cake on bottom with a 8x8 cake on top, all the decor...like windows and trees and the Wreck it Ralph Figurine and wanted to only pay $80???
I've had ppl ask for Elmo two tiered cakes and want to pay only $30-40???
I've also encountered where other home bakers will charge $80 for a cake that I would normally charge $150-$200 and I can't help wonder—how exactly are they making a profit?
So...I will not be discouraged, I will value my time...I will respect my talent...and I will charge accordingly.
Thank you for this post!
Rose...Thank you so much for sending this information to me!!! this is what I was looking for...excellent guidance...GOD BLESS you and your family!!! with all my heart I speak health and prosperity for you all!! Love , Maritza
You're very welcome!
Thank you so much for posting this! I really needed someone to break this subject down on a "real" level for a home baker. I have found out that I've been way undercharging for my cakes, in fear of not getting business. I'm trying to understand, that if they really want a quality cake from me, they will come. I shouldn't have to run after them. 🙂 I live in the "sticks" too, so delivery is needed for me to get my goods to others. Some people just don't get how much driving is involved when you live in a rural area, or how much toll a dirt road can take, even on cupcakes. Thanks again. You are a true inspiration. 🙂 Happy Baking!
I just recently found this article on Pinterest and I LOVE it! I had to pull it up today and read it again after I posted a pic of the latest cake I made and had a number of people ask about it. I normally stick with cupcakes and have recently began branching out, but it is extremely frustrating to be told that my prices are 'too expensive' and yet they are comparable to the grocery store. Thank you for the confirmation that I am doing the right thing with my prices!
Thank you so much for this. You helped me to know that I am on the right track but I do still need to increase a bit in a few areas. Thanks!
Thanks for some great tips!
My daughter and I have a really hard time figuring out how much to charge.
I will give you an example, and would love it if you could give me an idea of what we should charge.
An 8' two layer round cake surrounded with Pirouette cookies and ribbon, with blue homemade gel as water, three rubber ducks on top (plastic) and handmade fondant bubbles. As well 12 cupcakes iced and decorated with a homemade chocolate duck, and 12 cupcakes iced and decorated with silver balls and glitter.
I really can't tell you what you should charge because I don't know your market, your competition, your skill level and experience, your ingredients costs, etc. But I can tell you that I'd probably charge $100-$115 for all of that.
how do you price your sheet cakes? Per serving, or set price and if set price how much per sheet cake? Are your sheet cakes single tier or double?
I price them per serving like all of my other cakes and I do some single layer, some 2 layer... depends on what the client wants, how many servings they need, etc.
Rose, do you use Wilton's party cake servings and wedding cake servings charts seperately, or do you use one list for both categories? If you use one, which do you use? Is your price per serving the same for wedding and party cakes? Do you charge more per slice for fondant covered cakes? I know this is a lot of questions, but I've been "in business" since June and you are one of my on-line mentors. I get about one order per week and lose about two per week.
Eeeeh.... I struggle with this. I used to use separate charts depending on the type of order, but that didn't seem fair for wedding customers to pay more for the same amount of cake. On the other hand, wedding servings generally ARE smaller, and wedding cakes take more time, skill, and STRESS than birthdays. For now, I'm pricing based on the number of birthday servings, but I tell my wedding customers that their cake will serve a larger range, depending on serving size (say 100-125 servings, depending on size served). Does that make sense? I do price the same based on difficulty. A simple wedding cake will be less per serving than a carved intricate birthday cake... regardless of size.
Thank you so much! That does help and give me some direction , especially concerning the wedding cakes. I sincerely appreciate your help.
Thank you so much for your helpful advice, this give some direction of how appreciate my work and my time. Your webpage and designs are wonderful. Again, thank you so much. God bless you and bless all that you do.
Thank you Zulay!! xx
Thank you for posting this!!! 🙂 You are so helpful. I LOVE to bake and I just recently started charging for cakes.
I gasped when my husband said I should charge $60 for my Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake! $60???!!! However, after I did the math on the time it took to make/assemble + the cost of ingredients I agreed it would be a fair price. What do you think? It's a 3 layer cake (with cheesecake as the middle layer) frosted with cream cheese icing and topped with shaved white chocolate. It's rather large (and beautiful) and I haven't really figured out how many servings but it's more than the average home made cake.
Thanks again for a wonderful post. I'm looking forward to reading the rest!!!!!
Also...just wanted to add....remember that its OK to just bring a gift and not feel like you are responsible for making a cake as a gift just because you are "the cake lady". :).
This was so heartwarming to know all over the world we as home bakers sit with the same dilemmas and do not think that our work is worthy of charging. I have been doing cakes as a hobby for over 20 yrs and then when I lost my job, I started to make cakes hoping to get a decent income. But oh did I undercharge for cakes. I made a "Last Supper" cake with Jesus and the 12 disciples and it took me 16 hours to assemble. I never wanted to make the cake again, because of the amount of work it required and the money that I charged was not worth it. The problem was that everyone who saw it, wanted one. I had more than doubled my price, and people are still paying for me to make it. I have managed to cut my hours down to 8. 🙂
Thank you for a stunning website! Oh by the way, I'm from South Africa.
Oh WOW - that's amazing Alta! Can you send me a picture of it to email@example.com?
i have a question for you did you have to get a license in order to do what you do because i want to do cake decorating on the side to make some extra money i would appreciate an honest answer so i don't have to worry Thanks much Jenny
I did not, but one is not required in my state. You really need to check with your local health department or small business administration to determine the requirements for where you live.
Reading what you have to say gave me a little more confidence to charge clients a reasonable price. I too undercharge. I find myself losing out a lot of times. How do you charge for cakes made with fondant?
The prices listed here are my fondant prices.
Thank you sooo much. I have been doing this a little over a year and haven't been able to figure out how much to charge. And have seriously been way under charging.
You're very welcome!! Best of luck to you!!
Thank you for the information this really opens up my mind now..now I'm kind of stuck on pricing on square cakes on all sizes and tier ones too.
thank you so much!!!! it's been of great help!!!
Awesome Nancy!! So glad to help!
Thank you Rose, I admire all of your work and your sassy way of writing.
🙂 Thank you Alicia!
This is amazing thank you. Big help
God bless you.Happy new year
Nana Lyn's Cupcakes
Wish I could find an Aussie version of this
Hi! Thanks so much for this. I know I under change but always feel guilty charging more. Especially in our tiny town. My main question is how do u determine servings? I have a serving chart but the numbers are less than what I saw on your pics. Tuanks!
I am from Italy. I have read your article about cakes prices and it is very very interesting.
I am interesting in knowing how people can cakes in the USA..can you bake and sell your cakes in your house???? If the answer is yes, For doing this in your house, do you need any permission or health checks ( I don' t know if it is the right definition)?
In Italy it is not permitted to bake and sell cakes in our house....we can just open a shop, pay a lot of money for this and then we can sell cakes....
Thank you so much in advance if you ll answer me!!!
The laws and requirements vary from state-to-state, but yes, in many states you can bake and sell cakes from home.
Great article. I am wondering if your prices had changed since your publication. Also, I am curious as to what part of the country you live and does that have an impact on prices. Thanks
My prices haven't changed a whole lot since this post. And I live in Mississippi.
Thanks for the great advice! I'm curious how your pricing changes based on what is covering the cake. I always charge my customers less for frosting only covered cakes and then more for fondant covered cake. Are the prices per serving that you listed for frosting covered cakes and then how do you charge for fondant?
Thanks so much!!
My prices for fondant vs. buttercream are pretty much the same. Buttercream cakes stress me out BIG TIME so I don't discount them and since I'd actually prefer fondant covered, I don't charge more for them.
I just wanted to say for people who ask you to bring a cake instead of a gift - how much would you be willing to spend on a gift for this person? $25? If they are asking for anything more than a 5" cake or a dozen cupcakes forget it!
I only give them to my immediate family as gifts and that's my choice - my offer - not their request.. because I love them to pieces and they are my family!
Yes, only for family!
Hello 🙂 great article. Very informative and answered allot of questions I had. I want to offer cupcakes as well as cakes for my family and a few clients that have ordered cakes.but I'm not sure how much I should charge. Any info or ideas would greatly be appreciated 🙂
I charge $15-$20 for plain frosted cupcakes. If they have fondant decorations - they range from $20-$36 per dozen.
Wow! That's very thought full of everyone here, it's so good to know that you are not alone in your thoughts. I live in Nigeria, west Africa. I also bake from my home, what I do is I go out to cake shops and price their cakes, then I use it as a guide line, I may decide to reduce a bit base on my relationship with the client, ve also lost some client cos I refuse to go way too low from what I charge. Am really encouraged, to better my pricing skill. Rose am glad I know you. Thanks a million
When you say 8" multi-tiered cake is $60, is that for the 8 inch tier and then the 6 inch tier is $36, for a total price of $96?
This is a great post!!
I am so happy I found this, thank you for sharing! I opened my "from home" bakery in a tiny town last year, and have also struggled with pricing of cakes. I know I need to increase my prices (right now they are $2 per serving) but wasn't really sure how much I needed to increase them. Do you have recommendations for pricing cookies as well? I feel like I spend more time on cookies than cakes or cupcakes. My cupcake pricing seems spot on. It has been a year of learning, and I'm so happy I have found you! I know I will be "visiting" quite often!
Cookies are HARD. I start at $2 each but I know I'm probably undercharging for the amount of time and work I put into them (although I'm not all that great at them). There's a great guide here that might help you: http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2012/11/cookie-pricing-chart/
That is fantastic! Thank you!!
I like the pricing, but how about decorated half sheet cakes, and cupcakes. Thanks. Your cakes are beautiful. My reason for asking is I have a sports theme cake and cupcake order. It is volleyball and basketball themed. They want two half sheet cakes, and 85 cupcakes. How would I charge for that. Thanks.
I still use the same methods for sheet cakes. Minimum $3 per serving. For cupcakes, I start at $20 per dozen usually.
Thanks so much.
I'm becoming the cake maker in my family, and love making for them too. Lately it's been taken for granted that I will bake for extended family or friends of the extended family. It's presumed I will be making the celebration cake, as a gift, without being asked in person. Does anyone else have this problem and how do you tell them that these cakes take hours and I really don't want to make them outside of the family. Some people just don't appreciate the time and effort you spend.
You're just going to have to be honest. I wouldn't wait for them to ask - I would approach your closest family and friends and tell them that you need to discuss the cake situation and that you can no longer do them for free.
Thank youuuuu so muc, now I know I was doing it all wrong and I will make the proper corrections.
Wow! I'm WAY undercharging! Thank you for this. I will stick to my prices for the orders that have already been made, but then my prices are gonna have to go up. I'm only charging $40 for elaborate 3-D cakes. I'm selling myself short I guess.
WOW Tiffani! It definitely sounds like you're selling yourself short!
What is the difference in prices between buttercream and fondant cakes? Also, I need a high heel shoe what would something like that go for on top of the cake?
I price buttercream and fondant the same. And I've never done a shoe like that - I'd base it on how many hours it took to make it.
Love your cakes and the information is very helpful. About how many cups of icing do you use when you make a 10" roses cake? I am making a 10" 3 layer cake and am trying to figure out how much frosting it will take so I can price it. Thanks.
I'm sorry - I never weigh/measure my frosting. I make 3-8 cakes each week so I make huge batches of frosting in bulk and then just use it as I need it.
This is great! Thanks so much for posting it. As I was reading I saw myself and heard everything friends and family have been telling me in your post. It was like you were reading my diary. Everyone says I do a good job and am so cheap. I do up to six cakes a week and I work full time, and one part time job on top of the baking this leaves very little time for my kids let alone their extra activities. I'm usually exhausted and don't always feel like I'm making enough money to continue it. Now I know I'm not alone and I really have been selling myself short.
So happy to help!! xo
I'm having a hard time pricing fondant flowers, I don't want to overcharge but I don't want to cheat myself. Any advice would be great. Thanks
I'm sorry - I don't really make many sugar flowers so I wouldn't be much help there. I'd just charge by the hour, I suppose, plus the cost of materials.
Oh my goodness Rose, I am so excited to find your site. Thank you for such great info. I have made a few cakes and had no idea what to charge. My husband tells me there isn't enough money to cover the time I put into my cakes. He can't see how i could do this because I Love to decorate. Lol! I do them mainly for friends and bake sales. I am not professional and feel it would be wrong to charge very much. You are so right. It is alot of work and my time IS worth something especially since I work full time at my job outside of our home too. Thank you again for your help. Looking forward to more instruction. Just tried fondant for the first time last week. I like it.
I'm SO glad you found my site and it was helpful to you! I look forward to seeing you here more often! xx
Thank you so much for this advice! I homeschool my children also and am a single mother with my baking business being my only source of income. People always want me to make my sweets for a cheaper price, but they don't consider everything I put into it, and I'm not even charging $3 a slice. So this article helps me immensely:)
That's awesome Shannon! Best to you!
Thank you so much for "my kick in the pants", as I did need it. I had been undercharging & even some of my last customers told me so, I then increased my prices minimally & lost a few customers. Now I'm glad I did! I work with all types of cakes, mediums, and also teach the Wilton Method of cake decorating at our local store. This past 5 weeks I did 4 wedding cakes, am totally exhausted, and now am going to increase my prices. Our area doesn't warrant higher prices, so maybe I'll just hope to expand my area and have customers come to me to pick up their cakes. Thank you again!
You're very welcome!! Best wishes for your business to grow and prosper!
I'm doing my first big set up for a community fair in my town. I'm going to be doing cakes and other goodies at a table but I'm totally lost for cupcakes. Can u help me out on prices!
I recommend charging $20 per dozen and up.
How do you handle discount requests from family/friends? I have one cake baking friend that says she will discount 10% if she knows the individual or they are family. What I'm getting is "can you do this instead of a gift" from people (esp family). I've also had people from church ask for discounts or question if I can charge a little less because I know them. It is awkward and upsetting to me so any input would be helpful.
For my immediate family (my parents and my siblings), I do their birthdays and their kids birthdays for free (my nieces/nephews). They sometimes try to pay me but I generally refuse. Personally, I LOVE doing it for them!! But everybody else pays. If it's a wedding cake, I may give them a $50 discount (the amount I'd pay for a gift) or $20 (the amount I'd pay for a gift)... but that's it. If someone asks, first ask yourself... would I be buying this person a gift in the first place? If so, how much would I budget for that? Then if you want to... offer that amount of a discount and nothing more. Maybe it's a friends' kids birthday... tell them that you normally budget $15 for children's gifts, so you could offer a $15 discount (and NOT BUY A GIFT) but that would be the max discount you could offer. The only downside to that is your kid would be showing up without a gift at the party and I know from personal experience that that can be uncomfortable too. BUT, if you wouldn't normally be buying a gift in the first place (say it's a distant cousin that you never see), explain that this is your business and if you take their order, you would be losing income on other paying orders you could be doing instead and you simply can't do that. It could get awkward, I understand, but you have to stick to your plan unless you're willing to lose that time & money.
where do you recommend purchasing boxes?
I have a whole post on this here: https://rosebakes.com/where-to-buy-cake-cupcake-boxes-and-inserts/. I also have a post on how I package up cakes for delivery here: https://rosebakes.com/how-do-you-package-cakes-for-delivery/.
Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! I never thought in a million years you'd respond haha! I'm flattered you were kind enough to take the time.
Thank you so much!
Thanks for posting this - very informative. How much extra do you charge for fondant cakes and cost of moulding things like animals out of fondant?
I don't charge extra for fondant - I actually prefer it to buttercream. For 3D animals/characters, I charge anywhere from $10-25 each, depending on size and complexity. I base it on how long it'll take me to make it.
i love the advice you given and how you've written it! It's easy to understand and right to the point!!! I've read this previously and I thought you had a few website links to some of your favorite cake supply websites, and now I can't find them (maybe I'm just dreaming that) but if they were actually there, is there anyway you can re-share those with me/us?
Thanks again! Wonderful advice, prices and things to think about!!
I don't know that I have a comprehensive list anywhere, but I do refer to some suppliers in a few posts:
Thanks for the postings. As a home baker pricing is very difficult and I live in New York City where competition is fierce. My daughter always says I undercharge. The advice here is a tremendous help.
SO glad to hear it Charlene!! xx
I have been baking for almost 3 years and I started doing it for my daughters cake. When my friends ask where I got my cake, I tell them I made them and they've been very lucky to have me make free cakes for them. Most of my family complain about not charging but friends never did offer to pay and I was embarrassed to charge since they're my friends and I'm also invited to the party (i usually don't give gifts anymore when I make cakes for them). Now, I have some new acquaintances and was told that I should charge for my cakes even for friends. They all like how I decorate my cakes and that they looked like a pro. I wish I can append a picture here. I wanted to ask if I low balled myself on a recent order (my very first charged cake). It was a 9 inch cake, fully decorated with fondant and added a toy topper. I don't use buttercream as a frosting, I use white and chocolate mousse for frosting and filling (cake, chocolate mousse, white mousse then cake). I charged $50 (on a discounted price; actually I gave her this price $110-150 (for two tiered cake; $110 for simple design and 150 for full color and very intricate design) and $65-95 (for a single layer cake; $65 for simple design and 95 for full color and very intricate design). Her response was she has a $50 dollar budget and that maybe not do fondant anymore. I said I can work on her budget and as a gift to her daughter I would do fondant. So I just charged her around her budget of $50. Now, a lot of my facebook friends wanted to know how much I charge for a single layer fondant cake. I still haven't responded as I have no idea really and I'm scared (since I am just starting and want customers) that if I give them a high price they might back down. Is there an e-mail address that I can send you the photo of the cake I made so you'd have an idea of what you think I should have charged for it? I would greatly appreciate your help. Thank you so much!
You can email me at rose @ rosebakes . com.
I really like your article on cake pricing and have some questions that I would like to ask you on some of my cakes. At your convenience of course. Thanks Dorinda
Hi Dorinda! I get it, I really do. I know pricing is hard, but I'm not able to help with pricing on a cake-by-cake basis. I get too may requests and there are too many variables to consider for me to give accurate information.
I just love your article. Its very helpful for us learning the business. As I better my techniques I realize I need to increase my prices, but it's a struggle for me too. I've been emailing local bakeries trying to get their costs, but haven't got many responses. My question for you is: Are your prices for all cakes (birthday vs. Wedding) or do you charge differently for wedding? Thanks so much!
I charge the same for wedding or birthday - but both increase in price for size and difficulty.
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I'm also a beginner in baking and hardly charge anything for my cakes as I'm still learning new tricks but I also want to be making it worth my while as you can work for free
Thank you for sharing this information. I'm not a full-time baker/decorator, but hope to be soon. I do a good job, but obviously not nearly the best, and I always felt guilty for charging "too much" for my cakes. Well, no more! There is a lot of my time and supplies that go into my custom designer cakes, and, like you said, if customers don't want to pay for that, then they will have to be happy with a store bought cake. If I lose some business, so be it.
Awww, thank you so much for commenting Alexis! It makes my heart happy to know this is helping people! xx
Thank you so much. I have just started my at home business. There are not a lot of people doing this other than Walmart or Publix so I feel like I have an edge. My biggest issue was what to charge. Your advice is very helpful. I have a cake coming up for a surprise birthday for at least 150 people. (yikes!) I was thinking of $375 but was so worried that sounded like too much! I had thought $2.50 per person but I may go to $3.00 pp. Thanks again for the article.
Yes! Thank you for this helpful information!!!!
You're very welcome!
First I wanna say, your article is awesome. I love the simplicity with you talk about the cakes.
I wish you could talk about the fondant cakes. Because I think they're more expensive than the buttercream cakes. I wanna know how to charge for the fondant cakes.
I came across your site today and I appreciate you setting us straight on cake pricing. I would feel an anxiety attack coming on when people would ask how much I would charge for a cake.
I found this very informative, thank you.
As my confidence in my skills grow the more orders I take on and my biggest fear is not charging enough. You have given me a new outlook on my business and loads of info. Thank you so much
You're very welcome!
Hi im new at pricing. I have over ten years experience. Your blig is awesome thanks so much
Happy to help!
Thanks so much for all your wonderful advice. Just starting out, I'm having a hard time pricing and this (and your whole site for that matter) has helped me tremendously 🙂 You rock girl! Thanks Again!
I'm so glad to be able to help!
Superduperawesome! I laughed a few times because i recognised myself so much in this article. Too often I tought if i wasn't to expensive. So thank you for this!
You're very welcome!
That was very helpful! Thank you! Is the pricing the same for square cakes and topsy turvy cakes ? Also, what about cupcakes and mini cakes ? Pls share . I am just starting out and my biggest queue from your notes is to pay myself.
I charge by the serving and difficulty so the shape is not so much a factor. Squares and rounds are the same price. I may charge a little more for topsy-turvy because of the difficulty. You really just have to work out what works for YOU!
LOVED, LOVED reading your comments about how to charge for cakes. I have been an independent home cake designer for many years and remember struggling with the same issues that you mentioned. It wasn't until I moved from my small home town to the city 15 years ago that I finally began charging what I should. My new clients commented on a regular basis how much better my cakes looked and tasted than many of the local bakeries and that my prices were much too cheap, again, like you mentioned. I am now catering weddings specializing in their cake design and my business is growing each year. I am charging a fair price for my clients AND myself and living every minute of my job.
Happy baking to you.
Loved reading this! What I was wondering is, are these prices for homemade cakes? As in scratch? I know someone who is indecisive about cake prices but they buy box cake mix and add in flavors or other ingredients to give it more of a "home-made" cake flavor. Would you still suggest these prices? Thanks!
Probably 90% of my cakes that you see here on this blog are doctored cake mix and these are my prices (actually - I charge more now than I did when I wrote this).
This is just what I needed.
Yo do not know how much your post just helped me. I'M New in this thing of baking and decorating cakes...but I love it and my worst nightmare when making them, is knowing how much to charge for my work, first because I was afraid of losing the client and second because i'm new and maybe my work is not so graet to charge a lot fot it.. but i manage to do some ver good jobs and when the paying time came.. I felt awfull for charging so little but also for charging more!!
Loved your post and I will follow your advice.
Thank you from mexico!!!!!!
Hi, i have two questions i have been baking for just a short period of time. I have a problem with pricing. Customer wants a 2 tier cake with bright colors. It will ruffly serve about 40 people. I need to know how should i charge and how can i get bright colors?.. Thanks for any help you can provide. Oh its for there daughter sweet 16! 🙂
The best thing to do is look at the design you have planned and compare it to the difficulty of the examples I gave in the post to get an idea of what you feel you should charge. I recommend Americolor for the best, brightest colors!
You have a two tiered cake with rockets and a red four - how much would you charge for that cake ?
I think I charged $120.
I am starting out on a home based baking business and I need your valuable advice on this. I am planning on having a pick up service from my door step .
The dilemma I have is regarding payment. I would like to have the customer payout an advance amount before I start out on the order. That way I can sure that even if the customer backs out at the last minute I will have the advance amount cover for the loss.
I definitely do not want to end up baking and decorating a cake only to have the customer not showing up. I am sure you would have faced this dilemma too Rose.
How can I achieve this? What method did you adopt to cover this risk?
I require a 50% deposit before booking the order. They either mail it to me or pay via Paypal. Without a deposit, I don't do the order!
Thank you so much for this article. It's very helpful!! I have been criticized by even some of my closest friends for my pricing so I lowered the prices and now I make anywhere from $10-$30 on cakes that take up to 10 hours. It's really hard and so what defeating. I am just going to have to set my prices and be prepared for the comments. My time is worth more.
this is super helpful! I just sold my first cake and I'm hoping to do more! Your cakes are amazing!!!!!!!
Hi, I recently started my own small business, but only referred to cupcakes. However, I have specialized more in minicupcakes and I'm not sure if I'm charging too little for them. I know that being small portions should cost less, but do not know exactly how much, because although they have fewer ingredients per serving, the time it takes to decorate is the same as for a regular cupcake.I do not know how to charge the time it takes to decorate, if you could help me I would appreciate it very much. I am still studying, so I use my free hours to bake. Thanks for sharing this.
I'm sorry - I rarely sell mini cupcakes so I can't really be of much help. You'll just have to determine what they're worth to YOU! How much time they take, how much your ingredients are, etc.
Thanks for sharing this piece Rose.
Hi. Your article was great and a huge help. I am stuck though most of my orders come by word of mouth and through people I work with at my day job. So I'm kind of stuck at the $2 a serving price. I can't seem to take the plunge to a more reasonable price for what i am doing . I don't want the price to be told by one and then I charge more and look greedy. But I have noticed as I go along im getting better at it and I want to make what I'm worth. How do you suggest I break the cycle here?
Thanks Alyce in Phx
I would simply spread the word among your friends that you've increased your prices and when someone new calls, only offer them the increased price. If they mention that someone else got it for cheaper, tell them, "I'm sorry - I have increased my prices since I did a cake for xyz" or "My new prices went into effect on such-and-such date and all cakes booked after that have been based on my new price model." You may lose orders, but you'll ultimately gain a group of clients who will pay what you're worth.
When you first started, how did you know how many servings were in your cake?
Susan at RoseBakes.com
Hi Judy! Rose and I use the Wilton chart. It is pretty much the industry standard. You can find their serving chart here: http://www.wilton.com/cakes/making-cakes/baking-serving-guide.cfm
I have been reading your blog for a while now and I LOVE this article. I bake and make cakes as a side business, and I many times have people who say that I charge too much or too little for my cakes. I bake out of the love I have for it, and not necessarily to make a ton of money from it, but I do enjoy the extra money I get from it. I do not deliver cakes, I make people pick them up from me, because I am a very busy mom and I also teach school. I have looked at local bakery prices to see if I am out of line on what I am asking, and I feel I am fair. I live near Washington DC where everything costs ten times more than what it is really worth because of location - but I want to be able to get my cakes out to people who want quality products. I recently had a friend buy a cake from a local grocery store and it looked like a three year old had written the words and did the artwork on it (not good at all) She sent me a text and I replied to her " should have had me make your cake :)" She laughed and said - lie and learn, but I am sure she will never do that again... Thanks for the support and dedication to what you do!
Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!
what about cupcakes
I usually charge anywhere from $20-30 per dozen, depending on flavor and decorations.
Thank you so much for posting this. I just started making cakes a few years ago and have had a hard time with my pricing. I have only made probably less than 10 cakes total but I love doing it. I have 3 kids and am pregnant with our 4th so working part time and chasing after my 3 year old and 1 year old I haven't been the best at advertising my business. I would love to get some advise on how to advertise. Thank you again for posting this. It really helps.
I actually never really advertised much. At first, I would post pics on Facebook on my profile, tag my customers (that way they and their friends would see the cakes) and then everything spread by word of mouth. At some point I set up my Facebook page and would continue to tag customers and it just kept growing. I know that's probably not helpful but that's all I did! OH - and I got business cards printed and would put at least 3 in each cake box that went out. Then if anybody at the party asked who did the cake, my customers could/would give them a card!
It really didn't help me,I would like to know how much I should charge for a 3 layer Coconut Cake with buttercream frosting dressed with Coconut on the buttercream frosting. ..Help!! Thanks hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks so much for your inspiration, willingness to help others, and your true talent. What you're doing is my true dream: homeschooling my children and having a cake business. I'm working myself in that direction and have new-found hope that it is possible. 😀
Pricing has been a struggle for me, and from you as well as others I have more confidence in my decision on my change in pricing. The cakes that we do are more than just "off the shelf", they're works of art that people want. Whenever I go to a party that has a cake, that's the first thing I look at. It's THE centerpiece.
Thanks again and I wish you the best with your business and family.
Thank you bunches!! xx
Amazing and so useful information. Thank you so much. These tips really help me a lot.
You're very welcome! xx
Oh my goodness! Thanks so much for this! I'm so glad the girl I was going to make a fancy two tiered cake backed out because I would have basically made it for free! I was charging $150 for a cake that feeds 50 people and 2 dozen cupcakes with a lot of designs! She thought the price was outrageous and settled for a simpler cake that I still undercharged her for. This will definitely help me with future pricing. You have no idea how much you posting this means to me. If my price doesn't fit their budget, then they should go elsewhere because I am a mother of two and a full time college student!
hi Rose I am in the process of starting my home business and I look to you for a lot of stuff. Just read your article on pricing and it was great. I figure I really have to stop taking the "no's" too personally. I was looking at your chart on how much cake you need. It is exactly what Im looking for and was wondering if I can use it on my website? Which by the way is under construction! Please advise as I will not use it if you wont let me. Thank you so much Rose. Sincerely Barbara
Which chart are you referring to?
Hello Rose, thank you for all your info. it's such a great help to know how to go about cake pricing. My daughter & I are self taught but she is really getting into the business part. So I will forward her all your info.
I appreciate the fact that you put together all of this info and sharing.
It will help her:-)
I'm so happy to hear that! xx
Thank you so much. I just began a cake business 6 months ago. Not knowing what to charge has been a struggle. Most time I figure out after I gave the price and began on the cake that I did not charge enough and I spent several hours completing the cake.
Lady Dianne's Cakes
Thank you so much for sharing! It was very helpful, and it was encouraging to find another homeshool mom making this work!
You're very welcome!
Good information. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance (stumbleupon).
I've book-marked it for later!
Thank you! Merry Christmas!
Thank you so much! This was hands down the best post I've read so far on cake pricing! I'm so sick of busting my butt for nothing! And it's hurting my personal life as well when I'm
Spending hours stressed out with cakes where I'm making no money!
You're very welcome!! Merry Christmas!
this is so helpful to find. thank you i have issues of worrying if im undercharging or worse over charging. the charts and tips are awesome thank you
Thanks for all the valuable information. I too have a difficult time charging.
I have just received an order for a fondant covered hockey jersey with sleeves & logo for 50 to 60 people.
I'm considering charging $225. Do you think that is fair.
Thanks so much for your time.
Thank you so much for all this info!
I just made my FIRST attempt at working with or even touching fondant (which I made from scratch).
I made 2 Minion cakes for my new Bosses twin boys.
She wants to know how much she should pay me but I don't know how many servings each cake gave and they have already been delivered (16 miles from my house).
They turned out great.
I'm hoping you can help me with prices if I give you the following #'s since I don't know how many servings the cakes produced. 🙁
COST OF SUPPLIES FOR BOTH TOTALLED $85.00
FIRST MINION CAKE CONSISTED OF -
Three 6" Round cakes with a Fourth Layer of half a round ball (dome)which was also 6" across.
THE SECOND MINION CAKE CONSISTED OF-
Four, 6" Rounds with a Fifth layer which was a 6" ball (domed). I wish I knew how to attach a picture, but I dont. If you could help me at all I would be so thankful.
Your cakes and cupcakes are AMAZING!
Thank you Rose,
The first one would have around 22 servings and the second would have closer to 28. I charge a minimum $4 per serving for my cakes so I would charge probably $225 for both.
If fondant ruffled roses are added to cover a fondant covered cake do you charge more?
Thanks so much! Love your advice and goodies!!
I would need more details to answer this, but if you're adding anything that is going to take significantly more time for you to make, then yes, you should charge more.
THANK YOU, this is awesome !!! I am a home schooling Mom as well, I have an 11 yr. old son & two daughters ages 26 & 29 with children of their own, I have 6 grandchildren. I decided in May 2015 to make a bay blade cake for my son's 11th birthday, only because I could not find any one locally to make one. But I must say I have really enjoyed it, and the little one's in my life enjoy it as well ! I have made the decision to bake and decorate for an income, to help out with finances so I can continue to home school and have extra money for Vacations, and new school year books and supplies,etc., so I am so thankful you sharing your pricing advice, because I had NO IDEA, what to charge or how to charge. Thank you Thank you 🙂
I'm so SO glad to have helped! Best wishes with your business and homeschooling 🙂
Thank you so much for posting this, it is a huge help for me! I am a certified Pastry Chef but I work full time so I just do this on the side and I have so much trouble with pricing things out and not charging enough.
This was a huge help!
I'm so happy to hear it's helped! Best wishes to you!
Yea this is a big help thank you so much . But yea I'm like Kat I'm in the kitchen all day and all night baking and decorating I deftly undercharge myself and it got to the point that I didn't want to do it anymore but im back because I really love it ... but I have a question how much do you charge mini cheesecakes...???
I don't make them, sorry.
Thank you this indeed helped me a lot! One question, these prices per serving do they vary for other cake flavors (vanilla, chocolate etc) ? Or it's one set price?
Sometimes I charge more for special flavors that have lots of nuts or fruit or other special ingredients, but these prices cover all "basic" flavors. Thanks for stopping by!
Very helpful, though I don't think people will pay these prices in South Africa. I suppose I have to shop around and see what bakeries charge.
That's the best way to see what will work for yoU!
What would you charge per dozen for Chocolate/Vanilla cupcakes no filling with simple piping (bingo theme) like B1 B2 Etc.
My Very Standard Cupcakes are $20 a Dozen, but I would have to write on each of these.
Hi Katelyn, You need to think about how long it will take you to do them. How much extra product? If it'll take you an extra hour to do the decorating and you want to make $10/hr, then add $10 to your base price ... or $12 or $15 to cover the materials. That's how I figure my prices. Base price + time + materials = total. Hope that helps!
Thank you so very much for this info you've given me the confidence to be brave firm and positive in pricing my products and the boost to go on developing my decorating skills, though I'm basically self taught. Thank you very much
Thank you so much for this! I've been "professionally" decorating cakes from home for about 6 years now. Every year I've increased my prices little by little but this is the first year I've really started charging what I feel like my work is worth & your personal guidelines really helped me feel right about those changes. You are SO right about those clients that want something for nothing. I'm thankful though that the custom cake business has become popular enough that more and more clients have a better grasp on how much these cakes cost. That or I've finally gotten rid of that "awesome & cheap" rep. Anyhoo, thanks!
You're very welcome Jessica and WAY TO GO!! xoxo
Very helpful it's a lot of work and time consuming I Agree we have to pay ourselves. We are a artist. Now I'm not afraid of giving a price Thank you
Thank YOU for stopping by!
Well said Rose! I love this posting. I struggled in this area as well. People were always wanting me to make them a custom cake for very little or for free. And when I would quote them a price, they would say "Oh, that's too much." My husband told me to pray for a better clientele and that's exactly what the Lord sent me. Now, I do wedding cakes and custom cakes, and gourmet cupcakes only. I am making a profit now and those people are no longer my clients, but I have a different clientele that doesn't mind paying for my product. I am going to refer to your listing as a guide also. You are such a blessing....keep up the great work!
Thank you so much for your kind words! And YES - God also sent me a very special clientele. They're wonderful and kind and value my work!! Best wishes to you! xx
I'm looking to do these cakes.. Just the cake itself as a 6" with buttercream without the plastic animals https://www.pinterest.com/pin/190628996701056697/sent/?sender=312226324074742816&invite_code=920662091ece82948e76a57d141da39d
Then full sheet cake 60-80 ppl
How much should I charge
I was looking to make these 2 cakes and wondering how much i should charge? The first is a sheet cake as is for 60-80 people. The second is a 6in buttercream frosted with the fondant decorations with no animals
Hi Alexis - I'm sorry but I don't work up quotes for other decorators. You really have to research what your ingredients will cost, how much time it will take, etc. and see what price will work for you!
How would you tackle the 3D or designer cakes?
I have a minimum $5/serving price and then I do my best to estimate how many hours it'll take and how difficult it will be and go from there. It's harder than other cakes to price but the more you do it, the better you'll get at accurate pricing for your time.
Thank you for making this! It was very helpful! I've been wayyyyy undercharging myself, like $50 for a two tiered fondant cake with hand sculpted animals. I can't believe how much I was underselling myself!
I'm so happy to help! Best of luck with growing your business!
Minda De Castro
Amazing and a great help. Thank you so much for the tips. This is my dilemma, pricing for cakes and you helped me a lot. So greatful I found you in pinterest.
Happy to help 🙂
this is a really in depth blog with some great personal advice. It's so nice to find a baker who is willing to share their experience and knowledge. I'm looking into how to set up a cake business and it's hard to find good quality information online. So far your article and a blog called 'baking it' have been the best I've come across. blog.bakingit.com.
Rose! I've been dinking around with my little cake business for years and I am finally going to really go for it. This page has been so helpful. Thanks so much!!!
You're very welcome!
I think your pricing is totally on par & your work looks brilliant! I am also a stay at home mom however, my kids are teens so we've started teaching ourselves how to bake & decorate cakes & making them for family members b-days etc... Some relatives have suggested I make a cake for their wedding etc.. (I'm talking about a cousin's fiance i hardly know) It gets very uncomfortable thinking about how I would give them a price & more importantly I would like to show you a cake I recently made for my grandmothers b-day & get your honest opinion on weather it looks good to you. If you have time- how could I send you a picture?
Absolutely - you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Great article, exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for sharing;) helped me a lot
Thanks for these guidelines. I recently made a banana cake for work and a coworker asked me to make one for her and asked how much? I had no idea so I told her $20 plus cost of ingredients. It was a 9x13 cake with cream cheese icing. I don't decorate and she was okay with that. It ended up being $32 and some change and she rounded up to $35. Did I undercharge or overcharge? I'm a RN so I certainly didn't make what I would working by the hour but I love to bake so there's that.
Susan at RoseBakes.com
Hi Sabre - thanks for stopping by the blog. Your hourly rate should be figured into the cost of your cake along with the ingredients, boards, boxes, and even electricity/water used. So, if it takes you 2 hours to prepare, bake, and frost your cake, and you want to make $10 per hour for example, then you would need to make sure that's figured on top of the rest of the supplies/ingredients.
Thank you soooooo much for sharing this!! Really hits home as I have been struggling with this issue for 3 years (and clearly undercharging)! I decided to search for some information and came across your article. It was so very kind and generous of you to take the time to write this and share your experience. You are simply awesome! My eyes have been opened and my prices are being adjusted accordingly. 🙂
Yay!!! So glad to hear this! Best wishes with your growing business!
This was great information! I've had a similar start to you and was charging way too little for my cakes. With my husband's constant nagging, in a good way, I did exactly what you recommend and started looking at what local bakeries charge. I've also started figuring out the cost of my cakes too. Slowly but surely I'm charging a more accurate price for my cakes and continue to feel less guilty each time. Thanks for taking the time to share this knowledge.
You're very welcome 🙂
This was such a helpful article and I'm so happy to have stumbled upon it. I have always had a passion for art and love to bake. I made my first cake for a friend's child's birthday last June and the requests have been coming in ever since. I have learned a lot so far but I know I have a lot more to learn and this article is the perfect stepping stone in my journey to becoming a professional! Thank you for all of your input and reminding me that "it's not just cake" because I tend to forget to value my work. I have 4 wedding cakes due this summer over the course of 4 months and I have a very steady guide as to how I can charge for them! Two big thumbs up to you!!
Thanks a bunch!
Ok so I'm just starting out making cupcakes for people, and I have no clue what to charge!! I am making 50 cupcakes this weekend half white wedding cake and half chocolate with a two color rose frosting, how much should I charge for that??
I'd probably charge $65.
This is a super informative site. I've been home baking for 9 years and I've learned by mistakes. I now bake for only family and friends because my main job has increased but I am super greatful for this breakdown I can use.
Can't wait to read your other articles.
What is a smash cake?
Susan at RoseBakes.com
Hi Nora! Thanks for stopping by the blog. A smash cake cake is a small cake given to a one year old where they can dig into it since it's their first cake. It's usually a cute photo opportunity.
I love this!! I'm really moving along with my cake orders and it's awesome. I had a question regarding naked wedding cakes...since there is no fondant, just filling...what would you charge per serving? Still the $3 min? Thank you!
Yeah, I'd absolutely stick to that minimum! Thanks 🙂
Thank you for this! I am a newbie baker and started selling purely by accident. My friend tasted a cake I made for a dinner party at home. This cake flavour is only made in our home country and she really loved it! She said it reminded her of a famous cake she loved growing up. She ordered one for her sons birthday regardless of how it looks ( i really suck at decorating!) The funny thing is her friend tasted the cake and they ordered one just because...they said it reminds them of home. I told them I can't promise that the cake would look good, but I know it taste good and they were okay with that.
My question is, I am concerned that I may be overcharging. I used a 9x13x2 pan and the cake turned out to be 1 1/2" only. I used a swiss buttercream icing with it. It's as plain as it can be with how it looks. I quoted them for $45 but felt the cake might be too small so I told them to pay me $40 instead. They insisted on paying me $50. I still feel a bit guilty accepting the money...Do you think the cake is too flat for the price? I was thinking of sending them a text to offer to give them another cake.
Thanks so much for your time!
I don't think you're charging too much - be confident in your pricing!!
I loved everything that you wrote because it was like you were telling people my story,everything that was happening to me.For a long time I stopped baking and there are like 3 months that I've been thinking about restarting something new and more organized and I just found you,it's incredible ,I'm very grateful,and I have tears in my eyes,thank you so much,I wish all the blessings for you and your family.
Oh you have made my day Adriana - you're so very welcome - I absolutely love helping and encouraging others!
Thank you so much for your post. It is pretty close to what i was thinking about charging.. Getting ready to do my first wedding cake. Sooo excited.
Oh my! I have been doing cakes for 40 years now and always felt guilty charging people very much because I did it out of my home. I don't know how to do fondant cakes but I have done some very intricate cakes dirt cheap. I've never asked for more than $150.00 for a cake and that was a four tear cake with stairs and a fountain for 150 people! This has taught me A LOT! Thank you, thank you, thank you
Oh Karla - you're so very welcome! Best wishes as you step up your business!!
Thanks, Rose. This is all good information. I just delivered my first ever cake sale, and as I walked away I realized that I undersold myself. I did it because a) they're friends, b) I'm new at it, and c) wasn't too smart! Gotta not do this again!
Hi I'm a home baker in Mississippi and I have a question about purchasing supplies. There aren't many resources available in Mississippi for baking supplies (drums, boards, boxes, cupcake clam shell carriers, disposable icing bags, cookie cutters, americolor gels, etc...
Do you order these items in bulk or do you shop somewhere? Just looking for some resources! Thanks
Susan at RoseBakes.com
Hi Lishia, thanks for stopping by the blog! This post talks about where Rose buys boxes and some other supplies: https://rosebakes.com/where-to-buy-cake-cupcake-boxes-and-inserts/
I would also like to add that I often get supplies from fondantsource.com and sweetwise.com Hope that helps!
Question, are these prices that you posted just base prices or do they include your wage?
At the time, these were my prices for cakes including my wages. I charged more for more difficult decorations, but for the cakes pictured, those were my prices. However, it's been almost 3 years since I wrote this post and my prices have increased since then - I just haven't updated the post!
So why do you charge so much for delivery? Shouldn't you just charge for cost of gas? Do you mostly just have people come pick them up at your house?
Because in addition to the gas, there's wear & tear on your car plus your TIME!! That's one of the biggest things that cake decorators don't consider when pricing - TIME. If it takes me 40 minutes to get there and 30 minutes to set up and 40 minutes to get home, that's 2 hours of my time. If I want to pay myself at least $15/hour, then there's $30 right there. Plus the government estimates it costs you $.54/mile for gas + wear on your vehicle, so for an 80 mile round trip, that's another $43 and change. That's why my delivery charge is $75 for cakes that go to any of the 3 larger towns that are ~40 miles from my home.
OH and no, rarely does anyone pick up at my home. I live about 10 miles outside of a tiny town in the country. My house is not super easy to find and most don't want to drive this far out. Most of my cakes go beyond that another 30 miles to bigger towns. For that reason, most of my clients meet me in my tiny town (I deliver there for free and meet multiple customers at once).
Where's the "like" button? 😉
Hi Rose, I understand where you are coming from but we do have some things in our favor. We are out there to be seen, they have to advertise or get invited to a party and people see their cakes. We can focus on a quality product and stick to it. Don’t undercharge! I have hired a decorator and we have made a chart and only see people with an appointment which we charge for. This gives the impression of quality ! We used to make anything customers asked for, no more. We choose what works for us. This has helped to take the guesswork out of pricing and I know not everyone is going to buy my cakes. This is very hard work. I wish I could think of one product and only make that.
Hi and thank you for your input. I am really shocked, I think your prices are still pretty low. They are nice cakes too. I have a cake business and have been making them for quite a lot of years while I was a Registered Nurse, now retired and started my cake business. Pricing is always an issue. I have settled on mine, I have done some research, I live in a smaller town but not tiny. I don't know how you make any money, I cannot make cupcakes for $1.61 each especially with a sugar flower on it. I am charging $5 each for cupcakes with sugar roses on them, filled too. With that I am making a decent wage of $18-20 an hour. What do you think about this?
I think it varies by location and if you're doing well with what you're making - that's great!
Thank you for the info! I do however need to know about how much I need to charge for a cheesecake wedding cake, it's going to be for about 30-35 people, covered with chocolate covered strawberries and cherries...thank you!
Hi, I have the baking part down. But I was charging twenty dollars for hours of work. I so needed this! Where did you learn how to decorate so well? I'm a little rusty in that department. Thanks for your article.
Hi Trish - Lots of practice is the best I can tell you. I've never really taken any classes other than online Craftsy classes (after I already had a business). Happy Caking!
I thought your posting was very interesting and helpful!
I will follow your instructions.
But I have a question about bundt cakes. How much should I be charging for those and things should I take in consideration?
I don't bake or sell bundt cakes so I can't help with that. Sorry!
Hello, thank you for the tips. I am self taught and with each cake I try to out do myself, the last cake I made was for a baby shower and just like many others, they, along with the diaper cakes, were gifts... But the last one I made took about 34 hours for all of the animals, flowers and other small gum paste/fondant items and the cake. Not to mention it was 4 hours away, so I assembled it there. I am a waitress, I home school my 15 year old, and I rescue cats. I just got my first cake order, actual one where I don't know the person, and it's going to be a beehive with bees, for a baby shower.. She said for 40 people, but then said she was making cupcakes so my cake will sort of just be a center piece. I told her $70 at first, but I felt like I was losing her, so I dropped it to 40-60 depending on the time spent. How do I stand my ground and stop being a cheap doormat for people? It's going to be about 4 cakes, with fondant, and a ton of edible (I like to make everything edible) bees, flowers, possibly an edible branch, and many other little fun added pieces. The bees alone take me about 15 minutes each to make. Should I always ask how many people its for? Or do I just charge based on time spent and ingredients? Thank you so much!!
This is great info! Thank you very much for providing what you've learned throughout your career of cake decorating. This is by far, the hardest area for me. And by the way, your cakes are amazing!!
Hi Rose... Thanks for the great info on selling cakes. It was very helpful! I do have a question: is there any state/government rules and regulations that a home baker has to follow to produce and sell from their home? I have done cakes for a while but they have been for friends and family but I would like to expand. That is why I want to know about state/government rules. I would hate to get started up and then be shut down. I truly love making cakes that delight people.
Yes! The laws and regulations vary from state to state so you'll need to check with your local health department and/or the Small Business Administration in your area!
I need some help I have a friend that won't give me a price for my kids 3rd birthday cake. She said just tip me! But what does that mean I never buy cakes for birthday parties usulay just ice cream cake it or go to the grocery store get a sheet cake and or just at home out of a box. What is the correct "tip" for a 15-20 person chocolate / buttercream filling cake?
I cannot tell you about tipping. I can say that I would charge a minimum of $60-80 for a cake that size.
Excellent website and resource! I love it!
How do you charge wedding cakes? I'm new at this area and was asked for my first wedding cake. I'm scared on how to charge.
Hi Rose, I know this is an older post but I hope you still check your comments. Your website has been an awesome tool for my cake business and I love and heed your advice. My question is this: Do you use wedding size servings to price all of your cakes (since you charge per servings) or do you differentiate between party cakes and wedding cakes? Thank you in advance!!
I do use wedding size servings for all quotes! And I've never had a complaint or anybody run out of cake 🙂
We are a homeschool family also!!! My oldest daughter is 16. She recently took Wilton classes at Michael's. She has become really interested in cake decorating. She was just recently asked to make her first cake (for money) for a baby shower. Your site has helped us with how much to charge for cakes. Thanks for the tips!!! Happy homeschooling!! 🙂
How much for rice paper printed cakes and cupcakes?
I'm sorry - I don't do those. I'd recommend a base price plus your materials and extra time.
This information was very helpful. Thanks for sharing Rose!!!
This was so helpful. So informative. I absolutely love that I found you. For years I gave away my cakes or definitely didn't charge enough. I can't wait to get your daily emails. Thank you , Felicia Miles
Thank you so much very helpful... I had all my prices on my website with the serving size and how many they feed
Glad to hear it!
Hmm, I think it is WONDERFUL that home based bakers can bake from home. To me it is a big world out there and many talents, just because we choose to bake from home does not mean we are irresponsible with how we go about it and in my state you have guidelines and regulations you must follow. If your cakes are good and delicious you will do very well no matter if you are in a home or in a business. Cake bakers should not be Criticised or Ridiculed just because they bake from home. So thank you Cottage Food for giving us the opportunity to do so.
I found this really interesting! I finished my 3 Wilton classes and might start taking orders in the near future.
Would you say that in 2017, you still use approximately the sames prices? Those are in US device (sorry, I'm Canadian).
I have increased my prices some, but I still think this is a great starting point for cake decorators.
Thank you for the wonderful blog, I found a lot really helpful. I recently started seriously baking and i see I'm getting better, esp with the decor. will be looking forward to more stuff from you and other wonderful helpful people like yourself.
Hi Rose! I just had a quick clarification question.
In your last bullet-point summary of the post, you said that for tiered cakes they go up $0.25 (each added tier), but that's for fondant cakes only right? Because what confused me is that you said buttercream cakes are 3.50 minimum per serving but your prices for one tier buttercream cakes are calculated at $3.25 per serving.
Do you simply add the "one-tier" buttercream prices together for multiple tiered buttercream cakes or use the same "+$0.25 per added tier" method like you do for fondant cakes?
Thank you so much for this article, I'm a home baker and sometimes feel guilty for pricing my cakes / cupcakes . I recently was asked to make 36 Cupcakes and a companion cake for a baby shower , I told her it would be 35 .00 for the cupcakes & 50.00 for a 2 layer cake , she cancelled a week later
Hi Rose, this my first time commenting on someone's blog. I have been seeing ideas on your website many times over for the past 1-2 years now and I JUST NOW read over your story. I am at awe (pretty much in tears) just reading and knowing confirmation on what I need to accomplish in my next step in my cake business. There are so many words and so much to talk with you about cake business, but I believe with your help in reading and learning from you will help me gain the confidence within to make my business a success in my life for my family.
Thank you very much! This is very helpful. I also would like to know how you charge for decorated sheet cakes. Thank you.
I don't take orders for sheet cakes anymore, but when I did, I still kept my pricing minimum.
How do I figure out servings?? My tiers are usually 3 layers of cake...Making a 6 inch tier. I always guess on how many it will serve.
I use this app: http://amzn.to/2ooHzGi but when I add the 3rd layer of cake, I do 1.5 of the number of servings listed. For instance, a 6" round cake that's 2 layers is 12 servings. If I add the 3rd layer, I do 12 x 1.5 and end up with 18 servings. Does that make sense?
Thanks a million for this info! I have been having a hard time pricing tall cakes. They are all the craze right now. It's funny how they tell me: "It's just a 6 inch cake"....Yes but it's a million inches high!
Thank you 🙂
Hi there..wondering how to charge for fruit filled cakes, like strawberry or banana?
Great article!! I have a cupcake/cakepop business. I usually create cupcake cakes for clients nut I dont know what to charge for cake pops
Hello! Thank you for this wonderful article! This may sound like a stupid question, but when you say you charge about $3.50 per serving, is your ingredient cost and time added into that figure already?
Yes - at the time that was my minimum price per serving including time and ingredients.
Thank you. I too am accidental baker. My son has food allergies and I could not find a baker anywhere that was safe. I started making his cake and of course that was it. One cake a year. This last time I made an impression and word of mouth spread before I knew I was making cakes and cupcakes. I am only months into this and still feel surreal yet, I appreciate all the word of mouth. I agree people do want a cake for free. I do feel I am not charging enough and I am paying people instead of v/v. Iove creating and I love using my imagination. Thank you for taking the time too blog and now I can take a step forward instead of backwards. I made my site but it's still a hit or miss. Making and creating is a lot of time and effort but many want it for free or cheap. Thank you for showing me I can say no and not feel bad. This was a hobby and I would really like to pursuit further than that. Thank you.
You're welcome Cynthia! I wish you the very best with your business!
I stumbled on this site while looking for cake design ideas - i've only made 2 big cakes but starting to consider working towards a business approach. I just wanted to say how helpful your honesty is! It is so much easier to understand when people just simplify what they're trying to say!
You've done a really awesome job 🙂
Thanks so much!
Hi my name is Gabriela I am from Stillwater Ok and trying to start my home bakery. I have always made any baked goods from boxes. But I've decided to take it to the next level and start learning to make everything from scratch which makes me feel FANTASTIC!!. I just got an order for a chocolate vanilla half sheet cake for a pre-school graduation and I'm freaking out about how I'm going to price it!!. I'm pretty green in the decorating area, but I give it my all to make my decorations beautiful, and the cakes I've made are delicious. Do you think you can help me price my first cake please!!!!!????
Hi Gabriela, I don't actually bake from scratch so it would be incredibly difficult for me to price it for you. I'm sorry.
I see your prices are more for buttercream cakes and fondant. I work with only spongecake, fresh fruits and whipped cream. What would you suggest I charge per serving?
Thank you so much for this article. I am at that point of burn out that you spoke of. I'm working way too hard and too long, but not really seeing a profit. I have a great following and a great reputation, but not a great paycheck to myself. I'm'm losing the joy I once had. This really helps me put things into perspective regarding pricing. Although I've raised my prices, I'm still not charging enough. It's time to reevaluate. Thank you!
Thank you for your wise insight and encouragement! Keep up the great work that you do.
Thanks for your fun informative article
I am a home baker just starting out and as you alluded too pricing is tricky
I've been advised to charge cheap prices to get my name out
When people eat my baked goods they rave about them
I watch The Profit on tv and he's always talking about margins but again I find that confusing
Could I bother you to ask for your advice on this pricing issue?
I'm reading this post on my phone and the scrolling on all these comments is insane! Hahaha! Which, kudos on by the way! Very helpful post! I did have a couple questions going into this post though that I'm hoping you can answer. And I'm sorry if you've already answered them! But do you charge extra for airbrush designs? Or for gold accents? I've got a buttercream cake request with fondant accents and I'm not sure how to charge, and I'd like an opinion so I c an move forward confident that I'm charging what makes sense! Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can offer!
I don't do airbrush designs, so I can't answer that really. I have only used my airbrush a handful of times and mostly just for adding a little extra dimension... so for those, no, I didn't charge extra. For gold accents, I usually add on $5-10 for the cost of luster dust (because it's pricey) and then if it's handpainting or something that takes a lot of extra time, I will add on for that.
Hello! I appreciated this so much and ,of course, I'm still trying to figure out what to charge. Would you ever look at my work and give me some ideas on what you think I should be charging? I'm totally self taught and everyone wants favors from me. My Instagram is cakesbykensie. I would love your feedback. I'm a mom of 5, I've been doing cake for 5 years, and I still don't think I'm making enough on my cakes
I want to say thank you, for all the unanswered questions I have had to start off my business. I realized I was undercharging big time for my time and skills. With this information I will now know how to start off and be successful thank you.
Hi Rose, I just found your site, not sure how but I am so glad I did. I feel that just saying thank you is not enough. I know I will be eternally grateful to you for all your comments and advice. I am really very new at this cake baking/decorating adventure. I am extremely nervous about this but I have to make it work. In May 2014 I had my left knee replacement and it went wrong. My knee cap shifted out of place and 11 months after the replacement the dr did another full blown surgery to correct the knee cap. That was April 2015. Then in November 2015 I had my right knee replacement, and still trying to recover from 2,surgeries on the left. Well needless to say my replacements have left me with a permanent disability and a long list of other illnesses to boot. I will not be able to work again so I'm pushing forward with my little business, Cupcakes and Cuppies. I'm pricing okay. But I need to gain strength in piping buttercream . I would love to know what you think of what I have done so far. My page is on Facebook Cupcakes and Cuppies. Do you have a basic piping skill tutorial? I love making little toppers out of fondant. I'm not artsy artsy person but I'm trying. I'm also having trouble getting my customer base built up. I had a draw the other day when I hit 50 likes. If you have any tips or advice or criticism, good or bad, I would value your opinions and comments. I'm by myself everyday so I need this to work not just for an income but to keep me busy and connect with other humans. I have literally the basics when it comes to tools. What do I need to get going? (I don't have any extra money due to disability payments. Not even enough to pay rent) I will be asking for gift cards to Michaels for my birthday so I can purchase some necessary pieces to my tool box.
Thank you again for your wonderful site. I'm looking forward to hearing from you
Regards, Lynn Prince
May i ask what city u live in. I live in a very small town in PA and i feel bad for making atleast what i spend. So if it cost me 30 ro make the , cake(box, and board included) i charge 60. Is that a good price?
I just love your fondant art that you do on cakes! It would be a great idea if you could post a video or two on how to make fondant and helpful ideas to make characters with fondant for beginners, etc. When I took cake decorating lessons many, many years ago, fondant wasn't even around. I would love to see you make a video and put it on youtube so we can all learn from you. Oh, by the way, I live in Greenville, MS. How far is this from where you live? I enjoy your blog so much!
Thanks so much Julia! I had a great-great aunt that lived in Greenville when I was a child. She passed away many years ago. I'm about 3 hours from there.
Jo Ann Hallmark
I really appreciated this post since this is something that has always given me trouble. I have one question . . . what is your serving size? I find there is a wide range of serving sizes, and it has such a huge impact on price when you charge by the serving, which I do. And are you clear with your customers what the serving size is when you help them plan cakes. It is always harder with a sculpted cake to figure that out. Thanks for sharing your expertise!
Jo Ann - I use 1x2x4 serving size for all of my cakes (this is the Wilton wedding serving size). I have never had anyone complain about how much cake they got.
Hi. I know this is an older post but I have to say THANK YOU!! I have often thought this when someone' jaw drops at the prices of my cakes. And I am a cheap person. I get so upset. "Go to Walmart," I think to myself. I know I don't charge enough. I'd love to start making money. I needed this 'kick in the pants'.
You're very welcome Michelle!
Hi Rose, I'm a home baker just starting out...Today I got an order for a lion guard cake to serve 52 people, there thinking a half sheet, double layer with filling but I am having a hard time pricing it? Any suggestions, I need HELP
How do u get 20-24 servings from a 8' round my works 8' round serves 8 people
And ur prices do seem high but that's up to u and what works for u
I use this chart: http://www.wilton.com/cake-serving-guide/cms-baking-serving-guide.html. And my prices are actually higher now and I have a booked schedule. If you're charging a lot less than these prices, you should evaluate and make sure you're making a profit.
This was VERY helpful! For years I've been trying to figure this thing out. I've all but quit because I'm so burnt out, slaving away at cakes and not paying myself....smh. I'm going to do as you suggest. I think your prices are reasonable! On my way back to the drawing board. Thanks!
You're welcome 🙂
I'm barely beginning to sell little by little, and this here was super helpful, and made me agree a lot with what you said. Thank you!
How big is one serving usually? It also depends on the height of the cake. I inquired someone on FB. The 8'' cake serves 10-14 people depends on how big you cut it. Then if charging per serving, should the charge based on 10 or 14 servings?
I actually quote 24 servings for an 8" round. I base my servings and sizes on the Wilton Chart.
Thank you, this was most enlightening! I am a home cake maker and the comments received were like yours: This is too cheap.
I also was afraid to raise pricing thinking that no one would order another cake. With this information, I can now confidently and comfortably raise prices without the guilt.
Thanks for the info. Another question for you, how do you keep the rosettes from falling off your cakes or from sliding down
I've never had that problem. I pipe them onto fresh buttercream and be sure to apply enough pressure that they're well attached to the cake.
Hi Rose, I was wondering about small cakes that would be in a bunt pan. How much should you charge for those cakes?
I enjoyed your article. I am not sure about the number of servings in a cake. I make a six layer 8 inch rainbow cake with buttercream frosting. Please advise advise. Robin Burton
Hi . Thanks for your post . I started making cakes for my family and I got my first order I did a 12inch by 3 inch cake buttercream in middle and all around with 3D pikachu ears . My buttercream is not super smooth . I'm really stuck . I asked for 100 ...... do u have a chart for beginners ?
I know this post is from several years ago, but I wanted to say it's been very helpful for me personally. I almost freaked out when I realized how much I've been charging versus what I should be charging!
I do have a question though: how did you go about getting your tax ID, and business license, and deal with all the state/city inspections. A friend and I want to start a legit business out here in NM, but we just have NO IDEA how to really start the process. Thanks for any ideas or advice you can provide 🙂
Hi Karin! I found the most help by going to my local Small Business Administration Office. They offer free small business counseling and it was a huge help! You can find offices in your state here: https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance. They were able to point me in the right direction for all of the legal requirements. Cottage food laws in Mississippi don't require inspections so I don't have any insight on that, but I imagine the SBA or your local health department would be able to help. I also saw an accountant who helped me get my tax ID and find out what I needed to know about the type of business to set up (LLC, S-Corp, etc.) and how to charge sales taxes (if applicable). The accountant said as a single member LLC I needed to have an Operating Agreement, so I had a lawyer draw that up for me. Best wishes on getting your business legit!
This helps so much! Thank you! always make cakes for my kids, and have recently been getting alot more orders from friends and acquaintances.
I had a question about where you find the best place to get affordable cake drums and rounds. Places I've looked either don't have them or they're very pricey, or in large bulk quantities that I don't need. Any suggestions?
I buy most of mine from brpboxshop.com, but I buy in large quantities. I've found it difficult to get great prices for small orders, but I live in a small rural so maybe you'll have better luck if you live in a larger place. Maybe try party supply stores?
Thank you ....this will really help me ..thank you, thank you, thank you
Thank you so much for this post! I found it to be very helpful. I started an in-home baking business about 5 years ago and, until recently, have been hesitant to increase my prices. Your post has made me feel much better about what I have been charging and in some cases given me the confidence to charge more. I love baking and I love that I can do it from home. I am also very proud of the business I have created but it does keep me up very late at night and at times keeps me from my family so charging accordingly for my work is extremely important.
Do you have any posts on starting a blog? That is the next step in my business adventures! I have MANY questions and would love to pick your brain sometime!
I am so happy to have found your blog today! I wish I had found you years ago but better late than never. Thank you again!!
Thank you Rose. I have read this article a few times. I have had the passion to do cakes for years but with my children it was hard to make that happen because I tend to lose myself in the hours I put into it.
My chance to live my dreams has come sooner than expected but I'm ready to dive in and my biggest problem is that I undercharge. I don't want to undercut the other bakers in my small town but at the same time there is only one other person that does the type of decorations and work that I do, and she is fantastic at what she does. undercutting means that people will flood your doorstep and overwhelm you which has been my problem a couple of times. But I am also nervous about charging correctly or "too much" because I'm still learning. I'm self teaching and I don't want to overcharge someone for mistakes or low quality workmanship because I'm still learning. I'm told by the people that order from me that I undercharge and I explain why I don't charge more and they seem to understand but now I've made myself nervous about the day when I will need to update my prices. Will it make people upset? How big of a jump do you go?
Also side question... I like a good sized piece of cake but trying to do my price chart based on slices of cake is frustrating me because I can only find the small pieces that you get from a wedding chart. so what is you guide to slices per cake?
I wanted to know how much a unicorn cake would b for my wife she will b 39 april 28th it will b for about 12 people plz get back to me thank u cincerly david walker
Ashley Lee with Simplee Baked
Hello,I just opened my own baking business and am very concerned that my pricing is not competitive enough. I am making wedding cakes, birthday cakes/cupcakes, and also making special orders like muffins and cookies. What's the best way to figure out how to price items? Is it better to look at the pricing of the city's most prominent bakeries, or...how do I go about it? I would love an email or some kind of contact.
Does the number of servings change when you add a layer (i.e. two layers to three layers)?
Yes, if I make a double barrel cake with 3 or 4 layers of cake, I do increase the number of servings.
Wow! I seriously thought I was reading my own cake decorating life story!! No lie right Down to every single word! I started at age 19 with my first cake being my daughters first birthday cake, care bear cake. I taught my self for four years then took all the Wilton classes then taught myself some more. I was practically giving the cakes away. Just like you I finally did my research and came up with a detailed pricing list of which I am still after 33 yrs having a hard time with staying firm on my prices! I have a 33 yr following of word of mouth that my cakes are thee best they have ever had! Very moist and they love my icing! You are exactly right when you say if they want to pay grocery store prices they are going to get what they pay for ! In my 20’s I worked at pace warehouse which was just like sans club.. I worked in the bakery and we didn’t make any of the cakes they were in the freeezer pre made by a mass bakery! My daughter who’s cake was my first, she is now following in my foot steps! I am going to have her read your story! Thank you so much I really needed to hear I’m not the only one!!
Shayla Lanay Alvarado
How much for a two layer smash cake?
Thank you so much
I have been giving all my backing away for family occasions and freinds
Every time and almost 2/3 times a month I have a birthday or anniversary etc. I do fancy cookies cakes cupcakes cake pops and pies.
For the 1st time a friend has offered to pay.
I had no idea what to charge. I asked for 40:00 she gave me 50:00
Diana (Mama's Best Bakery)
This was so helpful for my little home bakery! I have been MASSIVELY undercharging on my cakes! I just quoted a lady $45 for a triple layer unicorn cake and she talked me down to $38. Dang it!
So glad you had a lightbulb moment... here's to MORE $$!!
I have a situation where so many bakers around me charge so little for their cakes. I have costed my ingredients over and over again and I dont understand how they are able to charge so little. In most case though, the quality of work is shoddy.
The thing is potential clients call me to ask for prices and just never come back.
I do have a full time job and so I dont depend on making money from cakes, but this is something I would like one day to pursue full time. I just feel I am not making headway in that direction. Even my previous clients come back and ask for a quote and just don't order. Its kinda disappointing seeing that I have spent so much to buy tools and online courses. 🙁
Super helpful information. I have a question, when you charge per serving and the serving size says 8-10 servings, do you find a mid point or base it on the smallest serving size?
I use the Wilton wedding cake serving size and use that exact amount.
Your cakes are beautiful. Keep doing what you do. Be bless
Thanks so much!
Thank you so much for sharing this! It has boosted my confidence in myself for slowly increasing my prices as I get more experienced and branch out with more intricate designs. I have really struggled with fair pricing because I am pretty much learning as I go. I feel like I am good at what I do particularly because I literally just decided to try my hand at making cakes a little over 1 year ago with no formal training, just advice from a relative that has made them and a great imagination.
Hi Rose, I have a question on the pricingof a cake...you are saying "$ per serving" - what is the size of this "serving" or rather for a 2-tiered 8-inch cake, approximately how many servings are there? Sorry if this is a stupid question! 🙁
For all of my cakes, I consider a serving a 1"x2"x4". That yields 24 servings for an 8" round that's 4-5" tall.
We ARE better together! Thank you so much for sharing this hard won information with us. You are a class act and I am grateful.
hi rose! thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for sharing this, and all your other posts about running a small cake business. you've been so helpful c:
Hi dear .. post was amazing very informative.. still have. a question though .. i made 9” three layer cake and iced it with home made butterscotch sauce buttercream and lastly decorated it with fresh berries .. ur was my first order and u have t given her price yet .. i delivered it yesterday and they loved it .. two questions how many slices will it have and what would be cost per slice .any comment would be so helpful for me at this point
I would charge around $135 for that cake. I have a $4 per serving minimum and I calculate 9" cakes as having 32 servings.
rose! Hi! Just came across your article. So helpful! I have a question. so, will you say, price a cake by serving...and then add to the price for flowers and decorations..and then pay yourself on top of that with an hourly rate? or is your time(hourly rate) worked in to that serving size? did that make sense? Thanks!
so for example - cake for 50. 3.50 per serving, plus say, you have some fondant flowers, add 25.00. Then you know it will take you 4 hours to bake and decorate, add an hourly rate there. Then add for cakeboard and box?
Thoughts? Thank you!
My base price for cakes is $4 per serving. That price includes my hourly wage for basic/simple designs, the boxes, cake rounds, etc. I've added up my expenses and know that all of my basic supplies are covered in that price. I add on extras for time-consuming things like sugar flowers, ruffles, 3D toppers, etc. Those are charged by the hours I estimate it will take me to make them plus supplies needed. So if I'm going to make a cake with 50 servings and a topper, it would be $200 plus the work for the topper. Assume it will take me 2 hours, I'll add on an extra $30 (2 hours work) plus $10 for materials. So the cake would then be $240.
Hello i made a 3 layered 9 inch Cassata Cake with the custard & strawberries . Can u please let me know what i should charge per serving for it ? I'm having trouble coming up with a price for it thank u .
I'm sorry Catherine - I don't know what a Cassata Cake is and I really can't give out specific prices. I don't know your market, how much your ingredients cost, etc. 🙁
Hi I really appreciate your advice here, the main area I struggle with is how do you know how many servings a single tier(not a wedding cake) has in it? Wedding cakes are cut differently than all occasion cakes. I can't seem to find a good cutting guide anywhere to help me in coming up with a decent price. A 6" &8" are fairly easy to price out, but the bigger tiers are harder to get a hold on. If your customer needs a single tier to feed at least 50 what do you offer and how is it cut, for example. Thanks for any direction you can give me. Lori
I use the Cake Stacker app (which is very similiar to Wilton servings) and honestly - I use "wedding cake" servings (1x2x4) for ALL of my quotes/cakes. I've never had a client complain about running out of cake.
Thank you so much for taking your time to help us that love to make cakes but don't know what to charge! This has been a real help!
Very good advice!! I think that location/competition plays a vital role in your pricing... so you're good w your prices.. I bake mostly bundts cake as a side hustle from home; orders will pick up during the holidays.. so I'm keeping my day job... the more ingredients required the more I'm charging. My base price is $25 and up.. is that good enough?.. most of my deliveries are to my job
Thank you for this information on cake pricing. This is new for me and I never know what to charge. You have helped me a lot, thanks again.
What are your guidelines for pricing a royal icing cake?
I don't know anything about doing a cake with royal icing so I can't be much help here - I'm sorry!
Wow this has been A LOT of help...my family has been telling me for years that I don't charge enough but I haven't felt comfortable charging what my cakes are worth..I have people tell me all the time that I am not charging enough and they often add more $$. I know I need to raise my prices but am concerned I will lose costumers if I do, but like you said making $2 an hour is not ok...I love making/decorating cakes but making a little money while doing it would be great!! Thank you so much for this article.
How do you charge for a sheet cake, just a simple 1 cake layer and frosting with decor.
Im just starting baking at home and realized that im undercharging myself. Reading this is helping me so much but still need a lot of help....
Are these servings according to 2 layer or 3 layer cakes?
My cake tiers are generally around 5" tall whether I do two taller layers or three skinnier layers. If I do a double-barrel cake, I charge the same "per servings" but I quote the cakes with more servings.
What’s a double barrel cake?
It's an extra tall cake or tier - usually two or three cakes of the same size, stacked on top of each other with boards and supports in between. Usually I counsider "double barrel" at least 4 layers of cake.
Hi are your cakes 3 layers, sorry to ask
Most of my cakes are two 2-inch layers.
I have someone wanting to make cakes with buttercream, no decor, what is starting prices for no decor cakes?
That really depends on where you live and what your ingredients cost, how much you want to charge per hour, etc. I can only tell you what I charge (which is $4 minimum, no matter what).
I have just started my Cake Business a week ago. I’m working out of my own home to start while I build a reputation and clientele base. I enjoyed your original article and I have to say, you’re right about pricing strategy. I studied Business and Marketing and have my BS degree.
I don’t undercut myself where I make no money. In fact, I’ve never really designed cakes before until one day I felt overwhelming impressed to begin this cake business. I work 40-45 hrs a day at my day job designing buildings and then I come home to 3 rambunctious children under 5 yrs old and loving wife (who is pursuing her own degree) just to begin another 8 hrs getting this business off the ground. I wear all the hats on this business lift off.
I’ve been asked many times already how much I charge and it scared me because I had no clue about this industry. After countless YouTube videos and blogs, I’ve educated myself and now I’m making good money. I’m not afraid to lose on a bid for a cake job, but I don’t want those Walmart price customers anyways!
For those individuals who have posted comments here prior to mine, you need to evaluate your marketing area. If you do this, you’ll understand who to be competitive and your pricing will be on par (+/-). Evaluate your area for income levels and competitors pricing. Also figure in your cake expenses (all of it). And figure what your times worth per hr. This will give you a tree picture of what you need to sell per serving (credit to Rose Bakes for most of this info from her article on pricing).
I’m sharing this info because I care about small businesses. About roughly, 90% of new (small) business fail because of a few things in common. Wrong timing for a great product, pricing vs cost analysis, and MARKETING! Huge emphasis on marketing. I love and excelled in Marketing. Marketing efforts can either make your business or it could be the down fall.
Doing marketing like a lemonade stand will prove worthless in about yesterday. Today we’re blessed with a wide variety of marketing platforms (I.e Facebook, Instagram, websites, etc.) after reading multiple comments on here and reading angry posts about in home bakers stealing customers l, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and laugh. Let me explain why...
There are two types of customers: 1.) those who value quality products are not your penny pinchers. They want quality, and not solely quantity. 2.) Customers how are penny pinchers and don’t value quality over quantity. This you see many with Walmart cakes. Let me say this disclaimer, not every persons budget is the same, sometimes those Walmart cakes put cake on their tables, nothing wrong with that. I’ve eaten my share too due to economic hardships.
If you didn’t learn one thing in this post, just learn this one thing please. The art of sales is simple for success. Set your price to succeed and stick to them! No budging (strongly preferred). If you budge and give discounts just because they balked at your price will damage your reputation. Once you discount, they devalue your products and the rest is a mud slide. Quick story, I promise. I learned the art of sales from a colleague who excelled in sales who showed me the ropes. He taught me this: Don’t sell out of your back pocket to make a sale! Ever! What this means is this. Just because YOU wouldn’t spend $1500.00 on a cake doesn’t mean somebody else won’t! This principle applies to all industries. When you price your product and you see the end result and you immediately say to yourself, gosh that’s expensive. You just sold out of your back pocket emotionally. Stop thinking that way. Who cares if I don’t want to spend $1500 on a cake, but somebody will. Every time you discount to satisfy those #2 type customers, you might as well pull a dollar from your wallet and give it to them. Does any of this make sense?
Don’t stress about all those penny pincher customers. Let the undercutting business deal with those people. That type of customer 99% of the time are very problematic and are just wanting the lower price, not quality. They won’t value your work. Do you really want that? Not me. I’d pass all day on that type of customer.
My wife has been urging me to write a book on the art of sales. Quite frankly, I agree with her—hence I’m sharing my wisdom on this blog for free.
Thank you Rose Bakes for your insights. Very helpful. If anyone hasn’t questions for me regarding my journal entry here, you can find me on Facebook.
Thank you for the tips....sure helps
Thank you so much for this, you don't know how much you helped me!
That makes me SO happy!
This is so helpful. Thank you - I do have a question. What do you charge for filling, i.e. a cheesecake filling?
I rarely do filling, but I'd just base it on any extra expense and/or time involved in making it.
I too live in a small town and am selling myself short when it comes to pricing. Prior to this year, baking cakes was a side job to my teaching career. Now it’s my only income. My problem is that everyone wants me to give them the friends and family discount. Sometimes that means I’m only making about 20 cents and hour. How do I change the mindset of the people asking me to bake for them?
How do you charge for filled flavors, like homemade raspberry filling
What serving size chart do you use
I use an app with servings similar to the Wilton chart.
Hello! Quick and specific question. I have an order for a Tres Leches cake for 50 people. I was planning to serve a half sheet with 2x2 slices since that would give 54 slices. I am still so super new to pricing, and i feel like with such a basic cake and after some confusing math trying to price ingredients for the first time, I should be charging only 1-1.50 per slice. So the cake would cost $50 to $75. Is that way to low? My layered cakes would definitely be more per slice, but I'm not sure what to do with such a basic cake. I would love some help! Thank you!
In addition to covering your ingredients, you need to cover your time to shop, plan, bake, and package the cake. You also need to cover overhead (electricity) and packaging - any delivery time and gas, etc. There's so much more than just covering ingredients. I never charge less than $4 per serving for any cake, no matter how basic.
Thank you for such a quick and helpful response!
I see that this post was several years ago...do you still charge about the same?
Thank you so much!!!! Being new to the baking/ treat business pricing is one of my biggest struggles. This has helped so much and I feel more comfortable with my prices.
Thank you so much for posting this. I'm just getting started in the home baking stuff and pricing definitely has been the hardest thing for me. The info is greatly appreciated!!!
Thank you Rose,
I have been baking eggless fresh cream cakes past few years and recently I realized that am I charging enough?
Do you have any whipped cream cake prices that I can refer too... ???
Thanks a lot
Your information is timeless. And the spreadsheet advice is wonderful, I'm going to start mine now. Thank you for all of the advice I may be able to make this work .
Thank you so much for posting this. I’m just getting started in the home baking stuff and pricing definitely has been the hardest thing for me. The info is greatly appreciated!!!
thank you for sharing
Awesome. There're look Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much! This article has been most helpful
Thank you very much for supporting. After reading your sharing, I hope I won't be rip off.
Thanks for this clarification. Now the next part. How do you get those customers to pay those prices? My cake orders are stagnant and I’ve priced them out to what I think they should.
Thank you for detailed explanation. It's very useful.
Hi! We run a small business locally offering fresh fruit arrangements (www.rainbowly.com) and came across your site while trying to explain to clients on how much work it is to actually get deliveries to reach them at a fee.
Thank you for putting this out here.
Please help me.
I’ve done many cakes over time, but not really been done for money.
I’ve been ask to do a 21st cake and they want to pay for it, but have
absolutely no idea on pricing it up.
What would something like the following cost?………
To feed approximately 50 people.
Plain cake with Raspberry Compote and Buttercream Filling.
Vanilla Buttercream Icing with White Chocolate Drip.
5-6 Macaroons on top.
Thank you for your blog; it's very helpful! I do have a question - Do you have an opinion on how to adjust serving prices during this crazy inflation? The $4/serving minimum you mentioned that you charge was back in 2013, correct?
I actually updated the post after posting it, but I've since increased my prices again. I'm currently charging a minimum $5.00 per serving for the most basic cakes, with a $100 minimum for all orders. Most cakes end up costing $6-8 per serving.
How do I know if I am being charged too much for a cake. I ordered a two tier fondant cake. First layer square second layer basketball with a diploma hat. It’s for 20 people. I’m thinking based on what you said 5.00 per slice. The total cost is $230.00 I think it’s too much.
Hi enjoy reading ur thoughts m. How much should be charged for a 8 inch mocha cake
Prices vary dramatically by location and baker. I have friends who have a $1500 minimum or a minimum of $20 per serving. I can only say if you feel the quote is too high for you, then do not place the order and find a more affordable baker.
Thanks for your feedback.