LISTEN UP fellow home bakers and cake decorators. We need to talk about Cake Pricing and Serving Sizes. If you are always stressed and in turmoil over how to charge for your cakes, how to price per serving, how large a serving should be or which chart you should use, keep reading for 3 simple tips to stop the stress and simplify your cake business!
📣📣Fellow Cakers... I need you to LISTEN ! 📣📣
I'm gonna get a little bossy and sassy today, but we'll blame it on hormones and just move on. Okay?
In every single cake group I'm in, there are non-stop questions about cake pricing and serving sizes.
So many of you getting all twisted up in knots over what to charge and what chart to use.
LISTEN. Stop torturing yourself.
CAKE PRICING & SERVING SIZES
There are 3 basic things you need to do to stop this cycle of stress and anxiety.
✔️Choose a chart (serving sizes).
✔️Set your prices.
✔️Then it's easy - STICK TO THEM!!
Here's how I handle it:
I use the Cake Stacker App, 1"x2"x4" sized slices for EVERY cake. I've NEVER had someone complain about not having enough cake. But if you want to use bigger servings, a different chart, or whatever, that's fine too. Just PICK ONE AND STICK TO IT.
My minimum is $4 per serving (USUALLY MORE!), no matter what. My prices per serving increase based on the number of tiers ($4.25 for 2 tiers, $4.50 for 3 tiers, $4.75 for 4 tiers, etc.). I realize this sounds incredibly expensive to some of you while seeming very cheap to others. But that's a high-end price for my market and I'm good with it.
I also increase my price per servings for any design that is overly difficult or time consuming. Or for sugar flowers. Or for special tools/ingredients/equipment I need to buy.
But my minimum prices are NON-NEGOTIABLE. Clients can accept that and order. Or not. I'm good either way.
Let me say it again...
Your minimum price should be non-negotiable.
At the end of the day, it only matters that YOU have peace of mind about your prices. And that you're making money. Also you shouldn't be having a heart attack week after week always waffling back and forth over prices and serving sizes.
If I quote someone a size (with # of servings) and they feel like its too small, that's fine. If they don't like that, I'm happy to sell them a larger cake. But they will still pay my minimum per serving based on the charts I use. Period!
Example: they feel like a 7" sounds too small for 15 servings. So I may instead sell them an 8" cake with 24 servings. But they then PAY for 24 servings. Even though they only want 15 - if they want the look of 24, then they pay more.
By drawing this HARD LINE on my prices and serving sizes, I no longer stress or agonize over pricing. Okay, I rarely stress over it - every now and then I'll get stumped on how long a design will take, but it's RARE and my minimum NEVER changes.
I've sold thousands of cakes. I've also lost many, many orders because of price. But I'm a happier, less stressed cake decorator with these guidelines in place for my business. I don't have to decide several times a month how much to charge. Or what size cake has how many servings. Those things are SET IN STONE.
There... I'm glad I got that off my chest!! 😁
As long as you don't get nasty - I'd love to hear your thoughts on Cake Pricing and Serving Sizes in the comments!
I enjoy reading your blogs. I'm an eighth grade English teacher and have begun a small cake business to supplement my income. Time is everything and your tips and tricks make things run much more efficiently. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!
You're welcome Dana!
Rose is the BEST! She helped me SO much when I was starting out 5 years ago. <3
Thank you Rose. I understand this is mostly for wedding cakes. Do you apply the same principle to birthday/celebration cakes.
Yes - this applies to ALL of my orders!
I have done a lot of reading on your site and it has helped me with this. I have a set cake serving chart, a set price per serving (which has been increased since I started out) and that is my basic pricing guide. I still stuffed a little with always charging the correct extra amount for additional items such as figurines or flowers, but I am getting there. That will just take practice and perfecting my calculations for time and materials. But at least at the end of the day I know I haven’t cheated myself out of money and I can quote a cake and feel confident in the price even if they decide to go with someone else.
Absolutely Brandi! We have to take steps to feel confident and not always be wringing our hands and worrying about these things. With set prices and serving sizes, that's one less thing to worry about!
I absolutely love this post! You are a whole vibe and I really needed this confirmation for the way I have been feeling about pricing!. Thank you
Plain and simple. However I think it is difficult for someone to base their pricing on others. For example, the quality of workmanship, material and other factors can influence ones pricing.
Absolutely! I'm not AT ALL recommending that everyone use my prices. Just set what prices work for YOU and stick to them!
Are petit fours on your “menu”? If so, what is your pricing for them? I am just beginning to get my business off the ground and will be specializing in petit fours. Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated. Your daily emails are a treat in my inbox! Thank you!
Hey Tracy! I charge $20/dozen for basic petit fours. I've considered increasing that to $24/dozen but I don't do them all that often so for now I've left them at that price.
Thank you so much for the info and the super quick reply!
Does this apply both to fondant and buttercream cakes or do you have a different price for fondant covered cakes?
Yes Maria - this is my minimum for both buttercream and fondant. I find that each medium has it's own challenges and I don't consider one dramatically more difficult than the other.
I love the Cake Stacker app. Especially because it also has odd number sized pans. Most charts only have even numbered pans. Interesting in the size serving you use. I typically use the 1.5" x 2" x 4" tall serving size. I think it works better for my client base. Even with cutting charts they tend to be generous when serving.
I like the graduated base charge per number of tiers. I recall seeing that somewhere years ago too, but don't remember where. Just may have to tweak my pricing to include that. Too bad I didn't do that with the cake I just quoted yesterday...lol. I'll be attempting a 4 tier geode cake ala Rachael Teufel.
Oooh wow! I did a Geode Cake for my daughter and it was... underwhelming 😉 It was harder than I thought it would be. But I'm sure you'll do great - your cakes are always fantastic Debbie!
Awww...thanks Rose. I'm both excited and a bit nervous taking it on. Gotta stretch ourselves every now & then. And what's awesome is my client is one that understands what goes into quality cakes and doesn't bat an eye when I quote. Funny...she doesn't like fondant but I converted her with LMF on her son's cake. It was red and all I could imagine were people looking like their mouths were bleeding so I talked her into fondant. And here I am...usually a buttercream gal. 🙂 The color was more even with fondant too.
Where do you live? That makes a difference in pricing too...town, country, big city?
Oh absolutely! That's why I said determing YOUR price - it does not have to match MY price! I live in rural Mississippi so I'm considered to be "high-end" in this demographic. :-/
I’m in rural Ms. as well!! Struggle so much on pricing. I know I’m undercharging, so will give this much thought.
Omgosh. I'm in rural MS too!
Always helping us cake bakers, Rose, you’re the best!
You have no idea how helpful this is.
So happy to hear it!
I have gone round and round and round with this issue. Most people in my friend and family circle say I do not charge enough. I live in North Alabama, near the Tennessee line. I think I figured $1.44 per serving. So an 8” cake is $35(serves 24) a 10” is $55 and so on. I have over 25 years experience. I really really want someone to tell me , “yes, go up on your prices!” I would love your specific feedback and even suggestions on this. Thank you!! You so wonderful work and I love following your articles!
Hey Lana - I live in rural Mississippi which I imagine is a very similiar demographic! If you're being encouraged by those around you to go up - GO UP!!
Diana (Mama's Best Bakery)
Golly Rose, this helps so much. I'm JUST starting out on the cake side of my bakery and it TERRIFIES me, mainly bc pricing is so stressful. Thank you!
Absolutely - you're welcome!
Do you use the same price chart for Naked Cakes?
I've baked and cooked for years ... still using my grandma's chocolate chip cookie recipe!! ... but recently, my daughter "volunteered" me to do a fancy cake for a friend of hers. Thank you, Daughter!! 😀 Although the friend went a different direction, I caught the "cake bug" and because I was already in the process of establishing a home cottage food business for cookies and quick breads, I have been testing and trying cakes (co-workers give great feedback ... and orders!!) for the past few weeks.
In my research, I have found you and can not say THANK YOU! enough for the groundwork you have laid in the baking / caking business to help those who are coming after you. Your information is invaluable! I am systematic, organized, and OCD to a fault and I feel that I have to have everything perfectly lined up before giving a quote ... and your guidelines help tremendously. Plus, I am learning to breath, set a base, and give myself room to adjust/change as business grows.
Thank you, again, and may God continue to bless you, your family, and your business!
Quail Cottage Bakery
Thank you for posting this, it's great info. I was wondering if you have any thoughts on pricing if someone is not an expert decorator. I'm self taught and do 4 or 5 cakes a month ( Full time job not in the cake field) and I'm hit and miss on how my cakes turn out. I have made great quality cakes and sometimes they just don't turn out as planned.I find it hard to charge people when it's not perfect.
I would be very clear/honest with your clients. Tell them when you're not comfortable with a design. You might charge less than I or other more experienced decorators, but you should still be making a profit and charging for your work.
Is your price the same per serving weather it be a buttercream or fondant covered cake. And your price include the decorations on it
Thank you so much for posting this article, it was very informative and honest. Over the years, I have been struggling with pricing, because I do both buttercream and fondant cakes. I usually charge a higher price for my fondant cakes than my buttercream cakes. But, I will have customers who wants me to educate them on why there is a difference in pricing. I would like to know if your pricing that you list are for all cakes, no matter if they are buttercream or fondant? Should I be pricing these cakes differently or the same? Thanks
I have question. Not sure if you can help. I can’t find information on the net, that’s up to date. Any thoughts on what to charge for cream puffs? Not huge, just about the size of an 8 ball on a pool table.
Thanks for your time!
Oooh, I have no idea. I'd probably charge by the dozen and have a minimum depending on how many your recipe makes. I'd think (off the cuff) at least $15/dozen... maybe a lot more. Can you check with local bakeries and see what your competition is charging?
A lot of people are now wanting 3 cakes stacked for one level, how do you charge for that? Thanks in advance
I calculate the servings and charge accordingly. If 2 layers is 20 servings, then I do 30 servings for 3 layers.
Do you include ingredient prices in your cake prices? Or are these just base prices for the time and labor you put into them?
Ingredients are included in my quotes.
So for a 6” you have listed at $36.. that includes the ingredients cost as well then?
Yes, but actually I've increased my minimum now, so a 6" round cake would be $48 for a basic design. That's the price I give the customer plus I have to add taxes.
Hi Rose i have a question , when someone orders a fondant cake shouldnt they pay for the fondant icing as well? So if your cakes start at $4 minimum and it requires fondant wouldnt you have to charge more to buy the icing? Im struggling with that as i charge more for fondant cakes just because i have to purchase it and i would like to hear your opinion on it . Thanks ( i dont make it i purchAse it either way its more ingredients and more money)
I make my own homemade fondant and it's extremely inexpensive to make. So personally, I don't automaticlaly increase my price based on that. But other bakeries and cake decorators do. You need to figure your cost and do your prices accordingly.
Hi Rose! I'm starting up a new business which just started as a passion for me, but everyone says I NEED to go into business! lol! The question I have is how do you charge for large 3-D cakes? For example, I made a 3-D Rice Krispie fondant covered monkey which was about 10" H x 4" W and he sat on a single layer cake that was probably 15" round with another 8" round single layer. That's how my cakes usually are, big with big fondant sculptures. I'm totally stumped on how to price these. I also made Elsa's castle which was huge and very intricate. Can't even begin to tell you serving size for that one cuz well, it was the side of a mountain! lol!
Thank you for any insight!!
I start with how many servings are in the cakes I'm carving FROM. For instance, if I'm baking 10" round cakes and using them to carve, then I charge my base price for the number of servings in the whole 10" cake. Because whether they eat them or not, you baked that many servings. On top of that, my base price might be higher than average and/or I charge by the hour for how long it'll take to actually create the cake (or my best estimate). I also add on for materials, structure, boards, rice cereal treats, etc. Anything above and beyond normal gets added on and upcharged so that I make a profit. In the end, my carved cakes often end up being $5-8 per servings. In big cities, this might be $20/serving or more. I hope this helps 🙂
how much should i charge for a chocolate eclair cake
Hi Rose, I bake out of my home and im just a little confused about how to determine the serving size with a cake that has 5 layers, each being an 8 inch cake. I had made this cake for a bridal shower with sugar paste flowers that were made by hand. I know that an 8 inch cake serves about 10-15 people but when added by 4 more layers do i just multiply 14 by 5 layers and get a rough estimate of 70 as a serving?
Hi there !
You have really helped me wirh my pricing for my new cake business and your insight was really helpful. I've been struggling on how to charge for fake flowers , real flowers and if there's any treats on the cakes like macaroons or chocolates. The way i've been pricing is for fake flowers 1.50 each flower , $3 each real flower, $2 macaroons on cake, and $1 for chocolates does that sound reasonable ?