Hi, my name is Tracy Taylor and I have been a cake artist in Lancashire for over 30 years and currently teach cake decorating and baking courses at college.
If you would like to contact me my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Why is a cake so expensive?
This is the most common question I get asked when I’m quoting for cakes, so I thought I’d go through some of the costs involved in making a cake;
A popular response from the person asking for a quote is that they can buy a cake for under £10 in a supermarket – which is true, you can get a cheap celebration cake in a supermarket… because it is a supermarket.
They make things cheap because they are HUGE, but I’m betting they don’t put in the time and effort of a local cake baker and it won’t be personalised exactly to your specification. And I can pretty much guarantee that it won’t taste anywhere near as good, they are so dry and tasteless in fact!
I recently saw a quote somewhere (sorry, I can’t remember where) that said “Good cake isn’t cheap, cheap cake isn’t good” – I think that sums it up pretty well. Those of you who bake at home will know that good quality ingredients aren’t that cheap and recently there have been huge price hikes in the supermarkets.
To make a 2 tier cake, for example, with 8″ and 6″ tiers you are looking at quite a lot of ingredients – a dozen eggs, couple of packs of butter, a bag of flour, a bag of sugar etc.
Then you have the decoration materials:
Sugar paste to cover the cakes and the cake drum (approx 1kg for an 8″ round cake at £6 per kg)
Vanilla buttercream (with real butter and real vanilla) to fill the cake and stick the icing on
A cake drum for the base (approx £3.00 for a 10″ round drum)
A cake box (approx £2.50 for a 10″ box)
A thinner cake board for each cake that is going to be stacked to sit on (otherwise a disaster will ensue, the cake will topple) – approx £1.00 for a 6″ round card)
Hidden pillars or dowelling rods – 3 or 4 per tier (these are vital if you are stacking cakes otherwise the whole lot will collapse -approx £5.00 for 4)
Then you have extras such as wires, flowers, jewels, posy picks, delivery, modelling materials and not forgetting electricity/gas to bake the cakes.
All in all, for a 2 tier cake, you are probably looking at £40.00-£50.00 worth of materials and ingredients before you take into consideration my time. To make a sugar model you are looking at a good few hours work, depending on how intricate the model is. Decorating a cake is a time consuming task and very often I am working for less than the minimum wage. This is not meant to be negative and you may ask why I’m doing it, and the simple answer is because I love it. I love being creative and I love seeing the look on a customer’s face when they collect their cake. It’s all worth it.
So please remember, if you ask an independent cake maker for a quote, you are not going to get it for supermarket prices – but it will look and taste an awful lot better.