Recently I've had some enquiries for cakes orders where my quotes for the cake requested have been met with a bit of surprise at the price. Now, everyone has a budget in their mind when they ask for a quote for anything, and as a cake baker, it's easier to understand that budget first when quoting. The reason being is I can give options/suggestions that are more in line with the budget for the cake. You might not end up with a cake that is what you had in mind but if price is your driver then knowing the budget beforehand is great.
Sometimes, I will be sent a picture of a 3 tier birthday cake with complex details on each tier and then individual figurines and there will be an expectation that it can be done within the region of say £50 when it will cost double that or more to make.
So I thought I would write a blog and be transparent about why cakes cost what they do and why whether it's a home based business or a shop front, the price of a bespoke cake will be near enough the same. And also to explain why bakers can't match the prices of a bulk, factory processed cake you would get from a supermarket.
The best ingredients are used and the freshest ingredients are used, meaning for every order, the produce can be traced back to the supplier. This means they cost a bit more to ensure the cake tastes as fresh and as good as it possibly can.
Whether being baked in a shop or a home based business, gas, electricity and water are all used to produce the ordered cake. Sometimes the oven can be on for hours depending on the size of the cake and the number of tins that can fit in the oven. Big industrial kitchens will have industrial sized ovens meaning less time is needed as cakes can be baked in one round. Efficiencies can be made in these scenarios. In a home based kitchen this isn't possible.
The use of equipment such as baking tins, bowls, mixers, palette knives, sieves and all the other utensils needed to make a cake will have wear and tear costs within the order. In addition, if bespoke, new tools are needed to create a specific effect for a cake order, the cost of these utensils will also be added in to the order. When you think of a restaurant, wear and tear on their plates and utensils will be included in their meals prices so they can replace equipment when needs be over time. This is a very small percentage of the quote.
4. Packaging and cake toppers
People often forget about the cake board and box that the cake comes packaged in for ease of transport and to be protected from outside aspects such as dust when travelling with the cake. This is also a requirement from a health and safety perspective. These costs have to be covered in the quote.
Acrylic cake toppers have become really popular over the last 18 months and these are quite expensive to buy in and also need to be included in the cake quote. Sometimes they can't be sourced from in this country so there will also be a delivery charge.
Then there's the time it takes to make a cake. Depending on complexity, these times can vary and this will mean cake prices will vary. If you think about the time it takes to make one cake and then a 3 tier is wanted, the time will be three times what it took to make the one cake. Most bakers don't even charge themselves a minimum hourly wage as they try to keep the cost down. However, when you think the time spent on one order means it's time not spent on another order as you can't physically work on more than one cake at a time. Let's take fondant flowers for example, they look beautiful on a cake but the time to make just one of those, a rose or peony for example will take about an hour and a half to make one flower.
I hope this gives an understanding of why bespoke, homemade cakes cost what they do and if you think about it when you order from a baker, you are getting a cake that is completely unique and special to you or the person it is for. A lot of work goes into creating that cake and it's not a cake you would ever be able to get from a supermarket.
If you do have a budget though, there are alternative options that can be suggested to try and accommodate the budget you have, but sometimes this won't be possible based on expectation.
When I chat to people about what their favourite cake is, I'm always so shocked to hear that a simple vanilla sponge comes out top every time. Now don't get me wrong, I fall into that category as I love vanilla sponge with a simple vanilla buttercream - YUM! But I think I thought with all the different flavours out there such as red velvet, salted caramel etc, vanilla would lose out to some more innovative flavours. But it just goes to show 'old skool' is the best!
With that being said I thought I would share my super simple vanilla sponge recipe that is fool proof. Anyone can make it and then once it's baked you can fill it, cover it with whatever filling or topping you fancy.
The below recipe makes either two thick layers of sponge or for an impressive 4 layered cake, cut each baked sponge in half. If you want to make an 8 inch cake, just double the recipe.
As a cake maker I get excited about wedding season because wedding cakes are so unique these days and not always traditional that it really allows you to be as creative as you want. Not to mention their grandeur.
I was researching last week about what 2018 holds for wedding cakes and what are the popular trends we will be seeing and requests I will be getting. Now there are three trends that I'm super excited about, they push the boundaries of a traditional wedding cake but are still so beautiful and elegant.
If you're newly engaged, getting married or know someone who is and you're looking for ideas for wedding cakes, look no further, this is the blog for you! Here are my top three....
1. Brushstroke Cakes
Literally using a brush to create feather like melted chocolate shards that are then added to the side of the cake. Such a beautiful and unique effect and so versatile with the colours you can have. So simple but so effective.
2. Celestial details
Taking inspiration from the galaxy, using celestial accents to match a starry night theme, beautiful in any colours but very impactful. Expect to see purples, blues and metallic along with celestial wedding dresses. If you want an out-of-this-world cake, this is the trend for you.
3. Geometric Accents
One of my personal favourites, a slightly more industrial and edgier design for a wedding cake but equally as beautiful. I had a request for a geometric themed cake a few weeks ago and the rose gold and pale pink hues just took the design to a new level.
So there are my top three for 2018, and why stop there, you could incorporate all three trends into one cake. What a showstopper that would be!
Since I've started my cake business, I get asked quite regularly "why order a homemade cake when I can buy one from the supermarket for half the price?". So I'm going to try and clear this one up and answer it for everyone who also wonders about this.
Supermarket cakes provide a convenient and low cost option but a homemade cake could give you so much more. Now this is a preference thing and individual to the person, but for me there are loads of reasons why I would always buy homemade over a supermarket cake - here's my top three:-
1. Good quality cake
For me there is nothing better than knowing what has gone into the slice of cake you're eating. Knowing that the best ingredients are being used and that they are fresh, This means you have a delicious tasting cake that a supermarket cake won't ever compare to. Which leads me on to my next reason.....
2. No weird ingredients
Supermarket cakes are jam packed with chemicals and ingredients you've never heard of that are solely to make the produce last for a long period of time on the shelf. Which lets be honest, isn't a great start, especially if you're feeding it to your children. With a homemade cake at least there is control with the sugar that goes into it because it doesn't need all these additional ingredients to make it taste good. Which instantly means a .homemade cake is better for you, so you can enjoy the cake when you indulge.
3. Personalised - from design to dietary requirements
You get to pick exactly what you want and make the cake bespoke to you or whoever the cake is for. Enjoy the luxury of tailoring your ingredients dependant on dietary requirements and the design and look of the cake. You won't get that in a supermarket.
Hopefully this gives a bit of clarity about some of the perks of ordering a custom made cake.
It took me a while to figure out what to write my first blog about. I'm a big believer in being yourself and staying true to who you are and it took me a long time to figure out who I was, but cake was always a big part of me. So I thought, why not start with telling you about that!
As a child, for me birthday's were always about the cake! I was very fortunate to have a talented Mum who is a brilliant cake maker. Our family were full of them. The most memorable cake I had was a 'Rainbow Brite' cake. For those of you not an 80's child, go google her, she's a legend. She has a horse called Starlite with rainbow coloured hair that can fly - what more can you ask for! But that cake, is one of the most vivid memories I have as a child, at my party with all my friends, admiring this spectacular cake.
A cake is more than some sponge and buttercream, it's an icon of a milestone, of an anniversary, of an occasion that brings families and friends together. Sometimes after long periods of time. It's a big part of our society whether we realise it or not.
I remember being as young as 4, barely able to see over the worktop (even standing on my little stool) with my own apron and rolling pin, helping my Mum make cakes. It bonded us, a bond so strong nothing will break it.
And that's why I bake, it enables me to bring people together, to put a centrepiece there that everyone can enjoy. To give children hopefully the same memories I hold very dear as an adult. To create a bespoke symbol of a couple's love on their wedding day.
Why I bake goes beyond the physical item that you see, it's what it symbolises to the customers that have come to me and asked me to make it. And I hope I can be a part of that for a very long time.
Ciao for now!
P.s - I've added a wonderful picture of Rainbow Brite and her horse Starlite - you're welcome!