Wedding Cake Pricing Guide

Wedding Cake Pricing Guide

How much should you charge for a wedding cake?

Here is a breakdown of my wedding cake prices per serving according to level of difficulty.

Disclaimer

These prices are not meant to act as a substitute for food costing. However since many bakers procrastinate when it comes to costing, I offer this as a solution for you to use temporarily while you sort out your actual expenses. Please don’t skip the essential step of costing. When it comes in running your food business, it will determine success and failure. If you are interested in learning about my food costing method, go here: 125 Building Blocks for Your Bakery Business.

These prices are average stacked cake cost guidelines for professional quality work. Note that certain areas of the U.S. have higher or lower price brackets according to food prices and customer demographics. If you use extremely high end or low end ingredients, I’d suggest scaling your own prices accordingly. Novice, uncertified bakers who charge money for their cakes should reduce the following prices (up to 50%) depending on level of experience.

When selling large cakes, it’s standard to use increments of 5 servings. To calculate number of servings, follow this link for cake servings charts. These prices do not include the cost of delivery or add-ons. Follow the link at the end of the article to read about how to price add-on decorations items.

Side Cake Budget Option

Wedding Cake Pricing Guide
$2.50/serving for shortening-based or whipped cream finish
$3.00/serving for real buttercream finish
$3.50/serving for chocolate glaze or ganache finish

Side cakes are roughly frosted, undecorated cakes that never go on display. They cost less to make because they require minimal labor and supplies, thus you can extend that savings to the client. They are a handy option you may consider introducing to customers who are on a tight budget and/or attempting to negotiate on the price. I would only mention it if that is the case. Including it in your lowest priced option using the three tier method should increase your odds of capturing the sale.

Typically, when one or more side cakes are involved in the order, the customer buys a smaller-sized wedding cake + side cake/s. That way, they can still afford the wedding cake of their dreams while still being able to serve enough dessert for all of their guests.

I recommend walking side cakes directly to the kitchen. Ask the chef – not a waiter – where is a safe, cool spot to keep them. The chef will look out for the cakes. That is the person who will eventually cut and serve the side cakes along with the main display cake.

Standard Round Wedding Cake Price

Wedding Cake Pricing Guide
$3.50/serving for shortening-based or whipped cream finish
$4.00/serving for real buttercream finish
$4.50/serving for chocolate glaze or ganache finish
$5.00/serving for basic fondant finish
$5.50/serving for modeling chocolate or fancy fondant finish

The round cylinder shape is the easiest type of wedding cake to make, frost, and decorate so it’s typically the most affordable option. These prices only apply to simple designs with basic piping. Special add-on decorations like an edible bow/ribbon or cluster of chocolate roses cost extra.

Standard Square Wedding Cake Price

Wedding Cake Pricing Guide
$4.00/serving for shortening-based or whipped cream finish
$4.50/serving for real buttercream finish
$5.00/serving for chocolate glaze or ganache finish
$5.50/ serving for basic fondant finish
$6.00/serving for modeling chocolate or fancy fondant finish

The slightly higher cost of square wedding cakes accounts for the extra time required to frost corners. No matter how experienced a decorator is, it always takes longer to frost square cakes.

Tapered Round Wedding Cake Price

Wedding Cake Pricing Guide
$5.00/serving for shortening-based or whipped cream finish
$5.50/serving for real buttercream finish
$6.00/serving for chocolate glaze or ganache finish
$6.50/serving for basic fondant finish
$7.00/serving for modeling chocolate or fancy fondant finish

The added charge for round tapered cakes is due to the fact that when the cake is carved, a number of servings are lost, so the baker must begin with larger sized cakes in order to meet the required number of servings. Trimmings can be used to feed family, give free samples to customers, or make trifle. These types of cakes are best carved and frosted upside down using this tutorial: How to Taper Cake Tiers.

Tapered Square Wedding Cake Price

Wedding Cake Pricing Guide
$5.50/serving for shortening-based or whipped cream finish
$6.00/serving for real buttercream finish
$6.50/serving for chocolate glaze or ganache finish
$7.00/serving for basic fondant finish
$7.50/serving for modeling chocolate or fancy fondant finish

As per with round tapered cakes listed above, there is an added cost per serving for square tapered cakes because a number of servings are lost after carving. Since the square shape is more labor-intensive to frost, it’s a notch higher than its round equivalent.

Octagonal Wedding Cake Price

Wedding Cake Pricing Guide
$6.00/serving for shortening-based or whipped cream finish
$6.50/serving for real buttercream finish
$7.00/serving for chocolate glaze or ganache finish
$7.50/serving for basic fondant finish
$8.00/serving for modeling chocolate or fancy fondant finish

Not only do the corners get cut off this type of cake (unless you happen to have octagonal pans) but the multiple sides are exceptionally tedious to frost, hence the higher price.

Topsy Turvy Wedding Cake Price

Wedding Cake Pricing Guide
$6.00/serving for shortening-based or whipped cream finish
$6.50/serving for real buttercream finish
$7.00/serving for chocolate glaze or ganache finish
$7.50/serving for basic fondant finish
$8.00/serving for modeling chocolate or fancy fondant finish

The topsy turvy cake pricing is also high because it must account for a loss of cake during the carving process as well as the higher skill and engineering required of such an oddly angled, precariously balanced cake.

Continue Reading

READ PART 2: Cake Decoration Pricing Guide
Cake Decorations Pricing Guide
Wedding Cake Pricing Guide

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Comments

Wedding Cake Pricing Guide — 34 Comments

  1. I am making a cake for a wedding (my first wedding cake!) and the wedding is 90 minutes away. What would you all charge as a delivery fee?

    • I would charge at least $75.00 for delivery and set up. You have to take into consideration your mileage, gas, wear and tear on vehicle and your time for both to and from.

  2. I’m stuck in wedding cake pricing/serving size loop hell over here.

    Do you double layer your side cakes? I don’t know why sheet cakes are so darn confusing to me, but alas, they are. Based off of 1×2″ slices, a 12×18 sheet cake should serve 108 people. If it’s double layered, it technically feeds the same amount of people because you’re still cutting it the same, but I’m making more cake & filling it. I’m confused how to price it!
    Help me!

  3. I am a hobby baker. I love working with fondant. I moved to a new town about two years ago and decided to advertise on our local up cycle to make a little extra cash. I have actually created quite a little side business based almost completely on referrals now. I always feel guilty charging what I think my cakes are worth. I undercharge almost always. I think the reputation I have now is my cakes are great and very reasonable. I want people to keep coming back and continue to refer new clients. It is very hard to stop and realize that what we bakers do is a work of art. We all spend countless hours to make something beautiful but we are all scared to charge for our talent. I still have a hard time taking the advise of my hairdresser who certainly doesn’t blink an eye when charging me for my hair styles. My husbands motto is “if they don’t want to pay your price it’s one job you didn’t really need.” LOL…I still charge too little. I appreciate everyone’s comments and feedback, it seems we are all in the same dilemma when pricing our products.

    • Jaci,
      That’s great that you are doing such good business based on referrals! Way to go! I guess the only way to know if customers will pay more is to just try. I alter the price my e-books sometimes and it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference in whether people buy them or not. If a person wants the product, they will get it typically. I know in the cake biz, there’s more competition, and customers tend to shop around quite a bit, but most people make their buying decisions based on emotion, and their emotion is oftentimes informed by your confidence as a salesperson. So if you state the price and don’t waver about it, neither will they. Even if they walk away, that’s okay. In this biz, some potential customers will walk away no matter what because in the back of their mind, they always knew they would go to Costco in the end, but they just wanted the experience of negotiating with a real live baker first. Those are never lost opportunities because they help build your skill as salespeople. That teaches you how to read the customer and decide when to draw the line and move on. It’s all part of the game. Good luck with your growing business and thanks for adding to the discussion here!

    • Hello – It’s a fact – people just don’t know what goes into making a beautiful cake – I used to undercharge so I sat down one weekend and worked out exactly how much the cakes cost – and then the cost of the extra bits that I don’t usually think about like baking paper, cling wrap, electricity, box, base, etc etc all the invisible extras – I was shocked at how much these little extras can mount up to so I worked out a charging baseline – the rule of thirds – the cost the cake, the invisibles and me – add up these thirds and you come to what I charge for a simply decorated cake – and then I charge for add ons – you know the sort of things that take time – extra flowers, lots of piping etc – writing this down helps me standardise the costing process – hope this helps

  4. I found your information helpful. However, I know cake pricing varies depending on where you live. Where are you located? I live in the Cincinnati area and am wondering if these prices are similar to what you posted.

  5. Thank you for all the info. I’ve been pricing my wedding cakes too low. I live in Ohio and it seems no one wants to pay the price. I charge $2.00- 2.50 a slice. Do I just give them the price and go from there? I have a 2 tiered cake for April and I’m charging them $165. It’s a 12″ and an 8″ with buttercream frosting. Am I too low? The cake vanilla bean almond. Appreciate some guidance.

    • In the U.S., customers want food to be as cheap as possible. Even if it’s just the illusion of cheap (over-pricing the product and then putting it on “sale”), that is what customers tend to want and expect. Keep in mind this market climate is your baseline, jumping off point.

      As for how to price your cake, that’s impossible for me to say. The only way you can determine price accurately is to cost the product out in terms of Ingredients + Packaging + Labor. Without knowing how much you are spending, there is no way to know how much to charge.

  6. I have a request for just the top tier. While I’ve made plenty of birthday cakes and special event-types of things, I’ve never thought about just pricing a top tier…it will be buttercream and nothing fancy. Any thoughts on price? The bride is not doing a full cake, just the tier for her and the groom. The guests will be eating pie. I’m undecided about what size to do the tier if it’s the only cake-y thing on the table. thoughts?

    • Anywhere between 6″ and 8″ diameter are fine sizes for a single tier wedding cake only intended for the cutting ceremony. Assuming it’s a round cake, that’s 10-20 servings respectively. My price for a basic buttercream finish round is $4 per serving, so the total would be $40-$60 not including delivery. However your price per serving may differ.

      I’d tell them to get a nice cake stand. It will help with the presentation.

  7. I am am professional “cake lady”. I was all set to be disappointed in your cake pricing information. But…I am happy to report everything seems spot on advice! So many people call themselves “decorators or bakers”. In this field you get what you pay for!! Thanks for giving out great information!

  8. Hey Wicked Goodies! I love your site and I especially love this post! I just started my cake business last July, but I’ve been making cakes since 2005. I work out of my house under the Cottage Food Law in my state, so no store front. I even won a local cake competition for design and my flavors.

    At first, things were REALLY slow, but now things are picking up really quickly (over 70 quote requests in the last week, and probably half of them have confirmed/paid deposits so far). I specialize in custom cakes, and a lot of my upcoming orders are custom wedding cakes. I’m already booked completely solid through the end of June. Some of my requests are for 2017 (which just floors me).

    I guess my question is this: what do you charge for an hourly rate? I know location makes a difference but what is a good base pay? Right now my cake business is just a side thing (I have two other jobs). But eventually, I’d love to

    • Oops, my cat just walked across my keyboard and posted my comment. 🙁

      Anyways, I’d love to eventually make it my career (and get out of the law firms I work for).

      Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!! 🙂

      • Chelsea,
        Over 70 quotes in one week is awesome!

        My best tip if you plan to make baking a source of income is to focus on your products’ profitability. Establishing a smart product line with cost considerations and appropriate pricing are paramount to success.

        If you are doing everything yourself from home, it’s best to parse out your hourly rate as you would for each job in a commercial kitchen. Since you are new to the industry, you should charge the lower number at first (the starting rate of pay) and as you gain more commercial experience, work up to the higher number.
        Dishwashing/Cleaning: $7.50-$8.50/hr
        Baking: $9-11/hr depending on skill level
        Frosting & Basic Decorating: $11-$13/hr depending on skill level
        Wedding Cake Decorating: $13-$20/hr depending on skill level
        Custom Cake Sales & Consultations: $12-$15/hr

        Best of luck to you in your new business! – Kristen

  9. Hello! Thank you SO VERY MUCH for this excellent article and excellent advice! I love what I do, but have come to realize that I am not charging enough for my cakes. I started out low, like you suggested, but I am not a novice anymore. I am working way too hard and too long, so when figured out, I am not making what I should. Most of my customers are custom cakes, as opposed to wedding cakes. However the wedding cakes I have done have gotten rave reviews and new customers from the wedding guests. I have a loyal following, so how do I raise my prices to what they should be? Do I just change the price on website and let customers know I’ve raised my prices? Please help! I think I’m ready to go to the next level in my biz, and I don’t want to lose my customers.

    • Hey there. I checked out your site and can tell that your work is well on par with the commercial bakery level. I agree that you do not need to be selling at a novice price anymore.

      The best way to climb this ladder is to inch your prices up over time by 50 cents or a dollar per serving. As your skill level improves, so does your hourly rate, and that should reflect in the price of your products.

      It’s not as easy to make a drastic price change all at once though since that would be off-putting to return customers. You may have to make some consolations for loyal clients who have given you a lot of repeat business over the years. However for new customers, I think you should feel comfortable charging the industry standard in your area.

      Keep in mind that moving into another price bracket might very well cause you to lose a customer or two but that is the very nature of business. The kinds of customers you want to focus your energy on are the new ones who are willing to pay what you’re worth and the old ones who give you great word of mouth. It’s okay to lose the ones who just want everything on the cheap.

      Maybe you can find an indie baker in your area who is just starting out and refer that type of business to her. If you can make an appropriate referral, you’ll feel better about those awkward conversations. Although it is joked about a lot in the chat forums, don’t do the thing of recommending a grocery store. Customers who buy direct from bakers do so for a reason, so make sure to find a referral who can provide a similar type of service as your own. If you give a novice baker a leg up by sending her referrals, she will probably refer business to you as well, so that is a win-win-win for everyone, including the customer.

      • Again, excellent advice! I really appreciate your taking time to look at my cakes and give your honest opinion. It means the world to me! It really does. I will definitely take your advice and yes, I will treat my loyal customers special and give a little more. It’s worth it. I already have someone in mind, who is just starting out and may be able to handle some requests I get from more budget-conscious customers. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You’ve got a loyal follower here. I’m getting my book today 🙂

  10. Thank You for this article!!! Definitely gives a great starting point. I have my own formula for figuring out price and it is close to the novice 50% off you suggest. It seems people want a bakery cake for the Walmart price. I feel I have talent but I not willing to work with fondant and my flower techniques are ok. I look forward to reading other articles!

  11. These prices are exactly what I’d like to always charge in Georgia. However, I find myself having to lower the price per serving if making a bigger cake. Other bakeries are charging $3.50-$4 for fondant, which makes difficult. I strictly do custom order work, in certified kitchen, having no store front. My work is far superior to anything else, here, but it comes down to work or no work. Ugh! Looking forward to the day when I can say, “this is the price, take it or leave it!”. Thanks so much for the post, really helps me be more confident in pricing! And, I love your mod choc work… love having the chance use it myself! 🙂

    • Maybe it helps if we look at it like this should be the jumping-off point for cake pricing. If you have to cut the price in order to compete with other bakeries, that’s okay, but I would let the customer know they are getting a discount.

      PS, that is a gorgeous cake!

  12. These prices are right on in my area. Or should be, However, there is now a bakery in my area who does not charge extra for fondant, making the pricing only $3.00 a slice for either fondant or buttercream as base price.
    They support their loss of income through wholesale cakes to local bakeries.

    Your prices and design elements and explanations are on point exactly. I only wish all our bakers in the city would be on board with them. Experience counts as well, and 21 years is a blessing!

    • Harriet, that’s a bummer about the price point of fondant in your area! Unwise move on that bakery’s part to charge the same as buttercream. Stick to your guns about it! Fondant is too expensive and labor-intensive to under-cost. If your portfolio of work is better quality than the other bakery, that certainly justifies a higher price point.

      I checked out your site and see you do a lot of fondant work and that your cakes are clean and professional-looking. You are clearly very experienced! I noticed that you charge more for poured ganache than for fondant. I would be curious to hear your take on it.

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