For a lot of people, ordering a special cake is something they have never done before and it can be a little daunting. So I thought I’d write a series of blog posts to walk you through it and shed a bit of light on the subject. It doesn’t have to be scary! My first blog entry of the series is about the cost of bespoke cakes and what to expect.
Have you ever ordered a bespoke cake and wondered why they are expensive? What does a cake decorator do anyway? We’ve all baked a cake. It’s not that hard! It’s just mixing flour, sugar, butter, milk and eggs; right? Well, not exactly. If you are after a quality cake, made with skill and love, and decorated to perfection, then there is a lot more involved.
* Above: Cakes By Byron Bay Cake Boutique.
The person you are going to ask to make your special cake has first of all spent many years learning and developing the skills and techniques that make cakes look and taste incredible. They have financially invested in workshops and courses, spent many hours perfecting those baking and decorating techniques, and you can bet they have a kitchen bursting with a miriad of tools and equipment so that they can provide a wide variety of services and designs for you. My kitchen is stocked to the ceiling! My business has slowly taken over my house!
Not only have professional cake decorators invested time and money developing their craft, but they have also had to learn how to run a business. They have to do the book keeping, purchase stock, keep track of inventory, liaise with clients and become marketing and social media experts.
There are also many hidden costs, such as electricity, insurance, sanitisers and cleaning equipment, disposables, administrative costs, marketing, equipment repair and maintenance, website design and hosting. There is a lot of money that the professional cake decorator has to invest just to stay in business. Most people would be surprised to know this.
And we haven’t even started with the cost of quality ingredients and the many hours of labour that goes into creating each masterpiece! (more to come on this subject later).
In the cake decorating busines, one of the most frequent complaints amongst us is undercharging for our work. We are a bunch of perfectionists who stress over the details and do and re-do work to make sure it is perfect for your event. Overcharging is not common. If you have a budget to work with it is a good idea to make this known from the very first contact with a cake decorator. They will then be able to guide you in the right direction in regard to design and help you get the cake you desire for the right price.
There are a few inexperienced cake makers out there who are just starting out and do not feel confident in charging for their time. This may be fair, because as the consumer, you may not be getting the cake you thought you would. I don’t like to criticise or shame these beginner cake decorators because we all started somewhere and we've all made mistakes, but it’s good to know that not all cakes are created equal - as can be seen below in photos sourced from cakewrecks.com:
So before you enquire about a bespoke cake, make sure you understand that you are requesting a quality product from a professional. You would not call a plumber or an electrician and expect a bargain. Cake decorators are just as dedicated to their craft and deserve to be paid for their time and experience, just like anybody else.
If you want something that comes from an expert in the field, who has the experience and the ability to deliver the cake of your dreams, then select a cake decorator who fits the bill. You are not being ripped off. You are just paying someone who is great at their job for a job well done.
Stay tuned for my next blog post: How To Order A Bespoke Cake, a step by step guide that makes ordering a bespoke cake a breeze!