If I were to ask you what do you see in the above picture, I would be pretty confident that the majority of you would say “well it’s a cake” and to a degree, you are absolutely correct, it is a cake.
Before I started making wedding cakes, that would have been my exact answer too and, being completely honest, I would have looked at the person asking me this rather confused, well that’s what it is isn’t it?
Being the person who now makes the cakes, I understand more than anyone that what you actually see in the picture is not “just a cake”. What you actually see is the final outcome of a journey that I go on with my clients. It’s the end result of many many months of planning, researching and then the big one……the actual baking and decorating of that beautiful wedding cake which happens over a minimum of a five working day process.
I remember being told “you should get into the wedding cake market, that’s where there is money is to be made” and it would appear that after speaking to many others over the years, there are a number of people who are of the same opinion that wedding cakes are levied with a healthy and unnecessary profit. If only this statement were true. If anything, the wedding cake market and what people charge is severely under-priced.
It really does sadden me when I speak to people and they believe a cake is “just butter, eggs and flour”. Some people are embarrassed by the person who has just made that remark, but I see it as a chance to educate people as to why many people’s perception is that wedding cakes are expensive.
I’m pretty confident we would all be in agreement that the above three ingredients don’t make a basic sponge for a cake and a basic sponge certainly does not form the body of a wedding cake. Take a four tier wedding cake for example, I would need to bake eight sponges, this cake would normally have four different cakes flavours – so that’s four lots of baking, four lots of washing up, four lots of ingredient shopping, eight lots of cake tin lining and after completing just that one basic step, which takes many hours, all we have is our base sponge to start us off with along with may hours of electricity used to bake, mix and wash the dishes. I then have to assemble each of these cake flavours – each cake needs to be cut and levelled before I start filling each one with the different jams and curds and different flavoured buttercreams. Belgian white chocolate and cream are needed to make the white chocolate ganache for setting around the outer layer of each cake sealing in the freshness and giving us the perfect base to create a beautiful finish for when each cake is individually iced with fondant to give us a base blank white canvas cake tier. Once we have our blank canvas, it then needs to be brought to life. We start the decorating process which require more materials – yes unfortunately there is a cost for decoration too. But it’s not just ingredients that we need for making a cake we also require many stock items too e.g. cake drums, cake cards, dowels, ribbon, boxes.
The cost of these “basic” ingredients has absolutely soared. Every time you order stock or visit a supermarket the price has yet again gone up. It’s not fun being a baker just now. The cost of living that we are all experiencing affects every single thing we as wedding cake makers need. The big three ……ingredients, electric and fuel have rocketed in price and this rise has to be factored into the cost. As well as having to deal with price increases, the availability of some items are, at times, extremely challenging to source. Eggs, for instance, are being limited to only being allowed to buy two boxes. Two boxes of eggs aren’t going to make a cake which means we have to spend more time trying to source basic stock around shops trying to get what I need. Many ingredients have risen by around 34%. A standard block of butter was £0.76p when I started baking it is now sitting on average £2.30 a block, a 302% price increase, and that’s only for one ingredient!!!
I can’t stress enough that it is really really important to remember that when you are buying a wedding cake, you are actually buying a service……. the cake just so happens to be what we all visually see at the end. Instead of asking “how much is this cake”, should the question be “how much is it to work with you?” because the price that you have been quoted and are paying for is not just for a cake, it is for a collective of many things. All of my clients have access to me from the very minute they have paid their booking fee.
- They can contact me at any time to ask absolutely any question they have or to get my advice on absolutely anything they are worried about.
- I meet with my couples in my studio for their cake consultation if they are close or over Zoom if they are unable to attend in person.
- I spend time researching ideas from our conversations at this meeting and prepare and send cake sketches showing them different ideas of how their cake can look so they can visualise and see different options.
- All my couples receive a box of cake samples, six different flavours all beautifully packaged and presented with information.
- I liaise with other suppliers to make arrangements to take away the stress and worry away from my client’s eg. florists to check that any fresh flowers that are being supplied for the cake will be food safe.
- I set up and deliver all of my cakes at the venues, contacting the venue to make sure that I arrive at a suitable time. I can be at the venue for an hour to an hour and a half depending on what the set up requires.
- Admin is huge from sending out replies to initial enquiries, booking and invoicing, stock taking, emails etc.
You choose to work with me because I am a professional, I have the skills required to make your cake and for this service, I of course like anyone that works, needs paid too.
And lastly, I run a registered business which has many overheads that also needs covered including:
- Website and fees
- Phone bills
- Branding and Literature
- Business Insurance
- Utilities for my studio (electric, heating, water)
- I’m a registered business with HMRC – Taxes and insurance
I am truly passionate about only using the best ingredients in my bakes and will only ever use the best on the market, Butter, Free Range Eggs, Belgian Chocolate, premium swiss fondant, as my base ingredients – yes you can get cheaper ingredients but, in my opinion, they don’t match the quality and I do not ever ever compromise on quality. It’s interesting to note that currently a good quality vanilla extract costs more per ml than champagne!
So, when we review what we are paying for, the price of a wedding cake is in fact all of the above.
- Premium ingredients to bake and decorate your cake
- Stock – Boards, boxes, ribbon, dowels
- Admin – emails, invoicing, research, cake sketches, consultations
- Baking and packaging cake samples
- Liaising with other suppliers
- Setting up and delivering your cake to your venue
- And, of course, you are paying for me to do all of the above
So, when we take everything into account, is a wedding cake really expensive?
If you are looking for a wedding cake baked by someone who is experienced, who has the knowledge of how to not only bake but assemble, deliver and set up. Someone who is truly passionate about delivering the best service, the best cake for your wedding. Someone who will be fully committed to delivering the best experience and if you want to check my availability, then please get in touch. I would love to hear from you.