Tuesday, February 7, 2012

That's too much for cake...

My fellow cake artists will understand my most recent rant.
It comes as a response to not 1, not 2, but 3 potential clients who presented me with a photo of an elaborate cake they wanted me to replicate.
All of theses cakes were done by famous cake artists or large successful cake studios who have minimum orders between $300 and $500.
I do not make a living as a cake artist, it is done out of love at the moment. Once my son starts school it will be a career, but for now it's "practice".
I am insured, which is not free, and I'd like to think my time is worth something also.
In all 3 instances I was told " ohhh that's too much for a cake!"
Often I am given a photo of a 3 tier cake but told, " we only need 20 servings."
Most people don't understand the cake in the photo is 100 servings and the smallest graduated pans were used.
That cake cannot be scaled down to 20 servings.
Many are shocked at how much it costs me to produce a cake.
A 2 tier 8 and 6 inch cake uses $20.00 in butter alone!
The board the board the cake sits on is $5.00.The supports and separator plate for the top tier are another $ 5.00. We haven't even baked the cake yet or figured in the cost of fondant.
A small 2 tier cake costs me approx. $70.00 to make.
When I inquire about a budget, I am usually given a range of $40 - $50.
That doesn't even cover my cost, no less anything for my time and talent.
That will get you a grocery store cake, or possibly a bakery cake, but it won't get you a 2 tier fondant covered custom cake.
I don't let it bother me much because 15 years ago, when I was making cake from a box in my kitchen, I had no idea what a custom cake would cost either. I would be shocked when quoted $100 for a cake.
To put things in perspective, imagine you are celebrating with 20 of your friends at a restaurant. Everyone orders a slice of cake for dessert. Plain, undecorated cake. Most chain restaurants charge around $5.00 per slice. That's $100 for 20 slices of cake.
Not a fondant covered cake, not a customized cake. A commercially prepared and previously frozen cake.

The following words were given to me when I first started making cakes 10 + years ago by a seasoned decorator, it didn't really have an impact on me then, but now I get it and it's time to share!
~If  any one ever asks why you , as a cake artists (or anyone who falls under the artist category) charge "so much" for services advise them that:
We don't get paid vacation.
We don't get paid sick days.
We don't get bonuses for outstanding performances nor for Christmas.
We don't have health insurance plans.
We sacrifice our family on special days so that we can bring fond memories and happiness to others.
Illness or personal affairs are not excuses for a bad performance.
So, next time someone asks or balks at your pricing, kindly bring to their attention that artists are artists because of the love of their craft, but that 'love' doesn't pay our bills.

After finding this paper at the bottom of my old Wilton tool box this morning , and my recent string of  " oooh that's too much for cake" responses, I am taking the bull by it's horns.
First things first,  I have vowed to present my son with a cake fit for a prince this year.  It's not his fault he was born during " wedding season" and for the past 2 years has been presented with " whatever I could whip up fast" so that I could complete my wedding orders and make another persons day special.
I have felt very guilty about that, and now it's time for a change, the week of August 26th is now BOOKED! Indefinately!

1 comment:

  1. Aww thanks for sharing. Love that you put your son first :)


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