This involves a spreadsheet of ingredient prices and quantities and accounts for bake, assembly and foundational frosting time. Every cake is custom made to order from scratch, which is why even my simplest cake will cost more than a grocery store cake. On average, the base price is about $5.50 per serving for layer cakes, the most commonly requested treat.
The Design and Application
Every design is unique, whether closely inspired by an image or imagined from a list of prompts. I often do research, draw sketches and explore techniques before even picking up a palette knife or piping bag. Each technique looks different but all are applied with great care. For ease of pricing, I created a few tiers based on an assumption of another hour worked, though sometimes I spend more time than I account for. From the basic price, the tiers increase in $20 increments.
Some flavors, techniques and structural elements can add additional costs, as well as certain services. Special sculptural and tiered cakes often require delivery and on-site set-up, for example. Sometimes I loan out cake stands or servers for a refundable deposit.
“A Piece of Cake”
A lot of work, skill and experience go into making each and every cake.
I have decades of experience making art in a variety of media, from fine arts to graphic design, a great foundation from which to explore with buttercream and beyond. I took up baking for family gatherings after my mom forgot sugar in a lemon pie, which adds up to decades of baking experience. Hours upon hours of practice drawing and painting and exploring new techniques, as well as refining an artistic voice, also contribute to what you see here.
When you break it down like this and consider scale — those 4″ cakes take almost the same amount of time to bake as a 9″ cake, though there’s a bit less surface area to cover for the decoration — it often doesn’t seem like the math adds up to a good business model. But I love it. I love making art and I love seeing the joy in people’s faces when they see them for the first time. I love getting messages about how hard it is to cut into them, not because they’re not beautifully tender, but because they are ephemeral pieces of art.