Budgeting for a Custom (Commissioned) Cake:

NOTE: I wrote the following for the uneducated out there who flip out when I tell them that I don’t turn my oven on for less than $150.00:

When I speak to potential clients, I always ask “Do you have a budget in mind for your cake?” Primarily, this is to weed out the “looky-loos” who want a designer cake at Walmart prices. I don’t mean to sound harsh but most people don’t realize what goes into designing & creating a custom cake.
It is my experience that, more often than not, people have no idea as to what they could or SHOULD spend on a commissioned cake.
And they always err on the side of, well… Less.

While it can be subjective, budgeting for a custom cake is fairly easy. I explain it to my potential clients like this:
Estimate the number of guests that will be attending your event. 150 guests? Okay. Now, think about the last time you went out for dinner at a nice restaurant and splurged on a piece of cake for dessert. You probably paid upwards of $6.00-$8.00 for that piece of cake, right?
Multiply that by the number of guests to whom you will be serving cake:

150 guests X $7.00 = $1,050.00
(I figured $7.00 was a nice, middle-of-the-road number)

That is where a custom – commissioned – cake will START.
Notice I said “start.” That’s because a custom cake isn’t “custom” without design & decoration. That piece of restaurant cake wasn’t designed and decorated specifically for your event, was it? It probably wasn’t even MADE at the restaurant; it was probably mass-produced in a factory, frozen and shipped to the restaurant on a huge truck.
That’s because custom work – commissioned work – is special. It’s ART. And THAT comes at a premium.
Because. It’s. ART.

If you want a cake that will “WOW” your guests, you’re going to want to hire someone with an aesthetic, a gift for design – an Artist. And if you want an artist, you’re going to pay a premium for their skill. Cake artists ARE Artists. Our medium is edible – sugar, cake, buttercream. It requires the same skill set & vision as other artists.
THAT’S what you’re paying for.

Keep in mind, a custom cake – just like any commissioned piece of art – is created JUST FOR YOU. For your event; Your colors, your theme, a one-of-a-kind design, not mass-produced in a factory and shipped in on trucks. This is an edible piece of Art that no one else will ever have again.

Custom cakes are not for everyone. But, for those desiring edible art, realize that this particular portion of your budget should START in the 7-8% range of your total event budget. Also realize that most cake artists will have a minimum charge for their work. Being prepared with this knowledge, you won’t experience “sticker shock” when you receive your quote.

And, most importantly, you’ll know you’re dealing with an artist who is confident in their work, one who will create an amazing work of edible art for you & your event that you will remember and talk about for years and years.

Peace, love & cake,
- Renay

Tags: custom cake commissioned art budget minimum

Peace, love & cake!

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10 19
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10 Comments

Mel_SugarandSpiceCakes ...

Thanks very well said…

SugarMagicCakes (Christine) ...

Here, here Renay :-)

Sweet Cake of Mine ...

One of the best explanations about pricing I have read! Thank you!

Jo Finlayson (Jo Takes the Cake) ...

well said!

CakeyCake ...

Well said. I have shared this on my Facebook page. Thank you :)

Mira - Mirabella Desserts ...

Thank you so much! Very well said :)

Cakes ROCK!!! ...

Excellent!

Zoe Robinson ...

You are so right! Well said!

The Icing On The Cake ...

very well said. Ive shared this on my fb page. Thank you :) xx

Cup of Cookies ...

Thank you for sharing! Such a good explanation about pricing! xx