Charging for your work is always the hardest thing to do… we, as cake designers, don’t always take into consideration the hours we spend creating the decorations that will make our cakes special. This is definitely part of the cost and what makes us different from Publix or Costco where plastic decorations are used and cakes are frozen for weeks on end.
To make things easier, I charge by the portion – if a client wants a cake that will feed 25 people, I multiply my “per portion rate” by that number. If the design is relatively simple – I don’t charge extra. However, if the client wants a 3-D cake that requires carving or they ask for all sorts of gumpaste figures, or sprays of sugar flowers, I will charge an additional fee. Make sure to discuss this up front and follow it up with a confirmation e-mail.
Adding a dummy cake to make the design look bigger (and justify your fee) takes almost as much time as doing the real thing and you should charge enough to cover the cost of the dummy cake, plus all the materials and your time.
If you are unsure what to charge per portion, call your local bakeries and cake designers to find out what their prices are per person – you can then use these prices as a guideline. Hope this helps!