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Why so expensive?

July 17, 2011

This is the most common question I get asked when I’m quoting for a celebration cake, so I thought I’d go through some of the costs involved in making a cake. A popular response from the person asking for a quote is that they can buy a cake for under Β£10 in a supermarket – which is true. You can get a cheap celebration cake in a supermarket… because it is a supermarket. They make things cheap because they are HUGE, but I’m betting they don’t put in the time and effort of a local cake baker and it won’t be personalised exactly to your specification. And I can pretty much guarantee that it won’t taste anywhere near as good! I recently saw a quote somewhere (sorry, I can’t remember where or I would have credited them) that said “Good cake isn’t cheap, cheap cake isn’t good” – I think that sums it up pretty well.

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145 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2011 10:58 am

    Good for you – what a great post. You are making something handmade and handmade is a bespoke, unique, custom product that a customer should feel proud of – they are supporting small independents, getting an absolutely dedicated product, and avoiding mass market production of lower quality products.
    I’m retweeting!

    • amylane permalink*
      July 17, 2011 11:38 am

      Thank you for your lovely comment and retweet. I hope as handmade products are becoming more popular people will shop with independents and appreciate the time, effort and quality that go with them. x

  2. July 17, 2011 10:58 am

    i totally agree with that quote – cheap cake is not good cake – it’s yucky, normally really dry and with cheap yuck filling. Yours look gorgeous keep doing what your doing and charge for your time too x

    • amylane permalink*
      July 17, 2011 11:39 am

      Thank you! I totally agree with your cake comments – supermarket cake is all those things! I am getting better at charging the right price… πŸ™‚

  3. July 17, 2011 11:24 am

    Well said xx

  4. Louise permalink
    July 17, 2011 11:49 am

    So true, plus supermarket cake tastes awful! I must admit though my prices are lower than they should be and I give away far too many freebies but all worth it when someone absolutely loves their cake πŸ™‚

    • amylane permalink*
      July 17, 2011 7:23 pm

      It is really hard to judge prices, isn’t it? I’m trying hard to charge a fair price for both parties, but it isn’t easy πŸ™‚

  5. July 17, 2011 12:03 pm

    I think a similar thing can be said of all independant makers and crafters. There is no economy of scale, it takes hours to create a physical thing, and that effort is required again every time.
    I read once that for a crafter (in this case woodturner) to make a reasonable living, they need to be generating roughly Β£20 per hour for their time in the workshop. That’s after material costs.
    This is not about competing with mass produced items churned out of factories (or by exploiting child labour in third world countries) and you simply can’t compare costs like that.

    I once quoted Β£20 to make a small oak doorbell surround. For which you could easily buy a whole new doorbell mechanism. But the person was willing to pay because they specifically wanted to keep the house original doorbell, and appreciated that what they needed was necessarily custom. In truth it still took me more time than I thought and they got my time cheap. However they were very happy with what they got, and part of it is the joy of making something one off and bespoke.

    • amylane permalink*
      July 17, 2011 7:27 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Dan. You’re right, it is the same for all independent crafters. When I was at the craft fair last week, I was amazed at the talent and sad that some people really couldn’t be making a living on the prices they were charging. I was also sad to see some customers walking round blatantly moaning about the prices. I think that when you are a craftsperson yourself, in whatever field, you really do appreciate that you are getting good quality, custom items when you order through another small craft business. I also agree that the joy you get out of making a bespoke item that is really appreciated is immense, even if you haven’t made much money from it.

  6. July 17, 2011 6:09 pm

    Totally agree! Supermarket cake tastes terrible on the whole, although there are a few that taste good, but they’ll never be able to match up to HOMEMADE cake!
    Thanks for a very informative post!

    • amylane permalink*
      July 17, 2011 7:28 pm

      That’s very true Kerry, not all supermarket cake is hideous but I’m almost certain they don’t taste as good as homemade. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, x

  7. July 17, 2011 7:11 pm

    Some people think just because you are not a company you should be giving the cakes away. They don’t think about the time and efford that goes into a hand made cake. You are making a one off just for them. Looking at the cakes in the pictures above they are getting a bargain if you only charge them Β£25-30.

    • amylane permalink*
      July 17, 2011 7:31 pm

      I do often come up against the attitude that I am just a ‘Mum who sits at home baking for fun’. Β£25-30 is the cost of the ingredients before my time is added on, for a 2 tier cake I usually charge about Β£65.

  8. July 17, 2011 7:47 pm

    They are still getting a bargain and a gorgeous one at that. The cake is the talking point of any party. They guest will be talking about your cakes long after the party is over.

    • amylane permalink*
      July 17, 2011 8:04 pm

      I do hope so – I get quite a few orders from people who have seen a cake at someone else’s celebration, which is always wonderful πŸ™‚

  9. July 17, 2011 8:04 pm

    I had wondered how much it would cost to make! I know that making 2 Victoria sponge cakes cost enough in basic ingredients when I made my granny’s 94 th birthday cakes…

    • amylane permalink*
      July 17, 2011 8:32 pm

      Yes, ingredients aren’t that cheap – but it’s worth it πŸ™‚

  10. July 17, 2011 8:41 pm

    here, here! go girl go!

    • amylane permalink*
      July 17, 2011 9:01 pm

      Lol, thanks Lorraine! πŸ™‚

  11. July 18, 2011 8:56 pm

    Well said!

  12. July 18, 2011 9:39 pm

    And the cake is often more photographed than the guests. Love the blue and white starburst cake, beautiful.

    • amylane permalink*
      July 18, 2011 10:09 pm

      Thank you! You’re probably right about that πŸ™‚

  13. July 19, 2011 9:40 am

    Excellent post Amy, well said!

  14. July 19, 2011 10:31 pm

    Great post! I only bake for fun at the moment, but was a bit upset recently when I was asked to make a novelty cake for my niece’s birthday. It was absolutely massive and I couldn’t believe how much it ended up costing, not just financially but I also had to write off a whole weekend. I was a bit hurt when I wasn’t offered anything towards ingredients/materials for the cake (although I probably wouldn’t have taken anything!) but since then, and after reading this, I’ve realised that it’s probably because they have no idea how much these things can cost! I was grateful to be asked and also it was a great experience but I’d definitely think carefully about doing it again in future even though I love baking. This post has made me feel a lot better in that I wondered if I could have done it cheaper, but I’m guessing not! That christening cake is fantastic.

    • amylane permalink*
      July 21, 2011 8:26 pm

      Oh no, that’s a shame that they didn’t even think to cover the ingredients for you! But I am convinced that people don’t realise the cost of things, especially if they don’t bake. I’ve just ordered the cigarellos and truffles for my friend’s wedding cake and those alone came to Β£120! There’s no way to make a cheap cake unless you are a supermarket I’m afraid! x

  15. July 20, 2011 7:28 pm

    Marvellous post, I too have undercharged for the few cakes I’ve sold. An incredible amount of work goes into making a personalised cake and it all has to be done in a very tight time frame so it’s as fresh as possible. If you look at supermarket childrens’ birthday cakes, the best before dates are 2-3 weeks ahead. That says a heck of a lot!

    • amylane permalink*
      July 21, 2011 8:28 pm

      That is true – I am often up until 2 or 3 in the morning because I want the cake to be as fresh as possible. The thought of a cake lasting 2-3 weeks is just grim, I dread to think what they put in them! x

    • August 5, 2011 1:14 pm

      Couldn’t have said it any better! So glad I found a link to your blog, will be sticking with you now! The “Cheap cake aint good, good cake aint cheap” may have come from a recent post I made on FB to the Great cake debate page, since then lots of cake decorating community have been posting on their cake pages, which is great. I got the quote from Cakecentral somewhere, I think someone had it in their forum siggy!
      I’m posting quotes on my FB business page every Friday now!
      I have posted a link to this blog on my page too.
      I arrived at the same cost price as you of Β£25-Β£30, for most of my cakes, when labour is added on, most of my cakes arrive at the Β£80-Β£100 mark. I think something that’s important to add, is that there’s not much middle ground when it comes to prices of cakes, you either get the supermarket ones at Β£10, or when you go to a specialist cake decorator who actually has worked out the costs involved and charges their worth, it’s just not possible to get the price at the Β£40-Β£50 range, if you cost it properly for a custom designed and personalised creation.
      I also am often up till 3am to get a cake finished, and to the highest possible standard. I work incredibly hard in a short period of time, and after making a good few cakes at near or even below cost price, the hobby then turns into a chore, and you end up hating what you do!
      I didn’t spend hundreds of hours of my time, and a quite large amount of money, learning, practising and perfecting my skills and knowledge in this art, to make cakes for people at cost price. If people were able to make the cakes themselves, they would maybe do so, if not, then that’s where our service comes in. Same as any other trade, another analogy I added to the great cake debate page is, you wouldn’t quibble at the price the hairdresser asks for a cut and colour which maybe takes around and hour and a half to do, so why do it with the custom cake maker who is often up till all hours of the night, always on your feet too, for a cake that takes an average of 8-9 hours to do, and often longer!
      My hubby is a lawyer, and if a potential client quibbles his prices, his quote is “yes, that is a lot of money, I won’t be offended if you’d like to go elsewhere and gather a few price quotes”, or you could go to university for FIVE YEARS, and come out with a minimum of Β£10,000 in debt, and then you can do it yourself! Doesn’t seem such an unreasonable price now does it?
      He says every time they come back to him πŸ™‚
      If we don’t value our own work, who else will?

      • amylane permalink*
        August 5, 2011 7:56 pm

        Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment and for letting me know where the quote is from – it’s a great one! It is very true – we do need to value our own work and charge a fair price – something I hope I’m getting better at now πŸ™‚

  16. July 25, 2011 6:18 pm

    I totally agree! Fab post! I think this is the case with most handmade items. I make cards and occasionally sell them (to be honest I undercharge just because I enjoy it and it isn’t a business venture) but people don’t realise how much it costs to make a decent handmade card. When we ordered our wedding cake it was really reasonable considering some quotes that we had, it was excellent quality, personalised and much much better than we could have ever bought. We didn’t mind paying for something that was so special to us. Well done on posting this…that quote is sooo true!x

    • amylane permalink*
      July 26, 2011 9:40 am

      Thanks Arline! I used to make cards too and I know how much effort go into making them look so beautiful. It is so difficult to charge sensibly for handmade goods! x

      • August 4, 2011 10:47 pm

        I totally agree with your post. I have made several wedding cakes (3 tier) and I know I never charge enough. The most I ever charged was $175. and drove 2 hours to get to the reception hall. The last one was for a nephew which was 3 hours away and it took me 2 days of working on the flowers. Being the nice person that I am, I let them have it for a wedding present. I really need to stop doing that. Thanks for posting.

        • amylane permalink*
          August 5, 2011 7:59 pm

          It’s tough isn’t it. Maybe some of us are just too nice πŸ™‚

  17. August 4, 2011 8:48 pm

    This is the most brilliant piece I’ve ever read. Thanks Amy for putting it so well. Do you mind if I keep a copy and maybe use it at some point (with full credit to you of course)?

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:59 pm

      Thanks Tracy, feel free to share the post πŸ™‚

  18. August 4, 2011 11:24 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, I am constantly telling people that the time involved in making cakes we never get back in money- we do it because we love it! I was asked to make a novelty gluten-free cake for this weekend and the guy never got back to me after I e-mailed him the price list! I explained in the e-mail that the ingredients are slightly more because gluten free products cost more, and to make a small model is time-consuming and I get the feeling after talking to him on the phone that he was thinking ‘I could get one Β£30 cheaper in Tesco’ (yeah you can but it won’t taste like mine), anyway you win-some you lose-some! I have lots of repeat customers who love my cakes & appreciate my hard work, and that makes it all worth while! Brilliant post, just brilliant!! x

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:58 pm

      Thank you! I get a lot of repeat customers too and word of mouth orders so there are obviously those out there who appreciate our hard work and yummy cake πŸ™‚

  19. August 5, 2011 2:04 am

    I love that quote about the ‘good cake’; I may borrow that one!

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:57 pm

      It’s good isn’t it? Another commenter said she thinks she got it from Cakecentral.

  20. Shauna permalink
    August 5, 2011 3:01 am

    I Love you for writing this!! THANK YOU! I make cakes In Canada, and it’s beyond frustrating having to continue to explain yourself and prices!! I will be re-posting this on my site!! Kudos girl!!! Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 8:05 pm

      Thanks very much πŸ™‚

  21. August 5, 2011 6:21 am

    I agree with all of you. It does not matter what kind of home made craft we do. I was doing pricing on some of my products the other day. I said a price and my husband says, don’t be greedy. I said, I’m not. I have to cover my costs, I’m not making anything. You should have seen his face! I think he was dumbfounded as to why I still do it as well. Honestly, if you love doing what you do, it’s so worth it! Good for you with this post Amylane. x

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:53 pm

      My husband gets annoyed when I don’t charge enough but run myself into the ground over an order! πŸ™‚

  22. August 5, 2011 8:30 am

    I’m going to repost this. Although it’s not *exactly* the same as making candles (obv!) the points about independant over supermarket are well made!

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:51 pm

      Thanks Will πŸ™‚

  23. August 5, 2011 9:02 am

    I make cakes for friends and family, and have on several occasions had the supermarket comparison. They have all baulked at paying Β£30 + for a cake they can buy for Β£10 and I am sick of having to explain why. They have all been so glad they chose the handmade personalised cake in the end though. those of us who make for people, especially kids birthday cakes, can put all our passion into a fantastic creation that makes a childs face light up, even when that ‘child’ is a 50 year old friend with a love of Tanks. that’s what makes it worth doing

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:50 pm

      I do find that word of mouth and repeat customers are great, so obviously when they do pay the prices they are pleased with what they are getting.

  24. August 5, 2011 9:25 am

    This is a fantastic post and as many others have stated – SO TRUE πŸ™‚

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:48 pm

      Thanks Helen πŸ™‚

  25. Katie 'Cakes' West permalink
    August 5, 2011 9:43 am

    Myself and a fellow cake making friend get asks this all the time, people really do believe its just flour and eggs – if only – we’d all be rich for our passions – and informative and true accoun t of life as a cake maker and inspirational too πŸ™‚
    keep your prices as they are ladies and gents – i was taught you get what you pay for –
    shop bought cake – as a former supermarket baker and confectioner – no thanks – e’s additives and synthetics particals …mmmmm yummy- im glad there are those that believe in getting what you pay for and those that value the service we provide –
    great article – ive posted it for all my customers to see and will do so regulary

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:49 pm

      Thanks for sharing the blog post. I agree, you do get what you pay for. The fact a supermarket cake has a best before date several weeks long scares me!

  26. Dani permalink
    August 5, 2011 9:46 am

    Hey there, I am Dani’s Cake house from Facebook. I’m so glad I read this! I had a woman ring me a couple of weeks ago looking for a Fireman Sam cake, in the shape of the fire engine and with fireman sam standing next to it. i totted up the price and called her back with it – €60 (about Β£52 ish) she was horrified! Said she didnt want to ‘spend that much on a cake’. made me wonder why she bothered calling in the first place, I think some people assume we just magically throw it all together… My average cake takes about 5/6 hours in total to do. Supplies in Ireland seem to be more expensive than in the UK, I mostly use 12 or 14inch boards and boxes, sometimes 16/18inch. A 16inch thick board it €8.60 (!!!!) here and the box is about €3.50. A 12 inch board is €4 and the box is €2.50. Fondant is about the same as you, about €5 per kilo and I could use up to 3 kilos on a cake. Then the cost of all the other stuff, eggs, stork icing sugar etc. We worked out that I make about €7.50 an hour. In Ireland, minimum wage is €8.65 per hour…. So why do I feel like I am overcharging people?? I am always embarrassed giving out a price, I cringe when I send the text or tell them face to face… And I feel like I need to explain myself, and tell them why I need to charge that amount lol. Sounds like you feel the same. But like you, I love to do it so it’s a catch 22 situation! I work full time 9am to 6pm monday to Friday as an accounts assistant, so I can only work on cakes in the evenings, and as most cakes are wanted for Saturdays, I can really only start the cake on the thurs evening so it will be fresh, so it means coming home from work and going into the kitchen and not coming out until bedtime lol. I feel like I need to explain all those things to people when I shouldnt have to! Sorry for rant xxxxx

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:48 pm

      Hi Dani, thanks for your comment. I also cringe when I have to give out prices, especially for friends but I am getting better at it now!

    • Leslie permalink
      August 15, 2011 5:55 pm

      It’s so nice to s hear from someone in my situation. I work fulll time as well. Usually bake on Thurs and give up all of my Friday evenings to do cakes for sat. Again like everyone else I love what I do, but sometimes I miss my life on the weekends! Haha

      • amylane permalink*
        August 16, 2011 9:34 pm

        I know how you feel – my Friday evenings vanish too! x

  27. August 5, 2011 9:57 am

    Fantastic post – I think craftspeople do come up against this attitude so often. I handbuild with clay and it can be immensely time consuming with all the different processes a single piece might go through as well as the cost of materials and firings. It took me a while to realise that there was no way I could compete with the price of something that had been made in minutes in a factory by pouring into moulds for endless reproductions unless I was willing to work for 10p an hour! Or less on some items! There does seem to be a bit of an expectation sometimes I think, that a handmade item should cost the same as the mass production items from the high street, but really people are not buying the same kind of product at all. Sometimes it seems our society is so conditioned by the huge corporations that often compete for peoples’ business on the basis of price alone, to only think of something as good value if it is the cheapest option. They forget about quality, beauty, artistry, skill, uniqueness, personal service and the inherent value of something that has been made by somebody who really cares about the product and will work hard to give you exactly what you want. All those things take time and effort. They wouldn’t want to work for free, so why do they expect us to?! xx

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:46 pm

      That seems to be the problem nowadays when you can just buy things so cheaply on the high street. Everyone loves the look of handmade, but not many are prepared to pay for it and I’m sure that’s because they don’t consider the costs of materials and time. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  28. Yvonne Dorrington permalink
    August 5, 2011 10:13 am

    I thought about doing some budget versions of my cakes so they’re closer to supermarket prices but decided against it as I don’t want to buy battery hen eggs, non fairtrade sugar, margerine containing trans fats, palm oil to name just a few changes I’d have to make.

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:44 pm

      I totally agree, I would never compromise when it comes to buying ingredients – I just don’t think it’s worth it.

  29. August 5, 2011 10:52 am

    I totally agree, I make cakes for friends and family, I don’t really charge for time but even then they think the cakes are extortionate in price when they tell you how much they owe you!
    I would much rather pay for something that doesn’t taste like sawdust, if they want cheap go to the supermarket, saves on my time, but I won’t be eating the cake at thier party lol

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:43 pm

      I have trouble when it comes to parties as my daughters don’t like the shop bought cakes! πŸ™‚

  30. August 5, 2011 11:10 am

    Great post and very true!

    I had a cake made by Laura at Mamma Jamma Cakes for my sons birthday and everybody commented on how fantastic it was. I just wouldn’t have been able to buy something as good and it was very reasonably priced, actually cost less than the one I had from M&S for my daughters birthday which was Β£40. Although I do have to say, the M&S one was actually delicious too, the sponge was really light and fluffy!

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:43 pm

      Mamma Jamma Cakes rock! Glad to hear not all shop bought cakes taste of cardboard πŸ™‚

  31. August 5, 2011 11:12 am

    I gave up a few years ago making cakes i spent to much time on them..
    I had lovely letters from customers.. People see them in the shops not a patch on what we make & question why do we charge that price..

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:42 pm

      It’s a shame you felt you had to give up but I know how tricky it is timewise and explaining costs to people.

  32. August 5, 2011 11:33 am

    I can see why you has wrote it, but it is wrong in so many places, you has not added enough into your costs if you are trying to point out the costs to the general puplic, you should list them all so they understand! But then It got me thinking, do you really know the full cost yourself? by saying ”probably looking at Β£25-30 worth of materials and ingredients” you really should know! not guess, how can you know how much you make if you do not really know the real cost yourself! My 8″ round costs Β£32 to produce (ganached under fondant, 4″ high) This is with good quailty ingredients, boxes/boards/ribbons etc all at very competitive prices as I buy in bulk. So I do think your costings are low. What about home.buiness Insurance cost, liability insurance, website costs, fuel costs (even if not for delivering the cake, but when buying the materials etc) this is all added into costs of running a business!
    Also when you say about not charging more for weddings, I agree in part, if you are charging correctly for all your cakes, but so many people don’t! Only charging Β£65!!!! for the 2 tier cake, would you really charge only Β£65 for a 2 tier wedding cake! Honsetly! … There is alot of work in weddings, sometimes upto 4 consultions I have had with brides when sorting out the design of the cake, you have to colour match ribbons etc where as for normal birthday cakes you would just use a ‘blue’, this is all more time consuming which your time should be paid for! Some people double ice or marzipan wedding cakes to give a better finish, more expense! More research is needed when designing the wedding cakes! I charged the same for all cakes in the end, but It was ‘wedding’ prices for all.
    My biggest issue is not with ‘supermarket’ cakes, I think most people are fully aware these are manufactured crap, If they want a bespoke cake they will pay a cake makers, what makes people say ‘why so expensive?’ is other cake makers! We all know somebody in all our areas that are charging stupidly low prices, these are the people that are harming our pricing structure! Joe bloggs will wonder why they can make it for Β£30 when we charge Β£60, the truth is they are not making anything! but joe bloggs correctly does not understand the costs/time! If all cake makers charged decent fair prices & don’t just do it for the love of decorting, we would all benefit, they are just harming people who want to try and run a business and earn a wage but they are also harming themselves! People should ask themselves if they are running a business, hobby or charity! The wonderful Sir Alan Sugar would not run a business charging Β£65 for a 2 tier cake that eally costs over Β£45 and hours make, thats not business!! Its just not worth doing as a business, he’d tell them to JOG ON!!

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:41 pm

      Thanks for your comment. You’re right, I could have gone into greater details with my costings and everything else that is involved with setting up a business – in fact, I probably could have written a whole blog let alone one post. However, this was just meant to be a short blog post (on a personal blog) about some of the costs involved. I provided rough costs to give an approximate range – I do know my own costings and this is how I know that I often undercharge. Judging by forums I’ve read, I am not alone. I don’t think it is something people set out to do, after all, if you’re running a business who doesn’t want to make money? We may enjoy and have skills in cake decorating but we’re not all great business people – although, I am learning to be! I don’t think people like myself set out to undercharge with the intention of ruining someone else’s business – well, I certainly don’t. There are many people, including some older ladies that I know, who don’t aren’t decorating cakes to earn money but are doing something they love and I’m not sure anyone should tell them to do otherwise. I have never had anyone come to me and say that they can get a cake cheaper from someone down the road, or are coming to me because I’m cheaper than someone else. I’m sure it happens but for me the most common response I get is that they can buy it cheaper in the supermarket.

      I agree that there are a lot of extras that go with wedding orders, but the point I am making is that if I am asked to make 24 cupcakes with hand-crafted sugar roses on them then the price will be the same for a wedding or a birthday order. I agree there are other costs involved that need to be factored in, and I do take account of these when quoting for wedding cakes. The point I was trying to get across is that I don’t just add 200% onto the price just because they say it’s for a wedding.

  33. amanda permalink
    August 5, 2011 12:03 pm

    Hi there, i know what you are saying, i have just been asked to make a 2 tier birthday cake for a friends 30th birthday. I used to think having a cake made by a professional was extorsionate prices, UNTIL i made this one. The price alone to buy the ingredients, boards, dowels icing, box and everything else, with out my time and electric cost me a fortune, now i understand why u pay so much to have a cake made……….

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:22 pm

      I genuinely think people don’t know (or think about) the costs involved until they try to make a cake themselves.

  34. August 5, 2011 3:19 pm

    Hear Hear! I am going to repost this on my FB etc, so true that people always wonder why they are so expensive!

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:21 pm

      Thank you for sharing my blog post πŸ™‚

  35. August 5, 2011 3:41 pm

    Great post!! I am just getting started in the cake-decorating business, and people have no idea the long hours we put in to make their cake look perfect! I am such a perfectionist, that I will stay up until all hours of the night for a week so that I make sure the cake is perfect. I don’t want my name on a cake that is anything but. Thank you for this post. I hope people that are buying cakes from us read it. πŸ™‚ ❀ from the US!

    • amylane permalink*
      August 5, 2011 7:20 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. My friends are always amazed when I say how many hours go into decorating a cake!

  36. August 5, 2011 4:56 pm

    totalmente de acuerdo!!!!!

  37. August 5, 2011 6:23 pm

    wow thats so true great words spoken there x

  38. amylane permalink*
    August 5, 2011 8:07 pm

    Thanks Emma πŸ™‚

  39. August 5, 2011 9:16 pm

    Dear Amylane!! YOU ARE SO RIGHT! we are all facing this problem in the world, as caking and custom-made cakes have become a “wave of fashion” and because more people do it as a “hobby” they have UNDERPRICED a JOB that a few years back (not more than 2 or 3) was a LUXURY REQUEST … to have a custome made cake with fondant? please! that was only for A WEDDING!!! and it was expensive and any bride paid ridiculous amounts of money for that cake.The fear also of not getting an order makes us hesitate to much and again UNDERPRICE our cakes or desserts … we should keep things fair … THIS IS AN ART … if people want a cheap cake … there are thousands of supermarkets that are waiting for them, but if they want something that tastes good, that presents well, that has art, custom design, special ingredients, etc etc … well … THEY HAVE TO PAY … I am a believer that there is a clientela for anything and anybody … we just HAVE TO BE PERSISTANT!! do not lower your price!! ☺ You named most of the expenses we face, but I would like to add the ones that in my opinion are PRICELESS … the one “ingredient” that makes all of this happen … that ingredient is: OUR TALENT … (I wish I can scream that!!!) and the TOOL that works without comparision to any kitchenaid utensil … that tool is OUR HANDS … plus the magic and power of our IMMAGINATION … so those THREE “AGENTS” are simply PRICELESS and everytime someone asks the mean question: “why so expensive” before answering confirming your price, think about the THREE “AGENTS”!!! you might find yourself even rising up your prices and feeling way more secure of what you are stating.
    Keep up the good work ladies! we have a gift that God put in our hands, let’s use it wisely and fair … and no one will get hurt!! … ☺ Thanks and regards from FLORIDA, USA!! (please excuse my orthographics mistakes, English is not my native language!! LOL !! ☺ I am from Venezuela)

  40. August 5, 2011 10:34 pm

    Here here.All clients should be given a copy of this, it is a great piece of writing.

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 9:30 am

      Thanks Karen πŸ™‚

  41. August 6, 2011 5:14 am

    I agree completely with all of you … but I would like to add the most important and EXPENSIVE ingredients … they are intangible, they are sublime and no one is willing to pay as they are “PRICELESS” … such ingredients are OUR TALENT and OUR CREATIVITY that together with a “PRICELESS TOOL” that is our HANDS make possible the works of art that you and all of us make everyday putting all of our heart.

    I believe that the biggest problem is that this caking business has turned into a fashion that had hit all around the globe, (I live in Florida and In am from Venezuela, and have been following this “cake domino effect through social networks, TV, magazines, blogs etc for a while) Now the “making of an elaborate fondant cake is accesible to anyone and as a consequence the cakers that do this job as a hobby ended up UNDERPRICING this art.

    A couple of years ago (not more that three), ordering a custom made cake for a wedding covered in fondant WAS A LUXURY, not everyone could afford the expensive prices for their dream cake, opting to cut the budget in everything but THE CAKE. Soooo this been said, qe make the most important attraction of a wedding, party, birthday, baptisim, anniversary, etc!!!! ☺☺☺!!!

    From the moment that we answer that call from the client until the delivery of the cake and shaking hands, we provide more than a work of art, don’t forget that we provide the customer service, the transportation, the changes, more sketches, the marketing, the special requests, etc and we afford the loss which could be the “accidents that happen in the kitchen” LOL!! ☺ we all have been there!! well … all of that also is part of what the customer is paying!!!!

    So, ladies!! the next time that any customer kindly asks you “why so expensive?” instead of hesitate, take your time, list inside your mind, (not to the client…. that would be rude ☺) all of the ingredients that Amy Lane has named in her lines, don’t forget that your GIFT from GOD is priceless!!! and TALK YOUR PRICE, there will always be a client for us, if they want a cheap cake, let them go to the “hobby caker” or to the “supermarket cheap cake”, keep your heads high, and open room for the next client, you will feel proud that you are giving the right value to your WORK and PASSION.


    Kind regards and have a happy caking weekend! ☺

    PAOLA ☺

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 9:30 am

      Thanks Paola. I am beginning to realise that I would rather lose an order than undercharge. Once you start undercharging it is very difficult to get back out of that rut, especially if they then go on to tell their friends what they paid. Thanks for you comment, x

  42. August 6, 2011 11:59 am

    Totally with you……there is also something very ‘quaintly english’ about a fabulously scrumptious homemade cake which you just don’t get with a supermarket alternative.
    I love the thought of Sunday afternoon tea served in the cutest fine bone china tea cups and a slice of homemade cake, it is whimsical and reminds me of times gone by.
    If I’m doing an event and there is a cake stall it is a must for me to take a delicious treat home for the mr and our offspring….it’s a kind of ritual. I think that anything ‘handmade’ can by some be perceived to be costly but by others totally appreciated for the love and hard work that it has taken to create it.
    happy go loopy mel x

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 9:28 am

      Oh, I love a good afternoon tea too πŸ™‚ I have to say, when I do craft fairs cakes do go down very well and actually very few people complained about the prices then!

  43. Hayley permalink
    August 6, 2011 4:07 pm

    an excellent post- brings in so many of the issues so many of us face. I’m an appalling baker but I do knit in the evenings as a bit of a hobby. However, when a friend of mine had a baby I made her a lovely blanket for her baby shower. I got so many compliments that for the next baby shower I made another one. And now lots of people are asking me to make stuff for them too. I love making things. I love the look on their faces when they get the final product. But, even though they offer to pay for the cost of materials, no-one seems aware of how much time is involved (they take weeks and weeks worth of work), or how much the wool costs. Good wool goes for around Β£4 a ball, needing approx 12-15 balls per blanket (obviously size dependant etc) but then I get embarrassed about the cost of it and under charge for the wool let alone taking my time into consideration. Tricky line to balance on – between under selling yourself and people thinking you’re over charging…

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 9:26 am

      I feel for you. I knit too and know too well how pricey yarn is and how long it takes to knit items. It’s another case that if people don’t knit themselves then they just have no idea! Thanks for your comment, x

  44. August 6, 2011 7:42 pm

    I have to say I agree, I too make things, toiletries; jewellery; bags; t-shirts and I make nowhere near min wage…it is true if you want a cheap cake go to a supermarket, you will get a mass preduced cake, order a cake from a profesional cake maker and you get what you want, made the way you want with love and care to boot.

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 9:25 am

      It is the same with all handmade items, isn’t it? You just don’t get the personal touch with high street goods.

  45. August 6, 2011 9:04 pm

    Thank you for making me not feel guilty about pricing my cakes! xx

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 9:24 am

      Keep going and charging fair prices πŸ™‚

  46. laura permalink
    August 6, 2011 10:43 pm

    I could not agree more, sadly people do not understand the personnal touch. I am guilty of buying supermarket cakes now and then but as you say the taste quality does not even come close. I have someone on facebook who posts the most beautiful cakes and they are so individual it amazes me.

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 9:23 am

      There are many amazing cake decorators out there (and yes, we all buy the odd supermarket cake from time to time πŸ™‚ )

  47. August 7, 2011 1:48 am

    Hi Amylane, please accept my apologies, it looks like I have invaded your blog with 2 large posts! I am so sorry, I sent the first one, and when I came back like 3 or 4 hrs later to see if it was posted, I didn’t see it, so i thought I made a mistake … I wrote again … I am from the old generation, not the best with computers, I didn’t know it takes a while to post, please be patient with me. I also copied the text and post it in your facebook, … (under “Supreme Suite” name that is my business name) If you want, just erase the first post as the second one is written better! LOL!!
    Sorry again Amy, and thanks again for your attention, job and fantastic blog! ☺
    Regards from Florida,

    PAOLA ☺

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 9:23 am

      Hi Paola, don’t worry about commenting twice. I have moderation turned on for first time commenters to cut down on spam comments and I wasn’t around yesterday to moderate them! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, x

  48. danielle permalink
    August 7, 2011 9:13 am

    well said andthank you for writing this post iv just started out and i normally feel bad for the prices ive had to charge for cake but by reading this has made me feel a lot better about it and now dont feel so bad knowing we all have to do the same x

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 9:21 am

      Hi Danielle, don’t feel bad about charging decent prices. It is so tricky but we all must do it πŸ™‚

  49. August 7, 2011 10:18 am

    Well Said – very well said!

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 11:06 am

      Thanks Leanne πŸ™‚

  50. August 7, 2011 9:40 pm

    That is a fantastic post. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Hope you don’t mind, do tell me if you do, I’m going to link this into the cake blog I do and my facebook page. Seriously, great post.

    • amylane permalink*
      August 7, 2011 10:24 pm

      Thank you! Feel free to share the link πŸ™‚

  51. August 8, 2011 12:07 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! Sums it up exactly. I think until you make a wedding or celebration cake you just don’t understand the sheer quantity of ingredients, time and all the other costs involved. It is a frequent annoyance of mine when people think I charge a lot for my cakes, as I’m sure it is for you too! I barely make anything given the amount of time put in as well as the actual cost, but like you I love seeing people made happy with the cake they wanted! It’s totally worth it πŸ™‚

  52. kath permalink
    August 8, 2011 4:16 pm

    Do you know that is so true.
    I did cake decorating course in night classes for 2 yrs and love doing them but people expect them for next to nothing and you have put them all right in your statment.
    Kath xxx

    • amylane permalink*
      August 9, 2011 9:31 pm

      Thanks for your comment Kath, x

  53. August 8, 2011 11:32 pm

    This is brilliant – customers need to compare like with like. I’ve had a blog brewing in me for a while called ‘Yes, that is my best price’ and you have inspired me to write it!!

  54. nikki permalink
    August 10, 2011 6:24 pm

    Great post ive just started making cake myself and had no idea how much time and effort each cake takes i think peolpe dont relasie how much all those cutters ect cost ive spent well over Β£300 yet and thats just making them for my family.

    • amylane permalink*
      August 10, 2011 8:14 pm

      That’s very true – the equipment costs do add up very quickly. x

  55. August 15, 2011 2:46 pm

    So you make Β£40 for MANY hours work and people moan…crazy…call out a plumber or lock smith and you are lucky not to part with Β£150 for half an hours work and people pay that without a second thought….keep up the good work and maybe put your prices up, your cakes look like they are worth it.

    • amylane permalink*
      August 16, 2011 9:35 pm

      Thank you. This post has led me to redo my pricing structure and I have put prices up to bring them in line with the hours I put in.

  56. Blueberry Heart permalink
    August 16, 2011 8:41 am

    WOW – your cakes are AMAZING!!
    Thanks so much for joining in the swap over at my blog too!

    BH x

    PS – off to have a look at more of your creations and not regret too much not discovering you and your blog before my wedding!!!!

    • amylane permalink*
      August 16, 2011 9:33 pm

      Thank you! πŸ™‚

      Really looking forward to your swap – haven’t done one for ages!

      P.S. I have moved over to my new URL now (same blog, just more up to date posts) – it wouldn’t let me leave a comment on your blog using my new one!

  57. August 17, 2011 9:28 pm

    Wow, really interesting post. I love properly handmade (homemade!) things and whilst I’m rubbish compared with the beautiful items you have here, I do understand the effort that goes into making them. Specially made means just that – it’s special and should have a price tag that warrants it. Good for you on your pricing. If people complain then send them to the supermarket! If they want cheap, then they probably deserve it!

  58. August 23, 2011 5:10 pm

    Hello dear lady, i am your swap partner for blueberry hearts autumn harvest swap – i have never come across your blog before. My email is

    LissyLou xxx

    • amylane permalink*
      August 29, 2011 7:16 pm

      Hello, so excited about the swap! I am on holiday at the moment but will email you as soon as I’m back, xx

  59. August 23, 2011 9:11 pm

    a great post about the beauty of home baked, quality cakes. Having made a thomas and a tank for my son the past few years I completely understand and would never buy from a supermarket again! I have shared this post on my FBbusiness page, LovesYoungDream weddings.

    • amylane permalink*
      August 29, 2011 8:00 pm

      Thanks for sharing the post Laura, x

  60. August 24, 2011 8:40 pm

    I agree that custom made cakes are far superior to any supermarket offerings, and should be charged accordingly.

    I’m awful at icing cakes and know how much time I’ve spent in past doing very basic stuff so am in awe at your cakes! Definitely worth the price πŸ™‚

    • amylane permalink*
      August 29, 2011 8:08 pm

      Thanks Anne πŸ™‚

  61. August 27, 2011 11:23 am

    I totally agree, I would like to ask if I could use your comments on my website (crediting you for the text).

    • amylane permalink*
      August 29, 2011 8:09 pm

      Hi Jason, I have left you a comment on my other blog.

  62. August 30, 2011 7:27 pm

    Good For YOU!
    Could I quote you on my FB page or blog? I’m only a home-baker, but I recently made a strawberry angel-food cake with lemon glaze for a friend’s birthday party (10 adults. 13 eggwhites, 2kg fresh strawberries and many more ingredients, the total for the ingredients alone was e40+ (40 Euros = 35GBP). I am also a home knitter and sew baby gifts for friends whom I do ask to cover the materials and I often have to show my receipts because they think materials are somehow FREE ????

    • amylane permalink*
      August 30, 2011 8:21 pm

      Thank you for your comment, please feel free to share the link on your FB page and blog πŸ™‚

  63. Cate permalink
    September 6, 2011 11:57 am

    Good for you! Awesome post! I also bake from my home for the extra money to close up gaps between salary and needs, and I get asked a lot to just bake “for charity” as they don’t “have a budget that allows them to buy my cupcakes”. I also get people gasping in shock at my prices and comparing me to the local store around the corner’s prices, while I work hard at ensuring every cupcake is perfect. Nevermind having to bake several sample batches to ensure they are perfect that I don’t get paid for, and which often just goes to friends and family

    • amylane permalink*
      September 6, 2011 12:50 pm

      That’s true – I had to bake 3 batches of macarons the other day before they went right! πŸ™‚

  64. September 6, 2011 1:14 pm

    I would also like to add a comment here. I apologise if it has already been mentioned but I haven’t had time to read all the comments – sorry, just too busy. But the item that started this conversation is an interesting one.
    When a crafter (and I include bakers in this) create a piece of work be it a cup cake, wedding cake or other craft you have to consider the years that it has taken you to get to where you are today – happy to sell your work. It takes many years of of practise to get to a point where you can sell your work, and this time has to be taken into consideration when costing up the price of making a cake or other art form.
    If the person requesting it thinks your price is too high, fine, they can try and make it themselves – and good luck to them, but will it be as good as your work? I guess not, as they won’t have had the years of practise and why are they asking you to make it? Because you have the necessary skills to do it.
    Most artists really cover the cost of a unique piece of work, as it would probably be too expensive. But we have to at least try and cover our costs and make a little – after all, it’s a business and we want to make it work. One thing we do to show people why our work costs what is does is to give demos – I know this isn’t possible for all, but once people see what goes into the final piece of work, they have a far better understanding and appreciation of what they are looking at.
    To all those crafters out there – keep up the good work. And if asked why your work costs what it does, then explain in full detail, as where this item originally started from, they will then have a better understanding.

    • amylane permalink*
      September 7, 2011 9:38 pm

      Thanks for your comment Jenny. You’re right, there are many more things to consider including time to train and practice runs etc. I think it is important to explain to customers exactly what goes into creating a bespoke item for them.

  65. September 6, 2011 6:53 pm

    Absolutely true and so accurate! People do not understand why prices are more expensive than the shops. usually one person making a unique cake – not a machine. Always different, unique and way more tasty!!!!

    • amylane permalink*
      September 7, 2011 9:35 pm

      Thanks for your comment Vicky.

  66. September 6, 2011 7:03 pm

    you make wonderfull cakes …keep up the good work hun …………….

    • amylane permalink*
      September 7, 2011 9:34 pm

      Thank you very much!

  67. lynn permalink
    September 6, 2011 10:18 pm

    finally someone who sounds like me! I do not undercharge for the very reasons you have explained so succinctly!!

  68. September 11, 2011 10:51 pm

    Thanks for this…. Its so frustrating when people won’t even realise as eloquently as you put it “good cake aint cheap and cheap cake aint good!” I turned my hobby into a business last year and its very hard… I work all the hours god sends and I love it so much, but sometimes when you get a haggler or someone that expects everything for nothing it can really bring you down…. Its really perked me up to read your awesome post and see peoples responses! Thank you πŸ˜€

    • amylane permalink*
      September 13, 2011 8:42 am

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment πŸ™‚

    • Alison Tree permalink
      September 18, 2011 4:05 pm

      I’ve been through the same thing. I am running a business and recently did a wedding consultation with a young couple, at the consultation they were constantly asking me what could be done to reduce my price despite deciding on quite a difficult design for 150 people with a lot of hand made sugar gerberas. They nearly drove me crackers. I then produced my quotation as requested, they came back and asked if there was a cheaper way to do it. I produced an adjusted quote using a different shape cake, they then came back and said it was still too much money despite the fact that it was the price I had given them as a base price before consultation. They asked me to change it again, this time I said no and explained the amount of time I would be putting into their cake. They finally came back and said they’d found a more ‘suitable cake at the price they wanted to pay’. I wasted quite a bit of time on them for absolutely no return. In the end I was glad I didn’t get the order as I didn’t really want to deal with them any more, I’m not that desperate!

      As an ex company accountant I have worked my costings out and I know how much each cake costs me to make and decorate. I take into account all my variable costs such as electricity, marketing, stationery, website etc etc.

      I believe that I offer good value for money and this is supported by my many happy customers who return again and again. Sometimes I think we just have to stick with our prices, I don’t think these people would try it on with suppliers of other wedding items such as flowers, cars, stationery etc, or maybe these people would…………

      Stick with it everyone πŸ™‚

    • September 19, 2011 3:27 pm

      There is nothing worse than some random person makes that horrible comment in that dumb voice when you sell your food…”iz’ it free????” With which you reply ”no, sorry”…(and hope they dont buy it from you even if you thought they might) Which then they smugly reply ”dont wannit’ then”… That is one of the joys I had working the farmers markets, etc when spending all night till 5am baking then driving with no sleep to Farmers Markets 4 x a week to lay it out…and get people who dont have a clue..Haha..People like you should never stop! Your a testiment to keeping good food alive!

  69. September 19, 2011 3:20 pm

    I absolutely loved this article… I used to do a handmade gourmet cookie company, and as great as it was, it was also extreme hard work and not to mention the expense…I’ve been to specialist cake wholesalers (for the pros like yer’self and could not believe how expensive the tools for the trade were!…Cake making is an art, and talent, and certainly a very difficult skill when making em’ good! I will always cheer independent people on no matter what they make or do! I make home made vegan to local meat burgers,,,and the ingredients don’t come cheap, but like you, you can feel better knowing that what you make is for real and coming from you when you know it will be good! (If that doesn’t sound too cheezy, getting too into this)…..Well I guess don’t let the Supermarkets or Fast Food Chains take away these important tasty things, so that next generations and people who appreciate it can still enjoy.

  70. Dot permalink
    September 21, 2011 10:12 pm

    So so true, hope you don’t mind me sharing x

  71. Jayne Smalley permalink
    September 25, 2011 8:14 pm

    I would never ask why so expensive, because I make greetings cards and as you say about the large shops, I usually get “I can get 4 for Β£1 in the market”. My answer is, try get 4 like these in the market, all with inserts and many personalised.
    Takes me just over an hour to make 2 Β£1-50 cards, and I always ask “Are you willing to work for Β£3 per hour ?”. That one always meets with a blank stare.
    Truth be known, they probably wouldn’t think twice about going to Clintons cards and paying about Β£4 for the same sort of thing ! Yet Clintons are mass produced, I’m one on my own.
    So no, crafts woman to crafts woman, I would never ask why so expensive because I know the effort that goes into producing such things.

  72. October 6, 2011 8:00 am

    So true … more than the cost of everything (which seems to increase on every trip to the market) , its the time & effort that gets put into making a customized cake. btw i too am runing a part time cake business whcih commenced earlier this year- still learning a lot through trial and error tho.- your cakes are wonderful keep it up.

    • amylane permalink*
      October 6, 2011 9:24 am

      Thanks Celeste. Good luck with your business, x

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