When you buy a cake, what are you really paying for?

Of course when you buy a cake you are paying for the obvious – the ingredients, but people often don’t take into account the other costs and frequently we get compared with factory made supermarket examples. If you have ever wondered what we do then let me take you through all the costs you are really covering.


Time

I accept that it doesn’t take a lot of time to bake a cake, but one cake can take a lot of time in many other ways. Aside from the decorating (which is often more complicated and stressful than most would realise), we need to plan and design the cake, possibly cost it for you and shop for ingredients. We may also need to deliver.


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Bespoke designs take lots of planning, and then a bit more time for the making!


Energy and wear & tear

We obviously use energy baking your cake, along with the food mixer and fuel in our cars.


Marketing and IT

I pay to have a domain name and to run my website. There are also printing costs (home or professional), business cards, software etc. I also donate items to raffles or run special offers.


Insurance


Experience and expertise (or not?)

You are often paying for the courses we have taken to get where we are (food hygiene for example, which is needed to be registered with environmental health), that’s why an experienced baker can earn much more than a newbie, and rightly so. But also we may not necessarily have that experience, but we need to learn, so before you get your cake we may need to buy a dummy cake to ice, or spend hours practising new techniques to make you your dream cake.


Taxes, National Insurance etc

We are self employed and unfortunately incur the same taxes as the rest. We also spend time doing our accounts and filling in tax returns, such a luxury to not have to do this when you are employed by someone else.


Tools

I don’t think people realise quite how many tools we need (my husband for starters!). Everything from bowls, icing nozzles and bags to drying mats, specialist templates, knives and turntables. Starting out means it is often even harder in this respect, as you may not be able to command such a high fee for a cake but the outgoings are much greater due to lack of tools.


What you see!

This isn’t just your cake but it’s a professional quality cake box and board, ribbons, wires, dowel rods for sturdy cakes, food colourings, sprinkles, glitter.


Our wages

Lastly we should be earning a wage, we love what we do but we have families to support and houses to run. The truth is most of us are not going to become millionnaires making cakes (I wish!) and if you calculated an hourly wage then I doubt many earn the minimum wage. We often have late nights and wake up in a cold sweat over cakes and for that I think we deserve a little pocket money left over.


As a final note, you will also find it is standard practice to take a deposit when you ask for a cake. Your cake might only be £20 but you are one of many orders in the pipeline (hopefully!). People change their minds, or don’t turn up to collect and we have raw ingredients to buy. Aside from that many items you do pay 100% for up front, especially when you order something bespoke and so I think only taking a deposit is in many respects quite generous and it ensures you should come back and collect your cake.

When you next order a cake please consider all the things we do for you in the whole process. If you want top quality ingredients and a personal touch to your cake then we will be more than happy to work hard for you, but if you just want something cheap then we really don’t mind you going to a supermarket instead.


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