Why do custom cakes cost so much?


It’s just flour, sugar, eggs and oil, right?


If it was truly just about the ingredients, no one would ever need to order a custom cake.  Custom cakes are edible works of art that require skill and artistry, and can take days or weeks to complete. Most everyone can bake enough to put together at least a box mix; even fewer people can ice a cake well.  When you buy a custom cake, you are paying for much more than just the ingredients (which probably cost more than you realize, especially when the cake is made from scratch).

You are also paying for the baking experience (and days, weeks, and months of recipe development) that produces wonderfully tasty cakes that can also hold up to being stacked and shaped.  Cake artists also have knowledge of structural engineering for support systems that need to be there whether your cake is pillared or not.  In addition, there is the cake artist’s time to bake and create your masterpiece, her (or his) experience, and potentially thousands of dollars and countless hours in workshops, training courses, and conferences spent honing this craft.  Consider also that even the simplest cakes usually take 8-10 hours of time and that more elaborate or difficult designs can take 35+ hours, it’s amazing that custom cakes aren’t much more expensive.

Can you get a cake cheaper at Wal-mart/the grocery store/Costco? Yes, of course! But please, never, ever compare a custom cake to cakes you can get at any of those locations.  You CAN’T get the same cake at those locations that you can get from a cake artist.  The cakes you can get from those locations are often made months ago, flash-frozen, and shipped to the store where an employee frosts it with icing from a bucket (or box), and maybe adds some airbrushing or buttercream roses (or plastic flotsam).  That employee probably had 50 other cakes to make in that same shift.

I have heard it said that the difference between these cakes and a custom cake is the difference between a VW bug and a Lamborghini.  More appropriately, it is like going to a seamstress and having a garment custom made for you.  The seamstress worked with you to pick out the perfect fabric, cut, style and color.  She worked on that garment for days, maybe weeks, with excruciating attention to detail.  In the end, you would have a one of a kind outfit that was perfect for you.  You would not expect to pay the same for that garment as you would for one off the rack at Wal-mart, the two items are not comparable.

Truly, it is not “just a cake”, it is a labor of love, at least in my case.  I pour myself into each and every cake that passes through my doors. I beat myself up over every imperfection that the customer never sees.  I lose sleep over whether they are going to like their finished cake.  If you are looking for cheap cakes, then maybe I am not the baker for you.  If you are however looking for quality and focused attention on your special event, then I am here for you!  I am here to make your day special, regardless of the occasion. 

Hopefully, this has given you some insight into why custom cakes cost more than grocery store cakes. Whenever you decide to purchase a specialty cake it is a good idea to have a clear budget and stick to it, but it's also important to understand what you are getting for your money. Cheaper almost never means better, especially when it comes to custom cakes. Check out this example  from Cake Wrecks:






One depicts what the bride wanted. One shows what she actually got. I'll let you guess which one is which.



(http://cakewrecks.squarespace.com/home/2013/4/5/get-used-to-more-disappointment.html)

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