This is a question I get asked alot and honestly I do not think the majority of people are really prepared for the answer! Almost every person thinks that I can just float through the day doing a spot of baking and making some things look pretty, but it takes a little more work than that to make a Wedding centre piece. So here is a simple breakdown for you to take a look at and see if its anything like you imagined – I hope this also helps with understanding the cost of your cake.
- Design and conversation – You will have probably had a consultation with me to discuss your cake and taste some different favours which will last around an hour, but don’t forget I had to bake all those samples and turn my kitchen around from somewhere I work to somewhere that is suitable for you to sit! I will probably have done a little research into what you might like and saved some supporting images to look at before you arrive. Then its time to draw up the paperwork and sketch your design up properly..another hour for admin. Lets also remember the time we probably spent emailing/ chatting at a wedding fair etc prior to you coming along to meet me. TOTAL – 4 HOURS (no eggs have even been cracked at this point!)
- The basic bake – it takes around 4 hours to bake the cakes, make the fillings and the chocolate ganache to coat the cakes in, another hour to trim, fill and chill the cakes so I can put the chocolate on. then another 2 hours to ganache the cakes. Within this time don’t forget the shopping, cleaning, tin lining etc – TOTAL – 8 HOURS
- To ice the cake – to cover the cake in sugar paste will take 2 hours, don’t forget we want a nice smooth surface and a sharp edge, this is for a white finish, if you have different colours or a marble design then we must add in the time to custom match the colours, knead them in and then let the sugar paste rest before using…oh yes don’t forget I need to cover the board the cake will sit on to. TOTAL – 2 HOURS
- Stacking – making sure your wedding cake is level and secure is a very big and stressful job involving spirit levels, hacksaws and swearing – TOTAL – 1 HOUR
OK so now were are on 2 days work and all that we have to show for it is a white iced cake…..but I am not really known for my plain designs so heres where the really labour intensive part comes in…..the details! The biggest time guzzlers are ruffles, everyone loves them but can you imaging how long sticking them to the bottom of your cake takes? depending on the size and type of ruffle (yes there are quite a few choices) it can be anything from 4 to 8 hours. What about Sugar flowers?? Well one big and blousey statement sugar rose will take 1 hour to make….so how many does your cake have? does it have additional blooms? filler flowers and foliage?…well lots of time to add on there as well, its not just the flower making where every petal is individually rolled, cut, dried and attached they then have to be dusted with colour and arranged together in a beautiful natural way. Most of my cakes will have a full day at least (conservatively!) spent on making the flowers to go on them.
Am I going to make one or more of your wedding cake tiers shine or cover it in glitter, well lets put on another hour for that too, what about some lovely lace or piping details…yes…ok lets add another 2 or 3 hours there too.
4. Details – so based on the above lets say you have ruffles at the bottom, a lustred middle tier, and two lovely flower arrangements with some roses, hydrangeas, stephanotis and foliage – TOTAL – 14 HOURS
5. Delivery – I need to make sure the cake is snug in the correct boxes, the delicate bits are cushioned, the car is ready, the relevant information sheets have been completed for the venue – 1 hour most of my deliveries take 2 to 3 hours depending on location, when I get there I may need to wait and work around other people, wait for cake stands, talk to venue managers and take photos – 3 hours – TOTAL 4 HOURS
All this is for a small 80 portion wedding cake, so if you have additional servings, additional tiers wether they are real or fake will massively affect the cost of your cake. Also this is a rough guide on hours worked and does not take into account the cost of ingredients, boards, boxes, ribbon, equipment, gas, electric, insurance etc that must be covered or indeed any of the other costs which go into making a business viable to continue with. I mean yes I have my dream job and turned my hobby into my work but I still have all the same bills to pay as every other person!