New York City bakeries serve up some of the most delicious, sumptuous – and priciest cakes in the country. Restaurants there typically charge anywhere from $8-$14 for a single slice of cake, and those aren’t even custom-made.
For custom New York cakes, you’re looking at spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on the type of event you need them for, and how many people are being served.
The question burning in every event planner and bride’s mind is: why does my cake have to cost so much?
Here are 7 great reasons why custom cakes are so pricey, and why it’s all worth it in the end.
Custom cake bakers don’t use box mixes from the store. Instead, they often craft their culinary creations from scratch. This means they must buy enough flour, sugar, baking soda, eggs, milk, and countless other ingredients to make your cake from the ground up, so to speak. All those food items add up fast, and they contribute to the overall price of the cake. So does the labor required to mix everything and bake it.
Depending on several different factors, your baker may need hours or even days to finish your cake before your big event. Some factors include the number of tiers, the number of layers, the shape, and how elaborate you want the decorations to be. The bigger and fancier the cake, the longer it’s going to take to create. Not only that, but the more focused your baker must be to make sure it comes out as perfect as possible.
You’re not just paying for a cake: you’re paying a real person (or several people) to take lots of time and energy to make your cake as wonderful as you imagine.
Another cost factor is the cake’s support system. The price goes up the more elaborate your cake’s unique design is. That’s because a sculpture cake with lots of layers and carving is much more difficult to support than traditional stacked tiers. The baker must purchase the supplies for it and then construct it so it holds up for your entire event. That requires not just baking skills, but engineering skills, as well.
It’s almost like you’re paying for a two-in-one expert. Consequently, you should expect the cost to reflect the level of expertise you need to turn your cake from dream to reality.
Perhaps you are someone who has special dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or dairy-free. If this is the case, expect the cost of your order to rise like a good sponge cake. These special ingredients are more expensive than the regular kind, and more care will need to be taken to ensure there is no cross-contamination in the bakery.
The price also goes up when you request flavors that are not easy to get. Flavors like chocolate and vanilla are more run of the mill, but if you want a special kind like rum or bacon (yes, bacon), expect to pay more.
Transporting a cake is a nerve-wracking process. It must be done carefully to ensure your beautiful dessert doesn’t get damaged or smashed. It’s definitely worth it to pay for an expensive baker who is experienced with making cakes and transporting them safely.
Some factors that might drive up the overall price of the cake is how far the baker has to travel to deliver your cake, how much gas they need to buy to get there, and how long it takes them (with traffic) to get there and back to the bakery again.
Most bakers don’t work alone. They have a team of people, sometimes several people, to help them. Their helper’s mix, decorate, and help transport the cake to the event. They work just as hard as the baker to create the cake of your dreams.
Help like that doesn’t come for free. Which is a good thing for you, if not for your budget, because the more people that are helping, the more likely the cake will turn out looking exactly like what you envisioned.
When bakers make a wedding cake, a lot of back-and-forth conversations need to happen between the baker, the bride, and the wedding planner. Brides have lots of flavors and cake designs to choose from, and it takes time to settle on just one or two. Furthermore, brides are apt to change their minds partway through the process, or even right before the wedding. The whole plan could change in a single instant. When it does, the baker must be notified as soon as possible so they can adapt their prices just as quickly.
Keeping up with the communication is an extra element that could raise the price of your custom cake. Your baker probably has a lot of other orders to make in addition to yours. You are paying for their special attention.
A baker’s time is not something you want to skimp out on. The last thing you want is to arrive at your wedding to find a cake that doesn’t look anything like you wanted – all because you did not pay for a baker who listens to you and supports your vision.
Whether you want a white cake with a few simple tiers, or a writhing flame sculpture cake that symbolizes you and your spouse’s burning love, a skilled baker can make it happen. Their prices are often expensive, but in the end, it’s all worth it for a dessert that’s as magical and scrumptious as you see it in your mind’s eye.