Cake – Budgeting Sliced and Diced


Amy Karp Photography cake cutting The Cake Guys

Photo courtesy of Amy Karp Photography

So, first things first: cake is DELICIOUS.  You should have some at your wedding.

When it comes to cakes, where do you start?  We suggest beginning with an approximate budget.  Wedding cake is priced by the slice (a slice is 1″ square and as deep as the cake tier), so the first thing you need to know is how many servings you want to plan on having.  Keep in mind:

  • This is not necessarily one per guest.  You can lowball this number a little usually, and it’ll work out just fine.
  • Think about whether or not you want to keep and freeze your top tier.  If you do, your number of servings should not include the top tier!
  • Look deep inside yourself and accept if you are a flavor junkie.  If you think you want 3+ flavors of cake available, then you may want to increase your overall serving count a little, since folks may choose to try multiple flavors.

When looking at pricing for a cake, be aware that the per slice price may not be the full amount you will pay.  Most bakeries, on average, will charge between $4.50 and $6 per slice.  This will include whatever that bakery considers to be a “typical” level of decor.  If you have your eye on a heavily hand decorated cake, a 15 tier cake, a sculpted cake, or anything else out of the ordinary, the bakery will either increase the price per slice or add an additional decorating fee.  Additionally, please remember that there will be a delivery fee and, of course, tax.

There are corners of the internet that will tell you that putting fake tiers in your cake (styrofoam decorated like the rest of the cake) will make it cheaper and allow you to serve sheet cake from the kitchen.  That’s… just not true.  Sorry.  A fake tier usually costs as much as a real tier would, because the real cost of labor on a cake is the decorating, not the cake itself.  However, it is absolutely worth investigating a fake cake if you are planning on displaying your cake outside for your reception!  Texas weather is not forgiving on either buttercream frosting or fondant.  If you’ll be outside, either plan on keeping your cake in a cool place inside until it’s ready to serve, or do the fake cake with sheet cakes kept in the kitchen for guests to eat.

Finally, the most important question of all: do you care a) mostly about how it looks, b) mostly about how it tastes, or c) both?  Your answer here will affect your choice of bakery.

Now, your mission: go eat some cake.  We’ll wait here for our slice.  We like red velvet.  And chocolate.  And lemon, and spice, and carrot, and…

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