Probably the most asked question I get from people enquiring about their wedding cake is, "how much does it cost?". And the simple, but very unhelpful and frustrating answer is, it depends!
The thing about wedding cake cost is that there's a lot of variation depending on the kind of cake you want. Of course, I have to find out about the size of your cake, but also the flavour choices, style, decoration and finish you want, plus the location of your wedding. All these things have an affect on the total cost to me and therefore the price to you.
To try to help, I created the above illustration which gives a very rough idea of how much you should budget when planning your wedding with me. Generally, my small sized, single tier custom wedding and celebration cake require a budget of £400. Whereas prices start at £700 for a large four tiered wedding cake.
If you're planning your 2024 wedding, you're probably already realising how quickly costs can add up! So this blog article aims to bring clarity as a complete guide to the price of my wedding cakes. My aim is to help you and your partner feel satisfied that what you’re paying is fair and reasonable, whatever your wedding budget.
I'll even give you a few ideas on how you can cut costs along the way!
How much should I budget for my wedding cake?
This is obviously a very personal decision and there’s no one answer I can give you. My wedding cake prices start at £400, other London wedding cake makers may charge less or more. But cost alone shouldn't be the only factor at play here, perhaps it's worth instead first considering how important your wedding cake is to your big day? If you’re a big baking fan or both have a sweet tooth, you may want to budget more for your cake. The amount you spend on your wedding cake could also depend what the cake is for. Is it mostly for decorative purposes as a dessert table feature or are you using it in place of your dessert and therefore need enough cake to supply at least one slice to each of your guests?
Custom wedding cakes always cost more than shop bought cakes because you are not buying something that is mass produced. The cake maker will be spending more time, using better quality ingredients and materials and be delivering a much higher standard of cake than any supermarket or factory ever will be. You are commissioning a highly skilled and experienced professional creative to design and make something completely unique for you.
What factors affect the cost of a wedding cake?
Some people believe that cake makers are quick to charge more for wedding cakes simply because they assume their clients have the available budget. Speaking for myself, this is completely not true.
I consider myself to be a highly professional, good wedding cake designer. When working with you as my client, I spend many hours communicating with you, understanding your personal style, planning a unique design, organising your cake tasting, mixing huge amounts of batter made with natural, high-quality ingredients and baking them to perfection, carefully layering and constructing the tiers with the appropriate internal supports, before finally decorating and turning it into a delicious artistic centrepiece. And I may then have to deliver your cake safely, before un-packaging and assembling it on-site. From start to finish, the process takes time! A rough equation I use to figure out the cost of your wedding cake is: basic costs + cost of business overheads + cost of time + profit = price
Let's break some of the variables down further, your cake cost will depend on
The most obvious factors affecting the price of your wedding cakes is the size you need. As above, it’s important to first bear in mind the amount of people you need to serve and the portion size you will serve. If you need a wedding cake that feeds at least 60 wedding guests, you’re looking at a minimum of four tiers which starts at £700. A larger cake will need more ingredients, more time to prepare it, a more intricate design to ensure it remains upright and potentially more decorative details depending on the style that you go for.
While size is a major factor, the design will also have a big impact on how much your wedding cake costs. Any added details such as rice paper, florals, toppers and hand painted details will add to the overall price due to the time and skill it takes to create them. A fully decorated, bespoke design costs more than a naked cake. That’s because (except for fruit cake) every cake starts out as a filled and stacked naked cake underneath the external decoration. My cakes then require different levels of additional skill and experience to transform that 'naked' cake into a work of art that perfectly complements the look and feel of your wedding.
The basics; butter, eggs, flour, sugar - the price I charge has to cover the cost of the ingredients and materials I use. Lately, the increasing costs of ingredients, particularly butter and eggs has had a huge effect to my bottom line. This means that the type of cake you and your partner choose may cost extra if it contains more or extra ingredients. A fruit cake packed full of dried fruit or a cake that uses a liquor like rum to pack an extra punch is going to cost more.
Naturally, the quality of my ingredients also impacts the cost of creating the cake and therefore the price I charge. All of my cakes are made using the finest ingredients from handmade salted caramel to elderflower syrup. Cakes makers who advertise lower prices will have to save that money somewhere, and ingredients are the most convenient thing to reduce costs on. Whether it's using baking fat instead of real butter or using supermarket knock off brands, cheaper ingredients aren't hard to come by, but may compromise on taste.
4. Location of your wedding
If you need me to deliver and setup the cake on-site then the cost of the transportation needs to be considered. Generally, I make wedding cakes for clients in London, Surrey and the South East but I do consider clients who need me to travel to their venue and make their cake on-site. However, this will of course have a huge impact on the cost of producing the cake.
6. Time to make the cake
Time is money, and the time it take me to make one of my cakes can really vary depending on the above factors as well as our lines of communication. Usually each wedding cake takes me between 20 and 35 hours to make! Sometimes it's less for simpler designs, but sometimes much more. I can be working in my most productive state, carefully balancing my high standard, customer service and quality of my cakes with my time and still only have time to make two-three cakes a week! Sometimes, I can only manage one, if it's a large or very complex order and this has to be considered in the quotation.
Why invest in a good quality wedding cake?
As with anything in life, you get what you pay for! Your most special of days, your wedding day, is not the time for a cake disaster! Your wedding cake is usually a once in a lifetime expenditure, and investing in quality is key to avoiding disappointment.
Your wedding cake is one of the key visual décor elements of your wedding, the moment you cut your cake is likely to be captured by your photographer and friends, framed and remembered forever.
Going back to the beginning of this article, if your wedding cake is important to you and your partner, both in terms of appearance, taste and function, then you will be disappointed if you don’t invest in a good quality cake as it won’t live up to your expectations.
Your wedding cake can make a huge statement on your wedding day. You aren't just buying a cake, you're buying a memory. It is a time old wedding tradition to have a wedding cake. It will be on display prominently for all to see throughout the day. If it’s wonky, leaning or badly finished, your guests and you will notice. That’s not what you want on your wedding day, so invest in a professional cake designer.
I'm not the type to undermine any other cake maker but I urge you to consider the certifications and qualifications of your wedding cake maker - an amateur baker might make a cheaper wedding cake, but do they have the requisite food hygiene certification? The last thing you want is guests getting sick from a cake that isn't properly cooked or has been made in unsuitable conditions!
Cheaper wedding cake options and ideas
Working with a lower wedding budget can be tricky at times, especially in our current cost of living crisis. Here are some ideas of how you can save money on your wedding cake budget:
Consider a smaller cake: When it comes to cutting down your wedding cake costs, it’s important to identify the aspects of the cake that are important to you. Would you rather have a smaller cake if it meant you could opt for high quality ingredients? Or perhaps your main goal is to feed everyone, therefore you'd want to focus more on the size of your cake.
Choose your portion size correctly: Consider serving your cake as finger portions during the evening buffet. Finger size portions of approximately 1”x1”x6” will help your cake go further.
Serve your cake as dessert: A great way to cut down your catering costs is to have your wedding cake as the dessert, served with some seasonal fruits and a delicate scoop of ice-cream or whipped cream it means you don't need to pay for dessert and your cake will get eaten.
Choose a simple design: The most cost-effective option would be to have a semi naked style cake perhaps with some simple florals. But the look isn't for everyone and they can be problematic for summer weddings.
Make your own cake: One way people enjoy saving money on their wedding day is by taking things into their own hands, if you're a lover of baking, you might be considering baking your own cake. However, there are a few things to think about before you dive in. Although it may seem simple, it’s not for the faint hearted, all the planning and prep will take time and cost money and it will involve some set up time on the wedding day. Also, it's worth noting that some venues will not allow cakes made by non-professionals due to insurance and food hygiene regulations, so do check with your venue first.
So what next?
On my website I share my starting prices, and for ease I have shared them here too. Starting prices don't consider any bespoke decoration, flavours, extras, delivery or setup.
The Small Wedding - Single tier cake serving 20 - 30 guests. Prices from £400
The Medium Wedding - Three tier cake serving 35 - 55 guests. Prices from £550
The Large Wedding - Four tier cake serving 60+ guests. Prices from £700
With so many variables at play, I do urge you to get in touch via the enquiry form here to make a bespoke enquiry. And I hope that having all of this information will help you feel more confident to take the next step, I'd love to hear from you when you're ready.