Calculating the Cost of Wedding Cake

The funny thing about wedding cakes is that they’re pretty–and pretty costly! It’s so easy to fall in love with a delicate, sweet, beautiful cake only to discover that the petite presentation will cost over $1,000. This sweet little number on the left was voted “America’s Favorite” and costs a mere $30 per slice! Wow!!

Sometimes trying to choose the right cake at the right price can be challenging. According to the Bridal Association of America, the average wedding cake costs $543. But some cakes can cost three times that amount because of the artistry involved and the ingredients. Typically, ornate wedding cakes with fondant icing are more expensive. And the bigger the cake the bigger the price. So when it comes to wedding cakes, how do you know that you’re not getting baked?

Consider The Basics

Wedding cakes are priced by the slice. So divide your overall cake budget by the number of wedding guests to convert it before you start shopping around. This will help you stay on track while interviewing bakers and considering designs.

How much is too much?

Based on a wedding with 200 guests, these pricing guidelines can help make sure your cake doesn’t cut too deeply into your budget:

For an inexpensive wedding cake, a smaller tiered cake in chocolate or vanilla paired with a sheet cake for cutting should be around $1.50 – 2.50 per slice.

If you’re working with a medium budget, a cake with 2-3 tiers in a standard flavor with buttercream icing and minimal fondant decorations can run $5 or $6 a slice.

Pulling out all the stops on a high-end gourmet cake with flavored fillings, fondant icing and elaborate fondant, gum paste and sugar decorations can run $10 or more per slice.

Regardless of the type of cake, be sure to ask how many slices it yields and allow for 1-2 slices per guest. You wouldn’t want to run out while serving your guests.

Way To Save!

In addition to the cake itself, other expenses associated with the wedding cake can affect the budget. Try these money-saving tips:

  • Use fresh flowers or fruit to accent your cake instead of elaborate gum paste and sugar decorations.
  • Skip or minimize the fondant icing. Buttercream or cream cheese icings are less expensive, and they taste a whole lot better than fondant.
  • Have a family member cut the cake instead of the caterer. They typically charge about $1 per slice for cake-cutting.
  • Save the $50-100 delivery with a cake that doesn’t need to be hand delivered or set up by the baker.
  • Provide a small cake for the bride and groom and a sheet cake that can be served to the guests at typically $1.50 per slice.
  • Get the most for your money. Square cakes are trendy, but they are more costly than round cakes. However, you can typically get more slices per layer from a square cake vs. a round cake, so you might just make up the extra cost there.
  • Cake fillings and nuts will really add to the cost. Choose a chocolate, vanilla or even banana and carrot cake instead.
  • Got a great cake idea? Talk to your baker about ways to create a similar design for less. Sometimes a few adjustments can make a big difference.
  • Ask for a cake topper and servers as wedding gifts.

cake-topper-acrylic-heart.jpgNow that you’re better informed about cake pricing, get out there and select the perfect wedding cake. Once you do, might I suggest this personalized cake topper? Engraved with your name and date, it’s one of the many cake toppers at My Wedding Favors that would be the perfect finishing touch to your cake and makes a lasting keepsake for the wedding couple.