Wedding Cake Question

froggy05November 19, 2004

I need some serious help/ advice...

How mush does a nice but not too fancy wedding cake cost? We are looking at about 160 ppl at our wedding, and we really didn't want to spend more than $500. Our budget is not a lot. Any help is appreciated.


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Froggy, Not sure what kind of wedding cake you would like, but most bakeries charge so much per slice. Also you take into account that wedding slices are usually a two inch square, so that is not a very big piece of cake. You should easily be able to get a cake to feed 160 people within your budget. Of course I'm sure the price varies in different parts of the country. Also, not everyone will eat cake, so you might want to have an assortment of cookies including some sugar free for those who might need them. The bakery that we used also gave us back 25 dollars if we took the plastic cake dividers back to them after the wedding. Plus they also agreed to make us a duplicate cake of our top layer on our lst anniversary. They came out to the recpetion hall and set the cake up a couple of hours ahead so that it would be ready when we arrived. I would never suggest anyone pick up their own cake and try to set it up. From experience with my brother's second wedding this was a recipe for disaster. While driving, the cake tilted and one side was ruined. All we could do was patch it a little and turn that side to the back. You might discuss some of these things with the bakery and they might work with you to get some of the little extras included in your price. We had cheesecake with each layer being a different flavor and they did not charge any more for that either. There are a couple of pictures of the cake and the groom's cake in the link below. Hope this helps some.

Here is a link that might be useful: Drew and Sherrie Lynns

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 4:26AM
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If bakeries in your area are high-priced, you might check grocery stores. The grocery stores with in-store bakeries often have great-tasting and very reasonably-priced cakes.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 7:24AM
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You could always go for a Krispy Kreme cake ;o) JK Although I did see it on tv that people are actually using these at their weddings. How strange!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 9:44AM
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we were thinking of a grocerie store cake, but that would be a sheet cake not a three tiered one. I guess ultimately it doesn't matter what type it is, but we wnted a real wedding cake...we are looking into a small actual wedding cake for us to cut, and get several larger ones of the same flavor from a grocerie store, that way we have the cutting and its not too expensive...I'm still looking into options.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 1:47PM
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I think that's a wonderful idea, Froggy! Once you do the cake cutting, the cake is taken into the kitchen by the caterers and cut up for serving. I think it's a great idea to have a small "real" wedding cake for the cutting/pictures and then have sheet cakes cut and served to your guests. Then you can keep a portion of the "real" cake for your anniversary!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 2:19PM
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As a wedding coordinator, I would discourage you from using a grocery store cake. If you have ever eaten cake supplied by a bakery or an in-home cake person, you can immediately tell the difference between it and a grocery store cake. Grocery store cakes are made from a packaged mix and the icing will contain high levels of shortening. If you really want or must use a grocery store cake, some of the larger chain stores, such as Albertsons, make wedding cakes.

As another poster mentioned, cake is priced by the serving and the price varies by the flavor. A cake that requires fresh ingredients or extra chopping or cutting, such as carrot cake, will be priced higher than a french vanilla cake with raspberry filling, for instance.

A cake to serve 160 is an average sized one. You want a 3-layer cake so that it looks nice in your photos. If you were having 250 guests, then you would want the smaller cake and suppliment it with sheet cakes. You shouldn't need to do that with only 160 guests.

If you spend some time checking with local bakeries or private in-home bakers in your area, you should find someone who can make a lovely cake for less than $400, even with tax.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 3:20PM
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Froggy, my local grocery store makes a three-tiered cake with the basket-weave style frosting. I'd be surprised if you couldn't get that in your area. What part of CA are you in? I know when my folks lived in San Diego, the "Big Bear" market was just like the Giant Food here in the DC area.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 4:34PM
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Froggy, I think you have the best idea: a cake to cut and a cake to serve. In fact, I'd go all the way and have a gorgeous, tiny cake to cut that is obviously too small to serve everyone. That would be special and even a little romantic.

I am sure Sweet Pea knows what is available in her community. Here, though, at least one of the local supermarket's sheet cakes happen to be delicious -- we all laugh about how we like them as much as a fancy bakery's. If you have a similar store, consider buying enough sheet cakes from that supermarket to feed the guests and get a photo-pretty cake from a bakery for the cutting and photos. You will have a lot more options for the "show cake" that way, too -- think outside the "wedding cake" box and see what kind of gorgeous cakes they can do.

Wedding cakes used to taste pretty yukky, because people were more concerned with having them be snow white than with tasting good. That meant vegetable shortening instead of butter and no egg yolks. Yuk. And certainly no chocolate or other flavor. Now people want the cake yummy, so the trend has changed and you see all kinds of cakes. I like it better this way! The reason I mention it is that it shows that nothing is set in stone about cakes, so do whatever suits you.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2004 at 7:12PM
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I actually love the grocery store cakes, I think they are great, however Sweet Pea your point is well taken, I do see why you would discourage brides from doing that. I looked into Safeway (which is the local chain in the bay area) and they do cakes for the price I want to spend, however I would have to pick it up and assemble it myself. They provide the pillars already in the cake and it comes in boxes with handles so its not too hard to put together. This would be the only reason I would not use a grocery store cake.

Another thing I thought of is that not everyone will have cake anyway so it might be a better option to go with a smaller wedding cake and a large sheet cake from a grocer, (as Jaims16 points out they are cut in the kitchen anyway so its not like anyone would know) that way its still cheaper and if people don't eat it I don't feel like it was such a waste of money...I dunno. We are loking into a lot of options.

One of my bridesmaids recommended her baker, their cake was absolutely delicious, and they got it for about $200 in Santa Clara CA. It was meant for only 75 people though...

I'll let you all know what we decide on...its really interesting to see everything that is out there. I learned a lot from planning a wedding, its a lot of work, but you can do great things with a little creativity...most of my stuff is from ebay which cut the costs in half at least...:)

I DO NOT reccomend planning an out of state wedding, this has been a major challenge for me... :) yet somehow I'm managing it quite well.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2004 at 2:58AM
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Check around with people you know to get rec. for someone baking out of their home. Usually home bakers are very good- as this is their passion. I also like my grocery store's regular cakes although you know instantly it's from the grocery just has that taste.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2004 at 7:58AM
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we had a wedding cake for 150 people but to add on one or more cakes it was $20 for each extra cake and it only cost me $60 for the main cake. the cake is with some pictures posted at the bottom of the wedding forum "wedding dress"

    Bookmark   November 22, 2004 at 9:41AM
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Hi!! We got married in RI. We found this lady that made awesome cakes for .90 a person!!! Looked as good if not better than the local pricey cake stores!! What was even more amazing, she baked/made the cake the day of the wedding!! It was still warm inside!! She rocked!! We found a pic of a cake, sent it to her, she made some recoemndations to make it look better!! She was great!! lol Best of luck

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 9:51AM
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Hi Froggy! I am from the Bay Area too, and I was able to find many bakeries that may work within your budget. You do not need to get a cake for all 160 people. I would recommend ordering a cake that would feed about 125 (Is the 160 confirmed or invited?). I got my wedding cake a Katrina Rozelle (located in Oakland and Alamo), but that bakery is rather pricey (no less than $4.50 a slice). Rather than order from Safeway, talk to Andronicos (Berkeley, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Danville, etc.) and Whole Foods (San Ramon, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, etc.) I would also recommend just going to some smaller bakeries and seeing what they do (even if you don't think you can afford them - the tasting is free, and will give you an idea of what you want and like). Walnut Creek Baking Company is very good (had their cake at my shower), Delices (Walnut Creek), Cake Box (Lafayette), Kathy's Kreative Kakes (San Mateo), Copenhagen Bakery (Burlingame), and Neldams (Oakland)are just a few bakeries that I know of that make excellant cakes.

I think your best bet (price wise with a great tasting cake) is Andronicos, Whole Foods, Copenhagen, Cake Box, and Neldams. I know that Katrina Rozelle, Walnut Creek Baking Company, and Delices is probably the most expensive.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2004 at 8:00PM
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thanks so much for all that info. Our reception is in San Mateo so I will be looking into kathy's Kreative Kakes for sure. It turns out that one of my bridesmaids ordered form Wilson's Bakery in Santa Clara and incidentally my future inlaws had ordered their cake from that same bakery too. So we have an appointment ot check them out. We actually have 200 ppl on the guestlist so far invitations have not been sent, and I'm expecting about 140-160 to show.
So how do you know who will have cake or won't. I mean you said for 160 pll I should get a cake that serves 125...I'm curious. I'll let you all know how this goes.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 7:23PM
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One of my best friends works in the bakery at our local Acme store, owned by Albertson's. They have a book, which you've probably looked at with some really pretty wedding cakes. You mention having to put the cake togather yourself, was this cake cost effective? If so, is there an extra say $25 to pay one of the Albertson's ladies there to come assemble your cake for you? At our Acme, there have been hour cuts, my friend will have more hour cuts in January & is looking for a 2nd part time job to help pay her bills. I don't doubt that all of the Albertson's are cutting hours. If the bakery person doesn't live too far from your wedding reception, they might take $25 to assemble your cake. It doesn't hurt to look into this, possibly asking what they'd charge for this service.

When is your wedding?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 4:52AM
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I did wedding cakes for 25 years but one of the neatest ideas I suggested to a gal who was on a VERY tight budget was this:
I baked a 2 tier cake for her & the groom to cut-a small 10" with 6" top tier on seperator posts, for the cake table. Then for the guests-(she had 100 guests seated at 10 tables-) she purchased 10 8" double layer cakes from the grocery bakery-all simply iced and a top & bottom border. She paid about $6 per cake. She borrowed 10 pedestal cake plates from friends & family and placed one cake on each table-and she added a small fresh rose (fully opened-not a bud), w/baby's breath in a flower vial (bought at a florist shop) & put in the center of each cake. By adding a little greenery at the cake plate base and a few rose petals scattered around each plate-it completed a nice table presentation.Each guest table could cut their own cake-they loved the novel idea! Got away with the entire thing for around $100. The caterers provided the cake plates, serving knives, etc. for each table.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2004 at 7:53AM
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Another option that is currently very popular is to have a smaller cake and then a dessert table with numerous mini bite-sized desserts to choose from. I have had several brides do this and everyone loves the variety. The mini desserts are basically bar cookies (fancy ones like cheese cake squares) that are cut into 2" bites and placed in paper wrappers. Any bakery can make them and there is no icing, decorating, or assembly involved, so the cost is minimal, depending on your choices and the ingredients in them.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2004 at 3:31PM
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My fiance and I will be buying a cake for 250 ppl for only $200 + $35 delivery! We've bought cakes from this bakery before for other occasions, so decided to buy our wedding cake there as well. It's in SF, and the style of the cake will be round, stacked, and 5 tiered layers. It's smooth cream (not fondant) and we're just planning to have the florist decorate it. The bakery has pictures of cakes they've done in the past, and if you're curious, you can stop on by and even buy a slice or a whole cake. It's called Sunset Bakery on 9th Ave/Judah.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 4:13PM
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Well, after going to several places and finding that waht we wanted was just not doable...we decided on a regualr cake that cost way more than we planne don pending but it will be now I have to make up for it womewhere else, but I suppose its ok, since htis is a once in a lifetime event .:)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2005 at 1:47AM
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If you haven't yet signed a contract. Shoot me an email. I may be able to help you. When is your wedding?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2005 at 12:41PM
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I am a florist and have decorated many cakes with fresh flowers. I really like the idea of a small cake to cut and the maybe a couple of sheet cakes...have the bakery cut them ready to place on plates before reception...and then go for the finger desserts....maybe have a centerpiece in the center of dessert table with fresh fruit....strawberries....etc. Our local grocery store has wonderful wedding cakes....went to a wedding....and I have worked with this baker on many weddings...the cake cost $450 dollars and my cost to decorate it was $ was wedding I went to had bought theirs at this grocery store. You just never know. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 7:23AM
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Did anybody mention Costco? Their cakes are great! Who will cut the cake? That is a real art, don't leave it to an amateur.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 4:25AM
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Our cake was $450 (our baker didn't charge by the slice, which I think is a ridiculous racket) and it served 125 plus we had over half the bottom layer left over (we didn't save the top layer though). I'll admit, we wanted a simple design and if you want more detail or fancy artwork, that is what costs more. We didn't like fondant. That looks better but we didn't like the way it ends up tasting.

There are several ways to save on cake, they are now doing "fake" cakes that are made of styrofoam, frosted to look like a cake, then use sheet cakes in another room to cut up and serve. (one layer of the fake cake is real for the cake cutting). But I would look around for a baker that doesn't charge per slice, but rather by the cake.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 12:35AM
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