Sheesh! Why does nobody ever complain that the caterer, photographer or florist is trying to rip them off? Especially when the photographer is usually twice the price of the cake! Why is it just the price of the cake?
As a cake decorator, I don't charge what I do just because I "want in on the money". I am a business just like the local auto mechanic, lawn care guy and day care provider.
When was the last time you priced ingredients? Butter here is close to $4.00 per pound. Eggs are almost $3.00 a dozen. Milk is $3.89 a gallon. And quite frankly, I refuse to bake and elaborately decorate a wedding cake or any other cake and give it away simply because someone who has no idea what the ingredients that go into that cake cost nor the time involved, yet thinks that it should serve 200 people at the cost of a case of beer. No way. I use the best quality ingredients in every cake I bake and those ingredients cost $$$. And when I spend 12-18 hours on a wedding cake, you bet your butt that you are going to pay for my time, too. Then consider the utilities I use, the cost of the boards, support structure for the cake, cost of gas for delivery (sorry, but, I don't deliver a cake for free. Gas is almost $3.50 a gallon), and my time for set up of said cake. If I did all of that for free, then I'd be extremely popular, but, I'd also be out of business. Think about it, would you go to your local dentist, find out you had to have a tooth filled and then question what it would cost? No, you wouldn't. And why not? Because he/she charges that to fill a tooth and that price covers their time and supplies. Period.
I am also a "You get what you pay for" believer. And, if you want a quality product, then you are going to have to pay for it. If you want cheap, then the local grocery/membership club is where you should go.
I apologize if this sounds harsh, but, this is a never ending debate between bakers and brides. I'll never understand how a bride has no qualms what-so-ever about spending $2-3,000 on a gown they'll only wear once, $1-2,000 on flowers that'll be dead the next day, $10-15,000 on a catered meal, upwards of $10,000 on the hall and the amenities to decorate it, $2,000 for a photographer and $500-$1,000 for a DJ/Band for 4 hours and never gripe about forking out the $$ for any of it, but, hear $500-$1,000 for a cake and we're the ones ripping them off!