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Cupcakes and gumpaste flowers, etc. etc. etc.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I wanted to start offering decorated cupcakes. I have NO IDEA what to charge. I know that Ann Amernick charges $6 per cupcake and there's a pastillage flower on each one. That price was from a couple of years ago so it may have gone up. (That seems a little high, but you tell me? My tiered cakes start at $3.75/serving where as hers start at $7, once again, an old price from a couple years ago). I'm not sure of the cupcake size or what type of flower she does either.

For any of you who do these, what size cupcake do you do? Just the normal size home muffin tin or the jumbo ones? I also don't want to bother with selling them plain. There is no money in that. But I'm not sure how to price them and word it on my web site. I think it would be easiest to have a base price and charge accordingly for the type of flower or whatever decoration, but "Base cupcake price is $X, but you can't buy them plain" isn't the nicest sounding way to put it. What to charge per flower? Obviously a daisy is easier than a rose and the latter should cost more. How should they be iced? I think dipping them in fondant looks the best, but that's pretty limiting for choices. Yet at the same time, piping on espresso buttercream with a star tip... I dunno... doesn't look as nice. Any input would be helpful.

Some info to help you help me... my stuff is organic which commands a higher price, I'm in Philadelphia (so I can charge more than someone in Nowheresville, Middle of the US), and I can also do these vegan which I have no competition for in this area, and as far as I know nationwide, no one else does stuff like this vegan. (I plan on offering these for shipping too).
post #2 of 19
The price you charge has to really depend on the amount of time you put into it, the perceived value of the cupcake, and what kind of event it is (meaning, will you be arranging them for a wedding, in stacked tiers, or are you just boxing them up for someone to put on a platter?).

I could see getting $5 for a cupcake, if it has an elaborate flower, and maybe some foliage, but it has to be absolutely beautiful. If you have that market, then go for it! (PS- are daisies really easier than roses? Mine are about the same, if I want them to look real).

I think that how you ice them will largely depend on what kind of look your client is after. Why don't you make a few different styles, and take some nice close-ups of them, so that they can decide for themselves?

It's fine to state that you don't sell them plain. Unless they want to pay $5 per piece regardless. ;)
post #3 of 19
I guess you would consider me in nowheresville, but I think you should charge whatever the market will bear. One thing you might want to consider: enrobing them in something. We don't do cupcakes b/c we can't keep them as fresh as we like. Your window is small unless you go to oil base like carrot,etc.
We do however have a large audience for mini wedding cakes, which are almost one jumbo cupcake and a small one. These run from 15.50 to 35.00 depending on the decor.
jeff
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post #4 of 19
It's all in the name....."small wedding cake" or "jumbo cupcake"
ONe's $35 one's $5 Hmmmmmm
out of curiosity do is there a vegan demand for sugar work?
The ones I know are extremely health conscious?
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post #5 of 19
I only do wedding cakes. I have done cupcakes for a wedding. They are more work than a cake. If I were to do it again, I would charge the same for a cupcake as I would for a slice of wedding cake (last time I charged less because there was no filling but the labor is way more intensive). If I added on any gumpaste anything, it would definitely go up. A gumpaste rose would add an additional $5 to the cupcake- that would make them $7.50 each. Last time I did this, I did royal icing fleur di lis for each one and charged .25 extra for each one. These are a lot of work-charge accordingly.
post #6 of 19
shroomgirl,
I have to explain, our mini weddingcake is a stacked item, a 4"ande2". We ice it like a wedding cake, hence 35.00
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post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Momoreg,
I would like to offer them for both pick up and for weddings. So the lady throwing a baby shower could order 30 and just pick them up, or a bride could order 200 and have her caterer pick them up, or I could delivery it and set it up which would be a separate charge.

Daisies are faster for me than roses. Then again, I only know one way to make daisies and they're pretty simple. It just takes me a while putting together 16 petals to make a rose (or whatever the number of petals depending on size).

Jeff,
I know that mini wedding cakes are all the rage, and I tried making some several years ago to play around with it and I almost pulled my hair out! I just wanted to smash those things to bits after struggling to smooth the buttercream. I've been meaning to give it another whirl, but I have to prepare myself and chant some mantras ("Do not freak out while icing the cakes.... do not freak out while icing the cakes...." to calm myself beforehand. To me, it's more a discipline than artform! ;) Do you sell a lot of them? Are your prices the average? When I was in school ('98 - '99), my chef only charged $7.50 - $10 with a 200 minimum. Then again, he may have meant that was his wholesale prices b/c he said he only sold those to caterers.

Shroomgirl,
Vegans who choose that diet for health reasons don't want any sugar at all. But I don't cater to those people nor do I ever want to. The ones who are vegan for religious, or ethical reasons, or simply b/c they have allergies want all the same things on their wedding cakes that anyone else wants. Usually they are out to prove a point to all the non-vegans at their wedding (like their parents, or critical co-workers, or brother who makes fun of their diets) and want to knock some non-vegan socks off. To show them that just because they're vegan doesn't mean it's all about granola with hempseeds and whole wheat bread. On the other side, I also get the hippy type brides who don't want to spend a dime. So while they love sugar flowers, they don't want to spend the money.

Anna,
I think you're right. Cupcakes are more labor intensive. However, since I work from home, I think that only applies to home bakers with one oven. Before I went to school, I apprenticed at Fresh Fields Whole Foods Market, and with their equipment, cupcakes were definately easier. I could bake over 1,000 jumbo cupcakes at a time if I needed to (not that I ever needed to!) It was just as easy to make 300 cupcakes as it was for 30. Whip the batter up in the Hobart, scoop it in the cups, bake and ice the tops. I think if I have a big cupcake order, I wouldn't bake them here. I work 3 days/15 hours a week at a local bakery so I would just bake them at work. What size cupcakes do you do for weddings? The regular sized ones or jumbo?

Another question for you all... what is a reasonable minimum order to require? I'm thinking a dozen?
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
P.S. Anna, check your private messages. I sent you one a long time ago!
post #9 of 19
LCS,
We have very large straight tips, we pipe the sides and tops of the mini cakes. or just make a lg tip with a aluminum cylinder.
Just pipe em and clean em up with a bench knife.
Have you addressed the issue of keeping them fresh or will you just bake a la minute for each order.
If we do have a customer that just has to have em, we have baked the jumbo straight in the pans as not to leave paper marks, level and turn them over and then pour a flavored bundt type glaze over them and decorate.I cna't recall, but 3.00 undecorated come to mind.
We insist on a 48 minumum for all special order small stuff outside the box. course its a little easier for me b/c I can run any extra out in retail. Oh yea, sounds crazy but cupcakes are about the only thing I will pop into the freezer. they seem to pick up a little moisture, maybe it's in my head :confused:
don't hold back, make a batch, decorate em up, take pictures,price em,and hussle em. a one page color sheet with all the info might be good at the florist and caterers too.
So tell me, you are not as vegan as your product?:D
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post #10 of 19
Cupcakes would be definitely quicker to bake with a huge oven but I find it harder to ice the tops of those things and make them look nice. I can do a round cake with a few spins of a turn table. A couple dozen cupcakes drive me insane.
post #11 of 19
LCS - "Cupcakes and Gumpaste Flowers" - hmmm, sounds like a cookbook!!!!! Maybe keep it on file?!

I'm not a baker or pastry person at all, but got roped into doing a vegan wedding cake for some of my son's friends last summer. 12, 9 and 6 inch double layers of white and chocolate, raspberry tofu cream cheese filling, and a tofu cream cheese frosting. Found it a fascinating experience in subbing out ingredients, finding recipes ( I already had a vegan chocolate cake, but the white cake was a challenge!), and enlarging recipes - I'm so bad at math!! We decorated with fresh flowers at the wedding, so no major cake decorating. No major catastrophes, even though we had to schlep the cake 100 miles down to the Jersey shore on a 95 degree day!

I'd never do it again, though, and I just want to say I think all of you pastry guys and gals are awesome, and true artists!!!!
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post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Jeff, I swear to God I feel like a complete BIMBO for not thinking of that idea to pipe the tops and sides of mini cakes! Thank you so much for sharing that! I feel inspired to try them again!

Do you put your cupcakes in liners afterwards or just box them up like that? I wonder about that b/c if someone ordered them for a wedding, baking them in liners (like pretty gold or silver ones) would look better than without a liner. Though peeling the liner off kinda ruins the presentation b/c crumbs get everywhere and those liner marks are on the cupcake. It didn't even occur to me until just now to put the cupcakes in liners after they're out of the oven.

Oh and to answer your question, the cupcakes would be baked to order.

When I asked if you sold a lot of cakes, I meant the mini wedding cakes, not the cupcakes. Is $15.50+ the going price for those? And I am curious... for $35 per mini wedding cake, what do they look like? I am picturing something really amazing!

No, I am not as vegan as my cakes. I am a lacto-vegetarian, so I consume dairy products, but no eggs. I'm Hindu so it's mostly for religious reasons. About 10 years ago I tried to be vegan for 6 months and let's just say I went crawling back to cheese vowing to never leave it again. :D

Anna,
Wow. I would never even bother to try icing the tops of cupcakes smooth. When I worked at Fresh Fields Whole Foods Market, we just piped the buttercream on with a star tip. I read something about melting buttercream and dipping cupcakes it to get a smooth finish. Anyone tried that? I think I'm gonna give it a try.

Marmalady,
Hehe. That *is* kind of a cute name. Didn't even think of that! I toy with the idea of writing a cookbook, but chances are, it will never happen. Not enough drive. Maybe someone else will put the name to good use.

I'm curious, what vegan white cake recipe did you end up using? That was the most impossible one to get right and vegan cookbooks are of no help to me. Many of the recipes just don't work. Usually b/c they were developed and tested by vegans who don't know what the original version tastes like. My friend gave me an eggless white cake recipe that is completely awesome and with a minor adjustment, I successfully made it vegan. It turned out that it's one of those base cakes that you can throw other things in and make new flavors with so it really opened up my options. It's one of 2 recipes she gave me which she made me swear I would never give them out except if I wrote a cookbook and have to give her royalties. Heehee.

What brand of soy cream cheese did you use? I've tried 2 brands, one being Soy Mage (or some spelling like that) and I forget the other one, but both were disgusting! I don't know how vegans spread that stuff on their bagels. I keep hearing good things about Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese and that it actually tastes real, but I'm still hesitant to buy it. If it turns out to taste like all the others, then I'm out a good $4 for a dinky 8 oz. container.

Thanks to everyone for posting!
-Vedika
post #13 of 19
I used the Tofutti, liked it a lot, didn't have that chalky kind of aftertaste some of 'em have. I've used it to make dips and such, too. The only caveat is that it's a lot softer when beaten up, so if you're doing a frosting, you need more confectioner's sugar to bulk it up. I used it to make the raspberry mousse filling, too; just basically added jam to the already made frosting, and chilled it to firm it up.

The white cake recipe I found on the web - actually a yellow cake. Unfortunately, I can't read my scribbled notes on the quantity this makes:blush: , but this is the recipe I used:

2 sticks Fleischman's margarine
2 cups sugar
6 tsp. egg replacer + 8T water (the stuff that comes in a box - think it's made by the Vital Wheat Gluten folks)
4 1/2 cups cake flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups soy milk
2T mild vinegar
2T vanilla

Cream margarine til fluffy; ad sugar, beat til soft and light; add egg replacer and mix in lightly.

Sift dry ingredients together. Combine the milk and vinegar. Add alternately. Parchment/oil prepared pans; bake at 350.

These were the type of vegans who, as you said, were out to 'impress' the non-vegan relatives!!! No one told them it was a vegan cake til after they ate it, and and they all loved it!
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post #14 of 19
LCS,
When we do cupcakes we bake them without liners,invert,glaze and usually put into display cups.
Yes we sell a lot of cakes. 15.00 general swags chef choice. 35.00
consulted design,color and fondant flowers or bows. Between you and me, this is very easy big money. minimum is 12 for these. 12 nice ones will run 370. and take you hour ortwo to complete. It's still a very inexpensive centerpeice for tables and gifts for the brides party. Actually looking to have special wedding style boxes made for these.
PS large growing Hindu/Indian population here,do you travel?
I usually get the grooms cake for th3e Americans and jobbed out the cake and pastries for a few last year. Not impressed with the product at all!
You're welcome to use any of our kitchens anytime, it would be fun.
jeff
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post #15 of 19
I get this question a lot..."WHAT DO YOU CHARGE FOR SUCH AND SUCH?" my answer is the same...you can charge what your market bears and what your skill level can provide...

I'm not knocking your skill level as I have NO IDEA what you are capable of doing so that doesn't enter in this answer...ok? ;)

But, for you to charge over $6.00 a cupcake because someone else does should mean that YOUR cupcakes should be on the same level of art and taste or even better.

and there is a big gap between your pp serving of cake and your cupcakes, they actually should be the same.

and keep your cupcakes in the liners unless you're going to do as was suggested, to completely enrobe them and replace into cups, as taking the liner off defeats the purpose of the "CUPCAKE" they are little portable cakes that can be eaten like fried chicken..with your hands..! lol

But I have found out that all those pretty cups are a waste of time, by the time I've finished baking my cupcakes you cant even see the designs anymore, so I only use white, gold or silver baking cups.

Since I'm sill renovating my new storefront space, I'm doing R/D on cupcakes and have come across some great decorating ideas and recipes! even some vegan ones that I can't wait to try!
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post #16 of 19

Cream Cheese

I use a LOT of Tofutti better than Cream Cheese. The consistency is very much like cream cheese. I use it both as a spread and in baking. I find I like the"herb" containing flavor much better & use it even for things you would think you don't want that flavor for. The "plain" is very bland and I doctor it when I do use it.

Also, be sure when you use Fleishman's Margerine as suggested in the cake recipe to get the "parve" unsalted. The salted has dairy in it.
post #17 of 19
Cupcakes are alot of work, I find that it costs me more to make them, simply because each one is individual , you end up using more icing , embelishments to do them, I would charge exactly the same as a cake slice......

I also inject my cupcakes with a dab of filling,
post #18 of 19
I also recommend tofutti. I have made countless vegan "cheesecakes" with it, even for my family and some banquets. I mean, it is the CLOSEST one to cream cheese.

I'm also getting into the cupcake business hopefully (have an interview with a "cupcakery" today). I sell myself by my ability to make vegan cupcakes and desserts.

I'm not sure what the prices are, or if there are different sizes, as it isn't open yet. We will do events and weddings.

Lotus, I will send you a pm.
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post #19 of 19
Empty your message box!!
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