Friday, June 06, 2008

Don’t be ripped off

I heard a shocking story yesterday of how suppliers of cupcakes for weddings have been ripping people off. The story came to me via a friend about a customer who had two daughters get married in the space of two years. One of them decided she wanted cupcakes to serve as dessert, so she sought out a supplier for a quote. Can you believe she was given a price of $15.00 per cupcake?

Luckily she wasn’t sucked in by this shocking price, so they sought a second quote. Can you believe the second supplier quoted $7.00 per cupcake? When the woman commented on the price being a little high, the supplier justified themselves by saying, “Well, they are very fiddley and quite time consuming you know.”

That’s utter rubbish!!! For everybody out there who is looking for cupcakes for a wedding, please note the following:

1. When you say “wedding” to any supplier, the price immediately doubles. Hide this fact for as long as you can.

2. The base price for a cupcake should be between $3.50 and $4.50. If someone quotes you more than that, start asking questions.

3. The things that might increase the price are:

  • Special decorations. Some hand made sugar flowers can cost $1.00 a piece. If you want multiple flowers on each cake then the cost will increase for every additional piece you add. Some cupcake bakers can do sugarcraft themselves, and that could bring the price down. But if they have to source the decorations from a third party, then they aren’t able to control that part of the price. My advice – think of a different decoration if you can.

  • Special presentation. If you wanted your cupcakes displayed in pretty cupcake covers, these can cost around $1.00 each. They have to be imported from America, so there could be shipping costs involved too, and you’ll need to order way in advance to allow for a lengthy delivery time. If you want your cupcakes presented in a gift box, these can cost anywhere between $1.00 and $3.50 each, depending on where they come from, what they’re made out of, and whether they were bought at wholesale or retail. Sometimes it’s better for you to source boxes yourself. A good old two dollar shop is usually the best place to start.

  • Extra special icing. If you wanted a fabbo ganache icing or rolled fondant, then the dollars will go up, not just for the icing but for the application of the icing. Fondant has to be rolled, laid, trimmed, blah, blah, blah. And you might want shimmer dust painted onto it to make it extra special. That is the kind of fiddly time consuming workmanship that pushes the price up. And it doesn’t necessarily make your cupcake taste better. My advice: ask yourself if you want things to look like plastic and taste like cardboard. If the answer is no, then you have an easy choice.

  • Fancy cake. If you ask for a non-standard cake base, like chocolate mud or fruit cake, your price will go up. These types of cakes require specialty ingredients, including high quality baking chocolate (usually Belgian or Dutch), dried fruit and expensive liquor. Vanilla buttercake or chocolate cake are the original and the best flavours on the planet. If you can accept one of these, you’ll save money straight away.

Cupcake lovers, my advice to you is to take time to look for the right cupcake supplier. If you buy cupcakes from your favourite café, ask them if they’d commission their supplier for a bulk order, or if they’ll put you in touch with their supplier direct. In the icing department, I say you can’t go past the crispy white American egg white icing I often use on my vanilla vanilla cupcake. But buttercream can also be fancied up. And don’t forget display is everything. Get the right cupcake stand and your special cakes will look amazing.

If you have any doubts, leave a message, and we’d be happy to advise you on the best course of action. And for those of you in Sydney, we are certainly available to fulfil your cupcake dreams. Just ask!

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