Tools of the trade for my cake business

When I decided to start my business last year I did a lot of research and tried to find out as much as I could about pricing, packaging, delivery etc and I found out that...well, that there's not much detailed information out there for us newbies taking the plunge in this world of baking.

Don't get me wrong, there are forums and all the lovely people you meet on twitter, flickr, facebook etc but prices around the country are so varied that all the information you gather has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

I found a great book called Kitchen Table Tycoon which provided a great basis for me as it talks about how to manage work and family life at the same time. But still, I want to know where to get boxes from, I want to know who is the best sugarcraft supplier and which fondant is the best to use. A lot of these things are very personal so what is good for one person might be awful for another but I thought it might be useful if I tell you a few of my favourites for far:

Packaging/boxes - Ryepac has the cheapest boxes I have come across and after ordering lots of of stuff recently, I can say I would reccommend them to anyone needing catering supplies. They have so much and you can order samples (at a small cost) which I would urge you to do as you can get a feel for what you want to order on a larger scale without blowing the bank. You can find some great high quality cupcake boxes with inserts which look fab but for me they always seem to cost about £1 and that was too much of an overhead to have on my small cakes.

I buy 7" x 7" x 3" white cake boxes as people buy in multiples of 4's (especially if you offer them a '4 for 3' deal) I did buy some 8" x 8" boxes but I use them for customer orders. Keep in mind though that I sell from a stall so its different than just larger custom orders.

Pricing - How much to charge. The eternal question! My husband was my saviour here as he created a spreadsheet detailing the cost of my ingredients so that all I do is enter how much I have used of an ingredient and it tells me how much the entire recipe costs me to make. I can then divide this cost down and work out how much I need to charge at a minimum to make a profit.

BUT, don't forget you need to add in the cost of your cupcake wrappers, boxes, decorations if you want to end up in profit. It shocked me when I worked out exactly how much a simple cupcake costs me to make and I have decided to sell at £1 per cupcake, £1.50 for a bespoke designed cupcake. I'd love to afford fancy boxes and packaging but I am trying to build my brand by appearing at festivals and fairs etc so people will be more or less eating straight away and I don't want to waste money on things I can do without. There is some interesting software at Cake Boss which I haven't tried but it looks like the kind of system I have built so its worth further investigation.

I will continue the theme of this post this weekend but for now the kitchen, and a few cake orders, await. Happy baking x


  1. Hi! What a great post! I too started my own business (June06) and found all the same problems as you - Its sooo hard to get pricing right - I'm not saying I always get it right but 3 years down the line I am still loving it! I wish you every success and Happy Baking!

    Helen x

  2. Thanks so much Helen, I was just looking at your site and you make some amazing cakes!! I am no good with fondant modelling so I am in awe of your skills x

  3. I like this post too!Ryepac are brilliant, and I've just also placed my first order with them. I would be so useful to have an online dynamic 'how to start your own cake business' worksheet, with input from lots of people from all the forums. But like you say, everyone's experience, and even needs are different.

    Anyway, gret post.

  4. I really appreciate all the information you're putting on your blog. I'mjust starting to think about taking a hobby and making it into a business so it's really brilliant that you're sharing your experience, thank you.


  5. No problem Claire, if there is anything else I can help you with then please get in touch. I am still learning myself!

  6. Hi Liana

    I am in awe of your work. I am also a mum of 2 little boys and am trying really hard to start my own baking business too. Your blog has already given me so many tips I was struggling with. Thank you. It feels very daunting as at times you don't know where to start...

  7. Hi Claudia,

    I'm glad my blog has helped,it's very daunting starting a business when you have kids and I have recently added a new little boy to my 'clan' so I shall be an expert in juggling soon!

    Good luck x