As a home baker, one of the most frustrating tasks is figuring out how to accurately calculate the price to charge for cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods. Between the tools, ingredients, time, and effort spent baking and decorating, tallying up a quick estimate may seem daunting. Plus, you don’t want to undercut yourself and lose profits. Today, I’ll share with you my easy pricing calculator sheet and teach you how to quickly price cakes—or any other food item you wish to sell!
We’ll first identify the three major factors that influence the pricing of a cake. Then, I’ll share with you the link to my easy-to-use price calculator sheet. I’ll also walk you through the steps of saving a copy for yourself (it’s totally free!) and share my tips on how to best utilize it.
As a reminder, the principles discussed below and the price calculator sheet both work with pretty much any food-based item that you make and wish to price out. You can use it to calculate the cost of a wedding cake, a batch of cookies, dozens of pastries, a dish of appetizers, a pizza, or even an entire dinner meal! (Hint: it’s also a great way to calculate per-serving meal costs or recipe expenses if you’re a food blogger!) I know you’ll find it as helpful as I have!
And, for more home-baking resources, check out “How To Provide a Wedding Cake Tasting as a Home Baker.”
Cover Photo By: Deva Williamson
How To Calculate a Price for Cakes and Other Goods
When it comes to pricing cakes and cupcakes, there are three main contributors to the final cost:
All of these factors are calculated easily on our spreadsheet (linked later in this post.) However, the ingredients take up the majority of the calculations, as you’ll learn shortly. It might look like a lot of instructions, but, trust me, the process is pretty simple. I have added some basic cake supplies to the document for reference and as an example to get you started, but you can adjust the details and add new ingredients as you need.
Let’s dive into it a little more, and learn how to use the spreadsheet for pricing your own cakes and creations!
Pricing Cakes Part 1: Ingredients
Product ingredients are the most obvious influencers of the price, but perhaps also the most difficult to calculate—that is, until today. 🙂
When you use an entire package of something in one recipe, like two whole bags of chocolate chips, it’s relatively simple to track that cost: $5 per bag of chocolate chips multiplied by 2 bags equals $10. Simple. However, the slightly trickier portion is tracking the costs of ingredients of which you only use a portion of the package, like flour, sugar, milk, and leaveners.
In that case, it’s necessary to use a little bit of middle school math—but only a tiny bit, I promise! The spreadsheet actually completes most of the equations for you. Yay, technology!
First, fill in the product details, like:
- The ingredient name (Column A) and the store from which you purchased it (Column B) for reference
- The price of one full package (Column C)
- The volume/weight of one full package, usually indicated near the bottom of the package or on the label (Column D)
- The volume/weight of the ingredients you actually used, AKA the measurement your recipe indicates—don’t forget to scale the recipe measurement if you baked multiple batches (Column E)
Try to use the same units of measurement for cells in the same row in Columns D and E (cups and cups, ounces and ounces, etc.) If you need help converting one weight to another (for instance, if you scoop-measured your flour in cups but the package only indicates weight in pounds and ounces) we’ll discuss that in the third set of bullet points below. Don’t forget that fluid ounces and weight ounces are different.
Next comes a bit of math:
You’ll need to calculate the percentage of the package that you used and type the figure into the corresponding row of Column F. Use the following equation, substituting the column letters for the numbers you put in the cells:
However, units MUST be the same to divide—see bullet points below for more.
- Some percentages are easy to estimate, usually when you use a relatively larger amount of a package’s ingredients. (Remember the tip from school: to convert an integer (number) to a percentage, multiply it by 100.)
- 1 full package used is 100%.
- 1 1/2 (one and a half or 1.5) packages used is 150%.
- 2 packages used is 200%.
- 1/2 (half or 0.5) of a package used is 50%.
- 1/3 (one-third or 0.33) of a package used is 33%.
- 1/4 (one-fourth or a quarter or 0.25) of a package used is 25%.
- If you want to calculate precise percentages, or cannot as easily estimate (like when using a tsp of baking powder or a cup from a Costco-sized bag of flour) divide the volume/weight used (Column E) by the volume/weight of the full package (Column D). However, units MUST be the same to divide if you want to calculate accurate percentages. (You can divide ounces by ounces, cups by cups, etc., but NOT cups by ounces. See next main bullet points for converting weights.) Examples:
- If you used six full boxes of mix, you would divide 6 (quantity used) by 1 (quantity of one full package) to get 6, multiplied by 100, which results in 600%.
- Perhaps you used 4 cups of sugar and each bag contains 2 cups. Divide 4 (quantity used) by 2 (quantity of one full package) to get 2, multiplied by 100, which becomes 200%.
- My recipe needed 1 cup of milk, which is 8 fluid ounces. I purchased a gallon of milk, which contains 128 fluid ounces. By dividing 8 (quantity used) by 128 (quantity of full package) I get .0625. Then, multiplying that by 100 gives me 6.25, or, in other words, I used 6.25% of the milk.
- If the units in Columns E and D are not the same, you will need to convert the measurements before dividing. I prefer to use King Arthur Baking’s weight chart. It shows the conversions for the most popular ingredients in volume, weighed ounces (not fluid unless noted), and grams. It’s also linked on my cake cost calculator for your reference. Here’s an example of the steps:
- My bag of flour says near the bottom that it weighs 12 lbs or 192 oz. However, I didn’t measure for this recipe with a scale, and instead opted to use a measuring cup to spoon and level the 6 cups I needed.
- KAB’s weight chart indicates that 1 cup of AP flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces. So, to convert from cups to ounces, I multiply 6 (what I used) by 4 1/4, which equals 25 1/2 ounces. I put that figure in Column E.
- Now, since I have converted the measurements to the same units (ounces) I can divide 25.5 (weight used) by 192 (weight of full package) which equals .13. Multiply .13 by 100, and you get 13, or 13%. Hence, I used 13% of the package of flour.
Remember, column F must include a percent symbol (%) in order to correctly calculate your ingredient costs. If a percent symbol doesn’t automatically show up when you hit “enter” after typing in your figure, go up to the format bar (next to the font) and click the “%” symbol. Double-check your percentage is reflected accurately before moving on.
(Bonus: If you’re very comfortable using spreadsheet functions, you can enter the following in row F to auto-calculate the percentages: =E#/D#. However, units must be the same in E and D and only values are allowed, not unit labels, which I like to see, hence why I defer to mental math, rather than automatically adding that function to this sheet.)
Finally, let the cake pricing calculator do its work!
The cake pricing spreadsheet will automatically calculate the price of the ingredients used and display that amount in Column G. (More details on this later in “Troubleshooting.”) At the same time, it will calculate the total cost of the ingredients and place that sum in cell J4. It will also add this total amount to the cost of work time and additional charges (discussed next) and place the grand total in cell J15. (Depending on your screen size, you may need to scroll to the right to see these columns.)
NOTE: Do NOT edit, type in, or delete any cells/amounts in Column G, otherwise you risk deleting the function.
Wondering how to delete ingredients from the cake pricing calculator sheet?
You have a few options:
- OPTION 1: If you’d like to simply remove a cost from Column G, but keep frequently used items on the list, change the corresponding row F amount to 0% and hit “enter.” This is helpful if you have multiple favorite go-to recipes and don’t want to reenter all of the pricing information every time you quote a cake.
- OPTION 2: If you’d like to remove an entire ingredient line, select the corresponding cells in the row from A through F and delete them (shown in the left image, below.) Do NOT simply select the entire row number and delete it (shown in the right image, below.)
- You can also simply type over the current information in a cell (EXCEPT any cells in Columns G or some in J) and hit “enter” to replace the information.
Pricing Cakes Part 2: Effort
Phew, the heaviest load is out of the way. However, when pricing cakes to sell as a home baker, don’t forget about another key area: your time and effort. Bakers spend hours in the kitchen, and you deserve compensation for it!
Your hourly rate can vary depending on your skill, experience level, and location. If you’re unsure of what to charge, try Googling common hourly salaries for bakers in your area.
Keep in mind that you have the freedom to charge as much or as little as you want, and you’re not necessarily obligated to tell clients the breakdown between ingredients and your desired hourly rate. However, it’s always a best practice to charge a fair hourly amount, one that adequately compensates you with profit for your effort and expertise, but something that doesn’t take advantage of your customers.
Once you’ve decided on a sufficient hourly rate, and multiplied it by the amount of time spent on the order, type the figure into cell J8, in the yellow box titled “Total Cost of Work Time.” (For example, if you wish to earn $20 per hour and your baking and decorating time will take 3 hours, the total cost of your work time is $60.) The spreadsheet will automatically add it to the cost of ingredients and the additional charges (discussed next) to populate the total cake cost in the blue box, cell J15.
Pricing Cakes Part 3: Overhead
As a baker, you are in charge of purchasing and maintaining a variety of different tools and appliances that are essential in the baking, decorating, and marketing processes (don’t forget that last one!) When pricing cakes and cupcakes, you also need to think of the costs of the following:
- Pots and pans
- Spatulas, spoons, and other handheld tools
- Sink, dishwasher, or other kitchen cleaning devices
- Piping kits, fondant tools, cake scrapers, turntables
- Electricity to run electric tools (refrigeration, oven, kitchen lights, etc.)
- Water to clean your tools
- Wear and tear on your vehicle for delivery
- Website hosting and app fees
- Ad campaigns and marketing materials
All of the above and so much more can be considered in your “overhead” fees. After all, each item contributes to your ability to continue doing business. So, to compensate you for all of the tools you use, consider charging a small fee for overhead costs.
Of course, most clients won’t be happy about paying for you to buy a new Kitchenaid mixer for every order. Be sure to keep the overhead fees reasonable and fair, equally, both for you and your customer. Many bakers only choose to charge a few dollars or so per order.
Once you decide on your overhead fee cost, add that figure to any additional charges (delivery, rental equipment, etc.) and type it in the yellow box in cell J12. The cake pricing calculator will automatically add this to the cost of ingredients and work time and display the total cost of everything in the blue box, cell J15.
Pricing Cakes & Cupcakes Made Simple with My Cake Cost Calculator—Download it Here!
Follow these steps carefully to save a copy of my Cake Cost Calculator. Review all of the steps and notes below once in full before downloading it.
- You’ll need a free Google account to save the cake pricing spreadsheet. If you have an “@gmail.com” email address (or something similar by Google), that will work. If not, you’ll need to create one at Google.com.
- Click here to open the cake cost calculator. This is a locked copy, open to the public, so everyone can see it, but no one can edit it.
- To “unlock” and save a personal copy, navigate to the File button, and click “Make a Copy.” Edit the save details (if you wish) and make sure the “Share it with the same people” and “Copy comments” boxes are UNCHECKED. Then click the Save Copy button. (I like to make a new copy for each client/order, and put their name in the document name.)
- Voila! You’ve made a copy of my Cake Cost Calculator. This is private to you (no one else can see it unless you share it.) It will automatically save in your Google Drive account.
PLEASE REVIEW THESE IMPORTANT NOTES BEFORE USING THE CAKE COST CALCULATOR:
- When pricing cakes and baked goods the spreadsheet displays best on a desktop device.
- Do not delete or edit cells with functions (anything in Column G, Cell J4, and Cell J15.)
- All figures in Column F need to be formatted as a percentage. If a percent sign doesn’t auto-populate, click the % button in the Format bar. Then, double-check your figure to make sure it didn’t mistakenly convert that to a larger percentage.
- The cakes pricing calculator comes pre-filled with some common example ingredients. You can keep/replace as many as you’d like, but remember your options for doing so:
- OPTION 1: If you’d like to simply remove a cost from Column G, but keep frequently used items on the list, change the corresponding row F amount to 0% and hit “enter.” This is helpful if you have go-to recipes and don’t want to reenter the information every time.
- OPTION 2: If you’d like to remove an entire ingredient line, select the corresponding cells in the row from A through F by clicking and dragging, and deleting them. Do NOT simply select the entire row number and delete it.
- You can also simply type over the current information in a cell (EXCEPT any cells in Columns G or J) and hit “enter” to replace the information.
- Don’t add or delete entire rows; rather, use the above options to replace the data as needed. I’ve pre-formatted up to 100 rows, with plenty of blank ones, so there should be more than enough to calculate the price of your favorite ingredients.
- I’ve included helpful tips and reminders in the orange boxes in Column J, for your reference, as well as a link to the weight conversion chart and this blog post in case you need to reference it again later.
- If you accidentally delete a function, or a function box stops calculating, refer to the Functions/Equations/Formats tab at the bottom of the Google Sheet. If you think you’ve messed up the document beyond repair, you can save a new copy at any time by following the same steps listed above (the same way you saved it the first time.)
Cake Order Pricing & Quote Estimation for the Home Baker Made Easy
I use this resource as a helpful guide to pricing cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods. It has worked great for me in keeping an organized record of order expenses and helping me to accurately quote and price cakes. I hope that you can derive the same benefit as well!
Please remember, though, that this resource is only provided as a helpful estimation tool. I would not recommend using it to track business expenses for tax reporting or other similar purposes.
Don’t forget to check out “How To Provide a Wedding Cake Tasting as a Home Baker.”
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