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Specialty cake bakers are experts at creating multitiered decorated masterpieces that can’t be bought off the shelf at any bakery. These cakes are as much about presentation as they are about taste—and many professionals know how to satisfy both of those cravings. Pros also know how to safely and freshly transport an elaborate, delicate cake to clients’ venues. Costs are based on the number of people the cake needs to serve, number of tiers, flavor(s), how complex the design is and delivery distance.

Number of guests

Many bakers base their cake pricing on how many people will be at an event and how many slices are needed for each guest. The per-slice price can be affected by other factors, however, such as the ingredients used and the complexity of the cake design. Prices from Heavenly Bite Bakery of Irvine, California, start at $3.50 per serving.

Flavor and ingredients

Common flavors such as vanilla generally cost less than exotic flavors such as red velvet. Multiflavor cakes also cost more, as do organic cakes. The two most common frostings are buttercream and fondant—buttercream is slightly less expensive. AND Confections of Atlanta charges $4 per slice for buttercream frosting and $5 per slice for fondant. A Sweet Life of McKinney, Texas, charges $4.50 per slice for buttercream and $5.50 per slice for fondant.

Labor

The more ornate and challenging the cake design, the higher the cost. Sugar flowers, unusual shapes and special colors all take more time to create. Also, the taller the cake, the more difficult the task for the baker, so costs will also be higher for these cakes. Tres Sucre of Salt Lake City offers one-tier wedding cakes starting at $100, two-tier cakes starting at $200, three-tier cakes starting at $300, and four-tier cakes starting at $400.

Delivery charge

Most cake bakers charge a delivery fee to safely get multitiered cakes to their customers’ venue. These fees usually increase the farther the baker is from the venue.

Tasting fee

Some bakers offer a tasting in advance so that customers can try samples. Chantel and Bella of Encino, California, offers a tasting event twice a month for $25.

Cost-saving strategies

Go for a basic or templated design; a high degree of customization costs more. Choose the least expensive standard flavor. Ask for fewer slices based on the number of guests. If you want a tall cake but don’t have the budget, consider adding noncake decorated layers made with styrofoam or another material. Consider a "deconstructed" cake, where the baker doesn’t need to add layers. Consider a square cake rather than a circular one; they are easier to cut and can feed more guests.

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Millions of people ask Thumbtack for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you.