Why are Bespoke Cakes so Expensive?

4 Reasons Why Bespoke Cakes Cost More Than Signature Cakes

Have you ever called up an independent cake artist to ask for a bespoke cake and almost choked on your drink when they told you the price? You're not alone.

There is a common misconception that because you can buy a unicorn cake for from your local grocery store for £25, the cost should be the same or (shock horror for independent cake artists), less when you approach an independent cake artist for a bespoke unicorn. The reality is far from this. In fact, it'll most likely be at least triple that amount.

I know this can be shocking so I thought I'd help with a blog post about the 4 most common reasons why bespoke cakes usually cost more than signature cakes and definitely more than shop bought cakes. I hope they help you understand why bespoke cakes can seem expensive and also help you manage your expectations if you decide to order one. 


There's no escaping this one. It simply takes more time to make a bespoke cake than a signature cake. Most cake artists have a signature collection i.e. a collection of cake designs they've mastered and can pretty much make in their sleep. If they have a website, the process is made even quicker by the fact that they do not have to go through the order with you. Alas, the same cannot be said about Bespoke Cakes.

For instance I spent close to two hours on the phone with the customer who ordered this Qatar Map cake, discussing every detail of the cake.

Cream buttercream cake with Qatar Flag Map surrounded by white wafer paper ruffles etched gold with red and gold jewels at the bottom.

When you add the actual time it took to make the cake (8 hours) and source materials (30 minutes), the total time spent on the cake starts to add up. If you consider that the minimum wage for anyone over 21 in the UK is £8.31, you're already looking at a minimum of £87.26 just for time spent on the cake. Rightfully, many independent cake artists charge more than minimum wage for their time. 


This leads nicely to the next big reason - cost. Bespoke cakes cost more to make. More often than not, bespoke cakes require the use of tools and materials cake artists don't normally use or have in stock. This means they find themselves ordering one-off items.

If an order has come in relatively last minute, the cake artist may have to pay higher shipping rates to get items delivered on time. Beyond materials and tied to the point about time, is the fact that if a cake takes longer time to make, it usually means higher utility bills than usual. It all adds up! 


Have you ever heard the saying that, "you don't pay for how long it takes an expert to perform a task. You pay for how long it took them to learn how to perform a task in a short amount of time"? It rings true with bespoke cakes. I was able to complete the bespoke Qatar flag cake from baking to final ruffle placement in 8 hours because I have over 7 years' experience in cake decorating.

I assure you it will take significantly longer with less experience. Beyond actually being able to complete a complex design in a relatively short amount of time, you also pay for the different skills that go into a bespoke cake.

For instance, I had to colour the fondant maroon from white (a task that involved using all three primary colours), carve out the map of Qatar in two different colours and merge them together, colour and create isomalt gems, make wafer paper ruffles and finally assemble and colour them on the cake . Not to mention the actual making and covering the cake in buttercream.

A lot of skill goes into the making of a bespoke cake.

Qatar Cake Process

Bespoke flavours 

This doesn't apply to all independent cake artists but it applies to me so I thought I'd include it. When you order a signature cake, the option to customise the flavours to whatever you want doesn't usually exist. With bespoke cakes, however, the sky is usually the limit. If you want a mocca flocka bubble gum whiskey do dah cake, you're most likely going to have to order a bespoke cake. With this brings more time spent and more costs. For instance, my signature single tier cakes don't come with the option to have two cake sponges in one cake. However, for this cake, the customer had 3 layers of red velvet sponge and two layers of vanilla sponge. My cakes normally have 4 layers of sponge. This meant that I had to make two different cake sponges instead of the usual one. Once again this leads to more time spent and increased costs. 

Red velvet and vanilla sponges

I hope reading these 4 reasons have helped you better understand why bespoke cakes cost significantly more than signature and/or store bought cakes. If you have any questions, please ask them below. 

If you'd like to order a bespoke cake from us, please email us at hello@goodcakeday.com alternatively our signature designs are available HERE

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