Why do wedding cakes cost so much?

It is common knowledge now that for most weddings you almost need to remortgage to just pay for even a simple wedding.  A couple need to budget for rings, venues, outfits, catering all huge expenses and the cake is no exception.  Every couple want their wedding to be the best and most memorable yet, and one of the biggest talking points of a wedding day is the cake itself.


A wedding cake needs to be big enough to feed all of your guests and often, a couple may want to give cake out to those who they were unable to invite to their reception as a small token and piece of memorabilia from the day.  As such, you will find that many cakes need to feed at least 100 people and often as much as 300+ people.

The cost of a wedding cake can cost anything from £100 upwards and you will find that the price increases of course with the size of the cake, together with the flavour of the cake along with of of course the style of decoration.


It is obvious if you are getting more cake that you will pay more, so I am sure I don’t need to go down that road, but I guess some of you may be wondering why you pay a different price for a chocolate sponge than a vanilla sponge or a fruit cake.  The simplest explanation is the increase in the cost of ingredients.  A plain vanilla sponge only uses eggs, butter, flour and sugar and perhaps a little lemon juice and vanilla essence, whilst a good chocolate cake, especially a rich one, will use cream, real chocolate, which will need to have a high density of cocoa (which is very expensive) as well as oil and often buttermilk.  Chocolate cakes also have an increased preparation time, involving the baker doing a lot of pre-preparation of the chocolate to make it ready for adding to the cake batter.

pearl-ribbon-wedding-cake-beaded-ribbon-2-tier-bride and groom-topper

A gorgeous 2-tier wedding cake featuring a bride and groom topper

Fruit cakes use even more expensive materials.  One of the essential ingredients is alcohol, which is needed to act as a preservative.  When making Jamaican fruit cake, also known as “black cake”, the fruit is soaked in alcohol for many months as well as being poured into the batter and for really rich fruit cakes, some bakers often pour alcohol onto the cake once it is baked, over the course of several weeks.  You can already see here how much longer the preparation is as well as the significantly more costly ingredients.  So quite justifiably, you will find that fruit cakes, even in the most simple of designs are the most expensive of wedding cakes.

Most wedding cakes have at least two or three cakes, so that’s two or three times the mixing time, baking time, preparation time, and ingredients!  So that’s definitely a part of the reason why wedding cakes cost two or three times what a standard cake would cost.  Premium quality ingredients are used, because all bakers take the fact that it is a wedding cake and not just your average cake and to get a quality finish, you will need to use quality ingredients.  It’s like using the supermarket’s own brand compared to using your M&S top notch stuff.  You’re bound to get better results if you use the better products. So there you go, think about how much the price of shop’s own brand goes up by when compared to the same shop’s premium range!!


Then we have the design of the cakes themselves.  Wedding cakes are distinctly beautiful and elegant and incredibly time consuming to prepare.  Sugar flowers for example, have to be made a petal at a time! So you can imagine just how long a cake like this takes to prepare!


A unique and elegant sunflowers wedding cake to compliment the couple's sunflower-themed wedding

The cost therefore, will certainly be more understandable when you consider a cake like this with all these sunflowers and all these petals will take ages to prepare!!  I guess you can see I have a passion for this as a cake baker myself !  I could go on forever about the details of how the price of various different designs go up because of the number of hours of work involved, but I shall spare you 🙂 He who feels it knows it and all of that!

So I do hope that this gives you a little bit of an insight as to why you pay so much for your cake and it is only once in a life-time, so it’s definitely worth the sacrifice!   Happy wedding cake hunting!

Natasha xx


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