Potters Cake Boutique -

So what exactly goes into making a novelty cake then?

The price of cakes - particularly novelty cakes can sometimes be more than you might have had in mind initially. "Oh my gosh!", you think. "Surely it can't be that much - it's just a cake!". People often expect to pay a lot for a wedding cake, but are surprised at the quote they have been given for a novelty cake. Yet novelty cakes are often more difficult to make.

A novelty cake is never just a cake. It's a tailor-made commissioned piece of art for your friend/ loved one. A personalised gift to light up their face and make their day, and hopefully remember for some time afterwards. Much much more than simply a dessert at a party, or something to eat with their cup of tea; a novelty cake takes centre-stage on the table at any celebration.

Good cake-makers can make detailed novelty cakes look effortless, and unless you are making novelty cakes yourself, it can be easy to dramatically underestimate how long a cake may have taken, and what went into it.

Novelty cake-making is a skill that takes a lot of practice to develop. It requires a good artistic ablilty, an eye for detail, a steady hand, and an awful lot of patience. If you have never made a novelty cake before and decide to give it a try, then you could be in for a shock (and probably some disappointment)!

I have been making novelty cakes for a few years now, and below I have detailed what is involved in making a £90 sponge novelty cake. Cakes that cost more than this are priced as such because they take longer to make. It is not unusual for a more complex cake to take 20 hours + (such as a car).

Here's what goes into an average £90 novelty sponge-cake

Research time (often around 30 mins for a tailor-made cake - to design the cake and work out the size required and items needed)

Shopping time : Each cake requires specific items that have to be sourced individually - including specific size and shape of board (boards cost between £3 and £6.50 depending on the size and shape), box (can cost between £2 and £5) , ribbons, decoration, edible paints, other decorations, specific colours of icing, and in some cases new tools.

Preparation of sponge mixture and baking time: Around 3.5 hours in total.

Each cake is baked fresh to order within about 3 days of dispatch so that the cake is as fresh as possible and will keep for at least 2 weeks. Every cake is made using free range eggs and pure butter for a real home-made taste.

 Decorating time: Around 6.5 hours for a £90 novelty cake.

Carving and sculpting the shape of the cake

Butter-creaming between layers and around the cake

Colouring and kneading the fondant icing and then decorating the cake - smoothing it so it looks neat and without bumps and air-bubbles.

Bringing the cake to life with all the details - using textures, colouring and molding of the different fondant parts and attachments, making the models, painting etc.

Ingredients used:

1.75 - 2.5lbs of pure butter (for cake and buttercream)

1.25 - 1.5lbs flour

1.25 - 1.5 lbs castor sugar

10 - 12 free range eggs.

1.5 - 2lbs icing sugar

Flavouring and jam

Plain fondant icing, pre-coloured fondant packs, specialised Mexican modelling paste, or flower paste for details and models.

Other items:

Edible paints, glitters, sprays, confectioners glaze, edible glue, CMC thickening agent for fondant, thick foiled cake board, ribbon for the board, and box - not forgetting tools for shaping and cutting. It is not unusual for the cost of these extras to add up to more than the cost of the main cake itself.

Ingredients and extra items normally add up to around £25-30 for an average £90 novelty cake. That leaves around £55-£65 for my work and time on the cake. In comparison this is a much lower hourly rate than other skilled jobs would pay.

Delivery cost and time

I always deliver the cake free of charge if within 5 miles from my house.
So - there you have it - the novelty cake experience behind the scenes.

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