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Durham, NC, United States
My name is Veronica and I own Southern Gold Leaf Cakes. I opened my home-based business in 2008. I am a licensed and inspected home bakery specializing in custom cakes. Since all cakes are made to order there are no frozen cakes here, only fresh and only home made. I am a self-taught baker but I have a strong art background with years of baking experience. It is the most rewarding feeling in the world when you can apply your skills to do something you love. To see my cake creations and view our yummy menu visit us at www.southerngoldleafcakes.com!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cupcakes or not to cupcake

When I first started out I said I didn't want to do cupcakes. Why? Simply because there is a preconceived notion about cupcakes and their place and cost in the cake world. These are the things of birthday parties and children's celebrations.
A few years back a trend started in weddings with cupcake towers. A lofty tower construction filled with cupcakes and topped with a top tier for cutting. My first thought is, "How do they get it down to cut it without knocking over the stand?" Suddenly these became very popular because they were deemed "more affordable" and were told that it was a "less expensive way to feed" guests.
Why pay for a big fancy cake that most people won't eat when you can save some money and get cupcakes? Well, in defense of the traditional wedding cake, this is just not necessarily true. And the art of creating beautiful little cupcakes has come a long way from the first few images we saw of traditionally swirled cupcakes in plain old liners stacked on a stand.
How is it not cheaper? Well, let's start with the fact that you are still paying for the baker to bake the same amount of cake but now they also have to supply the paper wrappers, and in some cases, order special decorative wrappers. That is an extra expense that does not come with cake.  Yes, but you get more cake with a cupcake instead of that little sliver of cake at a wedding. Actually, you don't. There is a "standard" guide to cutting cake but not every baker uses that when averaging out how many people your cake will feed. A good sized piece of cake should measure (approx) 2" W x 1" D X 4" T. It is easily a big enough piece to fill a dessert sized cake plate. You can do it as a 1x2x4 but it depends on the diameter between tiers. Either way you are given a healthy single serving.

Now, when is the last time you went to a party where cupcakes were served and saw anyone eat just ONE cupcake? Chances are slim. On average most people will generally consume at least two cupcakes because they're cupcakes. Their perspective on serving size is shifted from a plated piece of cake to a hand held, bite sized cupcake. And no one thinks twice about seeing someone eat two cupcakes but if you go back for a second slice of wedding cake you look piggish.  So in the grand scheme you have to actually figure two cupcakes for every guest you intend to serve cake too. If they are mini cupcakes, I recommend counting three per person. I attended a wedding this summer that used the mini cupcakes and I had four of them on my plate because they were all different flavors. So your 100 servings guest count just turned into 200 or more cupcakes.
Pretty little cupcakes!
You are now paying pretty close to the same price for your cupcakes that you would have paid per slice for cake. The real trick is getting someone who can pull it together and not make it look like a sweet sixteen. Hence the more ornate confections that have started gracing the reception scene. The trouble has now become the fact that the more decorative and beautiful a cupcake is the more it costs. Say, for example, a standard cupcake is $2; plain paper, no fancy decorations. If you wish to add a filling it may cost $.50 more. If you want special designer tops and decorations is may be an additional $2 and if special papers (for color or foil or dyecuts) are used you can add another $2. So your less expensive cupcake route just increased to $6.50 per cupcake and you might need two per person. So theorecticaly $13 per person in cake. You per serving cake probably wasn't this expensive.

This isn't a ploy to deter people who want a cupcake wedding. I am not pushing that all weddings must have eight tiers of cake to be considered a proper wedding cake. I am simply making an effort to contradict some of the opinions out there stating that you can save money when buying cupcakes. As with any purchase you should talk with your baker and explore all the options. Believe it or not most of us are pretty honest will not charge you more just because it's your wedding cake.  

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