It’s just flour and sugar, right?

Not quite….There is a huge range of things that go into creating your custom confection, the ingredients being only a small part of that but lets start there.  In a “standard 3-tier , serves 120-150” cake, there can be as many as a dozen eggs, 5 pounds of pastry flour, half a cup of real vanilla, several pounds of unsalted butter,several bars of premium chocolate, and more! The frosting may contain 3 or 4 more pounds of unsalted butter, another dozen or more egg whites, and several pounds of sugar. If you have a fondant covering, add about 5-8 pounds of that.Now you need equipment. While some of the basics are in nearly every kitchen, not many home bakers have a set of tiered cake pans ranging from 6” to 18” (depending on your cake) and an oven that will fit the larger pans, a heavy-duty stand mixer, professional grade food colors, piping bags and tips, a rolling pin that can roll out a 2 foot diameter circle of fondant, and more. Depending on the design of you cake, there can be hundreds of dollars of specialized tools and molds required. There are boards and boxes to safely deliver your cake and a vehicle large enough to securely transport your masterpiece.In addition, there is the cake artist’s time to bake and create your masterpiece, her (or his) experience, and potentially thousands of dollars and countless hours in workshops, training courses, and conferences spent honing her craft.You are paying for her baking experience in using recipes that are tasty but can stand up to being stacked and shaped, structural engineering of the support systems (that need to be there whether your cake is pillared or not), artistry in decorating, sculpting skills in creating a topper or flowers, expert delivery and repairs of any mishaps that may happen along the way, and more.
A note about delivery: one of the most risky “cost-saving” ideas I’ve seen is to decline to pay for your cake artist to deliver your cake. She knows how to transport it safely and how to repair any minor damage that may occur. If your cake is pillared, or more than 3 tiers high, delivery is essential, but even for smaller cakes, it can be critical.Your wedding cake may have included a tasting session, the creation of a custom design (or modification of an existing one) that suits your needs and taste. Your cake artist may also have the expenses of a storefront, a web site, and various bridal shows to ensure you can find her! Consider also that even the simplest wedding cakes usually take 6-10 hours of time and that more elaborate or difficult designs can take hundreds of hours, it’s a wonder that a wedding cake isn’t much more expensive. If it were marked up in the same manner as a wedding gown or some of the other services you purchase for your wedding, it would be!
Article borrowed from Genevieve @ For the Love of Cake