How much would we save as a country of Great British Bakers?

We estimated what you’d save if you ditched store-bought cakes.

Noi Rotstein

by , Insights & Marketing Executive

Britain loves cake – so much so that we spend over £1.3 billion on it each year. Now that the new season of the Great British Bake Off has launched, people will certainly be inspired to take a DIY approach to their baked goods. What if this inspiration gave us enough momentum to bake all year round?

We compared the average cost of baking cake to the price you’d pay to buy the same amount. We found that if the premade cake industry didn’t exist, we’d save around £735,000,000 per year as a nation.

Which cakes are the priciest?

  • Large cakes, such as victoria sponges and swiss rolls, were found to be the cheapest per gram to buy, but even these would be 1.5 times as expensive to buy as they would be to bake.
  • Single-portion cakes such as mini rolls and cake slices – the most popular cake type in the UK – cost 2.25 times as much to buy than to bake.
  • Celebration cakes have a higher markup still, costing almost three times more to buy than to make at home.
  • Occasion cakes, such as wedding cakes, are the most expensive of all, with a markup of 500% – i.e. it’d cost you five times more to buy these cakes then to bake them.

See the full details below:

Cake typeRetail salesCost/gram to buyCost/gram to bakeMarkupSavings by home baking
Small£662,000,000£0.009£0.004225%£370,000,000
Large£294,000,000£0.006£0.004150%£84,000,000
Celebration£244,000,000£0.011£0.004275%£148,000,000
Occasion£168,000,000£0.020£0.004500%£133,000,000
Total£1,368,000,000£735,000,000

Source: finder.com, retail sales Mintel 2016 figures

How much does baking cost?

For our calculations, we found the cost to bake four different cake recipes.

The serving count is based on a 125g serving.

Victoria Sponge

At 0.3p per gram, this classic cake is the cheapest of the bunch. A similar cake at Sainsbury’s costs about the same, but is less than half the size, costing 0.7p per gram of cake.

Total mass (g)Time in ovenOven energy costTotal cost/cakeCost/g
89120 mins£0.16£2.48£0.003
IngredientsAmount neededIngredient cost
butter125g£0.65
caster sugar125g£0.28
medium eggs2£0.29
self-raising flour125g£0.05
jam150g£0.25
double cream250ml£0.82

Recipe from the BBC.

Chocolate cake

For £2.41, this recipe would end up with 744 grams worth of delicious homemade dessert. Compare that to a Tesco Finest Chocolate Cake, which would cost £2.75 for 444 grams – or 0.6p per gram.

Total mass (g)Time in ovenOven energy costTotal cost/cakeCost/g
74420 mins£0.16£2.41£0.004
IngredientsAmount neededIngredient cost
large eggs3£0.56
self-raising flour175g£0.06
caster sugar175g£0.39
butter175g£0.91
cocoa powder40g£0.32
icing sugar5g£0.01
double cream150g£0.49
plain chocolate150g£0.68
jam100g£0.17

Recipe: Mary Berry’s chocolate cake

Carrot cake

This recipe may seem expensive at £6.94, but it’ll land you with over 1700 grams of cake. Morrisons The Best Carrot Cake, being a lot smaller, would cost you twice the amount per gram.

Total mass (g)Time in ovenOven energy costTotal cost/cakeCost/g
17101 hour£0.47£6.94£0.004
IngredientsAmount neededIngredient cost
medium eggs3£0.44
sunflower oil155£0.25
self-raising flour230£0.08
baking powder4£0.03
ground cinnamon3.45£0.07
mixed spice2.5£0.06
ground ginger0.9£0.02
light muscovado sugar230£0.69
satstuma1£0.30
pecans100£1.52
carrots260£0.12
butter50£0.26
Philadelphia200£1.71
icing sugar100£0.18
orange1£0.30
caster sugar200£0.44

Recipe: Paul Hollywood’s ultimate carrot cake

Cheesecake

Making this cheesecake would set you back 0.4p per gram. The 600 gram New York Cheesecake at Sainsbury’s costs 1.5 times that, at 0.6p per gram.

Total mass (g)Time in ovenOven energy costTotal cost/cakeCost/g (GBP)
17600 mins£0.00£7.53£0.004
IngredientsAmount neededIngredient cost
digestives250g£0.89
butter100g£0.52
vanilla pod1£1.50
soft cheese600g£1.47
icing sugar100g£0.18
double cream284g£0.93
strawberries400g£2.00
icing sugar25£0.05

Recipe:BBC Good Food

If our numbers have convinced you to start making your own cakes at home, make sure you maintain the habit – or the food waste could nullify your savings.

Methodology
  • Data on the retail value of cake, broken down by cake type, was provided by market intelligence agency Mintel.
  • We chose recipes for four common types of cakes: a chocolate cake, a carrot cake, a cheesecake and a sponge cake.
    • The prices of the ingredients were taken from Tesco, the supermarket with the most sales in the UK.
    • The cost of using the oven was also factored in, according to the standard power consumption of an oven at a rate of 15.6p per kWh.
    • The total mass of the ingredients was summed.
    • The total cost was divided by the total mass to get the cost per gram.
  • The cost per gram of each type of store-bought cake was found by dividing the price of several cakes by their mass – 10 of each type of cake. This was then averaged for each cake type. These product details were taken from the sites of various popular UK supermarkets.
  • The Markup percentage was then found by dividing the average cost per gram to buy, by the average cost per gram to bake.
  • The “savings by home baking” figure was found as follows:
    • The 2016 retail value was divided by the average cost per gram of store-bought cake. This gives an estimate of the number of grams of cake purchased.
    • This was then multiplied by the difference between the two cost per gram figures, to give the amount of money that could have been saved.

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