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

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

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 from a shop. 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 type Retail sales Cost per gram to buy Cost per gram to bake Markup Savings by home baking
Celebration £244,000,000 £0.011 £0.004 275% £148,000,000
Large £294,000,000 £0.006 £0.004 150% £84,000,000
Occasion £168,000,000 £0.020 £0.004 500% £133,000,000
Small £662,000,000 £0.009 £0.004 225% £370,000,000
Total £1,368,000,000 £735,000,000

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 Time in oven Oven energy cost Total cost per cake Cost per gram
891 grams 20 mins £0.16 £2.48 £0.003
Ingredients Amount Ingredient cost
Butter 125g £0.65
Caster sugar 125g £0.28
Medium eggs 2 £0.29
Self-raising flour 125g £0.05
Jam 150g £0.25
Double cream 250ml £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 Time in oven Oven energy cost Total cost per cake Cost per gram
744 grams 20 mins £0.16 £2.41 £0.004
Ingredients Amount Ingredient cost
Butter 175g £0.91
Caster sugar 175g £0.39
Cocoa powder 40g £0.32
Double cream 150g £0.49
Icing sugar 5g £0.01
Jam 100g £0.17
Large eggs 3 £0.56
Plain chocolate 150g £0.68
Self-raising flour 175g £0.06

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 Time in oven Oven energy cost Total cost per cake Cost per gram
1710 grams 1 hour £0.47 £6.94 £0.004
Ingredients Amount Ingredient cost
Medium eggs 3 £0.44
Sunflower oil 155 £0.25
Self-raising flour 230 £0.08
Baking powder 4 £0.03
Ground cinnamon 3.45 £0.07
Mixed spice 2.5 £0.06
Ground ginger 0.9 £0.02
Light muscovado sugar 230 £0.69
Satstuma 1 £0.30
Pecans 100 £1.52
Carrots 260 £0.12
Butter 50 £0.26
Philadelphia 200 £1.71
Icing sugar 100 £0.18
Orange 1 £0.30
Caster sugar 200 £0.44

Recipe: Paul Hollywood’s ultimate carrot cake


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 Time in oven Oven energy cost Total cost per cake Cost per gram
1760 grams 0 mins £0.00 £7.53 £0.004
Ingredients Amount needed Ingredient cost
Butter 100g £0.52
Digestives 250g £0.89
Double cream 284g £0.93
Icing sugar 100g £0.18
Icing sugar 25 £0.05
Soft cheese 600g £1.47
Strawberries 400g £2.00
Vanilla pod 1 £1.50

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.


  • 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.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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