The salary of the wedding cake decorator is based upon many factors, including the experience of the decorator, the location of the bakery and the design of the cake. Wedding cake decorators may or may not have formal training in the art of cake design and decorating. Wedding cake design is an art, blending culinary skills with engineering. Wedding cakes are not just two or three layers of white cake and frosting, but a unique display of flavors and color.
- Wedding cake decorators train as bakers and pastry chefs, either in culinary school or on the job. Many grocery store bakeries pay their employees by the hour, and the pay scale ranges from minimum wage to a national average of more than $13 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary in a professional bakery is more than $11 per hour. The salaries vary based upon time on the job and experience.
- The salary for wedding cake decorators is also influenced by where the bakery is located. Larger cities, such as Atlanta, Georgia, or Dallas, Texas, offer yearly salaries of over $24,000. Some private wedding cake decorators work for catering companies and wedding planners. These private artisans develop combinations of fillings and cake flavors to create a personalized dessert experience instead of just a cake. The cake decorators may also be known as pastry chefs and create the bachelor cake, as well as smaller pastries for the reception. A pastry chef in New York City may earn as much as $64,000 a year.
- The beginning cake decorator earns between $18,000 and $34,000 per year. As the decorator gains experience, the salary increases. The average salary of a decorator with 10 to 19 years experience is between $26,000 to $42,000 annually. Experience includes working with customers and learning about their likes and dislikes. The wedding cake decorator also learns how to create the wedding cake to match the theme of the wedding. A cake decorator with 20 years experience or more can expect an annual income of between $27,000 and $40,000.
- Larger cakes are more expensive than smaller and the simpler designs are also less expensive. A wedding cake decorator may take two months or more to create a wedding cake design. The more intricate the design, the more expensive the cake. A wedding cake decorator may charge accordingly for the cake. Generally, the cake is priced per piece, and the cost increases with the type of frosting, filling and decorations. The expense of the cake may run into the thousands, with the decorator receiving a portion of the cost.