Perhaps you have some favorite flavors in mind and you want to know if the fillings would go together. Perhaps you want to get a feel for the baker and also to see if her/his cakes have the right texture, moistness, flavor and so on. So, you want to do a tasting. Until the last 24 hours, I have never had any soon-to-be brides ask whether their $25.00 charge went toward their wedding cake if they booked. So, I thought I should tell you why I (and other bakers) charge.
You and three (three) guests are invited to each taste all the flavors of cake and accompanying fillings. At a minimum, there are 12 cupcakes consumed during the tasting if all your guests showed up. If only you and your fiancé showed, you will leave with six cupcakes and fillings to try again later, or have others taste. I will make your fillings with fresh ingredients; if you wanted strawberry filling, I will use fresh berries and make the filling from scratch. This goes for all the fillings you want to try. I will make Swiss meringue buttercream to go with your cake as well.
Let's suppose we divided $25.00 by 12 cupcakes, we see that each cupcake costs $2.08. Let's suppose further that each cupcake's price included, labor, cost for ingredients, an extremely small profit margin and overhead. Let's say that $2.08 will be divided by 4 (the categories above), I have charged $0.52 for each of them; my time $0.52, fresh strawberries, $0.52, my labor $0.52 and so on.
Let us suppose again that your $25.00 was added to your wedding cake. I have essentially given you (and three guests) a highly customized dessert for $0.00. Because the tasting cake is not being subtracted from your final cake (that won't work).
That would be analogous to asking the server at the Cheesecake Factory if you paid for your dessert on this visit, would it count toward your next visit, if you decided to purchase (book) a dessert in the future! Perhaps this concept would work if the price for the dessert in the future included what was not paid on the current visit.
So, I charge because I offer a highly customized service. I use fresh ingredients and I devote my time to ensuring that your tasting experience is the best it can be. And I charge because I am running a for-profit business, in exchange for offering highly-individualized attention and dedicated baking craftsmanship.
Lastly, I try to offer exceptional value for my brides by not offering free tastings on the front end, and increasing cake prices on the back end.
But let's suppose we added the $25.00 charge to the overall price of the cake in the end. Let's base it on 200 servings, and with just simple math, we divided the $25.00 by that amount. The extra charge per serving is $0.125.