13 Costco Cake Tips to Know Before You Order the Dessert

You can only order Costco cakes in person, but it’s worth the quick trip.

<p>DBenitostock/Getty Images</p>

DBenitostock/Getty Images

There are two main reasons to shop at Costco—you can buy food in bulk and score unbeatable deals. Okay, you can also get free samples and enjoy perks like vacation packages and discounted gas. But many people join the warehouse with the specific goal of slashing their grocery bill. Getting a Costco membership grants you access to reduced prices on fresh and shelf-stable foods like meat, produce, coffee, and dairy products, not to mention discounted gift cards, kitchen appliances, and paper products. 

A Costco card also gives you an all-access pass to the warehouse’s bakery—home to seasonal pies, freshly baked breads, and a wide selection of desserts. In true Costco fashion, the costs are low but the quality is high. Costco has in-house bakers, so the baked goods are fresh and made by pros. It’s hard to choose a top pick from Costco’s bakery, but the Costco cakes are a fan favorite. They come at a great value, but more importantly, pretty much everyone will love them. The cakes themselves are fluffy, while the mousse fillings and buttercream frostings are smooth and sweet but not too rich.

Most Costco cakes aren’t available via online order, so here’s what you need to know before heading to your local warehouse.

Related: 11 Surprising Things You Can Get at Costco

The Prices Are Seriously Cheap

If you’ve ever made a cake from scratch (or even used boxed mix), you know that baking is no joke. Between measuring and preparing the frosting, it’s a labor of love. So, it should be no surprise that professional bakers can have steep prices to reflect the time and skill it requires to bake a masterpiece.

Not everyone can (or wants to) pay bakery prices, however. And when you need an inexpensive cake, Costco’s there to save the day.

Costco cakes are priced accordingly:

  • $15.99 for an 8-inch round cake

  • $19.99 for a 10-inch round cake

  • $24.99 for a half sheet cake

  • $39.99 for a full sheet cake

The Sheet Cakes Can Feed Dozens of People

Costco sells a few different types of cakes, such as round, sheet, and bar cakes. Once you factor in the various flavors—vanilla, chocolate, carrot, tuxedo, etc.—the variety is never ending. 

When you think of Costco cakes, it’s probably the classic sheet cakes that come to mind. Ideal for birthday parties and large gatherings, the sheet cakes are decorated simply, but their purpose isn’t to impress with an elaborate design. Rather, they aim to feed (and please) a crowd. The half-sheet cakes feed up to 48 people, while the full sheet serves up to 96 hungry partygoers.

Plan Ahead For Customizations

Need a custom cake on short notice? As long as you go in 48 hours (or more) ahead of time, Costco can help out. Few varieties are available online, but for most cakes—and all custom orders—you’ll need to visit the bakery in advance. Fortunately, the order form is simple and allows you to customize the size, flavor, design, and writing.

Sheet Cakes Come in Just Two Flavors

With all the perks of ordering your cake through Costco, you may be wondering—what’s the catch? The prices can’t be beat, but the flavor selection can. We hope you like white (aka vanilla) or chocolate cakes because these are your only sheet cake options:

  • White Cake, which is filled with a vanilla cheesecake mousse and iced with white buttercream

  • Chocolate Cake, which is filled with chocolate mousse and iced with chocolate buttercream

Ready-Made Cakes Are Available For Last-Minute Celebrations

If you’re hoping to stumble across a large sheet cake in the warehouse bakery, you may be disappointed. Costco doesn’t keep ready-made sheet cakes on its shelves, so you’ll have to go into the warehouse at least two days in advance to place your order.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t spontaneously walk into Costco and leave with a cake in hand. The chain does keep some cakes out for shoppers to grab, such as round and bar cakes. You’ll just have to keep an open mind since the ready-made cakes aren’t custom. Still, some are decorated with balloons, candles, and flowers, so they look festive for many occasions.

There Are Tons of Design Options to Choose From

Since they feed dozens, Costco sheet cakes are perfect for parties and gatherings of all kinds. Birthday cakes are an obvious choice, but Costco cakes are also suitable for graduation parties, sporting events, anniversaries, and more.

You can choose one design per cake, and there are more than two dozen designs to choose from, not including some designs that are available seasonally. They’ve got your classic designs like the American flag, balloons, and roses, but you can also request a graduation, princess, beach, or football cake, to name just a few.

Related: 10 Costco Shopping Mistakes You Definitely Don’t Want to Make

Personalize a Cake With Writing

It’s a small detail, but personalizing a cake with writing is a nice touch. Costco doesn’t offer too many ways you can customize your sheet cake, so take advantage of this one. Whether you add someone’s name or a special message, it’s no extra charge to put writing on a custom cake.

You Can Ordered Tiered Cakes

Few Costco cakes are available online, and the online inventory can differ from what’s available in the warehouse. If you’re looking for a tiered cake, you may be in luck. Costco calls their 2 Tier Cake a “Special Occasion Cake,” but we all know it’s baked with weddings in mind. The average wedding cake costs around $500, so you can save 40 percent by ordering this one from Costco. It can serve nearly two dozen guests, so it’s best for smaller weddings or other occasions like baby showers, birthday parties, and anniversaries. The warehouse doesn’t typically carry tiered cakes, so this is a good online find.

Keep Them Refrigerated

Made with fresh buttercream, Costco cakes are perishable. Some people have had success with leaving them out at room temperature for a couple of days, but technically, they’re not shelf-stable and should be refrigerated before the event. Be sure to create space in your refrigerator if you plan on picking up a cake before a special occasion. And if you’ll be transporting the cake to a park in the warmer months, bring an insulated bag to keep it cold.

Request a Scored Cake

Cutting cake requires precision, so if this is your least favorite part about ordering a large sheet cake, ask the Costco bakery to score it for you. This means that they create lines across the cake with buttercream, making it easier to cut into slices. It’s also a great way to make sure you get the exact amount of servings you need out of the cake.

Turn Undecorated Cakes Into a Fun DIY Project

Many of us are very creative, but don’t claim to be great bakers. If that sounds like you, ordering a plain, undecorated cake from Costco is the beginning of a fun evening. Plus, Costco’s designs can be limiting. You can’t request a fully pink cake with edible glitter, for example, but you can add all the pink glitter your heart desires after the fact. You’ll need some supplies of your own, such as decorative icing, and some patience. Decorating a cake isn’t as easy as it looks, but it is a rewarding and creative process.

Freeze the Leftovers For Later

Couples who have thrown a wedding will tell you that it’s tradition to freeze the top of the wedding cake and enjoy it a year later. Freezing a cake that long can affect the flavor and texture, but it’s always an option for large cakes that yield a lot of leftovers. The best way to freeze cake is to tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Frosted Costco cakes can keep in the freezer for several months, and can thaw in the refrigerator once you’re ready to enjoy!

Related: 3-Layer Magic Cake Is Surprisingly Simple to Make

Cakes Are Eligible For Return

Costco has a generous return policy—some even say it’s too generous and could be abused. The chain has a satisfaction guaranteed policy, so if your cake didn’t meet your expectations, they’ll make it right. Now, bringing back an 80 percent eaten cake may be questionable, so only utilize the store’s policy if something went seriously wrong with your cake.

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