I thoroughly enjoyed your explanation, dinmauk! Thanks for taking the time to write it. Actually, charging per portion has less to do with the number of servings you will really be getting from the cake and more to do with how to charge for the size cake you're making. In fact, when most people do sculpted cakes, they charge for the number of servings you get from the cake before you cut it down to size, because you actually had to make all that cake in order to get what you finally end up with. I agree with BakingIrene - I'm an inveterate user of mixing bowls (glass or aluminum) to bake in when I need a strange shape, and if you use them, you won't have the ridge problem. The nice thing about mixing bowls is that they are slightly flat on the bottom, so even if the tiers are ball-shaped, you have a stable base to set them on. This is a really lovely cake. I hope it comes out just like you want it to! By the way, I love the quote in your signature - so true!
Added later: Here in Mexico, cake decorators often charge by weight, but not always by the weight of the final cake. When you say you need a kilo of cake what you're actually asking for most of the time is cake made with a kilo of flour.
Edited by Marianna46 - 11/9/12 at 9:20am