How Do You Keep From Going Crazy??

Decorating By melissablack Updated 20 Apr 2005 , 8:27am by flayvurdfun

melissablack Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 3:36pm
post #1 of 24

I love making and decorating cakes, but when I HAVE to do it, I get so stressed and I feel like I am going crazy. I am trying to get started selling some cakes, but sometimes just the thought of it makes me so stressed I don't even want to do it anymore.

I made a pretty big cake Friday, for a luau party we were having Sat. (I will post pics when I get them developed!) It served about 80-90. It turned out really good, but it took me ALL DAY, and my kitchen was a disaster, I was tearing my hair out, I couldn't even stand for anyone to talk to me 'cause I was so intensely focused on decorating, then it got messed up driving to the party, I had to get dh to go home and get me some more icing and extra MMF pieces to replace ones that broke. It was awful!

I'm just worried that if I start doing this for a business, I will end up hating it! Do you all get like this too?

Melissa icon_surprised.gif

23 replies
cakemommy Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 4:04pm
post #2 of 24

I understand exactly what you are feeling. I worry about "burn out"! I love cake decorating but I'm afraid that if I did it for a full time job, I'm afraid I would get burned out real quick! I too can't stand it when my kitchen gets a mess. It drives me nuts but it happens when you're decorating a cake. When I start doing a cake, I'm all excited but when it takes me into extra hours to get it completed I start getting P O'd and want to quit. So you are definately not the only one who feels this way. My biggest reward is the finished product and the final review by the customer!!!


CarolAnn Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 4:09pm
post #3 of 24

Hi Melissa,
Decorating cakes can be very stressful for me because if the attention to detail I put into my projects. It's a one woman show as far as I'm concerned. By that I mean I want to be alone when I work. I want quiet, some music is fine sometimes, sometimes not. Doing cakes is very time consuming. Most non-decorators don't realize this. I get so focused when I work I forget to eat or drink. I've gotten my system worked out to where I have a minimal mess in my kitchen which cuts down on the stress because I hate the mess. For my big projects I break it up into days. Bake one day, make all icings the next and then ice and decorate the day before the event. Other times I'll make icings while cakes bake and set aside in tubs. I don't use butter or milk in my icing most of the time so I can let the tubs set out on the counter. It's just too nerve wracking for me to try and do everything in a day, and I'm usually uplate in the night working on things as it is. This works best for me. Everyone needs to work out a system that works for them. Doing cakes isn't the "piece of cake" many think. I love doing this but I want to keep it enjoyable for me while I make a pleasing product for my clients. When it stops being any fun I'll quit.

Do you use boxes to transport your cakes? I use cake boxes when I can, and get most of mine back, and have some nice strudy cake carriers from Wal Mart that lock shut and have good handles. I haven't has any mishaps when transporting but stuck my finger in the side of my firsy wedding cake while setting it up. UGH! It was easliy patched then concealed with the flowers, thank goodness. Yu just have to make sure you take along stuff to do the on the spot repairs that might come up. I haul along a lot of stuff to try and have about anything covered that might come along. It's sure worth lugging the stuff along. I hope this help some. At least you know you're not the only one wanting to pull your hair out. LOL
Take care and stick with it!!

cakemommy Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 4:21pm
post #4 of 24

Yes, definately stretch it over a few days if you don't already. I really would go insane if I did everything in one day. I have done that before, but don't recommend it!!! We'll be your lifeline if you've gone bezerk and numb while decorating!!! icon_biggrin.gif


Lisa Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 4:35pm
post #5 of 24

Hi you can tell, you're not alone. It still takes me quite a while to decorate too but you get faster and faster with each cake. If you think about being a cake decorator as a profession (like at a good bakery), large cakes are usually completed in steps by more than one person. I think if you take each step as an individual project, it won't feel so stressful.

flayvurdfun Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 4:40pm
post #6 of 24

I just wish I had more cakes to do, so maybe that stressing out thing happens to me alot, but I figure its because I dont do enough of them!

tabs Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 4:51pm
post #7 of 24

hehe I've learned that stretching cake projects out into several days is the way to go! Seriously. I think of the baking and icing mixing as the "work" and the day I actually get to decorate is the fun part. And if that's all you have to worry about for the day, it's not so bad. Sure it gets stressfull, especially if you're trying something you've never done before, but if you reduce what you have to do on that day, you'll be in much better shape icon_smile.gif

I also hate to clean (especially those tips...ACK!) so I usually set aside some batter for a mini-cake and convince someone to do the cleaning for me in exchange for a yummy treat. Works like a charm icon_smile.gif

flayvurdfun Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 4:54pm
post #8 of 24

OH yeah to keep myself sane... I come on here!!!

marknrox Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 5:03pm
post #9 of 24

Who said I was sane to begin with??? icon_lol.gif

Lisa Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 5:05pm
post #10 of 24
Originally Posted by tabs

I think of the baking and icing mixing as the "work" and the day I actually get to decorate is the fun part. And if that's all you have to worry about for the day, it's not so bad. Sure it gets stressfull, especially if you're trying something you've never done before, but if you reduce what you have to do on that day, you'll be in much better shape icon_smile.gif

I also hate to clean (especially those tips...ACK!) so I usually set aside some batter for a mini-cake and convince someone to do the cleaning for me in exchange for a yummy treat. Works like a charm icon_smile.gif

I've always wanted to work in a bakery where someone else does the "work" and I get to do all the fun!

tabs Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 5:10pm
post #11 of 24
Originally Posted by lisa

I've always wanted to work in a bakery where someone else does the "work" and I get to do all the fun!

I know right! Doing everything is a lot of hard work! I have to put my life on hold just to make someone a cake :p

melissablack Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 5:16pm
post #12 of 24

I didn't use a cake box, and I KNOW I should have, but I just didn't take the time to get one. I also forgot to attach my cake boards to the large cake board the whole thing was resting on, so it was sliding all around. It was my worst transporting experience ever! From now on I will always use a cake box!

I guess once I start making more cakes I will have a 'system' and it won't be so stressful. I am still a beginner and still trying to find my groove! lol.

Melissa icon_smile.gif

BTW, I can't wait to post pics of my pig cake! I was really happy with it, even after I had to fix it, it came out great, and everyone complimented it. At church yesterday morning our pastor even mentioned it from the pulpit, about how neat it was and he'd never seen anything like it. Hee hee. (The party I took it to was one I was in charge of for our church)

CarolAnn Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 5:43pm
post #13 of 24

Oh, one more thing about transporting cakes. The rubber mesh matting you can get for lining shelves and drawers etc, come in a roll, is wonderful to put under your cake boxes, containers, whatever to prevent them from slididng. You can place your cakes in the best containers but if they can slide around at all during transport you can still have a disaster. I have an Expedition so there's lots of room to slide back there. Nothing moves an inch when set on the matt. I also use a small piece in my cake box when the cake small enough to move in there. Just put it in and the cake plate on top and it's secure against shifting. I love the stuff and it's cheap.

m0use Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 7:02pm
post #14 of 24

I love it too! It works!
Last week Friday I brought some donation cakes into work for a donation sale that a lady was going to bring them to for me. I don't have official cake boxes, but I knew that I had to put the three 6" cakes into something to make it easier for her. This is what I did
I took an empty computer paper box and put some rubber matting liner stuff in the bottom of it. I then took another box and cut it down to fit over the top of one of the 6" cakes. Now I had to cover the cut down box with slippery clear packing tape to keep the box together. So to keep the cake that would be on the top of the cut down box from sliding I also put some shelf lining on the top of the cut down box. My cake never moved once!

KrazyKross Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 8:12pm
post #15 of 24

Stress is the name of the game for me. I always stress out worrying about how the cakes are going to turn out or be accepted by the client. That's part of being a perfectionist. I want everything to be just right. I consider myself a cake hobbyist and only make cakes for friends, family and word-of-mouth clients. I'm not sure I could handle it as a business. Then it would stop being fun for me. If I have a cake order for Friday, I bake on Wednesday night. Decorate Thursday and deliver on Friday. I usually keep royal icing flowers on hand. When I don't have cakes to make, I may make a batch of royal icing and do nothing but flowers. Then I store them in ziploc bags and in rubbermaid containers. If I have to make buttercream roses, I do them the night I bake the cake and put them in the freezer. Everything is done in steps, so you don't freak out at the last minute. Learn to pace yourself -- it helps. I also think it comes with experience. The more cakes you do, the easier the routine becomes.

tcturtleshell Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 8:29pm
post #16 of 24


I promise you, you will get your own groove going!

My wedding cake is due the 23rd. This weekend I made all the icing (w/ several mistakes if you read my post, LOL). Today I'm getting all the boards ready, cutting them wrapping them. I also made sure I had the right sizes of boxes for the cakes. Tomorrow I'm going to start baking my small cakes & put them in the freezer. They won't fit in the frig because it is loaded full with icing & ingredients for my cakes!! Then on Wed. I'll make the groom's cake wrap it up & sit it on the counter top. Then Thursday make my other cakes for the wedding cake. Then Friday I will ice & smooth the wedding cakes. Then I'll decorate the groom's cake. I'll have everything finished I HOPE by 3pm!! Then I can get everything ready & get it in the van except for the cakes of course!

If I didn't do it spread out like this I wouldn't do it at all!! When I'm in the kitchen I'm just like Carol Ann.. It's just me & of course my country or christian music!! NO kids are allowed!! When they come near the kitchen I tell them they can't breathe!! I'm very cross with them! My son loves to aggravate me by coming into the kitchen saying, "I'm breathing Mom, I'm breathing". He loves to see me get angry!!

Once you get your routine things will still be a little crazy but it will be easier on you. Once I get to the decorating part I am soooo relaxed!!!

linnburg Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 8:40pm
post #17 of 24

I just want to add my 2 cents worth to all this great advice you have already gotten. Remember that you can always "just say no"! It is human nature to want to please everyone, but sometimes its important to put on the brakes before we crash and burn. So, if you're going to do cakes as a business, pace yourself and don't be sucked in to providing more than is humanly possible. Know your limits and stay within them! When you already have enough on your schedule and someone calls with an emergency, you have to stand firm and say NO (and don't apologize!).

Good Luck,

peacockplace Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 8:46pm
post #18 of 24

hey TC,
I've never thought of covering the boards ahead of time and getting stuff like that ready. I don't know why it never occurred to me before. That's the stuff that alway slows me way down when I'm doing a cake. Thanks for stating the obvious for me. icon_redface.gif I know this will help me out a ton!!!

tcturtleshell Posted 18 Apr 2005 , 11:11pm
post #19 of 24

Your welcome Peacock!

It always slows me down too! The last wedding cake I did I forgot to do this & I was dead on my feet! This time I'm ahead of the game!! Things should run smooth!!! I HOPE!!

I get everything covered & ready before I ever start baking.
Glad I could help you too Peacock!

melissablack Posted 19 Apr 2005 , 4:26am
post #20 of 24

Wow, thanks for all the great advice, everyone. Usually I am more organized than I was with this last cake. It's just that I was planning a party for our church, expecting about 200 people and I was so busy with all the preparations that I left the cake to the last minute. I definitely had too much on my plate.

Another thing, I always worry about making my cake too far in advance 'cause I don't want it to be dry or stale. I guess I am just paranoid 'cause I've had problems with my cake being dry throughout this learning process!


boysmomintx Posted 19 Apr 2005 , 4:35am
post #21 of 24

I agree about the stress of this. I am a work-at-home medical transcriptionist. At every chance I can, I am looking at cakes on here. I have 3 little boys, ages 5, 2 1/2, and 6 months. I stayed up on Friday night until 3:30 a.m. working on a cake! When the baby wouldn't let me do it the next night, I was about 15 minutes late to a party where I made a cake! Luckily, we're friends, so she just laughed. I would have died if it was for a real customer. I think it's stressful, but the end result is what makes it worth while. I think I never want to do another one while I am cleaning up, and I find myself volunteering to people to bring cake. LOL icon_rolleyes.gif

elin Posted 19 Apr 2005 , 6:10am
post #22 of 24

Normally I do not stress out any more. Not like before anyway.
Only last saturday, the cakeorder person couldnt come and pick up, so I had to go to her.
As we do not have a car for the moment, my dh tryed to get someone to bring me with the cake. Nobody was home to help. That really stressed me out. At last I nicely packed the cake and took the undergroundtrain. It was heavy, but to see the little girls face when she got the cake whas my blessing.
(will post it when my dh fix our computer.)
phhhhooooo. Anyway, even you make cakes for others or just your selfs. Be blessed with your talents. Becaurse you are all good at this.

tcturtleshell Posted 20 Apr 2005 , 4:23am
post #23 of 24

Wow Elin! I couldn't imagine of having to use a train. How did you manage? That must have been a nervous ride! I would be so afraid the train would stop too fast & my cake would go flying onto the floor! As you can tell we don't use trains in Louisiana.

Isn't that a great feeling when you watch the person you've made the cake for & they have a big smile across their face!!! It is a blessing! You've made someone happy!!

flayvurdfun Posted 20 Apr 2005 , 8:27am
post #24 of 24

OF course!!!!! I cant imagine the train either, at least not in the in Europe the trains are roomier and more comfortable, but I still cant imagine taking a train to deliver a cake...
HEY ELIN did you get any interest in your cakes for more orders?????

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