It seems the more requests I get to make cakes, the worse they are getting. I'm pretty new at this (5 years or so) and wondering if this is normal. I feel stuck because I would love to go to the convention in July in Orlando to learn more, but I don't have the money and it's not like I sell enough cakes to justify going (I hope one day I will!) I guess I see all these great cakes on here and just assume they were "great" to create. I always get depressed somewhere in the middle of putting together the cake -- most of the time, my spirits are lifted as I see it coming together at the end. Is this normal??!!!
My last cake (a donated cake), while tasting wonderful, I made so many stupid mistakes (the filling overflowed my dam, layers were sliding, buttercream would not smooth, I kept bumping the cake and putting "dents" in the side of it) and to top it off, because of my own poor planning and lack of ideas for the darn thing, I made something I didn't like because I was running out of time.
I have a very large cake coming up and am really nervous about it. I want to plan and do as much as possible in advance, but I always seem to underestimate my time and my ability levels.
Thanks for listening. I feel so down about it all.
I know how you feel! There are many days when the cake looks worse before it gets better. I just keep reminding myself that even though it may look bad during the middle of design, once everything is in place it will be ok. And sometimes, every cake I make in a day will not turn out the way I hoped - once I have to re-do a border 3 times before I was somewhat satisfied.
And, I ALWAYS underestimate my time! For some reason, it seems like the cakes that are the easiest to plan take the most time.
I think the most important thing to remember is - it's just cake. And, when it comes down to it, the most important thing is that it tastes great! No one wants a cake that looks amazing but tastes like sawdust!
I am also new to this and was running into the same thoughts. I have started baking the day before I want to decorate as well as making the icing or fondant the day before. I was getting so flustered trying to do everything in one day that I was stressing myself out. I can concentrate sooooooo much better knowing that I don't have a sinkful of dishes waiting for me in the sink. I NEED my head to be clear when I am decorating as I am still new to this process. I hope you figure out a schedule that will work for you and it gets easier and easier. You can/will do great!
Yes, it can get very frustrating. At about the point when i'm ready to throw the cake across my kitchen, my oldest son (17) will come through and say "gee, mom I thought this was supposed to be fun" It really is a wonder he hasn't worn a cake yet.
To make things run smoother for you and bring back the fun, you really need to plan ahead, that means make sure all your boards and boxes are ready to go. I bake one day and make my frosting that day too, if possible. I also make as many decorations up ahead of time as possible. I like to keep some flowers handy for when i just need to get something done now and don't have time to preplan it. Make your colors ahead so that most of the mess is done before you begin decorating.
And most of all remember you are supposed to be having FUN
I been decorating for around 8 years...I think practice is important.. But basically dont be scared of the cake..is just a cake..Own it!..Anythingg is fixable...if you touch it fix it with viva paper..Dont leave things for last minute and maybe join a cake club or check for classes. Practice is the only thing that will get you to a better place.
You'll be happy to know that you are not alone. I used to get so nervous doing any cake. I completely understand the running out of time thing too. That was my problem, I would think of how I was going to do a cake and wait until I thought I would have enough time but then as I was working the time would go by so fast that I would start hurrying and just say that next time I would start sooner. The result for me was always "it looks ok, but I would have liked to change (blank) to make it better".
I actually do about 75% of the cake in my head before I even touch the cake. As you get more practice and experience, when you start thinking of how you're gonna do something or what needs to be done and play it out in your head you can sometimes foresee some problems you might have. (Does that make any sense, sometimes what's in my head doesn't translate very well outside of it)
Anyways, my point IS to be patient, relax and take your time. When are you baking your cakes? I bake mine about 2 days before they're due, fill them and then carve and crumb coat or just crumb coat and then the next day, which is the day before it's due, I decorate it. So the cakes are usually done the day bfore it's due. I learned that cake is like spagetti sauce, the more time it has to marinate (or sit, as with cake) the better the flavor. I learned not to eat a cake the same day as it's baked.
(Sorry this was so long)
I hoped any of this helped you
don't be discourage you keep on trying and practicing. Without God,the love for what you do, practice, and patience no one can succeed! But it seems you have a love for creating and baking so don't let bad thinking and thougths stop your gift and talent to do cakes. Continue to strive and do your best and you shall succeed, just DON'T GIVE UP111
If you're having trouble with your dam and smoothing your icing I recommend sugarshack's DVD on butter cream. It covers everything step by step and has improved many members final product. Her DVD's are reasonable and worth every penny!
I know what you are going through. I do the same thing, and them afterwards I find myself feeling joy. I really do enjoy it, even if in the mist of it I feel stressed. Ditto on the Sugarshack dvds. I would walk over fire to save mine!!! Your work is just fabulous!!!
I've been doing this 25 years and I go thru it ALL THE TIME!! When I'm tired and overbooked, and tired, and achey .... and did I mention tired?
I just finished a 10 day marathon. 5 days of 3-meals-a-day to 100 college guys that was Sunday thru Thursday brunch; a drop-off catering that thursday night, a 7-tier wedding cake drop off Friday night, a 4 tier drop off wedding cake Saturday, AND a 2-tier wedding cake and full catering reception on Saturday.
Trust me when I say that I started every dang one of these projects with the thought of "why in the he!! did I book this!"
But now that the day is over and I"m laying here on my comfy couch with CC on my laptop, all is right with the world. All the cakes looked great ... The Friday nite wedding bride called to tell me everyone was raving about the cake (and I rarely get brides call the next day about the cakes! Emails are rec'd later, but a phone call? Wow!).
You are very very normal. Welcome to the club. Membership dues cover Advil and footrub expenses.
I was JUST about to post something JUST LIKE THIS!!! OMG! We must be on the same page! I have been doing cakes for quite a while and out of the 3 cakes that I had this weekend I liked maybe one of them! One I had a TOTAL disaster on, I tried RBC for the first time. I should always listen to my husband when he says dont try new things when making a cake for money!!!
I kept telling myself Thursday night while decorating the cakes, why the HECK do I do this??? Is it REALLY worth it??? Then I go to sleep wake up the next morning and all is better.
Also you must remember, we are our worst critics! The normal person will be amazed at your cakes no matter how simple they are! I certainly found that out this weekend for sure!
Don't get discouraged, we all have times when we think we are crazy putting ourselves through the birth pains of creating a cake that the customer will like, in the end all is well & we can sit back (like Debi) & relax.......till the next one. Try staying calm & thinking things through before starting a project.
Wow. Thanks everyone for responding. I'm feeling better to know that I am not alone. I did a lot of thinking about the responses and why my latest cakes have not gone well. I think I need to go back to planning better. I guess lately, I was starting things too late and that was forcing me to scramble around rather than taking my time with things. Thanks again for "listening" -- this is a great place!!!
I soooo hear you!
I think the key to being a successful decorator is planning. I'm so bad for this too! I leave it until the last minute. I think I would be such a better decorator if I just planned better, actually sketched a cake out, except I can't draw very well so that discourages me.
I know I feel better when I see the cake at the end but I still long to be like some of the greats, like sugarshack, and the many others out there!