Anyone Else Go Through This Bipolar Cake-Making Process???

Decorating By Amymnn Updated 6 May 2009 , 5:32pm by tmcakes

Amymnn Posted 4 May 2009 , 7:43pm
post #1 of 30

I get an idea/order for a cake. I start thinking design. I think about it a lot until I get a vision. Then I do the cake and feel clumsy and inadequate, and the cake rarely matches my vision. I'm disappointed and seriously consider quitting doing cakes all together. I question the money and time I've invested in it and question my ability to do it well. It actually depresses me because I start feeling guilty for investing in something I may not be good at after all.

Then I get an idea/order for a cake. I start thinking design. I think about it a lot until I get a vision of what I want it to look like. And start the process all over again.

I keep wondering if I will ever get to a point where I have more faith in myself, or just stop looking at a finished cake and finding all the imperfections.

Does anyone or has anyone have/had experience with this? Am I crazy or just a big whiner?? icon_redface.gif

29 replies
fabulosity Posted 4 May 2009 , 7:51pm
post #2 of 30

If you are crazy, so am I!

I go through the same process. There has only been one cake where it came out almost exactly the way that I saw it in my head...I would have only changed 1 thing on that one. icon_lol.gif

I think that as we get better at what we are doing it will start to look more like what we have in our heads.

Keep your head up and keep on baking, we all make great tasting disasters. icon_biggrin.gif

djs328 Posted 4 May 2009 , 7:51pm
post #3 of 30

my finished products rarely turn out as I envisioned them...my head and my hands can't seem to get their collective act together...Maybe this comes with experience? I hope?!?!?

Amymnn Posted 4 May 2009 , 7:56pm
post #4 of 30

fabulosity: Which cake matched your vision? I just looked at your photos, your cakes are beautiful! You are so talented, especially at making characters like your Peter Rabbit, Super Mario, sleeping baby, etc. I really love the hamburger cake too. Wonderful job icon_smile.gif

Amymnn Posted 4 May 2009 , 7:59pm
post #5 of 30

djs328: I'd love to have a profile like yours! Your cakes are wonderful, I reallly love the Diego cake and love how you combine cookies and chocolate transfers with cake. Beautiful designs, are they really even better in your head? I can't imagine how!

djs328 Posted 4 May 2009 , 8:05pm
post #6 of 30

thanks for the compliments! I think maybe we are all our own worst critics...your cakes are great! The Veggie Tales one is so cute! icon_smile.gif (kinda funny to think of veggies on your cake...hehe!) And the cookie bouquet is very nice - will be attempting one later this week for the first time...could be disastrous and end up as a cookie platter...could be cute...we'll see! icon_smile.gif (In my head it's GORGEOUS! haha!!!)

sweetjan Posted 4 May 2009 , 8:10pm
post #7 of 30

Amymnn, you said exactly what I was thinking about all last week! I pracitce and follow the various tutorials that I find. Design the cutest cake in the world in my head, but the final product doesn't measure up at all. Friends and family love my experiements, but yes, I've started to tell myself to back off. (But then, this weekend, I redeemed myself by making a zebra-stripe cake that even I thought turned out cute!!!
Thanks for writing your thoughts on this....it helps to have this type of support!

fabulosity Posted 4 May 2009 , 8:47pm
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amymnn

fabulosity: Which cake matched your vision? I just looked at your photos, your cakes are beautiful! You are so talented, especially at making characters like your Peter Rabbit, Super Mario, sleeping baby, etc. I really love the hamburger cake too. Wonderful job icon_smile.gif




Thanks! icon_redface.gif

I am such a newbie. If it were not for this website nothing would look right! My favorite cake thus far would be the cheeseburger. That was the cake that I was referring to. The other one that I really like was the zebra striped one. Your stuff is super cute too...we all get better with time. Just have fun making stuff and practice practice practice. I still can't do lettering free hand that does not look like total crap.

Debluvs2bake Posted 4 May 2009 , 8:56pm
post #9 of 30

It's funny how you visualize, sketch, plan, then initiate a design and it takes on a life of it's own! Improvise, adapt, overcome: the hardest things I've learned yet in caking.

Amymnn Posted 5 May 2009 , 1:48am
post #10 of 30

Debluvs2bake: "Improvise, adapt, overcome"
I think I'll paint that on a sign and hang it in my kitchen! Thanks for the great advice.
By the way, your cakes are amazing. I really love the "doodlebug" icon_smile.gif

tonedna Posted 5 May 2009 , 2:00am
post #11 of 30

I never start with a whole detailed cake.. In my case I start with a detail I like. Maybe a mold or a flower..maybe a color scheme.. As I decide the size and shape of the cake I keep adding to it until I am happy with the results..
For me anything in a sketch can look pretty, but when you make it in real life, it might not look as good as the sketch. I go as I see what looks good..and that works for me..
Edna icon_smile.gif

sweetsbyjen Posted 5 May 2009 , 2:00am
post #12 of 30

I feel this way all the time. I end up being a cake-zilla, and won't let anyone in my kitchen even when they want to compliment me. I get so stressed that I wonder if it's worth it all the time.

But when I deliver the cake and see the aww in everyone's face as they say, "Did you make that?" That's when it's all worth it!

I think there are just so many amazing artists on here that I am constantly comparing myselfto them. When in reality, I've only been doing this for about 6 months.
Sometimes I just need to realize that every order is a chance to improve myself and just let the process happen. I'm getting more comfortable with it all. I think when we stop caring and stop criticizng ourselves, we lose the fire and drive to want to learn more.

fabulosity Posted 5 May 2009 , 1:31pm
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jh631477

I feel this way all the time. I end up being a cake-zilla, and won't let anyone in my kitchen even when they want to compliment me. I get so stressed that I wonder if it's worth it all the time.

But when I deliver the cake and see the aww in everyone's face as they say, "Did you make that?" That's when it's all worth it!

I think there are just so many amazing artists on here that I am constantly comparing myselfto them. When in reality, I've only been doing this for about 6 months.
Sometimes I just need to realize that every order is a chance to improve myself and just let the process happen. I'm getting more comfortable with it all. I think when we stop caring and stop criticizng ourselves, we lose the fire and drive to want to learn more.





That is very well said...and I completely agree.

I think that we all lose our minds from time to time. We get so involved in what we are doing and so consumed by making everything perfecttotal cake-zilla. madhatter.gif

Texas_Rose Posted 5 May 2009 , 1:40pm
post #14 of 30

Sometimes my stuff comes out exactly as I've planned. Sometimes it doesn't. My cupcakes always come out just the way I've planned icon_biggrin.gif My cakes, not so much.

But you can't get too stressed out about it. It's cake, if you don't like the way it ends up looking, there's always someone willing to eat the evidence.

illini89 Posted 5 May 2009 , 1:55pm
post #15 of 30

I totally agree! I get that way before every cake. Often I say this is the last one-never again!!! But then something comes up and I am back in the kitchen--baking and decorating away.!!!

Amymnn Posted 5 May 2009 , 2:01pm
post #16 of 30

I think I will have "cake-zilla" embroidered on my apron, and play Miley Cyrus' "The climb" in the background, replacing all the lyrics with cake-related lyrics (always gonna be another cake to decorate, always gonna wanna make it good.) That way, even when the cake comes out all wrong, people will be afraid to say anything negative, since I will clearly appear crazy! icon_lol.gif

Justbeck101 Posted 5 May 2009 , 2:12pm
post #17 of 30

If I draw out my designs, they usually match almost exactly. If I do it from my brain, they suck! lol

Amymnn Posted 5 May 2009 , 2:15pm
post #18 of 30

Justbeck101: Your cakes are so pretty! The princess pillow and princess cake look straight out of a fairy tale, just to pretty to eat. Wonderful!

cakebabie Posted 5 May 2009 , 2:30pm
post #19 of 30

What a relief. I have stopped decorating cakes at least once a month. I have found though that your tools and supplies make all the difference in the world. We have to keep going and use this site to encourage each other. Non cake decorators have no idea what we go through. I like the idea of just acting pyscho at the delivery. I may put that to good use. icon_lol.gif

I may go and post some pics now.

kjjs Posted 5 May 2009 , 3:12pm
post #20 of 30

I feel the same way as many of you about getting frustrated because the "vision" doesnot match the finished product. First of all I can't draw to save my life! Even with a ruler my lines are not straight with pencil on paper! So I have to rely on the picture in my head rather than a sketch. Second I don't usually have time to practice techniques and methods I see on line and those I learned in the classes I took. The cakes I have made over the past couple of years have just been for my children and a few of their friends, so everyone has been happy with them except me! I do feel like giving up sometimes... but that is usually at 3:00am when I am only halfway done with a cake for a birthday party that morning at 11:00am that I didn't get to start on until the kids were in bed the night before! Sorry for the rambling and whiny first post. I feel much better now. Who needs therapy!

auntbeesbaking Posted 5 May 2009 , 3:43pm
post #21 of 30

Oh my goodness - someone else thinks these things too????!!!!! icon_surprised.gif So often, I think I must truly be out of my mind even ATTEMPTING to do cakes!! I truly do NOT have one artistic bone in my body and cannot draw. I took art in college pass / fail and it was the professor's grace (and humor) that he "let" me pass (probably because my "art" was his comic relief!) icon_lol.gif I say to people, I can color in a coloring book but I couldn't draw the picture to color it!

I think that I should stop "torturing" me and my family with my "playing" cake decorator. I get so upset when it just doesn't come out the way I want. Worse yet, I don't even know how to "fix it" to get there! When I see the amazing talent on this website, it can just bring me to tears. To be in that kind of echelon is something I can't even begin to dream about! How is it, people can reach perfection on this side of heaven? I so admire people who will share their pictures with us so we get that joy! icon_smile.gif

What also is upsetting to me is in all the years I started decorating cakes (?20+ years ago was my first class), I am SERIOUSLY NOT any faster at decorating than I was back then. Don't laugh, because after spending an hour or two on just trying to frost the dumb thing, before the decorating can happen, I'm in tears! icon_cry.gif WHY can't I get it to look like the books or as smooth as silk like so many others - that's even with using the paper towel method (or parchment paper)?

My husband has threatened to throw all my cake things away because he gets so upset with me spending so much "emotional energy" into the process and then being so unhappy with the result afterward. For me the process begins days / weeks in advance looking through every year of the Wilton yearbooks and the CC site at hundreds of pictures for ideas. In the end, I don't "charge enough" to sometimes even cover our ingredients and my husband is asking me when are we going to "break even" or not lose money? I just HATE talking money with people, and find it "painful" to do so. (Even when we have a garage sale and they come to pay, I "hide" in the house and let others take the money. I even had someone get upset with me at a garage sale because I wouldn't "bargain" with her, I just took what she offered.) icon_redface.gif On the other hand, I know we wouldn't be able to afford what other places charge (even grocery stores), and I have trouble charging what should be reasonable. I am working very hard on "not apologizing" or trying to "justify" (even though I do) the cost to people. Maybe it's because I've had people ask me, "how much does cake mixes cost anyway?" After reading comments from other people on this site and how it "hurts" cake decorators, I really am getting more of a backbone (well, okay, I'm thinking hard about getting a backbone! icon_redface.gif )

Despite all this, I still like the challenge of doing cakes and still feel like a kid in a candy store at cake decorating places! I guess I'll forever be a "wanna-be cake decorator". icon_rolleyes.gif (??maybe I just need more coloring books!)

Thank you for letting me share my heart; I truly am addicted to this site and appreciate you CC people so much!!!

Deb


P.S. You know what's even "funnier?" I'm not even a "cake" person; I'd rather have pie hands down any day of the week - and- my kids aren't "cake people" either! Although, they still want a birthday cake! Go figure!... On that note, has anyone ever had to order their child's birthday cake because they were so busy (with other cake orders)? I feel like the worst mom in the world because I've had to do this. The kids were excited though because they got a GREAT looking cake!! icon_wink.gif

Cathy26 Posted 5 May 2009 , 5:16pm
post #22 of 30

Yes, with every single cake at some point in the process. usually i feel like crying immediately after putting on the fondant as i rarely get a neat edge and always have bulges - i always feel like giving up and then i start decorating and covering the mistakes with spots and bows, etc and then i usually feel a lot better when i look at it the next day!

doesnt help that i work full time and all my cakes are done at night from 8.30pm onwards so when i get that helpless horrible despair im usually exhausted at this point - lol

but always when i feel like giving up and its not worth the hassle i look at the pics i like and look what ive acheived since i started in october and feel better, also there's nothing like having a new cake to design to keep you going icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

Amymnn Posted 5 May 2009 , 6:15pm
post #23 of 30

Deb: You must be my long lost twin, you are sharing my exact thoughts in your post!

By the way, your cakes are beautiful. I especially like the Baptismal gown cake, but I'm a ribbons and bows kind of girl at heart. icon_smile.gif

auntbeesbaking Posted 5 May 2009 , 8:48pm
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amymnn

Deb: You must be my long lost twin, you are sharing my exact thoughts in your post!

By the way, your cakes are beautiful. I especially like the Baptismal gown cake, but I'm a ribbons and bows kind of girl at heart. icon_smile.gif




To my long lost twin: You are too kind! icon_smile.gif One thing I did forget to mention, also, is that most of my cakes are all nighters! Somehow my "best" (?!) work is done when everyone is in bed and out of my hair! We do have a tiny place though - 650 sq. ft. and 3 sons so that doesn't leave "much kitchen." icon_cry.gif

I will agree with some of the other people that about cakes turning out better than we think. Cakes do kind of remind me of college term papers - they (or we) need a period of rest to gain objectivity. Somehow, in the morning after 1 or 2 hours of sleep (on occasion, more icon_wink.gif ), the cakes don't look half bad; maybe not exactly what we wanted, or as perfectly as we wanted, but one thing I know ABSOLUTELY for sure - a piece of my heart is in each one - good or bad! (And dare I say lots of prayers for the recipients to be?! icon_rolleyes.gif )

I often think there should be a therapy group for cake (and cookie) decorators! LOL! (Or at least a support group for their families, amen?) icon_lol.gif

pipe-dreams Posted 5 May 2009 , 9:15pm
post #25 of 30

I never sketch(I'm a terrible drawing artist). I just sorta spend a few minutes thinking what shape pans, what kind of frosting. I don't really go into much detail. Even when I do 3D cakes, I bake the cakes and freeze them. Then right before I start carving, I just think of what I need to cut off in order to make the shape. I guess I just kinda go with the flow.
Whenever I am not happy while working on a cake, I ask my hubby and roommate what they think. They are so helpful, and critical when they need to be. My roommate is my hubby's best friend, and I especially like his opinion, b/c I feel he is more likely to say the truth instead of what they think I want to hear. They both offer suggestions to improve the cakes I am not happy with, from adding a border to carving more cake off.
And for 3D cakes, I show my 2 year old the cake. If she knows what it is once it's shaped, then I know I did okay! If it's a star, and she says fish..well, I know I would need more work! So far she's gotten them all right!

sweetcravings Posted 5 May 2009 , 9:30pm
post #26 of 30

Ummm ya i've felt like that...the whole time i was preparing for my cake this past weekend. Each and every cake i feel like that. In fact on Saturday as I was working on my cake I said to my husband, "maybe i don't have what it takes to do this cake thing..maybe i should stick with cookies." I get sooo frustrated that things never go as planned, and always take longer that i anticipate. That's the story of my life when it comes to cakes.

lostincake Posted 5 May 2009 , 9:49pm
post #27 of 30

I'm only now getting better at getting my final cakes to look like my sketches or my vision. I've got 3 now that I would say match at least 90% and it's funny...I always feel the need to state this in the description when I upload them here LOL.

Really though, it is frustrating to a certain extent but it doesn't really phase me much since I always manage to make the thing look at least half decent as long as I have a vision to go with. For me the most frustrating part that makes me sometimes wanna give up and go bi-polar, is when it takes me 5 times longer to finish the cake than I expect. I keep thinking it's gonna get faster and easier and so far it hasn't. I've done over 20 cakes and I'm still slow although maybe it's because I'm still trying new things and figuring things out from that perspective.

I say just hang in there though Amymnn, your cakes are real pretty even if they don't match your vision! When you get them to look like your vision, then we'd better watch out!

Faerieluna Posted 6 May 2009 , 4:14am
post #28 of 30

Amymnn,
Thank you so much for your post! It sounds exactly like what I would have written. It's so nice to know that there are other people out there going through the exact same thing I am.

tmcakes Posted 6 May 2009 , 4:57pm
post #29 of 30

OMG!!!! And I thought I was a lonely soul going through this very same process every one else before me stated!

I agree we are our own worst critics and the blessing in my case is the people here on CC and my family.

I feel discouraged every single time I have to write something on a cake icon_eek.gif I mean my writing is horrible so I try avoiding it at all cost. But at the same token looking at what people here have done it motivates me to do better even if it mean messing up or not following thru with my original designs. I guess thats why I am making it my business to go to cake camp in Las Vegas. If I don't do anything else I will be front and center in the writing class!!!!

Keep doing your thing, your cake look great!

tmcakes Posted 6 May 2009 , 5:32pm
post #30 of 30

OMG!!!! And I thought I was a lonely soul going through this very same process every one else before me stated!

I agree we are our own worst critics and the blessing in my case is the people here on CC and my family.

I feel discouraged every single time I have to write something on a cake icon_eek.gif I mean my writing is horrible so I try avoiding it at all cost. But at the same token looking at what people here have done it motivates me to do better even if it mean messing up or not following thru with my original designs. I guess thats why I am making it my business to go to cake camp in Las Vegas. If I don't do anything else I will be front and center in the writing class!!!!

Keep doing your thing, your cake look great!

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