Thinking About Quitting Before I Even Get Started!

Decorating By still_learning Updated 11 Sep 2009 , 2:49am by tastyart

still_learning Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 11:25pm
post #1 of 23

Seems like every cake I do is INCREDIBLY stressful. I just finished my son's first birthday cake (the Animal Train in my photos) and I almost lost my mind icon_confused.gif My brother came to help me and we ended up fighting - over fondant of all things - and I'm always stressed with every single cake. I love the end product and I feel like I could be a good decorator with more practice but between the stress and reading everyone's horror stories about crazy clients I wonder if it's worth it.

What keeps you guys going?

22 replies
-K8memphis Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 12:07am
post #2 of 23

Copious amounts of valium.

No seriously I don't know what keeps me going but I have a thought for you.

Plan to do a cake without a deadline to hit. Like do a pound cake--I have a killer recipe--but whatever is your favorite recipe--'cause of course pound cake has a nice shelf life.

So maybe try something like that if you wanna feel good about it. It's hitting the deadline that increases the stress--if there's no deadline, you can work at your pace yes?

patticakesnc Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 12:16am
post #3 of 23

I still get stressed but not NEARLY as badly as I use to. It does get much much better as you hone your techniques. I am self taught so that is what makes it really hard. You have to really think of "how is the best way to do this" or "how can I do this". But once you get some basics down on how you can best way is for "you" on how to do things it will be so much better. Everyone has their own techniques and what works for them. You will just gotta get your groove.

TheCakeShak Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 12:25am
post #4 of 23

Perseverance and maybe a occasional dip in the sauce(just kidding on the sauce).

I've had the good, the bad and the not o' so pretty, but I just keep dusting off my pink boots and keep going, head held up.
And keep practicing!

backermeister Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 12:47am
post #5 of 23

I can assure you that you are not the only decorator out there that feels this way. It does get easier and the emotional roller coaster's dips seem fewer and less often but if you have watched any of the challenges or wedding cake shows even the pros cry, have tantrums, and are sometimes irritated. It seems even worse when I do a cake that is bigger or requires a skill that is new. But I always come out on top because after the crying, screaming, and throwing something around and sometimes at my poor husband while swearing that will be the last cake I ever make, I settle down and focus(even at 2 am) and then the true artistry and passion I have comes out. Can't begin to count how many times I have done this cycle(I've been doing cakes now for 20 years) but I still love it! icon_biggrin.gif

zdebssweetsj Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 1:09am
post #6 of 23

I just looked at your photos, your work is beautiful, the more you do the less stressfull it will be. Take a deep breath and relax.Very good work now pat yourself on the shoulder and apoligize to your brother, he'll understand. Good luck.

juliebold Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 1:19am
post #7 of 23

I totally understand how you feel. Crashdummy2 reading your remark was as if I had wrote it myself. My daughter was also reading and laughed and said it sounds like you mom. But the gratification when a cake is done and the client is happy is just a rush. So just keep going and have a little sauce lol.

tastyart Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 1:49am
post #8 of 23

I've been there too! I found that getting all my fondant and frosting ready(I make my own) ahead of time makes it so much less strussful. I also try to start with a very clean kitchen and clean as I go. I clean mixing bowls and pans while the cakes are cooling, for example. If my kitchen gets messy my stress level goes up. Also, when my kids were little like yours, I couldn't think clearly about cake stuff when they were awake. My thoughts were always getting interupted. So I didn't even try to do cake stuff unless they were sleeping. Hope that is helpful. Don't give up. Maximize on the parts you like and find a way to minimize the tedious, not-fun stuff.

Kandy4283 Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 1:54am
post #9 of 23

i get like that too!! and i mean on EVERY cake!!!! so i am feeling your pain!!!! just keep going it all comes out great at the end and its worth it! good luck!!!

chikadodle Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 2:22am
post #10 of 23

I completely agree with tastyart about the clean kitchen and organization. For me, clutter and messiness completely drives up my stress level, so starting out with a clean kitchen is very calming. It's also better for me if I work with no one else around. Sometimes that means that I have to go into the bakery after everyone else goes home, but it's worth it. Just the radio and me and cake (and nobody to see my mistakes!) and the pressure is off. Good luck!

kaseyrconnect Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 2:33am
post #11 of 23

I also have to be completely alone when I do my cakes-partly so nobody sees the tantrums that I have when something or some things don't work out right. I will stomp my feet, cry, swear and then I always say out loud " I know that I am not stupid so why can't I just do a cake without having problems?" Then when I get done acting like a big baby I give it another try and sometimes things go better and sometimes not. But in the end it is usually only me that knows what the mistakes are and the little tricks I used to fix a problem.

CBMom Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 2:51am
post #12 of 23

Totally understand...but I think that's what we crave, and why we keep doing it!LOL

The highs, the lows, the ultimate PHEW!! Another one done!

Your cakes are beautiful..they are really and truly art.

Consider the angst part of your "process"!!


lthiele Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 11:29am
post #13 of 23
Originally Posted by still_learning

What keeps you guys going?

Wine - lots of wine!!! lol

Are you by any chance a Capricorn i.e "Perfectionist"? Your cakes are awesome - they have ALL been favourited and have had HEAPS of views, what more do you need to know. You got talent - dont give up!

One thing I have seriously taken on board from CC is to always give yourself a time buffer. If the cake is to be picked up Sat morning, plan to have it finished Fri night. Leaves you breathing space for unexpected mishaps! icon_biggrin.gif

MissRobin Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 1:36pm
post #14 of 23
Originally Posted by still_learning

Seems like every cake I do is INCREDIBLY stressful. I just finished my son's first birthday cake (the Animal Train in my photos) and I almost lost my mind icon_confused.gif My brother came to help me and we ended up fighting - over fondant of all things - and I'm always stressed with every single cake. I love the end product and I feel like I could be a good decorator with more practice but between the stress and reading everyone's horror stories about crazy clients I wonder if it's worth it.

What keeps you guys going?

Your cakes are great!! I think one thing that keeps me going is that adrenaline rush when you finish and deliver your cake, it gives you such a great sense of accomplishment, and if you have made your client happy, that is "icing on the cake"!!! Everyone feels stress, If you don't then that is when I would worry!! You are very talented and I am sure with time, the stress level will lessen.

jillangel Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 2:14pm
post #15 of 23

Wow as great as your cakes are DON'T quit! I wish I knew what to tell you but I am the same way. Crazy how much we love decorating cakes as stressful as it is icon_wink.gif

Lenette Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 2:32pm
post #16 of 23

It will get better. My DH used to refer to me as psycho cake lady sometimes.

Now, I get a little stressed sometimes but not near as bad as I used to.

Maybe take a look at your timeline. That helped me a lot. I used to think I had to do everything as close to delivery as possible. Feared that the cake/cookies wouldn't be fresh. I have since gotten over that. icon_biggrin.gif

Now, I try to pace myself so I can sleep, eat, and not be so nuts. I also give a little time in case I need to fix something or so it over.

I am so much more calm now and my family is happier too! icon_wink.gif

zdebssweetsj Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 3:03pm
post #17 of 23

Yep Capricorns do tend to be a" little" obsessed with perfection and we are our own worst critic. Hang tight it'll get better. and that is excellent advice from itheile.

still_learning Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 7:37pm
post #18 of 23

Thank you all for your advice and words of encouragement. I'm really glad to hear that I'm not the only one that goes a little nutty with these cakes. I can't wait to show my family this thread so they know it's not just me!

As for hitting the sauce - you know things are bad when I start seriously thinking about swigging down that horrible, cheap vodka I use for airbrushing icon_eek.gif

I definitely have to get better with scheduling and planning my time. I always end up having nights with no sleep and that just makes things so much worse. How far in advance do you guys bake your cakes? I do always think I can't do too much ahead so there is always a crunch.

One other thing that's be bugging me is that 'friends' seem to come out of the woodwork wanting favors. I don't have a business and I don't charge for my cakes but when I do one for a good friend next thing you know somebody else is expecting a free cake. How do you handle these people?

BTW - I'm a Libra but I never really fit the Libra mold. I used to be an engineer and I think that's where the little perfectionist (aka anal) tendencies come about icon_razz.gif

DLo912 Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 7:51pm
post #19 of 23

I have come so close to throwing each and every cake I've done at a wall. I almost hyperventilate as I'm covering the darn thing in fondant (the thing I hate MOST!!!) and I work myself into a near hysteria until I put those last few touches on it and it turns out way better than I thought it would! I totally know what you're talking about and I've almost stopped doing cakes altogether until I get on this website and I see some amazing new cake a fellow CC'er has done and I think, "Ooooooh. I want to try THAT!" Plus, the looks on my friends and family's faces when they see their cakes for the first time always keeps me coming back icon_smile.gif

As Dorie says, "Just keep swimming!" or in our cases, "Just keep caking, just keep caking..."

Lenette Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 10:09pm
post #20 of 23

Definitely work out a schedule. Depending on the cake, I may bake up to a week ahead and freeze. Properly wrapped the cake is just fine.

Save yourself aggravation and sleeping works wonders! Trust me! icon_wink.gificon_biggrin.gif

As for these "friends", learn to say no. That is the best advice I can give you. I think I read here in CC and it really stuck with me-- no one can use you without your permission. It is so true that we teach others how to treat us.

You choose the cakes you WANT to do and under what circumstances. When random folks start asking for free cake feel free to say no. If you have to come here to the forums for a dose of bravery before you respond to someone do so until it comes naturally to you.

lthiele Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 10:29pm
post #21 of 23

No - not alone, there are crazy mums all over the globe! My husband goes to the bedroom and closes the door when he sees that look on my face!!

As for timeline, I make any gumpaste decs that need to dry on Monday. I like to bake on Tuesday - wrap, double wrap and then freeze. Make buttercream on Wednesday or Thursday and organise boards etc. Colouring your fondant ahead of time also makes decorating day a lot easier. Friday morning, cakes out of freezer, buttercream out to warm to room temp, cut out fondant accents and organise on a tray, clean kitchen, then off I go! (Keep in mind - I'm not doing 4 tier wedding cakes yet - someone else will have a better idea on that. icon_biggrin.gif )

With the friend problem, my first response is "how much do you want to spend?" It straight away let's them know money will be involved, so makes it less awkward as time goes on. The second thing I say is, I will be charging more for my cakes once my business gets going. Then I negotiate what I feel happy with doing, some people say no - fine with me!

Win Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 10:31pm
post #22 of 23

Ummm... cough, icon_eek.gif

Have you looked at your cakes lately!? You jumped with both feet --all the way up to your eyeballs! Your member name needs to be changed to: "Born-with-talent!"

Seriously, though, you are loaded with talent and quite possibly since you have taken on such big projects, you never really had the learning curve through which so many have to suffer. You've experienced the whole ball of wax because you've taken on Roman architecture, topsy-turvy cakes, and sculpted cakes in very short order. All are cakes that even the most experienced find stressful!

My two suggestions would be this:

A) DON'T QUIT!!! icon_lol.gif
B) Make a cake just for the joy of it. Not because you are under a deadline, or making your baby's first b-day cake... make it because you want to lose yourself in your own creativity. The less pressure you have to "perform" the more you will relax and find that this is what you were born to do.

Oh, and,
C) Go get legal and start charging for those cakes --somehow that makes family and friends disappear.


tastyart Posted 11 Sep 2009 , 2:49am
post #23 of 23

I agree with Win, your cakes are fantastic. Don't quit!

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