Are Dummies Deceiving?

Business By Amylou Updated 25 Oct 2009 , 7:25am by PieceofCakeAZ

Amylou Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 5:20pm
post #1 of 12

I haven't done many "fancy" cakes...but am working on some wedding-style cake dummies to get practice and start up a portfolio.

Do you think they are deceiving at all to potential customers? I mean, with dummies you don't have to worry about the issues of cake settling, fondant sagging...aliens dropping in and tilting your cake ever so slightly. Cakes vs. dummies may differ in the "clean" look, especially when you're working the kinks out and getting experience with each new cake.

Do brides ever ask how many weddings you've done? How about other cake vendors? I know everyone has to start somewhere, but I wonder how others handle these types of things when they're just starting out.

11 replies
LaBellaFlor Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 5:31pm
post #2 of 12

They can be in the sense that a lot of people think dummies are all covered in smooth buttercream work, when in reality they are covered in royal icing. But I don't think they are, cause if you have the skills and techniques, that's what they reflect. not to mention if fondant is gonna sag, it's gonna sag on a dummy as well.

ccr03 Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 7:49pm
post #3 of 12

Also, how you pointed out, dummies really aren't going to lean, they don't need support systems and fondant can be easier to smooth out (dummies have straight sides, etc..).

But as labellaflor said, they demonstrate true skills.

kikster Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 8:44pm
post #4 of 12

I don't think they are deceiving as long as you are honest about your experience. I am about to do my 3rd wedding, and every bride I have been 100% up front about how many weddings I have done. That way, I can showcase my skills, but I go above and beyond not to mislead them in anyway. So if they ask, I would tell them those are dummies for your portfolio.

MichelleM77 Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 8:48pm
post #5 of 12

You can cover dummies in BC or fondant, so it's not deceiving if that is how you will decorate any cakes that are ordered from you.

costumeczar Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 10:55pm
post #6 of 12

I think they are deceiving to a certain point, because there are people who have perfectly straight and level cakes in their portofolios (dummies) who also only have crooked cakes (unintentional) in their "real" cake photos. As long as you can do the cakes that you have dummies of, it's not a big deal, but if you work for two weeks on a dummy, then can't replicate it in a real cake, that's not good. Just make sure that whatever you do in a dummy you can also do in a real cake, and you'll be fine.

CakeDiva73 Posted 24 Oct 2009 , 5:04am
post #7 of 12

Hmmm....I'm going to say yes, I think they are decieving. There are no level, bulging, smooth icing issues with dummies - at least not nearly like there are with real cake.

Sometimes I look at some of the stunning dummy cakes and think they are more like craft projects, to be honest with you. That's why I want to make sure anything I make via dummy can be made just as nicely with real cake.

My pink & brown cake is a dummy and sometimes it feels like a fraud. I'm sure it wouldn't have been that perfectly straight had it been real cake.

FromScratch Posted 24 Oct 2009 , 6:45am
post #8 of 12

I don't think so at all. I mean I have a few dummy cakes on my site, but you can't tell them from the real cakes.

Take these two cakes... and . One is dummies and one is real cake. I don't think you can tell just by looking unless you were to REALLY go over them with a magnifying glass.

(#1 is real the cake and #2 is not)

costumeczar Posted 24 Oct 2009 , 12:52pm
post #9 of 12
Originally Posted by FromScratch

I don't think so at all. I mean I have a few dummy cakes on my site, but you can't tell them from the real cakes.

But it depends who makes them, is the point. If you're just starting out and can't level a cake to save your life, a perfectly level dummy might not be indicative of the final product a customer will receive.

I don't see a problem with people using dummies at all, but the point that you should make sure you can actually do the dummy cake designs with real cake should be on your mind.

Some of the dummy cakes I've seen ARE more like art projects, it's obvious that they took a looooong time to do, and if you were doing that on a real cake it would be stale by the time you were done!

IsaSW Posted 24 Oct 2009 , 10:14pm
post #10 of 12

You have to start somewhere. I did a lot of dummies for my bridal show. In real life, never have done a 5 tier cake. In my website, some are real,some are dummies, I won't tell the brides which is which.
The experienced bakers have dummies at the bridal shows, so... I guess its ok.

You can read my tread:
I don't want to make "The Phone Call"

Its true, a lot of stuff you don't learn until is the real thing, the more you practice the better you get.
I found out that the cake covered with buttercream and then chilled, almost give me a surface like styrofoam, if it stays in the refrigerator all night, they are hard as a rock.

If you see my second wedding cake, you can tell the difference, the top tier, had been in the fridge the other two didn't, so they were not as smooth as the 6" tier.
When I did my 5 tier, I had bought and extra fridge, so all tiers went into the refrigerator. There are two dummies tiers there, you can't tell.

And about brides asking, this bride asked at the tasting, how many years have you been doing this? I said 7 years, its true, I have been making cakes for 7 years but legally in business for 1 year and only done 4 wedding cakes, but I think I have the skill to offer them what they want.
Just don't offer to make something you can't make.

madgeowens Posted 24 Oct 2009 , 10:42pm
post #11 of 12

Well I only think its deceiving if you can't actually repeat the cake dummy with "cake".....if you know you can't...then that's deceiving.......make sense?

PieceofCakeAZ Posted 25 Oct 2009 , 7:25am
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by CakeDiva73

Hmmm....I'm going to say yes, I think they are decieving. There are no level, bulging, smooth icing issues with dummies - at least not nearly like there are with real cake.

I totally agree! I see tons of new cake company sites pop up locally and more often than not I see a boatload of sloppy misshapen cakes... and then 4 really nice, perfectly shaped ones... and they are all the same size and shape and background... but they have different ribbon borders and flowers on them. Heck, we do hundreds of weddings a year and all of our cakes still don't look as perfectly shaped as our dummies (some do, most don't).

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