How Do You Cope With The Pressure?

Decorating By tsal Updated 15 Feb 2010 , 10:32pm by Starkie

tsal Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 1:46pm
post #1 of 29

Hi,

I'm not in business, and I enjoy cake decorating, but with my last cake, I found that I got SUPER stressed out. In fact, I'm sure that I ran myself down and this is why I got sick (I've got a TERRIBLE cold & fever). I believe in the mind-body connection, and I'm sure that had I not been so stressed about the outcome of that cake, I would not be sick (or it wouldn't be so bad).

I spoke to DH about it and he said that it won't change for me (boo!) because I'm too much of a perfectionist and I have to redo things that aren't perfect and thus put extra pressure on myself. Granted, that cake was my first carved cake, but I'm wondering if any of you find cake decorating daunting (especially those of you that do wedding cakes - I can't imagine the pressure there). More importantly, if you were stressed in the beginning, were you able to manage your stress? If so, how?

Basically, I'm wondering if this is normal, or if this maybe is not a good hobby for me. DH made me feel kind of crappy by saying it's my personality. Maybe I'm not cut out for this? I've only done a few cakes though and don't have any intention of going into business (although I have started charging friends and family for my costs since it is getting ridiculously expensive for me to be giving cakes away).

Wow - this is such a raw, honest post for me, but please feel free to answer honestly.

28 replies
minicuppie Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 1:57pm
post #2 of 29

As you become more confident in your skills, the pressure should ease up. Mind you this may take a couple of years, depending on the volume you are exposed to. Just like any other job, fear of the unknown tends to make most people stressed. That said, I am also a controlling perfectionist, have trouble delegating and am pushy to boot....altho very,very, wise.

crazyladybaker Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 2:03pm
post #3 of 29

You sound like me! icon_smile.gif I too stress out so its a very good thing I don't do this for a living. I love to bake for "fun" and to surprise people but when it comes to people ordering cakes...well, I get stressed.

For example: yesterday I had a Valentines dinner to bake for. We were expecting about 150 people. So, I made a 3 tier cake and two 1/2 sheet cakes. This was the first time I had baked on that large of a scale and I was stressed all week preparing for it.

After it was over they estimated there were 200-250 people there. I don't think everyone got cake but I can't help that because I baked for the number expected.

All in all it was a success and I was pleased with my cake. I received many compliments on it so for that I was thankful.

BUT>>> this renewed my respect for the more full time baker. My hats off to those of you that do this for a living or side job. I just don't think I have what it takes to do that....not that I was planning on it ...lol

BTW...tsal..your cakes are lovely thumbs_up.gif
Hope you get to feeling better very soon!

msulli10 Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 2:04pm
post #4 of 29

I always get stressed. I think about how I am going to make a certain cake for days or even weeks ahead of time. When I am actually making the cake, the stress lessens. The oohs and aahs once it's all finished and given to the recipient, all the stress seemed worth it. It does get better over time as you perfect your skills.

delisa01 Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 2:07pm
post #5 of 29

Hi- I agree, as you get more confident, it becomes less stressful. Another thing that I started doing to take off some of the pressure if to do everything that I can ahead of time. My cakes, buttercream and usually fondant have been in the freezer. I also try to color my fondant too before hand. I try to do all the decorations ahead of time too. That way when it is time to get the cake ready, all you are doing is filling, icing and just putting decorations on the cake (hopefully).

Good Luck!

Mike1394 Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 2:25pm
post #6 of 29

Nope, even if it looks like crap I know it will be the best thing anyone has eaten in a month icon_biggrin.gif

Mike

minicuppie Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 2:28pm
post #7 of 29

You got that right, Mike!

tsal Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 2:29pm
post #8 of 29

I'm happy to hear that I'm not alone!

Mike - I WISH I had your reckless abandon!!! Good for you! icon_smile.gif

msulli & delisa - I can totally relate! I try to get as much done ahead of time as possible as well, and I agree that the overwhelming response to the cake does make it worthwhile. I tend to need about a half a day between cakes (a break from the cake - lol!) and then I'm on to thinking about the next one.

The family events are lining up (especially next month when I have to prepare a SURPRISE cake for a huge crowd).

Mike1394 Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 2:38pm
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsal

Mike - I WISH I had your reckless abandon!!! Good for you! icon_smile.gif




Oh certainly not reckless abandon, just going with my strong suit LOLOL. Sure I can get the icing smooth. I'll never ever be good enough to enter a contest, or anything like that. My cake will never be the prettiest on the table. They will be the first ones that are gone though LOLOL.

Mike

ThreeDGirlie Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 2:57pm
post #10 of 29

I could have written the same thing when I first started! Actually, my husband went as far as to say that he HATED it when I made cakes, and that if I couldn't figure out how to make it FUN, he would rather I didn't do it at all... Even if that meant buying our own kids' birthday cakes. This is something I could never imagine doing since I've baked ALL OF MY LIFE, and learned how to decorate purely to make my kids' cakes look as good as they tasted!

That said, as you learn more, and get more experience, the little things get easier and more intuitive. I am a perfectionist by nature, but sometimes you have to step back and think about it from the standpoint of a "cake muggle". Will anyone but YOU even notice? If not, LEAVE IT! Every cake is not a competition cake that needs to e 100% perfect. That has been one of the hardest things for me to let go of, but it has decreased my stress levels immensely. thumbs_up.gif

makeminepink Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 3:05pm
post #11 of 29

Oh gosh! I have meltdowns once in awhile myself! I sink into a hot bubblebath (after the meltdown!) thinking I never want to do a cake again and then realize that in the morning I will be better-- and I am. I keep telling myself.........it's just a cake. I'm getting ridiculous over a cake! You aren't alone! icon_smile.gif

CakeMommyTX Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 3:18pm
post #12 of 29

I freak out every time I make a cake, and then I deliver it and they love it and I feel like and idiot for saying all those bad words while I was trying to get the icing smooth icon_redface.gif

Deb_ Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 6:22pm
post #13 of 29

How do you cope with the stress?

Wine! icon_razz.gificon_biggrin.gif

this-mama-rocks Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 6:34pm
post #14 of 29

Paxil!!! icon_razz.gif

Melchas Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 6:52pm
post #15 of 29

I do a sketch of every cake I decorate and use it as a guideline to follow, that way you don't have any last minute panic as to where you should place something.

I also make a timeline for getting everything finished, including 2 extra days for mistakes. I found that this really eased the stress for me.

Also remember that it is just cake. While you want perfection, most people won't notice any of the flaws that you see.

The more you parctice the esier it will get and the more confident you will get. Just keep at it and remember that the sky won't fall if your buttercream isn't perfectly smooth...it is just cake! icon_smile.gif

Mensch Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 7:01pm
post #16 of 29

I am very, very organized.

indydebi Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 7:08pm
post #17 of 29

More practice, more experience and skill improvement will reduce your stress.

When we first start out, we can't get our icing smooth. So we spend sometimes hours just trying to smooth the dang icing! Yeah .... that's stressful. As your skills improve and you gain more experience, you'll be able to ice a 14" tier in less than 10 minutes and it will look perfect. Done. Moving on to the next step.

You're stressing not because of the "perfectionist" in you (it's not a bad trait to have when making artistic creations of cake and icing) .... I think you're stressing because you're spending a LOT of time on the cake, and you're tired, and you're frustrated because it's not (yet) looking like the cake in your mind.

As someone mentioned, don't sweat the small stuff. Cake leaning? Yeah, that's a big one. Sweat that one and fix it. icon_wink.gif Icing doesn't look like a Sylvia Weinstock cake? It's probably really just fine and you can move ahead. thumbs_up.gif BC roses have some jagged edges? So do some of the roses that God makes, so you're in good company. icon_wink.gif

Save the sweat for the big moments! thumbs_up.gif

tsal Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 7:28pm
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMommyTX

I freak out every time I make a cake, and then I deliver it and they love it and I feel like and idiot for saying all those bad words while I was trying to get the icing smooth icon_redface.gif




OMG - I could have written this!!!! Too funny!

tsal Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 7:31pm
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi


You're stressing not because of the "perfectionist" in you (it's not a bad trait to have when making artistic creations of cake and icing) .... I think you're stressing because you're spending a LOT of time on the cake, and you're tired, and you're frustrated because it's not (yet) looking like the cake in your mind.




Well said. I think you've hit the nail on the head. I guess the best advice for me right now comes from Star Wars (oddly enough - I'm not a big Star Wars fan):

"Patience, Young Jedi"

WendyB Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 7:43pm
post #20 of 29

Keep in mind that nobody can see the picture in your head.

Cake4ever Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 7:44pm
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

More practice, more experience and skill improvement will reduce your stress.

When we first start out, we can't get our icing smooth. So we spend sometimes hours just trying to smooth the dang icing! Yeah .... that's stressful. As your skills improve and you gain more experience, you'll be able to ice a 14" tier in less than 10 minutes and it will look perfect. Done. Moving on to the next step.

You're stressing not because of the "perfectionist" in you (it's not a bad trait to have when making artistic creations of cake and icing) .... I think you're stressing because you're spending a LOT of time on the cake, and you're tired, and you're frustrated because it's not (yet) looking like the cake in your mind.

As someone mentioned, don't sweat the small stuff. Cake leaning? Yeah, that's a big one. Sweat that one and fix it. icon_wink.gif Icing doesn't look like a Sylvia Weinstock cake? It's probably really just fine and you can move ahead. thumbs_up.gif BC roses have some jagged edges? So do some of the roses that God makes, so you're in good company. icon_wink.gif

Save the sweat for the big moments! thumbs_up.gif




In keeping with the Star Wars theme, I say, "Well said, Master Yoda." LOL! I wish I had this advice many years ago. Actually, I think it's a good thing to remember every time I make a cake. LOL.

I was stressing that my gumpaste roses didn't look perfect like some I have seen here, but on my daily walks I would see that real roses aren't perfect either, they have spots and splits, defective color etc. So I have changed my flower making goals. It's very liberating! thumbs_up.gif

tsal Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 9:24pm
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyB

Keep in mind that nobody can see the picture in your head.




Or the totally awesome picture from CC that inspired you!! icon_smile.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 9:37pm
post #23 of 29

Personally, you sound a little more stressed them most people get. No, I don't stress about it. I make sure my time line is in place and everything is organized.

If this is just a hobby for you, I can't see it being a good hobby if you get so stressed out that it efffects your health.

LaBellaFlor Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 9:38pm
post #24 of 29

And I say this cause hobbies are supposed to be stress relievers, not stressful.

Win Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 9:46pm
post #25 of 29

I am a hobby baker and I can totally relate to the part of getting yourself so rundown with the entire process that you get sick. This used to happen to me with any project I got into that meant a lot to me on a personal level. Some people are just wired that way. As soon as the adrenalin wears off the creeping crud takes over. I have a friend who has been in bed all weekend because she took on a large painting project with a deadline. As soon as she finished, boom, she got sick. I will say; however, that (and I know plenty of people think it hokum) since I started to take an immunity booster, I no longer get sick. That does not mean I no longer get stressed -- I do, to some degree, over each project. It gets less over time as your confidence grows. Still, whenever I take on something I have not tackled before, the stress-o-meter goes right back to "off the charts."

cownsj Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 9:55pm
post #26 of 29

One word, XANAX

crazyladybaker Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 9:56pm
post #27 of 29

Great advice Win! I actually boosted my supplements this morning because I felt blah and icky after my stressful weekend.
It does make a world of difference

cownsj Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 9:59pm
post #28 of 29

Having given my first answer..... lol

Keep in mind too, as you're working on your cake you know every imperfection, every tiny spot that isn't justtttt perfect. Once you're done, be sure to take photo's, then after a bit of time, sit back and look at the photos to see which would be the best to post. By doing that you'll realize you are now looking at the cake as a whole, not the individual parts that drove you mad. Once you can see it as a whole, you'll start to understand that the people receiving the cakes are only seeing it as a whole, finished product and they don't have a clue what is perfect and what isn't. Find your way to see the cake as a whole. That will help as a reminder for your next cake to know that you will be able to see it in a different light once it's finished. (Hope that made sense)

Starkie Posted 15 Feb 2010 , 10:32pm
post #29 of 29

I have to tell you that, as a part-time baker, I have stressed myself out to the point where I am taking a 6-month "cake break" to relieve some stress and refocus. The teachers and parents at the school my kids attend are not happy about this, and I have turned down about 4 weddings and dozens of birthday cakes in the past month. But I am glad I am taking this time to relax, hone some skills, and learn new ones (just bought a Cricut yesterday...). I believe I will come out a better decorator in the long run. I just wish I had not been such a perfectionist that I drove myself to having to take this break.

Truly, the imperfections you see are ones that NOBODY will ever notice (unless they are accomplished decorators themselves). What the client sees is a really cool/elegant/fabulous cake that could NEVER have been made at Wal-Mart. So try to take a deep breath when things aren't going right. I like to stop before I am finished with the cake, sleep on it, and attaclk it again in the morning ~ my perspective is always better and brighter. Good luck, and try not to stress!!!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%