Costco Cakes . . . . So Disappointing

Decorating By cakeprof Updated 5 Jan 2014 , 4:27am by forjenns

cakeprof Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 4:18am
post #1 of 30

So I never really pay attention to cakes at grocery stores. Simply from a taste standpoint, I do not like grocery store frostings and never really cared for the flavors of the cakes.

However after being on this site and working on my own decorating skills I decided to take a stroll through the bakery section of Costco--just got a membership today (usually shop at Sams Club as it is about an hour closer). And I must say I was surprised at what they were offering.

Now I admit I did not see the ones that were made to order, only the ones they had for general sale. However each of the sheet cakes were "warped" and poorly iced. On at least two I could see the cake through the icing--in places it looked more like a crumb coat. I guess the old adage is true--you get what you pay for.

29 replies
Ruth0209 Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 4:23am
post #2 of 30

Before I started decorating I thought grocery store cakes were the cutest things ever for my kids' birthdays. Now when I look at them I realize they're just awful!

It's funny how many people tell me they don't like cake. It's because those cakes are the only ones they've ever eaten. Lots of people say, "Wow, I don't usually like cake, but yours is great." That's always nice to hear. Converting the masses one piece of cake at a time.

FairyCakeDesigns Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 4:51am
post #3 of 30

The sad part is that Costco cakes are some of the better cakes. I started making my own because I couldnt stand the taste of store bought either and they were so boring and generic. The colors are always bright and garish and the frosting is crisco based and gooped on like muck.
My philosophy has always been that even a badly made home made cake is better than a store bought cake.

AileenGP Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 3:49pm
post #4 of 30

I love Costco Cake! Especially the one with the cheesecake mousse. (ducking now). When I was pregnant, I craved that and their chocolate muffins.

But... I've never seen what you were describing regarding the poor icing job... but then again, I never really looked at it through a cake decorator's eyes.. I just saw the yumminess inside..

Ellie1985 Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 4:33pm
post #5 of 30

Since I started cake decorating I also like to critic the grocery store cakes. How they're iced, how they're decorated, price, etc. I couple of weeks ago I bought a grocery store cake. I won't go into the long story of why I was buying a grocery store cake. Anyway I told the lady what I wanted written on it and as I was watching her I could tell she didn't know what she was doing. I wanted to grab the piping bag out of her hand and do it my self. When she got done she brought the cake over and said "I hope this is OK, I don't usually work in the bakery , I'm just filling in while the other girl is on break". Ugg! I wish she had told me that before hand. Oh well, you get what you pay for.

sunsational Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 4:39pm
post #6 of 30

I know I get for this but you can order a plain sheet cake not decorated from costco, and decorate it yourself. My friend who also decorates cakes will do this when she is in a bind for family functions. She told me this secret

ambenard Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 4:43pm
post #7 of 30

I love costco cakes Cream Cheese filling and Cream cheese Icing before I started decorating cakes I would order plaing costco cakes and decorate them the way I wanted for my kids b-days plus the price for the size was resonable compared to the grocery store cakes that weren't as good.

cakeprof Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 4:46pm
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AileenGP

I love Costco Cake! Especially the one with the cheesecake mousse. (ducking now). When I was pregnant, I craved that and their chocolate muffins.

But... I've never seen what you were describing regarding the poor icing job... but then again, I never really looked at it through a cake decorator's eyes.. I just saw the yumminess inside..




Ha no reason to duck, I have read a number of folks stating they particularly find their filling yummy. I was more looking at it from a decorating standpoint. Was just a little surprised at the quality control.

Cassie2500 Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 5:03pm
post #9 of 30

I work in the deli/bakery section of a grocery store and I thought they hired me for my cake decorating, but turns out she (deli manager) didn't like my cakes-she said I was too slow and my borders were too small. I was slow because I told myself to not "slap" on the icing like the others and I'm one who doesn't really care for the big borders. Not everyone likes them. Now, I'm stuck serving chicken and washing dishes. I still write on cakes when people ask, but that's about it. It really makes me want my own business where I can do what my customers want-not what she wants. There are 2 other girls who usually do the cakes, but one day, they both were off and I didn't come in until later, so the deli manager had to do the cake orders for the day and I heard there was a lot of complaints on those cakes because they weren't done how the customer wanted them. When I did get to work, a customer came in to get her cake and when she saw it, she said it had the wrong name on it. She almost left without buying it, but I told her I could probably fix it, so I got the correct name, scraped off the wrong name (actually came off pretty clean-I was surprised) and put the correct name on it. I left a note saying that whoever did that cake put the wrong name on it, but I changed it. She did thank me, but I really wish I could have my own business.

SweetsDecor Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 5:21pm
post #10 of 30

I do the same thing. Every time I'm in a store (Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart, Target, anywhere that sells cake/cupcakes), I always find myself cruising through just to see what they have done lately. And never fails, it's always pretty bad. I actually watched a "decorator" misspell the name on a cake for a guest who had literally just spelled it for them. They took off the name (leaving a blue streak across the chocolate cake top) and slapped some more chocolate icing on top without even smoothing and tried to write again. This time, it was so awful he couldn't even fit the name b/c he'd written Happy Birthday too big. Even had the nerve to ask the guy, "Is this okay or do you want to pick out another cake?" I struggled to not say anything and just walked away, shaking my head.

luddroth Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 5:37pm
post #11 of 30

I, too walk through the aisles of Costco, Sam's, and the grocery store -- but I'm looking for stuff to send to Jen at CakeWrecks.com! That cake with the name scraped off, slapped back on, and smeared around sounds like just the ticket! These are the places where cake wrecks are made! All those horrible colors, the big sloppy borders that Cassie's manager wanted her to make (instead of the delicate pretty ones she wanted to make). Those deli/bakeries are Cake Wrecks land all the way, and thank heavens! It's my daily laugh.

SweetsDecor Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 5:40pm
post #12 of 30

Luddroth,
I actually tried to pretend like I was texting to take a picture but couldn't get a good image of the cake!!! I was totally thinking the exact same thing!

Mama_Mias_Cakes Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 5:54pm
post #13 of 30

I do this all the time too LOL. My hubby gets mad at me and tells me to quit being a "cake snob".

I just have to share this with you. My own cake wreck picture. I operate under the cottage food laws so I am not licensed, but my work requires food vendors to be licensed so I could not do the cake for our fall open house event. So we had to order a cake from Meijers. I could not believe it when I saw the cake, someone else picked it up or I would have had the store redo it. They misspelled the wording plus the color on the border and roses were all running. It was just awful.

First of all, I work at an University. We had the president of our university and Deans attend this event. I ended up cutting up the cake into serving pieces before the guest arrived. It would have been too embarrassing to have them see the cake.

So when people complain about my prices, I just show them this picture. icon_biggrin.gif
LL

luddroth Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 5:56pm
post #14 of 30

Where would Cake Wrecks be if the Wreckerators didn't manage to misspell names and messages carefully written out for them? How else could something like "Happy Birthday, Peter and Phil" come out "Happy Birthday, Pedophile"?? Thank heavens for Costco cakes!!

Joyfull4444 Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 5:58pm
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellie1985

Since I started cake decorating I also like to critic the grocery store cakes. How they're iced, how they're decorated, price, etc. I couple of weeks ago I bought a grocery store cake. I won't go into the long story of why I was buying a grocery store cake. Anyway I told the lady what I wanted written on it and as I was watching her I could tell she didn't know what she was doing. I wanted to grab the piping bag out of her hand and do it my self. When she got done she brought the cake over and said "I hope this is OK, I don't usually work in the bakery , I'm just filling in while the other girl is on break". Ugg! I wish she had told me that before hand. Oh well, you get what you pay for.




Thats quite common in grocery stores. I worked for a large grocery chain for 27 years. If the bakery staff were on breaks, or gone home for the day, which was usually 4 pm in my stores, the floor clerks or cashiers that could get away from the till, would write on the cakes. An assortment of parchment cones was always left on the rear bakery counter as most customers would ask for a certain color.
I would do as your clerk did. But, I always told the customer before I wrote on the cake that I was not bakery staff, as I did not decorate cakes then.
Actually, even after all my classes, my writing never did improve much! icon_lol.gif

PiccoloChellie Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 5:59pm
post #16 of 30

I'm another one who has to cruise through the bakery department to see what's going on.

There's one grocery store near me that has some talented decorators working there - the cakes are all standard design, but the icing is usually nice & smooth and the flowers are well made. No cabbage roses there! I saw one the other day that had cute sprays of daffodils, and it was just really nicely put together.

Another store, same chain, seems to have MAJOR quality issues. Every cake in the case is just....bad. The cake shows through the icing, the flowers are sloppy, and every week they have a different "giant cupcake" cake on display that has a pronounced lean, lopsided icing, and the most painfully clashing colors I've ever seen.
I saw one cake there that had a huge gouge taken out of the icing, a couple smaller gouges, airbrush sprayed all over the cake board (green, and it looked like mold), poo-plops of icing as a border, and something written on the cake board that wasn't even a real word (SHTIN). It was SOOOO bizarre looking. I have to admit, I did sneak a cell phone pic of that one for Cakewrecks... icon_cool.gif

luddroth Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 6:14pm
post #17 of 30

A poo plopped cake with the word "shtn" on it???!!! OMG -- you HAVE to send that to CakeWrecks!

luddroth Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 6:16pm
post #18 of 30

And, Mama Mia -- I'm sure the "faciltry" would have appreciated the sentiments if they had seen the cake before you cut it. icon_smile.gif

PiccoloChellie Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 6:31pm
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by luddroth

A poo plopped cake with the word "shtn" on it???!!! OMG -- you HAVE to send that to CakeWrecks!




I did. I felt oddly guilty about it, but I did. icon_smile.gif

If the plops had been brown instead of red and yellow it would have been soooooo much wreckier. icon_lol.gif

JulieMN Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 10:06pm
post #20 of 30

[quote="Ellie1985"] When she got done she brought the cake over and said "I hope this is OK, I don't usually work in the bakery , I'm just filling in while the other girl is on break". [quote]

sigh...... icon_sad.gificon_sad.gif

hvanaalst Posted 6 Aug 2010 , 10:50pm
post #21 of 30

I work at a Walmart and up until last week I worked in the Garden Center. I was asked to work as a cake decorator and decided to do it despite my reservations about walmart cakes. The two other decorators have also recently transferred positions, one from maintenance and one from bakery shelf stocker. I could take a picture every day and send it to cake wrecks but I might get in trouble for having a camera at work...lol. Not to mention how unsquare and unlevel most of the cakes are. Hard to cut giant frozen slabs of cake into sizes for icing.

I have never really done much with buttercream,. i prefer to decorate with fondant, so I thought this might at least improve my piping skills. The funny thing is every time I try something new on a cake, someone tries to replicate it on another cake the next day. Of course they have no idea how to do it or what I have done, so it is pretty sketchy at best. If they can't think of anything better to do, they put on a huge disgusting red border then squiggles of multicolor icing all over the top and sprinkles to top it off.

I have not really told anyone I know that I work there, because I wouldn't want anyone to think I did any of those cakes. Funny, my cakes disappear out of the case pretty quickly most days.

juledcakes Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 1:44am
post #22 of 30

i totally no where you ladies are coming from.
But i do have to say that i worked for the sams club bakery for 5 years and took great pride in putting out cakes that were pretty and clean even if they were very generic looking due to time and company constraints. I made sure all the other decorators i trained were putting out qualitiy looking product.
but now that im no longer there and all of my girls left with me the product has really slipped and so have sales.
Most of them come to me now instead.
just wanted to put in my two cents.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 7:47am
post #23 of 30

I too work at a grocery store. Yes, we can put out some ugly cakes, but when you break it down to the basics, the icing, borders, flowers, all that are actually done pretty well. We've got one manager that likes to come back and "help out". Her work is pretty bad, but she helps keep the case full on weekends. And people buy them!! That's the sad thing.

I do have a pet peeve however. I've noticed other decorators doing this at my job and I can not understand it for the life of me. We have two colors of sprinkles at work. Primary and Pastel. Now when I do balloon cakes for the case, I have to put sprinkles on them. They're just too plain without. And I always match bright colors (red/blue/yellow, green/orange/blue, red/orange/yellow, etc) with the primary sprinkles. If I do balloons in pink/purple/yellow, I use the pastel sprinkles. The other decorators will do balloon cakes in, say, green/orange/blue, and throw pastel sprinkles on it! I just can not understand that at all!!! The colors totally clash. And I can't chalk it up to the decorator being colorblind because the pastel sprinkles are bigger than the primary. And they'll also do the opposite. They'll make balloons with girly colors and then throw primary sprinkles on them. I can't think of any reason they do this.

luddroth Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 2:25pm
post #24 of 30

Rose-n-Crantz -- I've watched your tutorial and you obviously know what you're doing and take pride in your work. Your colleagues just aren't thinking about what they're doing. Good work can be done in a grocery store or a high-end cake shop. It's all about pride and effort.

chelseak Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:18am
post #25 of 30

LOL Mama_Mias_Cakes did you send that in to Cake Wrecks?? You should!

I saw a hamburger cake at Walmart the other day, and the 'bun' was just a cake torted in half. With no icing on it. And the 'condiments' were runny yellow and green icing squishing out and dripping down the sides. WHY did I not get a pic?? It is one of my worst fears to see one of my cakes on Cake Wrecks! Unless it's on a Sunday.... icon_wink.gif

cheriej Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:37am
post #26 of 30

I used to love Costco carrot cake with the cream cheese filling. Unless I got the wrong cake, they changed the recipe. The filling was yellow and it used to be white and it tasted completely different this year - both the frosting and filling. I want the old recipe back! icon_cry.gif

bmarlow001 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 6:53am
post #27 of 30

I used to buy cakes from the grocery store but never ate them.. I didn't care for the taste and I think I have only bought 1 that was really well decorated the others were pretty generic

Kkm440 Posted 5 Jan 2014 , 4:13am
post #28 of 30

AI've decorated for Costco for 17 years and the cake and the filling have not changed. The frosting has. It is now trans fat free.

Kkm440 Posted 5 Jan 2014 , 4:16am
post #29 of 30

AI have to say, a lot of people don't know how to fill out an order form. It's cray cray some of the things I come across. I have to call at least 5 people a day to ask them what they want on their cake. Some of those cake wrecks are because people can't fill out an order form. Trust me I've been doing this 17 years.

forjenns Posted 5 Jan 2014 , 4:27am
post #30 of 30

AIt really varies - the decorator at my local Costco is really good at pipped decorations. I know they have a limited number or design options so it makes sense they would get good at it.

. Th grocery stores in my area are really starting to step up their decorating. I get the impressions they are feeling the pressure of custom decorators and there has definitely been a shift in what they are offering and displaying.

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