How To Effectively Handle A Blow To Your Baking Self Esteem

Decorating By PolishPeach Updated 6 Jul 2011 , 12:05pm by costumeczar

PolishPeach Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:06pm
post #1 of 26

First post. Allow me to apologize in advance for the novel-length whine fest I'm subjecting you to. I'm still tending to fresh wounds.

The story:

Over the weekend a friend and I arranged to have a baking photo shoot at our friend's house since her kitchen is way nicer than either of ours. We're starting a little at home baking business and wanted to get some quality shots of our baked goods since I'm pretty sure cell phone pics aren't cutting it anymore. I made my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe with a peanut butter SMBC and some truffles and my friend made red velvet and vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I've recently started making SMBC more and more because I've gotten great feedback about it and it really is a dream to work with. I loved my peanut butter SMBC. I loved it so much I ate it by the spoonful while simultaneously piping it onto my cupcakes. After the shoot we left the goodies for our friend since she graciously let us borrow her kitchen and was having a party later that day.

Yesterday I saw her and got feedback from the party and apparently my cupcakes fell pretty flat with the adults. I was devastated, but tried to shrug it off. Conversely, everyone loved what my friend made and upon trying mine even asked, "These aren't Katie's (my friend who made the other goodies) cupcakes, are they?" Ouch. I know you can't please everyone, but I can't help feeling annoyed that there are people out there who are doubting my baking abilities. I'm just trying to tell myself these people are a bunch of clowns.

I blame it on the SMBC since I would be willing to fight anyone who challenged the chocolate cake I made wasn't delicious. I know SMBC isn't for everyone and that's a damn shame since it's amazing to work with. I guess from now on I'll just start incorporating both SMBC and regular BC to offer the best of both worlds. I'm positive I'm not alone on this one, but I'll ask anyway for comfort's sake. Has anyone had issues with complaints about their icing? It seems like one person's too sweet or too buttery is another person's perfection.

If you made it through my diatribe, thanks for sticking around. I feel much better. icon_smile.gif

/end rant

25 replies
Kiddiekakes Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:19pm
post #2 of 26

Well..Cheer up!! You are right about the SMBC though....Some either love it or hate it due to the over powering butter taste..I made it once and thought the same thing..LOL...Maybe next time try a whipped Ganache or I use what is called WBH (Whimisical Bakehouse House BC...)I use it all the time on all my cakes and my customers love it...But many decoraters here don't like it either..It is a soft whipped bakery icing but is 90% shortening and many don't ike the greasy feel on their palette.I like it because it is NOT sweet and that is more important to my customers than grainy sweet BC.I know it can be disappointing when guests like your friends baking instead of yours but I think with a few tweaks..They will love it!!

Enchantedcakes Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:23pm
post #3 of 26

I have found that location sometimes has something to due with how sweet people like their icing. When I lived in Chicago Whipped Cream icing was the favorite, where I am at in Florida my cream cheese icing seems to be the favorite, and when I when I lived in Maryland they loved buttercream. I have never changed my icing recipes, never used different ingredients but they all want something different.

KakeMistress Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:25pm
post #4 of 26

i dont like smbc but my husband LOVES it but because of the amount of butter you have to use I just stick to american buttercream made with a 50/50 of shortening and salted butter and then everyone is happy.. HTH

Win Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:27pm
post #5 of 26

My guess would be the Swiss Meringue. I have even see some of the Food Network personalities exclaim about the over-whelming taste of butter in your mouth. Some people just plain don't like it. You seem confident in your cake; however, there are a lot of chefs who stand behind their work, and others find it to be dry, or even too gooey, etc.

If you are really interested in knowing why your product fell flat, you should ask about the cupcakes themselves as well... what made the adults comment the way they did. It IS a hit to the ego, but if you are serious about your endeavor, you will take the feedback and process it into a more successful product. Either way, you sound like you are open to suggestions and have a willingness to listen and change. That, in itself, it a maturity that takes a lot of people a long time to acquire.

leah_s Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:28pm
post #6 of 26

yeah, I'm not a fan of IMBC or SMBC either. TYhat was probably it.

Lenette Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:34pm
post #7 of 26

It really is personal preference and you definitely can't please everyone. I understand how you feel, we put a little bit of ourselves into the product we put out.

I have not had complaints but most folks definitely prefer one type of icing over the other. I started offering both at tastings for weddings, most people go with the SMBC but there are exceptions. I had one couple nearly argue because the bride liked SMBC and the groom liked the powdered sugar icing. LOL

Go with what the majority of your customers like and what you are proud to put your name on! icon_smile.gif

gourmetsharon Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:36pm
post #8 of 26

I made a coconut cupcake with SMBC for the ladies at work. About a month later, I took more coconut cupcakes that were square with regular Buttercream (1/2 shortening/1/2 unsalted butter). The ladies loved the regular buttercream cupcakes better. They thought the cupcakes were a completely different recipe. The only difference was the buttercream and the shape.

Jeannem Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:38pm
post #9 of 26

Remember also that the are some people that just don't care for peanut butter!! I once made a dessert bar for 100+ people, and not one person took a piece of the peanut better pie!! Not one taste, and they could take as many pieces of dessert that they wanted...

PolishPeach Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 3:56pm
post #10 of 26

Thanks so much for all of the feedback! I started to think that I was being a real jerk about the situation, but then remembered how I'm not a fan of every dessert that comes my way (although this is a rare occurrence). It really is hit or miss with some people. No matter how good the cake is, the icing really can alter people's perceptions. I have a wedding cake tasting to do in 2 weeks, let's hope it doesn't end in a heated buttercream debate between the bride and groom. I can't imagine how anyone could dislike peanut butter, unless of course they have a peanut allergy, but even then I might raise an eyebrow, haha.

tracycakes Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 4:20pm
post #11 of 26

Yes, it can be a real blow to your ego so I understand your feelings. I'm one of those who don't like SMBC or IMBC because to me, it just taste like sweetened butter and I don't care for peanut butter either except pb&j sandwiches and peanut butter cookies. So, I probably wouldn't have been blown away either.

That is not to say that you are not a good baker. It's all about preferences. I don't care for Red Velvet Cake or Italian Cream Cake either. So, when I was testing recipes, I used tasters that liked those cakes so I would know if I had a good recipe.

galliesway Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 4:30pm
post #12 of 26

Are you using unsalted butter in your recipe? Most people who do not like frosting in genera,l especially typical American butter-cream tend to like like SMBC.

gatorcake Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 4:40pm
post #13 of 26

Honestly I would get better information about what they found unappealing. All I am going on is the story you told (which I did not find long at all), and from the story it seems like you are guessing about what they did not like. While it is great that you have confidence in your chocolate cake recipe, it is possible that something went awry with it. If you tasted the cupcakes then the example is moot (but the story only mentions you tasting the BC).

It is still possible they did not like this particular recipe, there was something they did not like in the combination of icing and cake flavor, or simply not liked the icing. If it were me, I would want to know exactly what they found unappealing.

charliecakes Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 5:01pm
post #14 of 26

I'm with everyone else here. The butter cream choice can dramatically change the taste of your cake, making people think its a completely different cake recipe. I normally ask people even if they dont get a chance to physically taste the two icings if they prefer a light whipped type(less sweet) buttercream or a traditional old skool buttercream (sweet). MOST customers have never even heard of IMB so those are the ones who you know were raised on the good old fashioned american buttercream

enoid Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 5:20pm
post #15 of 26

My husband loves peanut butter. But will not eat anything with peanut butter in it. Go figure. Hang in there.

AnotherCaker Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 5:29pm
post #16 of 26
Originally Posted by PolishPeach

Has anyone had issues with complaints about their icing?

Never. I offer two icings only: SMBC and ganche. Ganche is rarely requested unless it's a filling, but the SMBC usually knocks people off their feet when they've been used to the shortening and powdered sugar stuff found most places.

JessiesCreations Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 5:36pm
post #17 of 26

Lol! I love that you would be willing to fight over your chocolate cake, that sounds like
How I feel about my carrot cake..if someone criticized it, I would probably turn into a child and say something like "well your stupid and your not my friend anymore oh and by the way you look like a fat cow in that dress". Lol.

dawncr Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 5:52pm
post #18 of 26

Just a guess: Were the cupcakes served right out of the refrigerator? I'd bet money they were.

They really needed to be treated separately-- the RV with cream cheese icing needed to be in the refrigerator, and any with IMBC/SMBC need time to come to room temperature before eating.

If the guests were served IMBC or SMBC right out of the refrigerator, then *no wonder* they weren't impressed. It's hard, cold, and tastes like one is eating butter. On the hand, at room temperature--nirvana.

To recover your reputation, maybe make up a few different kinds of SMBC: peanut butter, with raspberry puree, vanilla bean, etc. and bring over to that 'friend' with instructions that they must be eaten at room temperature. Explain that you use "Classic European Buttercream," that many haven't dealt with before. Emphasize that you use real butter, not shortening, and put a high-end spin on it.

If they were served correctly, I don't know what could account for the guests' tastes. Although there is some overlap of populations, it seems like most people have a clear preference for SMBC/IMBC or for American powdered-sugar based buttercream. I see way more persons inquiring about 'less sweet' frostings than for sweeter ones.

There's a little research that suggests persons with Northern European heritage experience the sweetness of sugar more intensely than others. Those are the ones who likely find ABC way too sweet, and much prefer IMBC/SMBC. That's my entire family. My sister-in-law, in contrast, loves powdered-sugar buttercreams. (The compromise for their wedding cake was IMBC with white chocolate added. That's the only frosting both liked.)

stormrider Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 5:53pm
post #19 of 26

It's all a matter of taste. I recently did a test run of a buttercream recipe that many people were raving about and I absolutely hate it - I mean I will never, ever make it again! My family told me to throw the recipe away. Does that mean it's a bad recipe? NO! Just not our personal preference. If we all liked the same things all the time how boring the world would be!

dawncr Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 5:59pm
post #20 of 26

Another thought: Even the cake itself, independent of frosting, can have different optimal temperatures.

If the cake is from a box mix or from a scratch recipe using oil, it will taste pretty good and moist either straight from the fridge or at room temp. Oil is still liquid when refrigerated.

Scratch cake made from butter really needs to be at room temperature, or it can be firmer and therefore seem drier or less moist. Flavor can be much, much better at room temp, too.

PolishPeach Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 6:01pm
post #21 of 26

I always use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt I'm putting into the recipe. I got a little more feedback about the cupcakes. We gave some goodies to the girl who took the pictures as a thank you and she is wondering if I can make some of the chocolate cupcakes for her wedding with the same icing, but she wants it to be a little more peanut buttery.

I generally don't like things that are overpowered by one flavor, such as peanut butter, so I tend to err on the side of caution when flavoring icing. I'm thinking it may have just been too light or subtle or just not sweet enough for some people and that's fine and I promise I'll move on with my life, lol. I try everything I bake so I generally don't hand out freebies that taste like crap.

I'll try to get more feedback from the other people who weren't big fans, but from what I'm hearing, the flavor may not have packed the punch it needed to. To reiterate what a lot of you have been saying, not everyone likes SMBC, especially people who are used to a much thicker and more sugary icing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks for all of your support during this dark time. I'm baking tonight so my self esteem didn't take that big of a hit. icon_wink.gif

PolishPeach Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 6:12pm
post #22 of 26

Lol Jessie! I'm really fond of my carrot cake too. I'm so protective of it, it's like my child and I don't ever want to hear anyone say something bad about it or I just might snap.

I froze the SMBC and left if out for several hours to thaw and then whipped it back up. I usually make a bunch in advance to save myself time later one. The cake was served at room temperature and hadn't been refrigerated. My friend works with a few of the people who were at this party so I told her to put her feelers out and get some feedback so I know for future reference.

Claire138 Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 6:14pm
post #23 of 26

I love SMBC but it's true it's not to everyone's taste so I mostly use ganache although a client recently told me that it was too chocolaty!
How do you flavor your smbc with peanut butter? it sounds heavenly

PolishPeach Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 6:29pm
post #24 of 26

Well obviously that client has major issues. Too chocolatey? What a kook!

It's simple to make. Make a batch of SMBC and add a few tablespoons of peanut butter at the end and whip it up until fluffy. It would make a really delicious topping for a chocolate pie with a little chocolate ganache drizzled over the top.

Claire138 Posted 5 Jul 2011 , 6:38pm
post #25 of 26

Sounds simply delicious - thanks, can't wait to try it!

costumeczar Posted 6 Jul 2011 , 12:05pm
post #26 of 26

I offer both types of buttercreams because it's just personal preference. I like the IMBC myself, but a lot of people prefer the sweeter.

I do a lot of back-to-back tastings, so I'll have days where people will say that they love this one type of cake, then the next group won't like it. Then the following group loves it, and the next doesn't like it. Food is just personal preference, you can't control it, but you shouldn't take it personally either.

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