So Disappointed With My Latest Cake But Learned A Lot :(

Decorating By tsal Updated 28 Nov 2011 , 3:21am by tsal

tsal Posted 27 Nov 2011 , 9:35pm
post #1 of 7


I'm a hobbyist. I make cakes for family and *really* close friends. The last cake I made (latest pic in profile) was a learning experience, to say the least.

I am an SMBC girl. I've also worked on managing my caking workload so that each cake doesn't feel like a monumental task. I bake in advance and freeze etc. I've been able to figure out how to get SMBC really smooth in a short period of time. I feel that my cakes have evolved to a level that I'm really proud of.

Enter the latest cake request: it had to be a three tier, dairy free cake (for religious reasons). I agreed to do it for my niece even though I knew that I'd be experimenting with dairy free frostings.

To make a long story short, due to an extremely hectic week, I did not start the cake until Wednesday (it was due Saturday) - I baked the layers (and discovered that my oven is barely functioning - it will be replaced next week). Because I had to grease the pan with Crisco, my cakes had a darker crust that I wasn't use to. I rebaked the cakes using Pam but it was not any better (lots of wasted hours there). Thursday, I tried multiple dairy free icing recipes without success, so I ended up calling a kosher caker and asked if they would sell me just their icing. They did - 12 lbs for $72. However, it is a crusting buttercream that has to be refrigerated (that disappointed me because I was afraid that refrigeration would stale my cake - I can't figure out what's in it that needs to be refrigerated and they were not sharing).

We do not have Viva paper towels here in Canada, so I struggled (I tried the Melvira method without success) to smooth the icing with parchment paper. It took me FOREVER, and the result was less than great, to say the least. I wasn't even going to post it on CC, but I figure we all can learn from this.

At the venue, they asked me how to serve the cake so I explained that there was a wooden dowel in the center of the cake and they then informed me that they would not be using any of their utensils on the cake because it was a kosher establishment and my cake was not baked under kosher supervision. All they wanted to use was a plastic knife. In the end, they disassembled it with their hands! I requested that they use gloves, but they took the cake into a back room, so I'm not sure what went on.

It was served - the buttercream was sickeningly sweet and I was embarrassed to say I made it given that I was not happy with the way it looked, nor was I happy with the flavor. I announced to the family that any future cakes would be dairy and that if they wanted a dairy-free cake, they would have to pay a professional kosher baker. I am sticking to my caking guns. Sometimes special requests can be more trouble than they are worth!

All that to say that I spent hours and hours on a cake that I am not happy with.

I am looking forward to making my next cake with my trusty SMBC. Bring on the butter!

6 replies
step0nmi Posted 27 Nov 2011 , 9:58pm
post #2 of 7

i think you are being all too hard on yourself! I just looked at the cake and it's beautiful! sure, the frosting has a little bit of areas where it's not perfect...but who is? i think you deserve a nice relaxing day to rest and chalk it up to experience like you said

QTCakes1 Posted 27 Nov 2011 , 10:10pm
post #3 of 7

The one with "Rebecca" on it? If that is the cake all I cna say is, Dude, you are way hard on yourself. Absolutely, perfectly smooth, maybe not, but it looks great. I have seen way worse on here and it was someone's paid wedding cake! I like it, but I understand why your used to a different smoothness. I'm a SMBC girl myself. You get pretty glass smooth with that. icon_wink.gif

Kiddiekakes Posted 27 Nov 2011 , 10:15pm
post #4 of 7

I totally can relate...I use WBH icing and would be out of luck if I had to use a crusting BC...That being sadi I wouldn't take on any restricted dietary cakes anyways..too much hassle..

Kitagrl Posted 27 Nov 2011 , 10:25pm
post #5 of 7

The cake is gorgeous! You should not be unhappy with the look.

I understand being unhappy with a flavor you are not used to...but I'm sure they liked it fine. That icing cost was over the top though, you hate to do that, but I totally understand!

I have some experimentation I have to do this week, and my costs may be over the top as well. I have a customer I made a huge smores wedding cake for a couple years ago. Well since that time the bride has gone gluten-free. They really want me to try to make her a gluten-free chocolate dessert cake but filled and iced identical to the original wedding cake. Although I have a $200 minimum (and won't enforce it this time...I do occasionally waive it) I went ahead and agreed to experiment with a gluten free recipe and make her the cake. Have not quoted yet, want to see how much it will cost. And hoping the recipe I found will be reliable! I'm afraid this will be more trouble than its worth, especially because I probably won't really want to offer gluten-free on my menu because of the fear of lawsuits since I'm not set up to be a strictly allergy/gluten free baker. (Don't want a lawsuit on my reputation, even though I'm insured.)

So yeah, I hear ya, on the "more trouble than its worth" thing! Sometimes I just can't say NO!

But there's nothing to be ashamed of about your cake.

Elcee Posted 28 Nov 2011 , 1:35am
post #6 of 7

tsal, I can totally relate! I recently agreed to do a gluten AND dairy free cake for a friend's daughter and it was awful! I use a 50/50 butter/shortening BC most of the time and didn't think using all shortening and non-dairy creamer in place of the butter and milk would make that much difference. Boy was I wrong! And the gluten-free? Horrible. I used a recommended brand of gf cake mix, added instant pudding, used oj in place of the water, all tips recommended to me here. Still, no other word but horrible. I was ashamed that they served it to all the party guests. It was awfully pretty, though icon_smile.gifas is yours!

tsal Posted 28 Nov 2011 , 3:21am
post #7 of 7

Thanks for the kind words everyone! I agree that we tend to be our own worst critics, but it was the first time that I did not feel proud of a finished product (which I know happens to all of us at one time or another).

Elcee: your cake was really cute!

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