ellavanilla Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 6:27pm
post #1 of

I produced a cake for my sister last night. It was a total rush and a big favor for her (don't ask me why I'm still doing favors for my sister).  I could not get it to look right! I picked and fussed over it until 2am, when I scraped everything off and started over. This morning I just feel like the cake writing is awkward and...ugh!

 

It's still not right in my eyes, and I'm feeling like chucking the entire business plan at this point.

 

How do you keep your spirits up when this happens?

23 replies
remnant3333 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 6:59pm
post #2 of

Most of the time, we are are own critic and think the cake looks awful and  lot of the time the people love the cake!!!  Everyone has days like that to where no matter what they do nothing works out. Good old Murphy's Law!!  LOL!!    It sounds like your sister got the cake for free!!! She has absolutely nothing to complain about if that is the case.  She should be thanking you and be appreciative that you made a cake for free!!!

 

You just got to keep the faith and know that everyone has days like this.  Hang in there and don't be so hard on yourself!!  Do you have a picture of the cake that you can post? I am willing to bet that it is not as bad as you think!!!!  You are not alone because everyone here can probably tell you a story that would be similar to yours. Just take it one day at a time and this feeling will pass in time!!!

DeliciousDesserts Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 7:02pm
post #3 of

ANow Ella, I remember you posting about her pestering you for this cake!

You did not want to do this cake. It was a rush. I never do my best work when rushed or resent in the person who begged and pleaded without really understanding what it takes.

Don't throw the business out with the frustration. I'm with ya. That square cake in my avatar was a friggin beast! The square kept turning & I'd have 2" of frosting on one side & barely any on another. I wanted to hick everything!

I take a big deep breath, look through a few thank you notes, review some kind comments on my cakes, & remember what I love about what I do. Always gives me a new burst of enthusiasm.

You're talent isn't about this one cake. Be done with it. That's what she gets for last minute! Next cake will be great.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 9:04pm
post #4 of

I drink, lol.

In all seriousness, we are our own worst critics, there is something about every single cake I have ever made that I wasn't totally happy with, it sucks but it's also good, makes me practice that detail til it's perfect.

My very first 3D cake for a customer was a red BMW, it took me 3 days of decorating, and I cried the whole way home after dropping it off, sure they would be calling me to demand their money back.

Instead, I still hear from people how 'cool' it was.

Thankfully, not everyone sees cakes the same way we do :) I doubt it was really that bad, I've looked at your other work and it's lovely!

 

Really though, I drink.

mcaulir Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 9:39pm
post #5 of

We compare our cakes with the amazing work of the best cakers on this site and others that we spend a lot of time looking at.

 

The recipients of our cakes are comparing them with the cakes they walk past in the grocery store case.

 

Don't sweat it!

vgcea Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 9:53pm
post #6 of

Yep, and every time the recipient gets the cake they're so happy I can't believe they can't see that spot that needs X and that spot that needs Y. You're the pro, so you're going to be your worst critic. Most folks just see awesome cake they couldn't even have dreamed up lol. Don't touch that business plan. You're doing good. ((((HUGS)))).

 

How do I keep my spirits up? Well I just think about the positive responses I've gotten, and the knowledge that I put in the best that I could for that cake. Make notes of what not to do next time, and keep it moving.

AZCouture Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 10:07pm
post #7 of

A few times yeah, the design just didn't come to life like I thought it would. I mean they were nice, the clients were happy, but it just didn't "do it" for me. And on the other hand, I went above and beyond with one once, and the person was sooooooooooooooo disappointed. After talking to her though I realized she was just upset about other things. Meh...wasn't my problem after all. Awkward conversation too, it went on forever, like no one had bothered to listen to this woman about what was going on in her life and she was going to talk until she was done. I didn't dare interrupt her.icon_redface.gif

handymama Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 10:08pm
post #8 of

You know Ella, I'm one of the most self-confident people I know -- not cocky, just recognize my gifts. Still, if I don't hear back from a client/recipient within a couple days of delivery I start thinking "they didn't like it" which progresses to "they hated it" after a couple more days. If I'm personally dissatisfied with a cake (less than 1/2 the time, but not unusual) then that thought process begins about an hour or less after delivery. Then, when they inevitably say how much they loved it I internally just shake my head in disbelief. I HATE that I do that, and hope the day is coming that I don't. I'm not that way in any other area of my life. I'm guessing it's because I've never considered myself artistic, so it's a lot to accept that God has chosen to give me this late-in-life talent that has people saying "oh you're so artistic". At least I've stopped wondering if they need counseling. I think that we decorators so personally invest ourselves in our work that if someone sees a flaw in the cake it's as if they've pointed out a flaw in us. Hopefully more time and more cakes will solve the problem for both of us.

Meanwhile: YOU WRITE ON CAKES?!?! I've had letter piping lessons from Roland Winbeckler and Nic Lodge and I still never write on cakes. I write on a plaque, do cutout letters or tappits, use edible images creatively -- pretty much anything to not write on a cake. I'm pretty sure a grocery store bakery would never hire me.  icon_eek.gif

AZCouture Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 10:12pm
post #9 of

I couldn't pipe lettering on a cake if I tried. Props to those with great piping skills with letters.

kikiandkyle Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 10:52pm

I posted a cake to the PRCC and while all the comments there were all completely spot on (and very much appreciated), my friend who got the cake didn't notice a single one of the issues raised by the pros. We all hold ourselves to a standard that the average non-caker would just never expect. 

 

And you know you won't ever be doing last minute cakes with no notice for your paying clients! 

IAmPamCakes Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 11:08pm

I'm really hard on myself, too. I expect perfection, and no one is capable of absolute perfection.

I've been really doubtful lately because I don't have any orders. My official legal business is new, and I didn't expect my door to be busted down by cake-hungry people, but I'm so bummed out that nobody wants cake! I've spent every day the last couple weeks wondering if my work actually sucks, so nobody wants to order anything from me.

Ella, I'm sure your cake looked fabulous, and your sister and her friends saw NONE of the issues with it that you did.

remnant3333 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 11:13pm

Ellavanilla, Have you heard from your sister since you gave her the cake?

BeesKnees578 Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 11:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by handymama 

You know Ella, I'm one of the most self-confident people I know -- not cocky, just recognize my gifts. Still, if I don't hear back from a client/recipient within a couple days of delivery I start thinking "they didn't like it" which progresses to "they hated it" after a couple more days. If I'm personally dissatisfied with a cake (less than 1/2 the time, but not unusual) then that thought process begins about an hour or less after delivery. Then, when they inevitably say how much they loved it I internally just shake my head in disbelief. I HATE that I do that, and hope the day is coming that I don't. I'm not that way in any other area of my life. I'm guessing it's because I've never considered myself artistic, so it's a lot to accept that God has chosen to give me this late-in-life talent that has people saying "oh you're so artistic". At least I've stopped wondering if they need counseling. I think that we decorators so personally invest ourselves in our work that if someone sees a flaw in the cake it's as if they've pointed out a flaw in us. Hopefully more time and more cakes will solve the problem for both of us.

Meanwhile: YOU WRITE ON CAKES?!?! I've had letter piping lessons from Roland Winbeckler and Nic Lodge and I still never write on cakes. I write on a plaque, do cutout letters or tappits, use edible images creatively -- pretty much anything to not write on a cake. I'm pretty sure a grocery store bakery would never hire me.  icon_eek.gif


I can so very much relate to this post.  In fact, I think you just wrote my bio!

ellavanilla Posted 13 Mar 2013 , 11:45pm

My sister gave me a thumbs up for the cake. That doesn't mean she liked it, but that we both passed inspection by her co-workers (the cake was for her boss). 

 

My cake writing is horrific! Worse, she demanded printing instead of script. THEN I tried to use melted chocolate for the first time and it was a disaster. too soft, then rock solid, but turns. 

 

I know it was delicious. How can you go wrong with 4 lbs of butter, 2 dozen eggs and 2 lbs of chocolate? But it just wasn't beautiful and I am so disappointed. 

 

Thank you, everyone, for the support and kind words! Oh well, Tomorrow is another cake!

 

jen

TheSugarLab Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 6:42am

Jen- I feel like I go through a process with most of my cakes. I will hate the cake the night before when it's mostly done. I will go home and think about how I am going to start from scratch after I throw the cake at the wall in the morning. Then I get to the shop and have a moment of clarity. Most of the time the cake is perfectly fine and its just that I've spent hours being 6 in away from it. I've had to redo a few (including my basketball cake that I just posted) but they still manage to impress everyone. I always love when I'm happy with a cake from start to finish. 

bittersweety Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 1:07pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellavanilla 

My sister gave me a thumbs up for the cake. That doesn't mean she liked it, but that we both passed inspection by her co-workers (the cake was for her boss). 

 

My cake writing is horrific! Worse, she demanded printing instead of script. THEN I tried to use melted chocolate for the first time and it was a disaster. too soft, then rock solid, but turns. 

 

I know it was delicious. How can you go wrong with 4 lbs of butter, 2 dozen eggs and 2 lbs of chocolate? But it just wasn't beautiful and I am so disappointed. 

 

Thank you, everyone, for the support and kind words! Oh well, Tomorrow is another cake!

 

jen

holy cow that must have been a big cake! :) but yes, we are all our own worst critics...always!  do you have a picture of the cake? i'm sure its not as bad as you think :)

VicB213 Posted 14 Mar 2013 , 2:35pm

I had to bake a cake for a co-workers birthday just the other day and the cake fought me the whole way... There are just cakes that try our patience and our sense of perfection.  Step back and breathe and don't let it get to you and remember that everything you feel when baking goes into the creation.

SugarExplosion Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 12:25am

GREAT QUESTION!! I feel that way about mostly all my cake.. I think that's why it's taken me so long to actually sale my work even when people would ask me to make cakes for them. But like I read on on of the threads.. My work is good enough when someone wants to buy it. ;) I know I'm my own worst critic. So I need to cut myself a break.

DeniseNH Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 2:41am

A few I just wasn't "connecting" with and as an artist, when the excitement isn't there or we're over tired - we would rather be in our PJ's watching TV.  We've all been there.

MaurorLess67 Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 3:34am

I can't believe you just posted this Ella-- I signed on tonight specifically to post almost the same thing!!! 

 

I have been so disappointed in my cakes lately-- they just seem so subpar :( i have even stopped posting pictures of them- that's how disappointed I am-- 

 

I know that there are things I can/and should be doing that would help, but... I don't know what happens--- 

 

1) I never seem to have enough time- no matter what

2) I still have not figured out an organization system so I spend so much me looking and fetching things

3) my work just isn't "clean and sharp" the edges on my cuts looked jagged, my circles are distorted- buttercream seems to show up all over the place- nothing ever comes out the way I envision-- just--- subpar :( 

4) So many cakes have such a smooth clean looks-- even figures and decorations- mine have cracks or look dry-  

5) I have to experiment on more flavor profiles

6) I think I skimp/hesitate on using product-I don't know why I do this-- (I don 't charge for cakes but I don't mind buying the products as this is my hobby that I used to love-)

 

I could go on and on- I just did a cake for a 40th birthday- blast from the past-- everyone said they loved it and that it tasted great- I thought it was VERY sloppy and too sweet- I of course ran out of time and was an hour late for the party (birthday girl came after me- wheww) so- yup the buttercream had a mind of its own and I had no time to straighten that out- no time for pics either- waiting for some from other party goers-- Im just so disappointed 

 

Thanks for letting me share my pity party with all of you-(- you guys aren't invited ( ha)- but I just had to tell someone who understands- 

 

Ella- I think one good cake could get us back in the game- that's what Im hoping for-- 

 

Mo

Apti Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 4:44am
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir 

We compare our cakes with the amazing work of the best cakers on this site and others that we spend a lot of time looking at.

 

 

Perhaps you should ask yourself this question every time you are unhappy with a cake: 

Will the recipient (either paying customer or recipient of the cake as a free gift) be unhappy with any aspects of this cake?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

I posted a cake to the PRCC and while all the comments there were all completely spot on (and very much appreciated), my friend who got the cake didn't notice a single one of the issues raised by the pros. We all hold ourselves to a standard that the average non-caker would just never expect. 

 

If you are doing custom cakes as a hobby, then by all means, fiddle with that cake and every little aspect of that cake until YOU are happy.    If you still don't like it, call it a practice cake and give it away.   Start over and keep going until you are happy.   That's how we improve our hobby cakes.

 

If you are doing this to earn income, ask yourself:

Will the paying customer be unhappy with any aspects of this cake?

If the answer is no, then put it in the delivery box and call it done.     The customer isn't paying you for a cake that YOU like, they are paying you for a cake that THEY like.

cazza1 Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 5:37am

My biscuits last week definately fell in to that category.  I was trying to learn brush embroidery and do you think I could do it.  Not on your life.  They looked so awfu that I wouldn't even give them away and as hubby doesn't much like decorated biscuits because of their sweetness they ended up in the bin.

SugarExplosion Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 6:08pm

A[quote name="Apti" url="/t/755476/ever-had-one-of-those-cakes-you-just-felt-lousy-about#post_7371950"] Perhaps you should ask yourself this question every time you are unhappy with a cake:  [B][I]Will the [COLOR=B22222][U]recipient[/U][/COLOR] (either paying customer or recipient of the cake as a free gift) be unhappy with any aspects of this cake?[/I][/B] If you are doing custom cakes as a [B][I]hobby[/I][/B], then by all means, fiddle with that cake and every little aspect of that cake until YOU are happy.    If you still don't like it, call it a practice cake and give it away.   Start over and keep going until you are happy.   That's how we improve our hobby cakes.

If you are doing this to earn income, ask yourself: [COLOR=B22222][U][I][B]Will the[/B][/I][/U][/COLOR] [COLOR=008000][U][I][B]paying[/B][/I][/U][/COLOR] [COLOR=B22222][U][I][B]customer be unhappy with any aspects of this cake?[/B][/I][/U][/COLOR] If the answer is no, then put it in the delivery box and call it done.     The customer isn't paying you for a cake that YOU like, they are paying you for a cake that THEY like. [/quote Well said!

SPCOhio Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 9:37pm

AOh for sure I've felt lousy about a cake I've made. Every single one, in fact. There are levels of dissatisfaction with some ranking higher than others. I made a cake for my poor nepheew's birthday that I forbade posting on Facebook it was so terrible! :-D But I know that the next one will be better so I dust myself off and keep on trucking. My biggest enemy is time, so I have convinced myself that given adequate time to actually execute a plan, it would be perfect. One of these days I will have enough time, though, and blow that theory out of the water.

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