How Forgiving Are You Of Your Own Work?

Decorating By frencett Updated 5 Mar 2014 , 9:58pm by Veronica1203

frencett Posted 10 May 2013 , 5:41pm
post #1 of 23



I'm just starting out and my parents requested a cake to be raffled of to the public for the 'club' they are involved in.


So I've baked my favorite Chocolate cake, ganached it, and put my fondant on.


This is literally the 3rd cake I have ever put fondant on, and I am on the verge of tears.  I am struggling with the silky smooth finish that a lot of people seem to achieve.


I can see every flaw, every pin prick (from air-bubbles), and not to mention every scour my sugar flowers made into the top.


The thing is I know this is far far far from great, but I know they will want to still take it and will only see the good in it.


How forgiving do you be on your own work with issues, and what do you do when it turns to crap?  Do you think allowing this into the public (for the raffle donation) could be detrimental to starting a business up?


Cheers for the vent!  Any words of advice would be extremely welcome.


The below photo shows one of the dents and petal gouging into the top.

22 replies
ibeeflower Posted 10 May 2013 , 6:12pm
post #2 of 23

I am new to decorating and I am hard on myself but I step back and move on. I used to point out my mistakes to people, only for them to tell me that if I hadn't said anything they wouldn't have known because they aren't cake decorators and they only see a beautiful cake. I learn something new with each cake as I go.I just submitted a cake to peer review cake club because I am interested in feedback, and pointers that they can share. 


I think your cake is very lovely. I love the dragees, and I know that if I had put them on the'd be all over the place.  Your flower is also very pretty!

Brettley Posted 10 May 2013 , 6:45pm
post #3 of 23

Mistakes are what motivate me. Every single one of my cakes as at least 5 mistakes, if not more.. I am sure most decorators would say the same thing. That is all part of being a professional.


Don't be so hard on yourself though, the cake looks fantastic and the flower is gorgeous. Know your limits and appreciate the accomplishments along the way. That flower couldn't have been easy to make. I know it's hard not to compare your work against some of the AMAZING Cakes on here/internet but some those people have years of experience, schooling etc. And don't forget, those decorators started somewhere too. Their cakes didn't always look like that I am sure.

CakeRae80 Posted 10 May 2013 , 7:14pm
post #4 of 23

I am new to this whole cake world too. I too am very critical of my work. I just made my first hat on top of a ball field and my hat brim is HUGE...well I think so...I think most other bakers would agree with me. But like the others stated, normal people who do not bake don't notice it. I also agree that you learn and you move on, when you have one under your belt, you know your strength's and weaknesses for the next cake. I think your cake looks wonderful, and your flower is gorgeous! I just think it's second nature for all of us to be our worst critic no matter what it might be for!

remnant3333 Posted 11 May 2013 , 12:29am
post #5 of 23

Frencett, I think your cake is beautiful!!! Don't be so hard on yourself!!

Norasmom Posted 11 May 2013 , 12:43am
post #6 of 23

I love the flower! I won't use fondant anymore, I hate it. It takes a lot of practice and I don't feel like practicing that particular concept...

so practice, practice, practice! The cake looks fine, no one will notice the imperfections.  Also, photos make imperfections more noticeable!

frencett Posted 11 May 2013 , 3:56am
post #7 of 23

AThanks everyone. It's so hard to step back, but practice with hopefully make it better! I will hopefully hear some feedback in the future - meanwhile the people running the group were really happy with it (visually). Thanks again

Michellewho Posted 11 May 2013 , 8:50am
post #8 of 23

AYour cake looks great. Don't be hard on yourself, it just means that your next cake will be even better!

The Cake Shoppe Posted 11 May 2013 , 2:51pm
post #9 of 23

I read an article or something recently that said a great cake decorator doesn't make flawless cakes...they just know how to cover their mistakes!    :D

melanie-1221 Posted 11 May 2013 , 4:10pm
post #10 of 23

I am very critical of my work. I have made cakes that I was almost embarrassed to deliver  only to have them marveled at and even in the #1 most saved cakes of the day here on CC.

So I see flaws, but others do not. 

Your cake is great, beautiful flower and nice clean design. Be proud of it!

kblickster Posted 12 May 2013 , 1:51pm
post #11 of 23

I think all artists are critical of their work.  I have to tell myself with every cake to "STOP".  I could smooth my icing for hours and never get it perfect.  It is disappointing to work so hard on something and still see flaws.  It's cake/icing though and we do it by hand and there will always be flaws. 


I have some hand painted pottery that helped me get over this.  The pottery is beautiful and always makes me feel good when I use it.  However, if you look closely there are many flaws in it. 

miniflowercake Posted 3 Dec 2013 , 12:14am
post #12 of 23

That is really good considering it's your third cake covered in fondant! If I was a not a cake decorator I would probably not even notice. :grin:

ljdills Posted 3 Dec 2013 , 1:27am
post #13 of 23

I too am very critical of my work.  I think that is pretty normal for any "artist".  There have been many times that I've had to just walk away from the cake, because if not I would just continue to find things that I think could be better.  I have actually made little mistakes more noticeable because I keep "picking" at them.  I think your cake looks fine and your parents are obviously proud of you and your abilities or they wouldn't have asked you to make a cake for them to show off !

johnbailey64 Posted 3 Dec 2013 , 3:45am
post #14 of 23

I got a fortune cookie at the Chinese restaurant the other day that said, " Don't judge a work of art by it's flaws".  Which came at a good time, because I was just really being hard on myself for the same thing as you are going through.


And as I always say, "Every cake has a back side". lol.

MyFairDiva Posted 3 Dec 2013 , 6:01pm
post #15 of 23


Originally Posted by johnbailey64 

I got a fortune cookie at the Chinese restaurant the other day that said, " Don't judge a work of art by it's flaws".  Which came at a good time, because I was just really being hard on myself for the same thing as you are going through.


And as I always say, "Every cake has a back side". lol.


Well let me tell ya John, I knew I had read that somewhere and it must have been you of course. I applied it last night when I was decorating a cake a friend at the office asked me to do, I was getting so frustrated because at the moment of covering it, I got an ugly wrinkle that ended up cracking... I concealed this as well as I could and then said "Every cake has a back side!" :P lol

The good thing was that even when I said "hey, this is what happened, I tried to make it unnoticeable" She was like "What? are you kidding me? This is art, and you're just starting, don't be silly! I love it!", so I was a lot more in peace after that than what I was feeling like last night. :D

And to answer the question, I am my own worst critic.

remnant3333 Posted 3 Dec 2013 , 9:24pm
post #16 of 23

For your third cake working with fondant I can see that you will be an expert soon enough. Do not be so hard on yourself!!! Keep practicing because I know if you keep your faith and don't give up you will soon be an expert. I think your cake looks good according to your experience and once you do more practice you will get better and better!!! I only work with buttercream or whipped frosting.


I have never tried fondant because most people in my family would simply peel it away from the cake and not eat it. For me, it would be a waste of my time since no one likes it. Mind you, I only do as a hobby for family and friends and never sell any cakes!!! Good luck to you and I know your decorating skills with fondant will only get better!!!

MUDDY828 Posted 3 Dec 2013 , 10:07pm
post #17 of 23

I believe that all cake makers are always the most critical of their work. It's true the great ones just know how to cover the errors. My cakes don't always look great in the beginning and sometimes at the end but we always learn from each cake and strive to  do better on the next. BTW great flowers. I've started making my own marshmallow fondant it seems to be more forgiving and smooths easier, at least for me.

ddaigle Posted 3 Dec 2013 , 10:15pm
post #18 of 23


Originally Posted by The Cake Shoppe 

I read an article or something recently that said a great cake decorator doesn't make flawless cakes...they just know how to cover their mistakes!    :D




I am super hard.  I expect 150% perfection.   Guess it's that Army thing.    I have hated so many of my cakes in the process...but I always somehow pull it off.   Now...I have many, many times as The Cake Shoppe said...covered my mistakes.    If my ribbon wrap is not lined up perfect...then a beaded border hides it.  Sometimes you can't "add" something...but figuring out how to fix is key.

MBalaska Posted 3 Dec 2013 , 10:23pm
post #19 of 23

CAKE- first and foremost….it's food.  It’s not feed your family or they starve food.  It’s celebration, party, festival, event food.  I applaud every person who makes a cake for someone else to bring joy and happiness to their special day no matter how simplistic or flawed the cake is.  Make sure it taste good.


Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, and we will never ever please everyone. For every one of the eye-popping spectacular cakes made of fondant and gumpaste on CakeCentral, there are a million of others making a cake with icing and a few candles on top. (They are usually called Moms.)


However what you have discovered with this current cake is an important understanding of cake decorating. That it's easier to add a lot of decorations to cover up the normally (and often) flawed  icing /fondant base. That may be the most difficult part of a cake.  Making a super smooth Buttercream coating.  Making a super smooth fondant covering.  This separates the elite skilled decorators from everyone else.


You're now left with two choices.  Learn to make the super smooth professional fondant base with the least amount of visible flaws. Or don't, and continue making really beautiful colorful cakes that cover up the small visible flaws in your fondant.    FIX IT and FORGET IT.



delightfulbaker Posted 24 Dec 2013 , 12:49pm
post #20 of 23

You learn from your mistakes.  I might not be the best person to ask though lol.  I'm so hard on myself and its kinda an OCD thing.  If something doesn't turn out right it will bother me.  But I'm slowly learning that there will always be imperfections and that its okay. SOmetimes we spend so much time worrying about it and what others think and in the end it turns out that others don't even notice it.  :P

MUDDY828 Posted 24 Dec 2013 , 1:57pm
post #21 of 23


cakebaby2 Posted 27 Feb 2014 , 9:29am
post #22 of 23

AI am my own worst critic and agonies over everything I make. If it's not perfect to me I hate it and even more stupidly I look at the work of long time professionals and kick myself for not being able to match it. I am 56 years old a granny and act like a spoiled teen when I don't think it's good enough. As everyone says the non baker sees only a pretty cake (and yours is gorgeous) I really should lighten up but I suppose once an ocd sufferer always one lol.

Veronica1203 Posted 5 Mar 2014 , 9:58pm
post #23 of 23

I have been at this for 12 years and I still make mistakes and they drive me insane.  I just have to walk away.  I know I am the only one that even notices it.  I have a problem with pointing it out to everyone that looks at it though. I still get nervous on deliveries of wedding cakes.  
I think that when you think your cake is perfect that's when you will make mistakes.  When you stop being nervous you will make even bigger mistakes.  
I personally think you cakes looks fantastic.  Those flowers are beautiful. 

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