How to perk up a boring cake order

Business By Cher2309b Updated 29 Sep 2013 , 11:54pm by Cher2309b

Cher2309b Posted 22 Sep 2013 , 11:49pm
post #1 of 24

How do you cope with a drab cake order from an insistent client? I know it's her cake but it's my work and my reputation. This is my first cake for a paying client after 12 years of lovingly creating cakes for friends and family and being able to challenge my creativity and skills.


I love all the support and guidance on here and would appreciate some tips.

23 replies
BatterUpCake Posted 22 Sep 2013 , 11:52pm
post #2 of 24

What is the boring cake?

embersmom Posted 22 Sep 2013 , 11:53pm
post #3 of 24

What kind of cake?  Any particular design?

CakeGeekUk Posted 23 Sep 2013 , 12:34am
post #4 of 24

Hi Cher, i'm a big fan at the moment of fondant bunting around a cake as the side design - it works for nearly all types of occasions: Hope this helps!

Cher2309b Posted 23 Sep 2013 , 1:18am
post #5 of 24

Thank you CakeGeekUk; bunting could fit in. It's a 40cm square cake with a 20cm square cake 2nd tier. All covered in white fondant with an edible image of a car on top and various sized teal and black squares (both solid and outline squares). The larger cake is one layer and I've persuaded her to go half a layer higher on the smaller cake.  (I did suggest a higher 30cm square for the larger tier.)There will be a fun bride and groom topper that the bride is providing. I figured I would move the top tier towards one back corner and place the topper (There are two separate toppers.) on the bottom tier or one of them on the board, perhaps. It's a groom's cake.

Unfortunately I don't get to communicate with the bride; it's all done through the organiser.  

Cher2309b Posted 23 Sep 2013 , 2:12am
post #6 of 24

ASeems bunting is out, although it's a good suggestion. Customer would like "as little decoration as possible". So, is that it? Am I wanting to do this to suit myself or should I offer advice? It's hard to make something that I'm not happy with.

cakesbycathy Posted 23 Sep 2013 , 5:26am
post #7 of 24

Sounds like you are used to having free reign with the designs.  The client is paying you to make the cake THEY want.  If you think the design is boring that's your own personal taste.  Unless it's something offensive then you make the cake they want and are paying for, and to the best of your ability.  If you really don't like the finished product there's no reason you have to put it on your website.

Cher2309b Posted 23 Sep 2013 , 5:57am
post #8 of 24

AThanks Kathy; you're absolutely right in every respect. I guess I was also concerned that the bride may find it boring but she seems to be sure of what she wants; so be it. I haven't been involved in any of the discussions as I was urged to help out urgently with very little notice when the decorator went out of business.

Lynne3 Posted 23 Sep 2013 , 6:07pm
post #10 of 24

Making a nice cake board really adds richness to any cake.  Make a larger drum then the cake. Cover it in fondant.  wrap the sides in something that compliments the cake

kikiandkyle Posted 23 Sep 2013 , 6:46pm
post #11 of 24

Is there no way you can talk to the bride? It might be that their design is based on wanting to spend as little as possible, when there is a chance you could do a nicer design for the same or less if only you knew what they were really looking for. Is the person you are working with familiar with cake design at all? 


If there's really nothing else you can do then just make sure you make the cake to the nest of your ability, sometimes a simple cake shows you are capable of the little details like sharp edges and clean lines, that can be easily hidden or overlooked on busier cakes.

CakeGeekUk Posted 23 Sep 2013 , 9:02pm
post #12 of 24

That's a good point KikiandKyle made - the customer might be insistent on very little detail for cost reasons, whereas you might be perfectly happen to add to the design at no additional cost so it would be nice to be able to speak to the customer.

BatterUpCake Posted 23 Sep 2013 , 11:16pm
post #13 of 24

Or the bride could love her design and you offend her.

costumeczar Posted 24 Sep 2013 , 2:48am
post #14 of 24

Or she might be planning on decorating it herself and taking credit for it, in which case you won't be associated with it anyway. And you'll have a new repeat customer, because if her guests like her cake and ask her to make another one she'll have to get another plain one from you.


There was someone on here years ago who said that there was a woman who bought cakes from her but would only let her drive to the bottom of the gated driveway to pass the cake off to her in a sneaky manner. Turns out she was telling people that she had made the cakes, and they kept asking her to make more, so she had to keep buying more. Then she moved and was in a panic about what she was going to do, which is when she had to confess about what she'd been doing, if I remember correctly.

Cher2309b Posted 24 Sep 2013 , 6:32am
post #15 of 24

Thank you, everyone, for your input. Some interesting intrigue and speculation from all of us but now I know more about the situation.


Today was my first day at the caterer's kitchen (the people catering for the wedding), where I am working on the cake. It appears that the chef is helping out the bride with this because a private cake decorator went out of business, leaving the bride in the lurch. She wants a simple groom's cake, featuring the edible image of the groom's car. She stressed simple and not at all feminine - no fuss. This is the cake she wants and I will do the best I can to please her.


If I continue to do this into the future then I would want to collaborate with the clients on designing a cake. However, in this situation, it just wasn't feasible and it appears that the bride is happy and easy-going.


Thank you all again.


All the best,


Crazy-Gray Posted 24 Sep 2013 , 10:02am
post #16 of 24

ASlightly late seeing this but when people ask me for an edible image or any flat/dull design on the top I try to get them to go with a 2D fondant 'cartoon' which makes a massive difference, I'll try to add some examples below of where their idea was too 'flat' in my opinion... (they wanted an edible/hand painted image of a fox hunting scene - my opinions on this 'sport' may have crept into the design slightly...) (this was done to steer them away from a design I didn't like at all but imagine the difference between an edible image and the 2D fondant image)

I can see from your avatar that you'd be great at wee scenes like those :-)

Sorry if thats too late to help though....

Cher2309b Posted 24 Sep 2013 , 11:16am
post #17 of 24

Thanks Crazy-Gray. I love your 2D/3D alternatives to flat 2D pictures; they have so much more character.

The lovely cake that inspired my avatar cake actually had more of a 2D effect than mine and I decided to make it more 3D I'll keep your idea in mind for future use. 

All the best,


smittyditty Posted 24 Sep 2013 , 4:09pm
post #18 of 24

OH my goodness Gray I love your cow cake. That is hilarious!

I have this same situation right now with a wedding cake someone wants. Its smurf blue. Anyhow I know this is late and might not go directly with this situation because it wasn't one on one. This is how I handle my one on one customers.


I emailed and asked these questions.

What about this cake do you love specifically?

Is there something you love that isn't on this cake?

What are your wedding colors?  (Just because the cake is smurf blue I can't assume that is the color she wants)

In one word describe your wedding cake.


Then my plan is to quote her own cake and then quote the version I come up with (sketch sent)

that is a unique one of a kind cake. If they choose the same cake they sent then so be it.

However I think this is a nice way of going around that.

justdesserts Posted 24 Sep 2013 , 6:24pm
post #19 of 24

AYeah, sometimes you just have to go with what the customer orders, even if it's not to your own taste. I just got an order for a carrot cake....with strawberry filling. Not MY cup of tea, but hey, if they're the ones paying and eating it, I'll make it. ;)

Simple cakes can look really nice though, if done cleanly. Modern and elegant. Show us a picture of the finished product!

Cher2309b Posted 26 Sep 2013 , 1:19am
post #20 of 24

Thanks smittyditty - some great advice there. I do think it's essential to communicate directly with the customer. I love your idea of the double quote. Some years ago we hired an amazing landscape designer. He got to know us really well and understood what our ideas, thoughts and feeling were in regard to our new courtyard. Then he provided us with three plans - one to suit our budget and ideas, another expanding on this for a slightly increased budget and a third plan showing what he could do if given free reign and a considerably larger budget. We fell in love with the third plan and just had to go with it. 

kikiandkyle Posted 26 Sep 2013 , 1:29am
post #21 of 24

AThat's always a great way to upsell.

Cher2309b Posted 26 Sep 2013 , 1:37am
post #22 of 24

Thanks, justdesserts. Perhaps you've discovered a new and delicious flavour combination.


I agree with you about the simple and clean lines. I think I was doing pretty well with the ganache but then I botched up the fondant on the top tier (20cm square and 10cm high). Will redo it using the panel method with trims over the joins. I'll probably do the larger tier the same way.


I was rushed and stressed. There are some crazy, but unavoidable restrictions: I can only work in the caterer's kitchen and with some strict time restraints. Can't do anything now until Saturday night at 7pm and can work as long as I like up to nearly 11am Sunday. The caterers are doing an all-nighter and have to leave for the wedding at 11am Sunday. 


I have never decorated on soft fondant before. I am used to the luxury of being able to do everything in my own time and have always had the cakes ready at least the day before the event.

Cher2309b Posted 29 Sep 2013 , 11:54pm
post #24 of 24

Thank you everyone for your input.The wedding was last night. The bride loved the cake, as did the groom, for whom it was a surprise.

I'm so relieved! (It's certainly not perfect but I managed to cover up most of the blemishes.

All the best,











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