Vent- Are My Cakes That Bad?

Decorating By 0TNIC Updated 22 Dec 2008 , 10:54pm by RobzC8kz

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0TNIC Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 6:46pm
post #1 of 37

I was talking with a friend the other day and she quite rudely told me my cakes wernt good.

The convo went like this...

Her- Have you done any cake decorating courses?
Me- Not yet theres none in the area
Her- Well i think you should- Your cakes aint that great i didnt get what i expected and Annette wasnt happy with her ballet cake either. The shoes looked like slippers and not ballet shoes...

I thought that was REALLY rude of her she then went on to say that she thinks she could do better and that she might have to find a course and see how great she is...

I was sooo annoyed that she said that and that our other friend Had not told me herself she wasnt happy with the cake. She still hasnt paid me as she had to go away to see her sick mum and her hubby was at home with the kids for the daughters party... shes now avoiding me for payment.
Honest opinions are welcome. I have only been doing cakes for just over a year and have not done any formal classes or anything. I have learnt everything myself.

Photos are in my album

36 replies
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Malakin Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 6:59pm
post #2 of 37

Ok, I did check your photos first. Believe me, I'm not a professional either and have only been doing these for approximately a year. First off, for self taught and not having any classes or experts show you, you have accomplished a lot. You have dedication and preseverance. Seems someone else might be jealous, definitely doesn't have any idea what they wanted in the first place, and no, guess what, you couldn't do any better so have at it and do your own next time.
Now, in all honesty, and you did want honest opinion, the ballet shoes/slippers, did look more like slippers. I say this only because the ribbons that cross the ballet shoe would have made it so much more realistic.
So, seems to me, without her paying, you should be the one complaining to her and not the other way around. Next time, get your money first. Then they can tell you when you deliver they don't like it instead of waiting so long.

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stephaniescakenj Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 7:01pm
post #3 of 37

Well it was incredibly rude of your friend to address it in such a manner and I might question how good a friend she actually is if I were you.
But, that being said, you asked for honest opinions, right? Some of the cakes are a little rough around the edges. There are a few that are very pretty like the pink gift box and the pink tiered cake but then others where the buttercream is pretty rough. But it all takes practice, the more you do, the better you get at it. I learned just about everything I know from reading books and practicing...

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CakeMakar Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 7:07pm
post #4 of 37

First off, I think the ballet shoes are cute and knew immediately that they were dance shoes, not sleep ones.

Second, if she agreed to pay you for the cake, then she owes you. PERIOD. In future, you should get payment ahead of time to avoid these issues. Then you can decide if she deserves a refund, not her deciding if you deserve payment.

Third, what a rude, untactful, b-word. This is not a "friend."

Your cakes could use a little more finish & polish. It looks like the recipe you use for cake may be a little too soft. Try a more dense cake or chill your cakes in the freezer for a bit before applying fondant. Buy a fondant smoother if you don't have one or use a ball of fondant to go over smaller areas. You are well on your way however! Please ignore this woman and continue to do what you like!

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Sandy2008 Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 7:12pm
post #5 of 37

I think you do have talent and your "friend" is jealous. Friends like that, you don't need. Keep up the cake biz, you're doing fine.

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Stefy Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 7:40pm
post #6 of 37

First let me say that there is a nice way for friends to be honest with each other and a mean way. If your friend talked to you like you depict than I really think the bigger problem is you sitting your friend down and explaining to her that although you appreciate her honesty, the way she went about it hurt your feelings.

Now, about your cakes - you did ask for honest opinions. They do look a little rough around the edges, especially the buttercream ones. On several, you can see the cake coming through the buttercream. Also, I don't think the pictures do your cakes any favors - a lot of them are dark and unclear.

BUT, I think with a little more practice and maybe a few cake decorating classes you are well on the way to becoming a wonderful decorator. You definitely have the talent, it just needs to be fine tuned.

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KeltoKel Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 7:55pm
post #7 of 37

You are a hobby decorator. I am also a hobby decorator. I have taken classes but haven't quite mastered the art. I know I am not ready to open up a shop and sell my cakes - although some people do want to buy from me.

With that being said, we are not close to the masters that we have on this site - toedna, antonia74, and so many other experts. Their cakes are amazing and we just aren't in the same league.

If you can take classes, or rent videos, I do recommend it. There is always room for improvement. If you made the cakes as gifts, then your friends should be grateful. I don't feel you are ready to sell your cakes just yet.

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Fairytale Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 8:03pm
post #8 of 37

I'm a self taught cake decorator too. It's taken my years to reach my current level, and I still have a lot to learn. It just takes practice, and some good books. I think people should be honest, but there is a constructive way to do that. Don't be discouraged. Sometimes I look at my work and absolutely hate it. Cake decorating is an never ending learning process. Most important, enjoy yourself.

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sweet_teeth Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 8:05pm
post #9 of 37

I am in the same boat as you.. no classes or formal training. I started in July so I know what it's like to have to learn it all on your own. That being said, a friend needs to support you. You are doing great and every cake i'm sure your technique improves. I understand someone giving your critique, but I think it should be when you ask for it.. and it should be constructive.. not demeaning. Keep your spirits up!

Here is my constructive critique: I think on some of then your workmanship can get a little sloppy. This is what I'm always fighting with my cakes. I get so excited about a design that I just want to get it all done and gloat around about my final product.. and sometimes the quality of all my designs suffer from this. Just make sure to make sure each thing you put on your cake is the best quality you can make it. Make sure your bows have enough time to dry to get the full "fluffy" effect of a loopy ribbon bow, make sure your buttercream is as smooth as you can get it, but most importantly.. keep it up! Your cakes are beautiful. Do not let a a mean spirited comment put you down!

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miss_sweetstory Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 8:11pm
post #10 of 37

You are learning and your pictures show that you are improving...well done.

Friends like those really aren't friends at all. Friends offer constructive feedback in a sensitive way. Friends pay their friends when they owe them money. Consider cutting these two loose and finding some new friends that share your interest in cake can learn from and support each other.

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sweet_teeth Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 8:13pm
post #11 of 37

I forgot to add..

Sugarshacks DVD's are VERY informative, not expensive, and an essential tool to help climb to that next level. I have never taken a Wilton class but I hear that you learn 10x more with these DVD's than you do at the classes.

She inspires you to reach perfection (not possible.. but boy does she get close!!) as well as gives all of her little tips and tricks that have taken her many many years to figure out. I can't believe the wealth of information I learn from watching those DVD's.. I got them last week and have watched them atleast 3 times. Each time I watch them I pick up a bit more!

Best of luck fellow CC'er icon_smile.gif

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Price Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 8:20pm
post #12 of 37

Sometimes people don't always mean for things to sound the way they come out. Once something has been said, it can't be taken back. Try not to let 1 comment discourage you. You said there was no place close for you to take classes. I took the Wilton classes 1&2 and everything else I have learned has been from reading books, DVD's and the help of the helpful sharing people on CC. For getting nice, perfectly smooth Icing and fondant I recommend Sugarshack's DVDs. I really like Jennifer Dontz's DVDs too. Just keep practicing whenever you have the chance. I am only a hobbiest, so I don't get as much practice as I would like, but I have found, practice makes almost perfect ----sometimes!! icon_lol.gif

Hang in there. I looked at your gallery and your work is very good.

Good Luck to you.

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sugarwishes Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 8:20pm
post #13 of 37

Your doing a great job considering you are self taught, as am I. Your cakes are not terrible, I think you just need more practice. I've only been doing cakes for a couple months with no classes either, so I know how hard it can be, just keep practicing.

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CakeWhizz Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 8:30pm
post #14 of 37

I agree with everyone and would like to say that Rome wasn't built in a day, so don't be too hard on yourself. You can only improve with practice and by learning. I HIGHLY recommend Sugarshacks's DVDs. They are relatively inexpensive and I think of it as having the opportunity to acess her many years of skill and experience without having to go through the pain icon_smile.gif. It might be worth your while getting some books from Amazon too. Try to take some classes if you can. It might mean sacrificing a number of things but a good class can save you the pain of figuring things out yourself. For instance, although I live in the UK, I scrimp and scrape so I can come over to the US every couple of years to attend a show or a class and they are often worth every penny. Please don't feel too discouraged and do keep at it.

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flowers40 Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 8:33pm
post #15 of 37

1st off, when people in this arena say honest critizime welcome, I hear: I'm feeling a little uncertain about my talents, and I need some reassurance. What you usually get is a mixed bag. Some good comments and some not so good. Usually the suggestions are in the direction of the things you thought you where pretty strong in. I think, deep down we all know our weaknesses. And if we were not looking for positive reinforcement, non of us would ever post our pictures here. Because we wouldn't give a care what anyone thought about them. We are all looking to get to the top of the page, right. 2nd, its easy to critciize someone or something if you have never walked a mile in their shoes or tried to accomplish what they have attemped. Your freind may or may not be jelous of your talents, but is speaking from a ignorant point of view. She has never attempted to put the time and effort into truely decorating a cake, and I suspect if she ever did, she would probably give up before she finished. And if she did finish, she would have new respect for your talents. And you are talented, so don't allow anyone to make you feel uncertain about your talents and goals. And your goal is to continually get better and that only happens over time. There are a few people on this site and in this world that are just born with the talent of being a awesome cake decorator, for the rest of us it takes work and practice, practice, practice. So join the club! Also, life is negative enough without us surronding ourselves with negative people, limit your contact with this person.

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indydebi Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 9:09pm
post #16 of 37
Originally Posted by 0TNIC

Her- Have you done any cake decorating courses?
Me- Not yet theres none in the area.......

she then went on to say that she thinks she could do better and that she might have to find a course and see how great she is...

So what I'm reading here, is that you told her there were no classes in the area but SHE is going to take a class (that isn't offered in the area) so she can waltz in and SHOW them how great she is.

Oh. Brother!!! Some people have an inflated sense of their own talent! icon_eek.gif

I am also a 100% self-taught decorator. Never took a class, never bought a video or DVD. Closest thing I ever came to a "lesson" was the great tutorials and advice here on CC. (The thing that led me to CC was stumbling across the FBCT tutorial while doing a general web search for something else.)

I looked at your photos and I see a definite progression in your work. Mom's 50th Birthday has very smooth icing on the tops ..... QUITE a difference from the non-smooth icing on your First Cake pic. thumbs_up.gif The only reason I notice the odd heights of the three cakes is because the ribbon is very very wide, making the different heights of exposed cake very noticeable. Elmo and Clifford's cupcakes are super cute with good detail, as is the Elmo cake. You have the same problem I do .... handwriting. (My free-hand writing is TERRIBLE!). Invest in some letter presses for good looking handwriting. Your chocolate ladybug cake is done very well .... smooth icing on top, and the border designs are spaced well; nice and even.

As previously mentioned, some of the cakes look like they have some rough edges, but that just shows that you are somewhat of a beginner. We all had cakes like that and with time and practice, we all improved.

So stick with CC, read every thread that pops up (for years, I avoided doing anything fondant, but I still read most of the fondant threads. So when I was ready to dive in, I felt prepared by all of this "research"!), and practice practice practice.

And bear in mind .......

When someone does their craft very well, they make it look easy and therefore everyone thinks they can do it, too. So in a sense, take your friend's snide and rude comments as a compliment ..... you make it look easy so she thinks she can just slide in and do it as well or better. Keep working your craft while she works her mouth. Only ONE of you will end up with positive results! thumbs_up.gif

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lmpedersen Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 9:11pm
post #17 of 37

Can someone tell me where to find the DVDs that are being recommended?


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meganmo27 Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 9:26pm
post #18 of 37

I, too, am self taught. I have been lucky enough to have found this site and a very generous bakery owner who is willing to give me tips when I come in to his shop.
We all start as novices, no matter what we're doing. It takes a long time to become an expert. as a wise person once told me (my mom icon_lol.gif ) matter how long you've been doing something you can still learn something new every day. If you're not learning then you're not getting better. (thanks mom icon_lol.gif )
I think that your cakes are great! You show lots of creativity!! And your cakes are getting better!
I started decorating cakes about 1 year ago. I am amazed at how much better I've gotten!
So, keep your chin up! If you are doing something that you love then stick with it and don't let anyone discourage you!
As for your "friend" who doesn't want to pay you. I would send her a bill. And now you've learned your lesson about asking for payment in advance icon_biggrin.gif

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IcedTea4Me2 Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 9:36pm
post #19 of 37

I am a newbie, also, and I can understand your frustration. I think, as many have already said, this "friend" is no friend. Tact is important in any relationship and she doesn't have it. I get disappointed with my work sometimes, with how long it takes me to do something, with the "idea" of the cake in my head and how it actually ends up looking when I'm done. The one thing I keep telling myself is I know I'm getting better and better. I just want each cake to be a little better than the last. Your cakes do show your progression. That's what you want! Practice makes perfect. So, sift through the comments that people throw your way and keep what feeds your soul. Healthy criticism is needed. Hurtful criticism is not.

Heck, I thought I hit a milestone the other day when I deleted my first uploaded photo because I couldn't stand to look at it anymore. I'll be deleting the chocolate wonder next as I add to my collection. thumbs_up.gif

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indydebi Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 9:45pm
post #20 of 37
Originally Posted by IcedTea4Me2

I'll be deleting the chocolate wonder next as I add to my collection. thumbs_up.gif

No, don't delete them! It's how we keep track of our progression. And I have referred to my bad ones as "don't do it this way!" to some folks! icon_lol.gif

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sari66 Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 10:03pm
post #21 of 37

lmpederson, you can find sugarshacks dvd's at

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lmpedersen Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 10:10pm
post #22 of 37

Thank you!

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tarheelgirl Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 10:31pm
post #23 of 37

Keep up the good work!! Don't let your "friend" discourage you.. I find that this is what drives me to perfect the art of cakes!!! When you get criticism try to find out what you can do to make it better. Your friend was rude and very mean to say it in such a manner. I bet with each cake you do it will get easier and easier. I am self taught also.. never had any training or degree in cakes. Just keep reading the forums and watch every tutorial on CC you can find. Experiment with different techniques and you may not get it the first time but keep going!!! If this is something you really want and love doing then don't let her bring you down!

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Galler Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 11:44pm
post #24 of 37

I totally agree with tarheelgirl! Don't get discouraged!!! Every time I make a buttercream creation I really try not to get discouraged...I suck at it...but I keep trying...and I think I am getting better each time I do one. Coming from a novice like myself with no training, learning everything from youtube and cc I think your cakes are great! They are a work in progress, and I think you are getting better with every cake (as I hope I am)!

Don't give up!!!! I won't if you won't!

BTW here is a great thread to read "MY CAKES AREN'T PEFECT AND I DON'T CARE!!!!!"

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SugarBakerz Posted 21 Dec 2008 , 11:56pm
post #25 of 37

I looked at your gallery as well and I think you are doing just fine. Everyone starts somewhere. I have been doing this for a few years now and I am no where near the level and talent of some others (well most others). I notice you have already tackled 3D with your monkey, that took me a couple of years. I think you should distance yourself from your "friend" and keep your chin up. Your work is fine and she is just resentful that she isn't doing it. Not everyone can decorate a cake!!!!

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tcakes65 Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 12:01am
post #26 of 37

Your friend could have been a little more tactful. Friends can be the worst to deal with when it comes to cakes. With only one year under your belt, your friend should be a little more understanding in regard to you learning your craft.

I too am self-taught, and it took me three years to get where I am today. It takes lots of time, practice, and dedication. As others have said, you can definitely see the progression in your cakes. Don't let your friend discourage you. The more cakes you do, the better you will get. Remember we all have to start some place, and you're definitely on the right track.

Obviously your friends have seen your work before, and knew what they were getting. I recommend seeking payment for your cake. There is no reason for your friend to think she's entitled to a free cake. If it were me, it wouldn't do another cake for either of these friends in the future.

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mommakristin Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 12:02am
post #27 of 37

I like you, am a self taught decorator. I have yet to take a course. I honestly have not had the time to take one. Obviously this girl and the friend that is bad mouthing you are not your friends to begin with. Otherwise they would support you not bring you down. Everyone has to start somewhere and no matter what she thinks you do have talent. It does take time to perfect it. I still do not get my buttercream perfect. I am so much more comfortable working with fondant than anything.

Don't take a word these two "buzzkills" have to say. Keep practicing and one day they will want a creation by you and you will be able to turn them down due to having too many other orders!!!

You really should invest in the Sugarshack's DVD collection on buttercream. stacking cakes, and fondant.. They are the greatest investment I have made yet. I didn't think I needed them but once I did get them I don't know now what I would do without them!!! I am about to order her new DVDs she is coming out with!!! Sharon is a great teacher and a great advice giver too!!! She does get on here and is very happy to give advice when you need it!!!

Good luck with your cakes and keep on baking!!!

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Rikki0422 Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 12:33am
post #28 of 37

Wow, its nice to see all the self taught cake decorators! icon_biggrin.gif I am also a self taught decorator. Honey, everybody has weaknesses when it comes to talent. You will always do some things better than others, it just takes time to develop your own style and skills. I have been decorating "on and off" since I was about 10 years old, and made my first wedding cake at 14. (Ok icon_confused.gif I just got depressed thinking of how long ago that was, lol) From the first time I held a decorating bag, I knew this was a GOD given gift. Seems like you have that feeling too, so keep practicing and learning new things! Cake decorating and I have a "love/hate relationship" so when I get tired, I just stop cold turkey! (My clients hate it! icon_wink.gif ) But don't be discouraged, you'll be a pro in no time. Just keep up with the ideas and info on this site, it has saved me many times! By the way, your ipod cake is super cute thumbs_up.gif

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0TNIC Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 4:51am
post #29 of 37

Thanks guys this is what i needed to hear.

I know im not a professional and i have told everyone who asks that i am still learning and therefor dont expect the world of me. Im also basically giving the cakes away (they pay for the ingredients) while i get the practice.

I seem to have trouble with baking the cakes and finding a suitable buttercream to work with.

Often products in the better buttercreams ive seen in recipes you cant get here in new zealand and i cant buy overseas anymore as i dont have a creditcard.

I will be seeing this other girl tonight and i feel really stink in asking her for money but i was thinking that i would say to her to give me half of what i said as it wasnt what she expected.
I wont be making another cake for her tho. Orgininally she wanted a ballerina with her hands over her head with pointy shoes etc and there was no way i felt iu had enough talent for that one.

people know im a beginner and it takes years it just feels that these girls expected so much more from me.

As for the cake decorating courses. The closest one is a 50 min drive and is held at night time. Im guessing shes going to leave her hubby and 3 kids to go and do this course when its on. Otherwise shes full of crap!

Again thanks for your words everyone and i appreciate your comments!

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dg10148 Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 5:52am
post #30 of 37

I took all of the classes and I think I learned more here then in any of the classes. I was asked to do a birthday cake for my mom my sisters all 6 of them wanted to come over when I decorated it so they could see how I made my cakes{really bad idea} I said OK and when I started the basket weave they all said that was so easy they could do that so I handed the dec bag over to them and told them to do it after they all had a turn they handed the bag back to me and said they were sorry they ruined the cake I had to take the icing off and start over . They learned there lesson and said they now appreciate what I do. So keep up the good work and get rid of the so called friend

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