Dealing With A Disappointing Cake. How Do You Get Past It?

Lounge By CoinUK Updated 31 Jul 2015 , 3:22am by bubs1stbirthday

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CoinUK Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 4:59pm
post #1 of 27

So I did a cake and I'm really disappointed with it. 

I'm just an amateur home enthusiast and I know not all cakes are going to come out right, but so far I've been generally happy with the cakes I've done for people up until this one.

It was "just" for a friend at work and I only ever ask for the money to cover the ingredients. I'm happy to do the cakes as I just love doing them, so I don't ask for anything else for them.

thing is, this is the first time I've done a cake where the decorating has been a disaster. Every single thing I tried to do with it just went badly. It was a basketball LA Lakers cake for a Lakers fan here in the UK. The colour of the basketball was wrong, no matter how much colouring I added to it. The basket I made looked amateurish and like something designed by a 5 year old.

I tried to make the Lakers logo out of fondant and no matter how many times I tired, it just wouldn't work so I ended up settling for the just the L shape and even that was poor. The fondant I use is great for covering a cake and tastes lovely, but is just soooo damn soft it's dreadful for any kind of modelling work. I left a piece out by mistake and after an hour was still ridiculously soft so whenever I tried to cut it with the template, it just pulled and tore.

Overall, I'm seriously unhappy with how the cake looked and felt embarrassed to give it my friend.

So, how do I get past this? I feel really let down with it all and want to chuck all my baking stuff in the bin! Has anyone else felt like this after making a cake for a friend or a customer? 

26 replies
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Jinkies Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 5:14pm
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First off, I guarantee you, it's not as bad as you think.  And, yes, we've all been there.  

I had a graduation cake this spring that I, seriously, had a meltdown over.  I probably lost several years off my life from the stress of this stupid cake.  All I could see was the flaws.

When I delivered it, the client did not want to open the box and see it, said she "trusted me".  Now, I'm really a wreck because I'm wondering what she thought when she opened the box.  She paid a lot of money for this cake.  

Later in the day, I get an email saying, Thank you soooo much, the cake is perfect!  I'll definitely be back next year for my other kids grad cake!".

I almost fell out of my chair.  BUT, when I looked back at the pics (which I almost didn't take), I realized it really was a nice cake.  I just had so many issues with it that it was a bad experience and I hated the cake.  

So, again, I guarantee you, your friend loved the cake and it was much better than you think and feel right now.

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-K8memphis Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 7:15pm
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i've laid my fair share of stinky goose egg cakes -- i console myself with the fact that



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Brookebakescake Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 7:29pm
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Ditto what jinkies and K8memphis said.  Usually we are our worst critic ;)

Get back on the horse quickly and make another cake.  Take your time and really enjoy making this one without the stress of having to please anyone.  You'll get your love back.

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Webake2gether Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 7:38pm
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Your not alone I'm in the same boat today actually my husband did a great job in getting the cake iced I smoothed it out all was well until....we couldn't figure out what design to do our plan was to put the company logo on the cake but couldn't bc our printer broke. So here we are with a white sheet cake with yellow borders (company colors are yellow and black) this was going to be a surprise cake thanking the body shop for helping us and making the process of fixing our car (2 times in 6weeks) yes my car was hit twice in that time anyways they are awesome so we wanted to thank them.  I jacked up the thank you and wasn't pleased with sunflowers on a body shop cake. So instead of taking it to the body shop it went to our church they love sweets and won't even notice all the things I think are wrong it's free cake. Oh and it cracked a little when I moved it (we forgot to reinforce the board rookie mistake lol) so I hang my head today and hope the next sheet cake isn't a disaster. I'll show you and you can feel better about your cake :) 

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CoinUK Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 7:41pm
post #6 of 27

Thanks for the comments, all :)

I'm fighting the urge to go back in the kitchen and re-make the cake, just to prove to myself I can do it right! :D

I've got my next cake in a few weeks for my sons birthday, got plans for that, think I'll have a go at making my own fondant before hand, see if I can make it any firmer than the stuff I use. Wish it was a little easier/cheaper to get good fondant here in the UK!

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Brookebakescake Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 7:43pm
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I like the simple mmf with just mini marshmallows and powdered sugar.  Give it a go and have some fun with it.

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Pastrybaglady Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 7:59pm
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Jinkies is so right.  I made a cake and it looked so blah to me.  In the last hour befor pick up I kept trying to add to it to jazz it up.  I still wasn't happy.  The family came to pick up the cake and they loved it.  I just closed the door and breathed a sigh of relief.  Take a breath, know what you want to improve and move on.

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-K8memphis Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 8:34pm
post #9 of 27

going through this is part of the process -- i'm not saying it makes you better -- i'm not saying it doesn't sting like a bad burn -- just part of being creative -- 

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th97 Posted 27 Jul 2015 , 9:29pm
post #10 of 27

This was totally me this weekend!  I was so disappointed with a cake I made, I couldn't sleep the night before it was delivered and I felt sick to my stomach.  There wasn't anything really wrong with it, it was just - I thought - quite disappointingly bland.

But then when I delivered it the lady said that she thought it was 'stunning' and I thought, OK she is just being polite but the next day I got a lovely message saying how everyone loved it and she would definitely be using my services again!  All that stress for *nothing*.  We really are our own worst critics.

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carolinecakes Posted 28 Jul 2015 , 4:09am
post #11 of 27

Ditto what everyone has said...I feel your pain, I am also a hobby baker/decorater, my undoing was the Patron Cake in my gallery. I wrestled that night with my fondant, Satan's Ice, and discovered I had muscles in places I never knew existed. Everything thing that could go wrong with fondant played out that night. I ended up redoing the fondant using what I had left which was not enough to cover the cake, and ended up doing patch work in the back of the cake.  I swore it was my last cake, never again..... My dear friend whose daughter I made the cake for loved it, sent me pics of her hugging it....I broke down.

The moral of the story is because of that nightmare I discovered Michelle Foster's Fondant right here on CC. It is more economical to make and it works like a dream.  I buy the glycerine in bulk on amazon. I will never buy ready made fondant again. Whats more is, I even used this fondant to make my own gumpaste when I made  gumpaste flowers for the first time. Trying adding some Tylose Powder to your fondant,( you can knead it in), when you are making figures, plaques etc. It dries up firm. A trick I learned on here also is, when you are pressed for time, you can dry your pieces in the oven with the oven light on only. The heat from the bulb dries out the pieces,works every time. I know there are fabulous cakes in your future, why? Its what we do, we make dreams from sugar and spice and all things.......

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bubs1stbirthday Posted 28 Jul 2015 , 4:44am
post #12 of 27

This happens to me almost every time I decorate a cake - I look at it and it doesn't look anything like I pictured in my head :-( We are our own worst enemies a lot of the time.

It is so much worse for me though when I actually am happy with a cake like the one below for my grandma and then when I talk to her afterwards to see what she thought she says 'it was fine'. haha - way to make your opinion sting Grandma.


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Jinkies Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 1:12pm
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@bubs1stbirthday  Beautiful cake, I bet grandma bragged to all her friends about it the next day :)

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-K8memphis Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 4:58pm
post #14 of 27

you know she did -- what jinkies said

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Natka81 Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 6:01pm
post #15 of 27

55b914fc6d858.jpegYou are not alone. I finished this cake  couple hour ago.  Ugh, I don`t like it. Now I see I could do better job. It is for my 5 year old niece. I am sure she will love it anyway. She wanted fairy sitting on flower.

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Pastrybaglady Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 6:15pm
post #16 of 27

I think what we forget is that normal people don't spend their time looking at perfectly gorgeous and detailed cakes on CC like we do.  We judge ourselves by the standards of excellence we see here. Regular people have no idea!

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Webake2gether Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 9:47pm
post #17 of 27

@Pastrybaglady  I never thought of it that way before. I do seriously see the cakes on here and work towards creating cakes (and other items) that are perfect. But I also need to realize I'm new and it didn't happen over night for most bakers. The cake I hated was a huge hit at the church. I went to pick my boys up from vbs and the pastor hugged me and said that was awesome cake lol. Maybe they didn't even pay attention to how it looked or forgot about how it looked once they tasted it. Whatever  the case may be we are our own worst critics and most of us will have cakes that are less than perfect (in our eyes) but we have great ones too I need to remember those more lol. 

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jgifford Posted 29 Jul 2015 , 11:23pm
post #18 of 27

Webake2gether - - I would have been thrilled with your cake as well.  I don't believe I've ever seen icing that smooth - - it looks like a sheet of paper! You did a wonderful job!

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bubs1stbirthday Posted 30 Jul 2015 , 10:07am
post #19 of 27

Haha - I wish that she had but she truly thought it was 'just fine' - she can be a cantankerous old lady.  

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Webake2gether Posted 30 Jul 2015 , 12:36pm
post #20 of 27

@jgifford  Thanks!!! That's the part I like the most is smoothing them out. I can really focus my obsessive energy into something :)  

@bubs1stbirthday  My grandma is the same way. She raves if my husband makes her something or she thinks he made it but its always ok or that's nice if she knows I did it lol. But I know she has said lots of good things about us to others but never to me just her way I guess I've learned not expect anything different and I'm ok with that :) 

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SweetShop5 Posted 30 Jul 2015 , 1:41pm
post #21 of 27

@Pastrybaglady   That is VERY true! I try to tell myself that constantly when I'm not entirely satisfied with a cake. Of course, there's always the very picky customers, but most of them don't see the details that we do. Its tough to keep that in mind though ;) I'm sure everyone here is a perfectionist when it comes to cake decorating!

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-K8memphis Posted 30 Jul 2015 , 2:05pm
post #22 of 27

no not me -- i'm not at all a perfectionist when it comes to caking -- life's too short for that --

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writezoe Posted 30 Jul 2015 , 5:53pm
post #23 of 27

Me too... what you all said. My worst cake was for some folks that had won a voucher I donated (for a cake) at my church's silent auction. They wanted it for their college reunion (Penn State). The logo turned out ok, frozen buttercream transfer, but my lettering is terrible. They seemed to like it a lot, sent me a nice note. I have my first wedding cake in October. She's a friend of mine and I'm only charging her the cost of materials but I'm SOOO nervous!

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LeanneW Posted 30 Jul 2015 , 7:15pm
post #24 of 27

All this advice is so good and very true. You are your worst critic and others never notice flaws like you do.  I understand when you care so much about something you're so emotional abut it, you can't think rationally.

I took an order for a wedding cake once that left me wondering what I was thinking. They wanted a buttercream cake that was covered in impressions all around the cake. The inspo pics they brought in were all of fondant cakes, but they REALLY wanted BC. I usually work in IMBC, which you may know won't really work for an impression mat. So I decide I will work with crusting BC for the very first time on a $600 wedding cake. What was I thinking?

I could not get the BC smooth, it was a disaster. The impressions looked so messy to me. I was so embarrassed when I delivered it. I drove home crying, thinking of ways to tell my husband that I quit my cake business. I decided I was going to give the couple a full refund b/c I was convinced I ruined their wedding. I didn't even take a picture of the cake. As I am working up the guts to call them in the days following the wedding, I get a phone call from the bride's mother. I answered it fully prepared with apologies and the offer of a refund. But CRAZY, she called to gush about how awesome the cake was and everyone loved it. I just humbly thanked her and decided I wouldn't agree to a design that was out of my reach ever again.

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bubs1stbirthday Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 2:20am
post #25 of 27

How are you guys tagging people in posts?

Webake2gether you are right on there, when I think about it if my husband even does something small for her she always thanks him and tells people he was so good to do it for her, even though sometimes I have done most of the work and he has just helped in the final stages (such as me buying/edging all of the lace curtains in her new unit  as a surprise for her and he just helped me hang them and screwed the brackets into the wall ) and often would 'forget' to thank me for it lol. I figure that at the age she is now she can get away with it :-)

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Pastrybaglady Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 2:39am
post #26 of 27


To tag you use the @ sign in front of the the member's screen name.  Type slowly and you may have to wait a little bit and then a drop down list will appear with possible member's names.  You click on the one you want and it is tagged.  It's a little finicky sometimes and takes a couple of tries.

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bubs1stbirthday Posted 31 Jul 2015 , 3:22am
post #27 of 27

@Pastrybaglady  thanks :-) I was going too fast for it before I think.

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