Feel the cake fear and do it anyway!

Cake disastersI want to share something with you. I get scared before I make any new cake. There. I said it! It’s not a confidence thing or an experience thing. It’s a perfectionist thing. I want each cake to be worthy of a customer at Fortnum and Mason. I want the birthday boy to say ‘Wow’. I want the anniversary couple to say “It’s too good to cut” and that’s the fear that holds me back each time.

Let’s chat

I’ve had loads and loads of new comments and questions on the blog this week on different posts from the past, some about measurements, some about how to sugarpaste a specific design and most had this common fear. The aprehension we amateurs all feel just before we are about to slice a cake in half- “Eeeek I hope it cuts level” or shape it, – “Is it going to be even on both sides?” (in my case probably not!). “How on earth am I going to get the arms to stick on the sides without them falling off”. “How many road bumps are there on the way to the party?”. With a cake in the boot it’s a very slow ride – hands up who’s been there, done that? But mostly the fear comments this week been about baking big cakes for the first time.

So, I’m putting it out there. It’s a fear of the unknown and we’ve all been there. It doesn’t go away with experience. I’ve been making cakes for 4- 5 years now and I still get nervous when I have a new or tricky design to work out. But what I will say is I have learnt to plan waaaay in advance (Tim stop laughing. I said plan not start!) and that you have to actually cut the cake to get the shape not just stand there and stare at it so ‘Just do it’. You have to slice a cake in two to add buttercream so,  ‘Just do it‘. Just don’t think about what could go wrong and get that knife out and slice! Do it, do it , DO IT!!!

So, what are your biggest fears when cake baking, slicing and decorating? I’d love to know. Why not post a comment below and share your fears?

Oh and by the way the pics above are just a few of my flops, wonky cakes and cakes with bits that have fallen off on route – wedding cake included!!


  1.  My poor nephew Asher! It always seems to be his cakes that get the rough treatment. This is the castle cake I made for him last year. I couldn’t get the turrets to stick and stand upright and by the time I had cut it out there wasn’t as much cake as I wanted. This year he got a wonky Legoman. It’s a good job he loves me. 
  2. Dahlia’s ‘lets not think this through and try to deliver a cake already on a cake stand cake!’ I only had to drive one mile. I only got around the corner! 
  3. My little nephew Lawrence’s 1st birthday cake – steps to come soon. I couldn’t get the face to look cute. He just looked angry! 
  4. This is a coffee cake I made when my sister held a tea and cake charity afternoon. Hot cake + buttercream = big mess!!
  5. I made this cake for my sister in a big rush and the diamond ring and box were far too wonky! 
  6. How deep is this cake? Not at all! 
  7. Before I learnt how to stop a cake from doming. I used to have a lot of waste or should that be increased waist! 
  8. Shortbread. It’s my enemy when a mould is involved !!!!!
  9. This was a cake I made for my mum to take to her quilting class to celebrate  her 40th Wedding anniversary. Although I love the way the cake looks the ’40’ isn’t central or straight. It bothers me every time I see this pic. 
  10. The anniversary cake I made for my parents on their 40th Wedding anniversary for our family meal. It was supposed to be a replica of their wedding cake. Can you tell what it is? No it’s not a letter ‘U’. It’s a horse shoe…… honest! 


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EmmaMT from

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  1. I am so with you! My is not fear when I start, always excitement to begin with, but then I get halfway through and it doesn’t look as I want, can’t get the right shape/colour/finish etc. Nothing is ever how I imagine it in my head!
    And then that trepidation when it’s cut into and you genuinely have no idea if it’s going to be ok or not…
    The things we put ourselves through!! xx

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      I know! I’m usually okay once I get started, until Tim walks in and tells me it’s not straight! I always think ‘can I get away with it or hide it?’ but I always end up fixing it!

  2. Your cakes always look good, we’re always over critical of our own cakes! Just on point 7, how did you learn to stop the cake doming? I must have missed this post because i’ve certainly not learnt that trick yet!

    Rachel x

  3. Penny Longstaff says:

    How do u stop domeing? I think your cakes look lovely your to critical of your self

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      Yep. I’m definitely too critical of myself. I want to run before I can walk!

      I stop the doming by making sure that the cake is baked at the right temperature – if the oven is too hot the cake bakes too fast and that causes doming.
      I also have been placing a piece of baking paper with a hole in the middle over the cake when it’s baking for the first hour. This keeps it nice and flat while the hole allows the steam to escape. So far I’ve had great results.

      Hope that helps


  4. So with you. It is nice to know that I’m not the only one! Earlier this year I made a UFO cake. I put the madeira cake in the oven and luckily licked the spatula immediately it tasted foul I had forgotten to add the sugar! Luckily I didn’t cook and cover it! When I eventually made the cake my alien looked like an octopus. No doubt there’ll be more to follow!

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      I really thought you were going to say that you added salt instead of sugar!

      I have to turn off the radio and measure everything into bowls as I always used to leave out ingredients. I even count out loud when I am measuring tea spoons of ingredients into a bowl – just in case I forget how many I’ve done!

      Alien/octopus! Both sound good to me!


  5. Carole fish says:

    I thought it was only my husband that would walk through and say ” It’s not level” so demoralising. But from now on I will keep calm and carry on. Keep your lovely cakes coming.

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      Thanks Carole. x

  6. Lol!, no 2 is a classic!

  7. OMG, I had that exact issue with that exact shortbread mold! Not sure if anyone ever manages to get it out! Your other cakes are all beautiful, especially number four!

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      Ahhhh, so it’s not just me?!?!?!? So many people have given me different advice and recipes and nothing has worked.


  8. Claire Pegler says:

    Ha I read this after sitting down after decorating a two tier 21st b’day cake for the once little girl I was nanny too ….. I am incapable of cutting a cake level , wonky cakes everytime !! Any tips gratefully received ! I’m so cack handed every thing I slice of cut is wonky , levelling the tops too

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