It wasn’t ‘strawberry enough’: my negative thought spiral - Professional Cake Maker and Decorator | Commie’s Cupcakes

Now this little story takes place back in the early days when I was transitioning my cake hobby into an actual business.

At the time, I didn’t want to admit that to myself, because that meant things were getting ‘too real’. 

*Shakes head at past me* 

Newsflash: when money exchanges hands, you. are. a. business. It’s as simple as that. The sooner you embrace it, the better.

Anyway, I digress! Back to the story…

I accepted payment for an order of 12 minnie-mouse themed cupcakes for a little girl’s 6th birthday. My lovely client, who I’ll call Melissa, heard about me through a friend of a friend. She specifically requested fresh strawberry buttercream. Yum! 

It was my first time making fresh strawberry buttercream, but I was feeling pretty damn confident. I was following a recipe – so I was safe – and I purchased two punnets of fresh in-season strawberries – they tasted delish!

I added the strawberries into my buttercream and went to taste test…

…but I couldn’t really taste the strawberries in the buttercream at all. 

I panicked slightly, but pulled myself together. My eyes darted to the time and I breathed a sigh of relief. Melissa was due to pick up the order at 10am…it was now 8:30am. I had time to fix this! 

I zipped out to the shops, bought two more punnets of strawberries and incorporated them into my mixture. I go in for the taste test…

…and no go. The strawberry taste was stronger, but I felt it wasn’t strong and ‘strawberry enough’ to be classified as ‘strawberry buttercream’.

I looked at the time and Melissa was due to pick up the order in 45 minutes. I didn’t have time to buy more strawberries.

Crap. This was it. I was going to fail.

She SPECIFICALLY requested strawberry buttercream and I couldn’t deliver. 

I was so upset with myself. This was one of my first ‘proper’ paid orders and I’d already stuffed it up. Why did I think I could do this?? 

I decorated the cupcakes with dread. 

I heard a knock on the door and expected to see Melissa, but she had instead sent her husband to pick up the cupcakes.

In typical male fashion, he accepted the cupcakes and left without any comment. So I didn’t even get the satisfaction of hearing ‘wow the cupcakes look great!’ to make me feel better about the whole situation.

So after he left, I crashed on the couch feeling dejected. I thought ‘Why am I doing this, why am I taking orders when I can’t even get these little things right. They’re going to bite into those cupcakes at any moment now and realise they don’t taste like strawberries.’

After giving myself a good tongue lashing, I waited and braced myself to receive a complaint email. It was ‘only a matter of time’, I thought.

I checked my emails everyday, expecting to see that dreaded email. Soon, two week’s had gone by and I still hadn’t heard anything.

No negative reviews or complaints…but no compliments either. Nothing.

I accepted the fact that my cakes probably sucked and they perhaps didn’t want to say anything to me about it. And admittedly, I was too chicken to ask for feedback  – I couldn’t face the answer if it was negative.

So about two years pass…

I’m officially ‘in business’ and I posted a photo on Facebook advertising my Valentine’s Day cupcake range.

And then unexpectedly, I received this comment on my post: “These look great! I ordered a dozen minnie-mouse cupcakes a year or two back, they were all eaten before I could try any,” – ah damn –  “,they were a hit! Everyone said they tasted amazing! Would highly recommend.”

I froze. I couldn’t believe it. 

After all that time believing I had failed and stuffed up that cupcake order…and it turns out these cupcakes were a massive hit! 

I actually screamed in delight. 

It made my day, and it was a relief to finally have that closure. 

But…that whole situation made me realise that I needed to break away from my ‘spiralling’ negative thought patterns and to stop forming negative assumptions.

At the time, I was CONVINCED I had ruined that cake order because it wasn’t ‘strawberry enough’. But it turns out, I had invented that whole situation in my head. I had blown everything WAY out of proportion. It didn’t reflect reality at all.

It wasn’t healthy.

And…I think many of us are guilty of these same negative thoughts. 

I share this story in the hopes to spread awareness and instil a mindset change for cake decorators. 

We need to learn to love ourselves and appreciate our talents. We need to learn to look at a situation objectively and ground ourselves in reality. 

We are talented. We are strong. We are capable of more than we think.

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