Tag Archives: television

The ‘reality’ of cake…..

19 Jul

This posting is off of the beaten path for this blog.  Oh, and to clarify, this is just Frosting Chick’s opinions.  In fact, Fondant Chick may or may not have an opinion of this, I’m not sure.  She’s been on vacation and we haven’t had a chance to chat yet.  Anyway, on with my gripe.

Have you seen any of the new ‘reality’ cake shows popping up everywhere on t.v.?  DC Cupcakes, The Bakery Bunch, etc….  As a home baker, these shows are frustrating beyond belief.  First, a disclaimer…

I do not own, operate, or even participate in any kind of commercial bakery or reality show.  I like decorating cakes.  I like trying to do things out of frosting that I see on shows that say you can only do it in fondant.  I like pushing myself and seeing what kind of ideas I can come up with.  I like making cakes for folks who can’t afford $5/slice for an original cake.  I can’t be creative at the $ job, so I get to be creative in  my cake room.

Ok, so on with the gripe.

“The Bakery Bunch” on TLC.  A couple runs a California bakery while raising their 4 1/2 year old triplets.  WTF?  Are you serious?    What small biz baker, in their right mind, would convince a bride that instead of the cupcakes the bride wants, that her bakery will do 145 FONDANT COVERED MINI CAKES??????  All the while the hubby is bumbling around, taking care of the kids and the dogs (why do people who are overwhelmed by kids think it’s a great idea to throw pets in the mix, didn’t ya’ll learn anything from Kate Gosselin?)   Are you freakin’ serious?  And then pisses and moans that she got 18 hours sleep in 4/5 days, and had a LOT of over-time with the employees.  Well, hell yeah you did.  YOU decided to convince someone that the 145 cupcakes they wanted wouldn’t do, and then talked them into fondant covered mini-cakes, which is a helluva lot more work, and then didn’t plan accordingly.  Don’t get me started on the use of fabric ribbon…  And also, you decide to do this the week one of your children is scheduled for surgery?????  Oh, and then you also take  2 of your 4 1/2 year olds to the bakery so you can have some time together, and they can make a get well cake for their brother (insert messy/chaotic scene here).  And then you’re exhausted at the end of the week?  Really?  Maybe it’s just me….  Oh, a suggestion for the biz owner; keep the hubby as a supply runner only.  Anyone who takes on more orders for an already over-scheduled bakery without checking has no business taking orders.

“DC Cupcakes” on TLC.  I was really interested in this show via the promo’s.  I gotta hand it to anyone who dumps their corporate jobs to strike out on their own.  I liked the fact that they showed some stumbling and bumbling, cocoa flying out of a mixer, and the usual/unusual fumbling that comes with running a commercial kitchen.  Sigh, then the usual crap begins.

I watched the episode where the girls took on a cupcake job for a local dog shelter.  Wonderful charity and I give the girls props for volunteering.  Then “my” problems begin.   Neither of these girls have any idea of how to build the structure for the life sized dog made of cupcakes.  They call in an artist/friend, who gets the structure made out of chicken wire.  Then they fill it with newspaper and spray foam that looks like it’s made for home improvement projects.  NOT STURDY!  They didn’t show if/how they secured the structure to the board, but by the end, the dog had a mean looking lean.  Too many mini cupcakes on a structure made of chicken wire.  I’m just sayin’…  Then they bring in “Mommy” and her dog Poochie.  Into the bakery!  Poochie is not a trained dog, and any kind of canine chaos you can imagine ensues.  Then Mommy brings Poochie to watch the girls load this huge cupcake dog into the delivery vehicle, and of course, Poochie jumps right on in.  Um, HELLO!  Don’t call to Poochie in a high pitched voice while you’re loading hundreds of cupcakes into an SUV.  My next issue.  Only 3 people in the bakery, the 2 owners and 1 employee, know how to do their “signature swirl” for frosting their cupcakes.  Really?  You have customers lined up for up to an hour to buy your goods, and only three of you know how to produce the final product?  Me thinks you should start your interviews with a piping bag and a few cupcakes, to get a feel for your prospectvie employees.

“Cake Boss” on TLC (seeing a theme here?  Maybe all of those critics of TLC/Jon & Kate + 8 are on to something….)

I like Buddy.  I really do.  I like that he tries to make the cakes as close to 100% edible as possible, and doesn’t use a lot of styrofoam like some baker in Baltimore we all know and love.  My problem is the term “edible”.  Has anyone eaten a fondant covered hunk of cereal treats?  Or piping gel? Yuk.  Everytime I see these materials used, I just want to gag.  And if I have to see the employee’s of Carlo’s Bakery go down a flight of stairs with a cake instead of using the elevator they seem to forget we have seen, well, it makes me angry.  I understand that there is pressure for some ‘excitement’ and all, but we don’t watch the show for the train wrecks.  We watch to see the artistry that we know Buddy has.  He has some mad piping skills that he doesn’t get to use that often, but man, when he does, it’s heaven.   Maybe some of that will change when they move to their bigger facility.  And maybe I won’t get the urge to slap his sister Mary as often.  I’m sorry, but if my sister (or anyone) tosses a cake on the floor to get my attention, she’s wearing the damn thing home.

*Whew*, ok, I think I’m done kvetching…  If the scenarios I described above are all scripted for “good t.v.”, I’ve got news for TLC, it’s NOT good t.v.  These shows make these professionals look like morons.  I admit, I have been behind the 8 ball many a time, due to my inexperience of time management (you try holding down a full time job and doing cakes), and there hasn’t been one cake I’ve done where I haven’t learned something.  And yes, I don’t have the pressure of making a t.v. show, but damn, TLC, let these folks do their craft and show us the beauty of their edible art.  It’s really all I ask.  I’m going back to watching cake competition shows only.  At least on those, if the cake falls, it’s not for the sake of ratings.

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