Imaginale Design
The long awaited for cake story. It's not incredible nor dramatic -- just plain bad experience.

As you may have remembered my second trip to Houston last month, we went to re-visit our bakery. Re-visit. Not visit for the first time. We had seen them back in May for our first trip to Houston and enjoyed their 3-leches cake. I wanted a simple white cake with this design that Jasmine made for me inspired by a cake I had seen online:



I figured they could handle a *relatively* simple design on a white cake. Honestly, I was NOT going to be spending more than $200 on a cake. I respect that it may be incredibly important to other brides, but I just can't justify $3.50+ a slice. Unfortunately, there are times in your life that you "get what you pay for." But I'm getting ahead of myself.

SO! I spoke with someone from the bakery and told them I was in town. I asked if I could e-mail the design of the cake to him and if they could make a small sample for me. Cause, you know, I'm trying to save money but I don't want "surprises" at the wedding ;) Fortunately he agreed and was incredibly professional on the phone!

We (my brother, Jose, and I) show up at the bakery the next day and I am feeling excited. I finally get to see something that I will be seeing at the wedding! Potentially. He serves my brother and I some coffee and he brings out a sample of the 3 leches cake to remind us of our last experience. It was just as delicious as the last and I am very pleased. He then gives us a chocolate slice of cake which had been in the fridge too long = gross. Then he walks back to the kitchen to.... bring out the cake!!!

Calm down, you'll get pictures. You know I won't leave you hanging like this!! ;)

The first thing I notice when he brings the sample cake out is the icing color -- beautiful! I love the shade of blue they chose. Then he sets it down in front of us and... well, I don't say anything. It's not ugly, but it has a tone of "sloppiness" to it. AND then I notice it's lopsided! YEAH, the freaking bread is... lopsided? It isn't noticeable until it's sitting right in front of you. The guy asks "what do you think?" And, this makes me laugh, we pause and Jose turns to him: "What do you think?" I love my man!

The guy says: "Well, first of all, the design (referring to the swirls) are not done correctly. They should have made the side branches first THEN laid the base on top so it doesn't look so piece-y."

Mind you, I hadn't really noticed that so while he is talking I think "Oh wow.. that's right."

He continues: "Obviously, there is a slant here (referring to the top of the cake), and I also think the icing was put on sloppy. I'm embarrassed to say that they had our intern work on this and I'm not sure why."

Ironically, I'm starting to feel worst about the cake after all of what he says. I guess it's worst than my first glance.... and I'm starting to second question the professionalism of the bakery (not the guy). At this point I'm not really sure what to say because I don't think it's "awful" but it's clearly lacking. However, it TASTES good and..... it's CHEAP! That's what I really want -- a cake that tastes good and is not over $200. I'm not that particular about the design, but I don't like the sound of "I don't know why they had our intern working on it." Don't you think that's bad?

I mean -- think about it. You are meeting with POTENTIAL clients -- they have not handed any money over. You want to *win* them over, and even though your professionalism is great, it will all go down the drain when you fail to impress them on the first trial with your product! How am I supposed to feel confident that you will do a relatively good job (i.e. NOT slanted cake) for my wedding? It gets better.

It always gets better.

He knows we're hesitant and so he says "You know, we can remake this and I can take a picture of it and send it to you. We'll put the actual design." HA! I JUST realized that they hadn't put the design I sent them on the sample!! DURH! They made up their own design and just used the one I e-mailed him as an "inspiration." Whaaaaaat? So what kind of design am I going to have on my wedding? A second rendition? And how dumb am I that I didn't even realize the design on the cake was not the one I e-mailed them? Again, it didn't look THAT bad, so I just... didn't notice.

Finally, I say "well, I would much rather see the second trial in person. I don't feel comfortable with relying on a picture and then agreeing to hire you based on a photo." He asks when we're leaving and I respond "tomorrow." He surprises me and says "can you come tomorrow morning? We'll have a second sample for you then WITH your design." I perk up and say "really?! Ok! That would be great!"

NEXT DAY

I'm excited again. I find out he's not there that day so we're just waiting on the cashier lady to bring the cake out to us. Jose sees our cake in the kitchen and tells me "they haven't put the design yet. Now is the real test. Will they hurry up and make a sloppy design because we're here already? Or will they keep us waiting, but work more slowly on the design." I'll let you guess what they did.

They bring the cake out and the lady says "You can eat it here or take it home." She sets it on the table.....

I will let the pictures speak for themselves


You can click on them to make it bigger. LOOK AT THAT MESS.


Did they just trace the design and MISSED it?!


Speechless. I asked for a to go box and just took it back with us to Dallas. Don't judge me, but it was my grandma's birthday and we told her we got her a birthday cake.

There was no way we could hire someone who made THAT for our "trial." If the intern made the first trial, his vision impaired cousin must have made the 2nd trial!! I mean, seriously??

So what now? I still can't pay over $200 for the cake. I really... I just don't care THAT much about it. Ugh. I just want a decent cake!! Our caterer is da bomb -- people are going to love the food! And if the only thing people remember about my wedding is that my cake was not "up to par" -- I must have done something wrong. But I still need SOMETHING.

Enter Plan B.

My fiance's mother --- she is fabulous. She is the worry-free individual of this wedding and I love it! She asked "Okay -- you like how the cake TASTES right?" Me: "Yes" Her: "Would you be willing to consider them at ALL?" Me: "Pfft! No.. I mean, only if they made me a SIMPLE white cake and charged me like $100."

Wait a minute.

Simple white cake....

Alejandra, you're creative aren't you?! GET IT TOGETHER! That's all you need! (That's me talking to myself, not my fiance's mother haha). If we get this cake for super cheap AND it tastes good, can't I just get some CUUUTE cake topper, add some flowers, and BAM! I'm done!

YES!!!!!!!!!!!! AND, guess what? I found an Etsy seller who makes personalized cake toppers without charging an arm and a leg!!! She will incorporate details of your attire (veil, dress material, color, face features, etc.) and will even put your names on the base! All for $35!!!

How cute are they?!

And that is my "screw the cake" story. I am just going to get a freaking white cake that TASTES good, add a personal touch to it with a few red garden flowers for more "decor" -- and that's it. A total that should come out to be about $150 and everyone is happy. Except for my cousin Carlos who is not a fan of whip-cream icing. And sorry to my guests who don't like whip-cream icing, but it's my favorite! You're welcome to bring your own!!

At least that's plan B. If this doesn't work out -- I'll update you on Plan C. There is none yet, but let's hope I don't have to get to that point....

So what are your thoughts on the topper?! And what did you think of the trial/sample?! Rejoice in the mess with me!! :) :) :)
7 Responses
  1. Lenora Says:

    Your solution is exactly what I was going to suggest. I was going to be disappointed if we didn't get to eat that cake.
    ~Jenna


  2. fabs Says:

    There's gotta be someone you know that is good with making icing decorations on your cake. And, you can just pick the right color of teal icing you want for them to use.

    And, well if anything, you can just add very pretty teal (edible?) flowers like you said - problem solved! :)

    You're a smart chick..your cake will rock and be delicious!


  3. Ale Says:

    Jenna: That's what I like to hear! In the end, who REALLY cares about the swirls? Let's just have some 3-leches...

    Fabs: See, we know a lady in Dallas, but that's the problem - she's in Dallas! She is a much older woman and can't come down to Houston. And since a lot of my family are coming from Dallas early, there's no way to bring a *fresh* cake to Houston for the wedding. I think if I -lived- in Houston I could find someone much easier, but I don't =\ And I can't just hire someone over the phone b/c I have to taste the cake! It's tough doing it all from Atlanta =\


  4. Meghan Says:

    wow there is NO REASON that cake sample should have been difficult. And TWICE to get it right and fail? Good grief. Much smarter plan to go with a yummy cake w/o a screwed up design. =)

    Also, those cake toppers are adorable and something you can keep. Love it!


  5. Ale Says:

    Seriously! Though it makes me a little nervous to go with them (still). Let's just hope they can get the simple white cake down! :)


  6. Jenn Says:

    Those cake toppers are so CUTE! I showed them to my fiance last night and he wants me to check out the etsy store! :)


  7. Ellen Says:

    That cake looks like it was drawn on by a first grader! I can't believe they screwed it up twice & made such a sloppy design! I'm very glad that you're still going to use the actual substance of the cake though - the idea of tres leches is making my mouth water as I type :)