Cake Forums--Caveat Emptor

Every now and then I'll mention something about online cake forums to brides, and they always seem to be surprised that they even exist.

Oh, yes, they exist. They exist, all right.

There are three or four big ones in the U.S. that get a lot of traffic, and although they do have uses they also contain a hideous amount of weirdness much of the time.

When I tell brides why they should hire someone established with insurance and a business licenses, I'll often refer them to these boards. I tell them about the number of posts that say things like "I told my friend I'd make her wedding cake. How do I make a wedding cake? Do I need special pans? How many ingredients should I buy? Oh, and it's for tomorrow night, so should I do it in the morning or wait until the afternoon so it will be fresh?"  The brides don't usually believe me, but I just tell them to go take a look for themselves.

These cake communities are a totally mixed bag. Some of the business owners on some of them are very successful and you can trust their advice, but others...not so much. The problem is, they're all giving advice, and they all present themselves as successful. Unless you know who they are and what their track record is, how do you know who to believe?

I don't really consider the big boards my "community" other than for seeing what's going on in cakes outside of my little part of the world. I do have a smaller board that I go on that's a private one made up of about 10-15 people who met each other on one of the larger boards, and that's where I go for REAL advice about cakes.

Do you use facebook as a meeting place? Is that too big to really be a community? It's fun to have ten million fans, but what does that really mean? Not a whole lot if you don't know who any of them are. There might be ten out of that ten million who you do know, and who post regularly. That would make them your community, I suppose.

Where do you go if you're looking for cake advice? Is there one board that you like, or is there a specific group that you refer to when you want a straight answer?



 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com