When we want to make an occasion special, we turn to pros to get exactly what we want, especially when it comes to something difficult like a cake. But when you get a cake that you’re dissatisfied with, and get publicly called out by the cake maker…well that’s a whole other level of dissatisfaction. This occurrence — called Cakegate — has flooded social media revealing the sticky situation behind this home baker’s business and bringing into question PR and how to communicate with customers.
Kylie Allen of Kylie Kakes Dessert Bar and Cafe is a self-taught baker that makes custom-commissioned sweet treats for local clients in West Virginia. She frequently posts her work on social media, particularly TikTok. While you might think it’s all sprinkles and frosting, one video of hers talked about a negative customer experience. In retail, that is to be expected, but the customer fired back with some pretty damning evidence — the cake.
It was a far cry from quality work. At first, the client, Ashleigh Freeman, didn’t want to bring the issue to social media and took down her initial reply, but once Allen was slamming Freeman for being a bad customer (aka a Karen), she re-uploaded the video, the evidence was stark and clear to see.
The cake wasn’t even completely covered in sprinkles, and the message was hazardously written in half cursive and half print. In their Facebook correspondence, Freeman replied to Allen with the photo. A picture certainly speaks louder than words as she wrote “This. This is the problem.”
People who were initially sympathetic to Allen quickly switched gears, scouring her videos and seeing quite frequent patterns of behavior. She was caught using internet cake photos instead of photos of her work. Zooming in on pictures, people spotted store-bought ingredients in her kitchen (when she said she uses fresh). And in prior videos, Allen was slammed for not wearing gloves when decorating with buttercream. The list of damnations quickly piled up.
Despite the backlash, Kylie ignored and still ignores the haters. She recently started using the #Cakegate tag in her posts, as if she were trying to lean into the whole situation. At the end of the day, bad publicity is still good publicity.
So what happened with Freeman? Well, she ended up making a proper rainbow cake for her mother Trilby, and she said it cost $20 and used 4 to 6 hours of her time. Freeman admits to baking and decorating cakes as a hobby but since she has a full-time job and raises a kid, it’s hard to find the time.
How would you react if you received this sort of cake from a bakery?SKM: below-content placeholder