This Walmart Birthday Cake Shows Excellent Craftmanship

The ongoing saga of sub-par food purchased from major big box chain stores, documented with the miracle of photography and emailed to the Consumerist continues:

Hey consumerist just thought I’d let you and every other customer out there know that Wal-mart sucks at making cakes! It was my daughter’s 3rd birthday yesterday (06.17.07) and my wife ordered a cake a week ago to be made for this date. When we picked it up with a little less than an hour until the party started, we were extremely disappointed to say the least. We complained and they gave us 20% off but that wasn’t enough as far as we were concerned. I told customer service “We shouldn’t have to pay more than half for a half-assed cake” (I just couldn’t resist making a pun haha). All they said was “twenty percent is the most we can give you”. We didn’t have time to get another cake and just went ahead and bought it but we will never buy another cake from Wal-Mart again that’s for damn sure. I mean look at at it, it looks hardly anything like the advertisement! That strip with black lines on it, yeah that’s supposed to look like a film strip. Oh and to boot my wife ordered butter cream filling and they put strawberry instead. Is it really that hard to follow directions and deliver a worthy product? Apparently.

Indeed, that cake is pretty weak. They should probably get rid of the picture if they can’t actually make that cake.

Hey, let’s look on the bright side: Happy birthday to Miranda! Yaaay! —MEGHANN MARCO

UPDATE: For added value, our expert play-by-play cake analysis inside.

meghannmarco: It looks like they were missing pieces that were supposed to go on the cake.
meghannmarco: but I don’t really know anything about cakes.
benpopken: yeah those little squiggles are supposed to be streamers
benpopken: Walmart’s looks like dead worms
meghannmarco: and is the child really supposed to guess the black stuff is film
meghannmarco: it looks like teeth
benpopken: I thought it looked like a board game
benpopken: disney version star has nice dots. walmart’s is just a straight splooge line
meghannmarco: this cake is tragic.


Edit Your Comment

  1. dbeahn says:

    Anytime I’m ordering a cake for an event, I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pick it up late the day before the event for just this reason.

    If you leave yourself a little time, you always have options. If you wait til an hour before, then you’re stuck with whatever (if ANY) discount they want to give you.

    On the other hand, I’ve ordered several cakes from WalMart, and never had a problem.

    • Anonymous says:


      I will never order another cake from wal-mart . Last year I ordered a full sheet cake for my son’s 1st B-Day party and the frosting was not at all what I ordered. When I confronted them with it they told me there was nothing they could do. They did not reimburse me or offer to give me any money off my next purchase.More than half of the cake was thrown to the trash. I told everyone not to buy their cakes there because of my experience and so far they have all listened. Vg’s or Bueches is the place to go people, if they make a mistake they will atleast honor it.

  2. ChrisC1234 says:

    Honestly, I always just thought that the photos in the book would simply show you the cheap plastic stuff they put on the cake. I think the cake is perfectly fine (and I honestly doubt the 3 year old cares). If you’re going to complain that the cake doesn’t look like the photo, have you EVER seen any sort of real food look identical to the picture in the advertisement? I doubt it… There’s probably nothing even edible in the photo. I would never expect that someone making minimum wage (or something close to it) to be able to create something equal to what the professionals that crafted the cake in the photo would do.

  3. ediebeale says:

    I agrees with ChrisC1234–the kid is probably just happy to have cake! Save the worrying for when they’re older. It is too bad they put the wrong filling in, however; that is something to complain about. I wouldn’t trust Wal-Mart with anything requiring more than rudimentary skill if I were, you know, anyone.

  4. demonradio says:

    I think the multi colored lines that are supposed to be confetti look like bits of tape worm thrown on a cake. Mmmmmmm.

    That is a pretty horrendous cake though. Don’t people ever bake cakes for their kids anymore? My mom has never bought a cake for me. She’s always made me one from scratch and it comes out way better than nasty sheet cakes. It’s probably cheaper too. And you can’t buy a mommy’s love.

  5. clementine says:

    I would be more upset at the switch of the buttercream for strawberry. As someone who gets rashes and gastric distress over strawberries, I’m surprised that the store would switch ingredients like that and then be so uncaring about it. I know of many other people whose allergic reactions are more severe than mine are and I cannot imagine that any store would want to invite lawsuits if someone had to go to the hospital over something they ecided to substitute ingredients for.

  6. v12spd says:

    From my experience, Costco has the best cakes. And theirs look the most like the pictures shown in the book they have. Prices arent too bad either. I’ve never really been as satisfied with other larger stores ideas of a great cake. Another great place if you’re in Chicago is Lutz cafe on Montrose. A bit more pricey but worth it for the special events.

  7. zero_o says:

    I agree with ediebeale, the cake looks fine, not great, and probably not good enough that I would want to order another cake from them. I would be pretty peeved with the fact that it was strawberry instead of butter cream,

  8. Steve518 says:

    I agree the cake is pretty weak compared to the pic, but if we go by that philosophy, every single chain store/restaurant food-related product EVER would be in the same situation.

    And, obvs, if you want high-art bakery stuff, you don’t go to Wal-Mart. You go to your local bakery.

  9. Steve518 says:

    @Steve518: That being said, I would have been super-pissed that they got the filling wrong. Even Wal-Mart should get that part right.

  10. jeffj-nj says:

    Yeah, the cake sucked, but…

    A) You bought it at Wal-Mart. Seriously, people, learn that you get what you pay for. You want a fancy cake? Go to a real bakery.

    B) The kid was turning 3. Three!! I doubt she cared.

  11. TexasScout says:

    The cake is fine. You ask too much. If you want a great cake, go to a cake shop. Get what you pay for.

    I thought it look great and the kid probably did too. If they didn’t, they are way to picky and so are the parents.

    As demonradio said: bake it yourself, it will taste batter and your kid will appreciate it more knowing you took the time to make it yourself.

  12. ancientsociety says:

    Agreed the cake is pretty weak but I doubt a 3-yr old will care, also it’s Walmart – what did you expect?

    All the more reason to support LOCAL BUSINESS, like a bakery. I can say from experience that, growing up, our local baker’s cakes looked nearly dead-on to the “catalog”.

  13. Toof_75_75 says:

    My thought is, if the first thing the three year-old did was look down at the cake and say, “Is this supposed to be a film strip, seriously?!” then you have bigger things to worry about then a cake…

    As for the filling thing…I’d be a little pissed!

    Also, here’s to home-made cakes!! :-) MMM!

  14. minneapolisite says:

    I have made maybe 12 birthday cakes in my lifetime. I think that at cake #3 (at age 12) I surpassed the level of craftsmanship Walmart gave you. I’m with the people who recommend working with a local baker or baking it yourself. Better yet, bake the cake and frost it–then let your daughter help decorate it with sprinkles (and when she gets a little older, a pastry bag frosting kit). By age 6, she might even be doing a better job than Walmart. The real bonus though, is that your daughter will LOVE it and you’ll score a VERY happy family memory.

  15. MeOhMy says:

    IMO, the picture is fundamentally the same. The icing swap is a major gaffe, but the decorating looks ok considering it was done by a Wal-Mart employee who probably is not exactly going to have his/her own TV show on Food Network anytime soon.

    Frankly I am a little bit impressed. I would have assumed that Wal-Mart has factories that make all of those cakes exactly the same, blast-freezes them for shipping, and someone at the store just thaws it and drops on pre-formed letters for the customization. The fact that the cake appears to have actually been hand-decorated is somewhat surprising.

    That said…don’t buy cakes at Wal-Mart. Yikes.

  16. chimmike says:

    As said above, any expectations for a quality cake should be left at the DOOR when you purchase from wal-mart. Seriously. Slap yourself in the face if you expect a high quality cake from WAL-MART.

    God. I mean, seriously people. If you’re too cheap to pay for a good cake from somewhere, DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT GETTING WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!!

    The stupidity lately is killing me.

  17. iMike says:

    This is a little like the story of the guy who couldn’t get raspberry in his overpriced, burnt Starbucks coffee.

    Much ado about nothing.

  18. missdona says:

    My bridal shower cake came from Costco and was deelicious.

    But my cake-of-choice is a Carvel Ice Cream Cake… mmmm-mmm and never screwed up.

  19. Falconfire says:

    I will second Costco’s cakes, our mothers 60th cake was from Costco, as have many of ours. But the difference is Costco actually has honest to god bakers and butchers in their stores that are properly trained, which I doubt Wallyworld stores do.

  20. acambras says:

    I agree with the above posters — it’s reasonable to be miffed about the filling being switched, but if you want real craftsmanship, go to a “real” bakery. And I’m guessing little Miranda didn’t care (unless she has a strawberry allergy).

    I’m just glad this wasn’t an incredibly long, drawn-out epic like the Starbucks raspberry syrup story. If I had to read such a long, asinine saga on a Monday morning, I might throw myself off a cliff.

    Happy Birthday, Miranda!

  21. cliffbig says:

    the cake looks perfectly acceptable; it may not look exactly like the picture, but perfectionists need to shop somewhere besides WalMart. The mix-up in filling is more disappointing, but the excessive complaints about the quality of the decoration say far more about the complainer than about WalMart. (If you’re expecting professional, artistic decoration, shop–and be prepared to pay–accordingly.)

  22. isadora says:

    Costco’s cakes are delish and the only big retailer I’d get a cake from.

    Also? The idea of buying a cake at Wal-Mart icks me right out! You get what you pay for, particularly when it takes a certain level of artistry to create a product. If they knew cake decorating? They’d likely be somewhere else and getting paid better for it.

  23. kpfeif says:

    We often hit Sam’s Club for a cake…they do a good job. Are they awesome? No. Indeed, it’s a demonstration of “you get what you pay for.” Are the $50 cakes from the local specialty bakery better? You bet, but $50 for a four year-old’s birthday? Nah.

  24. Yossarian says:

    Ditto on homemade cakes.

    Don’t just avoid cakes at Walmart. Avoid Walmart! It’s a hellmouth.

  25. jerkasaurus says:

    I definitely agree that the mix-up on the filling is unacceptable — not only because filling really isn’t open to interpretation, but also because so many people have strawberry allergies.

    However, he got what he paid for. The Wal-Mart cake is clearly frosted and decorated with butter cream, along with the plastic Mickey Mouse and Happy Birthday pieces. The cake in the picture appears to be frosted and mostly decorated with something else (Fondant? Marzipan? I’m just an amateur, but it’s too smooth and perfect to be butter cream). Something tells me the Wal-Mart cake was advertised as a butter cream cake, because most el cheapo sheet cakes have no pretensions of being anything else. Decorating with butter cream is no easy task — definitely not something a person making Wal-Mart wages is going to be able to pull off unless they have previous experience elsewhere (in which case, why are they working at Wal-Mart?). I’ll agree that it’s a crap decorating job, but it pretty much meets my expectations as to what a Wal-Mart sheet cake would look like.

    Go to a real bakery next time and support a local merchant. It will look better and taste better and probably won’t come with inedible decorations. My birthday was yesterday too, and my cake was as specified, local, and delicious. Yum!

  26. zibby says:

    Next up: Big Mac doesn’t look like it does in the commercial.

    Next time go with Fudgie the Whale.

  27. winnabago says:

    The cake looks like a lot of time went into it, not the three days that the photo cake took, but real time and energy anyway. For Wal-Mart, that is impressive.

  28. gopher646 says:

    Don’t expect quality from Walmart. It’s the golden rule to live by.

    If you were expecting a masterpiece for your $8.97 birthday cake, I feel sorry for you.

  29. Namrepus says:

    Oh god… this reminds me of my brothers 12th birthday.

    My mom had bought a batman cake at the local Giant Eagle and had it personalized. Well the cake had a night scene on it in addition to the batman toy they placed on top so my mother requested the phrase “Happy Birthday Michael” be written in the yellow circle that was the moon on the night scene to make it look like the bat signal. The woman put on the paper for the customization: Happy Birthday Michael (in the moon).

    We go pick up the cake on my brother’s birthday, and when it’s time to open it to stick in the candles we look at it and realize there has been some miscommunication…

    “Happy Birthday Michael (in the moon)”

    was literally written on the cake in black icing. Instead of taking the parenthesis as instructions the lady who did the cake wrote the whole thing out and didn’t consider it an instruction.

    You’d think it would behoove a bakery to think the phrase “(in the moon)” would be some sort of instruction or barring that call the person that paid for the cake and ask for clarification on such a nonsense phrase being added to the cake.

    But given that it was over 10 years ago, we don’t have any pictures or anything to show this screw up for the enjoyment of all of you here.

  30. Hoss says:

    Apparently, Maghann and Ben don’t always use “we”.

    Happy Birthday Miranda!! Hope your cranky parents didn’t ruin it

  31. bpotterr says:

    The star, streamers, letters, and filmstrip may not be as pictured, but Miranda got purple dots and Mickey Mouse sprinkles, which, to a three-year-old is probably more than a fair trade.

    No excuse for the filling, though. Allergies aside, the icing is cosmetic, but if you screw up the filling the taste of the cake is altered. To continue the Big Mac analogy: screwing up the filling is like ordering a Big Mac and getting chicken.

  32. bossco says:

    Even though it is not quite as advertised. I think it looks like a good birthday cake, though they should have given you a bigger discount because of the mistake with the filling.

  33. yahonza says:

    I feel qualified to post on this topic since I used to decorate cakes (poorly) in the bakery I worked in in high school and my Daughter is also named Miranda….

    I think the top picture actually looks better. The bottom pic just doesn’t look edible to me. The top picture seems happier, a little more of the Disney magic maybe. I actually think its an improvement, so you got a better deal (IMO).

    Working with Butter Cream icing like I did those many years ago, I would have to say they did a pretty decent job.

  34. Does anyone else think this is a little overblown, to be submitted to Consumerist? Now, if the lawyer of Wal-Mart contacted the cake man and demanded him to stop yelling about Wal-Mart’s cakes on Consumerist, then THAT’S a story!

    This is just some pissed off Dad in high class suburbia who didn’t get what his wife said they would get.

  35. tinychicken says:

    I knew this would happen when Walmart let go of their world class pastry chefs. Oh wait…

  36. slapstick says:

    For my older sister’s birthday one year we got her a cake that said “Does This Cake Make My Butt Look Big?” because she would ask us that whenever she put on an outfit. We thought it was hilarious, but the lady at Publix didn’t seem too happy to do it. We convinced her otherwise!

    This anecdote has no bearing on the above article, though if you live in the south Publix has a pretty sweet bakery, and it seems consistent at all the stores I’ve been to.

  37. joopiter says:

    It’s really not as awful as I would expect to come out of Wal-Mart, and like everyone said, she’s 3 and will only see Mickey Mouse and colors. I’ve actually wondered what cakes turn out like when you order one from a picture in a catalog – guess I know now. Cake decorating is a skill and can be very time-consuming, depending on the look your going for. Somehow I doubt Wal-Mart is hiring skilled decorators to man the bakery. Next time you’re looking for perfection, look beyond minimum wage workers.

    The deal breaker for me on this though is the strawberry filling. I would be really, really pissed if I got a different flavor than what I ordered. Although I think she got lucky that the cake wasn’t covered in fondant like it seems to be in the picture (as someone pointed out). Personally, I think fondant tastes nasty, although it does make for a pretty cake.

  38. backspinner says:

    Oh. My. God.

    Do you think the three year old daughter can read her name? Do you think she cares that the squiggles were applied by a crackhead? She will probably just stick her hands in the damn thing and throw globs of HFCF-laden Walmart cake on the partygoers. Please stop whining about these trivial things, people. We are so spoiled….

  39. backspinner says:

    er.. HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)

  40. Vinny says:

    I have to say that I disagree with the folks that say you shouldn’t expect quality because it’s Wal-Mart.

    That being said, I’d have a much bigger problem with the Strawberry than the quality of the cake. Yeah it doesn’t look exactly like the picture, but Jesus Christ, it’s a picture. Have you ever gotten any food that looks like the picture?

    It’s supposed to be a representative sample, not an exact representation of the product. Independent bakeries do a better job. Throw the money to the local guy. It’ll be worth it in the end.

  41. B says:

    When my sister turned 10, she wanted a cake from a bakery, up to that point my mother had always made our birthday cakes herself. So a cake with pink frosting and ballerinas was ordered. On the way home, my sister somehow managed to sit on the cake, crushing it. Mom managed to restore the damage, but when the candles were lit, my sis took too long deciding on her wish, and the ballerinas caught on fire.
    On her 30th birthday, we got my sister a cake from the same bakery, purposefully squished it, and set the ballerinas on fire. What does this have to do with the above story? noting, I just want you to know how crazy my family is.

  42. BadCall says:

    When did Wal-Mart start selling cakes? Is there anything that stupid store won’t sell? And wouldn’t it be easier just to go to a bakery?

  43. Lunaris says:

    The way the cake looks has a lot more to do with who is decorating cakes at that Walmart location than with the fact that it’s a Walmart.

    I worked in a bakery in college, and it employed a staff of four cake decorators and two assistants. After they left, those of us working the counter in the evenings would go into the cake room and practice roses and borders for kicks. Any one of us counter clerks could have done a better job with that cake – it obviously wasn’t done by a professional decorator.

    Whenever possible, patronize your local bakery. It’s likely that you’ll be able to see a portfolio of their work. If you’re picking out a cake from a booklet full of licensed characters, know that those examples were not made on-site, but by the company selling the plastic gee-gaws decorating them.

    People are very emotional about the cakes they order for special occasions. I’ve seen customers in tears over the wrong shade of blue! The reaction to the poor decorations likely had little to do with the three-year-old and more with Mom’s wish for a perfect party.

  44. enm4r says:

    I’m reminded of when I was 5-6 I went to a bakery with my parents to get a cake, as I was visiting relatives at the time. Apparently when I said “Nathan” they thought I said “Jason” and so even after confirmation by my parents, the cake that emerged a couple days later had a distinct “Happy Birthday Jason!” on it.

    They gave the cake to us for free, and I couldn’t have cared less. A cake is a cake, especially when you’re just complaining about the frosting…the flavors on the other hand, that’s a completely separate matter.

  45. Aaron Pratt says:

    There’s no way I’d accept this cake. Although it’s a similar concept, the design’s substantially different:
    * The film strip bows up first rather than bowing down
    * The overall cake color is white rather than yellow
    * The letters are all one color rather than multiple colors

    The experts in what can and cannot be done with frosting should be those working in the bakery department. If the customer requests butter cream frosting and a design that can’t be matched with butter cream frosting, it’s the bakery’s responsibility to communicate that to the customer when the order is placed.

  46. JPropaganda says:

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t really see anything wrong with the cake. It looked fine. Maybe I’m not a cake connosieur like you, but it looked perfectly edible and actually quite tasty looking. Not so terrible that it would warrant a Consumerist alert.

    Because…wait for it…you bought a CAKE at WAL-MART! What did you expect?! An intricate tiered cake?

    It looks like the box.

  47. joebar says:

    Try buying your next cake from a pastry shop instead of freekin Walmart you cheapskate.

  48. EtherealStrife says:

    The cake looks fine. I’ve picked up several from Sam’s Club (walmart warehouse) that tasted great! Way better than Costco (my previous favorite). And you can’t come close to the price, even making it from scratch.

    I used to work at baskin robbins and NOTHING we made came close to the pictures. Never did we receive complaints.

    The pictures are meant as a visual aid, not a guarantee. If you want something professional grade, go to a professional source. When you buy from chain locations you’re buying it for the taste or the cheapness, not how it looks.

  49. tcp100 says:

    @Aaron Pratt: “There’s no way I’d accept this cake. Although it’s a similar concept, the design’s substantially different:
    * The film strip bows up first rather than bowing down
    * The overall cake color is white rather than yellow
    * The letters are all one color rather than multiple colors”

    My God people, are you for real?

    Anyone want to bet 9.97 that there’s some kind of fine print in that cake book that says “actual cake may vary from photographs” or something like that?

    Gee whiz, people. Be reasonable. It’s a ten dollar birthday cake.

  50. rg says:

    I can’t believe that Miranda from the trailor park (and please tell me that’s the only people that would order a birthday cake from WalMart!) even noticed a difference. You get what you pay for. If you want a professional looking cake, go to a professional baker!

  51. clementine says:

    The spray on yellow color would be easy to do. I made a cake once and sprayed parts of it red for a contest entry (I lost). The spray dye is cheap and easy to use – it just makes the frosting taste slightly sour where it is sprayed on though so the child may not have liked that part.

    And for the people who are saying to bake a cake to the child, maybe the parents were busy with other party preparations. We’ve all taken short cuts every once in a while to make our lives easier.

  52. Aaron Pratt says:

    @tcp100: Yes, I’m for real. Regardless if you’re paying $8.97 or $99, you should get what’s promised. The picture and what was delivered were significantly different.

    For reference, I’m a graphic designer. If I showed a client a picture of what their finished piece might look like and then delivered something that looked like a cheap ripoff of it, they’d be pissed off. I don’t see how this situation is any different.

  53. bougatsa says:

    How about a new blog for Gawker Media:

    “Unconsumerist – unreasonable consumers that ruin it for the rest of us.”

    This story would make a perfect start.

    Next up: Hey, I got McDonald’s fries are they were not all the same length and standing vertically like in the picture. Where is my 50% discount?!

  54. Landru says:

    How much did this thing cost? It sounds totally like you get what you pay for.

    @Namrepus: I loved the (in the moon) story. After that, weren’t you tempted to append everything with (in the moon)?

  55. fonzette says:

    I thought the cake looked OK. Whatever – it’s for a kid who won’t even remember it.

    My real problem (other than the fact that anyone would purchase anything at Wal-Mart, let alone something to eat that was prepared on the filthy premises) is the name:


    Why do adults insist on mixing upper and lower case???

    A: Because they work in the bakery at Wal-Mart, I guess….

  56. kmccoy says:

    I think we’re all missing the most important part of this story. The picture of how the cake was supposed to look clearly says “Trevor”. I can’t believe that Wal-Mart would go so far as to change the name from the picture!

  57. acambras says:

    I bet that cake would be mighty tasty if Miranda had a sippy cup full of margarita to wash it down.

  58. tcp100 says:

    @Aaron Pratt: “For reference, I’m a graphic designer. If I showed a client a picture of what their finished piece might look like and then delivered something that looked like a cheap ripoff of it, they’d be pissed off. I don’t see how this situation is any different.”

    I think if you were being paid about $2.50 to do your work (I’m guessing the minimum-wage worker probably only gets about 20-30 minutes per cake) you may not be so fastidious – otherwise, you’d be in another line of work. Hence, those who are capable and willing will get better jobs. They won’t stay at Wal-Mart. Those left at Wal-Mart, as a direct result of the chain’s focus on prices over quality (and the CONSUMER’S VOTE via their wallet on a preference for price over quality – by going to damn Wal-Mart in the first place) will be naturally below average in cake decorating talent.

    Expecting people at the bottom of the employment food chain to provide all-encompassing never-fail service is UNREASONABLE. You can only get a human to do so much for subsistence wage; you can only attract so much innate talent through such wage.

    Assuming that Wal-Mart could even get cake decorators to work for them for the price they charge is surprising; nevermind the ability to attract GOOD ones. Is this the fault of the “big evil corporation?” Not necessarily. Like I said, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a disclaimer in the cake catalog, and most normal people wouldn’t really give as much of a shit over a ten buck quick-turnaround cake for a three year old.

    Expecting perfection in detail on an item yet STILL insisting on going to a place where “low prices” is their number one priority (n.b.: check the sign on the store) is naive. Complaining about it to a blog which purports to fight consumer “injustices” (although I’m having big doubts lately about Consumerist’s priority) is whiny and pointless. If Wal-Mart hired more expensive decorators, Consumerist would bitch about Wal-Mart raising prices, using a punny-witty headline contrasting their slogan, such as “Always Low Prices! (Um, except for cake, lol)”

    I kind of get what you’re saying – regardless of price, work should never be done half-assed. Fine, that’s nice, in a fantasy world.

    However, the O.P. didn’t go to a fantasy world. She went to Wal-Mart.

  59. suburbancowboy says:

    For god’s sake, PLEASE PEOPLE! Please stop shopping at Wal-Mart.
    If you consider yourself even slightly patriotic, you would make every effort to make sure that company doesn’t get a dime of your money.

  60. mopar_man says:

    Every department in Wal-Mart has the bottom-rungers. You’ll get the least tech-savy people in electronics, you’ll get the high school drop-outs changing your oil and you’ll get people who can’t make their own Pop Tarts working in the bakery. Go somewhere that specializes in making cakes. It’ll be what you want and chances are very good that it’ll taste better as well.

  61. httpdotcom says:

    The Disney picture is not actually a “real” cake (probably styrofoam). Either that, or they expect all of their resellers to work with ganache (chocolate mixed with heavy cream, usually reserved for high-end wedding cakes). No one could make corners like that with frosting.

    And I would bet that the filmstrip and star (under Mickey) in the “pro” version are either plastic or pre-made sugar forms.

    That being said, “don’t buy you cake from the same place you get your oil changed, and your daughter’s tube top.” If you want something special, be willing to pay the price. If you want something cheap…you got it.

  62. zibby says:

    Let’s talk about the real issue, which is the unwanted exclamation point. As a parent, I’m responsible for excitement at my child’s party; I don’t need no Wal-Mart employee trying to horn in on that.

  63. lemur says:


    I find it pretty unbelievable that people are defending WalMart on this issue. Yes, the kid will probably be just as happy with that cake. Yes, the kid can’t read. Yes, food companies often sell food items that diverge significantly from what they advertise. Yes, a bakery would most likely do a better job. (If my wife and I care about quality, either she makes the cake (I’m a poor cook) or we buy it at a bakery.)

    Still, this does not excuse WalMart’s shitty craftsmanship. I find the excuse that it is okay for WalMart to do this because all other companies do it to be a weak argument. Heck, it is an anti-costumer argument. If most companies are misrepresenting their products, we should not just accept that fact but require them to give an accurate representation of what they sell. Yes, the colors may be different. Yes, the layout may be different. However, the craftsmanship should be the same as what is presented in the picture. If not, that is a material difference between what was offered and what was delivered.

  64. ca_little says:

    C’mon people. It’s a cake from WALMART. Not from a fancy bakery. You want low-low prices on yarn, particle board furniture, lawn toys, and clothing, mostly made in China? You go to WALMART. You want high-high quality cake? You go to your LB (local bakery). Granted, it should look somewhat like the catalog photo and it does…somewhat.. but it’s WALMART for crissakes.

  65. timmus says:

    It’s Wal-Mart… what do you expect? I actually think the cake looks nice… definitely not gourmet, but better than I’d expect from a bargain-basement bakery. The only bad thing is the Disney commercialization of this cake, as well as the cake undoubtedly being loaded to the brim with processed ingredients. I’m one of those that shall continue avoiding bakeries until they get their shit together and stop using hydrogenated ingredients and other crap.

  66. I actually think the cake looks quite nice. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. They did a pretty good job, if not better than what I’d have expected from Walmart.

    I’ve seen people work in bakeries where this is their full time job and their cake designs don’t compare. This cake really is not “tragic.”

  67. tcp100 says:

    @lemur: “If most companies are misrepresenting their products, we should not just accept that fact but require them to give an accurate representation of what they sell.”

    To an extent.

    If that cake were yellow, I’d say it was an accurate -representation-. When you have 1000s of bakers and 1000s of customers with varying requests and degrees of anal retentiveness, you’d be hard pressed to pump out an exact carbon copy of the photo every time, even with a simple cake.

    The point I’m trying to make is that there is a balance between price and quality/detail – always. People seem to be focused mainly on price these days, especially wal-mart’s clientele, as shown by their research.. I hate to say it but.. it doesn’t work that way.. and here it comes…….

    you can’t have your cake and eat it too! (oh boy.)

  68. royal72 says:

    well at least it doesn’t have a nazi symbol on it. or does it?

  69. Red_Eye says:

    Ok look, yes its just walmart and yes some of the people they employ could be makeup free stand ins for The Hills Have Eyes III. But I call BS. My wifes grandmother used to own a cake decorating supply store and my wife decorates my daughters cakes every year. It is a labor intensive process to be sure but there is no excuse for the craftsmanship in the above photo. I could complete that cake in 20 mins. They spent no time on it whatsoever.

    To date my wife has done Holly Hobbie, Barbie, Dora, and a princess castle and one more that is escaping me at the moment?

    Like most grocery stores Walmart has positioned themselves as being able to provide these cakes from their book. Some of the stuff is supplies they have in a drawer like the mickey head and some is not. But look at the frickin boarder around the bottom of the cake? My 5 year old could do better!

    Does the kid care that much, maybe not but you should still get what you pay for, problem is the public is used to getting crap compared to what they see, examine a burger commercial sometime for an example. What most of yall dont seem to get is as long as sheeple say, bahhh its ok its just walmart bahhh… Then walmart will keep getting away with it.

  70. Enalios says:

    Happy Birthday Miranda!!!

  71. embean says:

    I don’t think this is misrepresentation at all. I think this is typical Walmart quality. When I saw this on the home page, I thought both pictures were examples of “good” cakes and I clicked through expecting there to be a cake disaster. I agree that filling substitution is unacceptable, due to allergies, etc, but that’s the only reason I would look for a refund. And I mean, if you hated it so much, why didn’t you just leave it there and refuse to buy it? And, why would anyone buy a cake from Walmart? You can probably get just as good of a cake from a grocery store, a place that actually deals with food. I actually think this is EXCELLENT work from someone who makes minimum wage and probably has exactly no training in cake decorating. I don’t even see why this is on the site? It’s not even an issue.

  72. faust1200 says:

    Don’t worry because one day Miranda will look back on the day she was rushed to the ER for the extraction of a giant Mickey head from her tiny windpipe and laugh.

  73. sonichghog says:

    I have to agree with most of the other people. You can not expect it to look like the picture. Otherwise you woul dhave to complain about every fast food purchase you ever made.

    The real problem here was the filling messup. Thats big.

  74. Floobtronics says:

    It’s Walmart. They can’t even clear the crap out of their aisles. Did you really expect them to do *anything* right? Hey, at least it was actually a cake.

    Want a cake done perfect? Go to a reputable bakery. Want one that’s done good enough? Go to a better supermarket, Costco or BJ’s. Want something that might be edible, and should probably be made of actual cake? Go to Walmart.

    I’m with Ben, nice worms.

  75. rebecca l says:

    jesus fucking christ. this guy should befriend (1) the starbucks guys and (2) the pants judge. maybe they can complain about “subpar” products together!

    Honestly, she’s 3. she’ll prbably remember daddy being mad on her birthday, not the cake decorations being unlike the picture (which she’s probably never seen or doesn’t remember). grow a pair and make you own cake. it’s not that tough.

  76. Brazell says:

    I think the cake looks fine. As somebody else said, the Big Mac never looks the same as it does in the commercial.

    The three-year-old will never remember anyway. She’d probably have more fond memories if you baked her a cake, rather than bought it from Wal*Mart, plus it’s a lot more fun… have her help bake it (get three eggs, help stir, taste the frosting, etc).

  77. etinterrapax says:

    Heh, I read all 75 comments because I was sure something was brewing, but it turns out that it’s just a lot of people agreeing, and I was going to say the same thing. The filling screwup was major; the decoration does not look substantially different to me; it’s Wal-Mart, so what do you expect; support local bakeries, or bake your own damn cake. It’s true that there are times when nothing will hit the spot like that wretched grocery-store frosting, but low expectations are key. I grew up with homemade birthday cakes, and now I make cakes for my family, and while they are conspicuously free of licensed characters, they do contain actual butter and cream. This one, I’m thinking, not so much.

  78. Starfury says:

    One question: How did the cake taste?

    I would never consider Wal-mart if I needed a birthday cake. Safeway (not cheap but good) for smaller and Costco for bigger (yum!) cakes.

    The last b-day’s I’ve made my own cakes…not too hard and not expensive at all. They may not have been as fancy as a store cake but tasted as good or better…especially with a scoop of home made ice cream.

  79. MandM813 says:

    what the hell is wrong with people here? Just because so many stores misrepresent what they sell, its ok for all of them to do it? And god forbid anyone challenge that??? If they are going to sell a cake that looks like that, fine, but show a PICTURE OF A CAKE THAT LOOKS LIKE THAT!!!!! Dont show a picture of a cake that looks like it could be from a different planet! I mean, we arent talking a slight difference here, its like freaking night and day!

    And whats up with the whole “Its your fault for buying it at walmart and expecting them to do their job!”. How ludicrous is that? For someone to ACTUALLY expect to get what they were told they would get when they paid for it! GASP! How DARE they!

    If I were this person, I would be writing to their corporate office and demanding a full refund. Ever heard of such a thing as false advertisement? If this isnt that, I dont know what the hell is. I dont care if they paid 1 dollar for the cake or 100 dollars, but if they are lead to believe that they are getting a good quality cake, than thats what they should get. Or, like I said, Walmart needs to take a picture of one of the cakes made there, and use that to advertise. The reason they dont do that is obvious: Who the hell would buy something knowing its going to come out like that? I guess they are counting on suckers like some of you to say “oh well, its walmart, cant expect much better. my fault for not paying more…..”

    Thank you, to all the posters defending wal mart. Thanks to people like you, the rest of us continue to get screwed!

  80. Bryan Price says:

    @ChrisC1234: I have to agree. In my own family, my youngest niece was given her own birthday cake for her third birthday. Chocolate with chocolate icing. It certainly wasn’t fancy, it was homemade. And she destroyed and ate it all by herself. We let her eat it in the yard, in her bathing suit. :D And then I think we just hosed her down. I guess we could have thrown her into the lake. The rest of the family had a regular chocolate/chocolate cake.

    And quite frankly, the real cake looks better to me than the picture that looks to me to be offering just a hunk of plastic.

    The only cake that ever really mattered in my life was my wedding cake. I didn’t pick it out, I just got to pick what kind it was – carrot cake.


  81. castlecraver says:

    @acambras: I lol’d.

    @royal72: I uproariously lol’d.

    Thanks guys.

  82. chazz says:

    The only thing more insane than complaining to Consumerist about a cake decorating Judgment Call (the filling is legit, but still not a Consumerist issue imho), is the number of comments – are we all out of work or what? I think Consumerist should send this Dad in as an undercover spy and find out how they train Wal-Mart people to put on Baker hats when no one is looking and fool people. I used to think this was a serious blog about egregious consumer issues. I feel the creds slipping away.

  83. superlayne says:

    All of these comments read the same!
    “It’s Wal*Mart, you get what you paid for!”
    “She’s three for goodeness sakes!”
    “Real bakeries for real cakes!”
    “Costco has GREAT cakes!”
    “The strawberry is the problem, damnit!”
    “Bake the cake for her, decorate it with her!”

    In the picture, the *base* icing looks like yellow rolled fondant. I would be a bit miffed over that. As far as the filling goes? Filling in cake is just nasty.

    My mom always made my cakes. She had pans shaped like Disney charecters, and would color them in with a star-tipped icing bag. I always wanted to help, but I’m terrible at icing things.

    But that is one hell of an ugly cake. It looks like what you get at a bowling alley, or a skate park. To be honest, if I got that cake as a little kid, I’d be pissed it wasn’t pink and girly. Why didn’t you get your three year old girl a girly cake? I don’t get it.

  84. tcp100 says:

    @MandM813: “Thank you, to all the posters defending wal mart. Thanks to people like you, the rest of us continue to get screwed!”

    Actually, exactly the opposite.

    You’ve got two options here:

    1. Complain, and expect Wal-Mart to change its act (it won’t).

    2. Get the word out that Wal-Mart sucks, so people don’t go there as often (feasible).

    Nobody’s defending Wal-Mart. We’re just saying that the sky is blue, rain is wet, the sun is bright, and Wal-Mart sucks. Go ahead and fight that all you want, but you’re better off just acquiescing, letting Wal-Mart fester and rot, and taking your money somewhere else where they do care.

    My problem is that people seem to think that an operation like Wal-Mart CAN be fixed. That somehow you can get great quality with loss-leader prices.

    You can’t, and the unwashed masses of people who hold price above all will run you down at the turnstyle to grab their $29.99 DVD players, regardless of the fact that we all know it’ll break in six months.

    I’m saying let Wal-Mart be Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart will take care of itself. It’s already known as a bastion of cheap, lousy shit, mouthbreathing associates, nasty aisles, and trashy customers.

    Let it become what it’s destined become, and like K-Mart and others before it, it will “fix” itself, with no turmoil, spent money, or anguish from you. Wal-Mart will eat itself. Trying to fix it will only prolong that, though.

  85. acambras says:

    @Bryan Price:

    Reading your comment, I pictured my own niece sitting out in the yard in her bathing suit, diving into a chocolate cake and then getting hosed down afterward. It made me smile.

    I’ve also enjoyed some of the funny bday cake anecdotes — especially the one with the ballerinas on fire.

  86. tcp100 says:

    @superlayne: “It looks like what you get at a bowling alley … I’d be pissed it wasn’t pink and girly. Why didn’t you get your three year old girl a girly cake? I don’t get it.”

    Maybe Miranda’s a butch, bowlin’, margarita-swiggin’ three year old. Never assume! :)

  87. Brazell says:

    @MandM813: “Thank you, to all the posters defending wal mart. Thanks to people like you, the rest of us continue to get screwed!”

    Actually, more or less to people like *you* who buy the crappy products they sell. Having never bought a cake from Wal*Mart, I can reasonably say that I do not support their misleading cake decorating schemes.

  88. superlayne says:

    @tcp100: That was the best response to a comment I have ever gotten, anywhere.

  89. Pupator says:

    Sorry about the cake – it really is a lame replica of what was in the picture. I hope it was a good birthday party nonetheless!

  90. Dibbler says:

    It appears from a lot of the comments that these people don’t know a thing about making cakes. Walmart doesn’t hire “kids” to bake the cakes. They hire professional bakers to do this. This cake looks like the bakers all called in sick and the manager of the store grabbed the stockboy and told him to make a cake that looks like the picture. He didn’t know where the yellow food coloring was or the butter creme was so he improvised. They should have gave that cake to them for free and offered another free cake too. I’ve always gotten great cakes from Sams Club and they’ve always looked exactly like the picture in the book.

  91. MandM813 says:


    No one said I shop at Wal Mart. Totally agree they suck. Still, dont see what your argument is.

  92. MiltyKiss says:

    Adding onto the “play-by-play cake analysis”, the lettering is supposed to be in alternating colors.

    Ontop of that, I’ve seen good and bad cakes from almost everywhere that I’ve gone; Wrong filling, wrong COLORING, wrong everything. Normally, I would agree with Dibbler, but I’ve seen the Walmarts in CA make a cake and they NEVER look like the picture (they look just as bad as as the one above).

  93. clementine says:

    Regarding why the Mickey cake was chosen – as an aunt to a three year old girl who DEMANDED a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party, I don’t see the problem. Kids love him – girls included. Her parents didn’t get her a Mickey Mouse cake (they did the cupcake tree thing instead – it’s easier to hand out cupcakes and those individual serving sized ice cream cups to a bunch of preschoolers at a party instead of trying to slice and scoop for every child there) but my niece was still pleased. Even for the youngest of the party goers, it was all about who was at the party rather than what was served.

    Also, my very own birthday cake came from Wal-Mart this year. No complaints from me. People in my bowling league liked me enough to buy me a cake to help me celebrate my birthday and I can tell you I was over the hill with ecstasy. Plus, the Wal-Mart frosting is the best tasting frosting from the commercial bakeries in my town. It’s sort of more like Cool Whip that the heavier tasting butter cream, which is just too sweet for my taste. It’s a good cake at a great price. It isn’t a perfect cake, but for something you are just going to eat in a matter of minutes, does it really need to be?

  94. morsteen says:

    This is the “cake dad” lol. Actually if you must know we are still working our way up the public housing chain to section 8 in a few months and don’t really live in the most favorable neighborhood but we’re making due with what we have, so sorry to dissapoint the guy who complained about the high class suburbia cranky parents, but we ain’t there yet ;-) Quite frankly I don’t give a damn where an item is bought from I expect whatever company it is to deliver a satisfactory product, END OF STORY. The issue also is not about whether or not a 3 year old will accept this atrocity of the baking world (obviously they will be glad to get pretty much anything); rather it’s about having to pay anything for such a piece of crap when something much more presentable was offered. The pictures that make food look good still show the proper ingredients do they not? I mean you still get the actual item (usually anyways). If you got something that had say a keizer cheese onion bagel for a bun and totally wrong condiments and ingredients i’m sure you would take it and complain for it not only failing to resemble the item, but failing to include correct ingredients. This cake had both of those things wrong with it and this post is definatley to help with the onslaught of bad wal-mart experiences that gets the word out. You would be much better off making your own cake, but ya know sometimes you just don’t have time to; but next time we are definatley going to try to.

  95. it5five says:

    The first mistake was ordering a cake from Wal-Mart. Or stepping foot into Wal-Mart to begin with.

    It also looks like the size of the cake in the picture is larger than the one actually ordered. It isn’t easy to get cakes detailed, especially if the cake ordered is smaller than the picture cake.

  96. hop says:

    thing looks ok to me…we got a few cakes from sam’s club that were fine…we haven’t gotten a wal-mart one,yet………….i saw a sample in the wal-mart store that stated the cake was a model and was not edible….

  97. Trick says:

    Why did this person go to Wal*Mart since as they said with their very first sentence, Wal*Mart cakes suck?

    That alone pretty much sums it all up. People love to bash Wal*Mart and always complain about the crap they have yet they shop there.

    And then complain about it.

    Was this the only place in town to get a cake?

    Oh wait, it was the wifey who got the cake, not the Wal*Mart hater…

    At least The Consumerist managed to put up lets bag on Wal*Mart thread for today!!!

  98. MisterE says:

    It’s a cake. Get OVER it.

  99. shdwsclan says:

    You buy spooge-cakes at walmart….for your kid ????
    Isn’t there a law somewhere about pedofilia and spooge on a cake…especially if its different colors….

    You should deserve to pay the full price for the cake…and if you serve it to the kid….you should be jailed for child abuse….

    Here is something a third grader will even tell you….
    Cakes are made in bakerys, if it doesnt look like a bakery, then you are most likely NOT recieving anything remote to a cake…

  100. Raanne says:

    all the people comparing this to a fast-food sign, and how the food doesn’t look like it does in commercials needs to remember one thing: you buy fast food for how it tastes, you buy a cake for how it looks. that is the number one difference here.

    if you are just buying the cake for how it tastes, you wouldn’t bother having it decorated. you would just buy one of the ones “off-the-shelf” that didn’t have any customization at all.

    that being said – i could make a cake that looked better than that. they skipped steps to try and save time. They used a thicker point for the lines, so it wouldn’t take as long. they skipped the layer for under the film strip, and details on top of the film strip. the star was done in a straight line instead of a border. The bottom border on the cake looks nothing at all like the bottom border in the picture (except for the color) – and the frosting should be much much smoother than it is.

    what you are paying for is them to decorate the cake. if they show you a picture of how it will be decorated, then it should be decorated like that. they didn’t even try.

    it doesn’t matter if it is a $15 cake from walmart or a $100 cake from a small bakery, if they tell you one thing, and deliver another, its not right.

  101. mopar_man says:

    Quite frankly I don’t give a damn where an item is bought from I expect whatever company it is to deliver a satisfactory product, END OF STORY.

    Wal-Mart doesn’t deliver a satisfactory product (or service for that matter). END OF STORY. I don’t know why people can’t get that.

  102. Youthier says:

    @EtherealStrife: Are you me? I used to work at BR too and nothing ever looked like the picture. I actually think it looks pretty cute but I understand being pissed about the filling.

    At BR, we only had one decorator because the boss was a cheapskate. During my first summer, I worked day shift with her and she taught me a few basics – writing, leaves for the premade sugar flowers, borders, balloons, the brownie, fudge and whipped cream combo…

    She was also a huge flake. I cannot tell you how many times people came to pick up an undecorated cake. I would say “I will take off $10 if you’ll take this cake decorated with balloons, flowers, or brownies.” 98% of people would say “As long as it says his/her name, I’m happy.”

    Also, as a high school cheerleader, I ordered a DQ cake for a good luck treat to the volleyball team. I picked it up, glanced it, said it looked good. And of course, the biggest bitch on the team noticed they wrote “Good Luck Titan Vollyball!”

  103. jeffislouie says:

    This is funny and brings up a great story from my childhood.
    My older brothers hebrew name is ‘Shimon’ and back when we were very young, that’s what we went by.
    My dad ordered a kosher cake and when he brought it home, he couldn’t wait to unbox it.
    When he did, he saw that it proudly read:
    “Happy Birthday Sherman”.
    Eh. Maybe not so funny to other people.
    Cake making is an art. WalMart may not be the best place to go.
    Sorry your cake looks crappy compared to the photo.
    Next time avoid walmart and find a local bakery.
    You’ll get a tastier, healthier cake and it will look way better.
    Happy Birthday Miranda!

  104. freisss says:

    I decorated cakes professionally for 10+ years throughout high school and college. I worked for independent bakeries as well as grocery store bakery departments. When it comes to the final appearance of the cake, your MAIN variable is the person decorating said product.

    Some people are just naturally more artistic than others. I have seen people working in family bakeries who didn’t have a creative bone in their bodies earning their living as (crappy) cake decorators. I have also seen people working at grocery stores who could teach master classes.

    Another variable is the customer. Some people will accept any cake, even if it’s been hit by an ugly stick. Others will yell and scream if one leaf appears to be out of place.

    In my opinion, the top cake is just ehh. The decorator was either in too much of a hurry (or too lazy) to make it look like the example cake, or they just plain weren’t very creative. If they were in a hurry, the least they could have done was airbrush some color onto the icing so it would be yellow. Where I used to work, I’d say there would be about a 50% chance the customer would be unimpressed, and probably only a 25% chance they would have the guts to complain about it.

    Bottom line, if the appearance of a cake you’re ordering is important to you, do your homework and scout out bakeries with skilled decorators. If you find a good one, get that person’s name so you can request that he/she do your cakes. Otherwise, you are taking a shot in the dark.

  105. Youthier says:

    My other thought is the human factor. I went to the nicest, most reputable bakery in town for my wedding cake. The head decorator had won plenty of nationsawards. I paid $700 for it (and I know I will catch hell for that but it was honestly within our budget, promise) and I had a picture.

    My cake did not look exactly like the picture. Now, granted, it was beautiful but it’s almost impossible for humans to exactly replicate something like a decorated cake without machinery.

  106. missdona says:

    Another addition to the analysis: The red trim frosting should have white mickey sprinkles. The black mickey sprinkles are misplaced and wrong-colored.

  107. RebekahSue says:

    @superlayne: well YEAH to the above – but was I the only one who couldn’t read Miranda’s name without Consumerist’s help? (I read it as MICANDA. And I Can Read!)

    A homemade cake really isn’t hard; I’m not the best cook in the world, and I can make a really good one. To bake from a mix, one only needs to be able to read.


  108. nearsite says:

    I don’t see what’s wrong with the cake?

  109. nearsite says:

    I don’t see what’s wrong with the cake(s)? Can someone please point out the mistakes? It looks ten times better than the cake my gf baked this past weekend for her son!

  110. jurgis says:

    @morsteen: Your points are totally valid. While we all tend to hate Wal Mart/Sam’s Club and wouldn’t go their anyway, that cake is clearly not what was advertised. The cake in the photo had much different ingredients: the frosting looked like it was whipped and the film strip looked like a piece of fondant (coloring aside). Maybe they should have a giant disclaimer: “our cakes look nothing like this”.

    It actually looks suspiciously like a “stock cake” that they tried to “dress up” because they had screwed up your order. The one time I ordered a cake from a Sam’s Club, that is exactly what happened. The difference was that at least they told me that (when they handed it to me) and took half off.

    I also really doubt that they are hiring bakers who really know what they are doing… I mean, they are probably trained right there.

  111. morsteen says:

    @ jurgis: I know I am the one who sent this in, my post was in reply to the bashing I was getting for complaining about this such as the suburban high class dad complaining, and why did you go to wal-mart, and bla bla bla. So if you don’t have a lot of money and can’t shop at the highest quality joints then you’re just supposed to take it up the wazoo? I think not. If you are a company offering something at whatever price then you are expected to deliver. Like the graphic artist pointed out if he delivered a sub-par product, as per advertisement then he would get a rash of sh*t for it, if he’s charging 10 bucks, or 100 bucks. Making something affordable should NOT result in lack of quality, and with enough people seeing that corporations refuse to deliver satisfactory products might help to put a dent in their business for certain items. Quality will win out in the end I’m sure.

  112. Smashville says:

    Hold on…you asked for a free cake before you had paid for it? Now how is that acceptable? I get that it was the wrong flavor and all that…but if that’s the case, just don’t buy it…

  113. Brazell says:

    @Raanne: “you buy fast food for how it tastes, you buy a cake for how it looks. that is the number one difference here.”

    … I might not speak for all consumerist readers, but I eat cake.

  114. Aaron Pratt says:

    @MichaelBrazell: Actually, I eat cake and enjoy how it looks.

  115. Addison says:

    This is why I make cupcakes for people….to save them from things like this.

  116. yifin says:

    Here’s my two cents. I work as a cake decorator at a large national grocery chain. If I had decorated that cake, the customer would’ve gotten it free with an extensive apology from which ever manager is on the clock while I’d get a reaming from that manager after the customer has left.

    1. Smooth corners like the demo are entirely possible and quite easy to do with a spatula. I can do that with buttercream, Whipped, fondant or what have you. In fact, I did it today and the cakes I made.

    2. The lack of yellow colouring really catches the eye. There are two ways to colour frosting. Either a food dye mixed in to the frosting before application or airbrushing the colour on after application. From the picture, i would say it’s airbrush from the way the yellow fades to white at the bottom.

    3. What in God’s name are those purple polka dots doing on the cake? That’s extra work there you don’t need. The surface of the cake itself is too busy overall between the extra streamers, so cut those down as well.

    4. The sprinkles that come with the cake clearly go on the border. While I’ve never run across any customer that’s been offended if the sprinkles are positioned exactly on the border like they are in the picture, I think that’s because I actually put them on the border. Which brings me to…

    5. The border, that’s clearly the wrong tip. That looks like a #22 star tip. The picture calls for a round shell. For that, just use a round tip or the coupler if you don’t have any.

    6. Filmstrip/Name. Why the single colour for the writing? There’s obviously more than just purple mixed up, so the alternation of the colouring of the letters shouldn’t have been that hard. And how hard is it to stuff a writing bag with white frosting of whatever frosting and make the white stripes on the border of the filmstrip? Not hard at all.

    7. The star around Mickey’s head is made up of smooth shells, not just a thick, vaguely disconcerting outline. While you can’t use just the tip coupler like you can with the border, if you lack a small round tip, use a disposable writing bag and cut it so the frosting coming out is large enough to do those shells.

    Yeah, no one’s is expecting a perfect cake from a chain bakery but people do expect cakes to at least closely resemble the example. True, those cakes are demoed on Styrofoam(huh, spellcheck doesn’t like it when Styrofoam is not capitalized properly.) 1/4 sheets or 1/2 sheets, the change from styrofoam to cake isn’t going to change the look of the cake. Styrofoam is used because it’s reusable in this case. you decorate the Styrofoam, take the pretty pictures and then wipe all the frosting off and move to the next cake demo.
    As to the training of the cake decorator that decorated this cake, he or she has had at least a small amount of training. The bordering, while hurried has the shell aspect. It ain’t pretty but it’s there. So the decorator should have known better.
    @morsteen, like others have suggested before, pick up cakes earlier in the day or late the previous day. This leaves you time to do some serious complaining when you end up with what you did without the pressure of no time for anything else.

    @everyone saying that’s not a bad cake, hush now. That’s a really s****y cake. I can do that cake in less than thirty minutes. That’s an easy kit to decorate. Try doing the Tinkerbell dangler or the Four princesses.

  117. jurgis says:

    @morsteen: Right… I think if you read my comment, I was agreeing with you and pointing out all the flaws in the cake. Yes, many of us hate Wal Mart; the poor quality is one reason why, but it shouldn’t prevent you from complaining or expecting more at all.

  118. morsteen says:

    @smashville We bought the cake because the party was going to start soon and didn’t have the time to fuss with getting a new one.
    @jurgis Yup I agree, like I said before enough people demand quality and don’t put up with this crap eventually (i hope) it will be better, or is that just too optimistic? lol

  119. says:

    At least there was no diethelyene glycol in the cake…

  120. NZDave says:


  121. NZDave says:


  122. NZDave says:

    Oops. Sorry.

    That was: Hmm, the cake looks fine, and a 3 year old would never notice. The ingredients however are something to complain about. But that happens every day and should never make it to the pages of The Consumerist.

    It’s as useless as the post on “How to take a photo in a store without being caught” – wtf? – and “a glass of juice and ice is actually a glass of juice” – moronic.

  123. nardo218 says:

    I don’t see the problem, those cakes looks beautiful.

  124. SpaceCat85 says:

    If you need a birthday cake but can’t make it to a local bakery, you’ll probably do better at a supermarket. Most of the regional chains in my area have actual samples of the cakes they offer, and I’ve had many types of cakes from there for birthday parties and other occasions. The theme party cakes look a great deal closer in finishing to the bottom photo than the Walmart cake.

    As others have said, I did a better job decorating cakes when I was in grade school. It’s one thing when a product doesn’t live up to the glued and airbrushed version in the photograph, but it’s another matter entirely when it barely resembles the advertised product and doesn’t even have the right filling!

  125. ahwannabe says:

    Why not just rent a cake?

  126. factotum says:

    I just hope W-Mart’s frosting wasn’t made in China with poison sweeteners.

  127. LAGirl says:

    funny, but when i first looked at the pix i thought, ‘hey, that cake looks pretty good.’ it was only after reading the story and taking a closer look, that i could see they don’t match. but come on…for a three year old? i think it’s fine. and with all the horror stories we read about Walmart? they should have known better. if someone was that good at decorating cakes? they’re not going to work at a Walmart.

    what i’m more concerned about is that they named their daughter after the lesbian on Sex and the City.

  128. LAGirl says:

    @factotum: hahahahahahaha!!!!

  129. crankymediaguy says:

    You want some REAL fun? Find one of those Nazi T-shirts and ask the Wal-Mart bakery to reproduce THAT image on the top of a cake!

  130. jeffislouie says:

    129 comments related to a story about a cake that does’t look like the one in the promo picture.
    THAT is funny…
    Lots of strong feelings about cake around here…

  131. RebekahSue says:


    what i’m more concerned about is that they named their daughter after the lesbian on Sex and the City.

    i thought it was after the aunt in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

  132. markedward says:

    They couldn’t even bother to use the yellow frosting shown in the picture? The fact they couldn’t even get the color right for the base frosting is just pure laziness. They should all be fired for such ineptitude.

  133. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @LAGirl: I didn’t know there was a character on Sex and the City named ‘Micanda’…
    She was a lesbian? Was she hot? Did she like cake?

  134. badgeman46 says:

    If you happen to live in Florida, get a Publix Cake! Publix consistently beats professional bakers in both flavor and decoration! We used Publix for our wedding cake! Unlike the professional baker, the cake looked AND tasted good! You will find most bakers sacrifice flavor for appearance and vice versa.

  135. mmaxfield says:

    hmm…you get what you pay for if you are buying at Walmart. WTH knew that they sold cakes anyway? I do not shop there.

    I used to decorate ice cream cakes at Carvel. We used a machine to trace pictures with the gel piping or just copy it free hand. Why would anyone in their right mind want to buy a cake from Wal Mart?

  136. mordie says:

    maybe they were trying to pull off a Pollock

  137. Consumer007 says:

    You know, I’m divided on this one. Partially I agree with and understand the comments saying yes we’re perfectionist and spoiled these days and absolutely there are bigger things to worry about.

    The other part of me agrees with the consumer here. The advertised “before” picture most certainly misleads us to the appearance of the final result. If Wal-Mart started advertising the “after” picture presented here, I thin that would be much fairer. And further, why can’t walmart premake those cakes based on the picture and have pre-made letters ready to add?

    No the kid won’t care, but there’s a quality principle here at stake for Wal-Mart, assuming they care…which they obviously don’t, but obviously should. How’s this for an analogy – you go buy a car and you’ve seen pictures of what it looks like. You then go to drive it away after “prepping” and the hood is crumpled, old tires, scratched windows, and it’s not exactly the model you were told it was…wouldn’t you be upset?

    While “everyone does it” in the industry as far as taking pictures of rapturously fake, plumped-up moist plastic food replicas, and the reality, if photographed would get laughs at best, that doesn’t mean that practice is good, right failr, or even legal. Technically I would say the consumer here is justified in a lawsuit based on false advertising, unless the picture had fine print saying “this cake is a fake false representation of our actual in-store product. Actual product may be made by crack-infested staff unconcerned about much less equipped with automatic spell checking for accuracy of iced letters and terms.”

  138. Difdi says:

    This happened to me a few years ago…

    I ordered a birthday cake from Safeway; For my own birthday. The day it was supposed to be ready for (the day before my birthday) I stopped in to pick it up. No cake. The order form is still pinned to their bulletin board. I complain to an assistant manager, and am assured it will be fixed. On my birthday I show up to pick up my cake at the time the manager gave me. No cake. Order form has vanished from bulletin board. No manager either. Luckily I am a passable cook, and was able to put on my own rush baking project before my guests arrived.

    A week after my birthday, I get a call from Safeway. My cake is ready. What the HECK?!? By the time I get there, someone has helpfully boxed up my cake, set it out on a table, and sold it. Store manager promises to fix it, and won’t listen to me that my birthday was the previous week.

    Two weeks after my birthday, and no cake yet. I was in the store to pick up some minor odds and ends, and the store manager asked me how I had liked my cake. I told him I had never received one. He looked pissed off, and stormed into the back room.

    The week after that, when I came in to do my weekly grocery shopping, there was the manager, cake box in hand. Three weeks after my birthday, I finally got my birthday cake. Free of charge for the trouble, but still.

    The same thing has happened to me with every special order I’ve had Safeway do since then, and I no longer do special orders from them. The alternatives are more expensive and further away, but actually having a birthday cake on your birthday more than outweighs the extra hassle.

  139. ShizaMinelli says:

    I completely disagree. It shouldn’t be expected to look exactly like the picture, but the fact is she placed her order well in advance and they clearly half-assed it the night before. She paid for an advertised service and, regardless of what she paid, has every right to expect that service provided as she wants it.

  140. Anonymous says:

    Wal-mart is the reason I began baking my own cakes. It wasn’t just the design, it was the flavor… the freezer burnt flavor. Some are. They baked elsewhere, frozen and shipped.. I recommend bakeries that are not a chain

  141. Katie Greeley says:

    I’ve ordered 1 or 2 cakes from Wal-Mart before and they came out so hideous! I don’t think anyone in the bakery knows how to write or make cakes. I think the nice looking ones on display are ordered. Anytime I get a cake with writing it looks as though my 2 y/o colored the letters on. My 11 y/o wants the Star Wars cake they have there, but I just don’t want to take the chance of them ruining it :(
    They NEVER make them according to the picture. Stop & Shop does the same thing…

  142. Anonymous says:

    I know this is old..but im looking for ideas for my sons 9th birthday and this came up. Im just 25 but im sure some of the ones who left comments on here are older. Yeah can you say mean!! Walmart gives people jobs and maybe not the highest qulity of people. The cake if made the same stuff would have been used with that fondue, which by the way isnt that good. So for a three year old i would say she wouldnt have ate the cake. And people are you guys really that hateful . I mean if you want cheap expexted it. In this case im sure they would do every cake the same because the have guidelines. If you want to pay 100 for a cake for a 3yr old just to eat be my guest. But why down people who work there because they do what there told. At the ones near me they have you write down what kind and what to say. I would have been upset about the filling if someone had an allergy but other wise hey its a cake and you paid what maybe 10. For people who sounds so up there and you cant part with 10. It looked like a great cake!