today and tomorrow

filed under: Surprise Inside Cakes on April 7, 2014

I just need a moment to breath.

And I have a feeling you do too.

These last two months have been a whirlwind.  I have laughed and cried.  I have been humbled beyond words and I have felt so disappointed that I am ashamed it rocked me to my core.

The highest of highs and lowest of lows, so to speak.

For example, I worked my butt off on a cake.  From conception to completion, every detail was meticulously thought out.  I worked for DAYS to make sure this cake was perfect. TODAY Show CakeI am not kidding you when I say I put my heart into it.  As I placed the final coat of frosting and added the final details, I just knew this cake was going to be amazing.

I could just see it… the TODAY Show producers would see it and mouths would drop.  People would hover around computers to look at the pictures.

The call would be made, “Pack your bags, you are coming to NYC!” TODAY Show Surprise Inside Cake!It turned out beautifully.  Every painstaking detail!

I sat on pins and needles for days.

And days.

And days.

And never heard a word.  Not only were they not impressed, but there was no call.  I would not be making a morning show appearance.

I can’t say for certain why it hit me so hard, but I can’t help but feel like it had something to do with the expectations I had unwittingly placed on that silly little cake.  Its like my entire career as an author and baker was resting delicately on clouds of white buttercream. When reality set it, it was a crushing and embarrassing defeat.

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover

There is just something different about publishing a book.  I know people equate it to childbirth, and I can definitely understand why,  but for me it was very different.

Concerning my children, once they are in the world they are perfect and loved and there is no convincing me otherwise.  They, in their unquestionable perfection, are the greatest thing I have ever had a hand in creating.  And their perfection and amazingness truth is independent of me.  In that, there is no doubt.

With the book, the failure is a direct result of me.  My efforts.  Will someone hold it and understand my heart?  Will they look over the less-than-refined cakes and see the memories I hope will be made or the inspiration I desperately want to share?   Will they understand that I have never in my life been so vulnerable publically and that it’s absolutely terrifying?


Well no, of course not.  It would be silly to expect people to read that deeply into my words and hear my heart.  It’s a book about cake.

The truth is, I am not a New York Times best selling author as badly as I wanted to say those words.

And that’s ok.

There have been interviews and reviews and thankfully, the amazing and supportive blogging community has stepped forward and shared some of the most kind and humbling posts I could ever imagine.  Every single one of those posts and a treasure to me! (See them here)

I heard a quote once that has really stuck with me as a blogger, and now author.  (It was said by Ellen DeGeneres and I can’t remember it exactly, so this is a paraphrase.)

“Never believe the worst of what people say about you.  Never believe the best either.”

As much as I want to believe the best of what others say, it holds no more truth than the worst.

What I am learning is that it is important to trust and value the opinions of those close to you.

Flowers from my Husband


That when my husband surprises me with flowers and says, “I am so proud of you,” that is something I can let fill my soul.  

So instead of never sharing my cakes with the world and acting like everything is fine and dandy and that rejection and hurt don’t come ’round here, I choose to be real.

NBC Surprise Inside Cake

(I had started with the NBC Peacock logo but it was not as sharp and clean and I wanted so I discarded it and kept working.)

TODAY Show Surprise Inside Cake!

I made a surprise inside cake for the TODAY show.  And they didn’t care about it one way or another.

But that doesn’t it make it any less valuable or significant to me.  


If you would like to support this sometimes maker of pretty cakes and accidental writer, you can get my book HERE.

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  • Lisa D. says:

    Hi Amanda, Your reaction to the deafening silence you’re experiencing from the TOAY show is perfectly understandable. I’d like to pose some questions that might help you see it from a different perspective. 1. You are assuming because you haven’t heard anything…yet or immediately…that equates to ‘they hate it’ or ‘they don’t care.’ Is that really true? Decisions made in TV often have nothing to do with one particular person as much as a constellation of reasons that are about issues completely removed from that person….like scheduling, politics, timing, budget…it goes on and on. Television is a business and the media is so overloaded with ideas and information coming back to them that it can take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to ‘pick something up’ and be put in the line up. You’re also assuming that this particular show is the ‘one and only’ when its possible you’re being looked at right now by other media outlets. Think about this…the only reason Rachel Ray was featured on a morning news show was because of a snow blizzard that canceled out the appearance of the scheduled guest. They weren’t going to go with her but at the last minute, finding themselves in a bind, they ‘used her’ to fill in the spot! You never know how things will evolve once the world begins knowing about you…it may just be bigger than you ever imagined and not look anything like you thought it would. 2. How do you define success? You have achieved something many CEO’s and heads of state have been incapable of doing…inspiring people… to discover their own talents or try something they never thought themselves capable of doing….that’s fear busting! I eagerly look forward to your blog posts…and never made one of your cakes…have not even attempted it. I just love looking at your art! Many times sitting at my computer I’ve marveled at what you’ve done and say right out loud ‘this girl is a genius!’ Get out your calculator and just try to come up with the number of times and people you’ve done that for…go ahead…see if your calculator goes that high. What an impact you’ve had on people! In the end what’s more important…that? or a TV spot that airs for a few minutes and then its over? 3. Why does the opinion of ‘TV producers’ you’ve never met and have never met you, and most likely have little to no knowledge about baking and the innovations you’ve created, have a more important voice than your own ‘knowing’ that this book and what’s inside is something very different and special? When we attach ourselves and become dependent on the external validation of others…its a recipe for suffering and a continual hunger for more external validation once the first voice has gone quiet. If the TODAY show producers had done a spot on this book…would that have been it for you? Would you be saying ‘ok…that’s enough…or would you be ‘hoping’ for other shows and media outlets to be featuring you as well? I’m not saying that’s bad at all…it would be wonderful, but the point is the hunger for that external validation never ceases. When the internal voice of validation is louder than all the rest…you’re no longer at the mercy or a slave to the opinions of others. Your work stands for itself. Know that you are enough.

  • Cat says:


    You are an artist. As such we are always putting our hearts into our work for all to see. Unfortunately not everyone sees what we do. I’m a photographer and a party planner and a cake artist. The biggest thrill is when someone looks at my work and “gets it”. But that is SO rare. Many can appreciate it but not “get it”. The hard thing is that, as an artist, I’m always waiting for that pay off. I love your minimalist version of TODAY. I love the geometric design. The circles within the square. I love the blank canvas on the outside that conveys, to me, that each day is a brand new beginning…each day is TODAY. And each day has a surprise inside. Now, I have no idea if that is what you were trying to convey…just that it’s what it says to me. But, as an artist, you have reached a milestone to be proud of…you are published. That’s amazing. That’s wonderful. And that’s ALL you. Something very much to be proud about and to revel in. Looks like everyone else is very proud of you too. 🙂


  • Joan - My Cookie Clinic says:

    Amanda, It’s normal to hope and dream and then be brutally disappointed. There are only a few very successful bloggers who receive lots of notoriety and very few end up on TV or in the limelight. You were approached to write a book about your fabulous cakes and only a few get that kind of offer. How wonderful! Just soak it in and be proud of yourself. I wish you the best of luck with the book and keep in mind the Today show is more interested in hype stories. You’d be better off contacting The Contessa on Food Network who occasionally has a guest foodie.

  • Pam Lawley says:

    I think I may be the only one commenting who does NOT have her own blog! Yikes!! *I* don’t have a blog because I couldn’t stand the pressure!! I bake because I love it, and occasionally even get paid for ingredients, but I do NOT want the stress of being a ‘professional’, or a blogger…. You people ROCK!!

    Because I know that I would have those same high expectations and I would suffer those same crushing moments of disappointment – and I am a WIMP!!

    But I am so incredibly grateful for all of you bloggers out there creating beautiful deliciousness for me to ‘Pin’ and then bake myself!!!! In my cookbook binder at home, I still have the pages-long recipes I printed for the ‘Rose’ cake (with the chocolate and vanilla cakes inside and complete with photos!), and the tall ‘Cherry’ cake with the incredible layer of frosting and a few cherries inside! 🙂 Way back then I didn’t have a clue about who you were!!

    Anyways, I *hate* that you were disappointed and I’d happily ban the stoopid show if I was home in the mornings to watch any TV!! For the record, I own your cookbook! 😉 And I love what you do on this blog…. I’m just one lone non-blogging chick in eastern North Carolina – but I’d bet that I’m in good compnay!!!!

    Savor those lows because they’ll make the highs so much more satisfying!! And do as I say, not as I do!! 😉

  • curly girl foodie says:

    Recently found your blog and love it. Then I find out we attend the same church and our church has an auction for an upcoming mission trip and a cake class with you is offered. The icing on the cake is that I was able to garner a spot in the class. So looking forward to the class and meeting you.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Kari!! What a treat! I can’t wait! 🙂

  • Becca Heflin says:

    There’s so much that I want to say to you right now, Amanda… so much that NEEDS to be said, but I can’t stop crying long enough to see through my tear stained eyes to type them out.
    How can I be so proud of someone that I’ve never personally met? How can I feel this depth of connection and compassion, and empathy for you? How is it that I want to scratch the eyes out of the person who discarded your hard work with the click of button?
    I think I may have an idea of why….
    It’s because despite living a thousand miles apart, being 2 decades different in age, and having the furthest extreme of difference in our ability to create gorgeous food, you and I are sisters, Amanda… loved by the same Father who brought us into this world for the unique purpose of making a difference in the lives of others… one beautiful bite at a time. You, my love, are SO well on His path that all I can hear right now is our loving God’s voice singing your praises up in Heaven. You bring such joy to the lives of so many, and I can’t possibly love you any less than I do right now.

    • Amanda says:

      I FEEL THE SAME ABOUT YOU!!! I am printing off this comment and hanging it on my mirror. SOOOO blessed to know the amazingness that is YOU!

  • Jadine says:

    I know exactly how you feel. I went to a Jackie Evancho concert and wanted to give her a little gift. I made her some cookies that were adorable. I handcut 3 dress cookies to match 3 of her concert dresses. I had some edible images made of her CD and album covers and replicated Tshirts and CD cases that were sold at the event and on-line. I emailed her father ahead of time to ask where they should be delivered – no response. I gave them to security at the venue and I know they were delivered but I don’t if Jackie actually saw them. Not sure what her parents did with them. Heard nothing. Nada. I was so disappointed. Nevertheless, I don’t regret making them. I learned not to order edible images in the winter if they are being shipped 300 mi. bec the cold makes them slide off the backing sheet and they crumble to pieces. I learned that what was precious to me – for others, well, not so much. Lesson learned. Painful? Yes, Would I do it again? Yes. Love all your posts Amanda. And I ordered one of your books last week. Can’t wait to get it!

    • Amanda says:

      Oh Jadine… my heart just breaks thinking about that! About every little detail that you poured yourself into… only to never know what came of it. I am SO encouraged that after all that, you would DO IT AGAIN! Love your comment and am totally inspired by you. 🙂

  • Deepali Jain says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I don’t have a copy of your book yet but it has been added in my wish list. I am a regular reader of your blog & leave some sporadic comments as well. I absolutely adore you and your blog. I just love reading each and every post of yours and you inspire me to no end.

    I have been facing rejection in blogging field quite a bit from beginning including rejection by BlogHer, Google Adsense, famous bloggers, Tastespotting, Foodgawker, etc etc. But your post about believing in oneself and letting myself be the barometer helped me move on and keep on trying.

    Recently I was interviewed for a Lifestyle Magazine in India and I was asked about “My favorite Blog” and below in quotes is my response, “There is one blog which I repeatedly check & never miss a post – I am Baker by Amanda Rettke. I find her witty, charming and ready to laugh at her own self and share with the world.”

    You may not know me but I am happy to know YOU. You have made a difference in my life.

    So do believe in yourself and keep on inspiring people. Continue to tempt us with your beautiful creations, beautiful words and a beautiful YOU.

    I am lucky to have known you in this virtual world. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Oh wow. This has me in tears Deepali. To know that we are kindred spirits, making our way through this world sharing a passion for baking is just awesome. Thank you for this. And I too, feel lucky to know YOU!!

  • Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog says:

    This post, wow, it made me tear up. It was so beautifully written and from the heart. That cake you made is simply GORGEOUS! And you book? that kind of awesomeness is a rarity to come across-each recipe and page is like a piece of artwork! Here’s a little ‘YOU GO GIRL’ !!!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks Phi!! You just made my day with this comment. Feeling pretty blessed! Thank you and I hope YOUR day is blessed!!

  • M says:

    I have been following you for years now. By just going to your site, by email and otherwise. You are amazing and I started baking after getting inspired by your website.

    What ever happens, you are an inspiration and a guru for a lot of people the world over.


    PS: I read you blog from Dubai, UAE so trust me when I say that your blog is truly international. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you M! I sincerely appreciate you sharing that. 🙂

  • Tesei says:

    Dear Amanda, your cake is lovely, so is all your work, and so are you as a person! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, I honestly hope you feel better and you should because there is no real defeat behind your expectations. You have gone a very long way and you’ll be proud of that when you stop demanding so much from yourself. Other people’s opinions don’t count right now, all that counts is what you feel in your heart, and from what you’ve said, I believe you feel the love of your friends, family and loved ones. Stick to that, you’re a very successful woman if you can say you still have that when the media is not going crazy over you. It’s easy to like the “successful” and popular ones, but the real love is having your husband and kids feeling proud of their hard working mummy! Keep smiling and doing what you do, we followers LOVE it!!!

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Tesei! That means a LOT to me. 🙂

  • Joanie says:

    I don’t make beautiful cakes & I barely write letters so I have very little in common with you. I have been struggling with a couple of things that have hurt and confused me. When I read your Cake Story today, all of a sudden I felt so terrible for you and realized we all go thru hard things in our lives. Knowing I’m not alone and thinking about someone else is a good start to put one foot in front of the other and start over. I just wish I had a piece of cake to eat..guess I’ll go buy that book of yours…

    • Amanda says:

      Hey Joanie! I am sending you the biggest prayers right now… hoping you can actually feel a big warm hug. Be encouraged and strengthened dear girl, and know that we will get through these trials! please let me know if there is something specific I can be praying on for you!

  • Rachel @ says:

    Maybe it’s just a “not right now” moment. Your work is amazing and beautiful! Love this cake!

  • Kris D. says:

    Love the cake, love the honesty even more!
    I just made your Neapolitan Hi hat cake for my nephews birthday. Unfortunately the strawberry cake portion was a disaster, but I learned a lot and will try again this week. I know if I get it right it will become my new favorite cake because the cake batter was sooooo delicious. I really enjoy your blog & I really LOVE your new book, so thank you!!!

  • Linda R says:

    What a blog! Thank you. The heartfelt comments from so many speak “success.” Those of us who have followed you know how gifted and talented you are. My business partner and I are within a few weeks of knocking on doors with our own self-published book. I appreciate your openness to share the highs and lows of being an author. We are first-timers too. You are on the right path, touching others. I have ordered your book! I know I’ll love it.

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Linda! What is your book about? Baking? 🙂 I wish you the BEST of luck throughout the whole process!!!

  • Susan P says:

    Your work is amazing. You are truly gifted. As far as the Today Show, they don’t have much of an audience anyway and are pretty irrelivant. That why they are losing their audience..

  • megan says:

    I have always been SO amazed by your work! Being a cake baker/decorator (for family only…they are my most valued customers ;)….plus, I don’t have time to do it for anyone else cause we KNOW how much time goes into one cake!!!) I have the DEEPEST of appreciation and AWE of your God given talent…

    But, you’ve increased my fondness of you as a person with this post…whether TODAY ever comes back to you or not, it hurts…it hurts to put your heart and soul into something that you truly LOVE, and no one even acknowledges it. Sure, they’re a big company (to say the least) who may be very busy and not have found the right spot for you, but I can completely understand your disappointment and OH, how I admire your honesty with us!!! We’ve ALL been hurt, even when we “should know better”… what’s most beautiful is that roller coaster brought you right back to what you believe in your heart, is all that matters: those you love, loving and appreciating you fully and completely!!

    I just bought your book and cannot WAIT to give one a try…my kids are into BIG cakes with MAJOR themes (I have Mine Craft, Hello Kitty, Animals all over the world (LOL) and a Puppy cake on the schedule for this years birthdays :)), but for someone else or when they get beyond theme cakes, yours will be my great next challenges!!

    Our art is flour and buttercream and you, dear woman, are a TRUE artist!!!

  • Linda says:

    I just love looking at your cakes. They make me happy to see. I am not much of a baker but can really appreciate your art. Keep on keeping on girl!

  • Maria says:

    Amanda, first of all I want to say, Sorry My English hope you can understand me. I have been reading your blog and following you about 2 months now .. Yes barely 2 month.. .. I have seen your work, yet, I have not done No cakes.. but I will eventually. I am not a good cook either nor a good baker, i think the last time I baked cookies was like 20 yrs ago. The other day I told you on face book that I hope Food Network picks you or sees your talent and gives you your own show. You are so unique, different, and most of all you bake with Love. I always say, Cooking or baking is an art is something that not everyone can do. You are very nice to share with us … your talents. Even, If your book is not new York number 1.. is still out there you where able to publish your BOOK you DID IT!!!! .. I am ADHD and your book helps me ” visualize how to bake a cake.” and I love the pictures 🙂 I am almost 40. I am intellectual challenged mildly with ADHD. I was told I could never care for myself or work well, Doctors where so wrong.. I work, I care for myself and happily in love with my love and with kids. Here I am doing it on by myself and my next goal is to get my GED. I had to learn how to cook the basics, now I want to bake too. I love colors and many of your cakes and things you cook have COLORS! It just takes me a while to do something .. I need to read a book like 10 times LOL .. Then make many mistakes until I get it right. The support I have is my kids, My fiance , My mom and Myself. Its ok to feel like that sometimes Is when I was doing an easy in English it was so hard I worked so hard for it and at the end My easy was not picked,. I felt so sad they did not pick me .. but I got a C on that assignment .. and to know I made it to a C GOSH I LOVE IT. Before I never even made it to D. Knowing I got a C was like an A to me 🙂 .. You have to many people that LOVES YOUR WORK.. LOVES IT LOVES IT… and to let you know For many People including your family You are always NUMBER 1 .. and always will be. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I hope you understood Me. Thank you.

    • Amanda says:

      I think YOU are the inspiration! So thankful for your support and that you are willing to share of yourself. I appreciate you!

  • Candi says:

    Dear Amanda,
    I found your blog a few years ago now and you are my inspiration! When I had my first child who is now 6 I wanted to be the mummy that he could tell his friends, “my mum makes the best cakes and cookies” and with your blog I am proud to say I am that mum. Thank you for that. I borrowed money to buy your book as I really wanted to support you and I am so excited to get it!
    Thanks again from a big fan

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you so much Candi. And yes, you ARE that wonderful loving amazing mum!! 🙂

  • cookienurse says:

    You are a blessing to so many, God has given you a wonderful gift! I thank God for you!

  • Sierra says:

    Your honesty is truly admirable. Thanks for sharing.
    I can’t fully imagine what you’re going through as I have never written a book, but I understand the feeling of disappointment and things not going the way you had planned or hoped.
    Continue to do what you love to do, even if no one notices. It’s not their opinion that matters but your happiness.

  • Amanda B. says:

    Aw, don’t take it to heart! Your blog is an inspiration to many, I check it too many times a day to count and tell everyone who will listen about the awesome-ness of the cakes you bake. You started my obsession with anything Wilton and homeade buttercream =) and my tummy thanks you.

  • mila furman says:

    Amanda, reading this makes my heart hurt. I too struggle so much every time I get a negative comment or someone tries to rain on my parade. Those Today people are bastards! I look at what you do and I am amazed on a daily basis that you can create such magnificent cakes. They are gorgeous and delicious!!! Because I have made them…you should be proud of yourself. Most people don’t know that as bloggers we are our own writers, designers, photographers, food stylists, chefs, bakers, editors, dish washers and on and on and on. You are magnificently talented, KUDOS to you! My goal is to one day get a cookbook! You have already achieved something that many only dream of. Good for you for actually being brave enough to fight this tough uphill road and standing up after each stumble. <3

  • Mellybrown says:

    Bless your heart, Amanda. Though I haven’t attempted anything on the scale you are right now, I know that most times I work so hard specifically seeking the approval of others ….. I am often disappointed. Thank goodness we both know whose approval matters most. I appreciate you and your blog so much. Thank you for your transparency!