Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
Cakegate 2023 is rattling the internet at the moment – specifically, TikTok.
Yep, one thing we love over on the video sharing app is a bit of drama over something trivial, and this example pretty much encapsulates that.
The dispute is between one US-based baker – Kylie Allen of Kylie Kakes Dessert Bar and Cafe – and her client, and it came about after the baker publicly called them out for complaining about the quality of her work.
Playing out over TikTok, the interaction is quite something, and is even more remarkable for how much it has backfired on the baker.
What is Cakegate 2023?
The drama unfurled on April 7th, when Kylie Allen, from Princeton, West Virginia, shared a video on her page in which she detailed one of the “worst client experiences” she had had, alongside the hashtags #Karen and #badclient.
She detailed how the client ordered one of her six-layer rainbow cakes and complained about it on social media, and clearly thought the whole thing was unreasonable.
But the drama went viral, and before you know it, the client responded with some receipts of her own. Eeeek.
You can watch the video below:
“Today, I had one of the worst client experiences I’ve ever had since opening the storefront…” the baker said of the client.
Kylie said the client had ordered an 8-inch cake, which serves 18 people, and retails $84 (£67.55).
“Upon arrival, she seemed to be really surprised that the cake was covered in sprinkles. We explained to her that all of our signature cakes are decorated this way and covered in sprinkles,” she went on. “She even bashed us and put us on her Facebook page. Also a reminder that we don’t individually place each sprinkle onto the cake, so they may look slightly different in pictures.”
Comments on the video are now turned off, but responding to the clip, many people duetted and had their say on the baker’s gripes, including the client herself – Ashleigh Freeman. We bet Kylie wasn’t expecting that…
Posting some snaps of the cake which caused all the drama, then deleting them, and then re-posting, the client Ashleigh (who goes by @afreebird on TikTok) certainly had a different view on the events, and explained she felt obligated to make it known.
When asked why she’d deleted her first vid, she said: “Im an idiot. I didn’t want to ruin her business, tried to squash the beef and she said no.”
In the video, you can see the the cake she picked up, covered in sprinkles with the words “Happy Birthday Trilby” — which is her mum’s name — in black icing on top.
Then, she flicks to a phone conversation in which Ashleigh calls out the quality of the cake and says it isn’t worth the price.
In screenshots verified by TODAY, Kylie says: “This is what all our standard rainbow cakes look like,” and Ashliegh replies with a picture and says “Look at it. That’s the problem.”
The client is then said to have explained: “If it looked nice, if it looked like quality work, I would gladly pay 90. But if it looks like sh*t, no ma’am.”
“I complained because $84 is a lot of money to me, and I felt ripped off,” she added to the paper.
“The price and time that I do the work for doesn’t change just because it’s not what you THOUGHT it should be,” the baker wrote back in the screenshot, aired on TikTok.
“I have never decorated the rainbow cakes or advertised them to look any other way than what you received.”
Whilst Kylie went on to accuse the client of being disrespectful, she replied: “It’s not disrespectful to expect quality” – and it’s safe to say a lot of TikTok were in agreement.
“You keep saying that but it’s literally the same exact rainbow cake I serve EVERYONE,” the baker said. “Do you think you’re one sour attitude toward my cake will shake my business? Absolutely not.”
The client is then said to have replied: “I hope you do go outta business. Princeton deserves better than subpar boxed cake from an unprofessional, dirty-fingernailed ‘baker.'”
Yikes. Are we all keeping up?
Just to add insult to injury, the client then responded to someone who asked her why she didn’t just make the cake herself by….well, doing just that. Watch the video below:
Replying to @selenahernandez608 The cake TRILBY deserved. PS – Ik the handwriting is rough! I’m rusty. #kylieraeallen #happybirthdaytrilby #karen #badcustomer #homebaker #rainbowsprinklecake #cakebeef #thatsideoftiktok #doubledown #cakedecorating
She does concede the handwriting on top of the cake still needs some work, but it’s fair to say she produced a cake that was better than the original.
What did TikTok think of Cakegate?
As the drama continued to pan out online, millions of people on TikTok found themselves hooked as if it was a blockbuster movie.
“Here for the cake drama,” said someone on TikTok, to which Ashleigh herself replied, coining the now viral hashtag, “#Cakegate2023” which has now received over 40 million views.
Whilst there was a mix of responses online, typically, people started by feeling sorry for the baker before seeing the cake and siding with the client.
“Saw her video and felt so bad for her yesterday,” said one person. “Immediate regret now that I’ve seen the cake. I can’t even.”
People even started copying Ashleigh and making their own version of the cake, whilst others found Kylie’s Yelp and Facebook pages and covered them in cruel reviews (whatever you think of her baking, that’s not cool guys).
Everyone got so obsessed with Cakegate that Yelp’s support team is now watching her page due to “increased public attention,” and Kylie’s whole social media been ripped apart by trolls – some of which noted she used pictures of other bakers’ work from Pinterest to promote the classes she teaches.
Kylie has been clear she always told people the images were for inspo, and not her own.
Like the cake, this is clearly a multi-layered issue (if you’ll pardon the cheesy gag).
Despite the fact people are evidently taking the hate way too far, Kylie has been quite defiant online about her baking abilities, and doesn’t seem willing to accept any feedback, repeatedly making more videos in the face of criticism, and turning off comments when anyone disagrees with her.
Kylie and Ashleigh’s response to Cakegate
“Since you guys just love to talk about me, and make viral videos about me… honestly it’s very funny to me,” Kylie has since said in a video, addressing the drama.
“There’s now a viral video going around about how I use other people’s work and that’s not true. I have cake decorating classes in my hometown and I’ve been doing this for years and I use inspiration photos as to what we’ll be creating.”
“I have worked extremely hard to get where I am … you guys have nothing going on with your life and yourself have so much to say about a situation that you don’t know the full backstory on,.
“I would just keep your mouth shut because it’s not doing anything.”
Despite the backlash, she is endeavouring to use the situation to her advantage, even offering free rainbow sprinkle cupcakes to those who visited a couple of days ago, amid all the drama.
Meanwhile, Ashleigh has been vocal about the fact she thinks Kylie is just trying to get famous, and said she would have preferred to keep the drama off TikTok altogether.
She told TODAY she never intended the beef to develop as far as it did, but the baker didn’t accept her advances.
“I tried not to worry about the video but it eventually provoked a response from me. After posting a response, I reached out to her waving the white flag,” she explained.
“I urged locals to continue supporting her small business, because I realise that she has children and needs to be able to provide. She refused to accept my truce.”
“I feel like there are many other bigger, more important issues happening in the world today, all this debate over cake is pretty silly,” she concluded in a post on Facebook.
We agree, but boy, do the people of TikTok love a drama, and we have to admit it is pretty fascinating that a local feud over a sprinkle cake has set the internet alight.
Where were you when Cakegate 2023 happened? We have a feeling this TikTok battle will be remembered throughout the ages.