This shopper bought a sweet, but all that was left was a sour taste.
The heated exchange between a baker and a customer has resulted in viral vitriol on TikTok, in a mishap dubbed #CakeGate by enthralled viewers.
Ashleigh Freeman bought a custom cake from Kylie Allen, owner of West Virginia bakery Kylie Kakes Dessert Bar & Cafe, who promised to create her “signature” rainbow layered cake for the birthday occasion.
But Freeman complained to the store owner about the $75 candy not having the quality promised in the photos.
“I was hoping it would look like a professional-grade cake with even layers, clean edges, and legible handwriting,” Freeman told The Post.
Instead, he received an off-the-charts cake with some thick buttercream, jagged sprinkles, and “Happy Birthday Trilby” scrawled haphazardly across the top.
The culinary drama that followed, all taking place in the public forum, has since captivated tens of millions online.
On April 7, Allen posted a video criticizing “one of the worst customer experiences” he’s ever had, racking up 5.5 million views.
In the cake-making clip, Allen says the customer, Freeman, came by to order one of the store’s six-layer rainbow cakes that are topped with multi-colored sprinkles, a bakery staple. The patron chose the 8-inch pie which serves 18 and costs $75.99, plus tax.
“Upon arrival, she seemed to be really surprised that the cake was covered in sprinkles,” Allen continues. “We explained to her that all of her unique rainbow cakes are decorated this way and covered in sprinkles.”
She notes, somewhat sarcastically, that the treats can vary in appearance because she doesn’t “place each sprinkle individually.”
“Then she got very defensive and very rude about the price of the cake, even though that’s exactly how we decorate all of our rainbow cakes,” Allen says in the video, in which comments are disabled. “She Even she hit us up and put us on her Facebook page.”
“I complained because $84 is a lot of money for me and I felt ripped off,” Freeman previously told Today.com.
In response, Freeman posted a photo of the colorful candy along with the Facebook correspondence between her and Allen. The final product at the center of the controversy was covered in sprinkles with messily scrawled “happy birthday” — the literal and metaphorical icing on top.
Amid the heated exchange, Allen claimed she wasn’t sure “where the confusion was” and explained to the dissatisfied customer how rainbow cakes are typically made.
“Look at him. That’s the problem,” said Freeman, who told The Post that Allen’s response was “unprofessional” and attached a photo as evidence.
Allen, who also teaches cake-decorating classes, argued that her time and effort constitute the price, regardless of whether the cake turned out as expected or not, calling the disgruntled customer “disrespectful.”
“It’s not disrespectful to expect quality,” Freeman responded in the text, and other TikTokers agreed, defending the client for his demand that the situation be rectified and criticizing Allen’s art.
“I bought $40 cakes that look 1000 times better,” one user commented.
“I would be so embarrassed [sic] to claim that job,” another chimed in.
One speculated that she had “dropped” the cake and “tried to save it because she didn’t want to bake another one.”
The Post also contacted Allen for comment.
Under the hashtag “#CakeGate,” which has 29 million views, there are numerous clips revisiting the debacle and criticizing Allen. Some have even alleged that she misrepresents her products and services by using stock images or other people’s work to promote her baking classes.
“This is not what you want your brand to look like,” says TikToker Casey Elizabeth in a clip, who wasn’t just talking about the look of the cake. “He came out very rude in the video of her. Why would he buy her?
Allen finally addressed his critics in a TikTok video this week, defending his buttercream confections and maintaining that he doesn’t use other people’s work; they simply serve as “inspiration”.
“I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am,” Allen continues in the viral clip. “You [who] it has nothing to do with your life, and you yourself have a lot to say about a situation you don’t know the full backstory about.”
“He’d just keep your mouth shut because he’s not doing anything.”
Speaking to Today.com, Allen said his intention was not to “hit anybody” but simply to share his experience.
“I wish people didn’t jump on the TikTok bandwagon when they don’t really know everything that happened, you know?” she added. “It can be very painful, especially for a small business. I am not a corporation, I am a small business and this is how I feed my family.”
But Freeman doesn’t have much sympathy for the business owner.
“I feel like she took a lot out of this,” Freeman told The Post. “I offered to remove my personal Facebook post and TikTok response, but she said she was trying to monetize the situation. She wants us all to keep talking about it.”