One newlywed baker is not letting the haters get her down.
On May 15, wedding photographer Daniela Koonz posted a video on Instagram showing a recent bridal client of hers, Lilly Mendoza, using the scant amount of downtime on her big day to put the finishing touches on her five-tiered wedding cake — one she made from scratch. The video quickly went viral and has been viewed over 8 million times.
“POV: You’re a pastry chef, so you make your own wedding cake!” wrote Koonz in the caption of the video, hat-tipping Mendoza’s recent graduation from the Culinary Institute of America with a bachelor’s in Applied Food Studies.
The cake, which has four iced layers of cake and one center acrylic cake separator that held white flowers and greenery, was completed with a swirling cascade of blue and white flowers, completing the centerpiece dessert.
Mendoza’s cake actually went viral on two separate social media platforms, because on May 20, her hairstylist Adriana Thomas (@thomasadrianna) posted the same moment on TikTok, which garnered over 9 million views.
“When your bride is the pastry chef makes her own wedding cake,” says a voiceover in the now-viral video. Thomas added in the caption that Mendoza stacked her own wedding cake the day of the ceremony with a “full face, hair done and white robe.”
“I have the most unique and talented brides!!!” Thomas emphasized.
Although Mendoza’s feat of bridal multitasking garnered millions of likes and thousands of supportive comments across the internet, it’s the negative ones that got the bride’s attention while she was on her honeymoon.
“We did a cruise for our honeymoon and on the cruises, you have to pay for the WiFi package and we decided not to do that and just disconnect, so we didn’t have service,” Mendoza tells TODAY.com, adding that once they hit one of their ports, a friend from culinary school sent a link to the video. “She was like, ‘Oh, my God, Lily is this you? You look so beautiful.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, my god, wow!’ And then I clicked on it.”
After seeing all the views for her baked creation, which she says was a vanilla sponge cake brushed with caramel simple syrup and covered in caramel-flavored icing, she says she saw something — a few things, actually — that were less than sweet.
“I saw all the views, and all the likes and I told my husband, ‘Babe, look at this!’ And then I started going through the comments,” Mendoza says, reflecting on the other shoe dropping. “I was probably sat in our room for like an hour reading these comments.”
Many of the comments left criticize the frosting, the colors and even the bride’s intentions.
“I am so sorry but all I’m seeing from afar are colored toilet paper rolls,” commented one Instagram user. “This is a comedy sketch right?”
“(She) should’ve paid someone…,” wrote another.
“Watches one episode of nailed it and now she’s a pastry chef,” commented one TikTok user.
“Im confused with (the) vision but if you loved it sis I love that for you,” commented another, rather passive aggressively.
“Isn’t the cake suppose to look more decorative?? like, the see-through part is nice but the spread didn’t look finished…,” someone commented on Instagram, to which several people replied in her defense, with one saying, “It’s her cake, not yours.”
Mendoza says that reading the comments threatened to put a damper on her honeymoon. That is, until her husband, active duty service member Dennis Mendoza, suggested she put the phone down for them to enjoy where they were.
“Some stuff was shocking. Some I said that I did this for attention — but my photographer, she’s the one who originally posted it,” Mendoza says, adding that Koonz clapped back at the haters for her. “One person was like, ‘Well, why post it if you can’t take criticism,’ and I was like, ‘I didn’t post it!’”
But Mendoza says that her 125 wedding guests enjoyed the cake, and that’s all that really matters to her and her husband.
“I do have a very big family and they’re all very supportive, so after that initial shock, I haven’t been sweating any of the comments since,” Mendoza says.
She adds that a lot of people have messaged her with compliments on the cake, even asking for tips — so she created her own social media accounts in response to the virality of her wedding cake. Now, on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, Mendoza plans to make a smaller version of her cake, documenting every step and sharing what she’s learned as a culinary school graduate and viral baker.
“I live up here in D.C. and I went down to Florida, made my whole wedding cake in a hotel and decorated it, so I feel like I have some tips for some people that really want to do this on their own,” Mendoza says. “I could help them out.”
This article was originally published on TODAY.com