I had the most horrible day yesterday. I have no idea what to do or how to handle this situation. I had to deliver this wedding cake about 50 mi. not so hard as we were putting it together when we got there. It was to this place called Ashely Manor in Chandler, I don't know if anyone is familiar with this place or not. Well, at any rate we went in set up the cake had a person that was working there help us out by getting something to put in the middle under the large tier base as it was bowing a little so he did and mind you the cake was already set up at this point. It was a perfect fit and the cake was solid. We moved it back to the middle of the table felt the cake structure and found it sturdy and asked if they needed us to stay he said no it will be fine. We started to leave and both my daughter and I stated feeling uneasy about the cake not sure why. We were about ten minutes from our shop and we get the phone call from someone that wasn't even working that day and told us our cake had crumbled. She had no other knowledge of what had happened. I am trying to get off the freeway and make a uturn to go back. when we got there the cake didn't look like it just fell it looked like it had help. It was everywhere. This was no cheap cake it was over a thousand dollars. We starting asking questions to a girl that worked there and she was not really caring no real feelings and she stated that she didn't think anyone was in the area, then she stated later in a phone call that she was sure no one was in there, Then she stated that she saw it fall gracefully when she was with a tour.... I am beside myself. We dropped the cake off about 12 and from that time forward we had to try to find a cake large enough to feed 200 guest. The girl called again and said that they had a person that was willing to make a 3 tired cake, so we said ok. We paid for it and for three half sheet cakes. We stayed until the cake was delivered and gave our teared felt apoligies to the brides mother. Now I have no idea what else to do. I think something happened to the cake . I think they are covering. I have put together a great many wedding cakes and they were all very sturdy as was this one. Do you guys thnk I should press the matter with Ashely Manor and at least have them pay for half or what??? Please help me as we are a new cake shop and this would be detrimental to our business losing that much money. Please Help
Oh I almost forgot that the person the made the three tiered cake for our emergency does all the cakes for Ashely Manor Odd huh???
Sorry this was so long I am sitting here crying and angry and beside myself please help if you can. Thanks guys for letting me rant and rave.
oh wow! I am so sorry this happened to you! ((HUG))
yes, I think you should push the matter with the venue. It sounds like whoever was helping you was already getting the cake started to fall over! What did you use to structure it? and ask them if this has ever happened before? They may say NO but it's worth asking! Sounds like someone sabotaged your cake!
hmm....I honestly would probably be suspicious too. Did the reception all always recommend another baker? I think that you could try and ask what happened, but honestly I think you are going to get the run around. And they are going to probably not have nice things to say about your bakery since your cake "fell over". I think some of us have come across something like this at one time or another.
I know some bakers require that someone sign off once the cake is delivered and set up as a CYA. This is something you might want to try and do. Especially if you deliver to that same reception hall.
So sorry this happened. What did the bride say?
We had it all pillars plates you name it we had it. They were also saying that maybe our cake was to moist as we always bake our cakes that day. It was a 4 tier but it was two square on the bottom and a small 3" gap in the middle for flowers and then the last 2 tiers on the top which were round. I mean it happened in their establishment and we were told that everything was good and we could leave so I wonder don't they have some kind of reasponsiblity also. I don't know aI have never had this happen.
Thanks for the advice I sure will next time and for everytime after that. Thanks again
Oh I almost forgot that the person the made the three tiered cake for our emergency does all the cakes for Ashely Manor Odd huh???
Sounds VERY suspicious. How would they know your cake was too moist? Did they eat some?
ALso, they just happend to have 3 tiers laying around ready to go, and a few sheet cakes ready to go?
Like you said, if the cake was everywhere, it didn't just fall, it was pushed.
It sounds like no one 'signed off'? They verbally said it was ok, but no one signed anything?
Did you take pictures of the cake after it 'fell'?
OMG! Big ((HUGS)) ((HUGS)) to you and your daughter.
I would talk to the catering manager and find out what else was being set up after you left. Maybe someone knocked or bumped the table and didn't think anything about at the time and it became unstable and then fell a while later (seemly on its own).
You should definately get a sign off from the venue everytime you deliver a cake.
I am praying for you, but remember things like this do happen (and we beat ourselfs up about it) even to the best celeb bakers out there.
Chaulk it up as experience and move on!
OMG...how devastating!! If you are confident that your cake was sturdy then I would definatly discuss this with the facility. Sound like you do need a sign off waiver when you leave the cake stating that everything is in order. BIG HUGS to you both!!
No advice, just a ((HUG))! I am so sorry this happened to you and you cake. I guessing it would hard to prove andything, but it DOES sound fishy!
A tip for the future: Always take a picture of the cake when assembly is finished @ the reception site. This way you'll have a time marked photo for evidence. Once you leave I believe it's not your responsibilty for someone else's negligence. Sounds a little suspicious to me.
Good luck next time!!!
I am so sorry this happened to you and it does sound suspicious. What type of support did you have in it? Did it seem as solid as those you have done before?
I use Stress Free support Systems. They are rock solid but let's face it - nothing is fool proof. I set up my cakes and take a picture of it. Well...a zillion pictures. I have a line in my contract that states that once I leave the site I am NOT responsible for cake disasters. They put a deposit on my stress frees and they get to see them so they know I am putting some serious cake support in it. It states that if the cake falls it is due to table failure, someone pushing, touching, etc. when cutting the cake ... because the stress free works.
This sounds very fishy. I hope that you get some answers and if I EVER did a cake in that location I would stay with it. It possibly was sabatoged or someone ran into the table or was too curious about touching it, etc.
We started to leave and both my daughter and I stated feeling uneasy about the cake not sure why.
"gut feeling" I think you sensed something was wrong with the situation, and you were right.. hindsight.... I am very sorry this happened to you, but I trully believe you will never get the sympathy of the facility; this was a win-win for them. I would be interested to know if any other outside decorators have ever had a problem with them.. Hard pill to swallow, but write it off and move on...
thanks everyone. I am going to push it with the place. They should at least pay for half. for them to completely turn their heads and walk away is not acceptible to me. If nothing else by the time I am through with them, they will think twice about doing this again. Thanks for all the hugs and caring I feel so much better thanks you guys are wonderful.
"Then she stated that she saw it fall gracefully when she was with a tour.... I am beside myself."
Can I ask you what kind of tour went through after your cake was set up?? Would someone from this tour have bumped the table or touched the cake?? I'd be a little leary about having a cake set up and then having "tours" come through.
Just my opinion, hugs to you.
I am sooo sorry that you had to go through this. I do have some advise!!!
I feel that it is extremly important to include in your contract, a statement that says that once the cake has been delivered and set up, it is no longer the responsilblity of your bakery. You may also want to have a staff member or "witness" for lack of a better word, who works in the facilitites sign off that the cake has been delivered and looks fine at that time.
Let me know what you think of that.
So sorry that this happened to you. What a nightmare. I do however agree with DEBBIE157 that it seems odd that someone could just happen to have that much cake perfect for the wedding on hand. You could get intouch with Ashely Manor and tell them that the cake was fine and sturdy when you left, also that when you asked if you should stay someone verbally discharged you telling you everything was fine. You might get nowhere but it can't harm.
Well, at any rate we went in set up the cake had a person that was working there help us out by getting something to put in the middle under the large tier base as it was bowing a little so he did and mind you the cake was already set up at this point.
I'm trying tp picture that but can't. What do you meant they put something n the middle under the tier? And what do you consider "bowing"? I'm just trying to picture it all in my mind's eye.
It does sound fishy but I think you'd be hard-pressed getting them to pay for half. I'm sure as far as they're concerned, they "came to the rescue" with the cakes. Did you pay them for the cakes or their baker? Did any of the bridal party sign off? What did the bride say about it all, have you talked to her?
Hang in there! The worst is over.
Congrats on getting your new business in order. I agree with the other folks on getting a sign-off and picture taken at the venue at time of delivery. If you are trying to build your case, incase you decide to go to bat for some re-imbursement, I would gather information that may not seem big at first.
1) someone mentioned the moistness. This is a good question. How did they know how moist it was ?
2) why was the normal baker for the venue not contracted?
3) why was the normal baker so easily persuaded to get a 3 tier cake ready last minute. Unless they are a HUGE bakery, noone has that much cake laying around generally-speaking
4) find out what they meant by "bowing"
My grandpa used to own an insurance company and he used to investigate many accidents for liability. The trick is to build the case for why something is "more likely than not to be this way...". Small claims court (for something like this for instance at $1500) doesn't need proof-positive that they were to blame. It is a preponderance of the evidence that determines the winner in small-claims.
If you decide to take it back to the venue for half the reimbursement, I would approach it like small claims court. Show that you have always used the same recipes, never had a stability issue before, explain the feeling you had and explain the other strange circumstances. See if they will offer a partial payment to you and tell them that you didnt get a signature at delivery, but don't want to "have to take this further". A lot of the time, that alone does the trick.
(I had to do that once with a piece of furniture that arrived in the mail splintered. A few pictures, emails and a "I don't want to have to take this further and report to the BBB, etc..." did the trick and got me reimbursed).
Yep, sounds kindof funny to me too.
Did you happen to take pictures of the fallen cake? I keep a camera with me at all times. How it looked when it fell would tell us a lot.
I once had a pick up for a small two tiered stacked wedding cake that came back. they told me "it just fell apart"... yea right that's why it was smashed into the side of the box.
You stated that the cake was bowing and you had to add more support underneath it. This temporary bowing could have effected the structural integrity of the cake.
Were you able to speak with the man that helped you with the cake? Where was he? If it only happened minutes after you left I am sure he was in the vicinity right?
I am not liking this at all. Sweetheart I don't want to sound mean but you got scammed bad. I know for a fact that this couldn't be a coincidence. I've seen it happen many times. It was the venues responsibility. Think about the time frame and the cost of the cake. There is no way that they had that amount of cake ready to go. IMHO I think the they ruined your cake on purpose so that they could get the money. They knew you were bringing the cake and they probably had the bride taste theirs and she didn't like it. Since they couldn't convince her to take their cake, they forced it on her to make the extra money. The way the economy is suffering the venue more than likely panicked and were determined not to take the loss of a thousand dollar plus cake. It's unfair to you and every other baker that is starting out but they just look at it as business. The business world can be tough. There isn't a lot you can do as far as getting them to pay it because you don't have any real evidence against them. I am sooo sorry this happened to you and like others have said just brush it off and take it as lesson. It sucks, but you are talented and you know that you can redeem yourself. Don't deal with this venue ever again and if they have a website tell the bride to post remarks on it. You know your work and you know she came to you because you are good so, don't let it phase you at all. Again, i'm sorry this happened to you and I know it's easier said then done but try to forget about it. Hugsss. You will be fine. Good luck and keep on caking!!!!!!
Do you have any pictures of the cake? Did you see how it "landed".
I am so sorry that this happened to you.
I think I might be on the other side of the fence. You wrote your ownself that the cake was bowed and you needed help shimmying it up. It sounds to me like it was structurally unsound.
The plate on the bottom was bowing in the middle it was the large square wilton plate. It wasn't horribly bowed it just made the cake look less then perfect and we didn't want something to happen so we just placed a small support under the middle of the bottom tier. The cake was sound as we moved it back to the middle of the table and in didn't move. I always check the cake before leaving it. We kept going over it in our minds and then a major piece of the puzzle came into view. My niece was at the reception and had helped us in the task of finding enough cake to feed 200 people. She had decided not to have any cake as she hates store bought or prevously frozen cake but then she saw the second to the top layer of our cake beng sliced. She called the person cutting the cake over and asked where she had gotten the cake they said it had survived the tumble. This cake only had a small amount of damage on the very bottom of the tier no other damage was on it soooooo. in order for all the damage that was seen on the bottom two layers that second layer would have had to have fallen and smashed completely on the two bottom layers. I think what happened was that someone moved the cake and it probably started to sway and they over reacted and caught the second to the top layer with their hand and the top layer flew to the ground but then they thought oh my god we have to make it look like it fell so damaged
the botton tiers to make it appear that it had collasped on to itself. No way would the second tier have been saved. No way that is just not how cake works. Any who I am just trying to get over it and move on. thanks for all the great advice and I hope someone reads this and can save themselves from all the horrible trouble it has caused us. We will never leave a cake again untill it has been signed off on by a family member. Great advice you guys you are all life savers really .
Sorry that happened! My contract says once the cake has been delivered safely (and I take photos) that its no longer my responsibility as to what happens to the cake. Once the cake is standing there and looks great, the money is mine.
I hope you didn't lose too much money in this situation!
I agree with most of the suggestions given.
1. Take a picture of the cake at the site after set up.
2. Have someone put a signature on your contract stating that the cake has been delivered and set up to the contract specifications. Pre-set this person before the cake is delivered. Also - have cake location determined before as well. sometimes this is hard - put really push it. This will take away your part for tables that will be in danger by being in the way of set up etc.
3. Make sure your contract has the one line - once cake has been delivered and set up - your responsibility ends.
I am so sorry!!!!!
Im so glad that i saw this post, i have wedding cake for july and the bride has tosign off saying that the venue isnt resposible for the cake that im to bring in , i also have a contract stating im not responsible for the cake after its been set up , i am to serve this cake so i will be there the whole time i aways hate to leave a cake but what else could have been done, Sorry this happened i would try to get them to pay for some of the cake since some of it was served makes you think twice about letting some one help put structures under the cake oh well we all learned from this post thanks for letting us know this especially us new ones,
I'm not getting a good picture of this in my head either. You didn't mention the size of the cakes, just the shapes. So were the two square cakes stacked then a 3" separation for flowers and then two round tiers stacked or separated on top? I'm wondering how high this cake was overall. Because if your bottom two tiers were stacked (you only mentioned the one 3" gap) and well supported then the top two tiers even stacked shouldn't create a weight on the lower tiers to cause a bowing. If you placed additional support under the base that should have done the trick. I've never known a cake to just go "boing" and fall apart sideways to the point of causing supports to fail. Supports are resting on solid plates underneath not just stuck halfway thru a cake.
This reeks of fishiness to me. The baker who always provides cakes for this venue just comes up with cake for this event, hm. I wouldn't think it could take long for a bakery to come up with cake to feed 200 in an emergency if they were willing. But it does seem very suspicious to me. Were you even asked to provide more cake or did someone contact the other baker as soon as this happened. If you delivered the cakes at 12:00 when was the wedding?
Always always always take pictures after you set up at an event. And from this day on always have someone in authority/position sign off that the cake was fine at set up and you are no longer responsible for it. I never leave the cake without receiving full payment. It is best to have a contract with all these particulars to protect yourself and the client.
In case I missed this....did they ask for a refund or anything?