I had a cake order for a basketball cake. I never did one before but didn't think it would be that big of a deal........I was wrong, everything went wrong it ended up looking like a big ugly orange......If I had enough time, I would have dumped the cake and made a new one, but I had to drop off the cake tonight, which I did. I was so embarassed, the customer wasnt happy with it either but she nice about it. She had seen pictures of my other cakes and asked 'what happened this time?' Ugh! I want to crawl under a rock, its really bothering me. I ended up giving her the cake for free, she wanted to pay me at least half but I didnt want anything......except to throw that cake on the ground and stomp on it.
Anyone ever do a bad job on a cake but had to deliver to a customer anyway? I feel very discouraged.
You were in a really tough spot. I looked at your photos and you do nice work. I would say maybe it wasn't as bad as you think but apparently the customer remarked it wasn't up to your usual standards. Maybe the best thing would have been to call her, let her know you had a disappointing result and tell her you would give it to her for free if she wanted, but you would feel more comfortable just getting rid of it and she would have to go elsewhere for her cake.
Im sure it wasnt as bad as you felt. I guess since she said"what happened" she knew it wasnt your best work, but im sure she also knew that she would have gotten alot worse if she ordered from a grocery store or something, maybe thats why she offered to pay b/c it was better than anyone else would have given. I think everyone has bad decorating days, i know i did recently. it was a baseball cake, i like you, thought it would be simple... i dont know how many times i scraped the icing off that stupid ball and redid it. in the the end it wasnt up to my standards but it was better than they would have gotten anywhere else. i did even post a pic but the family put it on there MYSPACE page. We are our own worse cridic(sp)
probably about 8 years ago, i made a wedding cake for a friends family member .. it was simple. just borders. then florist dropped rose petal around and on top of it. i was so dissappointed in how i iced the cake, that i wouldn, t even take a picture of it. i just got out of there. when the mother of the bride brought back my stuff..... she said how beautiful it was and how delicious it was. i was speechless... i thanked her for the nice compliments.... never told anyone how i truly felt..just my daughter... daughter-in-law and grandson. they helped my set it up. i have wished so many times since then, that i had a picture of it to look back on. none of us are perfect..... and we are going to be disappointed in our work at times.
Next time allow yourself enough time to fix mistakes or re-bake if that's what it takes. If you really felt that bad about the cake, your customer may have picked that up from you. The last everything-gone-wrong cake I did, I just called the customer and told her to give me a few more hours and I would call her when the cake is ready. The one's we think aren't a big deal are the one's that get us.
Next time allow yourself enough time to fix mistakes or re-bake if that's what it takes.
This is excellent advice and I try to do this for every order! You never know.....and now with the weather getting warmer, I've noticed my icing is acting a little differently and needs to be tweaked!
Thank you everyone for your comments!!!
I told the customer before she even opened the cake box that I was disappointed with the cake and that I was giving it to her for free....maybe I should've waited for her comment first but I was soooo embarassed.
tyty: you are absolutely right, next time I need to allow myself more time....just in case, that was the biggest lesson learned. I didn't plan my time properly as I had just assumed the cake would be no big deal. I'll never do that again for any cake.
Again, thank you everyone.
Sorry I have to laugh (at myself)
I read your post (twice) but I read it as:
...Have you ever had to deliver a cake to an ugly customer?....
I had to click on the post & see what it was about because I'm thinking to myself "what does an ugly customer have to do with cake decorating/delivery?"
Once I read it it made more sense! See what happens when u don't read carefully!!!!!!
P.S I'm sure your cake wasn't as bad as you think!
Have a great day!
I maded the (MOST)UGLY CAKE CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT THAT GUY IS CALLED BUT HES THE STICK MAN, THE KIDS USE TO OR MAY STILL DO WATCH ON CARTOONS. IT WAS SO UGLY MY WORK WAS GREAT.. BUT IT WAS JUST TERRIABLE TO ME BUT THEY LOVED IT.. SO DONT FEEL TO BAD JUST WAIT AND SEE THE LOOK ON THERE FACE IT WILL TELL IT ALL.
I just looked at your cakes-beautiful. I bet you are being to hard on yourself.........It's hard not to be I know. I think it's was very customer savvy to give her the cake-chances are she'll come to you again knowing what a stand up person you are. Remember in the end all that matters is that it tastes YUMMY!
Yes, the cake was prpobably fine. I always feel inferior when I finish a cake. But then I look back at the photos and realize that they were actually pretty good. P.S. good P.R. to give her the cake. She will not forget you!
Yes I have.....and they loved it. We see all the flaws, all the time.
The last one I did was for the restaurant next door. The governor of Indiana was coming thru with his motorcycle buddies and were stopping for dinner at the restaurant. So I donated a motorcycle cake to the restaurant. omg, I thought it looked horrible! I didnt' even take a pic! And I thought it was horrible because it was the motorcycle pan on a sheet cake; the motorcycle decorated with the star tip .... geesh, I'd forgotten how bad I hate doing those stars! Why did I say I'd do this? What was I thinking?
Restaurant manager said the guys loved it; thought it was awesome looking and great tasting! They told the manager, "She must be sumthin' to make this cake for us!" (ahem! Mgr said, "oh she is!" )
Oh.....and the governor never showed.
I recently was asked to make a pair of ears....yes human ears! Anatomically they were correct but as cakes go "ewwwwwwwwwwww". I couldn't figure out how to make them anything but just ears. Did add button earrings but there was nothing to make them look good. I kept a picture to remind me to say NO next time, but I'll never share that picture.
i've given a couple of ugly cakes away....i hate when the customer comes up with something i never tried before....cause you just never know.
we still laugh about the "baby hitler" cake my partner made years ago.....HA HA HA....she made a buttercream baby with a blanket...the more she messed with it the worse it got......i can't remember which one of us looked at it and said..."gee if ya gave that baby a lil mustache...splittin image of hitler.
the free ugly cake is a right of passage....she got a free cake, you got some experiance...no harm done.
Once, I was asked to make an 80th birthday cake for party held at a ritzy country club. They asked for bright colors with the main color being turquoise. Every time we spoke, the requests grew to include all kinds of things that the lady loved. I had so much on that cake, it looked horrible. I refuse to upload a photo of it because it is so ugly. Anyway, most everyone who saw it thought it was ugly, but I didn't say a word to the lady who ordered it and guess what? She liked it! No telling what people's standards are... I'm just relieved they were happy with it, but I want to erase it from my memory.
I haven't done too many cakes, but I recently prepared a sample cake for a bride and groom with the design they e-mailed me. It was scroll work and I am REALLY not very good at it. So - I prepared the sample with the scroll work and was so upset at the outcome I nearly called them to tell them I wasn't the right person for them.
Anyhow, I decided to show up with my crappy sample and told them how disappointed I was and they would be better off looking for someone else. They were both really pleased with it though (I was never worried about the taste - only the look) and they placed their order for the wedding cake with me.
.... now I better start practising my scroll work....
Just last week I made an open jewelry box cake for a customer, I had done similar for a treaseure chest before. However, I had been in hospital the day before (just for simple day surgery) so I was short on time to complete the cake. I knew that I would have just one shot at getting this cake right with the time that I had to do it. Of course, these are always the ones that are sent to test us! The cake was still too fresh when I went to decorate it and the cake top 'lid' on the box just fell right off the back. The dowel that I had in it to hold it up just pulled through the whole base, making a huge mess. Much of my piping work on the outside was damaged when I was attempting to repair the cake, and so had to be redone. I was angry and upset, but mostly with myself. You see I had actually warned the customer that I would be in hospital the day before and so, depending on how I recovered, may not be able to complete the order. But I was too STUBBORN to call her and let her know I'd done a job that just wasn't my usual standard. Her husband came to collect the cake and he thought it was wonderful (men??!!). To make me feel better, I reduced the price. I have not heard from the customer since. In hindsight, I wish I'd just called her and saved myself the stress. I think these things are sent to teach us something... I learnt my lesson!
I made a wedding cake just like the bride asked.it was the ugliest cake! We even called the bride to come look at it when it was partly done to make sure that is what she wanted and she came and said yes.
When I went to set it up the bride and the mother talked about how pretty it was. I didn't even take a picture and got out of there as fast as I could so no one would know how did the cake.
Hahaaaaaa, you guys made me feel soooo much better. I'm so glad I am not the only one who went through this..........I was so upset that I actually thought about giving up cake decorating all together. Thank you so much for your stories and encouragement!!!!!
omgosh i just looked at your pics and they're fabulous. i'm sure we are the worst critics of our own work and a first time cake is always looked at harder i've learned to try to accept the smaller bumps and wrinkles (the ones that if you try to make perfect end up ruining the whole thing) and try to look at the whole picture...cake tasted great and probably looked better than you thought it was a really nice gesture to give it to her though...i'm sure she'll be back and you'll both come out of it happier
This happened to me a few weeks ago. I was DREADING delivering the cake. It was for a little boy's 5th birthday. The mom said he liked (get this!) tai quon do (sp?), gymnastics, bowling, baseball, and something else, I can't remember. But I actually had a little checklist, and had to try to incorporate all of these things into a cake that was a 10 and 6 inch tiered! UGH!!! So originally, I was going to make it navy and white, but I thought, no that's not little boyish enough. I wanted to use bright colors. I looked out my window, saw my kids' plastic slide outside and it was yellow, blue and red. I thought, oh Nice colors! Well, those are carnival-ish colors. Not sporty-ish colors. The whole cake was so ugly!!! It was about a 40 minute drive, during which I made my grandma stay on the phone with me and she had to "talk me down" I was so upset. Oh - plus I was late delivering it! So I went in prepared to give her some money back if she wanted it. The only comment she made was "How cute is that?!" So I skated out of there, and I swear, a few hours later she called me. I dreaded picking up the phone. Well, she wanted to rave and say how fantastic the cake was and everyone loved it and the colors were awesome (?!) and she placed another $60 order right then and there. So go figure!!! It was nuts! I didn't even take a picture. Which I totally don't regret, cuz it was UGLY!
Last year a bride asked me to do a "fall theme" wedding cake for her. She and her mom described a simple design - 3 tiers, covered in chocolate fondant, adorned to look as though leaves had "fallen" on it. They wanted orange, yellow, green leaves. Simple enough. I followed their request exactly, down to the ribbon colour . I thought the cake ugly and couldn't leave quick enough. I worried about it all the way home.
Lo and behold, the dad calls a week later raving about the "beautiful cake", the great flavours etc. and mailed me the final cheque with a nice bonus amount. Go figure. You just never know!
This is a lesson about letting the customer "design" their cake. Since then if a bride insists on designing her cake, I leave a fancy, printed card beside the cake that says "Cake Design by ....... They feel very proud and creative and all the "credit" goes to them.
Great idea, annacakes!
A few months ago I had to make a cake, they wanted and ice cream cake, with a cake on top made to look like a wine bottle, I told her this would me my first carved cake and if she was sure she wanted me to make it she said yes (she works with my cousin) so I didnÃ¢t want to make it awkward for my cousin if it didnÃ¢t work out. I immediately started search cc and the web for cake ideas I was so excited, then the day of I wake up with the most horrible migraine I made the cake the best I could I had made two cakes in case I messed one up, and I messed up both to late to make another it looked horrible the label top part when I put it on it didnÃ¢t line up right and there was a small gap between the wine bottle and the cake it wasnÃ¢t smooth because she wanted whipped cream frosting and I am good with it but on this day I just wanted to be done
I made it the best I could when her sister came to pick up the cake I handed it to her when she asked how much I told her half the price I quoted her sister and didnÃ¢t tell her why, the next day she calls and I got this dreaded felling in my stomach I didnÃ¢t even want to answer my phone, when I picked up she went on and on about how much she and her family liked the cake and how she had the other half of my money, I explained why I didnÃ¢t want the other half but she said she wanted to pay in full I insisted the she shouldnÃ¢t . I took a pic of the cake to see what I could have done different and I donÃ¢t care how much she liked the cake it still bugs me.
I did a wedding cake last year with less than a week's notice, and the design was done by the groom as a suprise for the bride. It was horrible...but I did it. It was just too busy for such a small cake (3 tier, 50 servings, square.) I even toned it down a bit...
A week later my cake stand is on my front porch with a note that says "Ugly as hell..." and tells me how the bride cried and cried.
Now, if I have some concerns about a design, I will contact the customer and make suggestions, and it's always worked out.
Oh yes... A few cakes weren't up to my standards (actually not many are since I definitely see every single teenee weenee flaw - and I'm such an idiot I point them out to people and apologize for them ).
I have lost sleep when having to take one of the uglies into my office where everyone will see it! I just want to crawl under a rock. There was one that I was trying to design similar to a party napkin with the most horrid colors.... well... the cake matched the napkins anyway.
Then my first try at decorating with chocolate buttercream... not pretty.
Each time I swear I will never make another cake.
Oh, yes I sure have!!!
This was about 15 years ago. I'd volunteered to do a fondant-covered cake with lace points (from the Wilton Bridal Cakes book) for some friends. This was before the days of pre-made Wilton fondant, so I had to make my own. "How hard can it be?", I thought. I can follow a recipe as well as the next person! Well, ummmm..no i couldn't. Or perhaps the high humidity of the rainy days I was making the fondant affected it.
Anyway...I was up all night, frantic, near tears that I wasn't going to be able to finish the cake for their big day. I had attempted the fondant FIVE times, to no avail. So...I did the only thing I could do, and iced the cake in buttercream, and added the lace points (at least THOSE turned out!). I got to the venue for both ceremony and reception, and had to race to set it up. I missed the ceremony...the bride n groom and the bride's family were visibly disappointed in the appearance of the cake. I was crushed....for about 30 minutes.
The saving grace of the entire ordeal was that my carrot cake recipe they'd requested was an ENORMOUS hit! Even people who hate carrot cakes loved my recipe, and became converts!!!
So, out of the ashes of a disappointing "show", the cake was still well-received. Biggest lesson I ever learned with that one..." don't EVER do a brand-new-to-you, unpracticed technique for a paying customer!!!!"