What Is The Right Thing To Do?

Decorating By percussiongrrl Updated 9 Aug 2009 , 11:40pm by costumeczar

percussiongrrl Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 1:21pm
post #1 of 31

Help, my fellow cakers! I'm not sure what the "right" thing to do is!

My little sister got married yesterday. I did NOT do her cake, as I didn't feel capable of doing as good of a job as she deserved and her wedding was out of town and I didn't trust myself to transport a cake that far. My sister ordered her cake from a small bakery in the area after a tasting.
That being said...

Her cake was awful icon_sad.gif It was not the design in her contract, her ribbon was not protected against the grease of the icing so the navy turned black, and the two largest layers were still frozen in the middle. The cake was not as the cake at her tasting, it was dry and few people finished their (wedding sized) slices. The icing was also worse than one of MY icing jobs....there was cake showing through the white icing.

The cake delivery was late and did not come until the wedding had started. I am not sure who opened the door for the cake delivery, but no one in our family was asked to sign off on the cake. My mom opted to serve the cake even with the incorrect decor b/c the reception was cake and punch only and when she saw it (walking into the reception) it was too late. Only after it was cut did she discover the frozen problem and the problem with the dry cake.

Here is the question: my mom (a non-caker) thinks she should get her money back. I understand that feeling, as the cake fell flat with most everyone (Bride included, she cried) and was not correct. BUT, she did cut the cake and serve the cake. However, that is what revealed more of the problems. I don't think causing a bakery to be out the money for supplies and such is fair. My mom is turning to me for advice since I'm a cake person, as well. I don't know what to tell her, so I'm asking for advice from some non-cake muggles. If it matters, the cake was about $825 and was priced at $2.75/serving for buttercream only. It was a 300 serving cake.

Please help me keep this situation "right" for everyone....my family AND the bakery!

30 replies
kelleym Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 1:45pm
post #2 of 31

Take everything you've written in this letter, plus pictures of the cake, and make an appointment to speak to the manager of the bakery.

I am one of those who believes that if we're in the business of selling wedding cakes at a premium price, they'd better be perfect. The bride is owed some compensation for the cake being sub-par on many levels.

ETA ... Do it today or tomorrow, don't wait two weeks until after the honeymoon.

beanbean Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 1:46pm
post #3 of 31

Of course your family should receive a refund! The cake was still FROZEN!That alone is completely unacceptable.
The bride or whoever signed the contract should send a certified letter to the bakery requesting a refund. Enclose pictures of the cake and a detailed list of the problems (frozen, dry, ribbon problems, late arrival, etc)
The reception hall should also be contacted to have them send a letter verifying the cake was still frozen when they tried to cut it and what time the cake arrived.
There are many people who try to scam bakers into getting a free or discounted cake for little or no problem. This is not one of those circumstances. You have a valid complaint and the bakery did not produce an acceptable product. They should give a full refund.

percussiongrrl Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 1:54pm
post #4 of 31

There is no "reception hall" as the cake and punch were served in the church fellowship area. But there were 4 of my sister's friends (all of whom are in food service) who were in charge of cutting and serving the cake. Would they suffice?

marknelliesmum Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 1:57pm
post #5 of 31

Oh dear your poor sister icon_surprised.gif
I reckon a refund is in order. It's not like you are complaining because of something simple - you were willing to just go with it even though it wasn't what was ordered but for it still to be frozen icon_eek.gif that in my opinion means it wasn't fit for purpose when it was meant to be which was totally out of your hands and not a minor issue. The fact that it was a cake and punch reception also meant that you're choice of what to do was limited - give your guests nothing or make the best of the situation. I'm so sorry this happened to you.

cakedesigner59 Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 2:00pm
post #6 of 31

I agree that a partial, if not full, refund is in order.
That being said, I always tell brides that Navy photographs like black, as a warning to them.

indydebi Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 2:14pm
post #7 of 31

This is seriously a tough one because we can look at it from the baker's point and view AND we can see it from "it's my sister's wedding" point of view.

Here's some of my views for your contemplation:

1) The delivery is not a big issue. The cake was there when you needed it. It was stressful that it wasn't there before the bride went down the aisle, but it was there when the bride arrived at the reception. Stressful? yes. Irritating? yes. big issue? Not really.

2) No sign off. I don't' have anyone sign off on my cake deliveries simply because there is NEVER a family member there when I deliver the cake. Did the family specifically request wanting someone to sign off and approve the cake? Did the bakery discuss a sign off? Yes, it would have been a nice thing to approve the cake ahead of time, and having a late deliver made that impossible.

3) Navy ribbon turned black. Yeah, that would tick me off a bit. In the grand scheme of things, its not a BIG deal. But its also gestault . (the whole is greater than the sum of the parts) .. by itself its not a big thing, but combined with all the other issues .

4) Forced to serve the cake. Mom was between a rock and a hard spot. If youre only serving cake and punch, its very difficult to make the call to serve just punch. She had about 7 seconds to make a decision. Had the cake been delivered earlier, when mom had a chance to see the cake, she wouldnt have felt the need to be forced to serve the cake.

4a) Ideally, mom could have called the bakery and told them the issues, advising them she had to serve it because she had no choice, but was putting them on alert that there was an issue. However, having been the mother of the bride, this option was probably not even on her radar. And depending on the time, some places may be closed at that time? And its not like the guests can eat the buffet while waiting on a replacement cake since its a cake-n-punch-only reception.

5) Wrong design. Ok, this is a biggie. How off was the design? Kinda off or not even close? If I ordered basketweave and got dots and scrolls, I wouldnt be inclined to pay for it. Especially if I felt forced to serve it.

6) Frozen cake. Big red flag to me. Cake thaws in just a couple of hours. Many of us work with frozen cakes all the time. This sounds like a last minute cake.

So combine the frozen cake, wrong design, last minute delivery . It sounds like the cake was almost forgotten about and someone went Oh crap! We have a cake due in 2 hours!

Individually, all of the issues are almost (!) no big deal. But when you have all of these issues in the same cake, it IS a big deal.

Defintely have a discussion with the bakery asap. This isn't "the color doesn't match the inside seam of my dresses so now the wedding is RUINED!" thing. THere are real issues that need resolved here.

percussiongrrl Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 2:26pm
post #8 of 31

The cake was to be iced in white buttercream and then detailed with dots and scrolls with a ribbon added at the bottom of each layer. There was a picture taken in to the bakery when the cake was ordered.

The cake was just plain white buttercream with the ribbon. The tiers were also shorter than originally discussed. There were no other decorative elements included unless you count the cake that was showing through the icing.

DefyGravity Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 2:43pm
post #9 of 31

Yeah, that definitely sounds like they forgot about it until the last second. Call them up. If they're not open today because its Sunday, then show up first thing tomorrow morning and ask to speak to the manager.

That's complete BS. I'm very sorry for your sister that the cake was a flop, especially since it was the main part of the reception icon_sad.gif

indydebi Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 2:44pm
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by percussiongrrl

The cake was to be iced in white buttercream and then detailed with dots and scrolls with a ribbon added at the bottom of each layer. There was a picture taken in to the bakery when the cake was ordered.

The cake was just plain white buttercream with the ribbon. The tiers were also shorter than originally discussed. There were no other decorative elements included unless you count the cake that was showing through the icing.


Omitted decors. Another flag that sounds like a last minute cake just "slapped together".

hilly Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 2:49pm
post #11 of 31

Do you have a pic? I would be upset, I can understand something going wrong here or there but the fact that all of these things went wrong together in one combined cake, it definitely deserves to be addressed. As a baker, I'd "like" to say she should only get something like a 50% refund but as the client, she got no element of the cake that she asked for, it seems to me that the bakery should take a loss on it. Definitely talk to them and see where they stand.

indydebi Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 2:58pm
post #12 of 31

Hubby says .....

"I would HOPE the bakery says they forgot about this cake. Because if this is an example of their standard work, then they do really bad work!"

playingwithsugar Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 3:04pm
post #13 of 31

Your sister's story is the reason why I went into baking the cakes for my family. My niece's wedding cake was an inedible disaster. The cake tasted like it was in the freezer, unprotected. It was dry with a funny smell to it.

The bakery she went to was open on Sunday, so I called and raised some noise about it, on her behalf. I spoke to the clerk, the manager, and the owner. By the time I was done, we were making our own delivery - about 150 servings of a 200 serve cake. I showed the owner the inside of an uncut tier, which was crumbling like a disintegrating foam cushion. We got half the money back, which, at the time, seemed reasonable.

There will never be a next time in our family.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 3:05pm
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

Take everything you've written in this letter, plus pictures of the cake, and make an appointment to speak to the manager of the bakery.

I am one of those who believes that if we're in the business of selling wedding cakes at a premium price, they'd better be perfect. The bride is owed some compensation for the cake being sub-par on many levels.

ETA ... Do it today or tomorrow, don't wait two weeks until after the honeymoon.




Wholeheartedly agree! I would follow this advice.

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 3:11pm
post #15 of 31

If I am contracted to deliver a cake with Navy ribbon, I am delivering Navy ribbon, and not a shade other. I always take precautions to ensure the ribbon stays exactly the shade it was on the spool. Always. I don't discount the severity of ANY detail, big or small. I don't decide what is big or small.

Eisskween Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 4:12pm
post #16 of 31

My dear Indydebi:

I know that you are on the fence being that you feel for both sides. I understand that.

That being said, now take a step back. Hypothetical: you are a non-caker, this didn't happen to a family member. How would you feel about it then.

Or, you are the baker, you delivered this cake. What would you expect to hear from your customer.

I can understand your feeling for the bakery; however, if the bakery gave a damn, they would have delivered what was ordered.

If it was my cake for a customer, I would have been mortified that the design was wrong, the flavor was wrong, the ribbon was greased, the cake was late. It may not be the owner, it may have been the employees, either way; if it were me, I would want to be notified that the job was not satisfactory and would want to make good on it.

If I received that cake on my wedding day, I would have cried too. There are certain things that shouldn't be compromised, the dress, the caterer, and the cake. I don't mean that there were five roses on top instead of six, but how much was the design compromised in its entirety? Was it totally different from what was ordered? And the flavor was not what was ordered? Major faux pas there. And on top of that, the cake was dry as you stated.

I can understand that you don't want to make it hard on the bakery, but professional decorators, as you know are held to high standards when it comes to a wedding (the most important day of a young woman's life). They dropped the ball and bride suffered. They should be held accountable for their thoughtlessness.

Just my unsolicited opinion. Let us know how it turns out. I'm rooting for the bride on this one.

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 4:21pm
post #17 of 31

I am so freaking careful to the point of obsession.

summernmicah99 Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 4:53pm
post #18 of 31

Wow!! Sounds like a Wal-Mart cake! Frozen cakes, poor design, bad base icing, & greased ribbon... Sounds just like the walmart down the road from me!

percussiongrrl Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 5:16pm
post #19 of 31

I do have pictures, but seeing as how I don't know the baker personally, I don't know if she's a CCer and I hesitate to post them, as I don't want to start WWIII.

BTW...the bakery is very small, just one woman baking for her own shop. So I don't think it's any miscommunication or the fault of anyone else not doing as they were told.

I don't know what to think, b/c if it had been me, I would have NEVER delivered a cake that looked like that. And I'm not even a "real" caker, I just do it for fun and family. But the only part about the cake that was really right was the topper, and that's only b/c we made it, we put it together, and we delivered it to her. All she had to do was set it on top of the cake!

LaBellaFlor Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 5:48pm
post #20 of 31

Too much went wrong with that cake. Completely wrong design and inedible, I think thats a full refund.

7yyrt Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 6:38pm
post #21 of 31

I wonder, as the cake was showing through, if you just got a crumbcoat.
OMG - The cake was due TODAY?!?

Grab the crumbcoated cake out of the freezer, slap the ribbon on and deliver?

I can see that scenario having this result.

Gingoodies Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 7:04pm
post #22 of 31

This appears to be a cake that was TOTALLY forgotten until the LAST minute. You must contact her ASAP and discuss the situation. With so many different things having gone wrong, your family should not let this go unaddressed. I feel badly for the baker, but in this case your mom/sister is the consumer and have the right to expect a product to be as ordered.

cakedesigner59 Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 7:11pm
post #23 of 31

Not to hijack this thread, but how do you all keep grease from the buttercream soaking thru the ribbon? I've never been able to keep it from doing that very thing.

Eisskween Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 7:12pm
post #24 of 31

I want to apologize to Indydebi and the OP. I thought this happened to someone in Indydebi's family. That's what I get for jumping in right after a nap. My apologies to both of you. My original post was directed to the original poster, not Indydebi. Back to my packing, we just bought a new house and packing and cleaning adds to my 'brain scramble.' A thousand pardons. icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 7:20pm
post #25 of 31

Eisskween, I must not have worded it properly because I am NOT on the bakery's side on this at all. I think they screwed up and they screwed up big.

What I was trying to show that some of the things, by themselves, does not a disaster make. For example, the cake arrived later than expected. It was there for the reception so no disaster. BUT ...... ! Had it been delivered on time, there would have been time to see it beforehand, to have that discussion of "This isnt' my cake!" etc.

By itself, the ribbon being the wrong color is not a disaster, but combined with everything else wrong with the cake, it's just another example of the lack of .... well, EVERYTHING! .... with this cake.

As a customer, I would be totally ticked and would expect a good sized restitution. Not only did I not get the cake I ordered, but the quality was lower than what was sampled, it was 'almost' inedible since it was frozen, and worst of all, I was embarrassed in front of my family and friends on my (and/or my daughter's) wedding day.

As the baker, I would be mortfied that I had screwed up a wedding cake that bad, and the BEST I could do would be to apologize profusely and offer a full refund with the hopes that they won't bad-mouth near as bad as they tell this story (as I know they will ... over and over).

I totally agree with everything in your post. In my attempt to try to see it in an unemotional view, I guess I didn't get my thoughts across very well.

Thanks for letting me try to clear that up! thumbs_up.gif

Eisskween Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 7:41pm
post #26 of 31

Indydebi: Do you think that the bakery delivered it late to avoid conflict because they knew the cake was screwed up and wanted to avoid conflict because the celebration had started? icon_confused.gif

Not being accusatory, but with so many problems with it, you have to wonder. It being frozen is a big tipoff that is was haphazard and slapped together.

There are unscrupulous people out there, in all walks that are only interested in the paycheck and not quality work.

Just my crazy brain again....I'll shut up now. icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 7:54pm
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisskween

Indydebi: Do you think that the bakery delivered it late to avoid conflict because they knew the cake was screwed up and wanted to avoid conflict because the celebration had started? icon_confused.gif



I don't know. Based on what we know, it sounds like it was forgotten until the last minute (i.e. frozen cake). I would venture a guess that they were GLAD to see no one from the family in there when they delivered it. icon_redface.gif but whether it was intentional or not, i don't know.

lopsidedTurntable Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 8:14pm
post #28 of 31

I didn't read everythihng and I think I avoided some drama but--For what it's worth I agree with Indy on both counts that it probably was some kind of last minute forgotten cake--whether it was delivered late on purpose kinda doesn't matter so much does it. I don't think we can really draw the conclusion that it was to avoid people.

I mean somebody's gonna see it eventually.

This might already have been covered--was there a cake tasting?

Eisskween Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 10:37pm
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by lopsidedTurntable

I didn't read everythihng and I think I avoided some drama but--For what it's worth I agree with Indy on both counts that it probably was some kind of last minute forgotten cake--whether it was delivered late on purpose kinda doesn't matter so much does it. I don't think we can really draw the conclusion that it was to avoid people.

I mean somebody's gonna see it eventually.

This might already have been covered--was there a cake tasting?




Hey K8, I didn't recognize you there. LOL No drama dear, just questions and statements regarding a less than expected cake.

They didn't say whether there was a tasting or not, but if you choose a flavor, you should get that flavor.

Are you enjoying the heat wave. The humidity is so bad here, you could cut through it with a knife. UGH!

Gingoodies Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 11:05pm
post #30 of 31

Actually, the OP did state that there was a cake tasting. The cake received was partially frozen, parts were dry, and the icing job was so bad that the cake was showing through. The requested scrolls and dots were not put on the sides of the cake and the navy blue ribbon applied around the cake was grease soaked. The MOB had not choice but to serve the cake, as it was a cake and punch only reception.

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