How To Respond?

Business By karateka Updated 29 Jan 2010 , 1:12pm by Deb_

karateka Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:19pm
post #1 of 31

I got an email from a lady (she ordered the penguin cake in my pics). She raved about the decoration and the taste of the buttercream, but said that the cake was crumbly and they were only able to cut "a few whole pieces" which "was a letdown given the decoration". She said she just wanted to share this feedback with me.

What to do now? I don't understand how it could have been crumbly as I've never had this complaint before....the pieces I cut off to level it didn't seem crumbly to me.

Is she fishing for something, or do I simply thank her for letting me know and then go on?

It was a 10 in round and I charged her $115.

30 replies
TexasSugar Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:23pm
post #2 of 31

You can ask more information, like what did she mean by crumbly?

My thought is maybe she cut it with a knife that didn't cut through it well and it caused the pieces to fall about.

indydebi Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:25pm
post #3 of 31

"Thanks for your email question about the cake. Sometimes the type of knife will affect how a cake is cut. A straight-edge (not serrated), sharp knife is the best type of knife to use for nice smooth pieces.

Sincerely......"

JanH Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:28pm
post #4 of 31

If the person doing the cutting didn't use a sharp knife to cut through the cake to apportion the slices, but used something with a dull edge that smooshed the cake down and apart resulting in a crumby mess - that's not a problem that could be resolved by the baker....

HTH

jammjenks Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:30pm
post #5 of 31

I'd just thank her for her feedback and let it go.

_Jamie_ Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:34pm
post #6 of 31

Does anyone else put "do not use a serrated knife" on their instruction cards, if you provide one for cutting? I do.

leah_s Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:45pm
post #7 of 31

Really? No serrated knife? I ALWAYS use a serrated knife to cut any type of baked goods. hmmm . . . .

_Jamie_ Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:47pm
post #8 of 31

Even fondant covered cakes? I haven't had any luck with that.

confectionsofahousewife Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:50pm
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Really? No serrated knife? I ALWAYS use a serrated knife to cut any type of baked goods. hmmm . . . .




Me too! I thought that's what I was supposed to use. Ooops icon_redface.gif

karateka Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:53pm
post #10 of 31

This was a buttercream covered cake with a bunch of fondant penguins on top. Now that I think of it, one other person did say that, when I first started out. I discovered that I was doing something wrong in the recipe and corrected it....haven't had the comment since.

karateka Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:56pm
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

"Thanks for your email question about the cake. Sometimes the type of knife will affect how a cake is cut. A straight-edge (not serrated), sharp knife is the best type of knife to use for nice smooth pieces.

Sincerely......"




That sounds perfect, thanks. Now...since I'm paranoid....what if she comes back and says that is exactly what she used? Am I supposed to offer her something? My business is non existent lately....am unsure if this could make it any worse, really.

I have the WORST headache right now.

indydebi Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 11:58pm
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Jamie_

Even fondant covered cakes? I haven't had any luck with that.


Especially fondant. I learned this on my own birthday cake (made it to share with my 169 fraternity guys!). The cutting was TERRIBLE! Crumbly and messy! Not at all like a cake should look!

I came on here to find out what I was doing wrong. A CC'er (and I'm SO sorry I can't remember who!) posted pics of what her cakes look like after being cut with a straight edge knife. I had the top tier leftover at home, so I found a straight edge knife and cut it! WOW! What a big diff! It looked EXACTLY like the posted pics and I was a happy baker once again!

It was explained that the stickyness of marshmellow gets into the teeth of the serrated knife and gums it up, making for a dull knife when cutting.

So using a straight edged knife from that point on, even with my BC cakes, my cut pieces of cake looked even better still!

It makes me question why a bride's cake cutting/serving set usually includes a serrated knife. icon_confused.gif

_Jamie_ Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 12:01am
post #13 of 31

Oh yeah! I always make sure to say no serrated knives near this fondant cake! Now that I think of it...it was from reading something you (Debi) posted about this same thing that got me to be dilligent about it! icon_biggrin.gif And I did try it one time, sawed back and forth one half stroke. Nope. Got a real knife out.

Renaejrk Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 12:30am
post #14 of 31

Bake a small test cake & try it out!

CakeForte Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 4:26am
post #15 of 31

You also have to clean the knife as well when you cut the cake, regardless of the type. They're just looking to nit pick at something.

kellertur Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 6:49pm
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi


I came on here to find out what I was doing wrong. A CC'er (and I'm SO sorry I can't remember who!) posted pics of what her cakes look like after being cut with a straight edge knife. I had the top tier leftover at home, so I found a straight edge knife and cut it! WOW! What a big diff! It looked EXACTLY like the posted pics and I was a happy baker once again!
icon_confused.gif




Can (has) anyone post pics of thier cut cakes? I'd love to see that... I'm trying to acheive a really clean look once the cake is cut...

karateka Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 7:18pm
post #17 of 31

I made an extra 6in chocolate cake today, just so I could cut it up. It cut fine, and I really cut it into small and large pieces until it was all cut up. Not a one crumbled. Of course, I didn't ice it, but I think she must have used a butter knife or something. No way this cake is a crumbly mess.

Mensch Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 8:09pm
post #18 of 31

Maybe she used a hacksaw. Even a butter knife will do an okay job on a cake.

karateka Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 9:26pm
post #19 of 31

I got a response from her:

Thanks for the follow-up. We did use a straight edge cake knife. But because
the cake was so dry, most pieces simply disintegrated when cut. It wasn't a
matter of a smaller piece breaking off (i.e., putting 2-3 pieces back
together to form one smooth slice). We were scooping tiny granules onto
plates, not chunks of cake. I am sure you will discover what needs to be
adjusted in the recipe or baking process.


What to say now? I'm upset and bewildered. Like I said, I made a chocolate cake this morning and it was great. Not dry, cut beautifully....I'm upset and just don't know what I should do. She isn't outright asking for anything...what should I do? I made another chocolate cake that same weekend...haven't heard from them. Do I call them and ask how it was? Or is that asking for trouble?

cownsj Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 10:05pm
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka

I got a response from her:

Thanks for the follow-up. We did use a straight edge cake knife. But because
the cake was so dry, most pieces simply disintegrated when cut. It wasn't a
matter of a smaller piece breaking off (i.e., putting 2-3 pieces back
together to form one smooth slice). We were scooping tiny granules onto
plates, not chunks of cake. I am sure you will discover what needs to be
adjusted in the recipe or baking process.


What to say now? I'm upset and bewildered. Like I said, I made a chocolate cake this morning and it was great. Not dry, cut beautifully....I'm upset and just don't know what I should do. She isn't outright asking for anything...what should I do? I made another chocolate cake that same weekend...haven't heard from them. Do I call them and ask how it was? Or is that asking for trouble?




I'd say it's better not to look for problems by contacting your other customer. However, if it bugs you enough that you just "have" to know, you can always write to them and say you are just doing a follow-up to see how the (recipient) liked their cake?

For this customer I think I would just thank her for her feedback and how surprised you are since you baked other similar cakes for the same time and none had any problems.

(btw, I followed the instructions at the end of your posts "Fall down 7 times....get up 8". boy do I have a a sore butt *scratching head* don't know why you wanted me to do that. Oh no, I now fell down an 8th time, what do I do now?.......... Just kidding - I like that thinking)

karateka Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 10:07pm
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by cownsj

Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka

I got a response from her:

Thanks for the follow-up. We did use a straight edge cake knife. But because
the cake was so dry, most pieces simply disintegrated when cut. It wasn't a
matter of a smaller piece breaking off (i.e., putting 2-3 pieces back
together to form one smooth slice). We were scooping tiny granules onto
plates, not chunks of cake. I am sure you will discover what needs to be
adjusted in the recipe or baking process.


What to say now? I'm upset and bewildered. Like I said, I made a chocolate cake this morning and it was great. Not dry, cut beautifully....I'm upset and just don't know what I should do. She isn't outright asking for anything...what should I do? I made another chocolate cake that same weekend...haven't heard from them. Do I call them and ask how it was? Or is that asking for trouble?



I'd say it's better not to look for problems by contacting your other customer. However, if it bugs you enough that you just "have" to know, you can always write to them and say you are just doing a follow-up to see how the (recipient) liked their cake?

For this customer I think I would just thank her for her feedback and how surprised you are since you baked other similar cakes for the same time and none had any problems.

(btw, I followed the instructions at the end of your posts "Fall down 7 times....get up 8". boy do I have a a sore butt *scratching head* don't know why you wanted me to do that. Oh no, I now fell down an 8th time, what do I do now?.......... Just kidding - I like that thinking)





icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Thank you, I so needed that laugh!

Texas_Rose Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 10:13pm
post #22 of 31

If the cake was crumbly like that, you would have been able to tell when you leveled it. And you said it was fine then.

I would not respond to her email. If she wants something from you, let her come right out and ask.

indydebi Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 10:15pm
post #23 of 31

"disintegrated"????? Oh pul-lease!!!

Deb_ Posted 28 Jan 2010 , 11:52pm
post #24 of 31

I wonder if she stored it in the refrigerator and dried it out.

It doesn't sound like she wants a refund, she didn't ask for one. Maybe she just wanted to give you her feedback.

Is she a repeat customer?

jammjenks Posted 29 Jan 2010 , 12:09am
post #25 of 31

File that email away and move on. No refund, no asking other customers, no more dwelling on it. You obviously know what you're doing or you would not have customers at all. I know it bugs you, but some people will just never be pleased.

3GCakes Posted 29 Jan 2010 , 12:16am
post #26 of 31

tiny granules?

I can see this if they were trying to feed 500 with a cake that feeds 50? Were they shaving the cake?

sugarandslice Posted 29 Jan 2010 , 12:24am
post #27 of 31

I agree with jammjenks, try to put it behind you. Have confidence in what you're producing. If you're still worried about it bake the same recipe in the same size again and give it to an honest friend, whose opinion you know will be sound, and ask them to review it for you.
Good luck getting over these negative feelings. Chin up! icon_biggrin.gif

Mrs-A Posted 29 Jan 2010 , 12:26am
post #28 of 31

sounds like she one of those people that wants the last word on the subject

im only a office baking hack and even my cakes dont disintergrate so i cant imagine how yours could achieve such a feat as she describes

Bethkay Posted 29 Jan 2010 , 1:02am
post #29 of 31

Did she by any chance order more cake than she needed? The first year I was in business, I heard the same complaint that you got--nearly word for word. The customer told me that "half of the cake" was left over, because it was dry and no one would eat it. Keep in mind that this was two different flavored cakes for a tiered presentation. My first thought was that it was highly unlikely that both cakes were overbaked. Plus, like we all do, I level the cakes, and have a pretty good idea if the cake is dry at that point.

What really happened was that she had not served the cake to the large group of people it had been planned for and had waited until two days later to serve it to a much smaller group of people!

Naturally, cake was left over and she had buyer's remorse for ordering way more than she needed. I had waited around for hours on a Friday afternoon for her to pick up the cake for a birthday party that evening. When she finally decided she couldn't make it to my house, she picked it up the next day, and told me they were holding it to serve until after she attended church on Sunday.

In her letter to me, she actually asked for a refund, which given the circumstances, I declined to do.

Be happy she didn't ask for money back, and forget about it. You know that your cakes are good.

karateka Posted 29 Jan 2010 , 2:11am
post #30 of 31

Deb...she is a new customer, and I'd hoped for a repeat. Oh, well.

BethKay...she originally told me 30, and I use Earlene's chart, so that is a 10in. I gave her a cutting guide. But today is the first I've heard from her and the party was supposedly Saturday the 23rd. So it has been 6 days. Maybe she DID have leftover and do just as you said.

I'm so grateful to have my cc buds...without you guys I'd never get any work done or any sleep! Thank you to all who responded. I'm really very grateful for your help.

I simply responded (to her last email) "I will certainly make that my first priority. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. Sincerely, XXX"

I had considered sending her a 20% off coupon, but now I don't think I will. Phew...having a glass of vino and hitting the rack.

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