Lesson Learned -- Cake To Room Temp

Decorating By tgress13 Updated 6 Oct 2010 , 5:13pm by sugarMomma

tgress13 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 4:02pm
post #1 of 27

I am mortified...! I've been making cakes for family and friends for about a year now with great reviews. For my latest cake for a friend's friend, for a Saturday party, I made sure to tell them to keep the cake in the fridge until the day of the party. It was delivered thursday night, and we're in south FL where it's pretty hot. Well this morning I received a feedback that the cake was horrible!!!! Apparently they kept the cake in the fridge until time to serve and it was very firm to the point of being hard.. icon_redface.gif I guess I forgot to tell them to put the cake out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before eating. Everyone is so disappointed and I feel so embarrassed. I offered to talk to my friend's friend to explain, and make another cake as amends but it doesn't seem like they want to talk.

I am from the caribbean and we do not normally refrigerate cakes. So they had no idea that it needed to come to room temperature in order to be soft and moist. I usually don't like to keep cakes made a few days before the date of the event out of the fridge unless maybe it's covered with fondant. This cake had BC frosting. I don't know what else to do to make this right. and I feel just horrible....! But lesson learned - Make sure you tell your client if the cake needs to be refrigerated or if you need to bring to room temperature.

26 replies
luntus Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 4:27pm
post #2 of 27

hugs coming your way.

cathyscakes Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 4:29pm
post #3 of 27

I think they are being a little harsh, saying the cake was horrible. I know what you mean about a cold cake, it isn't as good as a room temperature cake, but horrible, I don't think so. I've ate cold cake and its still good. Sorry they said this to you.
I forget to tell people to let it come to room temp, I always refrigerate my cakes. Mostly wedding cakes that will sit out while the reception is going on, so they aren't too cold. I'll have to remember to tell them too.

julzs71 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 4:41pm
post #4 of 27

are they morons. Everyone knows cake has to be room temp.

Kimmers971 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 4:47pm
post #5 of 27

It's common sense to bring it to room temp. Not your fault

Malakin Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 4:52pm
post #6 of 27

Besides, you can literally write out instructions for some people and they still don't get it!

psmith Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 4:52pm
post #7 of 27

Seriously, it is just common sense to have let it come to room temp. By the way they are acting it almost seems like they did something really dumb like froze it and then tried to eat it. A refrid. cake isn't even as hard as they are making it sound. Their lack of basic common sense is not your fault. You told them to keep it refrid. until 'the day of the party'. Most people (and even children) would know what that means. Brush it off and don't worry anymore about it.

tgress13 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 12:43am
post #8 of 27

Thanks for all your replies. I am feeling a lot better now. I was finally able to speak to the person in question and apologized for the misunderstanding. I even offered to make her another small cake as a peace offering. Word of mouth goes a long way in my community and I'd rather make this small gesture and ensure that she is happy as opposed to being bad mouthed everywhere. Hopefully she'll be impressed enough with the way I handled the situation and keep that as a lasting impression. Boy...what a day!

indydebi Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 11:34pm
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by julzs71

are they morons. Everyone knows cake has to be room temp.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmers971

It's common sense to bring it to room temp. Not your fault



Sorry, gang, but it's "everyone knows" and "common sense" to those of us in cake world, but to many many cake civilians, I wouldn't say many, or ANY of them just know you're "suppose" to let cake come to room temp.

Lots of folks buy a cake from the grocery cooler, take it home and cut it almost immediately. The cake is still cold. ergo they think it's SUPPOSE to be refrigerated and it's SUPPOSE to be cold.

In the words of P.T. Barnum, "Never overestimate the intellegence of the public!"

Jenn2179 Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 11:43pm
post #10 of 27

I don't like room temp cake. I like mine cold. Everyone is different. Plus I have many people ask me if the cake needs to be kept and served cold so it is not something everyone knows.

indydebi Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 11:46pm
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn2179

I don't like room temp cake. I like mine cold. Everyone is different. Plus I have many people ask me if the cake needs to be kept and served cold so it is not something everyone knows.


excellent point! thumbs_up.gif Plus I'm one of those people who ask "Why was the cake even in the 'frig to START with?" icon_confused.gif

KimmyKakes4Me Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 11:47pm
post #12 of 27

Me too Jenn. Cold meringue filled frosted cake. Sooooo good BUT I know if I ever tried to serve that to others, it wouldn't fly.

Jenn2179 Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 11:56pm
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimmyKakes4Me

Me too Jenn. Cold meringue filled frosted cake. Sooooo good BUT I know if I ever tried to serve that to others, it wouldn't fly.




Oh yes. My husband sticks his in the microwave. He also likes chewy cookies and brownies. I like crispy cookies and brownies. He always tells me I over baked them but it's what I like.

Marla84 Posted 5 Oct 2010 , 12:54am
post #14 of 27

I'm with Jenn and KimmyKakes - I prefer cold cake and actually put all of my desserts in the refrigerator. In my experience refrigerated cakes (basic buttercream) are still soft and moist without being brought to room temperature What type of cake was it?

DianeLM Posted 5 Oct 2010 , 1:07am
post #15 of 27

tgress, I like how you referred to this as a misunderstanding and not your mistake. This helps the customer shoulder some of the responsibility without feeling blamed. icon_smile.gif

I think I deliberately place my cakes on obnoxiously big boards and add huge decorations just to discourage refrigerating. I always tell my customers, "Don't refrigerate. It probably won't fit anyway."

When I've had to deal with extreme heat and fragile cakes and/or decorations, I arrange for the customer to pick up the cake as late as possible so I can keep it in my large refrigerator as long as possible. But, once it's in their possession, it's their responsibility.

tgress13 Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 2:31pm
post #16 of 27

Indydeby. I agree that not all "civilians" know about letting the cake come to room temp. I used to be one of them. I am from the caribbean where it is not customary to put cakes in the fridge. It's a practice I've taken up here in the States. Because of time and schedule constraints in preparing and delivering a cake, I took the habit of keeping them in the fridge until delivery so as to keep it as fresh as possible. Since people usually keep the cakes at room temp after delivery anyway, it has not been a problem in the past.

My own "ahah" moment happened about a year and a half ago. I could not understand why no matter what recipe I tried the cakes were so dense and hard (duh, they were kept in the fridge!) until one day, I purposefully left half a cake on the kitchen counter and the other one in the fridge. Sure enough, the one in the fridge was super firm. Frustrated with the experiment, I left it on the kitchen counter too. A few hours later I came back to it to figure out what the problem could be. Imagine my surprise when the cake was nice and soft and moist and yummy as the one that stayed on the counter! That's when it hit me about bringing the cake to room temperature.... It was a big wake up call for me. I had been about to quit baking. Now that I realized my recipes were fine I set out to perfect them and continue baking cakes!

indydebi Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 2:41pm
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgress13

I took the habit of keeping them in the fridge until delivery so as to keep it as fresh as possible.


I've often wondered where this thought came from because growing up, we NEVER kept cakes in the frig, nor did my gramma's or my aunts or anyone else I knew. icon_confused.gif

As i've learned from other CC'ers ... refrigerating accelerates the "going stale" process in cakes (freezing halts it), so under this logic, putting it in the frig actually would make it go stale faster.

smbegg Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 2:49pm
post #18 of 27

just a thought, but the OP said that she delivered the cake on Thursday for a Saturday party. When was the cake baked? I know I always start my cakes two days out for delivery. If OP baked even the day before, that means the cake would have been atleast 4 days old when served. That could have affected the taste as well.

stephanie

daltonam Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 3:24pm
post #19 of 27

Debi, what do I suggest to my friends when they ask if it should be kept in the fridge. I tell them yes it has heavy cream in the Buttercream. I'm scared to say no........this is FL & even as hot as it is here, some ppl just don't run their AC below 75-80 degrees. THATS'S HOT, chocolate melting hot.

I have told them it has to stay cold & why. Then if they think their house is cool enough.........I freeze in my home, our AC stays on 65-69,

TitiaM Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 3:42pm
post #20 of 27

[quote="smbegg"]just a thought, but the OP said that she delivered the cake on Thursday for a Saturday party. When was the cake baked? I know I always start my cakes two days out for delivery. If OP baked even the day before, that means the cake would have been atleast 4 days old when served. That could have affected the taste as well.




So perfect then particularly if they are scratch based cakes--best the 3rd or 4th day and left at room temp, as long as there are no perishable fillings/icings. Really, it gives the moisture and flavors in the cakes time to even out and meld together. JMO

DianeLM Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 4:10pm
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgress13

I took the habit of keeping them in the fridge until delivery so as to keep it as fresh as possible.

I've often wondered where this thought came from because growing up, we NEVER kept cakes in the frig, nor did my gramma's or my aunts or anyone else I knew. icon_confused.gif

As i've learned from other CC'ers ... refrigerating accelerates the "going stale" process in cakes (freezing halts it), so under this logic, putting it in the frig actually would make it go stale faster.




We never kept cakes in the frig either -- UNTIL -- they started to take on precarious sculpted shapes, began sporting chocolate decorations, and even relied on chocolate as glue to hold the decorations on!

Here in the Texas heat, a cake can go from zero to splat just walking it to the car!

I agree that keeping a cake in the frig for 24 hours or more will hasten staleness (is that a word?), but sometimes a several hour chill is darn necessary. icon_smile.gif

Kiddiekakes Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 4:16pm
post #22 of 27

I agree with a few members..Everyone knows that if you store a cake in the fridge it will be cold if you don't take it out sometime before the party..It is not your fault they were too stupid to know that.Geez...Don't you dare make them another cake because you feel bad..

tmgarcia_98 Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 4:42pm
post #23 of 27

I agree that the cake could not possibly be "horrible" just because it was cold!!!

While I prefer 3 day old cake at room temperature, I do sometimes even snatch a cupcake straight from the FREEZER! Still very tasty, and instant gratification!

Crimsicle Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 4:54pm
post #24 of 27

For me, it's not just a question of the temperature/texture thing, but of the taste. Maybe I'm just hyper-sensitive to it, but most home refrigerators impart the taste of whatever else is stored inside onto the buttercream. I can taste "refrigerator" even once the cake has come to room temp. Yuck!

cheriej Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 5:09pm
post #25 of 27

I only refrigerate my cakes if they have a perishable filling (like lemon curd) and then I refrigerate only overnight. When I give cakes to charities I sometimes have to deliver the night before. I always ask them when they expect to serve the cake and then tell them exactly when to take it out of the refrigerator so it came come up to room temp. I remember once seeing a lady at my church trying to cut a costco cake right out of the refrigerator - she looked like she needed a chain saw the cake was so hard.

tgress13 Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 5:12pm
post #26 of 27

[/quote]

We never kept cakes in the frig either -- UNTIL -- they started to take on precarious sculpted shapes, began sporting chocolate decorations, and even relied on chocolate as glue to hold the decorations on!

Here in the Texas heat, a cake can go from zero to splat just walking it to the car!

I agree that keeping a cake in the frig for 24 hours or more will hasten staleness (is that a word?), but sometimes a several hour chill is darn necessary. icon_smile.gif[/quote]

Interesting -- That's the first I'm hearing about that. From reading the forums and seeing the shows on tv, bakers seem to always keep their cakes in the fridge before and after decorating until delivery. Sometimes information can get confusing.

I usually bake my cakes the day before delivery. Then decorate the day of. I work full time and take care of my 5yr old, so it's nearly impossible for me to do both the same night. The only time I leave a cake out is when I use meringue/boiled frosting (suspiro). The condensation from the cake would wreck havoc on the icing.

I wonder what the correct guideline is for keeping cakes at room temp? Since the delivery date is not necessarily date of the event. What's the best way to decide?

sugarMomma Posted 6 Oct 2010 , 5:13pm
post #27 of 27

maybe they had something pungent in their fridge and the buttercream absorbed the flavors... I would never put a cake in my mom's fridge! It always smells like garlic.

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