Background-Childhood friend of DH and now my dear friend got married this past weekend in Southern Illinois. During the planning we talked about the possibility of my doing the cakes. The wedding cake was a simple enough design, 3 tiers with cornelli lace, dots and flowers around the border. The groom's cake was a 3-d cake of a show dog. I told them it just wasn't practical, finding a decent kitchen, traveling with my tools and then there's a difference in baking in Colorado and Illinois. Without any hard feelings, I told her she should have it done locally.
Fast forward to Sunday-Outdoor wedding at 4:30pm. We arrive at 3:30 to help with last minute details and hubs was an usher. The reception was in the same place, just different area, and I could see the cakes were already set up. So as us cakers do, I went to look at them. As I get closer the wedding cake looks fine, but I can already see frosting clumps on the table around the groom's cake. Another of the wedding party sees me, knows I decorate, and frantically asks what to do and if I can fix it. When the cake was delivered the baker admitted she had trouble and that the back had already fallen off once. There was the thought of moving it to a fridge, but there was a large crack the entire length and it just needed a jolt moving for the whole side to fall off. I went ahead and did what I could to "fix" the face of the dog that had slid off and as soon as the photographer arrived had him take pictures from the "good" side. The groom went ahead and saw it, but we didn't tell the bride until reception time when the couple came to the table 3 1/2 hours later. Well, you can imagine what it looked like by then. Even though weather wise it was cooling off when I took my seat for the wedding, the crack was wide enough to fit fingers into.
I wasn't the one to make the cake, but felt sick when the bride saw it. I didn't have any kind of proper tools and it wasn't my work anyways, but who wants their friends to have a cake disaster either. I was just wondering if anyone else would have even touched it or just stood by and watched.
Yes absolutely if it was for someone I know well, even though my skills are limited I'd definitely try.
I'd have taken a pic of the cake as it was, with witnesses, and then done what I could to fix or save it, and then I would have helped the bride and groom word a complaint to the cakemaker - although to be fair on you, it really doesnt sound like there was a lot you could have done with a crack that size.
Oh YES! Before I touched it I took pictures as well as another of the bride's friends and the groom had been told told about what was happening to the cake before I got to it. I feel confident that I can't be blamed for anything except trying to make the best of the situation.
Just ferom a legality stanpoint, I would never presume to fix a cake that was not mine. If the bride ever wanted to go after the original baker for any type of monetary compensation, if the baker knew that you had "tried to fix it" or "messed with the cake" she could blame any type of damage on you and it could effect the refund that the bride would be entitled to.
Think of it this way, if you delivered a cake to a venue and set up and left with no damage thus far, then you got a phone call that the cake was destroyed by the end of the night, but your good friend so-and-so tried to fix it by doing this and pushing this stake in or putting some extra stuff here. That in my opinion could cancel out any kind of refund that I would give due to the fact that you have no clue what they did or if they were professionally able enough to even attempt to fix a cake. Does that make sense? Even if the bride doesnt say anything about your attempt, word can get around from the venue or other guests.
Now in a perfect world the bride would get a 100% refund for the groom's cake, which it sounds like she is entitled to, but we know that this is not always the case and bakers defend their work to the death.
If I were the baker, I would want my client to call as soon as the damage started and notify me. If I could get back to the venue to fix it I would right away, then I could determine if the damage is fixable or if the customer is due a refund. If I could not make it back to the venue I would want picture of the cake that way I can determine a refund percentage.
Well OP did say the that the baker commented on the fact that the back had already fallen off so I imagine she's just waiting on that call.....
Jayde- The venue was the family farm and only 5 of the guests were local and were family. The groom, bride, and parents are from California and all the other guests flew or drove in for the wedding.
Before I did anything myself and another friend of the bride took pictures and we had 4 others come over and look at it for witnesses.
The only thing I did was try to fix the frosting on the muzzle so the photographer could get a decent picture for the album. He also took professional pics of the damage at that point. He took more at the reception showing the additional damage by that point And I turned the cake so that the least damaged side was facing the guests. I didn't touch anything else structural or otherwise. I had "refund" in the back of my mind and the fact I didn't have tools kept me from doing more
The caker did personally say the back end had already fallen off once when she delivered it.
They did try calling to see if she would come back and only got voicemail.
I think the bride would appreciate the help in cleaning the cake up for the party.
Great idea to take photos before you touch it just to cover yourself later should any thing happen or anyone say something.
Just so I know for my own reference, what was it that made the cake crack so badly? I take it this was buttercream?