AmysCakesNCandies Posted 20 Oct 2010 , 12:36pm
post #1 of

Ever have one of those days where it seems like you must have ticked off the cake Gods because NOTHING is going right.?

Last weekend I had a 5 tier fondant wedding cake, simple design with Ivory fondant & white banding. I have done dozens of fondant cakes and this exacy design before without trouble, but no matter what I did I could not get the fondant smooth. I peeled it off and re-did it 3 times, and each time it seemed to get worse. I couldn't even get my banding straight. I was getting so frustrated, and eventually went with a double layer of fondant which seemed to help but it still wasn't perfect & it made the cake super heavy- so I was really getting nervouse about the extra weight & the supports. And to top it off the Winery, which I had never delivered to before, was at the end of about half a mile of gravel road (uhg!) So I ended up having to deliver a cake that was below my standards I knew it wasn't perfect, but I did everything I could on set up to cover the most obvious flaws in the back, fill in the cracks that occured from the bouncy road & strategically placing the flowers in some of the worst spots. The groom & the florist saw it and were raving about how good it looked, so I was starting to think that maybe I had pulled it off after all.

WRONG!! A week later I recieved a scathing email from the bride not only complaining about the cake but also insulting me as a cake artist and accusing me of mis-representing my tallents and continued to go on a say that she will tell anyone she knows that needs a cake NOT to call me. Now, like most of you I'm sure, this is not only my job and my company but also my art form & I take criticsm very personally, and this letter cut me straight to the bone!. Since I myself wasn't happy with the cake I refunded a portion of her money (pretty much my whole profit, keeping only enough to vcover my costs). Now I wondering if I should have refunded anything, after all, nothing I do us going to makle her any happier with the cake & more likely to reccommend me. Oh well, whats done is done.

Now my confidence is a bit shaken and I just keep reminding myself that after 13 years and hundreds of cakes I should consider myself lucky that this was mt first big problem, we all have bad days now & then. Hopefully next weekend the "Cake Gods" will be back in my good favor!

34 replies
jones5cm Posted 20 Oct 2010 , 1:00pm
post #2 of

Those darn CAKE GODS again! They were at my house just last week too!!! But, look on the bright side...you have 13 years of experience and know what you are capable of...the bride knows nothing about you! Don't let this one instance get you down; it sounds like you're already back on the road to recovery anyway! keep on cakingicon_smile.gif

neecerator Posted 20 Oct 2010 , 1:04pm
post #3 of

No bridezillas for me, no wedding cakes......period.

Kiddiekakes Posted 20 Oct 2010 , 1:09pm
post #4 of

I know it's hard to take criticism and I myself take it personally also...You did the best you could with what you had to work with so chalk it up to a bad day and cake and let it go...If she tells people not to order from you..there isn't much you can do about that but one thing I have learned is people don't always listen to someone who rants and raves about a place or service...they care to check it out themself so in the end they will decide for themselves ...I usually don't listen to people who say"Don't go to so and So place and don't order from such and such a place"..I check it out myself!!

aligotmatt Posted 20 Oct 2010 , 1:15pm
post #5 of

Because you hated the cake too, I think it was generally right to give a refund.

I've never had to refund someone money, but I think it's best to not be knee jerk about it and talk things through, as much as it hurts. Try to first give them a future cake or discount on a future cake. Apologize, tell them you know it wasn't your best work and you are so sorry and to make it up to them you want to make them another cake valued up to...?

I had one lady said that she was going to go within all of her power to make sure that I would never decorate again, on the internet and to everyone in my town, why? Because she did not like my cupcake tower. Thats right. She thought the cupcakes were perfect, and tasted great, but the cupcake tower was hideous and ruined the whole display. I asked her if she looked on my website and saw that every other cupcake display I did was on the exact same stand and why would hers be on a different one? Because the picture of cupcakes that she sent me from a magazine were on a different stand, so of course I would have acquired that one... I did not refund her anything, or offer her a future cake, and I don't think I've lost any orders from it...

Obviously this time is over, don't stress about it, even though I know you can't help it. You've given her money back, so from my perspective I wouldn't entertain any more conversations with her. I have a cake friend who gave the refund and the bride continued to email nasty things, just delete it if that happens.

For future cakes, if you do a lumpy cake and you feel the need to peel, peel it, put it into the freezer until it hardens up, re-trim it to make the cake nice and smooth, re-ice it, and then re-fondant.

Hope you heal fast!

dsilvest Posted 20 Oct 2010 , 1:15pm
post #6 of

Sorry you had this problem. I hate when I can't get the fondant as smooth as I like.
Next time you deliver a cake take along some royal icing to fill the cracks. Smooth the area with the open palm of your hand. If the area is shiny rub a bit of ps on the spot.Cracks and dimples will disappear.

PrivateNameHere Posted 20 Oct 2010 , 4:46pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by neecerator

No bridezillas for me, no wedding cakes......period.



This. I don't do weddings. I know that's where the big bucks are, but WHATEVER. Too much stress and drama.

hsmomma Posted 20 Oct 2010 , 9:04pm
post #8 of

Sorry you had a bad cake week. Next week will be better, I'm sure. You did the right thing by refunding part of the cake if she wasn't pleased. My guess is that the refund will make her happy. She's less likely to bad mouth by your quick actions to fix the "problem".

sillymoo84 Posted 21 Oct 2010 , 8:18pm
post #9 of

only one thing to do is dust yourself off and keep going!

you did the right thing!

mayo2222 Posted 21 Oct 2010 , 8:40pm

I looked at your website and your cakes look great. Sorry to hear about the upset customer but just remember its impossible to please everyone, all of the time so just try to learn from what happened so it doesn't happen again.

Spuddysmom Posted 21 Oct 2010 , 9:05pm

So sorry this happened to you! icon_sad.gif .
Even though the cake was not up to your own standards, the bride could have conveyed her disappointment in a civil way. You reacted well. Now it is over; don't hang on to her words and allow them to discourage you.
aligotmatt gave you an excellent reply. Best wishes for many many more happy customers (and no gravel road deliveries!).

jenscreativity Posted 21 Oct 2010 , 9:42pm

You did all you could and I'm proud of you for being positive in this situation..things happen..so we move on to next. I doubt you will lose the opportunity of people ordering from you. Maybe that is the way she is and I'm sure if that is it,,then I'm sure not EVERYONE is going to go by her choices..she could just be a very difficult person..I"m sure the cake was great!

Next time,,just politely ask whom you are delivering to if roads are clear for your delivery or get an idea to be sure this doesn't happen again.

Keep going..don't let ONE person get to you..too many people out there. Great job with your positive influence on this..very proud of that.

Kaylani Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 11:02pm

I am so sorry this happened to you icon_cry.gif

This is not a P.C. answer, but if you had those feelings about the cake & knew it was not up to your standards when you delivered it then you should have refunded her money. All of it.

Feeling like you got away with something when you delivered the cake is a good defining line of when the customer may have a point about the quality.

I am not trying to cause trouble or be mean. I am saying this becuase it may help you with a future customer. Even if this bride does not cause you to lose business, another one could down the road.

We have all had cakes that didnt work out for one reason or another. I had one just a few weeks ago & it was agonizing when the customer was unhappy. icon_redface.gif

My take away lesson was to listen to my gut and NEVER deliver a cake I did not feel was up to my standards. Period.

Best of luck. Your work is beautiful!

cheatize Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 11:23pm

"My take away lesson was to listen to my gut and NEVER deliver a cake I did not feel was up to my standards."

You would prefer the bride have no cake at all? I'm not trying to start an argument, I'm just thinking never is maybe a trifle too much, you know?

Kitagrl Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 11:26pm

I dunno, I think a customer would be angrier with no cake at ALL than with a substandard cake for which they get a large refund...at least their guests get cake in the second scenerio.....

Kaylani Posted 22 Oct 2010 , 11:51pm

No fight at all. I am totally happy to debate with a smile. That is what open forums should be about. Different opions shared with respect.

Sorry, I should have been clearer in my original response about not letting something go out if you are not happy with it. I would not skip a cake or leave someone without a cake for an event, ever. icon_wink.gif

The point I was trying to make was about your design & technique. When a customer orders fondant & you are unable to provide a final product that is up to your standards then you may be better off to change to buttercream.

If the technique you are using isnt working & is causing a major problem that ruins the cake then you should stop & change.

The bride probably would have complained anyway, but would this cake have looked better in buttercream? If the fondant work was as bad as the OP stated, then it may have been better to switch to a cleaner look before the cake went out the door.

It only got worse as it went along.

I knew when I posted it not everyone would agree, but I still think if you know in your gut you are putting out a bad product you should stop & fix it.

Even if that means changing away from fondant because your fondant isnt working that day for whatever reason.

Cracked fondant, uneven ribbons and holes to cover may have been avoided if she swicthed to a different plan when it was not meeting her standard.

Then she could have refunded the bride the difference between fondant and buttercream or refunded the whole thing, but there would not be pictures out there of work that showed her in a negative light.

JMHO icon_rolleyes.gif In this internet world that bride may be sending pix all over of a cake this OP was not happy with and that could hurt business even more. A picture is worth a thousand words.

I say this with the greatest respect of the OP and her feelings. This stinks, but in the end maybe there is a lesson to be gained.

AmysCakesNCandies Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 2:40pm

"The point I was trying to make was about your design & technique. When a customer orders fondant & you are unable to provide a final product that is up to your standards then you may be better off to change to buttercream. "

I actually considered switching to buttercream but at the consult the bride was addamant about fondant, and had scheduled a consult with me because I am one of the few in my area that actually works with fondant. So in the end I felt that sticking with the fondant was a better choice.

I was not neccesarily happy with the cake, but of course we are our own worst critics most of the time, I took pictires of the cake myself and although it is definately not my best work, it is still a passable cake by most people's standards. So although i don't want any bad press i am not super worried about pics. I actually posted it to my facebook page because although the fondant wasn't great the overall design came out nice. I generaly don't hide my work and chose to post this one right along with everything else.

When I posted this I really just needed to vent to people who might actually understand what I'm talking about... DH didn't get why if affected me so personally. I apprreciate all the feedback.

tsal Posted 23 Oct 2010 , 4:52pm

I'm so sorry this happened to you! I'm not in business and the mere thought of wedding cakes makes me nervous. I did one (for free so no stress) and I'm not sure I would do another.

Stay strong - as you said, in 13 yrs, you're awesome if this was your first problem!

onceuponacake Posted 25 Oct 2010 , 12:37pm

ihad one customer tell me my cake was JUST cake art. hahahah why? not because it tasted bad..she said it was delicius and beautiful and everyone loved it..it was JUST cake art because I put the message on the board instead of on the cake (3D cake)

I missed that detail in her email. It was a last minute order and I put the message on the board like I usually do with 3D cakes. JUSt CAKE ART.

Lemmers Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 3:37pm

My goodness, it's things like this that make me wonder if I really want to get into caking as a profession!!

So sorry this happened to you.

I have never sold a cake, let alone a wedding cake, but how does this sound for a solution for this kind of thing happening to someone....:

Take the cake but when you can see it's not upto scratch, get in contact with the person in charge (MOB/ Maid of Honour etc) and immediately make them aware you aren't happy with it, would they like a full/partial refund etc. This then shows honesty and they will most likely appreciate that you've been upfront, and may even decline the refund thinking the cake is wonderful anyway!! And then you know you've had the chance to say your piece and explain the issues, and won't be sat at home awaiting a nasty call or email?

As I said, I've never done this myself but I imagine as a consumer I would appreciate this initial contact instead of a potentially nasty surprise later in the day.

GenGen Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 3:56pm

if it was so terrible why were they raving and gushing over it when they first saw it. my guess it something with the wedding during or after went wrong and by then some of the cake had been consumed. it no longer looked pristine and it just became the focal point of her bad day.

Bluehue Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 4:41pm

icon_confused.gif Sounds to me as tho the longer she left contacting you about the cake - the more irrate she got.....and the longer her letter got - the more vicious she spoke.

Honestly - IF the cake was *bad* i doubt a week would have passed before she made contact.

Yes, i am sure it has cut deep -but, you did what you did to rectify that - and you gave a refund.

Take solace in the fact that some days/cakes just go pear shape no matter how hard we try.

Its very easy for us to sit behind our screen and say -
"i would have done ..............a b or c....................."

Like anything in life - unless we are walking that path - we don't know what we would do when *confronted* like that.

Your allowed to feel dented and upset......
But wake up tomorrow and say "i did all that i could do"

Some of us do understand that you don't need tearing down -
You just needed to talk it out.


Bluehue icon_smile.gif

EvMarie Posted 5 Nov 2010 , 5:14pm

It's true...it's hard to REALLY say what we would have done. We aren't truly in the stressed situation itself.

Even just reading this thread, I NEVER thought to consider the BC route. Given the fact that the bride was stuck on fondant made it not an option...but, that's an interesting point.

To the OP - how about this? I know it doesn't help you now..but in the future if you have fondant trouble...what about the re-ice & firm up thing. THEN, doing that band around the sides of fondant & then the separate top piece? I've seen that done & with your experience, maybe that would have worked?

I don't really know - I'm just new at fondant covered cakes. But, I love problem solving. So - maybe that could be added to your "bag of tricks"?

Just a thought - try to not worry. People aren't careful with their words anymore. She could have conveyed it a bit more delicately.

AmysCakesNCandies Posted 16 Nov 2010 , 5:24pm

An interresting follow up to this...

I recieved a call today from this bride's wedding planner, and my first thought is uh oh, here we go. I was completely not expecting it when she wanted to discuss a birthday cake for her daughter. I guess the cake must not have been THAT bad icon_smile.gif

EvMarie Posted 16 Nov 2010 , 5:47pm

That's a bit of a relief I'm sure. That's really great - and from the planner! She's probably seen her share of cakes & tasted them as well.

Good for you!

JenniferMI Posted 21 Nov 2010 , 11:20pm

I think you did the right thing by refunding $$$. I think the most important thing from all of this is figuring out what went wrong. It's important we learn from our mistakes or imperfections. I hope you can figure that out.

I wish you many more beautiful creations and happy customers. Don't let this one get you down.

Jennifer icon_smile.gif

seedrv Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 1:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by neecerator

No bridezillas for me, no wedding cakes......period.




I hear ya, sista!

vlk Posted 23 Nov 2010 , 2:07pm

We don't get 3 weeks or 3 months to put a cake together

We get 24 hours or less to make a master piece, we can plan ahead, we bake ahead, we can mix up the icing, we can think about it a dozen times - but sometimes we only get one shot to make it right -

How many of us have had a cake that we "not so much like" looked at the clock realized we have hours until delivery.... re-baked cakes... started all over... stayed up all night fixing...

I have been there, and with each one - I have learned lessons (NEVER TRY SOMETHING NEW ON A TIME CRUNCH!) and .... used every tool in your "bag of tricks" to fix the problem(s).

Its all good, and in time... you will redeem yourself - this was not your first time at the Rodeo, and won't be your last! .....Giddy Up

Vicki

Annabakescakes Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 12:52am

I didn't see the cake, but maybe the people who first saw the cake were right, and it was fabulous, then saw your reaction, or your comments and told the bride you were unhappy with it. Bride loves it but cooks up a scheme to get "her" money back, cause she spent too much on the wedding and the rent is due. It could happen.

Ironbaker Posted 25 Nov 2010 , 4:13am

OP - I'm glad something positive came out of all of that! Sounds like a high maintenance bridezilla.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluehue

Honestly - IF the cake was *bad* i doubt a week would have passed before she made contact.




This is the only think I have to disagree with. They've could've gone straight to their honeymoon like many do. I'd HOPE she wasn't thinking about cake during that time. icon_wink.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%