I Feel So Bad...what Should I Do?

Decorating By cupcakesnbuttercream Updated 15 Dec 2010 , 5:18pm by cai0311

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 12 Dec 2010 , 11:30pm
post #1 of 26

I delivered a tall 2 tier cake about 3 hours ago.

I sent a text message to see how everything went, and she told me the cake had started to slowly collapse O.O ...she said it was leaning on one side.

I figured out what the problems were & offered to come back to try to fix it, but she said it was ok and that I didn't need to. I feel horrible about the whole situation, and I feel like I should do something.

What would you do in this situation?

Edit: Both tiers were double layers, and I separated the layers with cake boards. So, there were 2 tiers/4 layers/4 cake boards. I used Bubble Tea straws to support each layer as well as the top tier....a generous amount.
I think the problem was a bit too much icing under the fondant combined with the humidity and fact that the cake was sitting outside(pool party).

25 replies
kimbm04r Posted 12 Dec 2010 , 11:38pm
post #2 of 26

First off, I would request a photo of the cake and from that determine what kind of a refund would be appropriate, if any.

leah_s Posted 12 Dec 2010 , 11:50pm
post #3 of 26

2 layers per tier is the normal size for cake, so I'm not sure about the "tall" description.

Although I know a lot of people love the bubble tea straws (not normal drinking straws), I have to say that the problem with them is the same as the problem with dowels. They don't attach to anything. If a straw or dowel is perfectly vertical everything is fine. If a straw or dowel goes off perfectly vertical then it doesn't providfe support.

Think about your house. The studs in the wall are physically nailed to the joists of the ceiling, which becomes the floor for the second story. If the wall studs were not nailed/tied to the ceiling and a wall stud is pulled out, well eventually your house would start to lean and eventually fall down.

Cake works the same way.

The studs (legs/pillars) in the cake need to be physically tied to the ceiling (top plate.)

SPS.

cakegirl1973 Posted 12 Dec 2010 , 11:58pm
post #4 of 26

I am a little confused about why you had 4 cake boards in a 2 tier cake, unless 3 of the cake boards were combined to make a sturdy board for the bottom tier. That's not how I am reading the OP, though.

bakencake Posted 12 Dec 2010 , 11:59pm
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Quote:

They don't attach to anything. If a straw or dowel is perfectly vertical everything is fine. If a straw or dowel goes off perfectly vertical then it doesn't providfe support.



I learned this the hard way. icon_cry.gif

cakegirl1973 Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 12:01am
post #6 of 26

I am a little confused about why you had 4 cake boards in a 2 tier cake, unless 3 of the cake boards were combined to make a sturdy board for the bottom tier. That's not how I am reading the OP, though.

DDiva Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 12:09am
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

2 layers per tier is the normal size for cake, so I'm not sure about the "tall" description.

Although I know a lot of people love the bubble tea straws (not normal drinking straws), I have to say that the problem with them is the same as the problem with dowels. They don't attach to anything. If a straw or dowel is perfectly vertical everything is fine. If a straw or dowel goes off perfectly vertical then it doesn't providfe support.

Think about your house. The studs in the wall are physically nailed to the joists of the ceiling, which becomes the floor for the second story. If the wall studs were not nailed/tied to the ceiling and a wall stud is pulled out, well eventually your house would start to lean and eventually fall down.

Cake works the same way.

The studs (legs/pillars) in the cake need to be physically tied to the ceiling (top plate.)

SPS.






AMEN!!

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 12:12am
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl383

I am a little confused about why you had 4 cake boards in a 2 tier cake, unless 3 of the cake boards were combined to make a sturdy board for the bottom tier. That's not how I am reading the OP, though.




my "layers" were 2 'torted'/split cakes with filling. I had 2 of those "layers" making up each tier. As far as the cake boards go, I had a board under each "layer"....that's how I ended up with 4 boards in a 2 tier cake.
So, basically, my tiers were doubled...that's why I called them "tall". Hope that makes more sense.

indydebi Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 12:57am
post #9 of 26

If your tiers were in the 4" range (+/- half an inch either way), that's considered normal, not tall. I only use cardboards every 4".

I've also never texted a client to ask "How was everything?" I'd especially not text them just a few hours later and interrupt them when they could still be in the middle of the party. If there's a problem, they will let you know. follow-up is good ..... but I wouldn't impose on their party time to do it. To me, it gives the impression of looking a little needy.

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 1:07am
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

If your tiers were in the 4" range (+/- half an inch either way), that's considered normal, not tall. I only use cardboards every 4".

I've also never texted a client to ask "How was everything?" I'd especially not text them just a few hours later and interrupt them when they could still be in the middle of the party. If there's a problem, they will let you know. follow-up is good ..... but I wouldn't impose on their party time to do it. To me, it gives the impression of looking a little needy.





Excuse me, let me clarify. Technically, my message was telling her some info that I had forgotten to tell her before I left(regarding the cake). Her reply was to let me know what was happening with the cake. I had been stressing over this cake the past few days, so that's why I was really worried to hear things weren't going well.
Alas, my original question was regarding what "you" would do with the leaning/collapsing situation.

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 1:07am
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimbm04r

First off, I would request a photo of the cake and from that determine what kind of a refund would be appropriate, if any.




Thank you.

indydebi Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 1:13am
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cupcakesnbuttercream

Excuse me, let me clarify. Technically, my message was telling her some info that I had forgotten to tell her before I left(regarding the cake).


Oh, then that's new information. Your original post said:

Quote:
Quote:

I sent a text message to see how everything went,


so it sounded like you were sitting around and thought "Oh, I think I'll just check on that cake!" Thanks for the clarification!

-K8memphis Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 1:41am
post #13 of 26

I guarantee my cakes to the cake table. I especially make the point that all bets are off if the cake is moved or if it's outside. A Hawaiin pool party? complete with trade winds? That's the hostess's doing not necessarily yours.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 1:47am
post #14 of 26

It's a tropical convection oven.

BlakesCakes Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 3:28am
post #15 of 26

Well, you can over-dowel a cake.

Too many dowels, even hollow cylinders like bubble tea straws that don't displace cake, create a swiss cheese effect and destroy the integrity of the cake.

Any support that isn't level is a problem. Once a lean is established, it can only get worse, especially in warm & humid weather.

Like Debi, I place a board every 4" vertical inches of cake and I use 1 bubble tea straw for approx. every 2 inches of the pan size (i.e. 5 in a 10" round).

Perhaps a certificate for a free cake or % off a cake or some cupcakes would be in order.

HTH
Rae

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 3:30am
post #16 of 26

Thanks everyone!
A little update: She told me that her guests didn't like the cake, that it tasted "rotten". It was a scratch recipe strawberry cake with pureed strawberries in the batter. I tasted the cake scraps, my family tasted the cake scraps, there was nothing "rotten" about that cake. This is my first time dealing with a bad situation, so I'm a little upset about this whole thing. Especially since I spent so much time on it.
I think I'm just going to give her a refund. Should I offer a full refund or partial? I purchased a figurine set for the cake(It was a half and half cake...one side was Toy Story, the other side was Strawberry Shortcake).

mbark Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 3:45am
post #17 of 26

what kind of icing did you use? a cake I made with real butter buttercream that sat outside in the heat & some sun ended up having a rotten taste as the icing went rancid. maybe that was the "rotten" taste?

cakegirl1973 Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 4:23am
post #18 of 26

Could this whole situation be buyer's remorse? Did you see pictures of the cake after it had the problem? It seems a little fishy to me that the cake tasted "rotten" too. (I promise that I am not a jaded person!) Just seems a little fishy.

It's hard to suggest how much to refund without seeing a picture.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 4:29am
post #19 of 26

Take a deep breath and think first.

How hot was it. Was it in the sun. What was the weather like? How long was it out there? This is all very significant to determine before you go refunding.

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 6:21pm
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbark

what kind of icing did you use? a cake I made with real butter buttercream that sat outside in the heat & some sun ended up having a rotten taste as the icing went rancid. maybe that was the "rotten" taste?




I used the IndyDebi Crisco based recipe, so no butter was included.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl383

Could this whole situation be buyer's remorse? Did you see pictures of the cake after it had the problem? It seems a little fishy to me that the cake tasted "rotten" too. (I promise that I am not a jaded person!) Just seems a little fishy.

It's hard to suggest how much to refund without seeing a picture.




I asked her to send pics of the cake, I haven't received any yet. The way she worded it was that it was the GUESTS who thought the cake was "rotten", she didn't say what SHE thought of the cake.


Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis

Take a deep breath and think first.

How hot was it. Was it in the sun. What was the weather like? How long was it out there? This is all very significant to determine before you go refunding.




It was a pretty humid day, as it had been raining nonstop this past week. When I dropped the cake off, it wasn't directly in the sun, it was under a shaded area. I'm not sure how long the party lasted, but it was at a pool.

BluntlySpeakingKarma Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 7:04pm
post #21 of 26

If one thing is wrong with the right (meaning wrong) type of person, then everything will be wrong with the cake. Some people think that they need as much ammo as possible to overwhelm, silense, beat down, and ultimately defeat you. And after that's done, you will do anything to keep them happy (meaning, shut them up). Not saying that's the case here, but it's not at all NOT a possibility.

cownsj Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 7:32pm
post #22 of 26

I would wait for her to send you photos of the cake. In this day and age of digital camera's, it's not like she has to wait weeks to get photos back. I'd do this mainly as a test since she is now finding other fault with the cake as well. Also, being that it was a pool party, people were playing and staying cool so there wasn't as much "need" to get to the cake as it would be if this wasn't the situation. If she comes back again, I'd just let her know that you "need" to see the photos of the cake first, and that you aren't forgetting her other concerns, just you need those first and "of course" you will work with her on this. At this point, I would just want some proof that what she is saying can be shown. Next thing I'm expecting to hear from her is how there was a hand left in the cake, but she just tossed that out. icon_wink.gif She does need to realize she does have to use her own judgement to know that a cake cannot stay out in the heat and humidity (even if it is under cover, out of direct sunlight), and expect it to be perfect forever.

aswartzw Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 8:10pm
post #23 of 26

The only thing I have to add is you put way too many cakeboards in that cake.

For a 2 tier cake, you should only have had 2 cakeboards and more than likely only needed 3-4 dowels.

Every cake I do each tier is 2 layers of cake, torted yielding 4 layers of cake, 3 layers of BC, completely iced and equivalent to 4.5-5" tall. Not a single cakeboard is ever in the middle of any of that cake b/c that is a cake layer.

Next time, remove those extra and unnecessary cake boards and then you won't need all kinds of unnecessary dowels.

pixiefuncakes Posted 13 Dec 2010 , 8:35pm
post #24 of 26

I guess you just need to think about goodwill and your reputation. Taste is a funny thing,, two people who have everything else in common can taste the same food - one loves it, one hates it.
Did you give her what she requested? Has she shown you proof of problems? What is your normal policy and was she aware of it?
Try not to be emotional about it (hard I know), you said you were already stressed about this cake, so take a deep breath and put your business lady hat on and look at it with fresh eyes.
All the best with it.

flourgirlz Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 2:51pm
post #25 of 26

As far as too many cake boards, my understanding is each tier was actually 2 cakes, so 8 layers of cake and 7 layers filling. Is this what you meant?

cai0311 Posted 15 Dec 2010 , 5:18pm
post #26 of 26

I took the OP to mean the cake tiers were double tiers, so each tier was 8" tall. That is why she used 4 cake circle boards.

If I am correct my understanding, I would say the leaning was the design of the cake. I have done the really high tiers before and they are tough to line up and smooth perfect over 8". I think any lean is very noticable when dealing with really tall tiers.

If I did not understand the double tier thing, then ignore my post. thumbs_up.gif

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