karateka Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 6:54pm
post #1 of

Got this email today: Hi Stacie,

I just wanted to let you know that the cake was very cute however the bottom layer ended up caving in on itself before the shower. Very disappointed.

Thanks,

XXXX customer


I responded by saying how upset I was that she was disappointed and asked for more details.

This woman was referred by someone my DH works with. She was quite a mess during ordering, emailing me every day and being quite obsessive. I thought it was a bit weird, but she was a customer and I treated her kindly. She said she was getting flack from family for ordering a cake for such a special occasion without sampling my product, so she asked to buy a small cake in the flavor she wanted. I made her a 6 inch round vanilla cake with strawberry filling for $20. She liked it and placed the order. It was for a 2 tier cake, blue, green and white, for a baby shower. It was a 6 inch tier and an 8 in tier, and she paid $104. I'm going to try to attatch a picture.

I uses SPS for the support, carefully measured the height of the cake so the pillars wouldn't be too short, and it came out perfectly. The cake was finished Friday afternoon and she picked it up Saturday morning at 10:30, and it sat there fine the whole evening and night without any caving.

I don't yet know if she has a picture of it.

Not sure what I'm going to do, and I basically wanted to share with someone who would understand.

edited to add link to photo, since it just won't attatch for whatever reason!
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2132974

86 replies
bakingatthebeach Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 7:06pm
post #2 of

The supports shouldnt have caused it to cave in. Im wondering if there was too much filling and the cake cracked? Just guessing. I make a strawberry torte using fresh strawberries and whipped cream and if I get too much filling Ive had it do that.

cambo Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 7:08pm
post #3 of

Ok...I'm a little "skeptical" of her email. I hate to accuse someone of being dishonest, but really? An 8" cake collapsed with only a 6" round on top....AND you used SPS. Sorry, I'm not buyin it. I would wait for pictures from her if she has them. What about delivery? Did she pick it up or did you deliver?

Edited: I see that she picked it up. I bet that's the culprit.

yummy_in_my_tummy Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 7:16pm
post #4 of

I agree. When I read that you used SPS on an 8" and 6" and it still "collapsed", something sounds fishy. Do you have something in your contract that states the client is completely responsible for the cake if they choose to pick it up?

BlakesCakes Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 7:22pm
post #5 of

Smells like buyer's remorse to me.....and/or bad driving when transporting the cake icon_cool.gif

Bet she got some flak about paying so much for a cake and is trying to recoup some of her investment.

No refund.

Rae

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 7:26pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

Smells like buyer's remorse to me.....and/or bad driving when transporting the cake icon_cool.gif

Bet she got some flak about paying so much for a cake and is trying to recoup some of her investment.

No refund.

Rae




I completely agree with this statement!!!

karateka Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 7:27pm
post #7 of

I do have something in my contract that says they are responsible if they pick up.

I don't think I had too much filling, at least no more than I generally put in there and I've never had one collapse before. I torte and fill with 3 layers of filling, but each layer of filling is not that thick because I'm not serving a plate of filling! (actually I did have a cake collapse once....but I damaged the cake itself, so there was no support for the filling, and it collapsed while I was trying to ice it, and I had to remake it. I'm just having trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that it was stable while I was messing with it, for an afternoon and overnight after, but collapsed during the time she had it. I'm not saying I'm blameless....just skeptical)

My DH just told me that the cake was in the daughter's lap in the front seat of the van when it left here. I was in karate class and he was the one to have her sign for it and get it in the car.

I still haven't heard back from her.

AnnieCahill Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 7:31pm
post #8 of

Definitely buyer's remorse. I would see if she has any pictures. I have stacked some HEAVY cakes using SPS and never had a "cave in." As a matter of fact, I have never had cakes cave in using dowels either. That is very bizarre.

BlakesCakes Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 7:33pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka


My DH just told me that the cake was in the daughter's lap in the front seat of the van when it left here.




Yup. Mystery solved.

Damaged as a result of improper transport.

No refund.

Rae

LKing12 Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 7:57pm

Oh, my, holding a cake in transport is like holding a baby. Not gonna have a happy ending.
Sorry, you crushed your cake. Not my fault.

kakeladi Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 8:17pm

.....was quite a mess during ordering, emailing me every day and being quite obsessive. I thought it was a bit weird,.....use SPS for the support, ....cake was finished Friday afternoon and she picked it up Saturday morning at 10:30, and it sat there fine the whole evening and night without any caving......
cambo said: ......"skeptical" of her email. I hate to accuse someone of being dishonest, but really? An 8" cake collapsed with only a 6" round on top....AND you used SPS. Sorry, I'm not buyin it.........

I so agree w/everyone else......especially cambo. I bet they made a 1/2 dzn stops and left the cake in the car before they got home icon_sad.gif The average person has NO clue as to the proper transporting of a cake - especially a tiered one. But the use of SPS should have solved that problem. The definately smells of buyers remorse.

karateka Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 9:00pm

Just thought of something: forgot to tell myhusband to tell her to put on flat surface for transport instead of someone's lap. Does that mean I owe her a refund?

southerncross Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 9:22pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cambo

Ok...I'm a little "skeptical" of her email. I hate to accuse someone of being dishonest, but really? An 8" cake collapsed with only a 6" round on top....AND you used SPS. Sorry, I'm not buyin it. I would wait for pictures from her if she has them. What about delivery? Did she pick it up or did you deliver?

Edited: I see that she picked it up. I bet that's the culprit.




I agree. I wouldn't say she was lying but I do think she is in an altered reality. it just aint gonna happen that way with a 8" and SPS. Brace yourself for the inevitable request for a refund. and I hope you hold strong. If it was delivered in good condition then it's "tag, you're it"

LKing12 Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 10:07pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka

Just thought of something: forgot to tell myhusband to tell her to put on flat surface for transport instead of someone's lap. Does that mean I owe her a refund?



So, you are going to pay her back for being stupid? Come on, she should have known better. She is not admitting to any problem on her part. Evidently she wants you to take the blame...don't do it.

karateka Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 10:53pm

ok, I got this email back: Thanks for responding XXXX(my name). The cake was so darn cute when I picked it up. I left your house and drove to my mom's took it in and the bottom was all caved in in the center. I'm not sure when or how it happened. I attached a picture.

Thanks,

XXXX customer

I'm going to try to post the pictures she sent. If you notice on the one picture, the top tier has a big white fondant circle with a fish in the middle of it. NONE of those were on the top tier. ALL of those (there were 4) were placed on the bottom tier. How did the bottom tier collapse and that thing hop it way up to the top?

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2133355
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2133353

What should I do?

edited to correct spelling and to add this:

I should add that the cake was on a 12 inch drum and in a 12 inch box. So it couldn't slide around in there. Also, if you look closely through the cake, the supports are still upright, so it couldn't be that they fell.....

I don't believe in accusing the customer in all events, and am usually the first person to point a finger at myself...but it looks to me like it was dropped. Look at the angle on the top tier....it looks like it hit the box to me.

I don't know why customers would take a picture of a cake that they ruined, but I'm having difficulty blaming myself here. It just doesn't look (to me) like I did something wrong. If you think I'm cracked, let me know.

cats242 Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:07pm

Looks like it was broken in the car...you can tell the cake drum is curved up on the sides they probably didn't support it from underneath when carrying either.

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:10pm

Based on the pictures I would say that somebody squished the cake. This is in NO way your fault and you DO NOT owe her a refund.

I would email her back:

Dear Client,
I am truly disappointed to see what happened to the cake. I can only say that the cake was constructed and supported properly and was in perfect condition when you picked it up. It appears that something happened either during the transportation of the cake or that it was not stored properly. As per our contract/release form (insert proper phrase) I cannot be held responsible for the cake once it leaves my kitchen.

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:13pm

I want to add that I had something like this happen to me and I no longer allow pick-ups for tiered cakes. Never. Ever. They have to pay for delivery.

karateka Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:16pm

I'd like to mention that the cake obviously slid, too. In the one picture you can see it's not centered, and it was when it left (on the board itself, I mean. And yes, it was buttercreamed to the board.)

xoxoemilyrae Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:29pm

To me, that was not a collapse. The supports are still upright and the cake didn't cave in. It caved "out" if that makes sense. I would venture to say she dropped it. If the cake was going to cave in it would have done it way before this. And if it caved in, the octopus guy isn't going to have icing pushed up all over his tenicles. That octopus has been pushed down into the cake. That is without a doubt.

I don't even know what to tell you to say. Has she asked for a refund? I really don't think I'd give her one. Maybe say "as my policy states, I cease all responsibility for the cake when the customer picks it up. The cake was fine all "yesterday," through the night, and "this" morning. I don't want to accuse you of anything, but from these pictures I can see that my supports are still upright and standing. This being the case, a cave in is highly unlikely. It is possible that the cake was not properly handled and secured during your drive. I'm sorry you're disappointed, but I'm afraid I cannot offer you a refund."

If she hasn't asked for a refund though. I don't know what to say. But either way, I wouldn't offer or give one. You have to stick to your contract.

Melvira Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:29pm

Holy Schnikes!! I am completely gob-smacked that the customer would send you this pic and try to say there was something wrong with your construction. As others have mentioned, if you used SPS a cake of that size (6" 8") would practically live through an earthquake. I'm afraid that those pics look like someone dropped it, or slammed on the brakes to avoid an accident and caused one in the front seat! You are NOT responsible for that.

I would send her a very carefully worded reply in NO way accusing her of anything, but explaining to her that the support system you used in the cake (feel free to actually tell her SPS and even link to information about how sturdy it is) would make it such that the only way this damage could have occured is if the cake had been dropped or smacked into. I would also perhaps mention that those white circles were on the bottom tier of the cake and there is no explicable reason that they could've moved to the top tier without... let's call it... human interaction?

I would remain sympathetic, while assuring her that you are a professional and stand behind your work 110%, but this is simply not an issue of improper construction. I would MAYBE offer a small gesture of good faith like a $10 coupon toward her next order of $50 or more, but I would certainly not refund her money.

Unfortunately this is a he-said she-said type of situation, and you will never know the truth about what happened, but don't start doubting yourself or your abilities. I've seen your work, and you are a dedicated pro. And come on... SPS... that speaks for itself. Be gentle but firm with this customer and don't be bullied. If you lose her business, what's the saying... "Shit Happens". All of your other positive work and satisfied customers will speak volumes. Chances are good that the people she would complain to about this already know what she's like.

xoxoemilyrae Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:32pm

Ok. Just noticed the uncentered cake in the pictures she sent you. The customer obviously dropped it. No refund. No good faith offer. You don't want her as a customer if she's willing to lie about her own mistake anyways.

kelleym Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:36pm

And you can see the SPS in there, rock solid, doing its job. The poor cake looks like it was held at an angle for quite some time (riding on a lap in the car). Then when they opened the box and found its backside smooshed all over the box, they tried to push it back to the center of the board, damaging it further.

Melvira is spot on with her advice - you basically have to write her back an email telling her how sorry you are that she destroyed the cake, without coming out and saying so. icon_biggrin.gif

By the way, extremely cute cake, I feel sorry for all parties involved that it met this fate.

AnnieCahill Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:45pm

First of all, that is an adorable cake. I'm sorry it was mistreated. After looking at the pictures it is obvious that the cake damage was not caused by the support. Like I said previously, I have NEVER had a cake fail using SPS.

With that being said, I also agree that the cake was either dropped or picked up incorrectly (maybe when the cake was removed off the lap from the person in the car). if you look at the second picture you can clearly see grease stains on the edge of the board on the left. To me that says the cake was either half off or completely off the board at some point. I'm sorry, unless the buttercream had superglue in it, there is no way that cake could survive a drop or an extreme shift in the angle of the board.

I hope you can resolve this soon.

cakestyles Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:16am

I think the misplaced fondant circle on the top tier was put there after their mishap to try and cover up as much damage as they could before the shower began.

I don't think the cake slid on the board because if you look at your first photo of the undamaged cake there does appear to be a bit more space in the front of the cake compared to the two sides.
And in the "after" photos the one showing the front of the cake....the border on the bottom of the bottom tier is still in perfect condition and there are no grease marks in front of that tier. If the tier had slid on the board there would be either grease marks or blue butter cream stains where it had been.
So you secured the cake just fine to the cake board, it didn't shift or move, there's no evidence of that when comparing all 3 photos.

The SPS is still in tact and standing as is evident by the first photo from the client, therefore it wasn't a support issue.

It simply looks like the box was tilted and the back of the cake was damaged when it made contact with the box.

While it sucks for the client, this clearly wasn't your fault.

Somehow construct an e-mail delicately explaining that the support system did not fail since her photos show it still in tact, therefore it wasn't a construction error on your part.

Sorry you have to deal with this headache after making such a cute cake.

afreCake Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:28am

This does not llok like the structure if the cake was incorrect. It clearly appears that this cake was dropped. No refund due!

SwtCanuck Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:39am

My hubby even said the cake looked like it had been dropped. Sorry you have to deal with this customer!

theonlynameleft Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:42am

So if the bottom tier collapsed as she said, but still is holding up the top tier, then how does she explain the big scunge thats been made in the top tiers that they have tried to hide by shifting one of your fondant accents onto?

step0nmi Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:43am

you are going to have to kindly state to her that the structures were not the problem and you can tell by the photos that damage during transportation was the problem. icon_sad.gif so sorry they didn't think that a stacked cake would have to be held by someone stronger than a child!! icon_rolleyes.gif not your problem! if she didn't read the release that's not your fault either. the communication was in what she signed and you can not count on verbal communication for every delivery...she may not even have heard him if he said it...written word always holds up in court. icon_wink.gif

bakerylady Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:44am

she picked the cake up in great shape and SHE delivered it herself and it arrived like the picture--HER PROBLEM!!!

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