Frozen Cake Vent

Decorating By playingwithsugar Updated 27 Sep 2011 , 10:37pm by playingwithsugar

playingwithsugar Posted 26 Sep 2011 , 8:25pm
post #1 of 20

We held my sister's 50th birthday party three weeks ago. The nieces and nephews knew my health is currently not such that I would have been able to do a cake for 100 people, so they ordered her B-Cake from a local independent bakery. They paid $350 for this cake.

They asked me to assist in cutting the cake, because they couldn't get the dowels out. When I worked on it, I found that the entire center of all three tiers of cake were frozen. The only soft parts were the frosting and the first inch from the side and top.

As most of you know, I am a stickler for using food-grade tools, etc. If I use fabric ribbon, I iron waxed paper to the back to keep it from hitting the cake. This cake was all buttercream with fabric ribbon, no backing. The color from the ribbon bled onto the frosting.

The buttercream dots all had peaks on them, and the base frosting was poorly done - you could see huge streaks on it.

A partial refund was requested, but they refused. I am going to post a review on Angie's List in the near future.

This bakery has been around for over 30 years - I would think that they would be of better quality and food safety than they were. It's time to pass the torch so we don't have to go through this again.

Thanks for letting me vent -

Theresa icon_smile.gif

19 replies
cakestyles Posted 26 Sep 2011 , 8:54pm
post #2 of 20

Wow that's unbelievable. If the center was still frozen I bet they freeze the entire tiers after they're decorated and then just pull them out when they're ready to deliver.


When we first moved to this town I live in now my kids were in HS and I used to take one of my daughter's classmates home from basketball practice every day because her parents worked.

Little did I know that this girl's parents owned "the" bakery in my area, the one with the great reputation.

On Christmas Eve, to show their appreciation for helping them out with rides the husband dropped off 2 cakes for us. One a strawberry shortcake and the other a chocolate cake. I didn't tell them that I had a home based cake business and they didn't know at this point because I lived here for less than 6 months.

Well I accepted graciously and decided I'd serve them at my family gathering that night.

When we tried to cut them a couple of hours later they were both frozen in the middle, just like you're describing. I couldn't believe it.

I especially couldn't believe that the strawberry shortcake that was made with whipped cream and big whole berries had been frozen.

It completely changed my opinion of this bakery.

At least my cakes were a gift, and I appreciated the gesture I really did.

But in your case your family paid a decent amount of money for a frozen cake.

It's one thing to freeze their cakes properly but to not defrost them before delivering them is just unforgiveable.

I hope you're feeling better!

playingwithsugar Posted 26 Sep 2011 , 9:05pm
post #3 of 20

Yes, I'm better about it now. My first clue was that the dowels wouldn't come out, no matter how hard we pulled on them.

Yes, I am sure they made the cake on Monday or Tuesday, frosted on Wednesday, then delivered on Sunday.

Needless to say, we will never use them again, for any reason. I'd go to a chain supermarket, first. At least they thaw their cakes before they sell them.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

cakestyles Posted 26 Sep 2011 , 11:37pm
post #4 of 20

Theresa when I wrote "I hope you're feeling better now", I was referring to your post that your "health wasn't such that you could make the cake".

Not about the frozen cake. I was sorry to hear you weren't feeling well. icon_wink.gif

LoverOfSweets Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 7:00am
post #5 of 20

I would not be pleased. I have a full time job that I love and bake as a hobby (I am legal). I tell all my customers that I only take so many orders because I do not believe in freezing their cakes, and given my work situation there is only so much time in a night/week. I tell all my customers that my cakes will not be frozen prior to delivery. I tell them that if they want to freeze it, that is one thing; but I am not going to freeze it first. Does it really make a difference? Probably not, but it does in my head. I guess I am funny that way. If people are paying me for a cake than I don't think it is too much to ask that it be fresh. After all, that is why I charge more than our local bakery! icon_smile.gif

leah_s Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 1:02pm
post #6 of 20

There's an "uppity" custom bakery in my town that loudly advertises that she never freezes her cakes. However, I was at an event where her cake was served and my piece was definitely still frozen in the middle. I asked a couple of other people in my party if theirs was also frozen and the answer was "yes."

olleharr Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 1:44pm
post #7 of 20

I wouldn't be worried so much by the freezing but that fabric dye seeping into the icing is a little scary.

carmijok Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 1:46pm
post #8 of 20

Let's get a realistic scenario...first of all a busy bakery that has a limited number of employees has 30 cake orders for the week...most of which are due on Friday and Saturday. Hmmmm. What to do, what to do...I know! Let's wait to bake and decorate all 30 cakes on Friday! Yeah, that's realisitc! We certainly don't want to use the 'f' word now do we?

Come on people, you all sound like freezing cakes is some baking sin when in fact it actually improves cake texture! I worked at a bakery that (like the scenario I described above) 'gasp!' froze their cakes. They'd bake on Tuesday and decorate and distribute mostly on Fridays and Saturdays!

I freeze my cakes the second they are cooled out of the oven. I actually fill and frost while they're still frozen! I use real butter in my buttercream so they stay in the fridge and thaw slowly. I deliver a cold cake an hour before an event so that it has time to come to room temp slowly since most cakes sit out for hours before they're consumed. And guess what? They taste fresh and delicious. Why I even prepared a cake for my family a week ago that was a left-over in my freezer from an order a month earlier and everyone had thought I'd baked it that day.

Freezing is your friend. It preserves freshness! Even if you bake the same day there is no guarantee your cake isn't going to be dry so get your noses out of the air and realize that you probably have eaten a lot of cakes that you thought were baked the same day when in reality they'd been frozen earlier. And there is nothing 'wrong' or deceitful in that.

olleharr Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 2:02pm
post #9 of 20

I agree carmijok. I freeze mine just about every time too. Usually just for one night but it makes the carving and filling so much easier the next day. I have had rave reviews on how moist my cakes are. I've never tried freezing with the buttercream on though. Maybe I'll give it a shot. Personally, I love eating a frozen cake ever since I was a kid and you could by those frozen ice cream cake rolls at the grocery store. Yumm! ;^)

carmijok Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 2:13pm
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by olleharr

I agree carmijok. I freeze mine just about every time too. Usually just for one night but it makes the carving and filling so much easier the next day. I have had rave reviews on how moist my cakes are. I've never tried freezing with the buttercream on though. Maybe I'll give it a shot. Personally, I love eating a frozen cake ever since I was a kid and you could by those frozen ice cream cake rolls at the grocery store. Yumm! ;^)




Oh...I don't freeze with the buttercream on. I frost the cake frozen, but once it's coated, it just goes in the refrigerator side to keep the buttercream cold.

cookiemom51 Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 2:14pm
post #11 of 20

OF COURSE freezing cakes is a great option, but I think we can all agree they should not be served still frozen unless they are filled with delicious ice cream icon_smile.gif

korean Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 2:16pm
post #12 of 20

whether or not the cake if frozen really isn't a issue with me. There are some recipes that I bake that do better when frozen and others that I would not. It real problem I have is that the cake was still frozen when the customer went to eat the product. That is just poor customer service. That should be thawed and ready to serve for the paying customer.

leah_s Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 2:42pm
post #13 of 20

Oh, I freeze all my cakes. But I don't lie about it.

gatorcake Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 2:48pm
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

Let's get a realistic scenario...first of all a busy bakery that has a limited number of employees has 30 cake orders for the week...most of which are due on Friday and Saturday. Hmmmm. What to do, what to do...I know! Let's wait to bake and decorate all 30 cakes on Friday! Yeah, that's realisitc! We certainly don't want to use the 'f' word now do we?

Come on people, you all sound like freezing cakes is some baking sin when in fact it actually improves cake texture! I worked at a bakery that (like the scenario I described above) 'gasp!' froze their cakes. They'd bake on Tuesday and decorate and distribute mostly on Fridays and Saturdays!

I freeze my cakes the second they are cooled out of the oven. I actually fill and frost while they're still frozen! I use real butter in my buttercream so they stay in the fridge and thaw slowly. I deliver a cold cake an hour before an event so that it has time to come to room temp slowly since most cakes sit out for hours before they're consumed. And guess what? They taste fresh and delicious. Why I even prepared a cake for my family a week ago that was a left-over in my freezer from an order a month earlier and everyone had thought I'd baked it that day.

Freezing is your friend. It preserves freshness! Even if you bake the same day there is no guarantee your cake isn't going to be dry so get your noses out of the air and realize that you probably have eaten a lot of cakes that you thought were baked the same day when in reality they'd been frozen earlier. And there is nothing 'wrong' or deceitful in that.




I am not sure anyone in this thread has taken issue with the practice of freezing, I certainly do not get that in the OP. What is being taken issue with is the fact that the cake was still frozen when it was cut.

As to it improving the texture of cake that is debatable. I have eaten my recipes baked without freezing and having frozen them and never thought wow the frozen one is better. While I could not detect a difference in most (not to say that others cannot) I have had ones where freezing adversely impacted the texture of the cake.

sberryp Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 3:16pm
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by olleharr

I wouldn't be worried so much by the freezing but that fabric dye seeping into the icing is a little scary.




I agree!

playingwithsugar Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 9:54pm
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakestyles

Theresa when I wrote "I hope you're feeling better now", I was referring to your post that your "health wasn't such that you could make the cake".

Not about the frozen cake. I was sorry to hear you weren't feeling well. icon_wink.gif




Sorry, I misread, and thanks for your concern. I sustained an injury to my hands and arms a couple of years ago. My advanced cake decorating skills to where my dexterity and grip strength has been diminishing as time goes on. I can no longer roll fondant by myself, and handling gumpaste tools or piping bags causes a lot of pain and stiffness.

That doesn't mean that I don't still have interest in the goings-on of my colleagues who still practice the trade, so I won't be disappearing from CC any time soon. I just won't be participating here nearly as much as I used to.

Olleharr - I ended up scraping the bottom edge of frosting off the cake, so nobody would get sick. Had I known that the ribbon came from American Ribbon, or some other US manufacturer, I may have been less apprehensive, but with all the quality problems the US has had with food safety of imported products over the past few years, I didn't want the kids taking the risk of someone getting sick.

Gatorcake - you are correct. My issue with the temperature of the cake is that it was still frozen throughout most of it when we went to cut it. I find this extremely unprofessional and inexcusable for a company that has been around for such a long time. In fact, it was so frozen that the dowels would not come out without extreme force.

When my niece got married in 2004, I had not taken any formal deco lessons yet, so she purchased her cake from another local, who is now out of business. This cake must have been baked and frozen long before the event, because the texture was like sand, and to me, that means freezer burn. So even though there are many here who freeze their cakes, it gives me comfort to know that they normally do not keep them in the freezer very long before they get used.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

cakestyles Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 10:01pm
post #17 of 20

Theresa I'm so sorry to hear about your injury...hopefully over time you'll get full use back so you can get back to making your beautiful cakes.

Best wishes!

playingwithsugar Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 10:03pm
post #18 of 20

Thank you, cakestyles! icon_biggrin.gif

Theresa icon_smile.gif

LoverOfSweets Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 10:30pm
post #19 of 20

I certainly never intended to be uppity. I know it is in my head, and freely stated so. It is not a full time business for me. If I ran a bakery or did this full time than sure I would freeze the cake. I don't know how you could stay in business if you didn't. That just isn't the situation I am in. I however would never say that I don't freeze my cakes and then freeze them. Out of a box, scratch, freeze, don't freeze...as long as you are honest, who cares? But biting into frozen cake? That would not please me.

playingwithsugar Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 10:37pm
post #20 of 20

Thank you for clarifying your position, LoverofSweets.

I have no problem with people freezing cakes, as long as they are wrapped and placed in the freezer shortly after baking, and not kept for a long period of time. That preserves moistness in the cake.

Because the dowels would not come out freely, it appears that this cake was baked and decorated early in the week, then put in the freezer for preservation, and taken out too late to properly thaw, or even mostly thaw, prior to delivery.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

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