Had To Refund Money Because Cake Disaster Struck Overnight

Decorating By TheSweetestThingCS Updated 17 Oct 2011 , 11:31pm by zukie1977

TheSweetestThingCS Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 3:07pm
post #1 of 20

so first, this lady has been teling me she was going to pay the cake for almost a month now. had many days where she would say "lets meet up around 5, ill call you when im near by" and never called back. she had me on standby about 5 times like that til i gave up and got in my pjs again knowing she wasnt going to come by. i told her i was getting concerned that she wasnt going to pay and i wouldnt start cake until she did. with other people i would have given her the opportunity to pay the day of but since she had failed me so many times i was scared of making the damned cake then she tell me that she cant afford it or whatever. BUT. she paid the day before the event around 5 (she said she was coming at 2) so i had to start baking at 5... i baked and decorated til around 6am. wasnt done with the cake but did most of it before bed and would do finishing touches in the morning. as i wake up to make my son his milk i notice the cake is off to the side.... i put wooden dowels on the cake but when i removed the last tier to see what happend the dowels shifted and made the cake droop on one side. party starts in 3 hours... i dont have time to start over or even fix it for that matter. ive never had a disaster this big... so i called the lady right away explaining what happened. she seemed understanding. she came by to pick up her money. she kept insisting that it was her fault because she made me wait so long. i dont know what to think anymore and i honestly want to quit and stick to making cake toppers. cake making is fun but lately it has been nothing but a pain in my ass. i need a hug but my son is sleeping and my husband is working. ='(
did i mess up? what would you have done??

19 replies
DSmo Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 3:28pm
post #2 of 20

I would have told her "At this late date I can no longer do your cake. But I can whip up a couple dozen plain cupcakes."

QTCakes1 Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 3:37pm
post #3 of 20
Originally Posted by DSmo

I would have told her "At this late date I can no longer do your cake. But I can whip up a couple dozen plain cupcakes."

Ditto and if even the cupcakes. Rushing last minute work is asking for a fail. Consider it a lesson learned and next time, make sure you get your money in a timely manner, so your not in the same position, having to rush.

JenniferMI Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 3:40pm
post #4 of 20

(((hugs))) Personally, I would have not done the cake, but you did and what you need to figure out is why it happened. Did you put enough support in? Was the cake leaning on a not level surface? Either of these could cause problems.

Jennifer icon_smile.gif

TheSweetestThingCS Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 3:58pm
post #5 of 20

oh, lesson learned alright. 1. am i never taking a large last minute cake and 2. im NEVER working with that lady again. shes a "promoter" but i think she has no idea what she is doing. also when she was here i caught her on the phone with a client and she was screaming at her/him! very unprofessional. but yeah, i shouldn't have taken that order.

about structure. i guess i was too tired and dint do it right, i had 4 dowels in like i always do. i dont know what happened but this order just wasnt meant to be. =/

thanks for the hug jennifer! *hug*

keriofcakes Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 4:06pm
post #6 of 20

**HUGS** I'm so sorry to hear that! I think I've told my husband a dozen times that I'm done, lol. But his suggestion was to be more selective with who you decide to make cakes for...i.e. set the price to where it's worth your while, but not everyone will ask you to make a cake. Or you could take a break and just bake for fun (or family) to work on/improve skills.

Hope you feel better soon!!

FullHouse Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 4:56pm
post #7 of 20

Sorry that happened to you. I'm sure it was because you were exhausted when you were making the cake. My work certainly isn't at its best when I'm tired & annoyed. Please don't quit, you make really beautiful cakes. One tip, if you are using dowels, use a level to make sure they are all exactly the same height (though my guess would be that they just went in crooked because you were too tired). Just don't take any last minute orders and you will be fine. Also, I prefer poly-dowels or SPS to wooden dowels unless the tiers are very small.

LisaPeps Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 5:19pm
post #8 of 20

Next time they come by at 5pm the day before the event, think to yourself that their emergency and lack of planning is not your emergency and shouldn't affect your planning of the next couple of days. Did you charge her labour for working unsociable hours? Whenever I work night shifts at my real job I get paid more than when I work day shifts, why shouldn't that apply to you too?

Next time your reply is, I apologise but at such short notice I am unable to make the cake for your event. Simple. You are not obligated to explain further.

BGchef Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 6:22pm
post #9 of 20

I had a veryy similar incident this summer and I know exactly what your feeling.. It made me pack everything away and quit doing cakes for about 4 months.. I wouldn't even open cakecentral (gasp!) because I didn't want to think about cakes at ALL. My husband said the same as a lot of yours -- that I shouldn't quit because of a few mishaps and bad customers. It's all part of the learning experience, and this may have saved you from a bigger disaster in the future. eventually I missed it so much that I totally regretted quitting and I am starting fresh, with a new and more confident attitude. If someone can't afford my cakes, they don't have to buy it. I'm sick of ppl making me feel like I'm too expensive just because I'm a home baker. A customized cake is obviously an indulgence, otherwise you can get your cake from jewel or Costco. And as far as customers not taking your time and schedule into consideration -- again, not worth it. If your doing something you love, don't let others turn it into a pain in the a**.. Just lean to politely say "no", that is what all professionals do. Some customers seriously act like they are doing you a favor by ordering from you..ugh!!!

BGchef Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 6:23pm
post #10 of 20

Oh and a great big hug from me too! I soo needed a hug when it happened to me, I was so sad and torn.. Hang in there and please don't quit! It's not fair to you at all

SweetcakesCT Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 7:11pm
post #11 of 20

So sorry this happened to you. But, if we didn't have a few mishaps along the way, we wouldn't learn, nor appreciate our successes. Chin up! It would be a shame to let your talent go to waste!

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 7:13pm
post #12 of 20

So sorry that happened to you, I know that must have been hard! I don't have anything to add about the structure, but like others said, it was probably just because you were tired.

Your customer sounds JUST like one we had a while ago! She kept saying she would call the next day and we could meet somewhere to get the money, but something always kept her from it! This happened multiple times. We FINALLY got the money the day before, but after that one and the stressed it caused, NEVER AGAIN!!! So I know just how you feel!

cakegrandma Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 7:17pm
post #13 of 20

I'm so sorry you had to go through this and hopefully in the future you will have due dates on any monies due you. I think it is very important to stick to these dates as they will avoid situations like this. Take a deep breath and realize this was a learning experience, an unfortunate one but, a learning experience never the less. Stay with the cakes.

sugarlover Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 7:30pm
post #14 of 20

Hi, sorry to hear about that but you might want to start using the SPS system. Which Leah S. swears by and other cakers too. It will eliminate the movement of the cake. Don't quit it has happen to all of us.

TheSweetestThingCS Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 8:01pm
post #15 of 20

hey guys! thanks so much for your support!! i took a much needed nap (accidentally actually) and read all your comments. thanks so much you guys! it was definitely a learning experience and never ever again will EVER make that mistake... AGAIN!
about structure i truly think it was that. i placed them in as i always do but my eyes saw them going in straight when one might have been going in crooked. =/

im not blaming entirely that lady, some people just suck at this stuff, but i know for multiple tiers to give me several time =/ ugh! what a bad one!

but thanks you guys! made me feel a little better coming from other bakers. i will try the SPS next time for sure! thanks again everyone!! *hugs back to you all*

p.s. sorry for the cuss word in my original post. just realized =( rage typing... lol

JenniferMI Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 11:36pm
post #16 of 20

I use dowels, foil covered so the wood doesn't touch my moist cake. Anyway, I would never put four dowels in a layer, never. In my opinion, they should be placed about every three inches. I use 3/16" for the larger layers and 1/4" for the smaller. Not sure if that was your problem or not....but I think 4 is an accident waiting to happen.

Jen icon_smile.gif

Bridgette1129 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 12:09am
post #17 of 20
Originally Posted by JenniferMI

I use dowels, foil covered so the wood doesn't touch my moist cake. Anyway, I would never put four dowels in a layer, never. In my opinion, they should be placed about every three inches. I use 3/16" for the larger layers and 1/4" for the smaller. Not sure if that was your problem or not....but I think 4 is an accident waiting to happen.

Jen icon_smile.gif

Are you saying you would never put 4 as in that's too many or too few?

I have only seen people put them in a square shaped pattern. What do you mean by placed every 3 inches? Thanks!

JenniferMI Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 11:49am
post #18 of 20

Four is not nearly enough in my opinion. If, for example, I'm doing a 14" cake.... I would place them approx. 3" apart in a circle and then put three in the very center of that circle. Good support is critical. Don't place them too close to the edge of the cake either. If I had to guess, mine are in from the edge about 2.5 to 3".

If you put four total in a 14"..... not good. That is just my opinion though. I have never had a cake fall over in the hundreds of weddings I've done in 36 years of decorating.

Jennifer icon_smile.gif

Karen421 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 11:12pm
post #19 of 20

If you are unsure about how many to use, you can always use the SPS system. Then you won't have a problem. icon_smile.gif

zukie1977 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 11:31pm
post #20 of 20

i know how you might have felt not wanting to knock the business back. Its just one of those things and been there, sitting up to 6am etc etc. Its alot of hard work too and dont think folk really know that. chin up ;o) xx

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