This Is A Bad Sign, Right?

Business By karateka Updated 9 Dec 2011 , 10:41pm by Melvira

karateka Posted 5 Dec 2011 , 10:03pm
post #1 of 39

I got a call from the lady who picked up the tie dyed cake in my photos on Friday pm. She asked me to call her back.

This isn't good, is it?

38 replies
AZCouture Posted 5 Dec 2011 , 10:20pm
post #2 of 39

Well...I don't know how I should answer this. Did you do tie dyed BC because they didn't want fondant?

kakeladi Posted 5 Dec 2011 , 10:27pm
post #3 of 39

Oh, please do keep us informed as to what happens!

lilmissbakesalot Posted 5 Dec 2011 , 11:00pm
post #4 of 39

I hate this new format... I can't read the last 1" or so of text so I don't even know the problem to post.

Website FAIL!

karateka Posted 5 Dec 2011 , 11:15pm
post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Well...I don't know how I should answer this. Did you do tie dyed BC because they didn't want fondant?




yes. I guess that means you don't like it, either. icon_cry.gif


They said the cake was gorgeous but was so dry nobody could eat it. Which is strange because I tasted the dome like always and it was like always, fine.

I did refrigerate it because the bottom tier had cream cheese filling in it. She says she doesn't want her $$ back, but maybe I could make her a cake that's edible. I told her that I didn't have a problem with that except that I would be using the same recipe....I'm calling her back tomorrow.

What should I do?

AZCouture Posted 5 Dec 2011 , 11:18pm
post #6 of 39

No, I didn't mean it that way, but it's definitely not a medium I would have used. Fondant only for something like that. But they liked it, and that's all that matters.

I question whether they let it comeback to room temp first. Some of my cakes can give the illusion of being dry when they're cold, when in fact they are loaded with butter and definitely not dry.

CreativeCakesbyMichelle Posted 5 Dec 2011 , 11:24pm
post #7 of 39

I think the cake looks pretty cool. I much prefer the taste of buttercream to fondant so I would have done it in buttercream if possible too. As for the customer thinking it was dry maybe they are just not used to your style of cake and it's just a matter of individual taste/texture preferences. If you tasted the dome and it was fine the rest of the cake should have been fine too.

Annabakescakes Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 12:00am
post #8 of 39

I love the cake! I prefer that type of tie dye over fondant, definitely. I like airbrush on buttercream too. But never fondant, as far as I know I'd have loved to see it with the funky letter set, though I HATE using them!!! If you do another one, call me and I'll bring mine and cut them all out of fondant, as long as you supply the booze! thumbs_up.gif

Annabakescakes Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 12:06am
post #9 of 39

Oh, I'm betting the cake was either still cold, or too fresh. My birthday cake last year got better every single day up until day 6, when it was gone!

lilmissbakesalot Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 12:38am
post #10 of 39

Oh okay.. now I can derive what's going on.

I'd ask her if she let it come to room temp before serving it too. Scratch cakes are always a little dry on the mouth feel when they are cold. It's the butter being too solid.

The tie dye effect is a lot better than many many BC tie dye jobs I have seen. You did a great job.

karateka Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 2:05am
post #11 of 39

I took it out of the fridge about 1 hour before she came to pick it up (her relative picked it up, actually). I guess I figured that they wouldn't be serving it first thing at the party, so it would have plenty of time.

How would you handle this? I didn't tell the person picking it up to make sure it came to room temp first. I didn't think it would be necessary. So I'm not sure what I should do....

1: agree to make another cake? I'd be using the same recipe, so not sure how that helps.

2: just refund the money? Not sure I should have to....so she didn't like my style of cake. Am I entitled to a refund if I don't like a restaurant's interpretation of fettuccine alfredo?

3: aplogize for her negative experience, explain that's how all my cakes are, I'm sorry she doesn't like my baking, then wait for her to dispute the credit card charge and get her $$ back anyway?

She told me she didn't want me to lose sleep over this. Which I can't decide how to take...she may be sincere. I don't want bad press, but at the same time, I need that $$ to pay bills. Any help with wording would be much appreciated.

KoryAK Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 3:27am
post #12 of 39

I would make her a second (smaller!) cake and give her the instructions. Maybe a small discount off a future order too. I have a little sticker (just a self-printed address label type) that we put on every outgoing cake that says "Best taste at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers" just in case I forget to tell them or (more likely) they aren't paying attention when I say it.

Also, here's some generic wording:

Wow, I am shocked to hear that you did not enjoy the taste of your cake as much the look. All of our cakes are baked from scratch from our own special recipes and while the great majority of our clients love it, some are accustomed to more of a grocery store, box mix-style cake even most local bakeries use this type. Would it be possible for you to bring in the remaining portion so that I can see if there was actually an issue with the cake or if it is simply a matter of different tastes?

Melvira Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 3:40am
post #13 of 39

Ok, here is my take on the situation. You made a scratch baked cake and she is not used to that. I'm guessing this is the first time she ordered from you? If people are used to the texture and moistness of a box cake, a lot of times they aren't going to like scratch. (THAT IS NOT A SLAM ON SCRATCH!!!) As you already said, it makes ZERO sense to rebake her a cake with the same recipe. You are most likely going to get the same response. I've never thought the serving temp of the cake changed the moistness that much, but I'm the first to admit I don't know everything. (Gasp! Is that a nasty joke!? No, it's simply not possible!!) icon_lol.gif

Here is what I would suggest, take it at face value, ignore it if you wish. (But if you do I'll come to your house and ring your doorbell every 15 minutes until you explain in full detail why you ignore my advice. I'm not kidding. You know me... you know I'll do it!) Try baking her something else, almost like a tasting. Make it clear to her that you'd like to keep her as a valued customer and would like to make her a sample to see if it's more to her liking. You know, nothing all decked out and intricate, just something to see if she likes it better. Then, if she is satisfied with the new cake, you mark your little book that she likes *whatevva* and you make that for her in the future. Now, a lot of people will say, "M'eh, she just doesn't like your type of cake, let her move on." and I might've said that too if you hadn't pointed out how kind and polite she was. And how pleased she was with the look. This is the kind of customer you want to keep, and she will tell her friends how you went the extra mile to make her happy. You could take a mild complaint and turn it into a glowing recommendation! I'm not talking about handing out free cakes to everyone who walks in the door... just a little something for this person to let her know you are going to rise to her expectations and exceed them.

Again, not a big tiered gorgeous cake, just a little round baby, sweetly iced, basic border, so that she can try it. And the secret is, make it a doctored mix. I bet she'll be happy with it. FB me later if you get a chance, I have an idea for what to make her. Now, if making her a doctored mix cake it just beyond what you are willing to do, then offer a modest refund for her trouble, thank her kindly, and move on.

I've heard you turn on the charm girl... you had me at hello, I thought you were possibly the sweetest person I'd ever met. If you spread a little of that charm on her tomorrow, she will be batter in your hands. thumbs_up.gif

karateka Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 3:43am
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by KoryAK

I would make her a second (smaller!) cake and give her the instructions. Maybe a small discount off a future order too. I have a little sticker (just a self-printed address label type) that we put on every outgoing cake that says "Best taste at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers" just in case I forget to tell them or (more likely) they aren't paying attention when I say it.

Also, here's some generic wording:

Wow, I am shocked to hear that you did not enjoy the taste of your cake as much the look. All of our cakes are baked from scratch from our own special recipes and while the great majority of our clients love it, some are accustomed to more of a grocery store, box mix-style cake even most local bakeries use this type. Would it be possible for you to bring in the remaining portion so that I can see if there was actually an issue with the cake or if it is simply a matter of different tastes?




I actually did broach that subject of box vs scratch, whereupon she promptly told me Oh, no, she always goes to (can't remember exact phrasing here) bakeries, like she usu goes to "XXX bakery" but she wanted something closer to the venue.

I have heard of this bakery, got "brides choice" on wedding wire 2011. Website does not say they bake from scratch...has seasonal cake flavors and fillings, which implies it....don't know what to think.

I think she may have a piece that she says was stored airtight. But I take her word for this? Do I ask her if it was cold?

I'm sorry if I seem completely helpless...this has never happened to me before.

KoryAK Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 3:56am
post #15 of 39

Cake muggles think if they go to a *bakery* and pay (gasp) *money* for a product that it is completely scratch baked about two minutes before they walk in the door. And we all know how true that is icon_smile.gif. They also don't like to hear the truth about the place they "usually" go and may take it as an insult, so tread lightly there.

And the "Brides Choice" thing just means that she had good reviews in the past year. I got it too, and yes I promoted the heck out of it, but it's not really a special award.

No, you can't know for sure how the piece she will bring you was handled - but you as the professional should be able to tell if it's dry because it was uncovered for a day or dry because you forgot half the sugar or whatever. Every time (there's only been a few) I have had people bring cake back it's JUST FINE. You tell them this politely, spout something like the wording I put before, and then offer whatever compensation you've decided upon. It's probably not your fault, but a little love will go a long way. I had one girl a long time ago who didn't like our red velvet, insert response above, but I didn't offer compensation and she posted a review (9 months later) on every site on the web. Check em out, still there. I could have saved all that icon_sad.gif live and learn.

scp1127 Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 9:59am
post #16 of 39

I'm a total scratch baker and my cakes are moist even from the refrigerator. They have also never been compared to a box mix. Not knocking the mix, but the cake should be almost a separate dessert, like comparing cookies and tarts. A good scratch cake will not be a reflection against a box. Actually a box should never come to mind. When people taste my cakes, they don't compare. They say that they have never had anything like it. Many of my cakes need refrigeration and even after a few days, the cake is fine. I tightly cover the cut sides with plastic wrap and then cover the cake. As it gets older, sometimes taking a sliver off and then cutting is a good idea. But a scratch cake is only good for a few days. I tell clients three days optimum. That's why it is important to deliver it fresh.

If people are complaining, the recipe may need some work. I have recipes that almost ooze moisture and some that are weightless. But not one cake that is dry. Yes, they are better at room temp, but the OP did what I do. I know the exact time of serving so that it is the correct temp.

OP, if you normally get good reviews, I would look at the oven. Do you calibrate and use an independent thermometer every time? If you don't, you could get surprises. I never put one layer in without a glance at the thermometer. I learned the hard way on a new high-end oven I thought could do no wrong.

Bottom line on scratch, they should be fine slightly cool as well as room temp. It should be a pleasing experience. People are paying a premium price and should expect a premium, professional product. I don't send a recipe out the door unless it's the best I have ever eaten. That excuse that they are used to box is no excuse at all. All of my clients are used to box. In any industry or business, an owner should never have to make excuses for a product sold. If value does not meet price, there will be dissatisfaction. Think of your own purchases.

nanefy Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 12:32pm
post #17 of 39

OK, I think the most important thing I get from reading all responses on these types of threads is that the advice is always different and it depends on the posters experience. For example the post above has just stated that a scratch cake will only last three days..........sorry but that is NOT true. I had a couple order a massive cake, when they really only needed a small cake and I kid you not 6 weeks later they were still eating it and said it was still really moist and tasty. Now obviously, I would never recommend eating a cake 6 weeks later, but it just goes to show that different recipes perform differently. I also had someone order a cake and gave me the wrong date and could only pick it up 7 days after it was ready and she said it was amazing, it wasn't dry at all.
Depending on fridge temperature (some fridges are colder than others) a cake that comes straight out of the fridge can be quite firm and almost taste dry, because it's so cold.
No one can really comment on what could have went wrong, we can only guess - us bakers don't like it when someone complains about our products, because we put our heart and soul into them and hearing negative feedback can sting, but it doesn't mean that the customer is wrong - sometimes we have to take the knocks without letting it damage us. I'm not saying this is the case here, but I find it's best to avoid letting our feelings take over in these situations.

Anyway, that was just my 2 cents worth, I hope you get this resolved icon_smile.gif

scp1127 Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 1:44pm
post #18 of 39

A cake as it ages will not hold its flavor. It will deteriorate. Yes you can be Miss Havisham and leave it out for 25 years, but every scratch cake will deteriorate. A fruitcake is an exception, but even it has a shelf life. I challenge anyone to show me a scratch cake that will not deteriorate. They are good for a very short time before the aging sets in and the taste is compromised. Some people just may eat old cake because it is sitting there.

nanefy Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 1:50pm
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

A cake as it ages will not hold its flavor. It will deteriorate. Yes you can be Miss Havisham and leave it out for 25 years, but every scratch cake will deteriorate. A fruitcake is an exception, but even it has a shelf life. I challenge anyone to show me a scratch cake that will not deteriorate. They are good for a very short time before the aging sets in and the taste is compromised. Some people just may eat old cake because it is sitting there.




No, you missed my point, the cake wasn't just edible as in, edible but bland - it was just as tasty, literally! It was a lemon cake and it was just as moist and lemony all that time later - I'm sorry, but you can challenge me all you want, you haven't tasted my cakes therefore can't comment on the quality after three days. I didn't say a scratch cake would never deteriorate, but to state that a scratch cake lasts 3 days is simply not true, certainly not for my cakes and I don't use any funky additives or anything, my cakes use finest quality ingredients. Plus, the cake wasn't lying around for 25 years, just the 6 weeks like I said.

Tails Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 3:51pm
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by nanefy

Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

A cake as it ages will not hold its flavor. It will deteriorate. Yes you can be Miss Havisham and leave it out for 25 years, but every scratch cake will deteriorate. A fruitcake is an exception, but even it has a shelf life. I challenge anyone to show me a scratch cake that will not deteriorate. They are good for a very short time before the aging sets in and the taste is compromised. Some people just may eat old cake because it is sitting there.



No, you missed my point, the cake wasn't just edible as in, edible but bland - it was just as tasty, literally! It was a lemon cake and it was just as moist and lemony all that time later - I'm sorry, but you can challenge me all you want, you haven't tasted my cakes therefore can't comment on the quality after three days. I didn't say a scratch cake would never deteriorate, but to state that a scratch cake lasts 3 days is simply not true, certainly not for my cakes and I don't use any funky additives or anything, my cakes use finest quality ingredients. Plus, the cake wasn't lying around for 25 years, just the 6 weeks like I said.




Its not on topic, I know, and I dont really have any advice for the OP in this situation except to say, what happens if she brings the cake to you and you realise its dry because of something the client did. Are you going to lay blame? That will upset the customer. Will you take responsibility? That would make you look bad (for "producing a bad quality cake", not for accepting blame). I dont know how getting the client to bring you a taster will help much IMHO.

As for the quote above, I wanted to add that I made my Wacky Cake recipe (scratch) on a Saturday, decorated it on a Sunday, cut it on a Thursday, and continued to eat it for the next TWO weeks, kept outside of the fridge even and it was YUMMY!!! Super moist and very chocolately. I dont believe scratch cakes have a short lifetime, unless you're possibly using fillings that could go off quickly. I think box cakes would last longer if they use certain preservatives in them, but in my experience, my scratch cakes last for ages.

Oh, and I never put my cake in the fridge...it always goes dry icon_sad.gif

Melvira Posted 6 Dec 2011 , 10:21pm
post #21 of 39

This is why "scratch v. mix" is one of the top polarizing discussions on this entire website. Because frankly, we're all right. In our own minds. I think I make great cake, everyone else thinks they make great cake. And to our palates, we DO. And if you have customers that think your cake is amazing, then it IS. No matter HOW you made it. Whether you bought it at a bulk goods store and put canned frosting on it... or grew and harvested the wheat on your own organic land, it does NOT matter. If the person who paid you for it likes it, it is the BEST cake.

Stace, it could've been something that just was 'off' on your baking that day. It could be that they were not accustomed to your style of baking. The moon might have lined up with the six stars surrounding Uranus and left an aftertaste, who the heck knows. icon_lol.gif

And as far as how long things are good... again, preference. I make cupcakes for this couple who are friends of mine as gifts and they will tell me two weeks later they are still eating them. I cringe and beg them to throw them away and they tell me I must be insane. If they think it's good, hey, break a leg (or a tooth). But I always ask them politely to not serve them to someone else who has perhaps never tasted my baking before. Probably not the best representation of my skill, you know?

karateka Posted 7 Dec 2011 , 1:09am
post #22 of 39

I called her like I promised, apologized that she had a bad experience, offered to remake a cake and asked her to call me with a flavor choice. (Voicemail)

I did remind her that I'd be using the same recipe, and if she preferred, I could offer her some money back. I figured she will call and dispute the charges if I don't offer, and probably will, even if I make a new cake and she doesn't like it.

I haven't heard back from her.

Did turn down 2 orders for this month today. Bought NEW oven thermometers. Can't afford pastry school, so that's about the extent of what I can do until I hear back.

Melvira Posted 7 Dec 2011 , 2:36am
post #23 of 39

What did I tell you about kicking your own @ss? Don't make me come over there. Oh wait... you're like a ninja forty degree black belt. Everything you say is 100% accurate. And you're pretty. icon_lol.gif Just trying to cut a little tension of course. (But you ARE still pretty) Let us know what you hear back and just remember that no matter how awesome you are, there will always be that person who just doesn't like it that way. And that's ok. Not a darn thing wrong with it. Hey, my in-laws think they're GREAT cooks, and I'd rather help the cat with his bath than eat what they make. It happens. icon_rolleyes.gif

lilmissbakesalot Posted 7 Dec 2011 , 2:43am
post #24 of 39

I don't think that any of us asking about the temp of the cake are saying that it is an excuse for poor product. Simply that an ice cold scratch cake is not the same as it would be if you let it warm up. It's like eating bread and butter... cold bread with cold butter... gross (to me)... cold bread with room temp butter is better... and warm bread with room temp butter is devine. Same two products at all times... COMPLETELY different experience in your mouth at different temps. Cold butter sticks to your whole mouth when you eat it (shudder just thinking about it) but room temp butter melts on contact and is much more pleasing.

When a scratch butter cake is cold it is much more dense feeling, both in your hands and in your mouth, since the butter is tensed up from being too cold. Let it relax though and it is soft and wonderful again. It's a fact. It happens with every butter cake I make. A recipe with oil as the fat will not have the same issue since vegetable oil is liquid even when chilled. Yes a scratch butter cake that is merely a bit cool will be fine, but one that is chilled to the core will not be the same.

To the OP... I think what you offered is good. The ball is in her court now.

costumeczar Posted 8 Dec 2011 , 1:56am
post #25 of 39

I once had a bride call me to say that some of their guests said that the extra sheet cake I'd made them tasted stale, but when they tried it themselves later it ws really good. They weren't sure what ws going on. I figured out that the venue had stuck the sheet cake in the fridge and had served it cold, so it seemed dry when the guests were eating it, but by the time the bride tried it it had warmed up.

It's highly probable that your client ate the cake when it was still cold. Don't beat yourself up too much over this, it sounds like you're handling it well.

justsweet Posted 8 Dec 2011 , 3:56am
post #26 of 39

Question - you mention that no one wanted cake so I have to assume. she is bring the cake due no one ate it because if she ate the cake I don't see why you giving her a cake, give a discount if she ate the cake. Just a thought

karateka Posted 9 Dec 2011 , 2:15am
post #27 of 39

So I refunded her money. Abundantly glad I spent the time making that cake for absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

Annabakescakes Posted 9 Dec 2011 , 4:13am
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateka

So I refunded her money. Abundantly glad I spent the time making that cake for absolutely no purpose whatsoever.


Oh, wow, what a witch! The cake looked beautiful, even if she personally didn't like the taste, the work you did is worth something. If it were me, and I ordered a cake I hated, I would say nothing, and go somewhere else the next time. I guess I am too nice though icon_rolleyes.gif

cakelady2266 Posted 9 Dec 2011 , 5:19am
post #29 of 39

I hate you put all that work into it for nothing. But the refund was for the best. Apologize for the bad experience and don't get into the whole scratch, room temperature thing, they will think you are trying to blame them or something.

Well this is another take..whether it was scratch, box, hot, cold, square, pink or upside down IF that cake was inedible I wouldn't be asking the baker to make another that was edible. Sounds to me like the "If I sound sweet and complain a little I'll get a free cake" syndrome. And yes that crap does happen. She normally ordered from another bakery, so why change? Venue location or not, if the baker/bakery was always good, reliable or whatever most folks will go out of their way to get what they know is good. If she had the party at a venue like a hotel, restaurant, club etc.. give them a call and ask about the cake. Just a thought.

noosalucy Posted 9 Dec 2011 , 11:06am
post #30 of 39

So many responses, and I'm assuming you've solved the situation by now. I have also had this happen to me once - a customer called to say the cake was "rubbery and the worst cake she had ever tasted" I felt absolutely devestated. It was my standard butter cake recipe that I always get many compliments about. She returned it and it was definitely a little rubbery I still don't know what might have gone wrong (but was also straight from the fridge - what is with people wanting to keep cakes in the fridge!). I refunded her money and also had a small tasting cake for her to take away that I know would have been great. My only hope was that I had wipped any memory of her bad experience. Word of mouth is very important!!

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