What Would You Have Done?

Decorating By CakesbyKadi Updated 18 Mar 2014 , 9:58pm by howsweet

CakesbyKadi Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 4:05pm
post #1 of 42

I had a cake disaster. My first one, and a wedding to boot! But I think I handled it the best way I could. Anyway, I am going to give you the situation, and I would love to see how you would handle it from start to finish.

 

Customer supplied the cake stand. I moved it around, made sure it would hold the 3 tier buttercream ruffle cake, then began to put it on. With the weight of the cake, the cake stand tipped. (It appeared to be attached completely to the base of the stand, but it was screwed in.) The tiers slid over, and some of the buttercream fell off. You have an hour before the wedding starts, and you brought your kit with you. (tools, extra buttercream, etc.) 

 

What would you do? (To the cake, and beyond?

41 replies
leah_s Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 4:27pm
post #2 of 42

Well, first, I never use a customer supplied cake stand that's not a rental plateau from a retail rental company.  Unless I've seen it first, or its a cupcake stand.

Second I never deliver one hour before the reception starts.  No way.  My contracts states that I reserve the right to deliver up to six hours before the start of the ceremony.

And third to get to the heart of the matter, I would have fixed it, even if I was working until one minute before the guests arrive.

kazita Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 4:40pm
post #3 of 42

AYes I too would of stayed there fixing the cake...

Sammy09 Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 4:57pm
post #4 of 42

ALeah, you and Kara (costume czar) should be offered a LOT of money to teach business and cake sense at Craftsy!

CakesbyKadi Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 5:01pm
post #5 of 42

Quote:

Originally Posted by leah_s 
 

Well, first, I never use a customer supplied cake stand that's not a rental plateau from a retail rental company.  Unless I've seen it first, or its a cupcake stand.

Second I never deliver one hour before the reception starts.  No way.  My contracts states that I reserve the right to deliver up to six hours before the start of the ceremony.

And third to get to the heart of the matter, I would have fixed it, even if I was working until one minute before the guests arrive.

I made a mistake letting her supply the stand. I arrived three hours before the wedding started, but that was the soonest they would let me (and the bridal party) in for that matter.

 

I did stay until the guest started arriving, fixing the cake the best I could. The guest thought it was beautiful, the caterers said it was gorgeous. I saw the flaws because they weren't there before the stand tipped. 

 

The bride was not happy and says I humiliated her. I feel terrible, but I did what I could. I told her up front (when she ordered) that this would be my 4th wedding cake, and I don't have much experience. Her rate was a fourth of what other bakers charge in this area. I was honest and said, I would love to take it on, but she needed to know I am a newby.

 

The design was exactly what she wanted, but the cake looked like it was slightly leaning, so she was enraged. =/ I haven't been able to eat without puking since I received her very rude email. 

jenmat Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 5:02pm
post #6 of 42

First- freak out a little.

Second, remove cake from said stand

Third, take out my repair kit and pipe like a mad woman

Fourth, Change my contract to include no customer supplied cake stands that have not been pre-approved. (which means no customer supplied cake stands.)

 

I deliver up to 4 hours prior, which gives me time to repair anything I need to. I also deliver chilled, so the sliding issue is almost non-existent. Only thing I may have had to deal with would be the smushed ruffles and those are easily repaired. I also reserve the right to make any changes- as in not using a crappy craft store stand at any point in the process. 

 

if it was an hour prior, I would have taken the cake into the kitchen so that my repairs weren't the object of conversation and photobombs. 

CakesbyKadi Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 5:10pm
post #7 of 42

Quote:

Originally Posted by jenmat 
 

First- freak out a little.

Second, remove cake from said stand

Third, take out my repair kit and pipe like a mad woman

Fourth, Change my contract to include no customer supplied cake stands that have not been pre-approved. (which means no customer supplied cake stands.)

 

I deliver up to 4 hours prior, which gives me time to repair anything I need to. I also deliver chilled, so the sliding issue is almost non-existent. Only thing I may have had to deal with would be the smushed ruffles and those are easily repaired. I also reserve the right to make any changes- as in not using a crappy craft store stand at any point in the process. 

 

if it was an hour prior, I would have taken the cake into the kitchen so that my repairs weren't the object of conversation and photobombs. 

Your reply was perfect. I did all, except for taking it into the kitchen. The caterers were already in there running around like crazy people. Lol. It was a little "leany" when we left (about 30 seconds before the bride was to come in) but it was not bad at all. It was getting oooohed and awwwed over. The caterers loved it... I really thought everything would be okay. I think (and I only say this because of her strong reaction) that the cake stand just ended up not supporting the cake, and it leaned more. Because I have picture we took of the cake as we walked out the door and it did not look like it was going to fall over. 

 

I also was told she is a money hungry B word and I should have never agreed to do her cake. But I don't ever listen to anyone. =( Her mother (who also adored the cake) was also telling us she was in a panic because she spent so much money. I am starting to wonder.

 

Not saying the cake was perfect. I am truly horrified that this happened and I feel terrible. I just feel she took advantage of our accident.

-K8memphis Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 5:27pm
post #8 of 42

as we already know life is short so in light of this, 

Quote:

  I haven't been able to eat without puking since I received her very rude email. 

 

i would notify her that i would be willing to discuss this with her if she could agree to continue in a professional, calm and non emotional way then leave the ball in her court--if she attacked again--i'd just let it go--you don't have to lay down in front of a runaway freight train -- it seems she's out of control yes? 

 

as far as you have described, you did a great job so she's out of luck if she can't conduct herself with dignity--

 

if she continues to blow up--i would also have a statement prepared to hit the airwaves, facebook, maybe your website--stating the issues with the cake stand and how you saved the day --i'd say nothing further about her behavior--she will take care of that for you--

 

again, you did a good job and went the extra mile--be proud of yourself and disengage from her drama as soon as you can--get you a milkshake or something

CakesbyKadi Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 5:33pm
post #9 of 42

Thank you. My reply could have been read as snotty. But I apologized and expressed how upset it made me. I also made sure she knew I did not appreciate the name calling. Her next reply was very plain and simple, but that's okay. I offered her a partial refund and am meeting with her husband today. I am better with face to face than I am messages because I read way into things.

-K8memphis Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 5:46pm
post #10 of 42

i hope it's no more than 5 or 10% max--it's her cake stand--whether you made a mistake or not you were doing as she requested--i'd totally in a diplomatic way load it up on new hubby that his bride is out of line on this--that the refund is just a gesture to appease her--not for any wrong doing on your part (obviously) but i mean i would tell him that in a good way --y'know--not all in his face or anything like that--

 

just a thought

-K8memphis Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 5:54pm
post #11 of 42

this is what i would hope you could tell him even though it sounds like you told her already--it bears repeating--

Quote:

I told her up front (when she ordered) that this would be my 4th wedding cake, and I don't have much experience. Her rate was a fourth of what other bakers charge in this area. I was honest and said, I would love to take it on, but she needed to know I am a newby.

 

The design was exactly what she wanted, but the cake looked like it was slightly leaning, so she was enraged. =/ I haven't been able to eat without puking since I received her very rude email. 

 

 

even the puke part--

 

it's a boundary thing--the bride was just erupting from her own financial trauma so...in some of these complaint cases it's best to put up and shut up-in this case as i see it i'd tell him--

 

and for going forward--make sure about how soon you'll be allowed into a venue--i ask the bride for the name of the venue contact and i tell the bride i need the cake table ready two hours in advance and i call and make sure the bride did her homework and informed the venue--and i get the names & numbers for all the vendors, etc.

-K8memphis Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 5:56pm
post #12 of 42

geez i want a milkshake now ;)

CakesbyKadi Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 6:02pm
post #13 of 42

I am beefing up my contract now. I want in several hours (minimum of 4) before the wedding starts, and if they want a cake stand, THEY have to put it on it and I am not liable for any damages. Although I will definitely encourage them not to use a cake stand that isn't provided by me. 

rebecca67e Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 6:53pm
post #14 of 42

do you have the photo? would be interested to see how much it was actually leaning when you left

AZCouture Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 6:55pm
post #15 of 42

So let's see this cake that enraged her. Did you take any photos?

CakesbyKadi Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 6:57pm
post #16 of 42

=( *

CakesbyKadi Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 6:59pm
post #17 of 42

That was as we walked out the door. We stayed on the premises until the wedding took place to make sure the buttercream set. 

jenmat Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 7:03pm
post #18 of 42

See the only thing I can say to the refund issue is that as the "expert" you should know better than to use a stand that isn't sturdy. 

 

But you've already said you aren't an expert. And you told her that too. 

 

A small refund is in order simply because the cake was slightly leaning  and the ruffles probably weren't perfect anymore. And as a non-expert you wouldn't know how to make it all come together in the end without anyone knowing. That's why people pay for an expert. She didn't. 

 

All in all, chalk it up to experience, be glad that everyone else was impressed so that you could leave the venue without being in tears and it's impressive that you were able to salvage it at all considering the circumstances! All in all, kudos to you for keeping your head on and fixing the problem to the best of your ability!

CakesbyKadi Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 7:09pm
post #19 of 42

Quote:

Originally Posted by jenmat 
 

See the only thing I can say to the refund issue is that as the "expert" you should know better than to use a stand that isn't sturdy. 

 

But you've already said you aren't an expert. And you told her that too. 

 

A small refund is in order simply because the cake was slightly leaning  and the ruffles probably weren't perfect anymore. And as a non-expert you wouldn't know how to make it all come together in the end without anyone knowing. That's why people pay for an expert. She didn't. 

 

All in all, chalk it up to experience, be glad that everyone else was impressed so that you could leave the venue without being in tears and it's impressive that you were able to salvage it at all considering the circumstances! All in all, kudos to you for keeping your head on and fixing the problem to the best of your ability!

Thank you for that. My first three wedding cakes went so well, I never anticipated this. Lesson learned, though. In many ways!

-K8memphis Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 7:11pm
post #20 of 42

you did a good restorative job all things considered--even though she did not request additional flowers--if this were my cake and it was possible i would have made some flower groupings to camoflage the unevenness--

 

on my very simple cake order blank i say that i reserve the right to make and deliver the cake to the best of my ability--meaning that i can and will make the executive decisions esp. at the last minute--and under that category, adding more flowers than she wanted to cover up some booboos--moving the cake table out of the sun--all that kind of stuff--set up a two tier if a tier fell or whatever--

 

then of course there would be discussion later like you are doing w/hubby--

 

good save

CakesbyKadi Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 7:16pm
post #21 of 42

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

you did a good restorative job all things considered--even though she did not request additional flowers--if this were my cake and it was possible i would have made some flower groupings to camoflage the unevenness--

 

on my very simple cake order blank i say that i reserve the right to make and deliver the cake to the best of my ability--meaning that i can and will make the executive decisions esp. at the last minute--and under that category, adding more flowers than she wanted to cover up some booboos--moving the cake table out of the sun--all that kind of stuff--set up a two tier if a tier fell or whatever--

 

then of course there would be discussion later like you are doing w/hubby--

 

good save

That's a great idea. I had time, but didn't even think about adding flowers. I was slightly freaking out, just trying to redo some ruffles and fix the stand. I need to change my attitude up a little about this. I know it's what the bride wants but I need to be more firm about things (the cake stand for example. I was never comfortable using it and I should have insisted on not) but I do need to take charge and not be afraid to say "this is how it needs to be."

 

Thank you!

-K8memphis Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 2:52am
post #22 of 42

for what it's worth--i had to catch a cake from sliding off one of those large beautiful silver plateaus --some of them only have three feet --what the h is up with that --  one of the legs had curled up underneath as i set the big heavy cake down on it-- i mean it happens

Annabakescakes Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 3:01am
post #23 of 42

AHer stupid stand damaged the cake. End of story! I would CHARGE HER for the repair work.

leah_s Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 3:23am
post #24 of 42

Well, frankly, that's pretty noticeable.  The other thing I can encourage you to do is use SPS.  It might not have saved the cake - but the damage would not be so bad.  And it might have saved it.

leah_s Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 3:24am
post #25 of 42

And a couple of cascades of flowers would have camouflaged that.

MBalaska Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 3:33am
post #26 of 42

Quote:

Originally Posted by CakesbyKadi 

"........... With the weight of the cake, the cake stand tipped. (It appeared to be attached completely to the base of the stand, but it was screwed in.) The tiers slid over, and some of the buttercream fell off. ............"

 

I don't get it.  The silver cake stand in the photo that is posted, is the cake stand that tipped.?

It tipped sideways but the cake didn't fall off that tall cake stand.

How did you put the cake back on it, if it wouldn't hold the weight properly the first time. Why not just sit it on the table.

 

The cake is the same as you have in your avatar (beautiful) did you have it dowelled, bubble strawed or  use SPS or a Center pole dowel. If the buttercream fell off the cake it sure didn't land on the table cloths and ruin them.  The cake looks fine except for the tilting. I just don't get it.

(probably never will):roll:

CakesbyKadi Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 3:44am
post #27 of 42

Quote:

Originally Posted by MBalaska 
 

 

I don't get it.  The silver cake stand in the photo that is posted, is the cake stand that tipped.?

It tipped sideways but the cake didn't fall off that tall cake stand.

How did you put the cake back on it, if it wouldn't hold the weight properly the first time. Why not just sit it on the table.

 

The cake is the same as you have in your avatar (beautiful) did you have it dowelled, bubble strawed or  use SPS or a Center pole dowel. If the buttercream fell off the cake it sure didn't land on the table cloths and ruin them.  The cake looks fine except for the tilting. I just don't get it.

(probably never will):roll:

The tray part of the stand (the glass plate) screws in and tilts from side to side when the screw is loose. We had it dowelled with five dowells in the bottom and middle layer. I sat it on the table after it tilted, and the bride's mother "fixed the stand" by screwing it in again. I said, it would be better on the table, and she said "she is really wanting the stand..." I was stupid and agreed. If it did it the first time, I bet it tipped again during the ceremony, but I can't really get a rational word from the bride to tell what happened after we left. (and we stayed until the last possible minute) Oh, and the buttercream didn't fall off, the ruffles slid. I smoothed them down and piped over them, but I can still tell by looking at the photo that they messed up. 

CakesbyKadi Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 3:46am
post #28 of 42

Quote:

Originally Posted by leah_s 
 

And a couple of cascades of flowers would have camouflaged that.

Not that I want this to happen again, but where would you put the flowers, and how many? I am trying to see it in my head, but without the cake in front of me, I can't picture it right now. I have been having panic attacks since receiving her email. Probably has something to do with my focus. =[

MBalaska Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 3:57am
post #29 of 42

Chalk it up to experience (as in "Sh*t happens).  { If you've never had a cake disaster, you've never baked a cake.}

Realistically and exactingly decide what you should do and should not ever do again, and keep baking.

cakeymom Posted 4 Mar 2014 , 5:50am
post #30 of 42

AI recently made a two tiered birthday cake. An 8 and 6 inch cake. It was delivered to a home and there was no one there when the cake was delivered. There was a small sized rickety wire stand they wanted the cake placed on. Well, I placed the stand in the kitchen and placed the cake on the decorated cake table. I called my client to tell her her no way.

I hope it works out and thanks for sharing. It will help someone else. We learn something from each experience. We are human not perfect humans. Some people just look for excuses to be ugly. You did what you were instructed. This is why I don't do wedding cakes. There is just no pleasing some people. I am already working a full time and tend to beat myself up over any small imperfection without someone else doing it for me. Just my preference.

Cakeymom

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