musicmommy1 Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 7:28pm
post #1 of

Hi Everyone,

 

Well, I was hoping to avoid this topic but it has happened. A total cake disaster. I made a two tiered cake for a client's baby shower this weekend. The bottom was an 8 inch double barrel with a six in top tier. I used 6 bubble straws as dowels in both layers of the double barrel and it was frosted in SMBC. This is the FIRST cake I have actually sold, which makes this experience even more of a bummer.

 

I decorated the cake on Friday night, and delivered it to the client's home on Saturday without incident. The client then put the cake in the trunk of her car and drove it 30 minutes to the shower location today (Sunday) and this is what she found when she got there.

 

 

She called me upset and said that the cake was very soft and that perhaps it had "melted". I told her the cake wouldn't melt and that I had delivered it at room temperature to her home with no problem. She was very nice and I offered her a discount on a future cake as well as free delivery to wherever the cake would need to go. Initially, when we were going through the ordering process, I had told her I would deliver free within a 10 mile radius and that it would be $15 for any location beyond that. She wanted to pick it up from my house and I talked her into letting me deliver it to her home (which was not far away). 

 

My point is, I felt all along that allowing her to transport the cake was probably a bad idea. But so many people seem to allow their cakes to be picked up. So, I told myself to let it go. Well, this is what I get for letting it go. I feel that my cake was build solidly but feel partially at fault for not insisting on delivering the cake myself. I actually delivered a baby shower cake just like this one (in size and shape) 45 minutes away with no problem. 

 

I am thinking of additionally offering to make a smash cake, or a set of cupcakes for her baby's first birthday free of charge. I was at one point thinking of offering some money back but a friend of mine (who runs a small non-cake business) advised me not to.

 

What would you offer for compensation?

And for those of you who make tiered cakes, do you allow client's to pick them up?

 

I'm sorry if this post is a little all over the place or if I missed any pertinent info. I am definitely rattled and would love to hear your thoughts. 

 

TIA

 

Oh, and here's what the cake looked like when I left it at the client's house. I thought it was so pretty and am so sad that this has happened :(

 

AppleMark

53 replies
maybenot Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 8:03pm
post #2 of

A

Original message sent by musicmommy1

The client then put the cake in the trunk of her car and drove it 30 minutes to the shower location today (Sunday) and this is what she found when she got there.

That's the problem and the answer. No cakes in the trunk!

You offered her reasonable alternatives and she refused. Once the cake leaves your custody, all bets are off. Makesure your contract says this....nicely.

Offer her a small refund, discount on a future order, small cake, but that's all. There was nothing wrong with the cake.

morganchampagne Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 8:05pm
post #3 of

AI would never ever!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let a client take a two tier cake in the trunk of her car!!!!! especially at room temperature!! No no no no.

I don't offer the option for clients to travel with it. Either I bring it to you or you don't get it. And in the trunk of the car....what did she think was going to happen! Sliding around...quick stopping. I can only imagine.

Sorry that happened to you, but that's just a monumental mistake on both parts. I think what you have already offered is fine honestly. I would let it shake off and move on

AZCouture Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 8:11pm
post #4 of

AGood grief, what reasonable person would think that was ok? And another little shred of respect for mankind slips away....

musicmommy1 Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 8:14pm
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Thank you guys. Honestly, I do feel partially responsible because I am the "cake expert" right? I should have known better than to let her take it and I did. I even had that intuition going in the back of my head telling me not to. Sigh. This is a lesson learned for me. Thank you for your advice and thoughts. Now, I just need to decide what to offer her before contacting her again. 

musicmommy1 Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 8:16pm
post #6 of

AZ- I know, My friend had a similar response when I told her she put it in the trunk. But some people honestly don't know. I mean she gasped when she saw how I had it packed in my car. If you don't know what it takes to build a cake, then it stands to reason that you may not know what it might take to take it down. I had a feeling when I left it. I just can't get past that part.

AZCouture Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 8:21pm
post #7 of

AI deliver all of mine as well, unless they are taking it with them out of town, and I walk it out to the car, and set it up for them, and give them a list of instructions. It's on them after that. Haven't heard any horror stories yet, knock on wood.

texasporvida Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 8:44pm
post #8 of

AI think you can change your delivery practices, but she has to do better than that. The mess is on her. People are so crazy. I made a cake for a friend recently. She texted two days later saying the cake was pretty but she felt she had to be honest and say it was a little dry. Another lady at the party didn't know I had made the cake and went on and on about how good it was and how everyone at the party wanted to know who made it. When asked if it was dry, she said no, not at all but said the host didn't even eat a piece at the party...she waited several hours to try it without wrapping up the cut cake. So much for honesty!!!

I know it hurts that the cake fell apart, but really she should do better. I have a really hard time believing she honestly thinks it melted. Don't over compensate for her mistake.

musicmommy1 Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 8:45pm
post #9 of

Thank you all. I am going to write into my contract that all tiered cakes need to be delivered by me. No option for pick-up. It is just not worth going through this again. I think also, as I feel partly responsible for this mess, that I will offer her a partial refund and a discount on a future cake order (with free delivery). I'm hoping this will help. As I said, she didn't sound angry just desperately disappointed. But it comes down to what will let me sleep tonight. And I think that might.

CWR41 Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 10:07pm

A[quote name="musicmommy1"r. I used 6 bubble straws as dowels in both layers of the double barrel

Where is the board between?

musicmommy1 Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 10:12pm

AHi CWR41- there was a 7 inch cake board between the two stacked tiers of the double barrel. 2 layers of cake torted and filled, then the board, then the next two layers tortes and filled. Bubble straws in each layer for support.

FrostedMoon Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 12:35am

ABeautiful cake! I'm sorry it was destroyed! I have had customers pick up two tiered cakes and drive them long distances with success. I use the SPS system and I think that really makes a difference. Of course I also tell them to drive like they have a baby without a seatbelt in the car. I also make sure to have a very sturdy cake box (usually cardboard) that is the exact size of the cake board and I cut bubble wrap to fit the bottom of the box exactly to help absorb some of the shock from driving. However, fast turns and abrupt stops are a cake's worst enemy that nothing can completely protect against. From now on always make sure they understand if anything happens to the case during the drive it is out of your control. I hope it is never again an issue for you!

erin2345 Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 12:54am

Am I missing something important about not putting a cake in the trunk?  My trunk is level and that is where I put all cakes for delivery.  Where else would you put it?!

Danilou Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 1:00am

AThat's what I thought!

morganchampagne Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 1:09am

AIts not about the trunk being level. You don't just put a two tier cake in the trunk without anybody or anything holding it.....things can still slide and fall om a level surface..

Sassyzan Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 2:02am

A

Original message sent by erin2345

Am I missing something important about not putting a cake in the trunk?  My trunk is level and that is where I put all cakes for delivery.  Where else would you put it?!

I'm not following either. The ruined cake in the photo is sitting on a nonskid mat in on a cardboard box, like it maybe just became out of the box. Thats how I do all my deliveries. I gave a wedding cake to a bride who drove it two hours in MD/VA July heat and it arrived fine.

The one thing I did do was clearly state to the customer that it was 100% HER responsibility once it left my hands.

The straws were maybe not level, maybe she short-braked or took a hard turn while driving. It sucks because it was a beautiful cake!! But I don't think the trunk thing was wrong. You just maybe needed to be more clear about who's responsible for what. And maybe use sps next time someone else is doing the driving. :)

AZCouture Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 2:24am

AWhen someone says "the trunk", I think of the very back compartment of a passenger car, you know like when someone is kidnapped in a movie, they get tossed in the trunk, closed off from the rest of the car, no light, no air, etc.....right? Not the back of an SUV or a van for example, that is still part of the passenger area that gets air, and has a window. So....no one really puts a tiered cake in the trunk of a car, right?

BeesKnees578 Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 2:29am

I refrigerate, refrigerate, refrigerate.  Once I started doing that, delivery stress *almost* disappeared completely.

 

95% of my customers pick up their 2 tier cakes and I haven't heard of a disaster story...yet.

 

That's all I got!

musicmommy1 Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 2:37am

When I deliver a cake I put it in the back of my Honda Pilot on a non-skid mat and my husband puts straps around it to keep it from moving an inch. This has worked well for me. I believe my client had a regular car with a trunk and that is where she put it. I wasn't there, so I'm not sure how it was secured or if it was at all. She didn't say anything about breaking hard or any other driving mistake but even if she did, she probably wouldn't tell me. The straws I cut were very even and I KNOW the cake was put together solidly. I wish I did know exactly what happened but I don't :(

 

I do need to update my contract about the cake being the client's responsibility once it is in their hands. I'm also going to look into the SPS system. Perhaps that would save me some future heartache. I just feel terrible that this happened for such an important event. I won't get into the details of the backstory but she was going all out on this baby shower because her pregnancy was somewhat of a miracle and she thought it would most likely be the only baby shower she would ever have (push dagger further into heart). 

 

I did reach out to her and offer a partial refund as well as a discount on a future cake order. I have not heard back from her. I wonder if I will. I can just hear all the talk at the shower. Probably not many nice things said. It just sucks but I'm trying hard to take everything I can from this and learn- which is why I appreciate all of your advice :)

Sassyzan Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 2:45am

A

Original message sent by AZCouture

When someone says "the trunk", I think of the very back compartment of a passenger car, you know like when someone is kidnapped in a movie, they get tossed in the trunk, closed off from the rest of the car, no light, no air, etc.....right? Not the back of an SUV or a van for example, that is still part of the passenger area that gets air, and has a window. So....no one really puts a tiered cake in the trunk of a car, right?

I don't understand the problem. Not everyone's trunk has a kidnapped person in it. A trunk is not an inherently dirty place. There are cars with perfectly tidy trunks. And there are perfectly disgusting open rear compartment areas of SUVs and vans too. Do cakes need light and air? They're cakes, not house plants.

Sassyzan Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 2:47am

A

Original message sent by musicmommy1

When I deliver a cake I put it in the back of my Honda Pilot on a non-skid mat and my husband puts straps around it to keep it from moving an inch. This has worked well for me. I believe my client had a regular car with a trunk and that is where she put it. I wasn't there, so I'm not sure how it was secured or if it was at all. She didn't say anything about breaking hard or any other driving mistake but even if she did, she probably wouldn't tell me. The straws I cut were very even and I KNOW the cake was put together solidly. I wish I did know exactly what happened but I don't :(

I do need to update my contract about the cake being the client's responsibility once it is in their hands. I'm also going to look into the SPS system. Perhaps that would save me some future heartache. I just feel terrible that this happened for such an important event. I won't get into the details of the backstory but she was going all out on this baby shower because her pregnancy was somewhat of a miracle and she thought it would most likely be the only baby shower she would ever have (push dagger further into heart). 

I did reach out to her and offer a partial refund as well as a discount on a future cake order. I have not heard back from her. I wonder if I will. I can just hear all the talk at the shower. Probably not many nice things said. It just sucks but I'm trying hard to take everything I can from this and learn- which is why I appreciate all of your advice :)

(I wouldn't be saying anything nasty, btw!! I'd be saying what a bummer and trying to make the best of the party and eating it anyway!! If she is a nice person, she's probably trying to do the same thing.)

maybenot Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 2:48am

The flat, open back of an SUV or minivan is fine.  The closer to the center of the car, the better--less vibration there than over axles.

 

Actual trunks are like ovens if it's warm outside, or even just sunny.  They also are vibration prone because they don't carry passengers and aren't sound insulated or vibration damped.

 

I place the cake box in the back of my Honda Odyssey [used to be a Pilot, too] on top of 3" of memory foam [dampens vibration very well].

 

The structure of your cake was sound.  The cake was just not transported properly.

sweetkake Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 2:58am

AI didn't read anything about a dowel down the center for support. If she's not using SPS, wouldn't she need a center dowel?

Sassyzan Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 3:01am

A

Original message sent by maybenot

The flat, open back of an SUV or minivan is fine.  The closer to the center of the car, the better--less vibration there than over axles.

Actual trunks are like ovens if it's warm outside, or even just sunny.  They also are vibration prone because they don't carry passengers and aren't sound insulated or vibration damped.

I place the cake box in the back of my Honda Odyssey [used to be a Pilot, too] on top of 3" of memory foam [dampens vibration very well].

The structure of your cake was sound.  The cake was just not transported properly.

Huh. Well that makes sense. Thanks!

morganchampagne Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 3:12am

A

Original message sent by AZCouture

When someone says "the trunk", I think of the very back compartment of a passenger car, you know like when someone is kidnapped in a movie, they get tossed in the trunk, closed off from the rest of the car, no light, no air, etc.....right? Not the back of an SUV or a van for example, that is still part of the passenger area that gets air, and has a window. So....no one really puts a tiered cake in the trunk of a car, right?

Exactly. The flat of an suv and a trunk aren't the same...

I was so confused at first lol..I see now we just had different definitions of trunk

musicmommy1 Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 3:15am

Maybenot- the memory foam is a great idea. I think I may add that to my delivery strategy. Thank you :) Sassyzan, thank you for your kind words. I'm hoping that is her attitude but in my mind I'm picturing a scene that is much more negative. Hopefully it's just my imagination!

 

Sweetkake- I did not have a center dowel, just 6 bubble straws in each tier of the double barrel and a cake board in between, of course. I had read that center dowels were not necessarily needed but I am definitely willing to reevaluate that. Perhaps I do need one? Curious as to what others do. I have made and transported similar cakes without any problems but maybe a center dowel is what I needed. I just don't know. Still just UGH!

AZCouture Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 3:35am

AYeah, I've heard the word "boot" referenced as well, possibly from people in Europe maybe? Either way, BIG difference between the hot stuffy trunk and just the rear area of a vehicle. Yes, they definitely need air and circulation, and what maybenot described.

AZCouture Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 3:36am

AI personally do not center dowel anything unless someone is transporting it themselves. I feel it would be neglectful on my part if I didn't, but when I deliver it, no I don't need one.

AZCouture Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 3:39am

ADon't beat yourself up. She put it in her trunk, like a bag of dog food. But you won't forget to tell the next person that's a no no, right? :D

musicmommy1 Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 3:40am

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I personally do not center dowel anything unless someone is transporting it themselves. I feel it would be neglectful on my part if I didn't, but when I deliver it, no I don't need one.

Good to know AZ. I probably should have done that but didn't even think to, as I've never had a problem. I will add one if ever again I let someone transport their own cake. Although, after today, I don't know if I could ever let that happen!!!

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