AI'm sure similar questions have been asked, but I couldn't find one quite like mine in the threads. If I'm just missing it, please feel free to redirect me! :) Sorry- this is a long one....
I just had a consultation with a family for a graduation party. We've been going back and forth with everything- a lot! As in, two in-persons consultations already. One thing that they seemed really shocked and uneasy about was that they couldn't have a cake with buttercream, covered in fondant and a lot of detail sitting out for hours during the party. They are getting it more for a display but need the servings for their guests. They seemed bewildered by this. I explained why but they wanted to know how to keep it cool enough to keep it intact for a few hours. I'm in Minnesota, where summers are hot and VERY humid. I don't know what to suggest to her other than bring it out from the A/C only when you are close to starting the party and near ready to cut it or just get a dummy cake (for the same price). Is there anything else I could do?
Furthermore, I have a wedding that day that I committed to long ago so I have to deliver and set up for them and hour and a half prior to the grad party (including mini cheesecakes and cake pops with cream cheese) and they'd have to refrigerate them until the party . How do you handle customers that don't understand or respect food safety? What would you say? (My husband knows these people pretty well so courtesy is key!) Whether or not I set it up 5 minutes before the party or 3 hours, they will have to refrigerate at some point or risk poisoning the guests but I can't get them to understand that...
I have done many, many cakes in b'cream here in CA where summer temps can go over 100 - but it is *DRY!* heat. I have yet to have a problem. I remember once having been told to set up a wedding cake outside at like 10 a.m. which I did - in the front yd where there wasn't even a small bush for shade! Later I found out the wedding didn't even start til something like 4 p.m. :( Months later a guest at that wedding told me the icing had dried & was somewhat 'crunchy' - it did not melt.
Now I'm not talking about cr cheese or cheesecakes but about all one can do is make a customer aware of health concerns and from there on it's their problem.
Then again, it IS YOUR reputation that has to be protected. I say put everything you advise them in writing making sure they sign and date it so you have covered your 'butt' :)
I'm sure there will be others chime in on this topic and I'm waiting to here how others suggest handling this situation.
Well that's a bit of a relief. Did you use a buttercream icing? I'm just nervous since I continually kept saying it was important to keep their guests safe and this is how... but they still seemed perturbed. It's not up to me how the laws of nature work. I can only do my best and advise appropriately. I do have a contract I have people sign that covers food safety handling and things like moving the cake after it leaves my hands, etc. So at least that's good.
.........Did you use a buttercream icing?..............
Yes, 99% of my cakes were done in b'cream. You can look through my photos.
... How do you handle customers that don't understand or respect food safety? What would you say? ...
Summers in GA get really hot and humid too. Even though I prefer buttercream, I recommend fondant for outdoor summer weddings. I warn them about the buttercream melting, the possibility of insects flying and sticking into the icing, and the food safety issues (although there's so much sugar in there that's really the least of my concerns).
If they decide to ignore my professional recommendation, I pull out a hot weather rider to tack on to my contract that they sign basically stating that I cannot be held responsible once the cake is delivered to the venue. Clients have chosen to chance it and everything went fine, but it's there to protect me if it doesn't.
That sounds like what I was thinking but I wasn't sure if I was missing something. I guess all I can do is make my recommendations and cover myself with a waiver of responsibility after its delivered. Thanks!