Customer Put Fans On The Cake To Cool It Down...

Decorating By ellavanilla Updated 21 Sep 2014 , 2:12am by cakesbycathy

ellavanilla Posted 17 Sep 2014 , 7:01pm
post #1 of 21

It was HOT on Saturday so I should have said, "no" and delivered the cake right before cutting, but I guess I feel like it's the customer's party and she can do whatever she wants. 

 

Anyway, 5 tiered cake with "mike wisowski" on the top. It was beautiful! Cake was in the shade. Still hot but not too bad. Customer called me 2.5 hours later to say that the cake had melted, and the faces had fallen off. 

 

I said that the cake was made from butter and sugar, it wasn't going to last forever in the heat. She pointed out the it was only TWO hours, as if it made a difference, and that they had even put fans blowing on the cake to cool it off.

 

I don't even know what kind of a brain bust it takes to think that blowing hot air on an object that's not creating its own heat, will cool it down, OR how long they thought the cake would hold at 100 degrees. I would like to give myself kudos for the cake not falling over...it was probably still cold on the inside.

 

It was, by far, the most expensive cake I've ever charged for and I feel badly that I didn't insist, but the butter should have held it's shape for a while, if not for the fans IMO. 

 

She said, "I'll send you a picture and we will go from there." 

 

I said, " I suggest you serve it now (it was probably delish, all melty and stuff). Butter, sugar and eggs can only last for so long in the heat."

 

Still, I feel badly that I assumed they would understand the limitations of food, specifically butter, at a picnic. 

 

I haven't heard back from her. 

 

FYI, when she ordered the cake it was still reaching reasonable temperatures outside. 

 

 

gaaaaah so conflicted!!!

20 replies
-K8memphis Posted 17 Sep 2014 , 7:24pm
post #2 of 21

AI specifically say something to the effect that 'the cake is guaranteed to the cake table -- after that you can set it on a barbeque grill at high noon but I am no longer responsible'

I also advise them that one option is to keep it indoors and bring it outdoors right before serving -- but i tell my brides that the cake has a twofold purpose 1) focal point of reception 2) dessert and they loose half the bang of their buck if it's too hot outside -- they oughta just go with brownies and popsicles --

two hours is pretty dang good -- so they think you're responsible for the weather? and they put a fan on it -- no no no no refund for them nope no nada zero but they get an a+ in how to melt cake

Dayti Posted 17 Sep 2014 , 7:40pm
post #3 of 21

It sucks because it's an expensive cake, good money for you, and I'm sure it took you forever to do.

 

It all depends on how the conversation with the customer went. If she insisted you deliver it early - her fault.

 

If you thought it would be ok despite the heat - more your fault I'm afraid, you should have used your better and more expert judgement to hold off delivery if possible until the last minute on a hot day, or at least tried to warn her what might happen. Sorry to sound harsh. I understand that she wanted a lovely centrepiece for the duration of the picnic, but a bowl of butter turns liquid in a short time in the heat, even if there is no direct sun. She should have realised that, and so should you really. 

 

Not sure if the fans made it melt faster or not. It would just be like a hot windy day. I certainly don't think they helped! 

 

She had a fantastic cake on display for 2.5 hours. How long does a picnic take for goodness sake? Not sure what you should do if she calls for a refund, because she had the cake displayed for ages, everyone would have seen it intact, and it would have tasted great still. A courteous 10% refund, maybe, perhaps, if she asks nicely?? But again, depends on who is really to blame I guess.

 

I haven't really helped at all. Sorry this happened to you. Do you have a "before" photo for us to see? I bet it was great. 

-K8memphis Posted 17 Sep 2014 , 7:48pm
post #4 of 21

AI know everyone will chime in but I think if it melted in 30 minutes yeah that's a Houston we gotta problem --

but it *should* melt after 2 hours -- what was she thinking?

it's like a bride jumped in the lake in her wedding dress and tried to get a refund because it got muddy

idk -- judge Judy would not give her a dime imo

Gingerlocks Posted 17 Sep 2014 , 8:00pm
post #5 of 21

I feel bad for this woman, she must have paid a lot of money for that cake..but on the other hand that is one melted cake. I'm sure could see from much sooner than 2 hours that "hey the butter cream is getting a bit sagy". It didn't suddenly out of the blue melt, so I can't imagine why she didn't bring it in sooner?

 

She clearly saw it starting to melt and then did nothing for 2 hours; at which point she contacted you. 

easyaspie Posted 17 Sep 2014 , 8:29pm
post #6 of 21

UGH!  you think people would have common sense! but maybe people have never delt with a huge cake before.

but still.

outside on  a HOT day ? I don't think so..

even if I knew nothing about cakes, I know that in the heat I sweat, so it should be obvious that a CAKE made from SUGAR and all that would sweat /melt too.. jeez!

when I made my first rosette cake I kept reminding the costumer to have it chilled.

not necessarily refrigerated but not anywhere warm...

IF YOU CAN FEEL THE HEAT THE CAKE CAN TOO !!

that's like getting an ice sculpture on a hot day , and complaining because it melted because you left it outside.

people should know.... I just... can't deal with people sometimes lol !

 

I would be so upset if I did all of that work!

cakesbycathy Posted 18 Sep 2014 , 2:59am
post #7 of 21

What kind of instruction did you give when you delivered it?  Did you tell her it shouldn't be outside for more than an hour?

 

I'm not giving a refund.  She left a perishable item (made of butter, no less!) outside in 100 degree temperatures.  Really, what did she expect?  I would tell her you feel badly but you cannot be responsible for the weather or her decision to keep the cake outside for so long. 

bakernoob Posted 18 Sep 2014 , 5:29am
post #8 of 21

I'm not sure how this would be at all your fault or problem to fix. If I buy a carton of milk and leave it out and it spoils no one refunds my money for it. That's my mistake just as this is hers. I also agree that the fans just made it worse. Good Luck!!

AZCouture Posted 18 Sep 2014 , 7:12am
post #9 of 21

Yeaaaaah, this is one of those "No madam, I INSIST on delivering it no more than blah blah blah time before serving, and if you cannot follow my expert advice, I'm afraid I cannot help you." If I have good reason to suspect there could be a problem, I'm certainly not going to willingly walk into it. And in good faith, I'm also not going to throw a thousand disclaimers on it relieving me of responsibility when I know dang good and well the cake is going to melt, and only cause disappointment because the client is too much of a dumb dumb to listen to logic. So, I guess that doesn't help this time, but next time I would insist.

 

I just couldn't, in good conscience, know ahead of time that it was going to be a disaster, even if there wasn't any chance of being held responsible. Just doesn't feel right. :(

ellavanilla Posted 18 Sep 2014 , 4:08pm
post #10 of 21

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 
 

Yeaaaaah, this is one of those "No madam, I INSIST on delivering it no more than blah blah blah time before serving, and if you cannot follow my expert advice, I'm afraid I cannot help you." If I have good reason to suspect there could be a problem, I'm certainly not going to willingly walk into it. And in good faith, I'm also not going to throw a thousand disclaimers on it relieving me of responsibility when I know dang good and well the cake is going to melt, and only cause disappointment because the client is too much of a dumb dumb to listen to logic. So, I guess that doesn't help this time, but next time I would insist.

 

I just couldn't, in good conscience, know ahead of time that it was going to be a disaster, even if there wasn't any chance of being held responsible. Just doesn't feel right. :(

 

yeah, this is how I'm feeling right now...

kblickster Posted 18 Sep 2014 , 7:28pm
post #11 of 21

Sorry this happened to you ellavanilla.  I just did a wedding cake for a bride with an outdoor wedding.  I also attended and cut the cake.  I kept it cold in the box until just after the wedding.  Within 30 mins, I could see that the cake was melting.  I grabbed the coordinator and told her we couldn't wait much longer.  I used SPS in the cake and it was still cool on the inside and it held together, but nothing was going to stop it melting on the outside.  Fortunately, they cut the cake early and it still looked fine for the pictures.  There were lots of flowers on the front though.  If it had been a plain iced cake, the cake would have looked awful.  In the future, I'm just going to advise brides to go with fondant or at the very least, no butter icings for outdoor events.

costumeczar Posted 19 Sep 2014 , 12:38am
post #12 of 21

I won't do buttercream on outdoor cakes unless it's November, just for the melting reason. I had a bride try the fan thing too, and I had the same reaction that you did, what's the point of a fan blowing hot air across something? I don't think people know how fans work to cool things down.

 

Anyway, this is one of those situations where I think you should work with the customer because you both should have known better. She shouldn't get a full refund but you should have put your foot down on the delivery time at least. It's not as clear cut as "She should know that sugar melts" because even if she didn't, we do, so it's our job to point out the obvious to people and set limits.

 

But I think you know that, you're not an unreasonable person as far as I've ever seen, so I'm sorry this happened and good luck dealing with the customer :(

MKC Posted 19 Sep 2014 , 12:32pm
post #13 of 21

AI have a disclaimer that says cakes are to be kept at a temperature between 18 and 23 degrees. I insist on it during my appoitment with the client. it's clear to everyone and i've never had a problem. I also refuse to make buttercream cakes from May to September.

cai0311 Posted 19 Sep 2014 , 2:16pm
post #14 of 21

AI think some sort of refund is in order because according to your first post, you thought there might be a problem. Maybe you need to have two buttercream recipes so when a customer calls with this situation again you have a Plan B recipe.

I use Sharon Sugar Shack's buttercream recipe with high ratio shortening. It holds up to heat and humidity just fine.

julia1812 Posted 20 Sep 2014 , 6:04am
post #15 of 21

AWell, I am actually surprised. I live in the tropics and that kind of weather is normal (have actually problems on "colder" days when it rains heavily, but that's regarding sticky gum paste...). I never, never had a cake melting, even after many hours (in the shade though). But I also need to tell you that my buttercream is more shortening than butter! Maybe you can try substitute some butter for shortening next time... I give customers instructions where/ how to store the cake and never had a complain. Don't know what I would do if I were you. To me it sounds you had some doubts yourself about the butterceam. Maybe make a mini cake and see how long it takes to melt without fan. Then you'll find out who's mistake it was... Good luck anyway!

810whitechoc Posted 20 Sep 2014 , 11:58am
post #16 of 21

You have my sympathy, I'm going through the same thing right now.  The wedding is in 6 weeks time when it will be hot and humid here and I can't get through to the bride that she will not be able to have her cake outside for several hours without a potential disaster happening.  We have reached an uncomfortable impasse where she keeps saying it will be ok and I keep saying no it won't.  I'm sure she thinks I am being difficult and precious, I think she is looking at the beautiful weather we are having right now and picturing her garden wedding looking just like the staged ones in the wedding magazines.  In reality it is going to be stinking hot and all her guests are going to dressed in their best and will sit there melting in the heat along with the cake.

 

I'm not happy with just giving in to her with lots of disclaimers when I know where her reception is going to be and know what potentially is going to happen.  Hope you can negotiate some middle ground with your customer and chalk this one up to lesson learned.  I'm taking a breath before I send her another email.

-K8memphis Posted 20 Sep 2014 , 12:05pm
post #17 of 21

this is why i use the 'serve it on a barbeque grill at high noon' line -- some brides just don't want to get it and i'm ok selling cake guaranteed to the cake table -- float it on the pool -- done -- 'k bye see yah -- 

-K8memphis Posted 20 Sep 2014 , 12:25pm
post #18 of 21

i mean because they need to be shocked a little -- diplomatically shocked -- still get the money but make your point shocked :-D

810whitechoc Posted 21 Sep 2014 , 12:06am
post #19 of 21

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

i mean because they need to be shocked a little -- diplomatically shocked -- still get the money but make your point shocked :-D


Have sent a "diplomatically shocked" email, awaiting her reply :D

-K8memphis Posted 21 Sep 2014 , 12:08am
post #20 of 21

810whitechoc ..*:-)/\:-) high five 

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Sep 2014 , 2:12am
post #21 of 21

If the bride refuses to listen then I am returning her money and telling her she needs to find another decorator.  She's going to blame you when the cake melts, no matter how many times you tell her and no matter what you get her to sign.  Maybe that will shock her into listening...

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