Wedding Cupcake Miscommunication

Decorating By simply cupcakes Updated 14 Dec 2014 , 4:13am by maybenot

simply cupcakes Posted 8 Dec 2014 , 8:22am
post #1 of 11

AI run a home based cake making business. I am based in the UK. a few months ago I had a request from a bride to make 100 black cupcakes for her wedding. She provided the wrappers and black food colouring paste and also black and white photo toppers of the couple as she asked it this would bring the costs down so I deducted this from the bill.

Yesterday was her wedding day and there seems to be a massive miscommunication somewhere along the lines. Saturday I baked all 100 cupcakes and whilst I was waiting for them to cool I text her and asked if she was sure she wanted them all black buttercream or if she would prefer black and white or black and grey. She texted back and said 50 black 50 grey would be ace. I then had another text asking where the buttercream was going. This should of really set off alarm bells. I told her the buttercream would be going on top of each cupcake. No further response.

As the wedding is out of town she came to collect them late Saturday evening They looked stunning and really complimented her wedding theme. She seemed a bit off when collecting but said she liked them.

Two hours later I receive a text from her saying how dissapointed she is with the cakes and how they are not as disscused as the cakes are white.

I didn't understand where she was coming from so I tried to call but she didn't answer then text to say I have wrecked her wedding.

After a while of toing and froing it transpires what the bride in her head has ordered is 50 black and 50 grey sponge cupcakes as in no buttercream frosting. Where I was suppose to put the picture toppers is still a mystery.

She has seen hundreds of images of my work and I have never produced a nude cupcake. Always have frosting on them.

She has not given me time to rectify the issue. Not that I would as I am not having my name associated with what she thinks she has ordered. Not would I let black sponges out to be eaten as they will taste horrendous but they have so much colour in them can you imagine the additives.

She is now asking for a full refund as I have "screwed up her order" what do I do? I'm my head she has received what she has ordered.

If you guys ordered a black & grey cupcake how would you interoperate that? What she thinks or what I have made her.

10 replies
bubs1stbirthday Posted 8 Dec 2014 , 8:42am
post #2 of 11

If I ordered black cupcakes I would expect black cupcakes... not white cupcakes in black wrappers with black icing. That being said - who is she kidding that when people unwrapped their cupcakes and found a white cupcake that her wedding was ruined?

 

I would also expect that the cupcake icing colour and the cupcake colour would be clarified as a part of the ordering process. I think that she is overreacting but I also think that as the business you are responsible for making sure the order is understood correctly by both parties. I would think that she was an idiot though if she thought they would have no icing on them at all.

 

You can dye chocolate cake black and it tastes fine still - I made my husband a red and black cake and it tasted like chocolate cake still. I just upped the cocoa and used a dark one so the mix was dark to start with. I wouldn't like to do that to a sponge though, ick.

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 8 Dec 2014 , 10:57am
post #3 of 11

Without having been specially told/asked that I wanted the sponge to be black, i would have assumed that they wanted black decorations and wrappers...on the rare occasion I have mentioned coloring sponges, most people are usually very surprised and didn't know it was possible!  i would personally consider the 'description' of the cupcake to be the outisde and the sponge to be flavoured/filled as appropriate.

 

Whenever I do an order, I always have a doodle of the design and arrows pointing to anything as well as notes around it to say (in this case) 'black coloured sponge'.  The bride is required to sign it on her order form.  If it is not there, it does not get done - maybe something to add into your process?

 

In terms of what you can do now, i would probably give her a partial refund because it is kindof your job to make sure everything is clear and ask the right questions but, at the same time, if the bride saw them in advance and was unhappy, then she should have told you there and then when you had the chance to do something.  I am assuming that they served the cupcakes so the cake was eaten?  You may also point out that a vanilla sponge coloured black would be VILE!!!

 

Hope it works out OK x

-K8memphis Posted 8 Dec 2014 , 2:13pm
post #4 of 11

Aif she didn't want buttercream she should have said that when you brought it up -- and yes what gets colored black is something that should have been made clear from the get go by both of you -- not that you had to fulfill the request but that you should have narrowed that down --

for future you can get black cocoa that makes a delicious black cake without black food color -- king arthur flour company carries it here in the u.s. -- don't know where to get it across the pond -- but if it ever comes up again --

as for the resolution -- i mean why didn't you ask her when she ordered -- it's an obvious cake 101 question -- if you can't poke any holes in her story like the buttercream thing when you brought that up in advance -- why didn't she balk at that point if she didn't want buttercream -- but otherwise i think up to 50% refund is in order -- y'know try to appease her with less but that's a big screw up --

sorry this happened

bubs1stbirthday Posted 8 Dec 2014 , 10:42pm
post #5 of 11

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 


for future you can get black cocoa that makes a delicious black cake without black food color -- king arthur flour company carries it here in the u.s. -- don't know where to get it across the pond -- but if it ever comes up again --
 

Thanks for that info - I will have a look around and see if we have that in Aus. That would be a great product to have on hand. Do they dye the cocoa somehow or is it naturally black?

 

Thanks Kate.

Magic Mouthfuls Posted 8 Dec 2014 , 11:13pm
post #6 of 11

I agree with you - who orders a naked cupcake? That would be considered a different product surely - a patty cake, madeline or muffin - not a cupcake.  But I also agree that communication was poor - but on both parts.  

 

For all my orders, (even those done over the phone) there is written communication via email confirming all the details:  quantity, cupcake/cake flavour, filled with [smbc, ganach, compotes flavour/colour etc], and decorated with [flavour/colour of buttercream, fondant, etc with [embellishment, final decor, wording etc] presented in [x colour/style] wrapper or board or pedestal, delivery details, day/date/time required etc etc etc.

 

All of these details are then repeated on my invoice, which is also emailed.  My customers have 2 chances to notify of any details that are not correct or they want changed.  

   

As for the batter part of the cupcake/cake, in Australia we always talk cupcake 'flavours' - I know the USA talk colours (like white cake, yellow cake) but do the UK?    We use flavours as the descriptor - vanilla sponge vs chocolate sponge, carrot cake, raspberry buttercake etc - they give a good indicator of what you are getting. Artifically coloured batters would get an extra description - "vanilla buttercake dyed in rainbow colours".

 

So, to avoid anything like this happening again - have every detail written in black and white - and have the customer confirm it as correct.

 

As for black and grey batter in cupcakes - I guarantee that no guest would bite into a grey cupcake and have their brain say this will be totally yum. Like blue, it is not a naturally occurring colour on our food spectrum, so the eyes tell the brain to reject it before the tastebuds say its ok.   So your bride's order would have ruined her wedding day far more than your misinterpretation of it.  The customer is not always right, and some need a bit of guidance.  If she chose not to serve her cupcakes because the colours were wrong, then she is entitled to a some sort of refund and she can returned them.  If she chose to serve them, then she is entitled to a bunch of flowers as a 'sorry we misinterpreted your order' apology gift only.

 

And as a side note for every baker out there who doesn't already know..... lots of black food colouring (therefore black icing, black batters) creates green poo for all who eat it (including dogs) - and that is either frightening or hilarious.     Sorry if I sound crass - not meant to be - just educating.  

 

I had a large order for black and white cupakes once - they looked stunning - my family ate the spares and discovered the results the next day.  When I picked up the cupcake tower from the customer a few days later I hinted politely at such, and she confirmed also - said her dog ate a dropped cupcake and when he left his business on the grass later, all the family squealed with laughter.  

-K8memphis Posted 9 Dec 2014 , 12:38am
post #7 of 11

Quote:

Originally Posted by bubs1stbirthday 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis 


for future you can get black cocoa that makes a delicious black cake without black food color -- king arthur flour company carries it here in the u.s. -- don't know where to get it across the pond -- but if it ever comes up again --
 

Thanks for that info - I will have a look around and see if we have that in Aus. That would be a great product to have on hand. Do they dye the cocoa somehow or is it naturally black?

 

Thanks Kate.

 

 

the ingredients say it's "black cocoa processed with alkili" -- doesn't say anything about food color -- tastes great -- no green poo issues -- 

 

and it's true in america we used colors to describe white and yellow cake but it kind of stops there -- cake batter can be any color/flavor -- and strawberry cake is not called pink cake and chocolate cake is not brown cake -- pound cake is not named a certain color neither butter pecan cake, rum cake, angel food cake, carrot cake etc.

 

determining flavors and colors is part of taking the order -- not communicating that there needs to be fondant or buttercream to adhere the picture topper onto as op said is a "massive miscommunication" unfortunately

bubs1stbirthday Posted 9 Dec 2014 , 1:19am
post #8 of 11

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

 

 

the ingredients say it's "black cocoa processed with alkili" -- doesn't say anything about food color -- tastes great -- no green poo issues -- 

 

 

Haha - oh great, I am glad you cleared that one up for me lol. I looked it up and it seems that the processing of the cocoa powder is what makes it so black. It also says that the taste is really mellow, with no bitterness. Will have a squiz round the shops next time I am in town.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Dec 2014 , 1:30am
post #9 of 11

Ai only know of it available commercially in a huge quantity or by mail order -- so good luck with your squizzing -- what an adorable word -- squiz to a gourmet ingredient store :)

bubs1stbirthday Posted 9 Dec 2014 , 2:06am
post #10 of 11

Lol - must be  weird aussie slang word - means to have a look. :-)

 

Have a great day and thanks for the info.

maybenot Posted 14 Dec 2014 , 4:13am
post #11 of 11

She had the opportunity to discuss it with you at pick up--and to choose, at that time--to not take them.  She didn't avail herself of that opportunity. 

 

No refund, no remorse. 

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