Well, I've been cake decorating for 3 months and up until now all has been well but there was bound to be a cake disaster at some point. A customer is coming in 2 hours to pick up this fondant, single tier cake for her daughters 5th birthday. Two problems:
1) One of the 4 images that are on the side of the cake is rippled from the water because I didn't apply it properly. You can only tell if you are about 2 feet from the cake. The other images look great.
2) I woke up this morning to find a dreaded bulge at the back of the cake and a crack about 1 and 1/2 inches long. The bulge sticks out about 5 millimeters.
Question: How do I offer this customer a discount? What do I say? She will probably love it at first glance and I will have to point out the issues. I live in a small town and I am worried about my reputation as a cake decorator.
AWell, now it only an hour, but maybe this is a quick fix. The bulge is coming probably from too much too soft filling. The weight of the cake half(s) on top is squashing it out. Is you cake chilled? If not, try and smooth that area working very carefully from top to bottom and sides and wipe excess coming out at the bottom off. About the rip: Can you put a flower or something over it to cover it up? About the image: Maybe put a boarder or something around it to cover it up... I would not point out the mistakes to the customer. Normally we are anyway more critical to ourselves. Wait what she says. If nothing, keep quiet. If she's not happy offer 10% or so discount on the next order if possible. Otherwise cash refund if she insists. Good luck and please post what happened!
AAll I have to say is thank god for amazing and understanding customers. I pointed the flaws out right away and offered her a discount. She acknowledged them but said they didn't bother her and that her 5 year old would love it. She refused the discount at first but finally accepted a partial discount after I insisted. Phew! Time to celebrate the new year!
ADo you have a picture?
AWow, sounds like a good ending with everyone happy
The first picture is the original cake and then the fondant bow loops started to crack which was very disappointing (on top of everything else that was wrong!). So I removed the cracked loops and put a centerpiece in (sleeping beauty). Thanks God I had a sleeping beauty centerpiece lying around. That was a Godsend! next time I am going to prepare a bunch of extra loops, and give them more time to dry. 24 hours wasn't enough. The bulge is at the back of the cake with the fondant crack so it can't be seen in this picture. I ended up covering part of it with a polkadot.
ATry gumpaste for your bow next time.
Chin up storestore - It looks pretty good. Excellent piping on those words. Everyone is right - we are so more critical of our work than our customers are.
In the future.... use gumpaste for the bows or add tylose (or similar) to the fondant. Let dry 3-7 days at least before taking out your padding. The least amount of time you work on those bows too will help minimize cracking/drying out too early, so work quickly. Always make extras of everything for backup.
For the bulge - insert a hygenically clean pin into the bulge and gently press around the hole to release the air. Cover the pin-hole with a fondant decoration (like you did with the circle) or with the tiniest dot of fondant spackle.
Edible image wrinkles - cry but don't let the customer know!!!
It looks pretty nice to me, and I'd have never known any difference.....it's bright, cheerful, and perfect for kids.
AThanks guys! I will definitely use gum paste next time for the loops. Thanks for all of the other tips too!
Very, very nice looking birthday cake! You did a fabulous job with it!!
I'm not that familiar with edible images and how they are placed on cakes, so this is just my opinion. It seems that, in general, and not referring to storestore's sweet cake, these kinds of images need to have a finishing touch, perhaps a border around the perimeter/edge so the image blends in. What do you all think?
I agree Mimi, it looks a bit out of place. A border around straight cut edges would help.
Now being a bit naughty, I might even say that edible images should be used for family cakes, homemade, not for a custom cake someone is paying money for. Where is the good old fashion of hand painting an image??? Okay that was mean. But really, as a customer paying good money for a cake I would expect that...
No offense, storestore! Your cake looks very cute despite all the drama. And yes, people want amazing cakes for small money...unfortunately!!!
I can't paint. That's just the plain truth. I am a good crafter and a horrible painter. In fact, the funny thing is I am a musician first. I have a degree in Jazz piano, haha! Anyways... I grant that those edible images are terrible because they are on wafer paper (I live in a small town and ordered them not knowing they were on wafer paper). I try to use the edible images that are thin and peel like a sticker. They are seemless and beautiful when applied so I was quite disappointed to use these. Never again!
to me because of the criss crossing ribbons, each image looks like it's own sweet little vignette -- as for bow loops needing to be sturdier -- i use cornstarch it is cheaper than tylose and works like crazy -- use enough -- don't be afraid to knead in a few tablespoons for that size bow & ribbon --
if you can get your stuff in the slowest oven like 150 degrees or less for a few turns it will hasten the hardening -- even if you have a pilot light in there -- that will help crisp it up -- don't pick it up while it's hot/warm -- wait till it cools off completely --
kids like to eat 'the candy' so i try to remember to flavor my bows & things with raspberry and it's well received -- my husband and i like to eat the crispy chewy leftovers --
i can't paint either ;)