I am new to cake central but I have been a professional baker for over ten years. I became unable to work last year and decided this year to start a cake business from home. So I am new to business but not to baking. I am also new to decorating.
Everyone that's ever gotten a cake from me always reorders and loves my cakes. Everyone except one person, my aunt. I had extra chocolate cupcakes from an order and I gave them to her. She said they were not as moist as the box cake. Recently she ordered a cassada cake from me. In Cleveland a cassada cake is vanilla cake, pasry cream, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream. I asked her twice if that's what she meant, she said yes. She is used to the cassada cakes my dad makes, box cake with strawberry filling from a bag inbetween and bettercream. She complained about my price but I stuck to my guns on price and she ordered.
Well my dad called her today to chat about things and he asked her how the cake was and she said she didn't like it. She is the only person to have tried my cassada cake to not like it. I know this is a distortion but I feel like my business will fail. Like maybe tons of other people won't like it once I get out there more.
My mom says I should just not make her anymore cakes. Refer her to another bakery or the grocery store. I don't know what to do. What would you do and how do you handle the let down of a hard to please customer?
You simply cannot please everyone. Some like things sweeter or less, some like fluffier, some like denser, some like strong flavor, some like subtle. It's just not possible to please every palate. Let her go. She simply cannot be pleased. There are plenty of other people who like your baking, cater to them not the chronically unhappy.
Ok thanks for your reply. I will let her go.
She sounds like someone who likes to complain. Don't let her talk you into doing more stuff for her, because she'll probably be mad that you won't do more cakes for her even though she complains about them. Just tell her that you don't bake the kind of things that she likes and you want her to be happy so she needs to go somewhere else!
You are right costumeczar. She always kept complaining about my prices. I mean I use expensive ingredients. I think it's buyers remorse more than anything.
It's hard with a family member, but I agree with comments above, especially the sentence by costumeczar "I don't bake the type of things you like, and I want you to be happy..."
Two years after I started hobby baking, I did a blind taste test survey at my Cake Club. The 20 members present that evening were VERY experienced bakers and decorators and cake teachers and had seen and tasted a zillion cakes. [I also did a blind taste test with extended family and neighbors that ended up with similar results to the Cake Club survey.]
There was a list of 1 to 5 stars for each item (6 cake samples, 8 frosting samples, 6 filling samples). 1 star was poor, 3 stars was satisfactory, and 5 stars was excellent. It was fascinating to see the same sample range from 1 star to 5 stars, depending on the individual filling out the survey. That was the evening that I learned, "You can't please everyone all the time".
I ended up with a clear idea of the "most liked" items, but didn't have a single sample on which everyone agreed. The closest was the white chocolate ganache which garnered an average of 4 stars.
Recently I made a dark chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting. 10+ people (including me) thought this was the BEST CAKE & FROSTING EVER!!! I gave a serving to my niece and she almost gagged when she tasted the cream cheese chocolate frosting. She looked up and said plaintively, "What did you do to your wonderful chocolate frosting? This is icky." Again, you can't please everyone all the time...
Sorry your niece said that to you. Yes it's true you can't please everyone.
Just stick her on the "no cake for you" list and move on; anytime she asks you to do a cake, just tell here you are booked/busy or whatever. You don't have to tell her you refuse to do anymore cakes for her..just pretend you are booked up.
i think you should tell your dad that you're not going to bake for her anymore...so that he will relate that to her...
i'm so curious why your dad involved himself on your behalf -- i hope he told her it was the best cassada cake ever or at least the second best and that she needs her palate adjusted OR no offense but does your cake need a steroid shot--
please don't take any offense i can't read the tea leaves from here or any motives into anything i'm just asking -- is your dad trying to tell you something or is he backing you up -- interesting that he is a baker too --
just as an aside: my pop was a cook in the Navy and a home baker too -- he used to make my then 2-yr old cry every time he asked her if she wanted a cookie just because his voice was so gruff -- hahaha
I have a do not bake for list and I say I'm not available to make the cake for you. So if I'm not really booked I'm not lying I'm just not available for their order. After hearing that enough most people will move on. Family can be the hardest to please and in personal experience if there is even a small seed of jealousy not nice things can be said and done. Some people come with unrealistic expectations and even more unrealistic budgets which equals complaints and not being satisfied. For me personally just saying "I'm not available to do this cake for you" is the best way to avoid future incidents like this. And I wouldn't offer an explanation either. a red flag for me with customers is when they order the moon and stars and balk at the price it's usually a heads up that this order is potentially heading south. Thankfully we have booked the date before they paid their deposit so we couldn't take their order :)
also i understand that this can really bite a baker's ego but she is actively supporting your fledgling business -- she apparently paid more than she wanted and that's to her credit -- she didn't get on yelp and bad mouth you to the world -- y'know that i know of --
your dad was either checking up on you or on her idk -- but cupcakes can easily go dry if they are left out overnight or maybe she put them in the fridge -- how were they packaged -- i mean so far i don't see any reason to ban her as a customer -- she's eating your stuff and paying your price -- would be nice if she liked it too but she gets more points for getting stuff knowing it might not be her favorite --
maybe she knows something that will help your business -- idk -- she orders she pays -- what?
Some people just love to critique...usually negative...just because they can. It makes them think they are more important to the process than they really are. Sometimes it's jealousy. As long as she's not bad mouthing you to others you can just roll your eyes and move forward. I wouldn't necessarily cut her off, but you might ask her why she wants to order something if she hasn't been happy with what you've given her so far. If you are maintaining a good business and are getting reorders and positive feedback, then keep on doing what you're doing! Family...good grief!
It wasn't cupcakes I made it was a cassada cake and it was fresh. No my dad is not trying to tell me something he is just nosey. He always asks questions like that. In my culture if you make something for someone the person always calls to thank you even if they paid or always pays you a compliment. The fact that she didn't immediately tell him, "oh I loved the cake", probably tipped him off that she didn't like it. Also as I said I was a professional baker for ten years as my cakes are on point.
you said you gave her chocolates cupcakes and she purchased the cassada --
i am not at all doubting your baking ability -- but I certainly have a lot to learn after 40+ pro years and about 56 baking years all told --
another observation for you -- the cassada cake has to be refrigerated of course -- if a cake is made with butter it will not relax as much as a box mix cake when it comes back to room temp -- there are 10,000 worlds of difference between being a pro baker, and doing it yourself at home --
your aunt and your dad are non-negotiable relationships that you need to nurture and protect -- screw the cassada -- or make her one with the sauce she likes -- blow her socks off -- why not -- when my son, the chef would have us into his different fine dining places he would put the finishing touches on things adjusted exactly for our individual palates -- sweet!
in general not directed at you -- I don't understand the trigger happy banning of random relatives and no special treatment for grandmothers just for the sake of the mighty dollar and your schedule -- weird -- what does that teach our children about people being disposable -- no bueno -- flat line treatment for relatives will come back and bite/haunt you --
she may be a handful idk but she's supporting you -- the people who offer constructive criticism are the most important because they are few and far between -- they tell you exactly how to get even better--
best to you
It's possible she is either the kind of person who just likes to complain or she just doesn't care for your baking. Either way, I would stop baking for her. Next time she asks for something I would say that the last couple of times you made something for her she wasn't really happy with it so you think it's best for your relationship if she finds someone else.