Hi Lola.... I'm not in this line of business (although if I had a do-over in life, I'd probably be doing cakes), but I have been trying to keep up with this thread. So everyone can just take my thoughts for whatever it's worth.
First, I think it is a lovely cake overall! Very pretty. Elegant!
However, if I made it for you, I would feel inclined to acknowledge and apologize for some of the things you pointed out. The patch job in my opinion was not good and I think someone may have tried to fix it without having time to do a better job of it. Also, that mark right in the middle of the top ruffle of the top tier... it is very noticeable (to me). I would not be happy to see that on my wedding cake. On the other hand, I don't think that the little marks/indentations in the fondant are really that noticeable. What I mean is that I don't think that most guests would pick up on it. The smudge seems like it might be a fingerprint. That could have happened during set up and may have been unnoticed by the person delivering the cake.
I'm sorry for how you feel about this special cake. Like I said, overall it presents itself lovely. And I hope you can take that to heart; it is a beautiful cake. I also understand how you feel about expecting the decorator to have acknowledged ahead of time some of things that are oh so obvious. In my opinion, I think that he/she didn't say something because they may have been afraid that admitting to and apologizing for the flaws up front would not be acceptable to you. Or! Maybe they didn't want to upset you on the wedding day by pointing out flaws in the cake. Or! Maybe they felt like you might be someone for whom these things would not matter, and maybe you wouldn't notice them.
Anyway, I know that things in life aren't perfect. And I'm sorry that this cake fell short of your expectations, especially with the decorator not being upfront with you without you reaching out to them about it first. Because that seems to be a big issue for you, that they weren't forthcoming with you. Also, I know that you posted here asking what refund could be applicable. I wish I could offer a suggestion, but I am not a cake business and this appears to be a contract fulfillment issue. Based on what the others have said, maybe money back isn't what is warranted.
However, if I made the cake for you, and you pointed out the things that you did to us, I would feel the need to try to make you feel better. (That's just how I am.) I think I would offer you an 8-inch anniversary cake, or two dozen cupcakes for an upcoming occasion. (Decorations limited, of course.)
I am truly sorry you feel the way you do. I hope that you can come to a place where you will look at the cake and see all the loveliness that is there.
Wishing you all the best! (((Hugs)))
Quote by @woozy on 4 hours ago
This has nothing to do with a loose thread, that could be snipped off, or with perfection. It's turned into a bunch of sympthetic apologists for bad craft.
Yea so I see the point that I was trying to make went right over your head. I am simply stating, no matter how much you pay for something, NOTHING is perfect, and some things happening are completely out of our control. Now to quote @SandraSmiley "Attitudes likes yours and Lola077's are the reason I do not make cakes for a living" I agree with her, here you (the baker) are doing all this work to help make someone's day special, just to be completely bashed for it and not an ounce of appreciation. That alone can kill a person's dreams and aspirations, it can also prevent other bakers from wanting to work with you. But hey what do I know, I do this for a hobby, not a living.
It was the vendor's responsibility to make sure the cake was perfect before the handover.
I doubt any contract or baker said or used the word "perfect". I am quite a decent decorator, but would NEVER call one of my cakes "perfect". Perfection is unreasonable standard UNLESS you paid an exorbitant price. Top of the line, premium price...like more than $25/ serving like the premium artists charge. Then, and only then, can you demand and expect "perfect".
For woozy to call it excuses for "bad craft" is also unfair. There is a standard, and a "bar" set at every price point. There is NO way EVERY caker/baker will make cakes to the level and standard of perfection of Sylvia Weinstock Cakes. And, not every bride can afford it.
We asked about price, as that IS
relative. Just like the caterer that charges $13/ head or the one that
charges $175/ head. BIG difference in the standards and expectations,
This is about VALUE. That cake is very nice, not perfect but very nice. To evaluate it properly, the price factor or at least scale (low end of price range, mid-rage of price range or high end of price range) is important. Did the bride get VALUE for her $$$$$? Again, perfection is a standard at the super premium high end.
I work as a mystery shopper. I have to evaluate to the given standard or level. A restaurant with $10 diners is not evaluated in the same way or standards as the ones with $100 plates (sides extra). Can you imagine complaining at Applebee's that your chair was not pulled out, you were not greeted with "Good evening...." and your napkin wasn't removed and replaced with a clean one when you went to the restroom?
this cake on the high end of the mid-range level in quality and skill,
in spite of the flaws. If the bride paid in the range, or lower, she got
VALUE for the money. If she paid super high end premium price, then no,
she did not.
I agree that the decorator would have been best to report the torn fondant and the subsequent poor patching on the cake and the fingerprints/smudges if they were responsible for them BUT it definitely does matter if you paid a fair price for someone with experience or low end for someone who was not very experienced.
I think the overall cake looked good for what it was (I personally don't like the cake at all), yes flaws and all but understand some of your disappointment.
As you are avoiding the price question and the cake is sitting on what looks like an unfinished board I am going to assume you paid low end and got what you paid for. We would all be interested to know.
Instead of posting here maybe you could speak to the decorator and work it out between you.
Perfect is pretty rare in the cake world, and often the cakes that are perfect are the non-edible ones made for competitions or magazine shoots, which often have been worked on for more hours than a real cake would stay fresh. Most decorators won't even promise that they can match a cake they've made in the past perfectly.
Even Duff Goldman has said that "every cake has a back side", and has talked about adding a random flower or decoration to cover up an imperfection. A simple design makes disguising any imperfections pretty much impossible, and that's one of the hazards of that sort of design.
i wish that you, lola, would see and appreciate the beauty that is most of your cake -- yes there are some issues, but your focus is only the issues, the non perfection, your unfulfilled expectation, etc. etc. --
there's no question in your mind that you should get a refund, the big question is, "how much"
you've declared the decorator lacking in character and not honest for not apologizing and verbally owning the flaws -- i'm not sure what that looks like --
y'know if you could maybe view this from a bit different perspective where you can appreciate the effort -- for example i bet it tasted great -- the decorator could maybe bake you a delicious pie or a dozen cupcakes and cookies for the missteps --
I think the overall cake looks great! I don't work with fondant, but it looks like it is quite a bit of work!
Why would a non-baker/decorator be on CakeCentral? Just wandered here from the motorcycle forum? What a weird and silly assumption.
I looked at that cake on my IMAC screen, where I can see it in real-size, and a few of the flaws are absolurely gross and can't be defended. That ruffle is careless and trashy.
A lot of you sound like you're defending yourself, (which, in a way, you are) and a lot of it is not very nice.
Sometimes the cakes we make fall short. Way short. It happens.
I made a cake last year that was a huge disappointment to me. It was for my sweet niece's 7th birthday. It was a mermaid doll cake. I was excited to make it (I've done several doll cakes before), but my best efforts, I could not execute the mermaid body on the outside of the cake the way I wanted and envisioned. I tried multiple times. I was very disappointed with myself (and I tend to be very hard on myself). However, I owned it. That doesn't mean that I proudly presented it. I brought it and told my sister-in-law that I tried my best and wanted it to be better. (I always want and wish for all of my cakes to "be better".) Anyway, she said she was thrilled with what I did and the birthday guests seemed so, too. (Many were my niece's classmates and their mom's.)
Granted, maybe that's not the best way to deal with a paying customer in a professional setting, to be pointing out every flaw. But my point is that doing cakes for a business, to me, doesn't mean that everything is perfectly acceptable, no matter how we do it, just because we made it.
I really do like Lola's cake. The fondant covering is very nice (with the exception of the "dings" in the side that Lola showed us). But I do think that the decorator had a couple big "off" moments. Especially since you can see one of the flaws on the ruffle on the top tier. Someone here had mentioned that the simple designs are often the hardest to execute. I agree. Because the little flaws that one might not otherwise notice, are suddenly hugely noticeable. And on a simple design like Lola's, you can't just cover the flaw with a flower.
To me, being in the cake business does not mean that we can never make a mistake that we should own up to, whether it be in the decoration, cake itself or structural integrity of the tiers/design. Sometimes these things happen, even though we are competent and capable bakers/decorators/shop owners. In my opinion, when this happens, we need to own it and do what we can to make things right. Learn from the mistake and do what you can so that it doesn't happen again. And then again, there are some clients (and NOTE! I am NOT saying this is Lola!!!) for whom no matter what we do they will never be satisfied. But I think it's reasonable to expect that even professional cake bakers can have a problem cake (versus problem customer). It happens. It doesn't make us feel good, of course, but we can dust ourselves off, learn from it and get past it. And hopefully soon enough we'll be back in our groove.
In my opinion, based on the information provided by Lola, we really cannot accurately assist her because there are elements and details that we do not know. We can only speculate, based on the photos she provided.
another facet of this cake is that a lot of the booboos probably happened after it was finished --
lola stated, "...most probably the bottom layer was torn" in post #1--
so woozy, i get that it seems we are circling the wagons and we are to some extent -- i wish lola had appreciated the workmanship along with the legitimate complaints --
so maybe this cake was a rescue? it's definitely endearing to a lot of us -- it's a really difficult design to execute -- and most of it is awesome -- so if someone went to the jaws of death (just being dramatic) to redo it after some catastrophe -- well all the more kudos to them --
another random thought is that awful ruffle thingy -- at the least it fills in the silhouette of the ruffles so that from every distance except right up close you don't notice it -- maybe -- i don't know exactly where it was located... -- i can't think of any other reason to put it there --
like maybe the decorator got called away and her daughter or someone pulled it out of the fire? maybe there really was a fire and that's how the thing got dirty???
and like tc123 said without more info it's hard to determine a remedy -- i think lola maybe did not pay a premium price or she would have said?
more questions than conclusions but i still think a juicy pie would fix it --
and -- come to think of it -- if there was a cake rescue that would explain why the caker would not own the issues because it was an accident?
The fact that lola is still not saying how much she paid for it, pretty much tells me how much she paid for it.
Just a thought ...could it be that maybe the venue people or caterers damaged the cake and then tried to fix it? Someone who could make a cake like this more than likely would have done a better job making repairs. Could that be why the baker wasn't up front about the flaws? Have you even spoken with the baker about it?
Hi jgifford... Lola mentioned in some of her early posts that no one was in the presence of the cake after set up. She also mentioned that the cake vendor owned up to the errors only after it was brought to their attention.
Lola hasn't been back to discuss it further with us, though. She bowed out of the conversation a few days ago. But maybe she's gaining some help and insight if she's still reading our posts.
Am I the only one that's noticed, Lola NEVER said "my cake" or "my wedding" nor did she say how much should "I" get back. Everything you (Lola) have said so far has be generalized, you didn't even say you called the baker, you said the baker was "called out" about it...So it's probably safe to assume the cake was not Lola's?? Could that be why no price has been mentioned? If I'm wrong, I apologize, but you haven't taken any ownership for this cake.
yes, acupoftea -- i noticed that she never appreciated her cake -- i was on the verge of making your observation -- i was on your wave length --
ok big guess here -- is this maybe the decorator's dummy practice cake that sat around for a while & got a little damaged? my apologies to the decorator but this is just becoming a nancy drew mystery and that's my latest guess
If it was not "her" cake, she would not have been so defensive about it. IMHO. And she created the profile, created this thread, and left.
Like Lauren said above, she responded to many questions but not about price. As with many quality issues, price is certainly a factor.
I just didn't see her beating up some cake baker who charged her $300 and have Lola return to demand a full refund. <sigh>.
This is exactly why I opted to remain a hobby baker. Hours and hours of labour just to get haggled over imperfections, which, by the way, EVERY cake has.
Also, the cake is shiny so it was perhaps freshly removed from the fridge when the pic was taken. Shine enhances imperfections. If the decorator intentionally made the cake shiny, then that was the biggest error as it highlighted minor issues.
The bubbles stand out the most to me, but otherwise, it really is a fine cake. I went to a wedding once where the fondant was literally sagging off the top tier onto the tier below - THAT was ridiculous, this is nitpicking.
but it really could fit exactly into a seasoned dummy cake -- that's what's so perplexing -- at one time it was a nearly perfect creation then it got dinged and marred in differing weird ways -- plus the fact of our mia op never owning her cake like acupoftea pointed out -- never appreciating the workmanship despite the booboos -- idk i love a mystery but i like conclusions too