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Cake Drama

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
This is not about a cake I made, it's about a cake I bought. I had been in contact with a local woman who had a really legitimate looking website and had rave reviews posted by "clients" as well as pictures of stunning cakes. I needed a cake for the baby shower I was throwing for my brother's girlfriend and she said she'd be happy to make it. When I asked about a taste test she told me that her flavors were listed on the website. I didn't want to try anything out of the ordinary with no tasting so I went with chocolate and white cake figuring that no baker would ruin that. Right? Well, the day of the shower comes and she shows up to drop off the cake. She had said it would serve 65-70 people and there was NO WAY that would happen unless I cut each piece an inch wide. Then I took a closer look at the cake, there was white powder all over the fondant, the fondant was wrinkled in a few places and even ripped in the back, and the bows looked like a five year old had made them. I just let it go and waited until cutting time, I took it back in the kitchen and used the chart she had given me to cut it. We didn't have enough for all 50 of the guests, let alone the 65-70 she'd sworn it would feed. I took a tiny piece of chocolate to taste it and literally gagged when I put it in my mouth. It tasted like a sponge dipped in cocoa powder. Literally, it was that gross. Everyone was eating it and making faces but they were polite enough not to criticize. Basically, I paid $160 for a cake that was completely disgusting and very disappointing. I didn't complain to her because I'm just a really non-confrontational person but my husband was livid. That experience was actually the reason I am on this site. My husband is buying me the stuff I need to get started and I am taking the Wilton beginners course in 2 weeks. I don't plan to open a bakery but I will be making the cakes for any future party I throw if I can learn the techniques. I have been pouring over the recipes and information on here and watching youtube tutorials for days so that I will be relatively prepared. I would much rather spend a couple hundred dollars on materials that I can use over and over than to pay that much for a nasty, unattractive cake. **Sorry for the rant.
post #2 of 15
Just out of curiosity, how big was the cake? I.e. how many tiers and how large was each tier?? Further, did this baker advertise as a "scratch baker?" And, BTW the white stuff all over the fondant was one of two things: corn starch or powdered sugar, depending on which one she prefers to use to roll out her fondant to keep it from sticking. And, you are right, it SHOULDN'T have made it to you still on the cake, most of us brush it off or steam our cakes lightly to get rid of it. Maybe she got in a hurry or just didn't see it.
post #3 of 15
Actually 1" wide (by 2" long by 4" tall) IS the standard cake slice. Cutting 1" wide was the way you were supposed to cut it.
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Actually 1" wide (by 2" long by 4" tall) IS the standard cake slice. Cutting 1" wide was the way you were supposed to cut it.



Thats what I thought. The slices are not the normal birthday cake wedge slice that one would normally be used to cutting.

Ie this:

http://www.charlottegeary.com/images/2010/12/weddingideas0198.jpg

not this

http://cakesimages.com/wp-content/plugins/WPRobot3/images/86948_cake_3331891262_f2057c8031.jpg

Edited to add: if you take a Wilton's class, then you'll prob be alerted to this at some point: http://www.wilton.com/cakes/cake-cutting-guides/wedding-cake-cutting-guide.cfm
A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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post #5 of 15
Wow, $160 for 70 servings fondant cake and delivery included, that's cheap. Maybe that could give you a hint about the quality of the cake you can expect but I don't know prices in your area. Sure, that doesn't mean that the cake should be disgusting and ugly.

Good looking website doesn't mean good looking and great tasting cakes, unfortunately. Who knows if the photos there were really photos of her work. Doubt it.
Paula
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Paula
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post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
I used the chart she had given me on the top tier but had to cut smaller pieces because there just wasn't enough. I definitely wasn't cutting "birthday cake" sized pieces though. She was VERY sweet and I didn't want to hurt her feelings so I just kept my frustration to myself. I DID give her money to cover her gas because with prices being the way they are, I didn't want to put her out at all. The price would have been amazing if I had received what was advertised. That was the reason I chose her because the pictures she posted that were supposed to be her work were amazing and her prices were unbeatable. My issue is definitely not with the price, just with not receiving what I had been led to believe I would receive. The tiers were small, I'm not sure exactly what size but it was 3 tier and the largest tier was about the size of the middle tier on my wedding cake. She definitely could have been having a bad day and it could have been completely out of character, I just felt that what I had been promised and what I received were not the same things and that was basically the point. I was just searching for a picture to upload of it but apparently neither my mom or sister took one and I was busy running around trying to get everything ready. Either way, what I took away from the situation is that if I am going to pay for something that I could HOPEFULLY figure out how to do (probably not on a professional level or anywhere near the talent on here) it just makes more sense to do it myself.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
I used the chart she had given me on the top tier but had to cut smaller pieces because there just wasn't enough. I definitely wasn't cutting "birthday cake" sized pieces though. She was VERY sweet and I didn't want to hurt her feelings so I just kept my frustration to myself. I DID give her money to cover her gas because with prices being the way they are, I didn't want to put her out at all. The price would have been amazing if I had received what was advertised. That was the reason I chose her because the pictures she posted that were supposed to be her work were amazing and her prices were unbeatable. My issue is definitely not with the price, just with not receiving what I had been led to believe I would receive. The tiers were small, I'm not sure exactly what size but it was 3 tier and the largest tier was about the size of the middle tier on my wedding cake. She definitely could have been having a bad day and it could have been completely out of character, I just felt that what I had been promised and what I received were not the same things and that was basically the point. I was just searching for a picture to upload of it but apparently neither my mom or sister took one and I was busy running around trying to get everything ready. Either way, what I took away from the situation is that if I am going to pay for something that I could HOPEFULLY figure out how to do (probably not on a professional level or anywhere near the talent on here) it just makes more sense to do it myself.
post #8 of 15
Assuming said cake was a 6-8-10 or a 5-8-11, you were covered with servings. Sorry this happened to you, but I wouldn't be so lenient if I were you. When people don't speak up, it's assumed the decorator did a good job. Maybe she'll keep producing mediocre products until someone who does speak up, jolts her into reality. By that time,she's had so many sweet little encouraging words from well meaning friends and "fans" that she probably won't think she needs to work on anything.

If the cake looked and tasted as bad as you say, you need to speak up. It won't hurt anyone, and will end up helping her, if she's open to the criticism.
*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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post #9 of 15
And that's nice that she was VERY sweet. That should have no bearing on your satisfaction as a paying customer, regardless of how little you paid.
*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
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post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Assuming said cake was a 6-8-10 or a 5-8-11, you were covered with servings. Sorry this happened to you, but I wouldn't be so lenient if I were you. When people don't speak up, it's assumed the decorator did a good job. Maybe she'll keep producing mediocre products until someone who does speak up, jolts her into reality. By that time,she's had so many sweet little encouraging words from well meaning friends and "fans" that she probably won't think she needs to work on anything.

If the cake looked and tasted as bad as you say, you need to speak up. It won't hurt anyone, and will end up helping her, if she's open to the criticism.



Was gonna say this. Beat me to it. icon_smile.gif
post #11 of 15
I feel badly for what happened to you. Maybe you should drop her a private email discussing the problem. You don't even have to be confrontational or request a refund. Just let her know how you feel. Now, for making cakes for yourself from now on, it is a fun thing! However, I have had people who make cakes come to me to make one for them if they are hosting the party because cakes making/decorating is TIME CONSUMING! The first cake I made was for my youngest daughter's birthday. It's not great looking but it tasted good! I spent so much time on it that I didn't enjoy the party that much because I was so tired! That is something to think about. I started doing cakes because my children asked me to after my mom (who did all of the kid's cakes) passed away. I took one Wilton course and was frustrated because my instructor didn't answer my questions. Once I looked into things on my own, I was HOOKED! Now, on another note, I have been a childcare provider for over 16 years. I can not tell you how many people I helped start a daycare over the years because they thought that it would save them money and "how hard can it be????". Out of 10 of them, only one made it past 2 years. It is not for everyone and if you are not in it because you love it, it will not be a good fit. If it is not a good fit, it will not be fun. Does that make sense? This is a great site to learn from but do it for yourself or for the love of your craft. Not because you feel that you have to. Cake "things" and ingredients are rather costly and you could end up spending more in the long run. Just a thought. Best wishes to whatever you decide, but IMO, I think you should tell your baker.
post #12 of 15
I can see you getting addicted to this very quickly, if you have any love for it at all. Best of luck and we're all here for you!
Marianna
"I know my own mind...and it's around here somewhere!"
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Marianna
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post #13 of 15
Please don't take this the wrong way because I really don't mean it in a bad way but as a new baker myself I think you owe the baker the feedback. I know I have to beg for feedback good and bad from those I make cakes for because I want to be a better baker not just an okay baker. Additionally, caking can be very fun and very rewarding but it can also be very time consuming and heart breaking. If you want to do it because you think you can do better for way less money then you are doing it for all the wrong reasons and you will only learn to resent the craft. But if you want to do it because it looks like fun and is something you think you would enjoy doing then by all means jump right in. Just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons because caking is a costly hobby (both in money and emotion/time). I coach new runners as my other hobby and it's funny how many people first start and get disappointed because they thought they'd be better at it or faster because they workout 7 days a week or whatever and it looks so easy but it's not. I run and cake because I love it, I do both in the best of times and the worst of times. There are nights/mornings I have been up until 3am redoing a detail or recovering a cake yet AGAIN because something went wrong but I continue to do it because I love it. There are times I have had to deliver less than my best humbly knowing that I could do better the next time. I love seeing someone's face the first time I deliver a cake or hearing how wonderful a cake tasted. On the flip side I also love to hear if something didn't go right so I know where to hone my skills. Okay this was my rather lengthy way of saying please make sure your heart is in the right place because trust me, doing cakes will cost you far more than you spent for that cake. Okay climbing off my soapbox now, perhaps I'm just a little too in love with the craft. icon_redface.gif
I still have a long way to go in the skills department but each day is a new adventure!
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I still have a long way to go in the skills department but each day is a new adventure!
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post #14 of 15
I agree with everyone who said you owe this cake decorator some feedback. Not everyone notices their own mishaps and not everyone has the same taste (the chocolate layer may have tasted "heavily" to her, but YOU are the client and it had to taste great to you). Knock-on-wood, I got very good feedback on the taste of my cakes so far so I haven't had to do much "tweaking" when it comes to recipes. But I know I have a loooooooong way to go when it comes to fondant decorating skills, flower making, embossing etc. No matter how nice people are to me and how "cute" they may think my cake look, as a perfectionist, I know what I know. But again - not everyone is like that that and you must tell this decorator about the issues. You can do it in a nice way, but your feedback will do a better service to her future customers than your silence. Best of luck! icon_smile.gif
post #15 of 15
I'm sorry this happened to you. I think you should check the bakers pretty website and see if she posted a picture of this cake. If not then maybe she knows it isn't great. Also if the cake you received is drastically different in decorating quality than the ones she has posted on her site, you know they are not her cakes. She has stolen the photos from other more talented decorators. I hate that! I only post what I have done, not someone else who is more talented than me. I would leave a comment on her website if possible about your experience. Other potential customers have the right to know that not all her customers are satisfied ones.

Anyhow, good luck on your cake decorating adventure. It is harder and more work than it looks. Watching experts make flowers or do other techniques on YouTube is always a little odd. You say hey that is easy, no problem, easy as pie, LOL icon_smile.gif and then you try it and realize how not simple it really is. They just make it look easy, and you want to pull your hair out LOL icon_smile.gif But have fun with it.

Good Luck and Welcome to Cake Decorating!

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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