My First Non_Happy Customer! What To Do?

Decorating By Ritakk Updated 23 May 2011 , 10:21pm by andpotts

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Ritakk Posted 19 May 2011 , 2:29pm
post #1 of 27

My older neighbor lady asked me to make a Toy Story Birthday Cake (in my photos) for her great grandsons 4th birthday. No problem other than she only gave me a couple days notice! She wanted White or Yellow Cake and had to have the 3 TS characters, which I spent hours on painting the fondant characters! I only charged her 40.00 (11x15) because she is a good friend and neighbor, but when I called her yesterday to ask how the cake was and if it fed everyone, she hesitantly said that no one would eat it, that it was not cooked thouroughly! I said "What"? I said where at, in the middle or all over, she said "all over", I tried to explain to her that it was a moist and dense cake recipe (WASC) and was suppose to be moist, and she said "well, you put too much of something in it, cuz it was like undercooked". I appreciate her honestly, but really, do people think that an uncooked cake would stand and be decorated with BC without falling in? Geesh! I really don't know what to do, the only other thing I did to the WASC recipe here on CC was instead of just water I added some peach nectar into the 2 2/3 cup of water that it called for. I checked the cake with my tester and it was done.... I guess if people want a sponge cake or a very dry cake, then they need to say so???? I'm really disappointed in her comments, because so many people love my WASC cake! icon_sad.gif I guess my question is should I change my ingredients due to one dissatisfied customer, or keep it the same? Thanks for letting me vent...

26 replies
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jo3d33 Posted 19 May 2011 , 2:57pm
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Im sorry. That is no fun. The only thing I would recommend, if you have the time and money to do it is to re-bake the cake replicating everything you did for her cake and test it out to see what it tastes like. Wouldn't you be able to tell if it wasn't cooked when you level or torte it??? Sounds kinda fishy to me....

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m_willford Posted 19 May 2011 , 3:00pm
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No, it's just one lady. If your cake tester came out done then it was done. And you're right, and undercooked cake wouldn't have stood up to even being torted and handled, let alone frosted.

The peach nectar sounds yummy, btw.

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TinkerCakes Posted 19 May 2011 , 3:01pm
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Had you ever put the peach nectar in it before? It's too bad she didn't bring it back so you could see it. Sorry that happened, I am so scared to sell cakes because of stories like this (and I'm not close to being good enough..or legal... yet icon_smile.gif!!)

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sunset74 Posted 19 May 2011 , 3:19pm
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I agree, don't change your recipe for just one person. But I also agree with someone else, you would have noticed if you torted it and filled it, unless you do individual layers when you bake. However I would try and replicate everything you did with it, the reason I say that is if you have never used nectar before, it has added sugars, and sometimes sugar makes cake super dense and when the cake cooks, it sometimes does this funny thing were it congels and gets really kinda hard feeling. Honestly you would never know it is there UNLESS you torte and see it. I have had it happen on a couple of cake mixes I have used in the past, ESPECIALLY boxed mixes in a 6x3 pan and the oven is turned down to 325 with no wrap. For some reason it happens every time. But I can not see it when I take the cake out of the oven, I see it when I torte it. It has caused me problems to the point I have had to run up to the local grocery store and buy cake layers uniced to finish a cake. Luckily the one critical time it happened and I did NOT have time to rebake was on my nieces birthday cake and she had a 3 tier water fall that was for her and about 20 or so people. SO WAY more cake then we needed.

Try it again and cut it open and see what it did, make sure it was just that it was dense and moist and not some other kind of texture. Personally all of the WASC cakes I made I hated. I attempted three different ones and they were all nasty, so I would probably not be happy with a WASC. They were in my opinion all to sweet, dense, none were moist and most fell or over crystalized because of too much sugar. But that was a personal preference, as I know Most on here that make them say that they are loved. Good Luck.

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ladyellam Posted 19 May 2011 , 3:52pm
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I think Sunset74 hit the nail on the head. Too much sugar in a cake and it ends up being "gummy". That's probably what they thought was the undercooked cake was.

I can't stand the WASC, no offense to the originators of the recipe. It's way too heavy and doesn't have a good flavour no matter what I use.

If you want to try and use the peach nectar--which sounds really good-- I would try and cut down on the white sugar in the recipe. Maybe by a 1/3 or so and that might help with better results.

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psmith Posted 19 May 2011 , 4:21pm
post #7 of 27

Very nice decorating! I think that your cake was probably just fine. They probably aren't used to moist cakes. If it was undercooked as opposed to moist, you would have seen that at torting. I wonder what happened to the cake if they didn't eat it??? Seems like she would have showed it to you to illustrate what she was talking about. I think something is a little fishy about her story. She got a fantastic deal (that cake is IMO worth much more than she paid) and unless she can produce evidence that it was inedible, I would not be offering any re-do or refund. I'd probably avoid making her anymore cakes in the future.

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Ritakk Posted 19 May 2011 , 5:33pm
post #8 of 27

Thanks for all the reassurance everyone. Yes I have used peach nectar in my white cakes, maybe I added a little too much this time... and Sunset, I don't torte my 11x15 sheet cakes, maybe what you described happened to this one... I will pay close attention next time....but next time was yesterday I just pulled another 11 x 15 white sheet cake from the oven for an order tonight when I talked with this latest lady about the cake. icon_sad.gif I definately will cut it open and see what's going on before I ice it tonight. If it looks okay, I won't change anything. The tip about using less sugar is definately a next time for me too. Will have to experiment and see just what my actual measurements are with the nectar and sugar to get it just right I guess. Thanks for the compliments on the cake, I won't let this get to me, it's just one person, and at least I know what to look for now... Thanks again everyone... I get all my inspiration from all of you CC'ers!!

PS. I used to buy my peach nectar in little cans that were in a 6 pack, now all I can find is the stuff in a larger single can at Wal-mart.... I prefereed the little cans myself, and I believe it had more oncentrate of the Peach juice too. icon_sad.gif
But only used 1/4 can or so..

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Ritakk Posted 19 May 2011 , 5:38pm
post #9 of 27

Oh and the Neighbor lady said her granddaughter took the cake back home and had a party at her nieghborhood park and feed it to all the little kids.... hummmm... oh well! No I'm not giving her money back, she should have brought me a sample to show me what she was talking about as far as that goes.... she probably won't be buying another cake from me, but that's okay... everyone has their own opinion I guess and tastes for that matter. icon_smile.gif
Have a great day!

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sweetnessx3 Posted 20 May 2011 , 12:04am
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If it was me .... It being your neighbor do you by chance know any of the guest ? Id call one of them and ask about my cake because it'd haunt me until I was forsure my cake was bad icon_sad.gif.....thats just me ! Im sorry this happened to you though!!!!

My husband baked a chocolate cake once and it looked perfect on the outside and on the inside looked like congelled ( cant spell ) jello lol but it was danged good lol ! Ive even tried to redo it lmbo! I know he cant measure for nothing but .... he says he did ....yeah right !!!!

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JanH Posted 20 May 2011 , 3:35am
post #11 of 27

Not all the WASC recipes are created equal. Some add a lot of different ingredients (most of which are sugary) and this will change the texture of the finished cake layer/s.

What some members refer to as "dense" others (like myself) perceive as "gummy" or less cakelike and more fudge-brownie-like. So your WASC cake could have been perfectly baked and still seem "gummy" or "uncooked" if you're expecting a normal cake texture.

For the above neighbor, I would have made either Rebecca Sutterby's or kakeladi's original WASC (or variations) which are moist but still have a very normal cake texture.


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scp1127 Posted 20 May 2011 , 3:50am
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An oven can become uncalibrated from one cake to the next. My new very expensive did it to me. If I had not torted my cake, I would not have known. The touch test and toothpick test were fine. If someone says a cake is not cooked, that is very different than too moist. When I first made Cakeman Raven's Red Velvet cake, I thought it was too moist... it was extremely moist. But there was no mistaking that the cake was just moist, not undercooked.

If someone told me my cake was undercooked, I would refund the money. And if I baked a cake that was so moist that it seemed undercooked, then that was not in selling condition either. Again, I would refund the money and do something in the future. A bad cake not only is a financial issue with the customer, but she counted on the cake to be a centerpiece to her event. I have a satisfaction guarantee on my site that must be checked in order to complete the transaction. A customer that purchases a cake that cannot be enjoyed will tell everyone not to order from you. We can all make mistakes. It is how we handle these mistakes that determines the impact on our business.

Just to let you know, it is illegal to sell or create for personal use, licensed character cakes without getting prior permission. Toy Story is one that you won't get permission to reproduce.

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ashleyisawesome Posted 20 May 2011 , 4:24am
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Lol! Who would feed "undercooked" cake to children?!

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Paperfishies Posted 20 May 2011 , 4:41am
post #14 of 27

I would think that if the cake was truly "undercooked" enough that it wouldn't have come out of the pan in one piece and certainly wouldn't hold together enough to be decorated.

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Paperfishies Posted 20 May 2011 , 4:45am
post #15 of 27

Also, if she's a friend of yours...I would bake another cake, use the same recipe and take her a piece and ask her what she thinks.

My mom is one of those people that is used to grocery store cakes, super light crumby dryish texture...So if a cake is ANY heavier (like a scratch cake) she thinks it's undercooked.

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indydebi Posted 20 May 2011 , 9:20am
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Originally Posted by ashleyisawesome

Lol! Who would feed "undercooked" cake to children?!

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif "Geesh, this cake is awful! Let's feed it to the kids!" icon_lol.gif


My mom is one of those people that is used to grocery store cakes, super light crumby dryish texture...So if a cake is ANY heavier (like a scratch cake) she thinks it's undercooked.

icon_lol.gif This reminds me of the episode of "Frasier" where (father) Martin is complaining about Daphne using real cranberries to make cranberry sauce, telling her that "real" cranberry sauce comes in a can so you can see the ridges and know where to cut it! One line he uses is "Is it you CAN'T learn ... or that you WON'T learn!" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

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Chiara Posted 20 May 2011 , 9:37am
post #17 of 27

First off, for a decorated cake she covered your supplies at $40.00 and you also did it last minute.
I would not refund her the money.
If it were a store, she would have taken the cake back and not fed it to the kids. Evidently it was edible.
I would make another to see for myself. Also, the other cakers are correct with the sugar balance. You have to watch that nasty stuff. It screws with the chemistry of the cake.
The WASC is moist to being gummy. But again, it would not have held up to being decorated if it were not cooked.
I would be sneaky though and at some point make it again to serve and see her reaction at that time.
If she were worried about your feelings she would not have said anything being a friend and neighbour. She fed it to the kids so it was consumed. No sample to see? no refund.

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scp1127 Posted 20 May 2011 , 5:39pm
post #18 of 27

Chiara broght up a point I forgot to mention.

My site has a page where I give storage information. On my terms and conditions with the satisfaction guarantee, I tell them to refer to the storage information page, wrap and store the uneaten portion as indicated on that page, and call me immediately. So my customers are informed up front, the steps to a refund.

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artscallion Posted 20 May 2011 , 6:17pm
post #19 of 27
Originally Posted by Paperfishies

Also, if she's a friend of yours...I would bake another cake, use the same recipe and take her a piece and ask her what she thinks.

My mom is one of those people that is used to grocery store cakes, super light crumby dryish texture...So if a cake is ANY heavier (like a scratch cake) she thinks it's undercooked.

Agree with this. That way when she tries it and says, "yep, that's what I was talking about...undercooked." You can take a bit and say, "Oh, no...not undercooked. That's exactly how it's supposed to be." Guess you're just used to something else."

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scp1127 Posted 20 May 2011 , 6:52pm
post #20 of 27

Are we missing the point? Everyone has had cake all their lives... good and bad. If the cake gave the impression of being undercooked, it was either undercooked or way too moist to be sold. The lady knows if it was good cake or not, regardless of why it was the way it was. If the cake does not taste good or the texture is bad, but it is cooked, are you all saying that this is acceptable? I wish my competitors would adopt this policy. Think about this. A bad cake is a bad cake. If she tasted it and hated it, but all her guests said it was great, would there be a problem? No. The consensus at the party was that it was bad.

I am a very accomplished scratch baker. But scratch can be temperamental, especially when my oven decided to swing 50 degrees (found out when the repairman came, and that doesn't show up on an oven thermometer). When my oven acted up, I would not have known except that I torte every cake (except for when I bake in thin layers). Mistakes happen. I try to put every checkpoint in place, but it could happen. The lady is not trying to get a free cake from someone she knows. She is unhappy with the cake that she bought in good faith that it would be enjoyed by her guests. Think how she felt when she served it. That would be embarassing.

Put yourself in the consumers' shoes. People pay a premium price for something that they perceive to be baked by a professional, that will be a cut above a grocery store, and in the case of a home baker, even better than the local bakery (their perception, because both are a simpler transaction). We have an obligation to deliver that product. If we can't, we need to make it right.

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Ritakk Posted 20 May 2011 , 7:42pm
post #21 of 27

I can see everyone's individual point here... I must add that I made this very same cake the day I CALLED HER, to ask how the cake was, she made no attempt to contact me whatsoever about the cake... she felt she had to say something since I asked I guess... after another conversation, she mentioned that the cake I made AND GAVE her for free for his last birthday (which was the same cake), that it didn't taste/texture right either...If this was the case why ITH did she ask me to make another one? LOL!

Anyhoo, I sliced the NEW cake 1/2 way to see the middle of it and it looked perfectly fine to me, and was not gummy/undercooked at all! I personally asked this (new customer) to please let me know what she thinks about the white sheet cake. That I had trouble with the recipe... so we'll see I guess.

The CC'er that commented on the Disney Character copywright thing... It kinda made me laugh, I remember one time (when I was much younger) that a fitness center tried to sue me for a the whole years membership, when I stoped going/paying monthly.. My understanding is they can't sue you for something you fiscally do not have in your possession.... Like the Toy Story Characters, they were made and eaten, where's the proof? LOL! I do know where you're coming from though. I sell cakes I don't sell decorations.. they just come with the cake. icon_wink.gif

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Ritakk Posted 20 May 2011 , 7:50pm
post #22 of 27

BTW, They have a big cookout on July 4th every year! Guess What I'm going to do? Make the same cake and take it! Then get everyone's individual opinion! icon_smile.gif

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scp1127 Posted 20 May 2011 , 10:54pm
post #23 of 27

The proof is cached on the internet forever. You cannot get it off once it is on. Your conversation here can be deleted, but it is still cached. Any person who publishes it on their facebook is incriminating you and themselves. Reproduction of any licensed item over ten times becomes a federal criminal offense. Attorneys are combing the internet for violations. You could hypothetically get a summons two years from now. So maybe you should do some investigating on your own before you dismiss your liability. Not trying to be a pain, but this is coming. It's just like all of the small businesses facebook and with websites... this is proof of business that can be used against you in the future if you are not paying taxes.

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psmith Posted 22 May 2011 , 4:25pm
post #24 of 27
Originally Posted by ashleyisawesome

Lol! Who would feed "undercooked" cake to children?!

icon_confused.gif I totally agree!!!
Now I'm convinced that client is either being deceptive or is completely clueless. If it was fine to serve to little kids at a park then it was fine for her to serve at home. I think she just made up that story to explain why there was not leftover to show you. If she really believed the cake was undercooked and served it to children then she is utterly clueless and probably wouldn't know an undercooked cake in the first place anyway. Her story isn't holding water IMO. I'm glad you didn't give her a refund. This is all another good reason to permanently cross her off the client list.

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Ritakk Posted 23 May 2011 , 1:38pm
post #25 of 27

Thanks pssmith! I utterly agree with you on this one! icon_smile.gif

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andpotts Posted 23 May 2011 , 2:29pm
post #26 of 27

I have tweaked my WASK recipe until it works for me, the original one I used did hae a somewhat weird texture, especially when I added pudding, like others said it probably had something to do with the sugar ratio. It looked fine and tested fine, but I certainly recognized a strange, gummy for lack of a better word texture. So honestly it may have been off and it doesn't sound like she was trying to get a refund from you so although it would bum me out a bit I would be happy that my friend told me the truth and I had the chance to work on it.

Everyone ate the one I spoke of above, it was for my own party and did not complain, but let me tell you, although it was edible, it was off and I knew it the second I ate it, so I made a point of reworking my recipe and now it comes out far better!

I am all about backing our fellow bakers, but sometimes people are so quick to say, oh that person doesn't know what they're talking about, you are so right, why did she serve it then, she eats grocery store cake, etc. I think we might be doing each other an injustice. If I come and ask for advice I want honest feedback, not just a bunch of people trying to make me feel better, otherwise I won't improve, ya know. It very well may have been a little off, or she just might not like the recipe, point is she didn't like it and it doesn't sound like she was being mean or trying to pull one over so I would certainly take her review into account. Hope everything works out though and WASC as a base recipe has been great for me, I've done tons of different things with it, some very successful, some not so much icon_cool.gif Andrea

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andpotts Posted 23 May 2011 , 10:21pm
post #27 of 27

WASC, sorry, have no idea what WASK is icon_redface.gif

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