I have a customer that is requesting a fondant covered cake, buttercream frosting with fresh strawberries between the layers. Here are my questions...
1. I know I have to create a buttercream dam around the outside but should i also put a layer of buttercream over and under the fresh strawberries?
2. I do not have a way to refrigerate a cake the size she is asking for, will the fresh strawberries be okay without refrigeration for a couple days?
I have tried to talk her into strawberry filling and even said maybe i'm not the baker for her since I don't have the refrigeration capacity for this cake. She said she really wants me to do it for her so I'm trying to make it work. I always thought fresh fruit had to be refrigerated..... I draw the line at risking peoples health, so if it needs refrigeration I will have to turn down the job. :(
As soon as you cut the strawberries they will start to break down and juice, even with refrigeration. Without refrigeration they will make your cake a soggy mess before you have a chance to finish the cake. I have had success with sliced strawberries in between the layers but always refrigerated but I wouldn't cover it in fondant. Maybe you could do a strawberry filling and garnish the cake with fresh strawberries when you set up the cake on-site?
Don't be afraid to tell her you can't do it...you know better than she does what is possible for you to do. I would rather not do the cake than deal with an upset bride if I can help it.
I agree. I've already done a light layer of strawberry filling with sliced strawberries on top of that....and I put a light coating of icing on the bottom of the top layer of cake so as to avoid too much 'seepage". this worked well, but I always refrigerated it, and would never let it sit on my counter for several days before selling it to a customer.
Tell you client that in order to best suit her wishes and your schedule, you would suggest a strawberry filling....and if she says no - you have the right to say no to her order. Simple as that.
If you are operating under cottage laws, fresh fruit may be illegal for you to use. I am not allowed to use fresh fruit but not sure if that's a state/local level thing. Anyway, that may be your out-"sorry, illegal for me to use fresh fruit".
Otherwise, yes, you have to refrigerate it. Strawberries will mold and pretty quickly. And, make sure your client knows not to leave the cut cake on the counter. It will be gross in about 2 days.
I would explain to the customer that both the structural integrity and safe food integrity of the cake is compromised by the additional of fresh strawberries, and you will not put either at risk and ruin her day. (In this case, the customer is not always right - you're the professional here, so insist on being the boss, not her)
Offer her instead...
1) a filling of homemade strawberry compote (ie fresh strawberries, a bit of sugar, some lemon juice simmered for 10 mins) as a filling with the buttercream (much nicer than jam/jelly/conserve/preserve)
2) fresh strawberries added to the cake batter and cooked inside the 'cake' (works well with raspberries, but strawberries aren't so wonderful, so my least favourite choice)
3) a bowl of fresh strawberries to serve alongside each guest plate once the cake is cut.
Thank you everyone for your input!! It is very much appreciated.
This customer is a referral from another baker that has since closed up shop. I keep hearing how this other baker has done it a million times for her and she doesn't understand why i'm not able to. She has sent me pictures of other cakes she has done for her and all. I am about to bail on just the fact that she has me jumping through hoops on a one dozen cupcake order as we speak, so I can only imagine how the main event cake is going to go.
As much as I hate to turn down a job, I may have to just tell her i'm not the baker for her.