My first bad review. It was from a lady that attended the party that I made my most recent Sweet 16 cake for. She said the cake was dense, and the buttercream was greasy.
I immediately responded to the negative review, apologizing, and have sent a message to the recipient of the cake, explaining to her that I had received a negative review, what her thoughts on it were, and if she was also displeased, that I wanted to work with her to make it right.
She did say that he cake wasn’t a very big hit at the party, but she wasn’t going to say anything about it, and my heart just absolutely sunk. I’m still shaking. I explained that it was my first bad review, and that it’s possible that maybe I just had an ‘off cake’ which happens from time to time, to us all, I would think! Anyways, I told her that I absolutely wanted to make it right, and I offered her a partial refund, or even a free mini cake.
I’m waiting for her to respond, but I am just a ball of nerves over this ‘miss’ of a cake
So, turns out that most people didn’t enjoy the cake after all. Guys, I don’t know what wrong, but something must have.
The lady has been so nice about it, and even apologized that I was left a bad review. I told her not to be sorry; it was obvious that I sent out a bad cake and earned it.
I offered her a full refund, but she actually refused it. I told her that she could change her mind and accept the refund at any point, and that I was going to make her a new cake to proper standards, since that one obviously was not.
Have any of you guys ever had a cake that just didn’t turn out right for some reason??? I just feel so awful right now, that I’m not even sure I can ever make it right for them
I’m so sorry!
Was it a flavor you don’t usually make? Was there shortening in the buttercream? I know That doesn’t mean it has to be greasy, but maybe it was old?
It seems as though your customer was very understanding-probably because you are very professional, kind and honest.
Keep on bakin’!!!
I have been adding a little shortening this summer because it’s been so hot and humid to help with the stability, but out of all my orders, no one had noticed anything about it before, so I’m cutting that back out.
Otherwise, It just must have been a bad batch of cake. I just feel really awful about it
Maybe some leavened got left out or something. It happens, right? Or maybe I’ve just messed up bigger than most
Out of curiosity, did you taste any of the cake cutoffs?? If, so, how did it taste to you? Not every customer likes a “homemade” cake. Many are used to the store bought, over fluffy, airy kinda tasteless cakes. Store bought icing is usually overly sweet and greasy. Not so for homemade. But icing, like cake is subjective. We all have our own likes and dislikes. I personally absolutely do not like ABC icing. So it may not have been a “bad” cake or “greasy” icing. It may just have been the customer not understanding the crumb is much different than a store bought cake. That’s not “bad”, just different. Ditto for the icing.
Since you’ve reached out to your customer already, this advice will be for another time. Firstly, I would have waited until I had calmed down after reading the review. Gathered my thoughts, think it through. Your first reaction is always emotional. You don’t make good decisions when you are emotionally upset. You immediately responded, very upset with an apology. Before offering any sort of compensation, I would like to know how much of the cake was consumed? Was any cake leftover? Because if most of the cake was gone, then the remark, the cake “wasn’t a hit at the party” would not be true, would it. I definitely would have asked for any cake not eaten returned. See what the response was to the request. If they balk, hesitate, at the request, then I’d definitely be suspicious. Because sadly, you also have to be suspicious of customers trying to get money back using false claims. And never apologize for a well executed cake. You didn’t do anything wrong. Cake didn’t collapse, or have mold. Just possibly, as I stated earlier, a matter of taste. And again, that also may not be true. By reacting with an immediate apology as you did, you automatically assume you did something wrong. I personally would respond, by firstly saying I had made the cake to order. That you know it tasted great. Many other customers have enjoyed the cake, and you’ve had good reviews. It is obviously a matter of different tastes. I can offer you 10% off your next cake order. Or 6 cupcakes with your next cake order. But, again, that’s what I would do. It’s a suggestion. You certainly must make your own decision.
I hope you take this post as being helpful and encouraging, not criticizing you in anyway. You work hard, and it’s upsetting to get a bad review.
Why do you keep saying it was a “bad batch of cake”. You’re making assumptions. That’s a giant leap from they didn’t like the taste or the icing. Not liking something doesn’t mean it’s “bad”. I don’t like dill pickles. But that doesn’t make them bad.
Sorry about being suspicious...you posted ..”So turns out, most people didn’t enjoy the cake after all”.
But you have absolutely no proof that this is true!!!! Just this ladies word. Of course she is being nice and cooperative. She stands to get compensated. Again, sorry about being suspicious. I’d only take the word of a long time trusted customer.
How sorry we are for you:( It is always hurtful when we get a bad review As jchuck said if there ever is a next time do take some big breaths and think things through before responding I feel if there were more than 1 or2 who didn’t like the cake then something WAS wrong not just chalking it up to different tastes/not used to “homemade” Yes it would have been good to ask for any leftovers And BYW was it taste only or they not like how it looked either? Maybe you can try to find out if you did anything i time different/wrong Taking time to go thru each step might help you figure out what went wrong—if anything
I did try the cut offs, and thought it was fine, myself, but maybe the cut offs wasn’t quite enough to get a feel of the full texture.
The customer told me that no one enjoyed the cake, including the birthday girl, and that most of it was thrown away, so I think that something must of have been wrong with it. I also do not like American buttercream, but that’s what was requested.
Otherwise, I do agree that I should have waited until I calmed down, and honestly, I still feel so bad knowing that the on top of the bad review, the cake was thrown out.
Of course Im still standing with my offer of the full refund, because I did notice that the cake didn’t rise as much— so I probably did do something wrong with the leavening. She says she doesn’t want the refund though, so that part is a little baffling to me.
I’m also still planning on making another cake, and if she wants, she can have it, and if not, I’ll have another cake for my portfolio.
I do feel like, deep down, I messed this cake up, and that’s on me, though
what kinda cake was it?
The customer said the cake was beautiful, but that most people at the party threw the cake away, so it was more than 1 or 2, and one of those people, not the customer herself, is the one that wrote the bad review. So far, the customer has confirmed that the cake was thrown out, but that she wasn’t intending on saying anything, refused the refund, and even apologized for her guest. So she’s actually been super nice, even though I’m just super emotional
And no worries, Jchuck! No offense or anything whatsoever. I should have handled this much better, and will be better next time.
Not seeing this part of the message in the forum from rereading, so just in case, it was a Funfetti Cake.
I apologize, as I should also have said I was sorry you got a bad review. That is upsetting. Unfortunately, there is a first time for everything. But again, you’re taking all the blame. You are ASSUMING she threw out all the cake. Again, just her word. But it is rather perplexing she doesn’t want any refund.
This will give you food for thought. I have family on my husbands side that don’t like my white cakes. They all grew up on store bought grocery cakes. I’m the only one who had a Mom that baked everything from scratch. So I in turn, bake cakes from scratch. They find my white cakes too dense. And they prefer the icing in a can from the grocery store. Whenever they have a celebration, they get a Costco cake. Sorry, that’s a gross chemical laden sad excuse for a cake. I never touch it. Nor my husband or grown children. They’ve grown up on homemade. But I’m not the least bit offended. Just a matter of taste, and what you’re use to.
I’m hoping that maybe that’s what this comes down to. If she doesn’t like the mini cake I’ve offered, then I’ll know for sure that it was a matter of taste.
But, I think I did forget the baking soda. Or at the very least, I remember trying to think if I added it or not. Since the cake was a little dense and didn’t rise as much, that’s why I think it was a ‘bad batch’. I think I actually messed that up, and maybe it threw the whole cake off.
I also use the reverse cream method, which does produce a tighter, more velvety texture, I feel, so maybe that just threw them off, too.
Well, gotta day, still perplexed customer doesn’t want a refund?? And I also would have been ticked off if one my party attendees had written a bad review. As the paying customer and host, that is my prerogative. And I sure would have wanted the rest of cake returned. Would really have wanted to taste the cake filled and iced. To be absolutely sure cake didn’t taste good. Just plain my having to know. I just can’t help but think it must have been either a matter of taste. Or, she’s out and out lying. If she cannot return the cake as proof, to me that’s why she isn’t accepting your offer of a refund.
The fact that she has even refused my refund, even though after saying it was a miss, is definitely perplexing to me.
Im thinking she was also upset about the review, because she told me she wasn’t planning on complaining, and then apologized to me for the review. Maybe she doesn’t want it because she also feels bad?
Im really not sure, but thanks so much for talking to me, guys. I’m hoping this will be something doesn’t happen again anytime soon, and definitely gonna be more careful about baking, and not overreacting right away.
So going back and looking at the guest complaint (in the bad review), part of the problem, or her problem, was that they thought the cake was too small for 20 servings, and had expected the cake to be bigger.
I agree with jchuck and some of the others that it is more than likely the crowd was raised on store bought and / or cake mixes. Also like June, I grew up on scratch cakes and it came as a big shock to me to discover that a lot of people don't like them. Crazy, right?!! I didn't have any troube with the buttercream feeling greasy when the old style high ratio shorting was available, but now, again using Crisco, it is pretty greasy and gross. That is my own opinion and it could be the same with other people.
All that said, the lady is probably just a decent person who realizes people are not perfect and doesn't feel it is necessary for you to refund her money. Let it go, sweetie! You did nothing wrong and stuff happens. You've done all you can to make it right.
Last post on this. As Sandra has said, it’s over. Take a deep breath and let it go, move on. You did all you could do. Chalk it up to an experience, and lessons learned. And the guests remarks on the review, her opinion of the cake being too small for amount of people. That truly is just Her opinion. I can understand your customer being annoyed and perhaps embarrassed she posted that. Whether the customer agreed or didn’t agree with her statement, you will probably never know the truth. Nor the truth about no one eating the cake, or throwing away the cake. So don’t drive yourself crazy over it. Don’t let one bad remark/review shake your confidence. You have obviously done well as a decorator, so focus on that. Not the one B- on the report card, but all the A+’s. If you dwell on this one unfortunate incident, it will steal your joy. Don’t give the guest, or the customer the power to do that.
i’m sorry that happened — it’s weird to me that a guest posted the review and the client doesn’t want any recompense — my only thought that I can’t seem to let go of — and because i just feel a little defensive for you — is if this guest bad mouthed the cake at the party and that influenced the others — I mean who knows —
so it was a white cake with sprinkles in it? not from a mix?
It was a from scratch, vanilla cake with a little bit of almond extract and some sprinkles. Never from the box.
Im really not sure what happened, and it is weird! That a guest posted the review, the client confirmed it was bad but wasn’t going to say anything, and then refused the refund. I just don’t understand it myself, but it’s probably still going to be a little while before I get over this. The thought of a crowd of people throwing my cake away makes me cry, lol.
But I appreciate all your guys’ kind words, and advice for how to better handle it in the future. I definitely reacted too quickly, and too emotionally. I figure if she takes the new cake and still doesn’t like it, then oh well
Try not to dwell too much on the guest throwing away the cake. They may not necessarily be the case and it may also be that lots of people really enjoyed the cake. I am very skeptical that a whole room full of people would not like a cake that tasted perfectly all right to you. It sounds like the guest who complained was an ass and your client was somewhat embarrassed by her.
Thank you guys. I even found some of the leftover buttercream, and my husband and I both tried it. Not a single bit of grease.
He also asked if I was talking about the rainbow cake, told me he ate all the scraps, and thought it was fine. It may very well be that these people were not used to from-scratch cakes.
Im trying not to dwell, but it’s a little hard for me.
You guys have been so awesome ❤️ It must not have been that awful if she refused a full refund, even if she didn’t like it.
So I wanted to update everyone this morning! I messaged the woman again, and was quite honest with her, explaining that I was very emotional when I messaged her, and that I see now I should have waited until I calmed down. I apologized for being frantic, and thanked her for her kindness.
I went over my free cake offer with her, and she told me that she would pass on it. She apologized again for the bad review I received on behalf of her guest.
I thanked her once again, apologized one last time, and left telling her that I have now done all I can to rectify the problem, and that I hope she has a nice day.
So now I’m left wondering, if I should comment back on my bad review, letting the guest know that it has been rectified, and maybe explaining to her the serving chart I use, and the different buttercream I use? The bad review stated the cake was dense, buttercream was greasy, and that they expected the cake to be bigger.
Hmmmm....that’s up to you. You could always write something short and sweet saying that the issues had been resolved, but I wouldn’t get into that many details.
The main reason for that is that I STILL think your customer had something to do with the review. What guest would show up to a party and then write a review saying they expected the cake to be bigger? How would they know how big it was supposed to be unless they ordered/paid for it?!?! If it wasn’t your customer actually typing the review, I have a gut feeling she had something to do with it and that’s why she wants to just move on.
You’ve done all you can do. Doesn’t mean it isn’t hard not to dwell on it, but you don’t owe any more of an explanation than you’ve already given.
I did keep my reply short. I informed her that I had been in contact with the actual customer, and that the situation had been rectified, and that if she had any other concerns or questions, that she could message me.
So it’s all done now, and I feel like I might be able to move forward now that I’ve done all I can do. I still hate that I received the review, but I’m trying not to think too much on it, because I don’t think she should have written it, being that she was a guest, so no matter what I do with my customer, I can’t make it right with the guest, but that’s just life, I suppose.
Any harsh criticism is hard to overcome, especially when you know it is underserved. You know your cake was good, you know your frosting was good, you know your client is satisfied and you know the reviewer is an asshole and not worth your time.
You handled it the way that you thought you should have. Personally, I would not have contacted the customer based on what a guest said. I wouldn't have commented back to the "guest", either. Unless she paid for the cake, there's nothing for us to talk about, and nothing that needs to be explained. You've done all that you can. Close the chapter and don't let it eat you up.