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Oops - you mean it was today?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My first real cake disaster. I was making a confirmation cake for a good friend. She talked to me about it a month in advance, wanting it to be a two layer full size dark chocolate sheet cake with a generous amount of cookies and cream filling, iced and then have a fondant robe, stole, and gumpaste carnation. I agree to make it if she pays me back for the ingredients. Easy, have done this for her for a baby shower cake before...

Friend is a really busy mom who I didn't get to talk more about the cake as the due date came closer. Get the ingredients on Monday of Saturday due date. Late Monday, friend tells me her daughter doesn't like buttercream, only the whipped icing that is on cakes at the grocery store (I think it is Rich's Bettercreme, but I am not sure) and could I use that? So I call up the grocery store, which agrees to sell me 4 pounds of it for $3.78 a pound.

Saturday morning, I get up early and start assembling the cake (didn't want to start Friday night, as the filling is whipped cream). My son has a flag football game later in the morning, so I tort, fill, and ice the cake. Never used that kind of icing before, but it is going ok. Plan is to go to the game, come back, work on the cake all afternoon and deliver it later that evening.

Come home to a message on the answering machine saying that my friend is home and was surprised that the cake isn't there yet??? Call her back to find out that her party is today. I has already started, but it is ok because they are eating a meal first. Is there a problem with the cake? Um... no. I'll get it to you in a half an hour.

Now the rest of the disaster... My fondant keeps stretching when I try to put it on the cake. It is just supposed to go on top as a decoration, not covering the cake's sides. The cake's icing does not forgive any fondant repositioning, pulling away from the cake with the fondant. The fondant goes on bumpy, as the icing moves when I try to smooth out the fondant. The red stole tears as I put each side on the cake and doesn't want to smooth together. No time for the pretty white chocolate letters I planned to make for her name and bible verse, so I pipe them with the icing (not horrible, but not as pretty as I'd planned). No time to dust the red carnation and leaves. No time to tape the flowers together with the baby's breath I'd made. Just had to pipe some icing, , cut the wires, and arrange them on the cake.

Time's up. I'm not very happy, but it has to go. Thank goodness I'd at least already iced it and I knew it tastes wonderful (I always sample the cake scraps, icings and fillings to make sure it tastes good - what? somebody has to....) My kind husband had taken the kids out to lunch after putting the no-slip liner in the back of my suburban so that they would be out of my way, but that means no help opening/shutting the tailgate. I get the cake in, drive to the home and have to park 4 houses up the hill and leave my tailgate open to carry this full sized (heavy) filled sheet cake to the home.
My friend was very kind and appreciative, but I felt horrible leaving that cake there. Luckily I knew her guests had seen a cake I had done for her just a month before, but I still was embarrassed. I wanted to cry. I had such high hopes...

Not counting the stuff I had on hand, I spent over $45 dollars on this cake in supplies. I am a hobbyist, not a licensed baker, so I never make money on a cake and had planned on being reimbursed. I probably really spent more like $60, plus time, energy, etc... Do I ask her for the full $45? She's kind of wierd with me now, so I know she is really disappointed and mad (I give her kids a ride home from school certain days when she is at work, so she may feel she has to be nice to me?). On the other hand, she never would answer my question of When/what time do you want the cake. She was too busy and assumed I understood.

What would you do?
"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says, 'Oh crap, she's up.'"
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"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says, 'Oh crap, she's up.'"
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post #2 of 17
First of all sorry that your cake didn't turn out the way it should have. But I think both you and your friend are at fault for not nailing down the particulars of when she needed the cake. I think a week ahead of time a phone call should have been made to finalize everything. I also think that when she called that day to ask where the cake was you should have been honest with her. You could have told her that it was all baked and that you could quickly ice it, but that you couldn't do all the extras. The cake might have turned out better that way, but nothing you can do about that now.

As for the money, I think you can again apologize for the cake and just let her know that you realize that it wasn't up to snuff. Let her know how much you spent on the cake and see what she says.
Live, Laugh, Love,
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Scrap it all!
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Live, Laugh, Love,
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Scrap it all!
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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your honesty ChristineCMC. It is always hard to admit fault when you feel like it harmed someone else. Guess I need to work on pinning people down (never have been good at that over the phone).

Thanks again,
Susan
"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says, 'Oh crap, she's up.'"
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"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says, 'Oh crap, she's up.'"
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post #4 of 17
It worked out anyway. Your cake may not have been up to your usual work, but I'm sure they enjoyed it anyway. And if this woman is a friend, she will get past it (if not she needs to find another ride for her kids -lol). We are all human and we live and learnicon_smile.gif

Keep us posted what happens.
Christine

Just as an added thought, since she isn't aware that you thought the cake was due to following day; maybe she is wondering what happened.
Live, Laugh, Love,
and
Scrap it all!
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Live, Laugh, Love,
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Scrap it all!
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post #5 of 17
I know you said hobbyist but maybe if you get confirmation in email of time and day of cake to be delivered it will save some grief in the future .
Good luck and sorry this happened to you .
On payment I pretty much agree with what Chrisitne has posted,
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks again Christine. I did tell her about the mix up when I dropped off the cake and have seen her once since (picking up kids at school). I am going to tell her what it cost me and see what she does.
Cakery2012 - I guarantee that in the future I will confirm DATE and TIME with anyone I make anything for. I usually do anyway, but she was in such a whirlwind that it was hard to pin her down. NO EXCEPTIONS anymore. icon_wink.gif
"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says, 'Oh crap, she's up.'"
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"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says, 'Oh crap, she's up.'"
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post #7 of 17
Hobby baker or not, NEVER ASSUME. Hobby bakers need to treat every single cake "order" exactly the same as if it were a paid order for $5 a serving.

You've learned a very, very valuable lesson. ALL cake forums are chock-full of threads about making the cake before the money is received and the trouble that results.

Personally, my opinion is that the fault was primarily yours for not getting a specific date and time of delivery. But most of all, for not getting paid BEFORE you turned on the oven. If you wish to continue to make hobby cakes, let this $45-$60 stand as the cost of a valuable lesson and let it go. The memory of this particular episode will save you a lot of grief (and money) down the road.
post #8 of 17
Gosh, I can only imagine how stressed you were putting that thing together! Eeek, my head hurts just thinking about it.
$45 is an easy price to pay for your mistake. And yes, even though she totally flaked on you, it IS your mistake. She may have even thought she told you. It is up to you to figure out when it needs to be done.
Next time, if you are having a hard time nailing down someone your have agreed to do a cake for, you tell them you need a date and time BEFORE you start the cake, and maybe get an email or something in WRITING, so if they flake you can say "duh, look at your email, it says Sunday, not Saturday!"
life is short, get a cakesafe.
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life is short, get a cakesafe.
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post #9 of 17
Hobbyist my eye! I'm here looking at your gallery and I'm DROOLING! Let this be the last cake you do without charging properly! You were both wrong. You, because when there's a chance to get money in your hands...DON'T PLAY, get a date and time. And her, because she knows full well she should have been paying full price (or at least, 75%) because your work is truly beautiful. AND it tastes good too? SHAME on her!!
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by arlenej

Hobbyist my eye! I'm here looking at your gallery and I'm DROOLING! Let this be the last cake you do without charging properly! You were both wrong. You, because when there's a chance to get money in your hands...DON'T PLAY, get a date and time. And her, because she knows full well she should have been paying full price (or at least, 75%) because your work is truly beautiful. AND it tastes good too? SHAME on her!!



Afraid she's not a licensed baker. In fact, she probably shouldn't even be getting paid for ingredients if she wants to follow the strict letter of the law. ( a stupid letter if I do say so myself).

Yep, you should have pinned her down. At the very least if you're having difficulty getting a straight answer just tell them the date and time the cake will be delivered in an email. I guarantee you'll hear back if it's wrong. And you'll have it in writing.

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

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If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

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post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justforfun751



Not counting the stuff I had on hand, I spent over $45 dollars on this cake in supplies. I am a hobbyist, not a licensed baker, so I never make money on a cake and had planned on being reimbursed. I probably really spent more like $60, plus time, energy, etc... Do I ask her for the full $45? She's kind of wierd with me now, so I know she is really disappointed and mad (I give her kids a ride home from school certain days when she is at work, so she may feel she has to be nice to me?). On the other hand, she never would answer my question of When/what time do you want the cake. She was too busy and assumed I understood.

What would you do?



There's an old saying (and I paraphrase) , if it only cost you $60 to get her out of your life, it's a bargain.

another quote that fits: No good deed goes unpunished.
post #12 of 17
If a cake is not as promised, it should not be charged.

A hobbyist does not accept compensation. This was a business transaction. Legal... that's another issue.

When you charge for a cake, licensed or not, you open yourself up to a small claims issue if someone is disgruntled. It's wise to keep the customer happy if you want to remain under the radar.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your help. My friend and I are fine. She did pay me for the ingredients and we laugh about it now. We now know to make sure we are either talking event date or delivery date. icon_smile.gif
"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says, 'Oh crap, she's up.'"
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"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says, 'Oh crap, she's up.'"
Reply
post #14 of 17
The law is different in every State so don't assume
"She's illegal" unless you know for sure. You can bake from home in NE as long as you don't advertise, don't make a certain amount of money/year and only bake so many days a week. Know the facts before jumping to conclusions.
A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands!
Glenda
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A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands!
Glenda
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post #15 of 17
If the cake wasn't decorated to her specifications, i wouldn't charge her anything...I would chalk it up to a lesson learned.

Always get in writting, the date and time...and I always send a confirmation email with the date and time asking them to confirm...My biggest fear is screwing up a date/time, lol.

No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government...

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No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government...

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