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Cake spoilage/shelf life

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I made a christening cake for a friend last week Saturday, it was a WASC cake with store bought cherry filling and covered in buttercream and fondant.

The cake was a bible and measured 17" x 12". I baked and decorated the cake on Saturday 12th and she collected that night. The christening was on Sunday.

So I'm coming home from work today (Friday 18th) and she stops me and says the cake is "rotten" (i'm so sorry to use that word but that's what she said) she was going to cut it maybe yesterday and it was spoiled. I feel soooooooo terrible I don't know what to say to her. She said the cake was never refrigerated.

Do you think this was my fault or this happened because of her negligence?

What questions should I ask in order to determine what happened?

I'm thinking this cake should have been eaten on Sunday and if not it should be in the fridge.

Please help me.
post #2 of 12
I'm just a hobby baker but I would assume it was your responsibility for the cake to be fresh etc the day of the event. By no means is it your fault that a week later the cake was no good! If she didn't plan on eating it until a week later (which is weird!) then she should have asked you how to store it to keep it as fresh as possible. I say it's on her, nothing to do with you.
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post #3 of 12
This is no fault of yours. You delivered a good product. If she chose not to refrigerate it, (why I have no idea) and then eat it a week later, sorry but ewwwwww, can you imagine how unsafe that would be eat. This would make me think twice if I was ever invited over for dinner, hopefully this client isn't that close a friend and you won't have to think about that. Ew...yucky icon_sad.gif
post #4 of 12
There are two types of fillings. One is store bought or home made, but is not shelf stable and must be refrigerated. The other is generally a "sleeve" filling. These are shelf stable fillings that can be left out without spoiling.

In the future, unless you know that your filling is shelf stable, recommend that it be refrigerated. It sounds like the cherry filling did go bad.
post #5 of 12
I just did a google search for Comstock Cherry Pie Filling. Here's the link:

http://www.piefilling.com/perfectPie.asp

Here's an excerpt from the link above:
"Fruit Pies
You can keep cooked fruit pies (like apple, blueberry and cherry) at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Cover with foil or plastic - or place in an airtight container. For longer storing, keep the pie refrigerated, or freeze it in an airtight wrapper for up to four months. (Be sure to label it with the date.)"

The cake should have been refrigerated. You probably assumed (as most people would) that she would refrigerate any uneaten cake after the Christening was over. However......she didn't do that. Ick.......

Your comment is correct: I'm thinking this cake should have been eaten on Sunday and if not it should be in the fridge.

In future, provide instructions about the need for refrigeration. You can tell her you assumed she would eat the cake on Sunday at the celebration, (the 24 hour window after you made the cake), and that the uneaten remainder would be refrigerated.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all your comments.

I'm always so careful when I make a cake I literally sterilize every thing before I use it and for her to come to me with this now is unbelievable. I still have to consider if it could be my fault somehow.

We had an agreement that I would buy all the ingredients and she would reimburse me for what I spent. I spent so much money on that cake but now how could I make her pay for the cake if she said it wasn't good.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaykaymay

I spent so much money on that cake but now how could I make her pay for the cake if she said it wasn't good.


Which might be why she told you it was "rotten" even though it was fine when it was fresh. A customer should have no expectation that a fruit filled cake, especially one that was not refrigerated, will be edible several days after it was delivered.

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post #8 of 12
I do as others posted above and give storage instructions with every product. My products are all scratch. Even though they may last a week, I tell all clients that I deliver at their prime and to expect no more than two days at prime. After that, they do deteriorate. Some may last a week, but I set up all situations with this scenario. This also works with my refund policy that is attached to every order.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
As advised I must remember to tell people how to store their cake in the future. That's if I ever recover from this shame and shock enough to make a cake for someone else.

She just brought back a piece of the cake in a ziplock bag.

I wish I could post a pic.

It's still white there are no signs of mold on it. I can still see the layer of cherry filling. However the layer of cake under the cherry filling looks wet and mushy.

It doesn't smell awful but it smells stale like it's about to spoil. If you know what I mean.

I live in the Caribbean and it is so hot here. Sometimes even at night. The heat and the moistness inside the cake under all that fondant would be enough to spoil the cake right?

That cake was so big I don't even know what she used to cover it as it sat for days and nights on her table or wherever.
post #10 of 12
I have an idea about what could have happened. Most people have at least an elementary idea about food, but some people just don't. She must have had no clue what to do with that cake.

Don't beat yourself up over it. Even though I give storage instructions every time, more than 50% of the time I know they aren't paying attention. The exception is on perishables. Then I make sure they listen.
post #11 of 12
my question is: If you baked and decorated on Saturday for a christening the following day, why was the cake not cut and eaten then??? You made the cake you were contracted to make....it was fresh when the customer picked it up....anyone with any sense at all would at least guess that it needed to be refrigerated if they were going to keep it for a week or am I missing something??

It feels like she just doesn't want to pay you....if it was "rotten" you would have been able to smell it.
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post #12 of 12
So does this mean next time I buy my bagged salad, leave it sit in the frig for a week and it spoils; I can take it back to the store for a refund? Sounds to me like she either has no common sense or she just doesn't want to pay for your ingredients.
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