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My First Complaint

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
You can probably tell from my photos, that I've made a fair few cakes. But I've just had my first complaint.

I'm a home-based cake maker (legally allowed in the UK, as long as you're registered with Environmental Health in your local authority, which I am).

I made a 2 tier bat mitzvah cake this last weekend, along with 42 cupcakes.

As I often do, I emailed a copy of the photo I took to the customer. I received this back earlier today:

Thank you for the photo - very kind and thoughtful

The cake looked beautiful but unfortunately the sponge was dry!!!

Half of it was uncut and I brought it home hoping to put it out on Sunday for another family get-together but unfortunately the vanilla sponge wasn't up to scratch, wasn't put out on the table and has been thrown (there was no point keeping it if it was inedible). The chocolate sponge wasnt as bad.

A rather expensive cake to end up in the compost bin, I think

Hope to hear from you shortly

Regards


I haven't replied yet, as I'm too shaken and upset. My husband is very measured and will be able to help me reply in factual, businesslike manner, without emotion. (I'm a very emotional person! LOL!)

However, as she has disposed of the cake, there is absolutely nothing I'm prepared to do. IF I had thought the cake seemed dry when I was torting and filling, I'd have re-baked. But it seemed fine.

I did freeze this cake, which isn't something I usually do. However, I know many, many people do bake ahead of time and then freeze, so I don't believe this has anything to do with it. It was very well wrapped, so freezing for a week won't have affected it.

As she has disposed of the cake, I have nothing to inspect. But I'm just so upset.
Inside this fat body, there's a thin woman screaming to get out...... but I can usually shut her up with chocolate!
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Inside this fat body, there's a thin woman screaming to get out...... but I can usually shut her up with chocolate!
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post #2 of 34
Oh dear. Had she tried your cakes before? Some peoples take on "dry" can be quite different from others. She should not have thrown the cake away because there is no way you can check it. But you should point out what you said here, that you tried some cuttings of the cake when levelling and filling it, and in your opinion it was as it should be, and that were it not that way, you would have baked another.

I agree that freezing locks in moisture and often freeze my cakes.

Maybe she stored it in the fridge? Some sponge cakes can dry out in the fridge. But then the chocolate one would be "dry" as well...

You have to decide what to do here. Some will say give her a partial or 100% refund as a goodwill gesture. Or a free cake next time (put a maximum money amount on it though). Did she say anything about the cupcakes? I think I would probably refund her the whole vanilla tier just to keep her quiet.

Don't let one customer get you down!
post #3 of 34
I find it interesting that she brought it home to put out again...
Her note to you was unkind, she could have just stopped at "it was a bit dry..." the compost part was unnecessary. Don't be too hard on yourself, we can't make everyone happy all the time.
post #4 of 34
I agree with whats been said already.

Chin up, I'm sure it was a great cake! Some people will try their luck saying they tossed it (so no evidence) when they actually ate it all.

You could phone the venue and ask if it was all served if you suspect they might be lying?
A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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A down-to-earth South African who has a growing interest in fondant cakes...I've been bitten by the cake bug!
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post #5 of 34
Your cakes are stunning. You've made more than enough cakes before to know if a cake was dry when you were filling it. I don't make enough cakes to freeze any, but I have read that it makes them retain moisture.
If she bought any other item from a shop and was unsatisfied with the quality she would have to return the item for inspection. They'd hardly take her word that the sleeves fell off a dress or the kettle blew upicon_wink.gif
I don't know what you should do in the circumstances, but her attitude was very off-putting. Certainly not a nice lady to deal with.

Best of luck.
post #6 of 34
The opposing view, but one I practice:

Anything can happen. It seems that so many bakers on CC always side with their fellow baker and call the clients liars or scammers.

In my experience, most cakes are not that good. Clients pay a premium and expect premium, when, in fact, what they get many of the times is mediocre to not that great. I have actually never had a cake I would rave about at a wedding.

This weekend I had a big cookie buffet at a wedding. We were 10 feet from the cake and attended our buffet so that we could observe. People were taking small pieces of cake and they were left on the table, most uneaten. About 60% of the cake was left. Why do caterers and DJ's always talk about the same old not-so-great cakes at wedddings?

I am not suggesting that the OP's cake was bad. I am writing in generalities.

Someone may not like a particular cake flavor, but crumb and texture should be corret. Plus, you want someone to say that they don't like chocolate cake, but this was a good one.

It is not valid to say that some people just don't know that the cake was supposed to be dry, and dry to one is moist to the other. And why can't she serve the cake the next day? A cake should last more than one day. If a cake is dry, it's dry.

So my take on this is that, luckily, dissatisfied customers who do not ultimately get satisfaction are clients for another baker the next time. I have a 100% satisfaction policy and it works for me. Never used it, but it's there to protect my reputation.
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relznik

You can probably tell from my photos, that I've made a fair few cakes. But I've just had my first complaint.


I'm a home-based cake maker (legally allowed in the UK, as long as you're registered with Environmental Health in your local authority, which I am).

I made a 2 tier bat mitzvah cake this last weekend, along with 42 cupcakes.

As I often do, I emailed a copy of the photo I took to the customer. I received this back earlier today:

Thank you for the photo - very kind and thoughtful

The cake looked beautiful but unfortunately the sponge was dry!!!

Half of it was uncut and I brought it home hoping to put it out on Sunday.....Well from where i sit - there is the problem right there....Who cuts a sponge then tucks it away for the next day - Sponges aren't meant to be *kept* - once cut they are the quickest cake to dry out.... My grandmother would turn in her grave if she was reading this post of yours - for she was the queen of sponge's - lolllll. I can hear her words now all these yers on - "A sponge is eaten on the day - not to be kept for another day..
I would be phoning the customer and asking her to explain to me what procedure did she follow after the cake was cut... I would listen - and then inform her that Sponges are not a cake to be kept.
You were not to know that this is what she was going to do - apparently this was her plan when ordering -
Sorry CC's - but i wouldn't be refunding.... because i am not responsible for *left over cake*....
for another family get-together but unfortunately the vanilla sponge wasn't up to scratch, wasn't put out on the table and has been thrown (there was no point keeping it if it was inedible). The chocolate sponge wasnt as bad.

A rather expensive cake to end up in the compost bin, I think
And there is problem #2...
I do hope she meant rubbish bin and not a real compost bin - who the hell throws anything with diary in it in a compost bin - thats ferral.

Hope to hear from you shortly

Regards


I haven't replied yet, as I'm too shaken and upset.
Save you shaking and getting upet for something that really deserves those emotions...its nothing that can't be solved - but ask questions first - then decide on your answers and actions.My husband is very measured and will be able to help me reply in factual, businesslike manner, without emotion. (I'm a very emotional person! LOL!)

However, as she has disposed of the cake, there is absolutely nothing I'm prepared to do. IF I had thought the cake seemed dry when I was torting and filling, I'd have re-baked. But it seemed fine. If this is what you believe then stand by your caking expierice and knowledge and inform the customer ... Remember, the customer isn't always right.... I did freeze this cake, which isn't something I usually do. However, I know many, many people do bake ahead of time and then freeze, so I don't believe this has anything to do with it. It was very well wrapped, so freezing for a week won't have affected it.

As she has disposed of the cake, I have nothing to inspect. But I'm just so upset.
Only get upset if you know that you did something wrong - but even then - gettting upset doesn't solve the problem - it just prolongs it...

Paint that smile back on your face - chin up and shoulders back - you have to sound professional and in control for when you phone her.

Bluehue
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

The opposing view, but one I practice

In my experience, most cakes are not that good. Clients pay a premium and expect premium, when, in fact, what they get many of the times is mediocre to not that great. I have actually never had a cake I would rave about at a wedding.



Seriously? The bakery I worked for got rave reviews all the time from people who ate her wedding cakes. It's the reason they were chosen to do the cake to begin with! We got a lot of business from people who were just guests at the wedding and loved the cake so much they wanted to use us for other events.

I was there when a customer who came in after a wedding to return our pedestal and he said every bit was consumed...even the top tier...and we had more than enough servings planned for that particular cake. He said everyone was getting 2nd helpings it was that good.

Many times if cake is not eaten it's because there's been other food and alcohol served and guests are full or don't want sweets. It's too bad you've never had a good wedding cake...but don't assume just because you've never had one they don't exist!

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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 #9 of 34
"Many times if cake is not eaten it's because there's been other food and alcohol served and guests are full or don't want sweets. It's too bad you've never had a good wedding cake...but don't assume just because you've never had one they don't exist!"

Agreed. And feel so sad for people who have been to weddings with bad cakes, all the time, and never had a cake as good as THEY could have made it...

As for the OP...I think your customer wants a free cake. If you're going to refund anything, I don't think it should be 100%.
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

The opposing view, but one I practice

In my experience, most cakes are not that good. Clients pay a premium and expect premium, when, in fact, what they get many of the times is mediocre to not that great. I have actually never had a cake I would rave about at a wedding.



Seriously? The bakery I worked for got rave reviews all the time from people who ate her wedding cakes. It's the reason they were chosen to do the cake to begin with! We got a lot of business from people who were just guests at the wedding and loved the cake so much they wanted to use us for other events.

I was there when a customer who came in after a wedding to return our pedestal and he said every bit was consumed...even the top tier...and we had more than enough servings planned for that particular cake. He said everyone was getting 2nd helpings it was that good.

Many times if cake is not eaten it's because there's been other food and alcohol served and guests are full or don't want sweets. It's too bad you've never had a good wedding cake...but don't assume just because you've never had one they don't exist!



Agree, I would imagine that the bride and groom had a tasting and tasted the product and liked it well enough to spend money on it.
I've been to a ton of weddings that have had tasty cake/cupcakes but then again I live in an area with a lot of great bakeries.

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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post #11 of 34
QUESTION.....If this topic is about....................
I made a 2 tier bat mitzvah cake this last weekend, along with 42 cupcakes.
Then how the hell did we get onto Wedding Cakes... am i missing something here?

Bluehue icon_confused.gif
post #12 of 34
And I agree with scp1127 - - 100% guarantee, period. Refund the price of the vanilla tier since apparently the chocolate tier and the cupcakes were acceptable. Phone your customer immediately and let her know your check is in the mail and apologize that the vanilla tier was not up to her tastes.

You aren't admitting to producing a lesser quality cake, but you want your customer to be happy with the whole experience. However, make it clear to her that if she orders from you in the future and has a problem, she must produce the remains of the cake in order to receive a refund.
post #13 of 34
I do not sell my cakes, I only give them to family and friends....
But one thing struck me about this ladies complaint.....

(excuse me if I read incorrectly....)

She said half remained uncut? So she cut half of it and from this half felt it was dry?

Then why did she state that she brought that other half home to serve the next day? Surely if you cut half a cake and it is inedible, there is no way you would save half for the next day then find it was inedible and throw it in the 'compost bin' or did she cut one cake and not the other?

Also she made no mention of the cupcakes? Were they satisfactory?

I always complain if a product is under parr... But only if it is really unacceptable. But I would never complain and then throw away the evidence. I think this woman is just after a freebie. i'm not sure I would offer her anything as she has no evidence to back this up. I do freeze cakes and don't think this would cause a dry cake.

Your cakes are beautiful so don't let her knock your confidence.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluehue

QUESTION.....If this topic is about....................
I made a 2 tier bat mitzvah cake this last weekend, along with 42 cupcakes.
Then how the hell did we get onto Wedding Cakes... am i missing something here?

Bluehue icon_confused.gif



Obviously you missed the post from scp1127. She stated she thought most cakes weren't very good (!) and that she'd never had a wedding cake to rave about. I merely addressed that in my reply.

to the OP I would NOT refund 100% How can you run a business that way? Then all anyone would have to do is claim the cake was dry to expect the same treatment!

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!

Reply
post #15 of 34
The cake I bake the most is a hot milk sponge cake. That cake is always moist the second day. I sometimes freeze it and it's still moist. Can't understand why yours would be dry, Relznik
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