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4 tier wedding cake disaster - outdoors, hot, humid, buttercream, etc..

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
I have a huge wedding this past weekend, where I had done everything but beg the bride to cover her buttercream cake in fondant to help protect it. The wedding was in south eastern VS, which is extremely humid. The wedding was outdoors, in a covered tent, without fans or cooling. It was 88 degrees outside. At the reception they were having a formal sit down dinner, which was to last 1 hour, and then the cake cutting. Th bride, groom, and I all decided it would be best for the cake the set it up in the kitchen and for them to carry it out to the tent when they were ready. I expressed to them how concerned I was over carrying a size of this size, fully assembled, and not dropping it, etc.. Well, I left the cake in the kitchen in perfect condition, and sure enough they dropped the cake carrying it out. Does anyone have any suggestions of anything I could, or should have done differently? Would it have been okay to leave the cake out in that temperature for that long? By the time I had assembled and decorated it, it would have been out there for 2 hours. It was out of the direct sunlight, but still at 88 degrees, extremely humid, and buttercream only. It just makes me sick and frustrated, because the bride is now pretty furious with me.

Thanks!
Tracey
post #2 of 44

absolutely nothing wrong here, you did everything you could for that cake. If you left it outside it would have melted, and you are not responsible after assembly and dropping if off where they stated to drop it off at. If they didnt have the manpower to lift the cake and get it to the tent for cutting, they should have asked someone else for help, not your fault..

 

They dropped it, they are responsible..and you warned them about temp.

Sorry this happened for everyone in volved but you did your due diligence on this one:)

Yes I am legal. Now move on and bake..
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Yes I am legal. Now move on and bake..
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post #3 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEsplin View Post
It just makes me sick and frustrated, because the bride is now pretty furious with me.

Thanks!
Tracey

I'm not sure why the bride is mad at YOU. I would be ticked at the people who dropped the cake, not the person who made it. She needs to lay the blame on the appropriate party, and I would probably find a "nice" way of telling her so. She may have been spoon fed a lie about faulty construction from the ones who actually dropped the cake.

Not your fault!!

Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
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post #4 of 44
Thread Starter 
But how hot is too hot? It seems a lot of her guests are saying it was not too hot to have the cake out, and that it should have been put in the tent to begin with. I just know that if I were to book the same wedding again, I would do the exact same thing still.
post #5 of 44

You did everything you could. You even said that you came to that agreement with the bride/groom. You gave them ample warning.

 

You can't let the guests dictate either what environment was right for the cake. 88degrees out of the sunlight might have been comfortable for them, but we (as professional cake decorators) KNOW that buttercream can melt very easily in these conditions. We don't tell others how to do THEIR job, so we can't let others tell us how to do our job against our better judgement.

 

Hopefully you had this agreement in writing and signed by the bride and groom as proof and that the only person who can be held liable is the person (or people) who actually dropped it.

post #6 of 44

She's misdirecting her anger at you- you didn't drop the cake. And the guests are not professional cake decorators or caterers- which I would politely point out to the bride when I politely reminded her that you warned her about what would happen and she chose to have buttercream in an non cooled environment. Totally not your fault. At all.

 

Personally, I would not accept orders from brides/clients who insisted on environments or cakes that would cause potential disaster. It only causes unwanted stress later.  

 

I know of a  professional wedding cake maker here, where I live, who refuses to leave her cakes in any outside weddings (due to the year round heat and humidity we have here) because of just that. She says it's a just a recipe for disaster. 

post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakefat View Post

Personally, I would not accept orders from brides/clients who insisted on environments or cakes that would cause potential disaster. It only causes unwanted stress later.  

 

I know of a  professional wedding cake maker here, where I live, who refuses to leave her cakes in any outside weddings (due to the year round heat and humidity we have here) because of just that. She says it's a just a recipe for disaster. 

 

Take a hint from the poster above . . . you don't have to accept any orders where you will be caused undue stress by other people's decisions.  Just say no to outdoor venues, and move on.

 

Politely tell your bride that whoever dropped the cake is who she should be directing her anger at.

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #8 of 44

That's insane! How can you possibly be at fault? Write her back and ask what she suggests you could have done after you already explained that her cake would have melted?

Whoever moved the cake really should have wheeled it out or something. I'm not sure what you could have done differently? I live in Florida and sometimes need to take pictures out in the sunshine, I got distracted looking after the kids once (it was just for pictures this cake) and came back an hour or so later to find a multi colored pool of frosting. She would not have prefered that.

post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakefat View Post

She's misdirecting her anger at you- you didn't drop the cake. And the guests are not professional cake decorators or caterers- which I would politely point out to the bride when I politely reminded her that you warned her about what would happen and she chose to have buttercream in an non cooled environment. Totally not your fault. At all.

 

Personally, I would not accept orders from brides/clients who insisted on environments or cakes that would cause potential disaster. It only causes unwanted stress later.  

 

I know of a  professional wedding cake maker here, where I live, who refuses to leave her cakes in any outside weddings (due to the year round heat and humidity we have here) because of just that. She says it's a just a recipe for disaster. 

I made that same decision a couple of years ago, I even went one further I just don't take orders that are in outside tents in summer.  You do get to choose what you will and will not do.  I'm quite happy to not live with the stress of either worrying that the cake will collapse, or as unfortunately happened, the cake is damaged taking it out.  Also as this has shown no matter what and no matter how clearly you have communicated your concerns it looks like you have failed whether this is true or not.  Sorry this happened to you, it was not your fault they dropped the cake, I would have thought they would have taken a little more care.

post #10 of 44

And totally ignore what the guests think.  They would be the first to sue if they got food poisoning when the buttercream went off.

post #11 of 44
First of all, it is not your fault the cake was dropped by the venue employees. But, that being said, there is always a risk of a cake being dropped everytime it is moved. As the professional I think you should have either insisted on the cake being covered in fondant, refused the order (if the bride won't budge) or have a summertime buttercream that can handle the heat. I use SugarShack's recipe and it can handle anything summer throws at it. I highly recommend using that recipe.
"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #12 of 44

I have in my contract that once I set the cake up it can't be moved, and if it is I'm not responsible for it. I also won't do outdoor cakes in buttercream in the summer at all. I even have a clause in my contract about the temperature that the cake needs to be kept at.

 

The bride has no leg to stand on in blaming you, don't blame yourself for someone dropping the cake. Just put your foot down next time and say no if you get a client who thinks they know better than you do.

post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311 View Post

First of all, it is not your fault the cake was dropped by the venue employees. But, that being said, there is always a risk of a cake being dropped everytime it is moved. As the professional I think you should have either insisted on the cake being covered in fondant, refused the order (if the bride won't budge) or have a summertime buttercream that can handle the heat. I use SugarShack's recipe and it can handle anything summer throws at it. I highly recommend using that recipe.

Interesting, I'll need to try that sugarshack recipe!  I have terrible fears of melting buttercream cakes...

post #14 of 44
Sugarshack's recipe is just an all-shortening one, if I rmember correctly. I have my own opinion about no butter in icing, but that aside, i've seen that kind of icing slide right off a cake in the Virginia heat. So it depends on where you are and the actual weather.
post #15 of 44

I sure hope that you had all of the above reccomendations in your contract. No more cake OR refund for her!

For we are God's MASTERPIECE! He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
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For we are God's MASTERPIECE! He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
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