Cake Disasters: Not All Cakes Come Out Pretty

A true story of what sometimes happen behind the scenes.

When we post photos of our beautiful cakes online, you would think that everything in our kitchen is perfect and flawless. It’s not always the case. We’ve had our share of kitchen disasters over the years. Here’s one story that personally happened to me 2 years ago in February 2019…

For the first time in more than 10 years of being in the baking business, today I had a cake fall apart on a customer. She ordered a cake for her husband who’s not doing very well. She mentioned this might be his last cake. I couldn’t say no to her despite my super busy Valentine’s week schedule. This cake was going to be special.  She requested a 10” round, 3 layer Marble Swirl cake, with chocolate cream cheese and fresh strawberry filling. She also asked for extra chocolate dipped strawberries on top of the cake. It was a big, heavy cake. I was pretty excited to make it. 

On the day of delivery, I had a feeling something was not right. When the cake got to her, it was falling apart. It looked like it was melting.  My heart broke into pieces. I couldn’t let this be his last birthday cake. I apologized like crazy and told her I’ll make sure he gets one before the party starts. Luckily, I had a few hours before their party started. I left their house, and had to pull over on the side of the road so I could call my husband. I was having a panic attack, and on the verge of tears. Once the panic attack stopped, I worked on making it right.

Meanwhile, taking care of this disaster also meant that I couldn’t take my 10 year old son to his basketball game. It was too late to find someone else to take him. So not only will I miss his game, he will miss his game. While he cries in front of me, I tell him how sorry I am. I just can’t be in two places at once. My heart breaks again. I told him the reason why I had to take care of this customer. Hoping he’d understand. I think he does but still he’s upset about not being there for his team. This is the reality of being a mom and a business owner. Our customers see us smiling all the time, but we hide a lot behind our smiles.

So I ended up giving my customer another cake, which was not even close to what she had originally ordered. I also included a platter of Cranberry Lemon Bars. I told her I wouldn’t be charging her for anything at all. I thanked her for being so gracious. She could’ve gotten mad, but she didn’t. She’s happy that I made it right. She insisted I charge her half the price. I apologized to her son, and he just said, “It’s ok, life goes on”.  What a wonderful family! 

As for my son, I made it up by getting him sushi for dinner. He’s upset, but not mad. He understood that someone’s last cake was more important than his game. I’ve had my share of difficult customers over the years. This family had every reason to give me a hard time. I was grateful and lucky that they were so kind. In the end, they made my heart smile.  They called me a few days later to let me know that they ate the melted cake anyway, and that it tasted amazing. 

So…what happened to the cake?

Rookie mistake. The cake did not set properly before decorating. I may have rushed it a bit because I was so busy with Valentine orders. Plus it was so heavy with the extra Chocolate Dipped Strawberries on top.  A good reminder to let your cakes set before decorating. Patience is always a hard lesson to learn. 

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