Cake Order Fail

Video: Cake Order Fail
In the bakery business, we get all kinds of weird phone calls. Every once in awhile, we get one from the type of customer who just doesn’t understand the laws of physics or the limitations of cake. Here’s an example of one conversation I had with a customer that didn’t go so swell.

Morals of this story
The customer is not always right.
The baker has permission to say no.
No means no.
Chocolate-Garnish

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Cake Order Fail — 39 Comments

  1. Hello,
    Gabriela here from MoyBella Cakes. Well the worst cake request in my 6 yrs experience must be a Cinderella themed wedding cake, 5 tiered Tres leches covered in fondant, with hand modeled Cinderella castle topper, plus 4 surrounding tiers in a Cinderella carriage, so the five tiered wedding cake plus castle topper, she wanted it to be on top of a 3 foot carriage. She showed me a picture of what she found online mind you it was just a carriage prop. WITH A BUDGET OF $400. Yes 9 tiers of cake, all soaked in milk, covered in fondant, hand made castle topper and carriage for $400. ‍♀️

  2. I’ve got a cake fail where the customer was absolutely not right!

    When I bake cakes I tell the customers that if they’re going to pick up from me they need to make sure they have a passenger to hold the cake while they drive….especially when it’s warm outside. Also, when I have cakes that are 3 tiers or more, I tell the customers that I am going to have to deliver the cake for a fee. Occasionally, I get the customer who insists they can handle picking up a three tier and getting it to the location in one piece.

    Well….this one was that. I made a Shopkins Lippy Lips cake which was technically three tiers, only two were cake. The top tier was rice krispie treats and I told the customer since he didn’t want to pay for delivery (I’d have assembled the cake onsite) that he needed to make sure to bring a passenger to hold the cake as it was going to be tall and skinny. It’s a lipstick afterall. He assured me he’d bring a passenger.

    So….day arrives, he comes in a pick up truck, alone. Not a new F150, not a ice new truck with new struts, but a truck ya’d use to throw a load of lumber in or back yard debris. I’m like, “ooo, I thought you were going to bring a passenger. The cake really needs to be held while you drive.” “No, I’ll be fine, I’m not going far and I have a box to put this box in and then I’ll wedge the box into the front seat with me.” I asked him how far was not too far…. it was too far without a passenger and included railroad tracks on a bumpy ride in an old pick up. 🙁

    So…. The bottom line was, after the bumpy ride, and no added shock absorber via a passenger, the cake cracked. And the crack grew as he drove. While they were still able to enjoy the cake, his little girl’s party was pretty well ruined. 🙁 I still feel bad about it and this was back in June.

    I told him he needed a passenger!! He was furious when I wouldn’t refund the entire amount and he contacted friends from all over the states to write hateful reviews on my FB page. It would have cost him a delivery/set up fee, but it would have made it in one piece. OR, had he brought the passenger along to hold the cake over the bumps in his rickety pick up truck, the cake wouldn’t have collapsed on itself. Tried to post a before and after pic – no go.

      • Although the customer was wrong in how he handled delivering the cake and not wanting to pay a delivery or set up charge-asking a customer to bring another individual to carry or hold the cake could have ended in the same results. A cake should sit stable. especially one with height on it such as this one. Car seats are not leveled and dip in the back. a lap is also unstable with the vehicle stopping quickly and also experiencing bumps the top could still topple over with using dowels and skewers. In the beginning of creating cakes I to though this move was okay…..

  3. I had someone insist they have a five tiered wedding cake covered in fondant with edible images of the couple on the fondant; so far so good right. So here’s the kicked, the cake was suppose to flan. All five tiers of flan stacked and covered in fondant. I told her it wouldn’t work because of how wet and fragile flan is. After I told her it wouldn’t work she got upset and hung up. It turns out I know someone at the wedding and they sent me pictures of the cake! I was so giddy to see this disaster. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I don’t know how the baker pulled it off. There was no fondant covering the flan, it was loads of buttercream. You could see brown liquid seeping from the edges around all the cakes, sifted buttercream and sagging edible images but it was a five tier wedding cake that was stacked. I can’t even image what they did to pull that off. Better them than me though.

  4. I had a request once that made me shake my head.
    NO, was not an easy thing to say, NO, was not an easy answer to accept.
    Long ago a man toy came out named Billy Bass. It was a fish mounted on a plaque. When activated it would bend it’s head and it’s tail, as a fish would do as if it was flopping out of the water.
    A lady brought me this thing, asked me to dismantle it. Take off the skin and replace it all with cake, covering in green fish frosting. She wanted it to sing and dance like the real toy!!!!!!
    I explained how the cake would jam up the gears, I would have to bake a cake then smash it in the shape of the fish. I explained even if I did that, when the fish was activated and it began to flop it’s head and tail, the fondant or frosting would crack. so bad the cake would look terrible.
    Her reply, “You’re hear to make what I want”, My reply, “No I’m here to make you happy, and this would not make you or I happy.”
    Hope I can help you in the future, have a nice day.
    She left that thing with me, I put it in a box and there it stays, I only hope some day it doesn’t flop out. lol

  5. My cake fail was pretty recent, and it still makes me wince to think about it. It was my first wedding cake and I had followed all your instructions Kristen, wrt filling and freezing a cake. I had made a 3 tiered silver and blue themed cake according to the wedding color theme.
    The Bride had requested a “Mr and Mrs” on the 2nd tier. I designed my own stencil with my circuit machine and was able to paint it on nicely on the 2nd tier. Everything was working out fine until it came time to stack the cakes at the location.
    As I was lifting with a cake lifted the 2nd tier the part with the “Mr and Mrs” calligraphy cracked! I was able to put it the cracked part back on with my buttercream kit, but when I tried stacking it again, I put a paper towel on the inscription, thinking it would stabilize it and stop it from cracking as I lifted it up.
    It was a fail! The ink on the calligraphy got absorbed into the napkin and the “Mr and Mrs” got faded and smudged. In the end I rotated the cake table so that the blank side of the cake was facing out. I apologized to the bride and told her I would give her a discount, when she looked at the smudged ink, she just said “oh.” Later when the cake had been cut and everyone had eaten a piece, I spoke to the Groom and apologized about the smudged ink, he told me not to worry about it and said that everyone loved the cake. I gave her a $150 discount for the smudged ink, and she thanked me and said she was gals to have met me. I got compliments on the cake from various guests but I still felt bad about it. It took me a week to feel better, but even now I still feel kinda upset about it.

  6. I love reading all the other stories and while I don’t have any epic fails to pass on I have no doubt in my mind I will, at some point, be able to pass one on. Tells me we’re all human and that a sense of humour will always be an asset in this business. Thank you ladies (and gentlemen?), you made my day.

  7. I made a cake for my niece’s friend. Her request was simple, silver, white and 4 tiers. It took me about 17 hours to make and I did it for free. When I delivered it to the venue, I was so upset to see that the banquet hall was decorated cream and gold. My cake looked ugly! And it wasn’t my fault. This was for an Indian wedding of about 800 people in a very fancy hall. Make sure that your cake matches the venue cuz it might be bad for your business. The up side of this story is that at Indian weddings, the cake isn’t displayed for very long. The new couple walk into the hall straight to the cake and cut it. Then the cake is removed or pushed to the side. A waste of art.

  8. I have had a few but the most recent one was a doozy She wanted a 4 tier Willie Wonka cake(Based on the Johnny Depp’s character.Like the pic below, not my cake but I am able to replicate it but change things up The cake board was to have been green grass with a chocolate river flowing down from the 2nd tier, running around the board and pooling at the tunnel where a boat was to come through it.Mushrooms and candies and peppermint trees (with arms) and lollipops on the board as well.. The second tier would have had a hand piped blue royal icing double door gate with fence going around the tier. Third tier was to be bronze with gears going around it and held up
    by oopa loompas. The top tier was to be a purple hat with lollipops and the number one like the one pictures. When I quoted her a price she said well we only budgeted $400 but we will have a lot of parents and I am sure they will order from you. I have heard that one before. What would you have charge??

  9. Recently made a summer cake with waves on the side of the cake for a little girl. Hot day with high humidity for an outdoor event. The mother stopped in 3 stores on her way home. By the time, when the pictures were taken , it looked as though the waves we coming down from the cake.. it actually looked good but I will not ever be able to reproduce that cake….

  10. Not sure about this one but I made a very deep cake for a friend, I tested two layers but not the third ( red velvet) bad idea I had put too much bicarbonate in and it tasted really bitter, but by the time I found out cake all decorated and hand painted , so took it to the venue with a cutting chocolate cake I quickly made up complete with ganache and fondant on the top, Confessed to my friend and said don’t eat the middle layer, everyone tried it ( trust them and all agreed it tasted bitter lol ) but the chocolate one went down well. Never sent out a cake since with out testing

  11. I had a Lady come in, place her order for her baby shower cupcakes. She changed her mind on the sprinkles she wanted on top of them. She got mad at me when I did not change her price. She then Calls the bakery, cancelled her order, and hung up on us. She then went to social media & said I stole her money as she had paid with cash. I informed her that her cash is already in an envelope waiting on her to pick it up. I had it ready the same day she cancelled the order.

  12. Had someone who wanted an open book cake. When the daughter stated what she wanted written on this cake, well suffice to say a full sheet cake pan wouldn’t have held it. She got an abridged version so to speak. Not only that but her choice of color was awful.

  13. I had a lady from church call and ask for a quote for a 2 tier pink zebra cake 3 weeks prior to her event. When I had told her the price she paused, and said “Ok, bye.”. I take retainers to save the date. She calls me the evening before at 930pm and had the nerve to say, “Ok meant I was going to pay for it.”. I informed her that I require money to save the date two weeks prior to the event. Needless to say, I caved and charged her a rush fee on top of that.

  14. Since I only decorate for my family, I really don’t have a cake fail story. My only problem is the cake design. Don’t like it when they want me to make it like one they have seen on Pinterest. If someone is making you a custom cake, why would you want it to look like someone else’s? Recently for a graduation, I was told just make one with a graduation hat. After making a couple of sketches, I came up with something totally different to match the course study and they loved it. phewww No way I wanted to make a boring graduation hat cake.

  15. I had a lady order a two tier cake for a baby shower for her daughter. The week of the due date for the cake, the daughter texts that she does not like the design and wants a different design. She also wanted a flavor I did not offer. She sent me a picture of a different design, and said she wanted that cake but without the decorations on the cake, and would let me know in a couple of days what decorations she wanted. She also said she did not want any of the decorations made of fondant. I told her it was too late to make changes and that all my decorations were made of fondant. I then had a back and forth with her and mom arguing with me through text.
    I finally had it and told them I was cancelling the order. She then blamed me for not having a baby shower.

  16. Great video, as always. I don’t have an order fail because I don’t have trouble saying no to people. But just this weekend I sent out a 1st Birthday cake to a regular customer and didn’t even notice that I’d spelled Birthday with no H – feeling super stupid 🙂 The Baby’s Mom didn’t notice either. I got a wonderful email from her the next day. But today I got an email from the Baby’s Grandma telling me the cake was wonderful except for spelling Birthday wrong. Horrifying. I have it posted on my Facebook and website with the wrong spelling. LOL This is a first for me – feeling stupid 🙂 I promptly sent out an apology to Baby’s Mom & Grandma. Mom thought it was funny as she hadn’t noticed. It’s hard to be stupid LOL I will give her a discount on her next cake and an extra H LOL!

  17. when I 1st started out, a coworker asked me for a Bridal shower cake for her future DIL. The bottom teir deep orange to light ombre & top dark royal blue to light ombre. All buttercream ruffles.the customer would provide the topper.After what seemed like hours of spinning the cake to get all the different shades of colors & million pounds of buttercream, I finished and went to deliver the cake. I placed the cake on the table & asked where the topper was so I place it on top & take photos. The lady said they were right there next to the cake. All I saw was a few bamboo spoons & metal whisky. Confused, I asked her again. With a “duh & huff, she grabbed the utensils & shoved them randomly on the sides of the cake & then went to the kitchen and unpacked a cheese grater with the 4 sides that resemble a teepee & placed it on the top tier! I was horrified! She massacred my cake with kitchen tools! She stood back & looked at the cake with a smile of satisfaction. Gave me the money & wouldn’t stop thanking me for such a beautiful cake. I left in such a hurry, I didn’t even take a picture!

  18. I had a customer call asking for a 4 tiered cake but only wanted it to feed 2 people.. Hmmm… Thanks for sharing your video’s love all of them.

  19. I dont have any cake order fails. Oh wait yes I do. I made a cake with pouring M and M’s and my 80 year old mother was in the back when delivering it to my neices party and the whole cake slip I had to ram it back together before taking it in to the party

  20. I had a customer who asked for a two tier cake. One layer she wanted leopard print and hot pink markings, the second tier a seafoam green, which i really didnt think these two designs went well together and asked if she had a theme. Customer stated no but the birthday girl loves Aladan and leopard print and hot pink color. Ok, I tried to convince the customer of a new design which she stated no and wanted the two tiers as mentioned. Later when i saw pictures of my cake someone bought 3D stickers and stuck them all over the top tier!

  21. Annually I donate cakes for fundraisers, It does great things for my community and I get my name out there. This happened several years ago. The winner wanted a beach themed cake for a friend’s birthday. I took care in making the chairs, towels, pails, etc. proportionately correct to the size of this 10″ cake. About a day before delivery she insisted the cake had a horse on the beach since her friend rode on the beach. She also wanted a figure that replicated her friend riding this horse. I explained there wouldn’t be enough time to make that, let alone a horse and her response was “You are clever, you’ll think of something.”.

    Clever me made hoof prints in the “sand” at the ocean’s edge and clever me said to the customer “Ohhh, you just missed the your friend on her horse”. She laughed, and said the cake was perfect without a horse after all.

    A few days later I am tagged on social media by the cake winner with “She loved it!” along with a thank you. Sweet, she’s happy and my name is getting out there.

    Then I look and see “the cake”, except now “the cake” is festooned with a huge, plastic Barbie horse shoved into the top of it. This humongous, misplaced monstrosity hovered over chairs, towels, pails, just everything. It looked like a horrific scene from King Kong Goes Bronco. I’m still face palming from this.

  22. Well I have had similar conversations along with wanting to pay very little for a big project.
    Seems like there are some folks who just have a hard time understanding the concept of art, cake Inc.
    It has been a while for me. I had gotten out of doing cake for a little bit, but miss it so much and now am working my way back. Thank you for sharing your story. And having such a great place for us to check out. You Rock

  23. I have never had a problem telling a customer no. My fail was actually my last wedding cake. Lots of gumpaste flowers in one location and I underestimated how much support they needed. They ripped off the front of my cake and I had to remake the entire thing on the day of delivery utilizing a fake cake to replace the tier holding the flowers and fixing up the bottom damaged tier to give to the kitchen to cut and serve.

  24. My cake fail was when I wasn’t labeling cake layers that I was freezing. I thought I would remember the difference by just looking at them. But, alas, all frozen cake layers that are medium brown in color are not always carrot cakes – peanut butter cakes have the same tint. Anyway, I got up extra early one morning to put together a cake, brought up my 3 layers of cake pucks assuming they were all carrot – found out that 2 out of the 3 were carrot and 1 was peanut butter. Holy cow – epic fail. Thank goodness I had enough ingredients to do a few fresh layers of carrot for me to be able to put that cake together. Always…ALWAYS…label your cake layers when freezing them.

  25. Made a baby shower cake covered in white fondant with raspberry filling (fresh raspberries). As the cake warmed up the filling started weeping the red filling out the bottom. The cake looked like it was bleeding.

  26. An 80 year old “young” lady requested a succulent wedding cake for herself. We decided on a gum paste succulent arrangement that she could keep. She absolutely wanted buttercream filling and frosting. Her delivery was only 2 miles from me, in Arizona, in summer. I kept cake in a shallow box as I walked it in thru her front gate but didn’t see a walkway paver hazard. Tho I didn’t trip, my lady bumps left a nice dent in her wedding cake. She was kind enough to let me borrow some utensils to repair. A big lesson learned for me, if you have obstacle lady bumps, you better totally box up your cake.

  27. When I was new to baking cakes, the customer wanted fresh bananas. I thought ok, no problem. Wanting the bananas not to get brown in the cake from oxidation while I assembled the cake (I was slow lol) I soaked the bananas in Sprite as suggested from fellow bakers.
    The cake was covered in buttercream. On the way to the venue, those little pesky banana slices, kept poking their little selfs out of the sides of the cake. Like a turtle!!
    I kept pushing them back in, the banana slices would poke out of the other side. Looking back it was quite comical. And what did I learn? To pipe a damn around the edge of the cake, and possibly not to soak them, as they get extremely slippery!

    Thank you for your tutorials! Love your book! 🙂

  28. Tee hee! People are so funny. Some of them just don’t understand what all goes into making a cake. The “next week” comment got me! The problem I have in my neighborhood is being compared to Walmart or Kroger. People say, “well I can get a cake at Walmart for 30.00”. Not a 3 tier covered in fondant you can’t!

    • We are great artist. TLC, a lot of it goes into what we created, custom cakes. I always get the STOP and Shop or Shaw’s. I explain to my customer, those cakes come in frozen and then are decorated. how do I know I once was employed in the bakery.

      As bakers we are not cheap and we don’t customize cheap work.
      The customer is paying for a baker to design, and purchase supplies for their cake. The classes and tutorial and training’s we paid for the techniques used to design their cake. The special tools REQUIRED to use to create the HIGH END cake they are requesting. The utilities used, taxes for self-employment. Not to mention liability insurance, time, hours and sleepless night spent to PERFECT their MASTER PIECE. The wear and tear on our vehicle from shopping and delivering. IT TAKES AN ARTIST TO DO THIS AND STILL HAVE A LITTLE LEFT OVER FOR PAYING BILLS.I am sure their hairstylist, DR. restaurant, Groomer id=f they have a dog, Get this statement…… Walmart, Kroger’s or even Stop & Shop and Shaw’s

      CUSTOM CAKES ARE A LABOR OF LOVE, BUT, YES, THERE IS A BUT. LOVE DON’T PAY THE BILLS.

  29. I had one wedding cake that looked straight from the front, but, wellll, let’s just say from the side, it was a bit off. I gave it my best shot to straighten it. The bride’s mother called and left me a message (lol, before cell phones) by the time I got home and got the message, the reception was over. I didn’t hear from the mom again…until about 4 years later; when she called for a baby shower cake. Guess she wasn’t too upset about the wedding cake.
    I hate wedding cakes…tooooooo stressful.
    Thanks for all you do.

  30. A wedding cake with buttercream rosettes all over looked great as I loaded it into the car. When I arrived at the venue on a really hot & humid day, some of the larger ones had slid down & exposed the red velvet cake. I did have the extra bags of icing for “touch ups” but not enough to repair the damage. I had to scrape off the slide & use it with all of its pinkish glory to cover the bald spots. Fortunately the bride was not a bridezilla & she even liked the rosy tint.

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