One of my favorite blogs is Cake Wrecks, whose subtitle is "When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong." My favorite part is when they show you a photo of how the cake was "supposed" to look, then a photo of the actual cake (wreck). So let me tell you about this wedding cake.
It was ordered months ago by a bride who wanted a cake decorated like one on our website titled "Chocolate Swirls." This is the photo from the website of how the cake was supposed to look. The cake ordered was to be larger, with fresh flowers, but that was the only change noted on the signed contract.
The wedding was out of town, about 65 miles along a winding 2-lane road through the country, but Emily has GPS on her phone so were not really worried (she entered the address and voila! directions!). The main concern for a road trip like this is if we need to repair the cake on-site. What if we have to come to a sudden stop and the cake slides in the car. Or someone puts a finger in it, or worse... We always bring a bucket full of repair tools, like extra buttercream, piping bags, tips, toothpicks, skewers, spatulas, you-name-it. Like the old saying goes, "it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it." And it is not like we can just drive back to the shop if we forget something.
The bride had been in the shop a few times in the weeks before the wedding, with various questions, and all the fluttering around the cake order made me even more cautious. After making and base-coating the cake, we called the bride the day before the wedding to double check the design. Yes she said, it was the "chocolate swirl cake" on the website.
Even so, we brought the cake un-decorated -- three plain white iced squares. Just in case something goes terribly wrong in the car, dark chocolate ganache decorations would be difficult to repair. Better to leave extra time to decorate the cake on-site. An hour and fifteen minutes later, we arrive at the bride's house. The house and yard have been beautifully decorated for the wedding and there are lots of friends and family members buzzing about, getting ready for the big event.
One more time, "We're doing the chocolate swirls, right?" "Yep" says the bride's mother, so we go to work stacking and decorating the cake. When we are done, I find the mother again and ask about the flowers. She finds them for us and comments on how beautiful the cake is, it almost doesn't need flowers. We put a few Gerber daisies and sunflowers on the cake, double check one more time that everyone is happy, and take our leave for the long drive home.
So imagine my surprise when I get back to the shop on Monday morning and find the cake stands have already been returned. The morning manager, Miss Pat, had just opened the shop when the mother of the bride brought the cake stands back. Best I can tell, the conversation went something like this.
Pat: "How was everything?"
MOB: "Beautiful. Do you keep a record of cakes ordered."
Pat: "Sure, why?"
MOB: "Well, what does it say for our cake?"
Pat (looking for the contract): "Chocolate swirls" (at this point Pat brings the website up on the computer and shows the picture of the chocolate swirl cake to the MOB).
MOB: "Well, that's not the cake we ordered."
Pat had not decorated the cake, nor had she gone on the road trip, so she was unprepared and probably gave the MOB a blank look, which prompted the MOB to point to another photo of a cake on the website. This one.
MOB: "This is the cake we wanted. The one you did was beautiful and all, but it was not the cake we ordered."
Other than being the same shape and size, the two cakes could not have been more different. They are not even on the same page on the web site. For the record, this one is called "Ivory Squares" and it has a monogram on the middle tier.
Miss Pat did the only thing she could have done in this situation. She apologized profusely. And she said she would tell me as soon as I came in.
I'm at a complete loss. For the first time since I opened the shop two-and-a-half years ago, I have no idea how to respond to this lady. The general consensus among family and friends was that no response was necessary. What could you possibly say? That was two weeks ago. If anyone has suggestions, I am all ears.