About Me

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Durham, NC, United States
My name is Veronica and I own Southern Gold Leaf Cakes. I opened my home-based business in 2008. I am a licensed and inspected home bakery specializing in custom cakes. Since all cakes are made to order there are no frozen cakes here, only fresh and only home made. I am a self-taught baker but I have a strong art background with years of baking experience. It is the most rewarding feeling in the world when you can apply your skills to do something you love. To see my cake creations and view our yummy menu visit us at www.southerngoldleafcakes.com!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Doing the right thing

This past weekend was not the brightest in my cake career.  I'd made it through the hottest days of summer, the muggiest afternoons and not once had I lost a cake or had any complaints.  In the last three years this is the first time that this has happened (to my immediate knowledge).

The shorter version is I tried to over compensate for the hot and very humid weather we've all summer.  I've noticed that if we have rain after very hot days we have very muggy days.  This Saturday also had the extra benefit of cold rain.  None of these extra elements are good for cake or frosting.  I had already had to scrap one accessory to the cake because I couln't stop it from melting and falling apart.  "No problem," I think to myself,  "it's not the main piece and we'll take $$ off for the missing piece."  This delivery had several cakes and the smallest one had continually melted on me if out of the cold for more than 20 minutes.  In my panic to keep things together I did the one thing I never do....keep them in the refrigerator as long as I possibly can. 

Cakes have to have time to chill while decorating.  The frosting needs time to set up so that fondant work can be done.  If air bubbles are going to occur they need time to surface.  But I've never left one in the length of time I did this one and I think I set my refrigerator to a colder setting than I'd ever done before.

The delivery itself went fine.  There were very excited people to see the completed cake but by Monday morning it had turned into the thing I always say I never want - looks fabulous on the outside but is not worth eating on the inside.  By Monday morning the client had called to tell me they had not been able to eat any of the cake because it was hard and dry.  (upon hearing this let the nausea set in)  Since she was not my only delivery that day I had to do some quick back tracking to check on the other clients.  Thankfully there were no other issues.

My conclusions were this:  I did not give the cake time to come to temperature before delivery so that it was still way too cold internally to be eaten and thusly also too dry and I left it in the refrigerator too long to over compensate for weather bringing me back to the overall result. 

The right thing to do was to give the lady her money back.  She is a dear friend and a regular client and she says she absolutely will continue to order from me but the damage is done.  I've heard horror stories where bakers won't refund the money or claim no resopnsibility but I couldn't do that.  We both knew this was not the cake I normally produce.  

The good news is everyone was understanding, we figured out what went wrong, her money was returned and we are still good friends and (as she says) a client for life. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Friendly Advice

I've sat on this one at least a week.  At first I decided not to even touch it.  Since then I've discussed it with a number of people so obviously it's on my mind so I'm gonna put it out there in the most delicate way I can, without naming names, so that I can move on.

About a week ago I was reading one of the many blogs I subscribe to and saw a tid bit of free advice from a popular venue about things that the bride should tell or suggest that their wedding cake provider do or not do.  I am not sure who wrote the advice or if they talked to any local wedding cake professionals but the advice that was offered, unfortunately for the bride and for the baker, will cause more problems then it will fix. 

We are all (supposedly) professionals.  The last thing the bride needs, in my opinion, is the added stress of trying to tell me how to do my job and make sure I'm doing it right.  Especially if they really don't know what they're asking for or about.  Any cake professional who is worth their weight already knows how to help guide a couple in the direction that best meets their needs for visual appeal, taste, reception area and so forth.  We are prepared for outdoors, indoors, morning, afternoon or evening receptions.  We check and double check location and time and area so that we can navigate traffic, avoid problems and have time to fix anything that might be needed upon arrival. 

Helpful tips are a good thing.  There is so much involved in planning a wedding that there are so many things we can forget.  The best advice I can offer my clients: the business cards of professionals in the wedding industry that I trust.