Remember that epic three-tiered cake wreck at Syon Park? The one where our poor driver had an accident because of some foolish dangerous moron driving into him in London? It was particularly tragic because despite our experienced cake delivery drivers’ careful and pragmatic driving we are at the mercy of freakish motorists on the road too and can do nothing about that element of risk other than do the best we can!
In addition to motorists, we also fear Mother Nature. When London celebrates the summer finally making an appearance with 25 degrees plus temperatures and gleaming resplendent sunshine with picnics and Pimms and lemonade, us cake makers are full of dread and anxiety as we all know one scary reality - it’s that butter melts.
On Friday, I was brutally reminded of this fact. Our beautifully decorated bespoke Paddington Bear themed birthday cake for Agatha made its way across London in thick traffic looking like a lovely tidy and cute cake - layers of fluffy and moist chocolate sponge with egg-free buttercream, salted caramel glaze, a chocolate teapot, teacup, an edible jar of marmalade, a hand-written edible letter and pretty hand piped buttercream roses.
Upon delivery however, which took longer than usual due to horrendous traffic and address mix ups, our poor Paddy Bear cake didn’t survive the journey and looked like an absolute melted mess. It was heart breaking to receive the news and see the damage!
The customer was of course in distress as it was for her daughter’s birthday the next day and to look forward to a cake so much only to see it arrive finally looking like a total wreck is upsetting for anyone, including us. As it had arrived in a state that could never be accepted we had two options - an easy one, and a difficult one. The easy one was to take it back and fully refund. After all, it was late, a Friday night, our kitchen was closed, and my baby was in the throes of his witching hour. The more difficult option was to put all that aside and offer to fix it (at our own expense obviously as it is our responsibility to deliver cakes looking incredible!) whereby the driver takes it back and drops it off to me and I work on it through the night and MAYBE, just maybe, I could rescue it and not let down a little girl on her birthday.
The customer and I decided to give it a go. I’m a sleep-deprived zombie anyway, I might as well give it my best shot! The cake was finally delivered back to me at 11:30 at night. I settled X to sleep and got to work on it. I won’t lie, but the challenge made my adrenaline soar and I was a jittery bag of nerves and excitement in equal measures.
I whipped up some more buttercream and salted caramel glaze, patched up the smudges using my trusty palette knife and added swirls of piped detailing similar to our popular Unicorn Cascade cake that I know our customers absolutely adore. I then replaced the melted and broken fondant letter with a new one and stabilised the teapot and marmalade figurine using more buttercream, a cake board and some more dowels for added support which also held the layers of cake together better. These sound like quick steps, but when you’re working around a baby that sleeps terribly, on very little sleep yourself, it takes a lot longer!
For this cake to survive a chance in hell the next day going back to the customer I had to empty the fridge and let it chill overnight to firm right up. I changed the thermostat to as cold as possible too so the cake had ample time to cool right down.
I then did not sleep a wink. Literally the worst night, tossing and turning, with the heat not helping. I think X sensed this too as he was also struggling to sleep, even more than usual. I thought I would be relieved when I could finally get up, box the cake and send it off again nice and early but no....I was a nervous wreck all day...because I waited to hear from the customer and didn’t....
And then I did. And she was absolutely over the moon and said it was the most amazing cake anyone had ever seen and tasted at her daughter’s party and she could not have been happier with it.
Aaaaand breaaaaaaathe!! Omg I felt like I was suddenly jumping through rainbows, in fountains of happy feelings and falling back into clouds of euphoria. I mean, I’m always ecstatic when people love our cakes, but it means that much more when we have the opportunity to right a wrong and make customers ecstatic with the end results!
Stay cool my fellow cake-makers, stay cool,