You have GOT to be kidding me!
It was June 26th, a busy day, & we were double booked with events that evening. I had the ILEA Awards Gala, where Cakes ROCK!!! was nominated in the Best Desserts category & I was personally honored to be nominated in the Spirit of ILEA category. We also were supporting the Marriage Equality Anniversary event at the Metropolitan Community Church, where I had made a rainbow geode wedding cake that was also rainbow inside. Since I was attending the Gala, my awesome San Antonio Cake Minions, Shanna & her son Sam, were coming up to Austin to represent Cakes ROCK!!! at the Marriage Equality event for me to deliver the cake so that we would have a presence there.
I had gone home & was just starting the epic wrestle with ALL THIS HAIR to get it tamed down & gussied up for the Gala. It was a Speakeasy theme, & I had a great dress to wear. I usually look like a homeless person covered in powdered sugar & chocolate, so I was happy to get to dress up & enjoy a night out with my wonderful fellow event professionals. It was about 4pm.
The phone rang. I saw it was Shanna.
I answered on speaker since I had both hands busy with a curling iron.
“Christy, did you see the email from __________ client, the one with the big logo cake?” No, I hadn’t checked email in a couple hours. “Well, she said something about looking forward to seeing us tomorrow at 9am. Were you supposed to go meet with them? Because I looked & the cake is due July 27th. I know she mentioned about having you come by to view the cake inspirations in person.” No, I hadn’t scheduled a meeting yet.
Very confused, I said, ‘well call her & ask what is going on. If I’m supposed to meet with them I can run by in the morning.’
She called back. The client had accidentally sent us the WRONG date in her emails ordering the cake. She didn’t need it July 27th. She needed it JUNE 27th at 9am, less than 16 hours from that moment.
The poor woman was panicked. It was a BIG celebration, a surprise party for her boss’s birthday, & about 75 people were coming the very next morning. She acknowledged that it was her fault, but asked us if there was ANYTHING we could do, even if it wasn’t the exact cake that had been ordered. She was begging. She said if we could pull SOMETHING off she’d be our most faithful client for life.
A Massive Dilemma
So we had a massive dilemma. Clearly this wasn’t our fault, but it WAS our problem. We had a client in trouble, who had already paid for their cake, & was going to look really bad if there was no cake at the big party. But I was on my way to a Gala, & they were on their way to deliver the rainbow geode cake. And because it was due so early in the morning, working on it the next day wasn’t an option.
So we put our heads together. Obviously there was no way we could bake a cake at that point. But miraculously, we needed a 14 inch round for that client, & we had just baked a 14 inch round for a wedding. It was stacked & ready to ice. Not the flavor the client had ordered but at this point, that was the least of the worries. It was Almond Amaretto, one of our BEST flavors, so who could complain about that? I told Shanna to grab that one, & we’d just rebake the wedding cake, as we had some time on it.
So Shanna & Sam decided to drop the cake off at the Marriage Equality event, graciously explain why they would not be able to stay, & would head back to the bakery & start on the cake. I would go to the Gala, stay long enough to see if we won the award (we didn’t–we won last year but another deserving company took it this year), & as soon as I could, I would leave there & come down to help.
So I left the Gala around 9pm & was at the bakery before 9:30. I changed out of my beautiful sequined dress to my normal work clothes & dove in on getting the cake done. So Cinderella turned back into a pumpkin real fast. Here is proof that I can clean up & impersonate a woman when I put the effort into it, haha! No baseball cap in sight.
We were determined we were going to give them the design they ordered if it killed us. It nearly did. We were rushing. Cakes need to chill between certain steps & we didn’t have time to let that happen, so we ran into issues & it certainly didn’t come out as perfect as our high standards dictate. I had to swallow my Cake OCD & realize that it was still good work, an excellent cake overall, & most importantly it would save my client’s butt.
Sometimes, I have to step back & realize that most people don’t see what I see. I tend to look at the cakes we produce as if they were being judged at a cake competition by the most prestigious cake artists in the world. I know what it takes to compete at that level, & that’s the standard I apply to our business. (I don’t compete, as it takes SO many hours to create a piece to compete on that level & we’re booked to our eyeballs with client cakes every week so I just can’t find the time.) But most ‘normal’ people aren’t experts in technical cake construction. They are just happy there IS a cake, & would never notice the tiny imperfections that give me heart palpatations.
We put the finishing touches on it just after midnight. I have nearly a 30 mile commute myself, & poor Shanna & Sam had to drive back to San Antonio. I invited them to stay with me, but they had appointments in the morning & had to be back early. So we all had a VERY late night.
I delivered the cake the next morning, right on time, & the client was THRILLED! She was amazed at the cake & design, & I was SO relieved! They had a beautiful setup for the party & the cake looked great as the centerpiece. She couldn’t believe we had pulled it off & kept thanking me for saving her. It felt good. It was worth the panic & late night.
I’m not going to post pictures of the cake here, as the design would reveal the name of the client & I am NOT throwing her under the bus. She’s human. She made a simple mistake that any one of us HAVE made & could make at any moment. Good grief I have at least one major brain fart a day!
But I WILL post a picture of the beautiful rainbow geode cake! The organizers of the event said it was the talk of the party, & when they cut it to reveal the rainbow inside, there was an audible ‘gasp’ from the audience! And she even asked us if we got the other cake done, & that she had been thinking of us.
Yes, we got it done. It kicked our respective butts & we were all so tired the next day. I’m so proud of my awesome Cake Minions & grateful for them. But I tell you, so many things fell into place that allowed us to pull it off. If they hadn’t been up here in Austin to go to the other event, there’s no way I could have gotten it done by myself in time, even if I had skipped the Gala altogether. It took all of us busting our tails to get it done in just a few hours. So the stars aligned, & we ALL were certainly lucky!!!