... One of the guests "Janet" makes amazing cheesecakes and brought DH and I one as a host/hostess gift. It was a small cake just really big enough for the two of us to share. Janet handed me the cake when she arrived and after thanking her, I put the cake in our refrigerator. ...
Is there even the REMOTEST possibility that Janet really didn't bring the cheesecake as a hostess gift? Is there any possibility that she brought it as a dessert that was intended to be shared by everyone? If she didn't expressly tell you that it was a hostess gift for you and your husband specifically, I can imagine that if Robert saw the cake being placed in the refrigerator he may have assumed that was because it needed to be refrigerated, but was intended to be shared.
So he asked Janet and she, being put on the spot, told him to ask your husband just to be sure it was okay to open the fridge and get it and have a piece. So he asked your husband who knew nothing about the cake at the time and without meaning to sort of implied that it would be okay.
I have a feeling Janet's feeling a wee bit guilty that she didn't just tell Robert right off the bat, "No, that's a special gift for Bah and Mr. Bah. It isn't part of the party refreshments." If something like what I suggested happened, it could explain why Janet was upset when she saw the empty box and realized you were (or would be) upset.
She told me it was for us...specifically, "I made your favorite for you and your DH to enjoy". Like I said, it wasn't a full size cheesecake, but one of those small cakes that two or three people could share.
Also, I can't imagine why someone that I know well, who has never lied to me about anything that I'm aware of, would lie and claim she didn't tell Robert anything about the cake, when she did (even if accidentally), and then be upset that it was eaten, and then insist on replacing the gift for us because it was 'stolen'. While I guess it's always possible that I'm wrong, she has never been a person not to own up to something. If she did imply, even remotely, that Robert could have the cake (or ask for it), then I can't imagine her not saying so. It wouldn't be out of character for her to say "Oh, I may have implied that he could ask you guys for permission to taste the cake and now it's gone! Let me make it up to you and get you guys another one."
Robert, though, may have assumed that the cake was for everyone if/when he saw Janet hand it to me. Maybe that's why he said something to DH about taking a peice (since it wasn't out with the rest of the food)...however, I don't know why he told DH that Janet said it was ok but when I questioned him and asked him specifically if Janet told him he could have it, told me it was, in fact, DH that said it was ok.
Robert had to have seen Janet give it to me to even know that it was in the refrigerator. 1. He knew that Janet had something to do with the cake, because he specifically told DH that Janet said he could have it. and 2. there was no reason for him to go into our refrigerator for anything. We had everything out. Including ice and drinks. If he had snooped to see what else he could find, I don't know how he would have known that Janet was the original owner of the cake. the box didn't say "from Janet" or anything like that.
So, even though I'm not so sure about Robert (and think he lied), I'm not sure I'd never be willing to let him in my house again. Like I said, he may have thought it was for everyone and just wasn't on the up and up about how he asked if he could have a peice. In either case, it may not ever be an issue. I don't have any contact info for him and have never met nor seen him before my party. So, he'll only likely be around again if our mutual friend asks to bring him...and if that's the case, I'll probably just explain to Robert that everything he needs will be out on the tables and countertops (we do all our parties this way). If we've run out of something, he's more than welcome to ask me if there is more (I do sometimes keep extas in the fridge to refresh...at least for bigger parties).