Wedding Cake Was A "disaster" At Best!

Decorating By ANicole Updated 24 Oct 2007 , 4:22am by GI

ANicole Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 2:39pm
post #1 of 34

I did the wedding cake yesterday - the one where my aunt was supposed to do it but asked me to 4 days before wedding. Well...

I used the plastic dowels, which worked fine. I had it stacked and filled and all I had to do was smooth the icing. It was supposed to be 3 square stacked cakes iced smooth with white and black dots for the border. Well, I tried and tried and tried to smooth the icing. I tried for hours. I couldn't smooth it. I had to call my aunt for help. All she was supposed to do was smooth it. She was supposed to be bringing fresh calla lilies to put on top. She didn't. So I went to the store to get the flowers while she smoothed out the icing. She said my icing was way too soft and needed more PS. I use the buttercream icing recipe on CC. I've used it before and never had an issue, although I've never done a "smooth" cake before, either! I also read the article on how to ice a square cake and used the technique where you use two spatulas to make the corners and top edge. I got that part down fine. Everything was FINE - except the spatula marks!!! So..

While I was at the store, my aunt smoothed it by using a wet hot spatula which kind of thinned out the icing. You could see through to the cake in some spots. She also dumped a ton of PS into my icing (I think it just needed to be popped back into the fridge - it was out for a while at that point!). She added all kinds of horrifying black decorations. She tried to make little ribbons and zig zag-y things. When I got back, all I could say was "It's horrible!"

She agreed. We fretted for a while. But then it was too late and we had to leave it and deliver it.

I think next time I will use the wide scraper from the hardware store. I think that would have saved me. Despite trying the Melvira method, I didn't get it smooth.

So here are my questions -

1-Do you think the wide scraper woulda saved me?
2-Did the Melvira method not work because it was too soft?

3-I cut the PS when I make my buttercream so it's not too sugary. I only use 3 cups. Is this a problem?

My grandparents said it tasted HORRIBLE. It was way too sugary. I was sad because even though it was ugly, at least I thought it would taste awesome. I had authentic cannoli filling in it, and a nice cherry recipe off Martha Stewart's website. My mom told me I shouldn't have let her touch it. She's kind of a bad decorator. (Not that I'm great - I know!)

I wish I would've just used the decorating comb on it. Also, if I would have had more than 4 days, I could've practiced.

I didn't even take a pic, the thing was so HORRIFYINGLY ugly. I feel really bad about it.

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33 replies
Shaela Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 3:02pm
post #2 of 34

Oh man... I am sorry you had this experience... but don't fret too much. We have all had our hideous, ugly, disaster cakes! Sometimes there is nothing you can do but deliver it and hope for the best!!! Hang in there!

As for the buttercream... I usually use the full amount of PS called for because of consistency issues. So, it might have helped. I don't know about the scraper having never used one.

woodthi32 Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 3:16pm
post #3 of 34

oh my goodness! That is terrible. I think the melvira meth or any other where you have to touch paper towels to the frosting HAS to crust, and to do that it has to have the right amt of sugar....a lot. Your grandparents...well, my children could make a mud pie, and my parents would say it tasted fabulous. No offense, but they may need to take a grandparenting class.
You needed more practicing time, and your aunt should have known this. SHe may need an "aunting" class. Write it off. One of my friends said you really can only have one huge disaster, so now you are home free girl!!

sunflowerfreak Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 3:18pm
post #4 of 34

I always use the crusting buttercream recipe that Melivira uses and then I wait until it's crusted, maybe a half hour, and then use the rollers. I works great. I have saved many hours using Melvira's method of rollers. If it's humid outside, sometimes the icing will come off when I am rolling but not often. But I have found out that I have to use the crusting buttercream icing recipe to get the rollers to work.

sunflowerfreak

Ironbaker Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 3:14pm
post #5 of 34

Eee, I'm sorry you had this experience! Hopefully, one day you can look back on it and get a chuckle.

I also think the decreased amount of ps is what did it. I know when I'm mixing mine and only have a few cups in so far, I can see that it's too soft to do much with. The consistency is different when I've got it all in. If you want to decrease the amount of ps, you'll have to decrease the amount of other liquid/butter as well. To cut back on sweetness, I add a tsp or more of salt to the liquid and dissolve before putting in the mixer.

indydebi Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 3:28pm
post #6 of 34

too sugary? icon_confused.gif It's made of 99% sugar, people!! What do you expect?

I honestly just DO NOT understand the "it's too sweet" or "it's too sugary". IT'S MADE OF SUGAR!!!!!!! icon_surprised.gif

The amount of PS affects the consistency, not necessarily how sweet it is (did I mention it's made of ALL SUGAR????). Crusting is determined by the ratio of fat to sugar .... less sugar, less crusting.

Using a bench scraper (wide blade) on the sides of my cakes is a real help, but I still ALWAYS melvira the cakes after that.

People tell me my icing isn't "as sweet" (again, my confused look on my face pops up) as others they've tasted. Maybe the Dream Whip I add makes a diff.....?

all4cake Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 3:32pm
post #7 of 34

I'm sorry you had this experience...but better sooner than later...get it out of the way.

I agree with the PPs on this one....all of the sugar should've been added.

The sugary issue...I'm with indydebi...I don't get it unless they meant grainy...that can happen if you add too much sugar AND not incorporate it into the mixture long enough.

To help reduce sugary/granular type texture, I mix my buttercream at least a day in advance then restir before use. It's a LOT smoother when I do it like that.

ANicole Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 3:45pm
post #8 of 34

My grandparents specifically said it wasn't grainy - just too sweet. They said they couldn't even tell if the "cake" was good due to the frosting being so horribly sweet.

So I guess I would've never gotten it smooth using the wrong ratio of PS to butter... So I either have smooth icing or too sweet icing..? I have to choose? thumbsdown.gif

Has anyone used IMBC? Is that any better?

I know it's almost all sugar, but there are variations on the sweetness, I agree with my GP on that. Some are very sweet and some are more mildly sweet.

I feel bad because I was trying to make my cousin's wedding cake nice - my aunt's stuff is always sort've pretty but yucky tasting.. I should've stuck to my original comment to her "I've never done a wedding cake and I don't know how!" (then she said, OH, it's just a cake, it's easy.)

Luby Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 3:57pm
post #9 of 34

Sorry it didn't turn out the way you expected - that can be very disheartening and frustrating.

I think everyone hit the nail on the head - the amount of powdered sugar in a recipe is there for a reason. Take a deep breath and practice, practice, practice.

Luby Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:03pm
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

too sugary? icon_confused.gif It's made of 99% sugar, people!! What do you expect?

I honestly just DO NOT understand the "it's too sweet" or "it's too sugary". IT'S MADE OF SUGAR!!!!!!! icon_surprised.gif

The amount of PS affects the consistency, not necessarily how sweet it is (did I mention it's made of ALL SUGAR????). Crusting is determined by the ratio of fat to sugar .... less sugar, less crusting.

Using a bench scraper (wide blade) on the sides of my cakes is a real help, but I still ALWAYS melvira the cakes after that.

People tell me my icing isn't "as sweet" (again, my confused look on my face pops up) as others they've tasted. Maybe the Dream Whip I add makes a diff.....?





icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

I hear ya!!!!

People take a bite of cake that is decorated with bakery icing and say "it's sooooo sweet"!!! OK - it's not going to taste like meatloaf - it's icing and icing is made from sugar and last time I checked sugar=sweet icon_lol.gif

ctackett Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:05pm
post #11 of 34

Don't feel bad. I thought I would transport a three tierd cake all assembled. Well I put the cake on my wooden turntable and put in the vehicles which was fine. I put styrofoam around it so it wouldnt slide. But guess what! The surface on the turntable is very smooth and the cake slid off!!! Luckily I was only going about five miles per hour and it didnt slide very far. Thakns God I put a dowel downt the center. I got it to the reception site and luckily was able to fix the cracked and misplaced icing. I usually transport cakes in layers. I have learned my lesson!!! I will never transport another tiered wedding cake again all in one piece.

indydebi Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:03pm
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber0717

So I guess I would've never gotten it smooth using the wrong ratio of PS to butter... So I either have smooth icing or too sweet icing..? I have to choose? thumbsdown.gif




No, darlin', you don't. Give my recipe a try. I get good icing (shall I say dang good icing! icon_rolleyes.gif ) that is smooth. http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopic-491583-0.html

ALso bear in mind that as we get older, our taste and tasting abilities change. People who don't eat a lot of sweet stuff thinks EVERYTHING sweet they taste is "too sweet" because they are not used to it (give a Diet Coke drinker a swig of regular coke and watch the look on their face! Because they are not used to the full sugar-taste of regular coke...!)

So if gramma and grampa are the only ones who complained, I'd just let it roll off of my back and ignore it.

indydebi Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:06pm
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjstor

Don't feel bad. I thought I would transport a three tierd cake all assembled. Well I put the cake on my wooden turntable and put in the vehicles which was fine. I put styrofoam around it so it wouldnt slide. But guess what! The surface on the turntable is very smooth and the cake slid off!!!




Turntables .... those are those slickery things that spin and move, right?

icon_lol.gif

The problem wasn't that you transported it assembled. The problem was that you had it on a turntable ( icon_confused.gif ) and you didn't put a non-skid mat under it.

Price Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:11pm
post #14 of 34

Sorry you had so much trouble. Here is a link to Sugarshack's new dvd. It is great and will answer all of your questions.

http://www.sugaredproductions.com/

It gives you her recipe, great smoothing techniques and address how to square your corners. hth

Mac Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:12pm
post #15 of 34

Sorry to hear about your disaster. Everybody has AT LEAST one, so don't fret. Yours is out of the way!

I hear adding a Tablespoon of meringue powder cuts down on the sweetness but I agree with indydebi--HELLO???? It's frosting!!!
If people say anything about the frosting being too sweet, that's what I tell them...IT"S SUPPOSE TO BE SWEET!!! Tell them to scrape some of it off if they don't want it too sweet.

As far as delivery...I always deliver mine almost complete--stacked, double-dowelled all the way thru and into the foamboard base. Just have to add the border where the cakes meet when I get to reception site. And I put the cake in a corrugated box on top of foam cushion. If there is a chance of it slilding, I will put that spongy shelfliner under it...or some stuff called Dicem (we use it in physical therapy to keep equipment from sliding around).

ANicole Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:22pm
post #16 of 34

Okay, I shouldn't laugh - I have no room to laugh!!!!!!!!!

But that last post definitely gave me a chuckle!

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Baileygirl Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:25pm
post #17 of 34

I don't like a "too sweet" icing either. I always make sure I only use "Pure Cane Sugar", usually Domino. I also use a combination of butter and hi ratio shortening. I add 1/2 tsp. salt to a 2 lb. batch of icing to cut the sweetness. I dissolve it in the liquid before adding it to the shortening so it doesn't make spots on the cake later. The salt cuts the sweetness and enhances the butter flavor.

ANicole Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:28pm
post #18 of 34

Baileygirl,

Does that recipe smooth out?

I am wondering then - how do people get Rich's Bettercream to smooth or whipped topping? Is it impossible? I've never tried... Lord knows, I'd probably fail miserably!

(This isn't funny, but I'm starting to laugh. I think I'm going nuts!)

teenteen Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:21pm
post #19 of 34

A little whipping cream will definitely cut the sweetness and still allow for crusting.

all4cake Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:26pm
post #20 of 34

You can get cold Rich's bettercreme to smooth out like glass.

GI Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:31pm
post #21 of 34

Amber0717: I'm glad to see you start to laugh!!!

Perhaps once you get this frosting thing down, you could offer to bring a small cake (like a 6") over to the bride/groom of their flavors, perhaps decorated like you had done before your Auntie destroyed! Then they could see how yummy your cake really is icon_biggrin.gif And YOU would have restored confidence! icon_biggrin.gif

Hey - a real positive note is your cake didn't fall over!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Jocmom Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:40pm
post #22 of 34

I've used Rich's and it crusts and can be smoothed with no problems. I was also told to add a drop of vinegar to buttercream frosting to prevent cracking. It works - and cuts some of the sweet taste.

diane Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:33pm
post #23 of 34

i'm so sorry to hear what happened. i think we all have had that kind of experience happen to us. i personally would not have done the cake being that it was such short notice. i don't like an all butter icing. i've tried tons of icing recipes here on cc and other places and every time i end up going back to my own recipe that i came up with using an all shortening base. i prefer it to others because it's easy to work with and is pure white which works great with icing colors...and comes out smooth every time. i just add a pinch of salt to it to cut down the sweetness. every cake on my website and that i've posted here is made with an all crisco recipe that i came up with. i'm not knocking anyone's recipe, but i have gotten so many compliments on taste and smoothness over the past four years here at aviano that i don't think i will be changing anytime soon. i've gotten to where i don't even measure any of the ingredients...that's how long i've been using this recipe. every decorator has their favorite! keep experimenting...you will too1 icon_smile.gif

arosstx Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:34pm
post #24 of 34

Don't forget the easiest way to cut down on the "sweet" taste - salt! A small pinch salt will tone it down some.

Also, you mention that you had the cake stacked and were trying to get it smooth. I would strongly recommend icing and smoothing each tier, THEN stacking it.

I agree w/ everyone about the whole "sweet" issue - it IS made out of mostly sugar, what do they expect? icon_rolleyes.gif

ANicole Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 4:43pm
post #25 of 34

I am going to try Indydebi and Baileygirl's when I do some Halloween cupcakes next week.

I think I'm going to practice A LOT. Maybe I'll do up a dummy wedding cake so that I can put it in my portfolio since I didn't dare take a picture of the disaster cake. Actually, though, the bride said it was "Gorgeous" and she seemed sincere.

I did plan on icing them separately and then stacking, but after about the first hour and a half of struggling, I finally decided I needed to stop and stack and then give it another try. It was very frustrating! My spatula is skinny. I think the wider one is going to help me a lot.

For now, I have to concentrate on my next endeavor - a holiday craft show for Nov. 10th w/ an estimated 2000 people. This wedding cake put me behind in getting ready for that!

Here's another thing the grandparents pointed out - the cake table looked really bare. About 3 days ago, I asked my aunt if I had to set up the cake table. I told her I didn't know how to make it pretty and asked her how I did that. She told me not to worry and that literally all I had to do was set it on the table. My grandfather told me at all the other weddings he's been to, the table looked more set up and fancy. He said this one was way too bare (it was kind of bare) and it looked like we just slapped the cake on the table and walked away!

Do you guys usually set up the cake table yourself? What should I know for next time as far as that goes???

Thanks so much, by the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One day, I hope to have cakes as awesome and beautiful as those here on CC! And I KNOW I will. I'm determined. Poor bride was my guinea pig!!! (I didn't mean for her to be!) icon_redface.gif

indydebi Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 5:04pm
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber0717




Here's another thing the grandparents pointed out - the cake table looked really bare. About 3 days ago, I asked my aunt if I had to set up the cake table. I told her I didn't know how to make it pretty and asked her how I did that. She told me not to worry and that literally all I had to do was set it on the table. My grandfather told me at all the other weddings he's been to, the table looked more set up and fancy. He said this one was way too bare (it was kind of bare) and it looked like we just slapped the cake on the table and walked away!

Do you guys usually set up the cake table yourself? What should I know for next time as far as that goes???




Geesh, is there ANYTHING your grandparents can't criticize? icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

No, I do NOT decorate tables at a reception. I know a lot of cake decorators do, but I don't. I am a baker, not a room decorator. Plus the bride is buying all kinds of decor for her reception room..... I am not going to chance picking up something that will conflict with her theme.

The most I will do is provide the table linen and table skirting when they buy my big package. If they want flower petals scattered on the cake table, they can leave the bag of petals on the table and I will scatter them for the bride after I'm done setting up the cake.

My price does not include table decor. That is the bride's responsibility.

When grampa complains again about how plain the table looks, you might try a response like, "Gosh, grampa, I noticed that too. I have no idea why THE BRIDE wanted a plainer table .... maybe we should ask HER why it looked so plain?" (smile sweetly, look confused, walk away). icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

wgoat5 Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 5:03pm
post #27 of 34

We ARENT responsible for anything other then a cake to suit their tastes....I don't provide anything for the table at any function....THE CAKE is the focal point....their duty includes setting a appropriate table setting icon_smile.gif


I agree about Grandma and Grandpa...sounds as though they are the cake/decorating police icon_biggrin.gif Maybe just say "Well that's what I get for listening to your daughter, Auntie _________<--fill in the blank icon_biggrin.gif"

Have a great day and it will get better I promise icon_smile.gif

Christi

GI Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 6:15pm
post #28 of 34

I have parents who have tons of grandkids that are like your own grandparents.

I think in their own mind, they think they are being helpful when in reality they are critical. And hurt their grandkid's feelings. My kids don't see their grandparents very often because of this. And neither does my kids' 30-some cousins.

I don't know how old your grandparents are or how "aging" they may be. Just keep in mind they probably don't mean to hurt your feelings on purpose. And like the others said, put their comment back on them. They didn't make the cake, you did. Their daughter (or son married to their own daughter-in-law) dragged YOU their granddaughter into this.

They should be on your side. After all, they only have one of you! icon_biggrin.gif And I'll bet you are just the sweetest grandaughter to them!! icon_smile.gif

ANicole Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 8:06pm
post #29 of 34

Thanks! They're not really old. They're not even retirement aged yet!

They told me they wanted me to hear it from them and not someone else. But, like I said, the bride thought it was gorgeous and my uncle told me he thought the cake was really good.

I think with frosting (which was their main complaint), you can never please everyone. Some people like buttercream, some like non-dairy whipped topping, some people don't mind it sweet (me!) and some people scrape it off when it's too sweet. So, as long as you're happy with your frosting, and most people like it (most like mine), then I think you're ok.

mzsweet Posted 21 Oct 2007 , 8:27pm
post #30 of 34

it probly wasnt as bad as you think, It dosent sound like everyone complained. that aunty was a cow to ask you to do that 4 days before the wedding. Dont let it effect your confidence, you did your best under the circumstances where everything was going against you. Theres no way I could produce a wedding cake in four days. Congratulations on a grand effort I say.

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