KHalstead Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 9:44pm
post #1 of

Oh where do I begin??? I guess it's bound to happen to us once right?? I delivered a 4 tier (not too big only a 4,6,8,and10") stacked cake this afternoon. When I arrived at the venue (which happens to be at my kids' school...the wedding was at OUR church, how embarassing), the cake had leaned back in the box a little smudging the back of the top tier...no problem, I pull it out, drive in another couple dowels to steady it, patch up the back and think all is good. I spin the cake around to make sure nothing else is wrong and I see a crack forming on the bottom tier (figured out later that the dowels shifted) so I try to fill it in with frosting and it's getting bigger, then I see another one!! The bottom tier is unsalvagable. I get some older lady who was there to let everyone in to assist me as I lift the other 3 tiers off of the bottom one and start having her pull out the 50 or so dowels I've put into the thing trying to save it. She finally gets them all out (the icing is starting to melt in my hands) and I set the cake down on a countertop. I figure I can salvage these three at least! I shift the bottom tier off the decorated board to set the 3 tiers on it and the 3 tiers fall off the counter!!! The woman says the cardboard or something hit it and it fell!! So now I'm in tiers (edited to say lol, I mean tears), the lady managed to catch the bottom two tiers the 6" and 8" before they went to the floor. I take them apart and patch up the 6" as best as I can and set out the "kitchen cake" which is a sheetcake (so not classy for a wedding) on the cake table and put the flowers that were to be on the 4 tier on top of this one little 6" that is now on the 12" cake board. Only the paper on the top of the board ripped, so we had to tape it and it also had grease spots. So another woman comes up with this yellow ribbon (didn't match a thing!) and I ruffle it and pin it down and use some pieces of angel confetti they had strewn about to cover the push pins. When all is said and done I'm refunding the 200.00 they paid for the two cakes and getting a better stacking system. I will NEVER deliver a fully assembled cake with wooden wilton dowels in it ever again!!! Lesson Learned!!!! ugh...the hard way!! Here are photos of before and one of the disaster, and one of the salvaged cakes..kinda icon_cry.gif
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62 replies
RRGibson Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 9:49pm
post #2 of

Awwww, you poor thing! And it was soooo pretty.

I'm sure we'll all have at least one bad day. Sorry this happened to you.

MaisieBake Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 9:53pm
post #3 of

Oh, ouch.

Nice fix, though.

Was the kitchen cake swirled originally, or did you add the decoration when you realized it'd have to be on display?

KHalstead Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 9:55pm
post #4 of

no no, I put the swirls on it already because the whole idea was so that people would THINk they were getting a slice of the main cake, but it wasn't big enough to feed everyone...so it was already decorated like that Thank God!! I can't imagine if it was just plain iced slab of cake...I REALLY would have been histerical. I feel horrible enough even though it looks pretty nice for a SHEET CAKE, but who wants a sheet cake for their WEDDING????/ I feel just aweful for the bride and groom!!!

My DH keeps telling me, if this ruins their wedding then they've got more issues than cake...but I still feel terrible. I mean this is their wedding day!!!!!! How terrible for them!!

FromScratch Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 10:04pm
post #5 of

You poor thing.. ((((HUGS)))) That just stinks. It was such a pretty cake. Get yourself the SPS.. you will never have this problem ever again. It's cheap and VERY sturdy.

MaisieBake Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 10:05pm
post #6 of

Deep breath..... you've done what you could.

Does whoever's cutting the cake know to cut smaller?

KHalstead Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 10:06pm
post #7 of

can you deliver them fully stacked???? with the sps?? I really am considering it now! Where do I get it??? They're cheap?? I thought they were really pricey!! I need it.....oh how I need it!!

weirkd Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 10:07pm
post #8 of

Well you did a marvelous job on that cake! Im sooo sorry that happened to you! But it looked like you were able to present something in the end. I had something similar happen to me one time. I had a cake delivery that was two hours away and it was a four tiered cake. A truck in front of me slammed on the brakes and I had to do the same to avoid hitting him. So needless to say that the bottom tier had a major blowout and the third tier didnt look so hot but was able to be cut up anyway. So they only got two tiers for show. I called the groom to be (it was a engagement party for 175!) and told him what had happened and that he had atleast enough cake to serve to his guests. Well to make a long story short, I didnt get paid a dime for that cake. I didnt expect full price but I think if he was decent he could of given me something for my effort! So from that day on, I no longer deliver a fully assembled tiered cake! I also invested in the stress-free support system. It was a little pricey but it does a wonderful job. The only complaint is the looks I get when I tell the venue that I want my cake plates back! They look at me like Im cheap or something! So after I get "the look" I tell them their not the usual plastic ones that their stainless steel and pricey!!! Then I usually get the look like "oh, ok then"!

KHalstead Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 11:06pm
post #9 of

I'm definitely getting a different stacking system for sure!!!! I can't figure out what to refund now though. The tiered cake was 140.00 and the sheet cake was 60.00...the sheet was fine...but should I give back the entire 200.00 for good customer service?? or just the 140.00...I mean it was their wedding cake!! I'm contemplating giving them 250.00...just for the inconvenience!

summernoelle Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 11:24pm

Oh sweetie, I have been there too! (((((hugs)))))))! This is intended to make you feel better and have a good laugh-this is a 3 tiered topsy turvy of mine that fell over. It makes me sad just to see it. It happens to everyone!
LL

CakeDiva73 Posted 14 Jun 2008 , 11:24pm

First off, that cake is stunning and I would be delighted down to soles of my feet if you told me what type of frosting you are using! Second, did I mention how gorgous that cake was? :- And I hate sheetcakes, but that one was stunning.

I am so sorry this happened to you. I had a melty-shifting nightmare about a month ago - my first assembled delivery (using straws) and after the fiasco, I decided to listen to Leah, who is forever raving about the SPS system, not to be confused with the SFS.

I got all the plates from 6" - 16" ($2.29 - $8.99 or so) in both square and round plus the adjustable clear legs ($11.99) and the 4" legs ($6 for 12) thru GSA. I used them for the first time last weekend with two stacked cakes to be picked up by the customer and they were awesome.

My only trouble was baking them to the exact height of the cake but I will work that out. You can get the system in your most common 3 sizes for under $20. It really is so worth it.

The stress-free system where it shows the lady standing on it is a similar principal but cost $189 - not realistic for me so I am very happy with the SPS.

As for the refund, I would refund the $200. Not that your resulting cake wasn't lovely, but you know the drill......... I really am flabergasted at how awesome the cake was and fall-down or not, you should be very proud of your talent! icon_smile.gif

KHalstead Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 12:38am

summernoelle......oh, I would have totally cried...that cake looks like it was sooo pretty!!! I love the daisies!!

CakeDiva thanks so much, makes me feel good coming from someone with YOUR talent. The frosting is just buttercreme from Sam's Club that comes in the 28lb. bucket....I really like it and my customers LOVE the taste. It's pretty darn sweet (too sweet for my likings) but my customers always rave about it! It behaves super well as far as crusting and getting it super smooth and such.

Ruby2uesday Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 2:17am

OMG that cake was beautiful!!!!!!!!!!! absolutely gorgeous! i'm so sorry about the disaster! but your work is gorgeous!

Trixyinaz Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 5:37am

That was my biggest fear last weekend, but fortunately it held together. Your cake was lovely and what a great save. Looks awesome.

This one place I wennt to for supplies a couple weeks ago told me that they only stack two cakes together and then transport any other cakes that need to be stacked on top of that on separate cakes. When they get to the destination, they assemble the rest. She said they use only the wooden dowels and cake boards. She went on to say that they have never had a problem in all the years they were in business. She did say that they never assemble a cake fully if more than 2 tiers. FYI. And, they never do a center dowel either. That part scared me.

I'm sorry that happened to you. Here's hoping it won't happen again!

KHalstead Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 8:14pm

oh it won't happen again, I'm either ordering the SPS system from oasis or the SFS from EArlene's cakes....either way it's not happening again unless I'm in like a major car accident or something!!! I think the issue with the wooden dowels is that I cut them with a hacksaw and I think the bottoms of them aren't perfectlly flat and straight and they wound up leaning and the cake itself was supporting the weight of the other two cakes. This happened during transport because that before photo was taken just before I left the house with it to deliver it and there was absolutely no damage to the cake at that point in time...no signs of sagging or anything, so it must have happened during the delivery.

mycakesandmore Posted 15 Jun 2008 , 11:27pm

I'm so sorry that happened to you! The cake was just absolutely gorgeous and the sheet cake was too! Thank goodness you had already decorated the sheet cake to match - wow - what a lifesaver then. It looks like they could have probably salvaged several pieces from the ruined tiers as well (or did you say they fell on the floor?) -- I'm just wondering about them having enough servings... and I always wonder what I would do if (when icon_rolleyes.gif ) that happened to me...

Hope all goes well with your bride and the refund.

vdrsolo Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 1:12am

The cake was beautiful, I can't believe you only charged $140 for the tiered cake!

I have to second the SPS system. I deliver 3 tier cakes stacked all the time. If it's larger than that it gets pretty heavy for my husband to carry for a distance and I put the other tiers on at the venue.

ladyellam Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 1:37am

I'm so sorry that happened to you!!! My stomach is in knots just looking at the pictures. That cake was absolutely beautiful!!!!

The SPS system is fantastic.

Go have a drink and maybe a valium (I'm only kidding)

KHalstead Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 1:56am

I tried calling the bride today but she wasn't in they leave for their honeymoon on Friday and are tying up some things before going, I was told I could probably reach her back on Tuesday so I'll be trying to call again then I guess to personally apologize...they were still getting married when I left the venue and I wasn't dressed appropriately to be in attendance so I just left once I finished everything. I think they were probably able to serve most of the cake regardless of the damage, I even scored it for them since it was already demolished! They probably lost about 10 servings (lost meaning they weren't fully in tact, but definitely still servable, just not perfectlly clean edged cut pieces, some were irregularly shaped). Hopefully I haven't scarred this bride for life!! Or my business...man I'm not even FULLY in business yet and I may already be dead in the water!

stlcakelady Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 2:40am

I think I can speak for all cake decorators out there when I say I cringe everytime I read one of these stories. Sorry for your stress. Have you tried the Wilton dowels yet? I used to use wooden dowels, then I read Rose Levy Berenbaum's book "The Cake Bible" in which she describes the science behind using a hollow support system like a straw. That way, the cake doesn't get displaced as a dowel would. I started using Wilton's dowels which are white plastic tubes and they really work great. I cut them to size with a serrated knife. Then make sure they're all the same height for each cake. Next, I take a piece of heavy-duty sandpaper and sand down each end to make sure they're level. Finally I wash and dry them to remove any residue. I also use foamcore as seperators (which is very supportive) and finally after stacking everything...I drive a sharpened wooden dowel through everything with a hammer. Its super easy and I don't fear driving with it fully stacked. Never had a problem with this method.

fearlessbaker Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 2:59am

I feel for you. I bake for family and friends free. But I do have the Stress Free Support Sytem and have transported 3 heavy tiers with it up and down hills. Before I got the system I used RJB'S method with the straws and never ever had a problem. If you go the Stress Free site and see how it works it's hard to imagine anything displacing.They are expensive and you would have to get a hefty deposit for them.

icer101 Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 3:17am

i am just curious.... i am seeing a 4 tier cake.... looks like the tiers are at least 6" high... so i might be confused...... did you drive a wooden dowel down through the center of these cakes to travel with it already stacked..... the WILTON dowels i know about are 12" long.... so what kind of wooden dowel did you use to drive down through the center of these 4 tiers... as all others have said... i am so sorry this happened.... your cakes are beautiful..... some people use 2 wooden dowels down center also... i do think you should have gotten paid something.... you worked so hard on this cake as it shows...

doitallmom Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 3:52am

icer101, you can purchase dowels that are about 2 feet in length @ micheals, home depot and Wal-mart. that's probably what stlcakelady used for her center dowel.
KHalstead, that cake was beautiful! I think it's great an very professional of you to offer a complete refund ( not 250.00). If the couple has the same amount of courtesy, thy'll offer to pay you something for your efforts and for being able to serve all the guests even though they did not have the showpiece they orded. I think you did a great job with what you had left to work with too, by the way.

KHalstead Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 4:08am
Quote:
Originally Posted by icer101

i am just curious.... i am seeing a 4 tier cake.... looks like the tiers are at least 6" high... so i might be confused...... did you drive a wooden dowel down through the center of these cakes to travel with it already stacked..... the WILTON dowels i know about are 12" long.... so what kind of wooden dowel did you use to drive down through the center of these 4 tiers... as all others have said... i am so sorry this happened.... your cakes are beautiful..... some people use 2 wooden dowels down center also... i do think you should have gotten paid something.... you worked so hard on this cake as it shows...




Yes, the cake was 4 tiers high, each tier was probably a little over 4 inches tall. I used the wilton dowels, but what I did was stacked 3 of the cakes, drove in one dowel all the way down to the bottom cake board, it was maybe an inch shy of reaching the bottom when I was hammering it in, so I took another dowel and stuck it on top of the first dowel and continued to hammer down that extra inch or so til it hit bottom, then slowly pulled the dowel back up that I was using to set the first dowel (hope that makes sense), then I put the fourth and final cake on top which was only a 4 inch round and then put a second dowel, slightly off centered through that cake and all the way down til I couldn't see it anymore, I am sure it went at least down through the top 3 tiers. So I felt pretty confident that cake wasn't going anywhere. the photo was actually taken minutes before I delivered the cake (in the cardboard box I was delivering it in lol) I had every intention of getting a more "professional" looking photo once the cake was in the wedding environment, too bad that never happened. I am offering a FULL refund $203.50 to be exact, plus I am remaking the top tier so they can save it for their anniversary and also offering a 20% off coupon on their next order! Hopefully that will help alleviate some of the heartache of not having a wedding cake on their special day. I feel just awefull!!

melissablack Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 4:20am

Oh wow, what a disaster icon_sad.gif I feel so bad for you! DH just walked by and asked me what was wrong 'cause I was grimacing and saying 'oh no!' as I was reading your post!
I've always assembled wedding cakes on site, I'm not that experienced and am way too freaked out to even attempt to deliver them already stacked.
The cake was sooo beautiful too, I'm so sorry this happened! I looked at your website also and you do beautiful work!

roxxxy_luvs_duff Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 7:39am
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

can you deliver them fully stacked???? with the sps?? I really am considering it now! Where do I get it??? They're cheap?? I thought they were really pricey!! I need it.....oh how I need it!!




I order mine from www.caljavaonline.com and they are very cheap and they ship fast.

vdrsolo Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 12:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by roxxxy_luvs_duff

Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

can you deliver them fully stacked???? with the sps?? I really am considering it now! Where do I get it??? They're cheap?? I thought they were really pricey!! I need it.....oh how I need it!!



I order mine from www.caljavaonline.com and they are very cheap and they ship fast.




Maybe I'm missing something....all I saw was Coast products,not SPS? Similiar concept, but different product. Coast doesn't appear to have the peg in the middle of the plate to hold the tier in place, and I didn't see the 4" legs that SPS has so the legs would still have to be cut.

acookieobsession Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 12:39pm

I use the SFS and I REQUIRE it on all wedding cakes. Thee pay a $130 deposit and get a full refund when they return all pieces. I call it our insurance policy. I LOVE< LOVE< LOVE the SFS.

And still, I only stack2 tiers and assemble the rest there. i do know someone in GA, Jenn something I think stacks hers all the way with it and then delivers.

Sorry this happened, I know the feeling and it stinks>

jULIA

twindees Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 12:58pm

First off AWESOME CAKE. I just love your design.


We have to make mistakes to learn sometimes. Now you know what not to do.

southerncake Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 1:14pm

Your cake was beautiful! I wish my piping looked like yours! You made a sheet cake look classy!

Last year (actually their anniversary is this weekend), I delivered a huge, very detailed cake to the largest venue in our town. A very well known florist was also there finishing up the decorating at the same time. I also was using wooden dowels. I had the whole cake put together, the borders finished, and everything (all set up at the venue) when I noticed a small crack on the side of the next-to-the-bottom layer. I too filled it in with some icing thinking it was no big deal. I went to speak with the caterer, came back, and the crack was huge and the tiers were getting ready to slide off! Luckily DH was with me and helped take the cake apart, remove the tier, and put it all back together. It was devastating.

The bride was one of my sister's best friends and was super cool about it, but I still feel horrible to this day.

That night I went home and ordered the SPS system and have sworn by it ever since!! Do you have a sales tax ##? If so, you can just order directly from Bakery Crafts.

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