Yet Another Collapsed Wedding Cake!

Decorating By peacenique Updated 14 Jul 2008 , 12:33am by Juneclever

peacenique Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 7:38pm
post #1 of 29

So, I took all theWilton Classes and attempted to make my son's wedding cake last fall (for 125)

As I started adding the tiers they started leaning towards a crash.
I used many wooden dowels but they simply leaned/tilted when the weight of the next layer was added.

I used an Italian Sponge type recipe for the cake and the whipped cream/cream cheese icing. (each tier had a different filling)

Is that type of cake not suitable for layering/tiering? Is that type of soft light icing no good either?

On the good side, people are still talking about how delicious they were...
Bottom line we decided ahead of time was just that... they/we'd rather it was to die for... taste-wise... than to look like a professional cake.

Any help here would be very appreciated. Foolishly I have been pushed into making another wedding cake. This time for a (distant) friend - in August.

They have some weird ideas, so I'll write a separate request for help in the appropriate forum... (help with ideas, or what it is)

Please help!!!!

Maija

28 replies
JanH Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 7:48pm
post #2 of 29

So sorry to hear about your disaster. icon_surprised.gif

(If it's any consolation, my older son's wedding cake from a well known bakery didn't fair too well at his reception. Most of the icing started to slide off and the top tier was torn apart by the weight of the fresh flowers....)

Here's an everything you ever wanted to know about your 1st tiered cake thread that might be helpful:

http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopicp-5958955-.html

Indydebi's illustrated guide to cutting neat slices of cake:
(Much better than the Wilton method.)

http://cateritsimple.com/_wsn/page9.html

Look forward to seeing pics of your next wedding cake. thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 26 Jun 2008 , 2:01am
post #3 of 29

My first thougt was "how many dowels did you use?" and "How did you put them in?" because (1) too many dowels turn the cake into swiss cheese and damages the structural integrity of the cake (2) if dowels are put in nice and straight, they shouldn't lean just because something is placed on top of them.

The type of cake doesn't matter because the cake itself does not support the upper tier .... your support system does. Your bottom tier can be made of Cool Whip and if the support system is set up right, it will support the upper tiers.

ncandanoza Posted 26 Jun 2008 , 8:10pm
post #4 of 29

sorry to hear about your disaster. Good luck on your next one.

-Mimi

JenniferMI Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 1:45am
post #5 of 29

I use foil covered dowels (I cover them myself, don't want the wood touching my cake) all the time. I wonder if you didn't have enough in there, or maybe not stronge enough ones. I use 1/4" for smaller tiers and 3/16" for larger. NEVER had one collaspe. You also have to place the layer evenly on the next, not tilted...that could make your supports tilt.

HTH!

Jen icon_smile.gif

CharmingConfections Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 1:53am
post #6 of 29

I always use one of the "durable" cake recipe's, they are really good, though I think your choices are limited to vanilla, chocolate and lemon.

gscout73 Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 1:56am
post #7 of 29

Well, My thought was, were how were the dowels cut and were they the same length? The type of cake is not as important as lengths of the dowels. One of my earlier tier cakes ended up leaning icon_sad.gif and during clean up I took a closer look and some were ever so slightly off. If they are not exact as possible, even a couple of millimeters will make a difference the higher up you go. icon_rolleyes.gif

southerncake Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 12:34pm
post #8 of 29

For your next cake, I would suggest using the SPS system, which can be found here http://www.globalsugarart.com/search.php?search=sps. It is really inexpensive, easy to use, and you don't have to worry about dowel slippage! After having some dowels slip on a very important wedding cake a little over a year ago, I came straight home and found the SPS system online and ordered it right away!!

I would love to know this recipe for whipped cream/cream cheese frosting/filling!!

Good luck on this next cake!

vdrsolo Posted 27 Jun 2008 , 9:33pm
post #9 of 29

I second SPS!!

Juneclever Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 7:57pm
post #10 of 29

I know that this will sound odd. But Wilton came up with something called hidden pillars. They are pipes the size of the legs on the support plates that can be cut and inserted into the cake. They actually make the set like a mini table and it is amazing how sturdy the cake is. I decided to try my own idea using PVC pipe (cheaper than a Wilton set), I cut it with a hack saw, sand it clean with a bench sander and run it through the dishwasher. Most of the time , if you are fortunate enough to get them back from the caterer, you can use them over and over, and sometimes they don't even need adjusted. Oh, I use 1 inch pipe. One thing I have noticed, it that several people here at Cake Central deliver stacked cakes assembled, I would say that it is a disaster waiting to happen. I have never done that. I worry when they are apart!!! I know that it takes more time at the hall, but it is worth it.

confectioneista Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 8:12pm
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vdrsolo

I second SPS!!




I third SPS!!! And Leah has great instructions on how to use them. Just send her your email address and she'll send you the how-to complete with pics! thumbs_up.gif (no more wooden dowels for me!)

Lovemypups Posted 29 Jun 2008 , 9:29pm
post #12 of 29

Is it just me, or does it seem like all the posts about tilting disasters involve fillings as opposed to icing between the layers? I know for myself that the only problems I have had involved lemon curds and other fillings rather than icing. Just a thought.

vdrsolo Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 4:50am
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovemypups

Is it just me, or does it seem like all the posts about tilting disasters involve fillings as opposed to icing between the layers? I know for myself that the only problems I have had involved lemon curds and other fillings rather than icing. Just a thought.




Personally, I torte all my cakes because probably 80% of my wedding tiers have sleeved filling in the middle instead of buttercream. By torting the layers, you can have 3 thin layers of filling, as opposed to one thick layer of filling. What can get people in trouble is by using a really thick layer because the fillings are slippy. And always make sure a good stiff buttercream dam is used.

Juneclever Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 11:38am
post #14 of 29

When you use the SPS method, you will not have to worry about fillings making the cake slip, because there is very little pressure on each cake, the cakes are being supported completely by the system. It honestly, is like a little table inside each cake.

Shakti Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 7:27pm
post #15 of 29

woah you use foil covered dowels?? Isn't foil worse to bite down on than a sliver of wood?
Or do you do it in a certain way that there's no possability of foil getting into the cake?
I'm not criticizing, I'm just curious!!

gottabakenow Posted 30 Jun 2008 , 7:37pm
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakti

woah you use foil covered dowels?? Isn't foil worse to bite down on than a sliver of wood?
Or do you do it in a certain way that there's no possability of foil getting into the cake?
I'm not criticizing, I'm just curious!!




that's what i was thinking too. icon_confused.gif

peacenique Posted 8 Jul 2008 , 12:32pm
post #17 of 29

Thank you all for the advice/comments.

I've been looking through many of the links provided, and am learning so much.

The SPS method is definitely worth looking more into, me thinks. It sounds SAFE!

I'm also going to look into the PVC dowel idea someone mentioned.

Hmmm... the amount of filling is an issue! I don't think it mattered so much in that particular cake, but it is certainly something to keep in mind! I love a lot of filling, therefore, I'm definitely going to look into the SPS system.
To me, the taste is so much more important than the visual aspect of the cake.
As my son and daughter-in-law decided: they'd sooner have people remembering the cake because it was fabulous tasting rather than gorgeous and blaaa. In that respect, my cake was a winner.
*whew*

Again, thank you all so much.

Maija

poshcakedesigns Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 11:34pm
post #18 of 29

It shouldn't have been your cake that make it fall. If all the dowels were the same in height and put in straight down then it shouldn't have leaned. Did you put a covered cake board under the cake layer that you added? If not maybe the board got soggy from the cake and that was the breakdown? Just a thought.

Limpy Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 11:42pm
post #19 of 29

Wow! I learned something else today from the CC site.I thought that the more dowels you added, the safer the upper layer would be. But as per a previous comment, the more holes you add,the more you damage the structure of the cake. Great to know. As for covering the dowels with foil. I learned from this site to slip the cut dowels into straws (McDonalds straws are the perfect size) before inserting them into the cake. Keeps the wood away from the cake.

Limpy Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 11:43pm
post #20 of 29

Wow! I learned something else today from the CC site.I thought that the more dowels you added, the safer the upper layer would be. But as per a previous comment, the more holes you add,the more you damage the structure of the cake. Great to know. As for covering the dowels with foil. I learned from this site to slip the cut dowels into straws (McDonalds straws are the perfect size) before inserting them into the cake. Keeps the wood away from the cake.

summernoelle Posted 12 Jul 2008 , 11:58pm
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JenniferMI

I use foil covered dowels (I cover them myself, don't want the wood touching my cake) all the time.




Wow-I have never heard of that!

gscout73 Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 12:12am
post #22 of 29

I SPS the sames as the Wilton push-in pillars? If so, those are the only pillars I use when not making a stacked cake. It is the most stable method of pillar construction.

sugarMomma Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 12:19am
post #23 of 29

As for the use of PVC pipe in cakes, PVC's leach chlorine based toxins called phthalates and I wouldn't use it in anything edible.

I learned this when I was going to use some in my garden and was warned about toxins leaching into the soil thus into my plants and vegetables.

A little internet research increased my concern. Here is a website I ran across if anybody is interested: http://www.acereport.org/pvc2.html

antonia74 Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 12:29am
post #24 of 29

Peacenique, if it's all about the taste of the cakes as opposed to the look/design....then why are you bothering to even stack them anyway?

Why not just do 3 sizes of cakes and display them un-stacked? Like these, for example. If you just chaged the way you displayed the cakes, you could keep torting them how you do it now AND you wouldn't have to worry about using any dowels or risk them collapsing.....
LL
LL
LL

jennym0904 Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 12:47am
post #25 of 29

that's a great idea and I love how the cakes are displayed!

peacenique Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 7:03pm
post #26 of 29

Thank you Antonia, you're absolutely right.
Those examples you showed were very pretty.

That was in the end exactly how I had to do it to avert dire consequences!
(imagine having NO cake to display? and/or serving smooshed cake?)

I've also come to the conclusion that I'll not try the dowel thing again. Next time I have to do a stacked cake I'll use the SPS method for sure!

I've tried, but have not been able to attach a picture of how the cake was displayed in the end.

You guys are all so great!.

Peace, Maija

Juneclever Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 7:20pm
post #27 of 29

PVC is the pipe that is used in today's homes that supplies the drinking water . I would think that if it gives off more an a minimal amount of toxin that the FDA would not allow it to be used in homes. I still will use it and I don't feel that it poses any health problems.

imartsy Posted 13 Jul 2008 , 7:35pm
post #28 of 29

I don't understand the need to cover the dowels..... I've never heard of that.

Also, if PVC pipe is so dangerous, how come we see it ALL THE TIME on Food Network? Don't you think they'd put out a disclaimer or something that it should only be used on "demo cakes" and not on real cakes?

Juneclever Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 12:33am
post #29 of 29

I have used the dowel rod system for years and never worried about the wood touching the cake. I can't see any problem with wood except splinters if you cut the dowel while its sticking out of the cake (you shouldn't). I think it just a waste of time and straws. I am a confirmed fan of the hidden pillars. I think that the PVC is a safe method, but of course if you are leery of it you can buy the Wilton ones. Which are great also. I just feel the PVC pipe is safe, convenient, sturdier and cheaper. It has been a real relief to use it. I believe it is called the English method of supporting a stacked cake.

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