Luckily, I've never had a cake disaster. It may be because I've only made 4! I'm amazed at how all of you hold it together and are able to fix a cake BEAUTIFULLY when you've had such a disaster? How did you handle it the first time it happened? How did you hold yourself together? I'm afraid I will just freak out!
well, luckily for me, my first real disasters were all cakes that i'd made for hubby or a girl's night out party w/my girlfriends - so no one was expecting perfection or paying me LOL. hopefully, that what i've learned about these will help me prevent it from happening with a real order or really important cake. that and the fact that Leahs has convinced me I can't live with out sps.
I have to laugh at myself. Back, back in the olden days, before I knew anything about cakes, let alone how to drive with one in the car, or fillings, etc..... I wanted to make a cake for a friend. It sounded like a great idea to not only put a strawberry jam between the layers for a filling, but why not put it under the cake so I would have a cake with filling, cake, filling. How delicious!
Well, with my prize in the car, I drove like a crazy person to arrive on time. Nothing like swinging around a curve, going full (legal) speed to make that cake take flight.
I hit the brakes, pulled over, and ran to the middle of the SUV like a frantic woman to save the poor thing. Little did I know that a highway patrolman had witnessed my driving. He pulled up behind me with his lights on. To be honest I didn't even know he was standing behind me because I was so worried about fixing the cake.
He started laughing at me. He said, "Lady, I thought you had forgotten to buckle one of your kids in, and had slung them into the floor board, and I had stopped to see if a child was hurt. But you hit your brakes like that for a cake! He laughed all the way back to his car, and just left me standing there in total shock.
Now I can't believe that I really could have been so clueless. Wow, how things change over the years.
First of all, I'm only a beginner in cake decorating - I do it for friends, familly etc. My cake disaster happened on my way delivering the cake to the party. I was almost at the location, turning right at a roundabout, when the cake tipped over to the side on its stand. Not worrying about the traffic around me, I screeched the car over to the side of the road, got out and ran frantically around to the passenger side (where the cake had been sitting). Anyone who saw me would've seen a stressed out, cursing, stroppy woman! Thankfully, the cake was saved, and I made it to the party without any major damage. From now on, I get someone to come with me when I deliver my cakes!
I had four cakes to deliver to a swanky country club for a wedding. There was a two-tier groom's cake, and there were a one tier, two tier, and three tier stacked presents cakes for the bride. This was also my second wedding of that day.
We got to the club and the top tier of the three-tier cake looked like it had been skinned. The back (or what suddenly became the back!) of it, the icing slid right off. It was a quilted pattern with fondant pearls at the intersections, and I didn't have the impression mat with me to make it look completely like new.
AND the venue had no idea the bride ordered that many cakes, so I repaired the cake on a credenza while the staff swapped out the small round table for a long sofa table sort of a table. They put it up against a wall so that the repaired side of the cake wasn't so obvious.
It took forever to get everything fixed and set up, and by the time I got home I was literally sick to my stomach and thought I would vomit. My friend told me to call the venue and ask if the cake was okay, because I was so stressed about it, so I did and they checked and said it was still fine (this was about two hours after I'd left).
This turned out to be one of my favorite cakes of all time. Unfortunately, either the florist or some "helpful" attendant sprinkled violets all over all three silver and white bride's cakes. Imagine sprinkling salt over a pot of soup or something, and then imagine doing the same thing with violets and that's what it looked like. Except in the middle of the silver dress bows, they put little "patties" of violets. It looked awful with the flowers all over it, but the bride was really happy and it didn't fall after I left, so I'm okay now.
I was stacking a very elaborate 4 tier birthday cake at a swanky hotel ballroom when I had my first near-death experience. Everything was doweled before I left the house and I waited to stack when I arrived. The bottom two tiers were fine, then I placed the third without a problem. I set the 4th (a VERY heavy tier) on and the third started to go backwards. Evidently I had a dowel starting to lean under the third tier. Did I mention I had an audience?
I remained calm (like this happens all the time-OY!) and quickly grabbed the top two tiers back off and set them aside. I redoweled my second tier and placed the top two back on. I still didn't like how the top tier looked but I left it alone. The cake was fine and beautiful and nobody knew except for those watching-who only knew that I remained calm on the outside even though I was freaking out on the inside.
The only disaster I've had was a Guinness can cake that I tried to to make for my husband's birthday. It was 4 6 x 3" layers which stacked beautifully. Then I tried to cover it with fondant...one side looked great, the other totally tore about 1/3 of the way down. So, we just looked at it from the front! It still tasted great!
well, my biggest and most horrible disaster happened just a couple weeks ago with a wedding cake!!! My worst nightmare realized. I stacked the 4 tiered cake, put it in a box took pictures, put it in my van, drove it to the venue and all was fine, pulled it out of the box, set it on the table, looked gorgeous!! Went out to my car to get the matching sheetcake for the kitchen and look over at my beautiful cake and...what's that?? Is it leaning??? Looks like it's leaning! I ditch the sheetcake on a counter run to my beloved creation and realize the top 3 tiers are leaning, but why?? I stacked like I always stack with wooden dowels and double cardboards between each layer, it was a 4,6,8,10....not even very heavy cakes, what's going on?? Ah hah!!! The dowels in the bottom cake had shifting and were no longer supporting the weight, so I removed the top three tiers, had some elderly woman pull the dowel out from the bottom (central dowels I pounded in trying to get it to stop leaning) and set them on a counter to clear the damaged cake off the board. Then I hear it, the elderly woman screamed! She had bumped the 3 tiers and they fell!!!!! She managed to catch the bottom two so only the 4" was lost completely. The 8" was too damaged from her hand going into the side to catch it, so I refrosted half of the 6" with a piping bag, redid the design and put their flowers on it and brought out the sheetcake I so callously ditched in the kitchen moments before.
So they ordered a 4 tiered cake and got a 6" round and a half sheet cake!!! What a nightmare!!!
oh did I mention there were grease spots on the cake board that we had to cover with SOMETHING so someone found this lacy yellow ribbon, bride's colors were peach and sage green!! yikes. I pinned it all around the board and it wound up looking like that gawdy fluff wilton sells with stick pins in it which I hid by using some of their confetti! ugh!
I had my first cake disaster one week ago. I really don't know what happened. I have delivered wedding cakes and tiered cakes with no problem in 90 degree heat and humidity. Last week I had a one, mind you aONE layer cake, torted and filled with pineapple filling with bc. It was a humid 80 degree day, I looked at the cake before I left and it was fine. I stayed behind a slow truck and only had to make a couple of turns, slowly.
When I got to the customers house, the top of the cake was hanging over on one side by about 1 1/2 inches. I was totally shocked! This had never happened before. Not being able to transport a ONE layer cake! I was so embarassed. I was able to push it back together and fix the icing, but that made the white and gray icing muddle together and look marbled. I think I was more upset than the client. I gave her a discount on the cake. Now I am trying to get over this.
My first slider was last March and I would have had NO idea how to fix it without all of the helpful threads CC'ers had posted, sharing their disasters and how they fixed it!
I pulled the bottom tier out (it was the slider) and the bride had a 3-tier instead of a 4-tier. We were still able to cut-n-serve the bottom tier (so she lost no cake) but we had to do that in the kitchen.
Well, I only make cakes for friends and family right now but you would think I was making them for millions of dollars the way I stress over making them just right. My husband and I don't argue much unless he is driving with me to deliver a cake, LOL. I make him drive slow and I flip out when he takes a turn or brakes. I have only had one problem, knock on wood. I made a 9x13 cake that looked like a box of Huggies with fondant wrapped twinkies on top to look like diapers. It was sitting on the seat on my SUV and it fell off the seat. It only damaged one side which I was able to fix most of and no one really noticed.
My first and only (so far) cake disaster was a year ago. I made a cake for my step son's birthday. It was only 2 tiers, but the layers were thick and the so was the filling.. so it was a little "jello-y) but was fine. I decorated both tiers.. kept adding and adding and had so much fun decorating.. when it came time to stack, the top tier was pretty heavy. I was trying to center the top tier as i started to lower it to the cake, the back went down first and the cake slid off the cake board. it was too heavy for the angle i was holding it! i started to laugh! there was nothing else i could do! it was going to smooth and easy. I was gratefuly that i had extra butter cream so i wasn't in any stress. I baked another cake... made sure this one was going to be a think cake bec. I had no filling left. and i completed the cake. Of course this new tier was not a tall as the other as i didn't fill it, but it worked and the cake as a hit!
My worst disaster was my very first wedding cake. I depressed me for weeks, but I used it as a learning experience! (Have come a long way since then!)
I didn't know you can't use an all butter buttercream on a wedding cake, unless the room is nice and cold. It was a simple three tiered cake, that I didnt even assemble till I got to the site. I had predoweled it as well. I arrived at this community center, on a rainy hot day. They had the doors opened to the outside (they were moving in chairs..outdoor wedding that had to be moved indoors) and they had the doors to the kitchen opened with all kinds of cooking. It was like a 80 degree steam bath in there. I should have refused to set up the cake. But I didn't know any better. I set up the tiers, and do the piping and everything is fine. We were getting into the car, when they come running out to tell me the cake is falling over! I run back inside and the buttercream is litterlly melting off the cake. It had some piped designs on it, so I repipe them, and ask them to please turn the AC up and close the doors and got out of there. I am sure the cake didn't survive, but I never heard from the bride (not even for her anniversary cake a year later!) I am sure everyone is talking about that cake! haha
I now have in my contract I won't set up a cake in a warm room...period. hahaha!
I made a boob cake for my cousins graduation party...for a funny cake for the after party he was having with all his goofy friends. I was soo proud of it lol!! It looked really good...for what it was.
It was a 1/4 sheet cake and the board I had on hand was just almost exactly the same size of the cake so there was no where to hold onot it, so I sat it on 1/2 sheet board I had just to transport it....I got it to thier house just fine...went to get something else out of that car...the caks started to slide and I over corrected and the whole thing landed face down in the grass!!
Thank goodness it was for family!! i screamed as it fell and then I just stood there outside bawlign my eyes out!! I was sooo mad at myself for doign something sooo stupid!!
Thanfully it was covered in fondant and my family pealled the fondant off and ate it anyways!! And the REAL cake for the party was fine!!
My (thank goodness, funny) disaster was when I had a cake for my granddaughter birthday, just a small 2 layer one.
I had my parents with me and my mom was holding the cake in the back seat...first boo boo. Well as we were driving and talking.. second boo boo.......she was not watching where the cake was and pretty soon I hear....."Terr....uh.. I need help!" and here is the cake, tilted, slid in her lap...and icing all down the front of her.......I never laughed so hard......
Straighted it back up, took it to the party and we all had a big laugh...and the cake was gone in a flash..still tasted good. Napa's sweater marks and all.
Ok...I know these are disasters that all of you could have lived without but they are certainly entertaining. The new names you have created for cakes which end up as disasters are "sliders, jello-y, cavers, melters and leaners." My favorite descriptions have to be the ones which involve cake-crazy family members that will eat the cake even if it lands face down in the front yard or if it has impressions of grandma's fuzzy sweater mashed in the side. Never mind all the silly mistakes we've all made like driving crazy or letting others hold the cake or even having the elderly assist in a what sounds like a "cake surgery" to remove a dowel. You all are hysterical (sorry to receive soo many chuckles from your disasters). However...the best thing is the practical and unveiled advice you have given here...I am sure I will need it...probably sooner rather than later, you know how the universe works. Thanks for the fun~sunnybono
ok...I'm going to be long here...
1st disaster about 13 years old. I didn't make the cake, just sat in it after my mom set it on the passenger seat in the car. Yep, just like the PPs said, we ate it anyway. Yum! German chocolate with coconut frosting. Fun coconut stuck to pants
Making a 3 tier wedding cake with a friend of mine for her niece. Baked all of the cakes at my house and did the crumb coat. Taking them all to her house to decorate them. Had the 2 smallest tiers on a regular cake board. I knew it couldn't support the weight. It had already started bowing. Thought for sure I'd be ok with both hands under it, one under each cake. Big cake flipped over. Slid down my leg and landed plop upside down on my shoe. We saved the layer that landed face up, since it didn't touch my leg or the ground! Then re-baked the other layer. Whew! Long night decorating.
Another wedding cake. I swear I dowelled it like I should. Boyfriends car space stinks. Had to tilt the cake to get it in the car. The tilt stayed. Ran to Wal Mart. Bought more dowels and tried to put them in at an angle opposite to the lean, trying to force it straight. It didn't work The bride was very upset with me. But, it was a cake for a friend of a friend and it was 3 tier for only $40. As they say, you get what you pay for and I am still learning!!!
My first cake disaster was for a friend of my sister. They actually called me only a couple of weeks before the wedding to ask if I would be interested in doing it (for experience, etc.) I was thrilled because they weren't even going to have a cake if I didn't want to do it!! They sent me a picture and I said I would do my best. The cake was 3 tiers and tapered at the bottom (I think that is the word - I am still pretty new at this - larger on the top). I stacked the two bottom layers and decided to not put on the top layer until I got there. I loaded the cake into the car and my husband and I argued the entire way to town (as we always do and I live 15 miles out). As he turned a corner my bottom tier collapsed!!! There was cake ALL over the back of my van (I put down clean towels first). I delivered my nephew's birthday cake and took the wedding cake inside to try to salvage and fix (I think I had 2 hours before the wedding). The bottom tier was ruined, but the other two were fixable, so I took the anniversary cake out of the box and used it for the top layer and moved all the other layers down (I had made more cake then was needed anyways). I just told the couple to contact me on their anniversary and I would made them a 6" cake.
As for the layer that fell apart, I went to trash it and my sister yelled at me. She came out to the van with a plate and scraped the cake onto it to eat. She fed it to her friends and family at the party and they LOVED it (even if it was in a million pieces)!!
The cake is in my photos (the white 3 tiered with pink roses and designs - with a W in front of it).
I was sooo happy with how it turned out considering what it had been thru and my dad couldn't believe I was able to fix it.
Long before CC was ever around, or internet for that matter, I think. I learned to carry a repair kit the hard way. We were traveling to a neice's graduation party and I did the cake.
I had the cake in the back of the mini-van, my daughter was in the middle row of seats and my son was in the back row. Needless to say, it was a long drive and the kids were fighting and throwing things. Yup, you guessed it, plop -- right into the middle of the cake!
That's when I learned to never leave home without my repair kit!
I can't stand to drive and not be able to "watch" my cakes travel so I have to have my DH drive and he has learned my noises and gasps. I don't know what I think I can do while driving but I gotta watch it anyway.
Oh and some near disasters I've had is the almost near missed deadlines. For example, DH driving to venue while I'm still placing flowers or chocolates on petit fours for a shower! That comes from trying to work a full-time job (60+ hours, weekends & no time off) AND do large cake orders!
sunnybono, if you're liking these stories, then you'll love the following short stories that came from a local bakery's website. It's no longer on their site, so I'm very glad I saved these stories!!
- Customer requests us to come on site to repair the cake. Fee: In zone, $100.00 plus $2.00 per mile, prepaid via credit card prior to us leaving the bakery. Out of zone, this service is not available.
- Customer may bring cake back to bakery for repair, and repairs will be done at rate of $150.00 per hour, minimum $50.00.
While these policies seem harsh, they were motivated by over 20 years of real experience. For example,
- Hung over best man picked up cake, put in trunk, and burned rubber down the street. Bride calls up crying, asking us to fix her cake. When we said it wasnÃ¢t our responsibility, she replied, "but you know a best man isnÃ¢t responsible!"
- Place cake in back of pickup truck. Dad traveled 40 miles with it, couldnÃ¢t fit on floor of pickup truck due to beer cans. You donÃ¢t want to know the rest.
- Place cake on floor of van. Dog jumped over back seat and had lunch. When cautioned about this possibility, we were dismissed. By the way, the dog hair was all over the van so it got on the cake too.
- Cake placed on floor under toddlerÃ¢s car seat. Toddler kicked of shoe. That was so much fun, toddler kicked off other shoe. Add one Barney, and the entire cake was messed up.
- Cake given to grandmother in front seat. Unfortunately, the sweet lady had a terrible cold. Bride brought cake back to us because Grandma sneezed, needed the cake re-iced.
- Groom picked up cake. Was late. Cautioned to put cake on floor. Wanted to put it on seat instead. Stopped short to avoid accident, cake ended up on dashboard. By the way, groom was more upset about cake being in air conditioning vents of his car.
Oh my gosh I have had quite a good laugh tonight while reading your stories. I'm soooo sorry that disaster happened but gosh ya'll sure learned from them & over came them! That's what people don't understand out us cake artists. We live for the excitement of doing a cake from start to finish. We live for that adrenaline rush that we get when we are delivering a cake. I'm a volunteer Firegal & believe me it's that same rush I get when we get a fire call! Crazy as it is we LOVE it!!
I haven't had a disaster like having a cake fall over or slip & slide thank God! I don't think I'd recover from it as easily as ya'll have. My 1st wedding cake was a disaster to me. I had only been decorating cakes for 6 months. A boy I babysit for (when I was a teen) was getting married. He wanted me to do his wedding cake. I was learning how to do the hot/wet spatula trick for smoothing icing. Dummy me didn't wipe the water off of the spatual before smoothing the icing!! The cake did get smooth but it was wet as could be!!! Looked like someone has dripped water all over it! The cake was pretty, no one but me noticed it so I was happy in the end but gosh did I misunderstand that technique! Lesson... Dry your spatula off after dipping it into the hot water!! LOL
kdehtan You put visions in my head of Joey and Rachel on Friends eating cheesecake off the hallway floor
Oh yeah, forgot last weeks mess. I was just testing 2 new recipes. MMF and a new Cake Dr recipe. Well, the MMF didn't end up enough to cover my cake. I decided since it was just for a potluck, I wasn't even going to try to patch it up. The creamcheese/strawberry jam didn't take to the cake being on the table all morning and the whole thing started to slide. So, green fondant (did I mention that?), weird oval shape, strawberry jam oozing out the back, weird bulges from the layers sliding (oh yeah, no dowels since it was just for work and not tiered). People were AFRAID to eat the oozing green mass. My boss said it looked like a crater. By the end of the day it was being referred to as a dinosaur egg. Got some wonderful compliments from the people brave enough to eat it!!!
Oh, my gosh!!!!! My biggest cake disaster is still fresh in my mind and this happened almost 10 years ago. To this day we still talk about it....my hubby starts sweating with just the mention of that unfortunate cake.
It was the very first time I had two wedding cake orders for the same day. It was a rainy day and the disaster happened with the first cake. I had stayed up all night.....literally 'till 7:30 am Sat. morning. My back was on fire and my feet hurt sooo bad from standing for sooo long. It took me forever to finish both cakes. The other cake was quite big and I had a very picky bride (bridezilla), so I was very nervous about messing it up. I didn't realize that I had used most of the dowel rods on that cake that I didn't have enough for the smaller cake. By this time it was around 2:00 in the morning and not knowing what to use for dowels I remembered that I had bamboo skewers. So I preceeded to insert just the same amount that I had used on the other cake. This cake was only a two tiered cake so I went ahead and stacked it. Through out the night I could hear my hubby snoring and resting comfortably and it was making me mad. I wanted to just give up and go to bed (or maybe wake him up so he could suffer right along with me). I finally decided to take an hour to close my eyes and rest my feet. Couldn't really sleep for fear of not waking up in time to deliver cakes. Finally left to deliver and I decided that I should drive and my hubby should hold the cake on his lap (didn't have a SUV at that time, just a reg. car and had never delivered a cake before). I complained the whole way....no sleep, now its raining, didn't have enough dowel rods, had trouble finding reception hall and now hubby says oh no, the cake is shifting! Stop the car, stop the car! I was horrified....the top tier wasn't shifting...the layers on the bottom tier were sliding out from each other! And they were filled with raspberry! Found the hall, pulled into the parking lot and starting freaking out. Hubby kept yelling to get the cake inside so we could fix it, but I noticed that the Groom was there! I didn't want him to see the cake all messed up! Needless to say I started crying while taking the cake inside and the groom and groomsmen were coming out. Told him what had happened and kept apologizing for ruining his brides day. He was sooo sweet....he said everything would be fine, not to worry about it, do the best I can to fix it, turn it around towards the wall if I had to and don't concern yourself anymore. He and all the guys ended up consoling me. I fixed it the best I could, but felt horrible. I swore right then and there that I was giving up and not doing anymore cakes. Had a headache as big as ever, just wanted to hide under the covers and never show my face again! Well here I am 10 years later and never repeated that mistake again. I will never use bamboo skewers. I mainly use bubble tea straws and/or pvc pipe to support all my cakes. Lesson learned.
How did you know mandm78, that is what my leaning wedding cake was doweled with too
My first wedding cake disaster was a beautiful 4-tier cake. Stacked, doweled between each cake and doweled all the way thru to the bottom.
Reception less than 2 miles from my house. 1 block away, turned the corner--slowly. Friend said "cake is falling". Friend got in back of car (Ford Focus wagon) and tilted the box in the opposite direction.
Got to reception site and cocky me didn't pack a thing. Sent friend back to my house to get--frosting, bags, spatula...everything on the counter that I was using. While she was gone, I took all tiers off. Wooden dowels (d*** wooden dowels) had shifted. Repositioned each dowel. Friend came back with everything except the kitchen sink. Refrosted and redecorated each tier and put back together. Couldn't tell it--thank goodness.
BTW--I had that cake on a piece of 1/2 wood covered in Wilton foil. Now I use the 1/2" foamboard do that dowels go all the way THRU to help anchor cake. Then remove the long dowels when I have arrived at reception.
If you don't count the cakes I THINK won't make it, or the ones that I absolutely hate....
There is the one before I got my spare fridge that was a tall, four tiered square, heavy cake and fondant, that just got too heavy and began to crack at the bottom during transport. Nothing I could do about it. Bride had nothing but a flimsy card table on an uneven stone floor for me to place it on. I prayed some little kid would knock it over (and there WERE little kids running around) before it cracked and collapsed on its own. LOL. Never heard back.
Closest call though was my hot air balloon...hubby isn't a huge metalworker or anything but made me a stand and used some kind of pipe glue or whatever that is supposed to expand as it dries. He didn't want to mess with soldier and guaranteed it would work. Stand seems good...so I built my cake up and got it all done. (Its in my photos). I put it in the fridge.
Go to deliver it the next day...evidently the cold fridge seems to have slightly contracted the glue...when we were almost at the venue, the entire cake swiveled upside down! (you have to see pic to understand) Luckily it was fondant covered, but it was also hand painted...I grab this huge balloon and shove it back up into place and hold it the next ten minutes, almost crying while my husband drives. I have "paint" all over my hands. We get to the venue (a ritzy house actually). My hands are covered in blue and green. I have my husband hold the cake in place while I go explain what is going on and ask to wash my disgusting hands in their immaculate home. Then I go back out, and we grab the cake together and carry it inside. While we stand there, the lady has to decide where she wants it. Finally she decides and we can put it down. It seems like it just *might* balance there. So I set up the satin and take a picture and...pray! Turns out it DID stay, even during cutting! I think the warm room may have expanded the glue just enough to hold. From now on, if I have to make something crazy like that, hubby will use soldier!!!!!!
[quote="bizatchgirl"]Oh yeah, forgot last weeks mess. I was just testing 2 new recipes. MMF and a new Cake Dr recipe. Well, the MMF didn't end up enough to cover my cake. I decided since it was just for a potluck, I wasn't even going to try to patch it up. The creamcheese/strawberry jam didn't take to the cake being on the table all morning and the whole thing started to slide. So, green fondant (did I mention that?), weird oval shape, strawberry jam oozing out the back, weird bulges from the layers sliding (oh yeah, no dowels since it was just for work and not tiered). People were AFRAID to eat the oozing green mass. My boss said it looked like a crater. By the end of the day it was being referred to as a dinosaur egg. Got some wonderful compliments from the people brave enough to eat it!!! [/quote
Thanks for the morning wake-up!
im pretty new too but the best advice i can give you is to just do the best you can to fix it. i was delivering a 1st birthday cake to the party and it was boiling hot outside which made my car amazingly hot! the cake had a duck on top with buttercream icing for the wings, so when we were in the car the wing started to melt. by the time we got there the wing was compleatly off of the cake. also the duck was totally tilting ontop.... luckily my mom stoped by michaels on our way out there and bought some extra frosting and a few other things so i could fix it. in the end everyone loved it and they were all amazed, this is what the cake looked like after the wing fell off and we fixed it.