Sigh...i Fell Victim To The Wooden Dowels...

Decorating By Tita9499 Updated 18 Dec 2008 , 9:05pm by Tita9499

Tita9499 Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 12:14am
post #1 of 22

Okay, so in my 13 years of cake decorating (6 professionally), I have never had a problem when stacking my cakes with wooden dowels. icon_biggrin.gif

Now, I know some of you are probably cringing at the thought, "WHAT! WOODEN DOWELS...NOOOOO!". But, like I said, I've never had a problem so I felt confident and safe using them, duh duh duh...until yesterday!

I was hired by some really great friends of mine to do a mardi gras topsy turvy/whimsical cake for their 17 year old daughter. I love them and their daughter to pieces, so I was actually going to give her the cake as her b-day gift. But, being the awesome friends they are, they insisted on paying for it.

I worked meticulously and got everything together to assemble the cake at the party. I drove the 20 minutes to their house (not breathing and yelling at my DH for driving too fast- 15 miles UNDER the speed limit). I get there and rejoice that there's only a minor nick in the fondant that I can quickly repair.

I dowel the two bottom tiers and get to working on the beaded border. I look over after adding a bead and think to myself, "Self, why is that fondant sagging now and it wasn't 4 seconds ago?" I answered myself (Yes, I talk to myself when I'm decorating, don't act like you don't!), "you're hallucinating, keep working". I look over after a few more beads and think, "Hey, those beads aren't touching the fondant anymore...GASP!". Yep, bottom tier is actually topsy-ing and not in a optical illusion sort of way. So I do what all cake decorators do when they realize that the cake that they invested 2 or 3 days in is about to bite it- I yelled at my DH for looking at me while I was decorating, said a few words I had to repent for, and almost had an anxiety attack...then my girlfriend found the granola bars.

To make a long story even longer, I shoved a few granola bars under the cake to prop it up, everything fell back into place and no harm was done. When the birthday girl saw it, she flipped out over how much it looked like what she dreamed of ("if only you knew" was all I could think) and her mom and dad who thought they were watching a Food Network challenge told me they'd hire me anytime because of how well I thought on my feet and my MacGyver prowress..."huh? Okay, yeah, I did all that on purpose!"

21 replies
JanH Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 12:32am
post #2 of 22

Great recovery! thumbs_up.gif

Glad everything worked out in the end. icon_smile.gif

mkolmar Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 6:06am
post #3 of 22

couldn't agree more, great recovery.

CakeMakar Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 6:16am
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tita9499

So I do what all cake decorators do when they realize that the cake that they invested 2 or 3 days in is about to bite it- I yelled at my DH for looking at me while I was decorating"




Hahaha!

Tita9499 Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 6:34am
post #5 of 22

Thanks ladies...sigh! I just want to forget it ever happened. Fat chance! LOL! My poor husband, he looked at me like, "Are you serious? All I did was breathe!"

xstitcher Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 5:26am
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tita9499

Thanks ladies...sigh! I just want to forget it ever happened. Fat chance! LOL! My poor husband, he looked at me like, "Are you serious? All I did was breathe!"




And of course you gotta tell him that was what distracted you in the first place icon_lol.gificon_wink.gif

kbak37 Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 5:46am
post #7 of 22

Ok, now Im even more scared to try another topsy turvy..I did one for my DD last week and it found its way to the trash after the "sagging" incident because it looked horrible. My plan was to wooden dowel the one im doing next week to death....

Glad you saved it!

BlondiezBakery Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 6:02am
post #8 of 22

oh my gosh..how scary! way to save it...i doubt that i could hve done close to the same.

So...now you have to give advice for those less experienced. What would you have done differently?

I am making a TT tomorrow following the instructions I have got off of here....but don't really know anything about the 'dowel process'. (I am a big time beginner here).

Mac Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 6:19am
post #9 of 22

I make lots of TT but I use the Wilton plastic tubes. At least for the bottom cake, then I use cake jacks for the middle one.

mcook1670 Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 6:25am
post #10 of 22

what is cake jacks? next time try using more than just 2 dowels in the bottom tier, it was probably the problem and not the wood.

Mac Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 6:31am
post #11 of 22

cake jacks are plastic dowels with plastic screws in them

http://www.confectioneryhouse.com/home.php?cat=280

here is a link for them.

Sweetcakes23 Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 6:33am
post #12 of 22

What's a cake jack?

Sweetcakes23 Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 6:38am
post #13 of 22

So, is the only difference between these and wooden rods is the fact that they raise up and down in length?

-K8memphis Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 10:31am
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetcakes23

So, is the only difference between these and wooden rods is the fact that they raise up and down in length?




Yes and of course that you don't have to cut them.

Tita9499 Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 5:38pm
post #15 of 22

Do you ask the customer for the cake jacks back or just keep replacing them?

It definitely wasn't the amount of dowels that was the problem, trust me (I started the OCD thread remember?). I always put 4 or more dowels in the base layer of the cake because I know that it has to support the most weight.

Now as to what I would do differently? I wouldn't mess with it so much! I was comtemplating picking the cake up to take off more of the cardboard that was on the bottom layer (you know how you put the cake tiers on the cardboard circles?) I could see like a 3/4" piece of cardboard and I actually wanted to cut it off, so I went to move it and then my DH (bless his entire heart) was like, "YOU CAN'T EVEN SEE THAT YOU PSYCHO!!" so I left it...too late.

Don't pull a "Tita9499" and you TT should be good.

Sweetcakes23 Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 8:10pm
post #16 of 22

Ok, thanks, I'm just wavering back and forth between these and sps system. I have tried the sps system, but find that my cakes don't always bake to the exact height. Hence I end up cutting the tubes. And, I don't really know how to deal with the plastic plates' edges showing around the bottom. Don't want that on my cakes.
But, I'm hearing that other than these "cake jacks" adjusting in height, they won't support my tiers anymore than wooden rods do?

Tita9499 Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 10:32pm
post #17 of 22

Probably supports them the same. I use the thicker dowels for my larger cakes (the bottom tiers) so they are probably the same as the cake jacks. But then again, I've never used the cake jacks, soo...

JenniferMI Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 3:31pm
post #18 of 22

Great recovery!!

I've been doing cakes over 30 years and have only used foil covered dowels. ..... yes, dowels.... icon_smile.gif

I actually have a set of stress free and have never tried them! Bad me...

I think it's all in how many you put in and how even they are cut. Mine cut like butter with pruning sheers.

Jen icon_smile.gif

leah_s Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 3:52pm
post #19 of 22

OK, everybody, let me clarify the 4" tall thing. The MIDDLE of your cake needs to be four inches tall. If the edges of the layers don't measure up, no problem. That's what the extra icing is for. icon_smile.gif The only part of the tier that must be 4" tall is where the legs go. If you're filling up your pans properly, then getting a 4" tier (in the middle of the tier) should not be an issue.

milissasmom Posted 12 Dec 2008 , 3:53pm
post #20 of 22

Sounds like this was just a one time fluke for you. There are so many things that could have made this happen ya know. Glad you were able to recover. I have used wooden dowels for years but am now an SPS girl all the way. I drive 3-4 tiered stacked cakes for over 100 miles regularly and have never had a problem (knock on WOOD)! Again, great save!!!

stampinron Posted 14 Dec 2008 , 10:13pm
post #21 of 22

To make a long story even longer, I shoved a few granola bars under the cake to prop it up, everything fell back into place and no harm was done.


What? Granola bars propped this cake up? Like the kind you eat???? I'm having a duh moment.....

Tita9499 Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 9:05pm
post #22 of 22

Yup, granola bars. I left them in the wrapper and shoved them under the cake board of the bottom tier. It shifted everything back into place...don't ask me how, it really wasn't a technical manuever, just a trick I did hoping it would save my cake (and, in the process, my butt).

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