Kristen6992 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 1:27pm
post #1 of

Here is the first cake I was paid for (second cake ever). Unfortunately it didn't really make it. Friend called me when she got home and said the layers slide over. I forgot to put a dowel down the center! Granted she was planning to transport this to her house, then to work in the morning , then to the shower in the afternoon. I am not so sure it would have stayed together anyway, your never sure how someone else is driving. It was a single layer 10,8,6, I did support the layers but wasn't sure if the center dowel was necessary and kind of forgot about it...oops! She is still going to try to get it to the shower, so we'll see if it gets there in one piece at least. Since I am pretty sure this is my fault I am thinking I should give her her money back or if anything, just have her pay supplies? I am not sure how to go about this, any comments?
LL

43 replies
sugarwishes Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 1:47pm
post #2 of

Can you try to fix it before it gets to the shower? Is she asking for a discount or refund? Obviously, she still wants to eat the cake if she is gonna try and get it to the shower so I don't think you should give her a full refund. Maybe a discount off her next cake? Next time you should use SPS instead of dowels, especially if it is being transported many time IMO.

Kristen6992 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:01pm
post #3 of

I asked if I could meet up with her to try to fix it but she said she wouldn't have time. She didn't ask for anything but she is my very good friend and this was for a shower she is helping with for a girl from her work. I learned about the SPS thing a little to late and wouldn't have had time to order anything. I will definitely try to get that for next time!

Kiddiekakes Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:04pm
post #4 of

I would say it wasn't a centre dowel.What did you use for a filling and what was the weather conditions like at the time.

Most cakes slide because of slippery fillings,humid weather and eratic driving.I never use a centre dowel on my stacked cakes (I do however support them properly inside) I have never had a cake slide.I also don't offer slippery fillings either for this reason.I fill my cakes with same BC that I ice the cake with and the key is to keep the cake super cold in the fridge as this also firms it up and keeps it sturdy.

Kristen6992 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:23pm
post #5 of

There is no filling, they are single layer cakes. The actual tiers shifted so they are all to one side. No bad weather just a lot of driving. It was buttercream with fondant decorations. I guess it could have been a little soft. It didn't have much time to sit before she picked it up. I have read different opions on chilling cake, I wasn't sure on that.

mbt4955 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:27pm
post #6 of

No advice, Kristen6992, because I know you will get a lot from people much more experienced than I. I just wanted to tell you that I love your cake!

leah_s Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:30pm
post #7 of

So you're saying that each tier is 2" tall of solid cake?

I would give her all her money back, AND go to her car or wherever the cake currently is and fix it, OR meet her at the shower location and fix it there.

Teekakes Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:37pm
post #8 of

I commented on your cake earlier this morning, it is eye catching and I really like it a lot! Nice job!
Was the cake in the same condition when she picked it up as it is in the picture you uploaded?
You are not responsible for this type damage to a cake after it leaves your possession. You have no idea, or control over, how a person drives or handles the cake. Careless handling and driving habits can slide layers on the best constructed cakes!

I never use a center dowel either. I do always drive stacked/tiered cakes to their destination. Never have I had one slide. I drive very defensively and take corners slooooowly. Maybe your cake was not transported so carefully.

mixinvixen Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:38pm
post #9 of

two things: i think your cake is beautiful! you did a great job picking complimentary colors, your fondant accents look great, your border is cute...way to go! a second cake, you say???? i don't believe you! icon_biggrin.gif

2nd thing, only my humble opinion!: i don't think anyone is ready to sell after only their first cake. while your skill may be there, all the zillions of things to remember doesn't come naturally to you, and so you end up stressing during the making of it, and sometimes things like this happen...something that may be minor but quickly snowballs into a disaster in the making. i'm not really sure that it's fair to pass those insecurities and boo boos onto someone who is paying for your expertise. NOW, HERE'S AN ADDENDUM TO THAT STATEMENT: if your friend was forewarned by you that this is only your second cake, she acknowledged it and paid for a heavily discounted cake because of it, then it's all kosher.

give some freebies away first, which gives you an opportunity to work out the kinks on people who don't have the right to complain!, but will be willing to give you constructive, GENTLE critiscism.

once again, i think you have mad skills, so keep your chin up!! thumbs_up.gif

leah_s Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:49pm

mixin, I was thinking along those same lines. It's not the best idea to practice on paying customers, especially when you are truly at the beginning of your career. Sure I continually take on new challenges, but I have enough years of experience where I can figure out - generally on the fly - how to fix things that don't go as planned. And I have lots of tools and equipment to help me.

In the beginning, you really do have to give away a lot of product just to learn the craft. I certainly did, at least.

And you really can't sell cakes until you're licensed anyway.

Kristen6992 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:49pm

Thanks everyone for your advice!

leahs: Yes, each tier is 2 inches on of solid cake. Is there something I should have done differently here? The cake is in her car at her work I can't really fix it there, although I did offer to try during lunch. It is a weird weekday shower at 3:00 in the afternoon and I have to be at work.

Teekakes: Yes, that picture was taken right before she left.

mixinvixen: I think you are right, I probably am not ready to sell anything. After my first cake she asked me to do it and yes she knows I am a newbie. If it had been for her shower or for friends and family I would totally have done it free. This was for a freind of hers shower at work though and I didn't want people to start asking for free cake!

leah_s Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:55pm

Yes, on the solid cake. Generally speaking, a tier of cake is 4" tall. Not always, but as a general rule. 4" of tier means either 2, 2" tall layers of cake with 1 layer of filling, or 4, 1" (or slightly less than 1") tall layers of cake with 3 layers of filling. You can always design a cake with taller or shorter tiers, but *generally* 4" is the standard.

That gets placed on a cardboard cake round. Each tier that is below another gets supports of some kind placed in it to carry the weight of the tier above.

For a three tier cake, supports go in the bottom tier and the middle tier. Many people who use dowels as support also use a center dowel as a spike right down the middle of the cake.

I use SPS so I don't need the middle spike.

mixinvixen Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 2:56pm

i personally have not had anyone ask for a free cake, but i have definitely had some undeniably bold, slap you in the face kind of whopping hints...didn't mean i had to acknowledge them though! i just played dumb!!! icon_biggrin.gif i figured that if they had the cojones to so boldly hint, then they should be just as big actually asking..i wan't going to make it easy for them!

that being said, just because they do ask, doesn't mean you have to do it!!!!! first rule of doing this (or anything else) as a business:

GROW A BACKBONE, AND QUICKLY!!! icon_biggrin.gif

Teekakes Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 3:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs


That gets placed on a cardboard cake round. Each tier that is below another gets supports of some kind placed in it to carry the weight of the tier above.

For a three tier cake, supports go in the bottom tier and the middle tier. Many people who use dowels as support also use a center dowel as a spike right down the middle of the cake.
.




Kristen........didn't you say you supported each tier/layer? How did you support them, if not the way Leahs describes above? There does have to be support between the tiers. If you did not do this then unfortunately it would be your error and a refund would be in order.

You are doing a great job and will learn all this as you go along. I gave LOTS of cakes away my first 6 months of decorating. Not only did I learn a lot, most of my customers now are a result of me giving my cakes away in the beginning. thumbs_up.gif

peachquilter Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 3:13pm

I would think offering a discount or something free on the next cake would
go a long way to keeping a close friend.

Kristen6992 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 3:17pm

Is it possible that this happened because the cake was really fresh when she picked it up, I had just finished it and there wasn't really any time for it to set.

The reason I didn't want 4 inch tall cake was because she was picking this up and I didn't want her hauling around a huge cake. I did everything you suggested leahs except the center dowel, which it sounds like some people don't use anyway. I was wondering if there may have been any other factors for future reference. I will be looking into that SPS for nect time, thanks! thumbs_up.gif

Edited for typo.

mixinvixen Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 3:56pm

sliding, in my experiency, comes directly from something slippery or unstable being between the layers. for example, i have never had success, not even once!, using a 1/8 and even smaller!, layer of strawberry jam, like i'd love to. it's like trying to decorate a game of jinga!

now, i make a really stiff buttercream then add in the jam or flavor of my choice. this brings the jam and buttercream flavors together and back to a regular consistency without having the slip-n-slide effect!

a center dowel only helps to stabalize all the tiers. however, it will not keep sliding from happening overall, if you have slippery surfaces between your torted layers. also, even if you've correctly put in the right amount of support under each tier, and used the center dowel to stabalize the whole structure, if you've chosen to use a really supermoist recipe, the dowel can actually split the layers into two pieces and there goes the whole thing!!!

i personally use dowels and pvc pipe as my center stability, not sps, but i also make sure to incorporate the other safety features i've mentioned above, on every cake, regardless of whether i'm sure it needs it or not...better to be safe and have happy clients, then to save a penny but in the long run and lose 10 clients because they don't believe in the value of your final product.

rockysmommy Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 4:21pm

I have been doing this for only about 6 months...I bake cakes for family and some friends...I do it right now as a hobby. I even baked a Wedding cake for a friend stacked the wedding cake like everyone said, it was 10,8,6...it was cream cheese icing....she designed it...it was just UGLY to me but did it as a favor to her. I delivered it 12 miles away...drove very carefully...but I didn't put the top tier on until arriving at my destination...and it had set over night.

I have a friend who owns commercial property and has offered it to me to sell my cakes...I just don't want to go through all the red tape of owning another business...we formerly owned a Boat Company on the lake...anyway...I am sorry that this happened to you.

peg818 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 4:28pm

did you say this cake was sitting in her car until 3pm?

If thats the case depending on how warm it is where you are that icing could and will melt. You take a dark color car and the sun beating on it all day and even if its like 40 outside the car can and will be much warmer.

Still, i would give a refund cause you don't really know what has caused this, then keep practicing and learning.

Melvira Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 4:32pm

I have to chime in here... because something smells fishy. Let me put it this way...

If the 'tiers' are single, short 2" layers of cake with a simple buttercream between them and the tier beneath, and you put dowels in them anyway, with cake boards between them, and they STILL slid, she must've been driving like a maniac. I find it almost impossible to believe that they slid around. Unless you did something like stack and ice while they were still warm?? Maybe if you had full 4" tiers with fillings, and used sucker sticks instead of dowels, then yah, I can see it. It sounds to me like she took corners like she was on rails, or something. It just doesn't add up. Single layers stacked like that with proper support shouldn't slip with even moderately considerate driving. And honestly, I tell people that if they choose to pick up instead of have me deliver, I will not be responsible for the cake once they have put their hands on it, unless it is an obvious error on my part. (Like I somehow forgot to use dowels or cake boards or something crazy like that.) I've only been doing this since 2004-ish, but I've never had to give a refund. Not even a partial. (Knock on wood, I am not trying to tempt fate here!!) I'd happily fix it for her, but if you have all your ducks in a row, no refund. I could see a SMALL discount (10%) on a future order just because you are feeling generous and she is a friend. Now if something happened that WAS your fault, then yah, definitely fix it, refund half, or something like that. Although, it sounds like she doesn't want you to fix it since she's making it sound impossible. It's a very bad idea to haul a cake around from place to place like that though.

stephaniescakenj Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 6:59pm

it does sound a little fishy. I mean this cake was only about 6 inches tall, right, maybe a little higher to account for the buttercream? If your buttercream was too soft, it's definitely going to shift but a center dowel would have probably helped keep it together better. I always center dowel my tiered cakes regardless of size or distance traveled, i even hammer them into my base board and chill them before they go into the car too. It just makes them sturdier for the car ride. I would be inclined to offer a discount...

lolobell Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:10pm

SPS is what?

glory2god Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:25pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristen6992

Granted she was planning to transport this to her house, then to work in the morning , then to the shower in the afternoon.




that's a lot of transporting. are you sure that she didn't do anything to make the cake shift. maybe when she was taking it out of the car at home. and if she left it in the car until the next morning then that could explain why it shifted. i agree with the others. if it was in the same condition as in the picture, when you gave it to her i would not give her a full refund.

by the way, what a beautiful cake. you did a great job.

Bluehue Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:26pm

I am with Peg181 - *the cake is sitting in her car* !!!!!!
No wonder the darling thing has slipped/slid.

I would too, sitting in a car for a few hours covered in BC.


I am so very sorry that this has happened to you - but she HAS to take responsability for leaving it IN a car.
Something tells me she took some friends out to show them the cake in the car - and then she saw what has happened - then contacted and told you.
Because from what you have said about the height and it being dowelled it should never have slipped.

Personally - if she asks for a refund - perhaps you could compensate SOME $'s but i think it unfair that after all your work and expense you should have to give a total refund -

You went to a lot of trouble making it - such a pretty cake - sadly something tells me she didn't take the same trouble after it left your care.

Again - such a pretty cake.

Bh

glory2god Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:26pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristen6992

Granted she was planning to transport this to her house, then to work in the morning , then to the shower in the afternoon.




that's a lot of transporting. are you sure that she didn't do anything to make the cake shift. maybe when she was taking it out of the car at home. and if she left it in the car until the next morning then that could explain why it shifted. i agree with the others. if it was in the same condition as in the picture, when you gave it to her i would not give her a full refund.

by the way, what a beautiful cake. you did a great job.

Laura0430 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:37pm

First, I just want to say that I think your cake looks great! I'm fairly new myself (about a year into it) an mainly do cakes for friends and friends of friends.

While the sliding is unfortunate, it happens. Regardless of where the blame lies - I think the question to ask yourself is: If you were in HER shoes, what would it take from the person that made the cake in order for YOU to order another cake from HER?

You do have some cost involved with supplies but mainly your time. If it were me, I would definitely offer to refund her money and chalk the loss up to a learning experience.

I think I read that she is a friend and that she know you are new to cake decorating - she can't expect the Mona Lisa from you right out of the chute. Keep trying (and learning!)

Best of luck to you!

lolobell Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 7:58pm

okay all, this has prompted me to be concerned about my upcoming cake. So, I ask:
1. what is sps exactly....I'm still new around here and
2. I'm making a castle cake (10 inch round and 6 inch round both 4 inches tall) I was planning on using the usual dowels to support my top tier and then putting one dowel down the center of both the 2 tiers. Is this going to be enough to support this cake on a 32 mile trip?

FromScratch Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 8:12pm

She left it in the car??? Did it slip before it sat in the car or after? If after then yeah... it's totally her fault. It might be cold, but the sun still makes the interior of a car get warm. You cant't leave a cake in the car period.

So sorry this happened to you.

misabel99 Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 8:28pm

Beautiful cake.

aswartzw Posted 19 Feb 2009 , 8:35pm

Another newbie thing...Make sure your customer is transporting the cake properly and knows what to do and what not-to-do.

It must be transported on a flat service (not the car seat), drive slowly and carefully (especially corners and no sudden stops), and don't leave in a warm vehicle.

I really think it has to do with her driving like the others mentioned. She was basically just transporting a 3 layer cake! You really didn't even need to dowel it b/c it is only a 3 layer cake.

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