soobsessedwithcake Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 8:25pm
post #1 of

Oh goodness where do I start. I made a pretty cute baby shower cake (if I do say so myself) for my friend. A few months later her sister asks me if I would make her wedding cake. She said it wasn't going to be anything hard, just plain white cake with white icing, with some swirl designs on the side, squares and round, and for about 150 people. I thought that I could hopefully do what sounded like a pretty simple cake.

She knew I hadn't made any wedding cakes before and I told her that I would do my best. I should have known she just asked me because she was trying to be cheap and was expecting me to give her a really cheap cake because I am not a professional. Well I researched and found that $2 a slice was not unreasonable so that is what I told her. I had to drive an hour to get to the town and set up so I charged her $325.

She wanted it alternating square and round, and at first just wanted three tiers because it would be less money but then her mother said to get the cake she wanted and she would pay the for the extra tier. So to do that I had to enlarge the pan sizes so it looked right, so she was getting way more cake than she needed and I didn't charge her extra for that.

My husband helped me cut all the dowel rods for the tiers, and even put a few extra in the bottom to make sure it wouldn't fall over. I left feeling very relieved it was over and said I would never make a wedding cake again because it was to stressful.

A week later I am looking at her myspace page and there it says basically "my wedding was just perfect except for my cake falling over" What? I almost was in tears when I read this and didn't know what to do, and half mad that she tells everyone in myspace world before telling me about it. I talked to my friend and she said it was just the bottom tier that kind of collapsed on itself and the top three tiers were fine. I am guessing I put too many dowel rods in and the cake was too moist and it split causing the cake to kinda mush down. My friend said that it was fixed my the time they walked in and they still had the three tiers to cut which would have been enough I think, even though it was just the back side of the cake and I am sure some of that bottom portion could have been just fine to serve.

Since I am not a professional and this was a friends sister I didn't think to write up anything for them to sign saying once I leave the place I am not responsible for anything that happens to the cake. However, I am thinking it was my fault. The bride finally calls and I apologize a lot, and say I will make another cake and/or birthday cakes for free. I didn't mention a refund of any sort because I really wasn't making all that much in the first place seeing I had to buy a lot of the pans. She agreed, but has brought it up many times with my friend so I know she is not happy. I didn't want my first wedding cake experience to be a disaster but unfortunately it was.

Sorry this is so long, I just needed to tell let it out and see what others thought if I should have given her some of her money back.

40 replies
peg818 Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 9:49pm
post #2 of

Frankly she has choosen to bad mouth you either way. So i wouldn't give her any money back. She had a cake to serve and enough to feed everyone. She paid your costs not more. Give her a free small cake like you promised and go on to the next cake.

I don't see a picture of this in your photos, do you have one? I always take a couple of picts at the hall after set up. Then at least you can see if the table with the cake has been moved. If it was leaning before you left and maybe you didn't notice. And general stuff like that.

I understand you are upset about this, but she did take a chance by hiring a baker with no wedding experience so it was her gamble and you don't always win when you gamble.

Keep your head up, looks like you do some very nice work and i'm sure you will get another chance to redeem yourself.

soobsessedwithcake Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:10am
post #3 of

Thanks. I did take a photo, I just really didn't want to be reminded of it so I didn't upload it here. I will so you can see it and maybe see something that I missed. Maybe I can even find the after shot for you as well, even though I hate to look at it...
LL

soobsessedwithcake Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:20am
post #4 of

Here is the shot of it falling apart..that she still has on her myspace page..great memories...
LL

want2bcupcakequeen Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:21am
post #5 of

That is a beautiful cake!

LaBellaFlor Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:22am
post #6 of

The cake looks fine from what I see in the picture. How do you know someone or some child didn't come along and bump it? She got what she asked for at a huge discount (which is what she was looking for anyway). She took that chance & I wouldn't give her ungrateful behind anything else!

messy_chef Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:24am
post #7 of

It must have been those two candy bars they put on top! icon_wink.gif

I wouldn't stress over it too much. It sure did take her a long time to call you!

pastryjen Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:25am
post #8 of

Easier said than done but..."don't worry about it." You did a nice job and she did take a gamble as the pp mentioned.

Chin up!

tirechic Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:37am
post #9 of

Hi, i am looking at both photos, and there are a lot of things on the table in the first pic, and then those things have either been moved or other things added. My point is when ppl set things up around cakes or cakes tables, it gets bumped ever so slightly, and it happens a lot, and ppl dont realize that they have done it, to many little bumps and things fall down. I dont think this was your fault, and i would not stop making wedding cakes, take this as a learning experience, and request that the table that the cake is setup on is complete when u get there. And it also looks like the cake was moved a little, so that could have done it to. HTH

Evoir Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:38am

I am so sorry this has happened to you on your first wedding cake. Its unfortunate this chick has decided to focus on the bad parts and is ignoring the bit about getting a beautiful cake that fed everyone for cost of ingtredients basically.

I hope some of the cakers here with loads of stacking/tiering experience chime in for you so you can trouble-shoot to avoid this happening again.

FWIW, it was alovely, classic cake, IMO!

patticakesnc Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:38am

I agree someone could have bumped it. Obviously they messed with it to put the toy cars on top!

I did have that happen to the 2 tier flowery cake in my photos too though. It was fine and then a chunk out of the back just fell off. 1. It was too soft for the torting and amount of icing I put in it. 2. I over dowled it. 3. It had a small break in it when I took it out of the pan, just like a hairline fracture but it was enough that when I dowled it it caused more of a stress crack and the weight of the icing made it break off, but like yours it was fine for quite awhile and then when no one was around it just collapsed.

It's ok...the cake is gorgeous!

SweetResults Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:41am

OMG - those aren't candy bars - they are Matchbox cars!!! Ummmm, yeah. That really finished the cake off nicely.

Look at it this way - you did not charge more for the extra cake - so in essence, they got what they paid for. I wish I could figure out why it cracked like that if it was just sitting there. Are you sure it is still on the same table you set it up on and that they did not move it after you left? I can't see how too many dowels would cause it to collapse. Anyone else have any ideas?

soobsessedwithcake Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:41am

Thanks for the support. I am not usually a "woe is me" type but this was just really bothering me. Yeah the "candy bars" icon_wink.gif on top were of course the brides idea because her hubby likes cars. I told her I didn't think it really went with the cake but didn't push the issue. I made sure to take a picture first before I put them on, hehe. Thanks again, my conscience is starting to feel better.

messy_chef Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:45am

Ok, it's much classier now that they are Matchbox cars and not 3 Musketeers bars!

lainalee Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:45am

Your cake looked fine when you left, beautiful job by the way. Who is it standing with cake in her hand, a cake knife obviously used and a slice laying onthe table. Also, who put the cars on the top and what did they do to it that they didn't tell you. You did what you were supposed to, deliver the cake that they ordered. After that, not your responsibility. Sorry this happened to you, but some people just want to get something for nothing and then put the blame elsewhere. Like the prevouis poster said, Chin Up. Don't let this stop you from going forward.

bellalex Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:47am

I am so sorry about your cake! Please don't give up on making wedding cakes. I had a similar experience. I had the brides mother call me after the wedding wondering if I had a picture of the wedding cake when I set it up. When I asked her about it she started crying, saying it had started falling over and they had to take it apart. She was also upset because the ice sculptures that they ordered also never showed. I showed her the picture of the cake and told her everything was fine when I left. She finally let it out that the air conditioning in the banquet room must have gone out because it was really hot when they got there. I was so glad I had taken a picture to prove that I left everything in good shape. However, I know how you feel. I was so upset that I wanted to quit baking too. You never want your customers to be upset with you. But keep learning and keep at it. It was a beautiful cake, especially for your first one!

Michellers Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:49am

You did a beautiful job! I agree with other posters, it looks like the cake had be moved. Who knows how rough they were when they moved it. Another reason could be maybe your dowels in the bottom tier were slightly different heights. Maybe that caused extra weight to be put onto the back of the cake and it eventually gave out..maybe when they moved the cake?

No matter what, you did a fab job and the bride knew she was taking a risk hiring someone who had never made a wedding cake before. The only person she should be upset with is herself for trying to take advantage of you.

mareg Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:57am

I think your cake was beautiful! I too think the cake was moved. If you look closely at the background it is not the same. Keep on girl your doing fine!

soobsessedwithcake Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 3:57am

Thanks for the helpful insights. I was the one who put the car toppers on. I wanted a picture without them (the first photo you see) because I really didn't like the looks of it with them on. So no one else messed with it that way. The lady in the picture is the lady from the reception hall who was going to be cutting the cake. She was trying to save the rest of the cake before they came in, which she did.

bakingatthebeach Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:09am

You know, no matter what anyone tells you, your gonna feel bad. My tiered cake with the purple flowers trailing up it was set up in a room where the A/C was off and the thermostat said 85 degrees. (I thought it was my nerves making me sweat, then my husband said he had to leave because it was too hot) Had buttercream melting everywhere. Left one tier off because I knew it wouldnt stay up. The more I tried to fix melting icing, the more it leaned. Any hoo, by the time the 200 or so guests arrived, it was 6 or so hours before they cut it and by then, bam, the top tier slid off. The bride said if thats the worst that happens on her wedding day, then its ok. Well, beat myself up over it for the last year and last week she asked me to do her baby shower cake, the same cake and filling as her wedding cake. So I feel alot better now, and you will too!

bizatchgirl Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:11am

(ETA) It is a lovely cake, just perfection. Wonderful job on your first wedding cake!

I agree the cake looks moved. From your pic, the front of one side of the square looks about parallel with the wall behind. I know the other pic could just be taken from a different angle but to me it doesn't look like any side of it would be parallel to the wall. Just my opinion...

Something similar happened to me. My first (fondant covered) tiered wedding cake came out great. My 2nd (buttercream) tiered wedding cake was perfect when we left the house. By the time we arrived and set it up, it had a bad lean to the back. Apparently, it didn't taste great either. I did feel bad for the bride (friend's niece), because all brides want that perfect wedding, but I still feel that she knew the risks, I never made myself out to be more than I was, and because of the risks involved, I only took money for supplies. I even underestimated my costs there and lost money on the cake.

This last weekend, I made a free cake for that same bride for her baby shower. Free, so I could somehow make up for her dissatisfaction on the wedding cake. Unless it was lost in communication (from her to aunt to me), then I didn't even get a thank you!

mommyle Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:14am

That bride is a class A B****. That is a fabulous cake. You did an exceptional decorating job. You have absolutely nothing to second guess in that way.

When I stack a cake (more than 2 tiers) I use the plastic tubes from Wilton, and plastic separator plates. I make sure that the plate is being supported by the rods, and just barely touching the cake. Then the border covers the plate and small gap. I don't know if that's the RIGHT way to do it, but I haven't had a cake issue yet. HTH

applemint_jackie Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:15am

It's a beautiful cake..

Cakey1865 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:15am

Ok you keep mentioning that you over doweled...I didn't know you could over dowel. How many did you use? Im glad I found out about it because I have some tiered cakes coming up...

tinygoose Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:21am

I think it was a lovely cake. We all have cake disasters, I don't think this was a cake disaster, more of a cake hickup. It is hard, we are artists at heart and this is our work. It's really hard when it doesn't turn out amazing. I'm sorry it happened. Give it a few weeks it won't seem so bad.

soobsessedwithcake Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:27am
Quote:
Originally Posted by bizatchgirl

(ETA) It is a lovely cake, just perfection. Wonderful job on your first wedding cake!

Something similar happened to me. My first (fondant covered) tiered wedding cake came out great. My 2nd (buttercream) tiered wedding cake was perfect when we left the house. By the time we arrived and set it up, it had a bad lean to the back. Apparently, it didn't taste great either. I did feel bad for the bride (friend's niece), because all brides want that perfect wedding, but I still feel that she knew the risks, I never made myself out to be more than I was, and because of the risks involved, I only took money for supplies. I even underestimated my costs there and lost money on the cake.

This last weekend, I made a free cake for that same bride for her baby shower. Free, so I could somehow make up for her dissatisfaction on the wedding cake. Unless it was lost in communication (from her to aunt to me), then I didn't even get a thank you!




Sorry you had a bad experience also! I hope I will be able to make a make up cake for her/them. Hopefully I will get a thank you too!

lardbutt Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:30am

It was a very pretty cake!

I'm so sorry it fell!

I can't believe they wanted freakin matchbox cars on it!! To each his own, but that looked stupid!! That's why you have a groom's cake!

soobsessedwithcake Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:39am

Thanks for all the nice replies. I know we are all our own worst critics.

As for how many dowels were used. Hmmm, it was a square 14" with a round 12" on top of it so I believe I used around 10? I cannot remember exactly, I know I looked into how many each tier should have and did that amount plus a couple extra.

bizatchgirl Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 4:44am

I don't think you overdoweled either. That amount sounds just perfect. There are many people with bad dowel experiences (mine was dowels also). Check out Tonedna's youtube video on tiered cakes. I believe she uses dowels and has never had issues, so there may be something we're missing.

You might also want to try something different next time. The Wilton's tubes as PP said, SPS, bubble tea straws.

Thanks for your comment on my issue. Just wanted to let you know it happens to ALL of us. And even if you try to make up for it, you might still be bad-mouthed.

peg818 Posted 15 Apr 2009 , 9:01am

Just one question, when using that many dowels did you do one big circle or did you do one big circle with a smaller circle in the middle?

Why you ask? If you did one big one and its too far to the edge of the board above, and the board started to weeken (uncovered card board will soak up the moisture from the cake and can cause failure) it could cause a collapse like this.

It really was a beautiful cake and i do wonder if it had help in falling like this. Although if this happened before the guests got there, that would mean it was "helped" by the staff and that you will never know.

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