I am absolutely devastated. My mom and I did a Las Vegas themed topsy turvy cake for a 16th birthday party today. It looked great before we left my house, but it seems like it melted during the transport and shifted big time. We had wooden dowels on all of the tiers to keep it from shifting yet it seems like it didn't help at all. I'm not sure if it was from the heat or not b/c it's 75 degrees out and 55% humidity. When we got to the site the cake felt as if it just sort of "melted". The middle tier just really sagged on the right side and the die on top kept listing to the right so badly that the dowels starting poking through the fondant. Can anyone guess as to why this happened and any advice on how to prevent it in the future??? Thanks!
OMG! Sure is a beautiful cake. My first guess is a problem with support. Although if the cake wasn't dense enough (sturdy) that could have caused the problem also.. Did it have a filling?
Oh I am so sorry this happened. It's hard to tell just what happened, as it could be a few different things.Melting could be caused by the car being too hot, sun on the cake during transport. Also, you say you had dowels in all the layers but that will only support the next teir, it does not prevent shifting of the teirs unless you drove them all the way thru all teires, in which case again if it got too warm it could still melt and shift. It almost looks like the drive over was a bit rough and it got too warm the way it shifted. Again i am sorry this happened to you , it really looks like you put a ton work into this cake.
Thanks for the reply and the compliment! Yeah maybe the cakes were not dense enough. They were scratch red velvet, vanilla, and chocolate. What type of cake would you typically use for a topsy turvy?? The fillings were cream cheese for the red velvet and vanilla and chocolate buttercream for the vanilla and chocolate cakes.
I just feel so terrible about this cake. I keep trying to figure out just what went wrong. I'm such a people pleaser and it's tough disappointing clients.
So sorry for your stress. It's a cute cake!!
I do whimsy cakes a lot and here are a few tips:
1. Yes, you need a firm cake and a filling that will set up. This is not a time for white cake. Refuse to do that. I never do fruit fillings for these cakes. If that is what the customer wants I swirl the filling into buttercream so that they get the taste, but I don't get the stress.
2. you must work with cold cake throughout the process. Freeze your layers after baking. Thaw in the fridge. Fill while cold. Return to the fridge. Crumbcoat. Return to the fridge. Cover with fondant or buttercream. Return to the fridge. Assemble. Return to the fridge. Create your decorative elements while it is refrigerated. Decorate. Return to the fridge.
3. Now for support. This is crucial. I use SPS for all my tiered cakes. The Single Plate System is hands down the safest and most cost effective system available. Doweling is not necessary. I have transported four tier cakes using this system with not a problem. If you can't find the plates and columns, I do sell them in my shop and will be happy to ship. There are other retailers online that carry the system as well. I've done decorative cakes for almost 12 years and don't know what that center dowel through all the cake tiers is supposed to do. But I know for sure that if you use SPS correctly, you will not have a problem.
4. I box all of my cakes. Corrugated boxes act as a great insulator. WalMart carries them, but you can also get up to a 12x12 box from the post office for free. I've also found them at moving stores. One of the best investments you'll make. Form the box; then cut two sides to create a flap. Use a piece of non slip matting. Place your cake into the box. Tape up the flap. Close the top and tape shut. The coldness from your cake is trapped in the box and creates a little refrigerator. If your cannot close the lid, use a piece of plastic wrap or cellophane paper to cover and tape it down.
5. Back in fridge; even if everything in there has to come out
6. Ready to go. Non slip matting in the car; with the box placed between the wheels and in the interior of the car, if possible (not in the back near the window). AC is blasting and was turned on in advance. If it's 75 outside; its 85 or higher inside.
7. I live in Central NC. It's been in the 80's and 90's here since April (tell me we're not experiencing global warming). The humidity today is about 90%. I've had to learn to deliver in the heat.
I agree with the other posters. It was a combination of things that contributed to the shifting. I hope I've given you some tips to help prevent it in the future.
You mention that the dowels were starting to poke through the fondant on the die tier... this begs the question...... you had dowels, but did you have cardboard under each layer? I'm a little lost on how the dowels could poke out of the fondant if there was cardboard in between...
I'm with the pp for chilling (tho I don't go to the extremes she does and I will use mousses and whatever fillings - to each his own) and it looks like your second tier dowels shifted.
Live and learn
DDiva-- Thank you so much for your advice!!!!!!! I truly appreciate it!!!!
We did keep it frozen, and then once we started working with it we kept putting the cakes back in the refrigerator. We did not have our SUV cooled down when we put the cake in the back. We will def. have a cool vehicle this coming weekend with our next orders!!!! Thanks for the advice on the corrugated boxes. I will def. look into getting some!!!
KoryAK-- We did have cardboard under the 2nd tier, but did not have any on the top tier..which would have come in very handy so we could have shifted the cake to make it possibly more stable. We tried to lift it to shift it to the center, however the red velvet cake stained the white fondant under it so badly that we needed to put the cake back in it's original spot.
Thanks everyone for your support and advice!!!!!! This is a great community we have here!!!
Dowels work well to hold up cardboard, not cake. If you are going to skip the cardboard, just skip the dowels as well. And always use cardboard under each layer