Bad Wedding Cake Review. Help!!

Decorating By soccermom17 Updated 16 Jun 2009 , 5:00pm by soccermom17

soccermom17 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 4:21am
post #1 of 38

had a wedding cake set up yesterday, 4 tier, leaning a little. didn't have tools/time to really get into it to fix. bride emailed me today. they were very embarrased and she wanted it rolled away as soon as they could so noone else had to see it. i just cried. (didn't let me husband see) they're stopping by tomorrow to return the cake stand and so we can resolve this situation. I need help. I used wooden dowels and leveled it and rechecked it. I did have filling, would that make a difference? 3 tiers, white almond sour cream with seedless raspberry jam, bottom tier was chocolate with cookies and cream. and i've been having problems with the rasp. filling lately leaking out of the buttercream dam i put on it. this is my first bad cake review in 2 years. and i'm doing a wedding next weekend for a family that was at this wedding. i hope they don't loose confidence in me. i have 5 weddings next saturday and am really doubting my skills. please help me with the leveling and support changes. i see the wooden dowels have failed me!
Thanks in advance=Michelle
couldn't attach pic. check out my pics, i'll try add it there. red flowers on top with monogram.

37 replies
Unlimited Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:05am
post #2 of 38

Your skills are fine - the cake is beautiful... I wouldn't worry about next weekend. I don't believe your wooden dowels have failed you... I don't see any signs of bulging or settling nor sliding from fillings. The bottom two tiers are level, the third tier is where the problem started throwing off the top tier, it's simply not level. Just make sure each tier is level before covering and your cakes will be awesome as usual! It's not something you could have fixed easily once it was onsite at the reception. I can't believe they wanted to rush the cake out of sight, it's very pretty even if it's slightly leaning.

soccermom17 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:10am
post #3 of 38

thanks unlimited. i'm just horrified. but we're so much harder on ourselves aren't we?
thanks for the kind words. that third tier was the one leaking filling, etc. just a PIA.
thanks again.

bananabread Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:25am
post #4 of 38

Would be a good idea to have a copy of the picture you took of the cake, and ask the bride to bring the picture they took on the wedding day, so you can compare the two pictures to see if there is a difference, maybe they moved the table, o something else happened good luck

Texas_Rose Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:26am
post #5 of 38

It doesn't look that bad at all. Did they serve it? I don't think you should give them a full refund. It sounds like the bride is a bit of a bully "rolled away as fast as possible so no one else HAD to see it" sounds mean.

sweet_creations96818 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:29am
post #6 of 38

I agree with bananabread. Since you already knew it was leaning a bit, someone could have moved the table or even bumped it a little bit causing it to lean a bit more. I would ask her to bring her pics too, maybe it will help resolve the issue smoothly!

donkeemom Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:31am
post #7 of 38

I would have loved to have a cake like that at my wedding. I like it, you did a nice job and it sounds delicious. I agree that if they served it, no full refund.

mommyle Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:48am
post #8 of 38

So, it is leaning a bit. Oh well. I agree with Texas Rose. She isn't being a reasonable bride, and sounds like a bit of a "princess". Get her photos to compare.

Now, for the next cakes that you do... you either start using the SPS system that leahs swears by, or get the Wilton separator plates and the plastic dowels. That way the plates that the cakes are sitting on are level, and even if your cake settles out a bit, only the top will look a bit off, because all of the plates are even. AND you don't have to worry about it falling over or anything when someone bumps the table, or some little kid sticks their finger in the icing... buggers!!!!

Rosie2 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:51am
post #9 of 38

I saw your cake, it's totally beautiful and I agree with Texas_Rose it isn't bad at all...maybe the moved it or bumped the table. But the cake is nothing to be embarrased of. And, please don't loose your confidence, you make gorgeous cakes and you'll do perfectly fine next weekend.

icer101 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:57am
post #10 of 38

i looked at your cake also.. i think it is simply beautiful.. it is leaning just a lilttle.. can,t believe the bride was so hard on you. unless, something else happened after you left.. i wouldn,t know why she said what she did. hope everything works out for you. but is it not the wooden dowels. too many people, including me.. use them.. i use sps at times.. just stacked one sat.. used wooden dowel thru the center,ect.

mamabrat13 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 6:03am
post #11 of 38

I think your cake was beautiful-I doubt that most non-cakers (is that a word?!) would even notice. It sounds like the bride is being a bit of a diva. Your details on the cake were spot on. Don't let one bad review make you lose your confidence. Go back and look at your pictures-you've made lots of beautiful cakes. That is why you have all of these upcoming orders! Keep your chin up-don't let this get you down. I'm sure that ALL of your upcoming cakes are going to be outstanding! have a good week!

Rylan Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 6:13am
post #12 of 38

Honestly, it doesn't matter if the table was moved or bumped a bit. If the cake leaned more because of that, it's not going to be their fault because it was already leaning in the first place. A cake should have a nice support system.

The cake looks fabulous and really gorgeous. Fondant work is smooth, the quilting is clean and even while the overall look is well done. You really have a lot of skills, keep it up.

If I was the bride, I would complain if the cake leaned more than the picture on your photos. I paid for a cake that is not supposed to lean. Same thing as purchasing furniture. I wouldn't think it's fair If I was charged for a damaged sofa the same price as a non damaged one.

Don't give up. Even the best of the best cake decorators encounter problems. You make beautiful cakes and you should have a lot of confidence. Good luck on your next one =]

Melnick Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 6:46am
post #13 of 38

I agree with RylanTy. I really, really want to make you feel better by saying "It was leaning, so what?" But in reality I would be upset if I had a cake that leaned and there is every chance as everyone pointed out that after you left it took on more of a lean. Having said that, the cake is absolutely beautiful! Stunning actually. It is still well beyond my abilities.I did read on another forum in the last few days that someone said when they use a raspberry filling, they put a really thin layer of buttercream below it and above it to stop it absorbing into the cake. Maybe that would helpful for you??

Toedna1 has a great youtube tutorial of how she uses cardboard tubes as a support. Her cakes are buttercream but maybe it will help?


. There are also links to heaps of other tutorials by other decorators next to it so you may find what you are seeking there.

As everyone else has said, you are definately a talented cake decorator (that's why you have 5 cakes ordered for this weekend!) so don't start doubting yourself just because one cake wasn't perfect. I don't think there is really anything you could have done at the time to fix it and I doubt there would have been any way that you could have realised that you were going to be in that situation prior to stacking it so it really is just one of those things and you did the absolute best you could for the presentation with what you had to work with. If anything, use this weekend to redeem yourself and show just how wonderful your cakes are. And really you just need to get a few days away from it. Once you've dealt with the clients and had a few good nights' sleeps you will be able to feel better. I totally commend you though for seeking a way to stop it from happening again rather than flaming your client. It shows class.

mommyle Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 7:06am
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabrat13

I think your cake was beautiful-I doubt that most non-cakers (is that a word?!) would even notice. It sounds like the bride is being a bit of a diva. Your details on the cake were spot on. Don't let one bad review make you lose your confidence. Go back and look at your pictures-you've made lots of beautiful cakes. That is why you have all of these upcoming orders! Keep your chin up-don't let this get you down. I'm sure that ALL of your upcoming cakes are going to be outstanding! have a good week!




Yes, non-cakers has been used, but the preferred term is "cake-muggles".
icon_wink.gif

Kimmers971 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 12:06pm
post #15 of 38

I see the lean, but nothing else. I certainly would not be embarrased to show that cake. I agree with the others, have your picture out when the bride comes and compare to the ones they took. I bet someone moved/bumped the table and caused damage.

Good Luck & Keep your chin up icon_biggrin.gif

cylstrial Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 12:39pm
post #16 of 38

Your cake is beautiful! Yes, it is slightly leaning, but nothing that the bride would need to be embarrassed about, or need to "roll away". It sounds like she is expecting some kind of refund. I wouldn't give her a full refund. I would say give a 25% refund. Did they eat the cake? And I would also check the picture they took as well. Just to see what happened.

veronica970206 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 12:56pm
post #17 of 38

First of all I think you are handling it great simply because you can joke about "The Leaning Cake of Fondant", you had me cracking up there!!! Your work overall is gorgeous, so please do NOT refund her entire amount, I would for sure compare pics. Was it leaning before you left? If it wasnt, sounds like someone bumped the table or something of that nature. Do not make this woman lose your cake decorating confidence, stay strong and positive, your work is awesome!!! I wish you all the best, it will be just fine, sounds like this woman just snapped, instead of calming down first and then calling/saying something. If you have been doing this for a while and this is your first time of this happening, then you know it was not you and something just bumped it, think about it, this is your first time of having a cake lean and you have been using your cake support system for how long? I wouldnt worry, tell her your sorry this happened, but what can you do, it was fine when you left and after you leave you are responsible for people walking around it, nudging the table or whatever people do at a wedding, heck for all you know it could have been the photographer!!! It will all work out, Im sorry you had to go through that, take care, Veronica

tallgood Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 1:11pm
post #18 of 38

Your cake is absolutely beautiful. I would go with the partial refund as it does show a lean in the photo.

I'm not a professional decorator, but from eyeballing the diamond design on those tiers, the top and second tier down are both not level in construction. A friend of mine that has been helping me learn cake design, suggested that I buy a 6 or 8-inch level from the hardware store dedicated to cake decorating to make sure each cake is level before stacking, frosting and tiering (more ways than one).

I know, I know, I'm being too analytical! I've been hanging out at a website that does a lot of cake sleuthing!

PinkZiab Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 1:49pm
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by soccermom17

had a wedding cake set up yesterday, 4 tier, leaning a little. didn't have tools/time to really get into it to fix. bride emailed me today.




Okay this is what bothers me: You knew the cake was leaning, but didn't have time to get into it. I get time is at a premium, but you left a cake you knew was leaning. The work on the cake is beautiful, and I think the bride was being melodramatic when she said she had them roll it away and all that crap. But the bottom line is you left them a cake that was already leaning. Moving it or bumping it would not be a problem if the cake didn't have issues... the construction was already flawed so if a table bump was enough to cause further damage it, that was due to the construction, not the fault of the customer. I'm not trying to be harsh... I'm just being honest. The cake is beautiful, but I would offer them a small percentage as a refund and sincere apologies.

cakegrandma Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 2:09pm
post #20 of 38

I too believe that if you knew the cake was having a problem then time should have been made to correct it. People, especially today, are looking for something at a lesser price. They try to bargain down pricing as well as complain a lot...I don't mean everyone but, still significant numbers of them. As you know - Bad Word of Mouth travels faster than the Good Word. I would offer her a reasonable amount as a refund as well as giving her a little off on another future cake, to promote good will and hopefully a good business relationship. She can easily state the cake leaned, however, the baker gave us a slight compensation for it and money off on a future cake. How great does that sound? Especially for yur future business.
evelyn

jillangel Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 3:25pm
post #21 of 38

I would give a slight refund for the leaning cake. (Although I'm not sure how much, maybe 10%) It is obviously leaning but no where near needing to roll it away out of sight. That is just absurd. The fondant work on the cake is exquisite. Leaning, I'd still be proud to have it at my wedding but some refund is justified because you knew there was an issue when it was dropped off. Plus I'm sure they ate the cake. Things happen. You'll move on and learn from this tiny mistake. thumbs_up.gif It is beautiful! Heck if I could do that (even leaning) I'd think I was the 'stuff'!

soccermom17 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 4:29pm
post #22 of 38

thanks everyone for your kind words, words of wisdom and insight. I truly appreciate it. PinkZiab, I totally agree with everything you said. i did it. i left it like that. noone else. time management needs to be restructered so the crunch time factor doesn't affect the integrity of the cake. they'll be here in a couple of hours, and she stated she has pictures, which is fine with me. i have no problem giving them a partial refund. i screwed up and will compensate them. Also, a cake decorator friend of mine is coming over wednesday to help me out, show me some tricks of the trade. i can't wait. she's the one that loaned me the bead mold. what a good friend. thanks again and i'll let you know how our meeting and resolution goes.
-Michelle

PennySue Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 4:48pm
post #23 of 38

Just a thought on the icing dam. I use raspberry filling with chocolate bcf for fillings and have not had a problem with blow-outs or leaking. I mix extra (lots and lots) of powdered sugar into some of the icing to make what feels like a semi stiff play-dough. Pipe it around the edge with a coupler for a tip and it works like a charm. Saw it on Sharon Zambito's DVD.

__Jamie__ Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:17pm
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by soccermom17

thanks everyone for your kind words, words of wisdom and insight. I truly appreciate it. PinkZiab, I totally agree with everything you said. i did it. i left it like that. noone else. time management needs to be restructered so the crunch time factor doesn't affect the integrity of the cake. they'll be here in a couple of hours, and she stated she has pictures, which is fine with me. i have no problem giving them a partial refund. i screwed up and will compensate them. Also, a cake decorator friend of mine is coming over wednesday to help me out, show me some tricks of the trade. i can't wait. she's the one that loaned me the bead mold. what a good friend. thanks again and i'll let you know how our meeting and resolution goes.
-Michelle





Awesome! I could see that lean from across the room when I pulled the picture up. You might want to start checking out SPS system, tea straws, and possibly something else. A leaning cake isn't going to do anything but lean more. When it's on dowels, and the dowels start to shift, one small seemingly innocent bump (which I really don't understand how some cakers blame tables for shifting layers so much, construct your cake properly, and quit blaming tables!!) will send the pencil thin twig of a dowel ripping through the cake...and there you go...cake everywhere. Whoops!

__Jamie__ Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:24pm
post #25 of 38

Besides being thin, like a pencil, you are in effect, poking a hole into a substance which is not very dense and isn't very sturday. If cake were a sturdy dense substance, then we could all stack them on top of each other like Sandra Lee. Still trying to figure that one out.

So, you stick something the basic shape and thickness of a pencil down into something that is pretty spongy and light to begin with, but is heavy. Now, you add another heavy thing on top of it. One of your dowels is cut a bit higher than it's neighbors. Uh oh. Now the weight of the cake is resting pretty much on that one tall dowel. If it starts to slip out sideways because it can't handle that weight, it's going to push right out thru your cake, and down comes the whole thing.

When you use a tea straw, it's hollow, and is not really making a hole in your cake, OR displacing any cake, because the cake you are pushing the straw into, is coming up inside of your straw as you push it in. It's only gripping into your cake persay. And if you do have a straw cut a bit too long, it's going to flex a bit, and allow the cake to come down and rest on the other straws that were cut the proper length. Rather than shift sideways, and tear through your cake.

And of course, the best optionof all (in my opinion) is SPS. Which ain't going anywhere. No worries with it all.

There. A little long winded, but descriptive. icon_smile.gif

cutthecake Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:42pm
post #26 of 38

Soccermom,
Your cake is lovely.
Could you use a chuckle? When I was looking at your photos, squinting as usual, I thought your "Halo Master Chief Helmet" (whatever that is--I'm pop culture ignorant) was a KitchenAid mixer cake! I really need to get a stronger prescription for my glasses.

tinygoose Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 5:43pm
post #27 of 38

I have to say it feels pretty good driving with a cake stacked with SPS. It's pretty darn sturdy. Has cut down immensely on that sick to your stomach delivery, OMG is it going to make it, I hope I don't pass out feeling...lol thumbs_up.gif

soccermom17 Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 7:06pm
post #28 of 38

I had my meeting with the bride and groom. Andy they were wonderful. She said she was disappointed, it didn't look the way she invisioned. Which I totally understand. and told her so. she said her dad had told her, maybe with the filling and the moist cake, that caused it to start like that. I also let them know I didn't receive any calls and left my information with the reception site. She was going to mention that to them also. i have more weddings there this year, so i would appreciate it if something was wrong, that they call. she showed me a picture and it was leaning worse than when I left. anyway, a 25% refund on the main cake only, she said there was nothing wrong with the sheet cakes, and they only wanted a partial refund on the main cake. Not a diva at all. Her and her husband were very gracious and wonderful. Ok, onto the next 5 weddings this saturday. My confidence is coming back a little and I'm investigating different support systems. single plate system and also the other expensive system SPS also? Thanks everyone. I think I might be able to eat again! -Michelle

tinygoose Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 7:17pm
post #29 of 38

So glad to hear that they were nice about it, and that it got worked out quickly. Even president Bush's daughter's cake leaned on the top tier. It happens...it's cake....it's fragile. SPS by Bakery Crafts, isn't expensive, and I always make arrangements to get them back. You know, I like the recycle, reuse, reduce thing.

jillangel Posted 15 Jun 2009 , 7:25pm
post #30 of 38

So good to hear they were decent people to deal with. Sounds like a very reasonable solution. thumbs_up.gif

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