My First Cake Disaster - Countless Disasters Rolled Into One

Decorating By superwawa Updated 24 Jul 2009 , 1:40pm by 4Gifts4Lisa

superwawa Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 2:19pm
post #1 of 16

Whenever I read through some of the other 'disasters' in this forum, I usually (like many others) do not see a disaster. I know we are our own worst critic, blah blah. But this weekend I had my first official cake disaster - I am actually embarrassed to post but want to share for the sake of those who want to feel better about their own disasters icon_wink.gif
This disaster involves a Luau-themed topsy turvy order, fondant mishaps, and a cake that decided to collapse.

First of all, I was not happy with the fondant. I used Satin Ice for the first time, and I had major problems with getting it smooth and cracking/drying/tearing. I thought - well at least I have 70+ little GP hibiscus flowers to hide the seams! I stacked the tiers (with dowels) and went to bed with an uneasy tummy, since I knew it was not my best. I woke up and put the finishing touches on, and set out to deliver. Then it only got worse. I have never had a problem with transporting stacked cakes - my vehicle has a hard plastic floor in the cargo area and I use boxes and that rubber grippy stuff (for shelf lining or under area rugs) and nothing moves. And this cake did not 'move' from its spot, really. It's just that the top tier slid, the bottom tier began to collapse and basically it looked horrible. But what are you going to do at that point? Get it to the cake table and begin the repair work.
I was mortified as I stood there trying to "MacGyver" this cake.The bottom cake was basically collapsing - the dowels must have shifted somehow. I was able to rig up some additional support for the top tier to not collapse, and hid all the cracks in the fondant with Royal Icing and the GP flowers and my cookie crumb "sand." But I could not ignore the fact that the layers were now all bulgy and not how it was intended. I could not even find a decent angle to take a salvageable picture. The party hosts kept saying not to worry, they were sure it was going to taste great and they loved all the flowers and other edible details. I left feeling so anxious that once someone put a knife to it the whole thing would collapse.

So I wish I could pin point the disaster, but I think it was just a comedy of errors, that first disaster we all have to endure and learn from. Thanks for reading my ramble...I am going to try and post a pic of what it looked like the night before, and then at the party. Please be kind icon_wink.gif
LL
LL

15 replies
lapazlady Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 2:33pm
post #2 of 16

Oh, Dear, I'm so sorry. The anxiety and nerves must have been overwhelming. Take a deep breath and move on. icon_biggrin.gif

BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 2:39pm
post #3 of 16

I am so sorry you had this experience but I really believe that with the law of averages it is going to happen to all of us eventually. I have never tried satin ice but I have heard that tearing is common with it. With every stacked cake disaster I read I have noticed that dowels seem to be the common denominator. I think the inventors of the stress free support system have sent thier elves out to sabotage all of the dowels in the world (just kiding) I would buy the stress free system if I could aford it. I guess what I am trying to say is that several issues probably contributed to your problems. Don't let it get you down. Rethink your support system and experiment with different fondnats untill you find one that you have good luck with (I like Fonderific). Also, some of your bulgin may have been from your filling. Could there have been to much between the layers?

BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 2:40pm
post #4 of 16

I am so sorry you had this experience but I really believe that with the law of averages it is going to happen to all of us eventually. I have never tried satin ice but I have heard that tearing is common with it. With every stacked cake disaster I read I have noticed that dowels seem to be the common denominator. I think the inventors of the stress free support system have sent thier elves out to sabotage all of the dowels in the world (just kiding) I would buy the stress free system if I could aford it. I guess what I am trying to say is that several issues probably contributed to your problems. Don't let it get you down. Rethink your support system and experiment with different fondnats untill you find one that you have good luck with (I like Fonderific). Also, some of your bulgin may have been from your filling. Could there have been to much between the layers?

Spuddysmom Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 2:51pm
post #5 of 16

The added touches you put on the cake really do detract from any flaws - often those are the things folks notice. Is that a pineapple under the palm trees? Pretty flowers (they look great) , fun colors!.... maybe once a person had a few sips of punch it all looked perfectly smooth anyhow!

ambolil Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 2:57pm
post #6 of 16

When I took my Wilton course 3, the instructor always said to use an odd number of dowels for support. One of the other students was an engineer. He validated the odd dowel suggestion and gave us much info on supporting cake tiers.

I don't know if you tried this with your cake, but I thought I would pass this info along. I love the design of your cake and wish you the best in the future!

Ruth0209 Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 2:57pm
post #7 of 16

I completely empathize! I had a similar disaster a couple of weeks ago and I lived in terror for hours that I'd get a call that it had collapsed. I was so glad when I knew it had been eaten and was gone! Don't you just hate that awful feeling in your stomach?

All I can say is that you'll survive it. It's certainly a humbling experience but try not to let it get you down. I found the best solution for me was to make a good cake to regain my confidence. Back up on the "horse", you know?

Good luck to you!!

Dessert_Diva Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 2:57pm
post #8 of 16

I had the exact thing happen to me this weekend although my cake wasn't stacked. I used Satin Ice for the first time and although it didn't tear, the smell was just awful. I promptly went online and ordered more Fonderific! My problem was the bulging and I think that's because I mixed vanilla custard into the BC and didn't put it back into the refrigerator to firm up before I put the fondant on. The weight of the fondant forced the custard/bc out causing the bulging I'm assuming....lesson learned.

superwawa Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 9:01pm
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spuddysmom

The added touches you put on the cake really do detract from any flaws - often those are the things folks notice. Is that a pineapple under the palm trees? Pretty flowers (they look great) , fun colors!.... maybe once a person had a few sips of punch it all looked perfectly smooth anyhow!


Yes, that IS a little pineapple! And there was a Tiki mask too - looking back I am certainly glad I had put all of the hours into the details like the flowers, etc. because I am told they received compliments and the kids all enjoyed eating all the little bits!
LL

superwawa Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 9:15pm
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

I completely empathize! I had a similar disaster a couple of weeks ago and I lived in terror for hours that I'd get a call that it had collapsed. I was so glad when I knew it had been eaten and was gone! Don't you just hate that awful feeling in your stomach?

All I can say is that you'll survive it. It's certainly a humbling experience but try not to let it get you down. I found the best solution for me was to make a good cake to regain my confidence. Back up on the "horse", you know?

Good luck to you!!


Thanks - that's a good idea about making the next cake. I agree about the feeling in the stomach - it remained until I heard that it did not collapse when it was cut and that everyone loved the yummy cake at least.

superwawa Posted 22 Jul 2009 , 6:26pm
post #11 of 16

Thanks again for all the helpful comments - I have my next stacked cake to do this weekend so the anxiety is high. However, I just popped out to the store on my lunch hour to buy some bubble tea straws - after reading about all of the good results folks have had with this, I am going to try these for support instead of wood dowels for now.

cherrycakes Posted 22 Jul 2009 , 7:00pm
post #12 of 16

Well I think your cake is just beautiful! Would you mind sharing how you made the hibiscus flowers? Thanks!!

superwawa Posted 22 Jul 2009 , 7:52pm
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cherrycakes

Well I think your cake is just beautiful! Would you mind sharing how you made the hibiscus flowers? Thanks!!




Thank you! I used this cutter/veiner: http://tiny.cc/Pnaa7

It just made life easier since I was making 70+ flowers. The yellow "stamens" were little cones of GP that I attached to each flower. After they had dried a bit, I piped tiny dots of yellow RI. I also decided to use some luster dust to bring out the detail a bit.

I was trying to upload a close up pic of a flower but it will not allow me right now...

Unlimited Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 4:01am
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by superwawa

... to buy some bubble tea straws - after reading about all of the good results folks have had with this, I am going to try these for support instead of wood dowels for now.




I don't believe the wooden dowels for "support" was the culprit. You didn't say that the top tier smashed the bottom tier, you said that the top tier slid off of the bottom tier. It can also slide off the bottom tier if you're using bubble tea straws for support. You didn't mention if you used one long dowel rod through both tiers for stability. The top tier cannot slide off the bottom tier unless it's hit with enough force to cause the long center dowel rod to rip through the cake. You should sharpen the tip of the long rod so that it's easier to tap it through the cardboard circle that's in between both tiers. Much luck on your next try.

michellesArt Posted 23 Jul 2009 , 1:26pm
post #15 of 16

i'm going to try my first topsyturvy cake this weekend so i am glad to learn from others-i'm glad to see that the guests enjoyed all the extra effort that you put into your cake with all those little details. sometimes i think we as cakers see all the little imperfections that it wrecks the whole picture for ourselves and it takes the noncakers to recognize all that labour (does that make sense or am i just rambling)

4Gifts4Lisa Posted 24 Jul 2009 , 1:40pm
post #16 of 16

I understand your disappointment and frustration, and YES, it has happened to pretty much all of us at one point or another. My main reason to comment was to compliment you on the design and details...the cake was super cute!

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