No More Wedding Cakes! (Long Vent)

Decorating By step0nmi Updated 24 Sep 2009 , 3:53am by luvmysmoother

step0nmi Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 5:34am
post #1 of 31

This past Friday was my LAST wedding cake ever! I know I've said this before to my friends and family...but the stress is too much and this past wedding cake was a disaster!!!

I woke up friday morning very optimistic about getting my cake done. The wedding was at 4:30pm and I still had most of the day. I had finished baking and filling all the cakes the night before as I had been very behind all week because of my college classes. I frosted an 8", 10", and 12" round along with an 11X15 in a matter of under 2 hours and was very please with myself. I went out to get supports around noon and was back before 1pm thinking I had enough time to stack and decorate this cake. The design was very tricky. Something I hadn't done before. I had to roll out fondant bands and put them around the cake to hide the bottom and then do some fancy "stringwork" on top of them. The bride said she was ok with whatever I could do on the fondant band since I informed her I did not know how to do the exact stringwork I found to be done on this particular cake she wanted. I didn't promise the bride or the groom's mother (who was paying for the cake) anything...and they were fine with whatever I could do!

After I got the cake stacked and the fondant bands on it was on to this royal icing lattice work (that I ended up calling it) to do. all of a sudden it was 2pm and I told them I would have the cake there by about 4pm. I still had to finish the design and then dust the band in champagne luster dust! icon_surprised.gif So, I worked as fast as I could and I thought it looked awful icon_cry.gif after doing all that I started dusting the design and it was going on heavy in some parts and that looked awful too icon_redface.gif I called my husband who gave me some tips on how to even it out...at about 4:15 I said screw it! this needs to be done icon_sad.gif I was satisfied though as I thought I had evened out this luster dust but knew the bride was NOT going to like the color.

Luckily I had my mom there to help me carry the three tiered cake to my tiny car that I could only put in the backseat. We seemed to be doing fine until the cake make a slight tilt then all of a sudden THE CAKE LOOKED LIKE JELLO! icon_eek.gif Me and my mom where FREAKING out. I thought surely that the center dowel broke...I had no other reason to think that the cake was starting to sway and tilt! My mom and I were now in a panic as I slowly...the slowest I could, back out of my driveway to make the 10 min trip halfway across town. I felt soooo bad for my mom. There she was hunched over in the backseat with her hand under one side of the cake and the other hand on the center dowel trying to keep the cake steady icon_sad.gif we needed to hurry! My mom did make me laugh though...she was so nervous she said "hope they like barf cake!"icon_lol.gif

so, we get to the venue and have horrendous trouble getting the cake out of the car. I had the cake on it's 1/2" foam core board and then another 1/2" one under that. plus we had it sitting on this strange wood board that had some small leg type things from one of my husband's art easels (don't ask) I didn't want to take the wood board because it was going to make the cake too heavy. BIG MISTAKE! Me and my mom are fussing over how we are holding the cake and almost DROP the dang thing! she is having trouble because her one arm is fatigued from trying to hold the cake the whole ride over icon_eek.gif On top of that I look to my right and what do I see but a guy holding a professional camera VIDEO TAPING our crisis! icon_mad.gif I bit the guys head off saying "EXCUSE ME! YOU NEED TO STOP TAPING US NOW!" icon_evil.gif (seriously, I tried to say it in the nicest way possible icon_twisted.gif ) After feeling like what we thought was our grip....the next thing I know the corners of the 2nd 1/2" foam core bored start BUCKLING in my hands icon_cry.gif at this point I am loosing the cake...my MOM is loosing the cake icon_cry.gif I look at some guys to help us but they want NO part in what is going on! Luckily (if that's what it is) there is a car nearby and I quickly ask if we can put the cake on thereOK THANKS, PLOP! I have someone rush to get the catering manager and my mom to get the wood board icon_razz.gif he helps me bring in the cake and it's THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA! icon_cry.gif We try as best we can (with an effin audience) to get the cake propped up to not totally tip over and wait for the flowers to arrive (that were already suppose to be there) and try as best we can to hide the flaws icon_sad.gif I was so disappointed but the MotG said it looked fine. She didn't seem that thrilled either.

So, the cake didn't tip at this point and I had to come back to cut the cake. Me and my mom go back to do this and of course the wedding is behind. But, the bride and groom didn't do their cake sharing at the beginning of the reception like they had planned and now we had to wait. And wait we did while oogling the cake through the entrance of the hall to make sure it doesn't totally tip over. We leave for a bit, come back...seems to be leaning more. We sit in the downstairs restaurant for a while and a little bit later I hear cheering. Not as if the couple had kissed...but as if someone had just thrown the bouquet. icon_eek.gif Sure enough we go upstairs and the whole wedding party is up and people are clapping...we look over to the cake and IT'S LEANING MORE! the table was up against the wall and it's almost touching it now! My mom tells me to get the bride...of course they take a while to come over to do the cutting. icon_rolleyes.gif but now the bride is saying goodbye to someone...they are motioning that they really wanted cake...the bride takes her knife, reaches to the place where the cake is leaning the MOST, and CUTS A PIECE FOR THE GUEST!!!! icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif I literally threw my hands up trying NOT to scream and thought that was the end of the cake! But...it didn't fall! annnnd...it didn't fall after they smashed the cake all over their faces as they bent backwards in laughter almost touching the cake one more time before we could pull the cake apart to serve it. *phew*

I know what happened now. Of course...you always learn the lesson after everything is said and done. My bottom 12" cake had a layer that was cracked. I knew it was cracked, I cracked it during the cooling, I saw the crack when I filled the cakes. I didn't think anything of it icon_razz.gif But, the bottom tier looked like the San Andreas Fault and this was the cause of the jello effect the whole time icon_cry.gif It's just too stressful and I can't do it anymore. The wedding cakes are tooooo much pressure and takes the fun out of what I love to do!

That is my story. I don't have pictures of the cake up yet. New computer is missing a program. But, as soon as I do...I will so you guys...even though I'm still so ashamed icon_redface.gif

Thank you for letting me vent. icon_smile.gif

30 replies
catlharper Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 6:15am
post #2 of 31

Oh I'm SO sorry this happened to you...sounds like everyone's nightmare! Weddings are always tense so I totally get where you are coming from. Sounds like the wedding party didn't have any issues tho' so as horrible as it felt it sounds like you ended up doing ok. Whew!

Cat

Elise87 Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 6:37am
post #3 of 31

oh my gosh, you poor thing, the stress! And it makes it even more stressful with people watching you while you are already stressed doesn't it lol

I love designing wedding cakes but just as fun as small dummy cakes. Would love to do a real one, one day, but i would be too scared because:

1. I hear lots of stories like yours of how stressful it is when things go wrong
2. There can be ALOT of work that goes into them
3. I havn't done a real stacked cake before and I dread ever having to drive with any stacked cake in the car

But atleast they said it was fine and didn't worry too much, that atleast would have made it a bit better icon_smile.gif

roweeena Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 7:30am
post #4 of 31

Oh you poor thing! At least it all came out in the end! I have one question though and this isnt meaning to be rude I swear but why do you leave it to the same day to decorate? Did it need to be refrigerated?
I have always found if a cake is going to bork out on me its when I am decorating the same day as the party. If I do it the night before its always perfect.
Just what I've found anyway. At least the bride was happy!

vtcake Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 1:02pm
post #5 of 31

Sorry you had such a bad day. Perhaps leaving just 3 hours to do a entire cake was your downfall!

-K8memphis Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 1:13pm
post #6 of 31

I think you did great under the circumstances. Add a lot more time to your recipe and I think as has been mentioned you'll do better--although taking a breather is a great idea.

However it is an addiction, there's kinda no way not to do them.
You can say, no more, but...

lardbutt Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 1:14pm
post #7 of 31

You had me on the edge of my seat!! It's such a stressful thing to go through. I canNOT do what I need to when people are standing around watching me. I try to find out when no one will be around and deliver the cake. I don't know what I would have said to the guy filming....you have to be nice, I mean, IT'S BEING RECORDED!!

I glad it stayed standing and I can't wait to see the pics!

BTW, I would have been a nervous wreck baking those cakes the night before! The more organized I am through the week, the less stress it is for me. I do realize you were so busy with school though!

-K8memphis Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 1:19pm
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by MessyBaker

You had me on the edge of my seat!! ...

BTW, I would have been a nervous wreck baking those cakes the night before! The more organized I am through the week, the less stress it is for me. I do realize you were so busy with school though!




Yeah I wasn't breathing for a while either.

But having a cracked cake is not the ultimate issue I think.
I think it's a matter of cake that's too fresh.

lardbutt Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 1:27pm
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

Quote:
Originally Posted by MessyBaker

You had me on the edge of my seat!! ...

BTW, I would have been a nervous wreck baking those cakes the night before! The more organized I am through the week, the less stress it is for me. I do realize you were so busy with school though!



Yeah I wasn't breathing for a while either.

But having a cracked cake is not the ultimate issue I think.
I think it's a matter of cake that's too fresh.



I would just be totally stressed out being under the gun like that! I have five kids and if I waited till the night before to bake, I'd be in a mental institute! As a matter of fact, I like to have the cake complete the night before (it's usually late when I finish anyway). Then the next morning I spend my time cleaning and relaxing until the delivery. That helps me not be a basket case....you know, just in case someone is filming me!! icon_lol.gif

mommabuda Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 1:41pm
post #10 of 31

Oh gosh, I would feel the same way as you if something like that happened to me. This is why I NEVER make cakes on the same day they're "due". I always bake and freeze... it's much easier frosting that way and takes me even less time with the decorating. I also make sure the cake is completely finished the night before it's needed. I've never had anything go wrong but if I did, I would have plenty of time to fix it (including throughout the night if need be.

I often say I'm not doing anymore wedding cakes (or cakes for that matter) because of the stress level BUT I always do... lol...

leah_s Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 1:46pm
post #11 of 31

I too am sorry that you went through that nightmare. But as others have said, wedding cake baking, although inherently stressful, doesn't have to be what you described. Over 90% of my biz is wedding cakes and I wouldn't have it any other way.

1. You can not bake the night before. Well, with a lot of experience and total faith in your formulas, maybe.

2. Using dowels is frequently a prelude to disaster. The center dowel is false hope.

3. A cake to be delivered on Saturday must be finished Friday night. (Exceptions are really small details that can be added at the venue) Or you don't go to bed. See also: Friday Night Cake Club

4. There isn't an easy completely secure way to put a cake on the backseat. I've seen some wooden contraptions that people have built to even out the seat and those may just work. I have a SUV so I just haven't dealt with that problem.

5. Cake drums or masonite are best for a bottom board. They're made to take the weight.

It is possible to make wedding cakes and not be totally stressed out.

all4cake Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 2:30pm
post #12 of 31

What a gripping story! Like PPs, I was on the edge(mentally) of my seat too. My heart was pounding, I was feeling nauseous...I think my stomach is tore up too just reading what you were going through!

__Jamie__ Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 2:39pm
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s


1. You can not bake the night before. Well, with a lot of experience and total faith in your formulas, maybe.

5. Cake drums or masonite are best for a bottom board. They're made to take the weight.




icon_lol.gif Yes! Bake on Thursday! I'll bake Friday night if it's one of my little toilet paper, erm I mean little 6"ers, but tiered cakes, are done Thursday.

I'll use foam core for little cakes and two tiers. Anything above that, English style drums or masonite.

debster Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 2:53pm
post #14 of 31

I agree I bake on Thursday decorate on Fri for Sat.I would NEVER put a cake in the back seat. I take them in two's in my trunk or hand someone already sitting in the car a 3 or 4 tier. That works fine for me never ( THank God YET) Have had a problem at all. Your cakes are beautiful. If you enjoy doing cakes I'd try baking and traveling with one to see what works for you. Once you get the kinks worked out you'll love it. I do HATE deliveries still I won't lie.

step0nmi Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 4:18pm
post #15 of 31

I appreciate all of your responses icon_smile.gif

1. yes, with the time allowed I had to decorate the day the cake was due...on a Friday. I WISH the cake was due Saturday...but I'm sure they were saving money doing everything on a Friday.

2. I did not bake all of my cakes the night before. I was finishing baking the day before...just the one last layer that I screwed up. I've done it before with no problem so I thought this time would be no different. boy was I wrong! But the other layers had been frozen. Maybe it was a case of too fresh cake...but ultimately I think my flipping during the cooling period is what cracked it because that's exactly where the tier was falling.

3. The decorating seemed soooo simple to me I thought I was fine doing it the day of. I've done that before to! I've decorated other wedding cakes the day of and it worked out perfectly. I had underestimated the time for this design.

I know everything is a learning experience and things could have been differently. but no amount of money for that cake makes me feel better about it. I'm in my last year of college and when I agreed to the do the cake I thought "the beginning of the school year isn't so bad" but I was wrong on that too. I should've never taken the cake in the first place and I know that now. icon_sad.gif

I'm glad you guys liked my store icon_lol.gif I kinda had fun typing it out.

kikster Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 4:28pm
post #16 of 31

I think you can still do wedding cakes, you just need to adjust your system. I am in a graduate program full time, and have three year old twins. There is no way I could bake right before, I would lose it!! I would bake a couple of weeks early, and freeze them. Take them out to thaw Thur. morning. Fill and crumb coat thurs night, and then do final decorating Friday. That way when your head hits the pillow on Friday night, you are done!!

That is what keeps the stress down for me anyway.

Win Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 4:33pm
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by step0nmi

I appreciate all of your responses icon_smile.gif


...I'm glad you guys liked my store icon_lol.gif I kinda had fun typing it out.




Yes, it's the same as journaling which therapists often suggest for their patients. Very cathartic. (... and we all know that caking can produce some really stressful situations calling for a whole new field of study for psychotherapists! icon_lol.gif )

Hugs.

step0nmi Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 4:35pm
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Win

Quote:
Originally Posted by step0nmi

I appreciate all of your responses icon_smile.gif


...I'm glad you guys liked my store icon_lol.gif I kinda had fun typing it out.



Yes, it's the same as journaling which therapists often suggest for their patients. Very cathartic. (... and we all know that caking can produce some really stressful situations calling for a whole new field of study for psychotherapists! icon_lol.gif )

Hugs.




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Thanks! icon_biggrin.gif

nickymom Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 4:58pm
post #19 of 31

OH MY Gosh!! I was freaking out for YOU while reading that!! Thankfully it was Ok in the end. We all do learn from our mistakes. I've only made birthday cakes for family & close friends...(hobbiest) and I totally stress out even over birthday cakes so I know my nerves could not handle a wedidng cake. LOL

cakegrandma Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 5:09pm
post #20 of 31

My suggestion for flipping your cake out is to set the cooling rack on top of the cake in its pan and hold it tightly against the cake. Hold the cake and pan tightly and turn them over along with the cooling rack and then lightly shake the pan and the cake will loosen and come out of the pan easily. You can now remove the parchment paper from the bottom and if you want to wrap it in plastic wrap just stretch the wrap around the cake. After it has been wrapped I set the clean pan back onto the cake and let it freeze and then take it from the freezer and wrap it again, quickly and set it into a clean trash bag, labeled of course. When it comes time to thaw if the layer is large I set the 1st layer down and let it thaw and if any filling is used then I fill it and then set the top layer and let it thaw. I find that they are much easier to handle so they do not crack. They don't have to be completely frozen to handle them, they can be somewhat thawed out or if you just want to handle the layer easier after baking the cake set it in the freezer to have it semi frozen. I hope you try some of these ideas and see how they work for you.
evelyn

step0nmi Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 5:15pm
post #21 of 31

Thanks Evelyn! This was not the first time I've done a wedding cake though. icon_lol.gif One of my problems with this wedding cake was lack of space which is why I made the mistake of cracking one of my cakes in the first place. There are a whooooole bunch of factors here.

It's funny how you guys are thinking I'm done with wedding cakes cuz of this last one. It's not icon_lol.gif Being my last year as a college student I am going back to why I originally went to school which was to gain a Communication degree so I could do Event Planning for better money. That is my first passion. Cake decorating came along the way and I found out I loved it and trying to make money from it is ruining it for me.

Thanks for all the problem solving techniques but I really do understand what I did wrong. When doing party cakes I can do fine in the space i'm in...wedding cakes are not made for my new really small house icon_sad.gif

GenGen Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 5:37pm
post #22 of 31

phew! i feel for you!!

i found by personal experience (hehe) that the more simple the cake LOOKDED the harder it was to achive it/ the more difficult it was to create lol.. irony has it hubby always gets so frustrated with me when i choose a cake that looks complicated and i'm like "what its easy you just- and - and - then- and voila" .. problem is i love cakes that have a very simple clean look to them and once in a w hile i try to do one... and it ends in disaster lol.. i'm Learning!!

well right now i use mixes from the box, yes i admit it, i like some of them and how they bake up so i'm not sure if this trick will work for one made from scratch.--->

a trick i learned from some one on here , sorry i forget who (Please forgive me!!) what i do is when i first take the cake out of the oven i drape a dish towel over the cake and turn the pan while pressing down all the way around- till the top is nearly flat.. leaves me w/o having to level the cake plus it compacts it a bit more and eliminates alot of airpockets Plus doing it at this time prevents cracking (unless you've overbaked the cake! if so it Will crack during this procedure)

in the end you still have a nice spongy cake if thats what one likes And its been "stabilized" by the pressing/compacting. some may have a look of horror on their face after reading this but i've had great results with this method.

__Jamie__ Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 5:43pm
post #23 of 31

No horror from me GenGen, that's what I do when they need it (the towel trick). It's standard practice.

GenGen Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 6:14pm
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

No horror from me GenGen, that's what I do when they need it (the towel trick). It's standard practice.


thanks J! icon_smile.gif

btw just a warning to those on this thread i was editing my above post and got either a spyware trying to come through and ad or a virus. i alerted CC about the matter.

step0nmi Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 6:16pm
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by GenGen

Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

No horror from me GenGen, that's what I do when they need it (the towel trick). It's standard practice.

thanks J! icon_smile.gif

btw just a warning to those on this thread i was editing my above post and got either a spyware trying to come through and ad or a virus. i alerted CC about the matter.




I almost didn't come back after this weekend. I thought I had allowed the adblock to only unblock for the day so I could see all the new layout and I got a CV sheild virus on my computer icon_cry.gif it took my husband the whole weekend to fix it.

Cyndycakes Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 6:18pm
post #26 of 31

I so feel your pain. Unfortunately, on my first wedding cake I experienced a crack tier. icon_cry.gif It was seven tiers to the cake, 3 on top of a fountain, and 2-2 tiers on the side. I know foolish of me to think that this would be easy. But when we got to the venue, and took the two larger tiers out of the box, there was the crack. We (my partner and I) filled it with icing from our emergency kit, turned the crack to the back. Decided to put the top tier in front of the fountain, and bowed ur heads in prayer. Luckily, it didn't fall, and the bride and her family were more than pleased. Of course, we laugh now, but were frantic that day. Whenever I look at the picture, and see that top lean, I remind myself of all the things I should not do, and the main one is wait until the day of to decorate!

You'll be ok...and maybe after a break you'll go back. It's so rewarding.

GenGen Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 6:49pm
post #27 of 31

i just got a notice back saying its most likely a malware (is that spyware?) they were aware of a previous one that was taken care of but this was a new one they hadn't heard of. i have a screen capture but its too big to attach here. i'll try uploading it on photobucket and can pm it to those who want to see it, i don't want to hijack this thread anymore, my appologies step0nmi!

alvarezmom Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 7:07pm
post #28 of 31

Take a break but go back to doing wedding cakes. We cant win them all. icon_rolleyes.gif

I am doing my 1st wedding cake in November. I am super excited and also SO nervous, but I'm trying to keep my cool icon_cool.gif .

BTW I was surfing your Gallery and I love your cakes!!! thumbs_up.gif

step0nmi Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 7:10pm
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by alvarezmom

Take a break but go back to doing wedding cakes. We cant win them all. icon_rolleyes.gif

I am doing my 1st wedding cake in November. I am super excited and also SO nervous, but I'm trying to keep my cool icon_cool.gif .

BTW I was surfing your Gallery and I love your cakes!!! thumbs_up.gif




I'm really not going back to doing wedding cakes icon_redface.gif I just turned down an offer this morning. I'm getting busy in the Event Planning department at school. It doesn't mean I'm stopping making cakes all together! I'm actually helping out my organization next week with pretty cupcakes! icon_smile.gif

cabecakes Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 8:39pm
post #30 of 31

Sometimes telling the story is the best stress reliever. I'm so sorry that this happened to you and that you were so stressed. I know what it's like to try and go to school and work at the same time. That in itself is stressful. But believe me, baking and creating gets in your blood. It's an art. Giving it up would be terrible for you. Might I suggest taking on smaller projects or not doing deliveries. Tell the client that they will have to provide transportation for the cake and give them a discount on the cake for such. That isn't an ideal scenerio, but it's better then giving up a passion for making cakes. If you didn't have a passion for it, I don't think you would be here right now talking to us about it. You want us to tell you everything is going to be ok. And it will be. Good Luck to you.

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