Don't Like Sps:(

Decorating By lecrn Updated 10 Jan 2010 , 2:41am by kayla1505

lecrn Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 5:58pm
post #1 of 55

Okay, don't everyone start screaming @ me over this, but I tried out SPS for the 1st time last night, and I really didn't like it. Don't get me wrong, I think it will be very sturdy, but I had to change the design of my cake after the whole thing was stacked.

I usually use tea straws & a center dowel, but this was for a 3 tier wedding cake (which I never do). It's going to be picked up by the MOB and transported over an hour to the venue. I wanted to make sure that they got it there in one piece and thought that SPS would be a great.

I printed out Leahs instruction sheet on SPS & followed it exactly (cake was 4in filled & iced). I know it's supposed to be really easy to use, but getting the cake onto the little peg was a real PITB. The cake was buttercream, and I place the tiers in the freezer for about 15 mins before I attempted to stack.

I screamed for my DH help when I failed to get it on the little peg. He came to the rescue and ended up marring the edges to bad that I almost cried. We put the cakes back in the freezer, and tried again and finally got it stacked.

When the stacking was complete, there was about a 1/4 gap btw the tiers. I had planned on using a pearl border but had to use a ribbon behind the pearls to hide the big gap. Thank goodness the MOB was very understanding about this!

I guess I would get better with practice, but I really don't want to experience this again.

Has anyone had problems like this, or am I just an idiot?

54 replies
catlharper Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 6:04pm
post #2 of 55

I'm just going to give you a bump since I don't know the answer to your questions but would really like to know!

tarheelgirl Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 6:15pm
post #3 of 55

I love using SPS and would not go back to my old method ever again.. especially for a wedding cake. I usually take a black marker and mark around the hole so when I have it leaning to one side ready to drop its easy to see where my hole has been made. As for the gap I don't always get my cake exactly 4 inches due to settling so sometimes I do have to trim the pillars. Don't give up on using it! It is a great method!

cas17 Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 6:36pm
post #4 of 55

i too am going to use the sps system for the first time next week. i'm worried about this as well--getting it on that tiny peg and how it will look stacked. i don't like having to pipe a huge border and a ribbon will absolutely not look good on this cake, so i'm more than a little nervous :S

tinygoose Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 6:51pm
post #5 of 55

I like SPS a lot. I make a bigger hole in my cake board to accommodate the peg, and secure with a spear of Wiltons buttercream. I don't use Wilton for eating but it's good glue. The only thing I don't like about it is that my cakes need to be exactly 4" tall, but it's nice delivering a cake that you know isn't going to fall over.

FromScratch Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 7:04pm
post #6 of 55

Are you taking the height of the cake board in to consideration when measuring your tiers? They really have to be 4" plus the height of your cake board to make them sit flush. Since the cardboard cake board is about 1/8th of an inch yourcake would have to be at least 4 1/8 inches tall to assure that you won't have that that gap. Also, using a plate that is an inch smaller in diameter than your cake helps to hide the plate edge. If I was stacking an 8" cake as the second tier using a carboard cake circle, I would use a 7" plate and make my tiers about 4 1/4 tall so that there is wiggle room and the plate will sink into the icing on the top of the cake ever-so-slightly. This way the plate will be hidden completely. I remember using the SPS the first time and having that big gap... it took some work to get it to work perfectly, but you can do it. icon_smile.gif

cas17 Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 7:22pm
post #7 of 55

thank you jeanne for that good piece of info! i ordered corresponding plates for the tiers. i do not have time to place another order so i will have to wait to use it on my next cake.

_Jamie_ Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 7:35pm
post #8 of 55

Oh don't give up. Really need to practice making your tiers come out how you want. Need a ruler and a calculator. Measure each naked layer, take those two figures out of the equation and figure out how you want to divide the remaining figures between filling and top layer of icing. You'll get it.

Katie-Bug Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 7:37pm
post #9 of 55

I have only used the system twice, neither time it worked right for me.

I too had a gap once they were stacked, but when I tried to remove the tiers to cut the cake I couldn't get them apart. I had to cut around them and luckly enough they had plently of cake. Once everyone had left I had to scoop the cake off the plate an PULL to get it to unlock.

I figure nothing works for everyone...and that's why there are tons of methods. Glad everything worked out for ya!!

_Jamie_ Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 7:42pm
post #10 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie-Bug

I have only used the system twice, neither time it worked right for me.

I too had a gap once they were stacked, but when I tried to remove the tiers to cut the cake I couldn't get them apart. I had to cut around them and luckly enough they had plently of cake. Once everyone had left I had to scoop the cake off the plate an PULL to get it to unlock.




Wait....what? You couldn't pull the plate (legs firmly attached like they should be) straight up and out of the cake?

cas17 Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 8:00pm
post #11 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Jamie_

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie-Bug

I have only used the system twice, neither time it worked right for me.

I too had a gap once they were stacked, but when I tried to remove the tiers to cut the cake I couldn't get them apart. I had to cut around them and luckly enough they had plently of cake. Once everyone had left I had to scoop the cake off the plate an PULL to get it to unlock.



Wait....what? You couldn't pull the plate (legs firmly attached like they should be) straight up and out of the cake?




that i'm not worried about--i figure you can just pull the whole thing up and cut it right on the plate with the legs still attached. kinda like a 4 legged cake plate, yes?

_Jamie_ Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 8:08pm
post #12 of 55

Well, no I meant you take the cake off of the plate, cut and serve, remove the SPS plate with the legs attached and move on thru the tiers like that.

cas17 Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 8:13pm
post #13 of 55

oh, okay icon_redface.gif

Lyns082608 Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 8:16pm
post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Jamie_

Well, no I meant you take the cake off of the plate, cut and serve, remove the SPS plate with the legs attached and move on thru the tiers like that.




This is how I did it when I did my first wedding cake a couple weeks ago. I had a cake lifter and used it to help lift the cake off the plate. very easy! thumbs_up.gif

_Jamie_ Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 8:19pm
post #15 of 55

Very literally, you're undoing what you did at home when you assembled it.

lecrn Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 9:44pm
post #16 of 55

Thanks for the replies & the suggestions! It would have made it a little easier to mark the little peg with a color marker. Everything was white & very hard to see. It was very difficult to get the tier onto the little peg! Maybe it would be easier if the peg was a little longer?
I did measure everything. I measured each naked layer, the filling, and the top icing. I used 1/4 foamboard under ea tier. It's my understanding that the cake should be 4 inches regardless the hgt of the cake board.
It would be better to add another 1/4 of an inch to the cake to make the plate sink into the icing a bit.

I just don't know if I'm going to use this again. I don't think I can deal with the stress of measuring a perfect 4 or 4 1/4 inch cake or getting the cake onto that little peg. I worked so hard @ getting my buttercream smooth, and I seriously almost starting crying when my poor husband stuck his fingers all in the cake. The cake turned out okay, but I saw imperfections everywhere from where we were trying to get the tier straight.

lecrn Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 9:49pm
post #17 of 55

Oh, I don't want to discourage anyone from using SPS. I've read a lot of success stories of the users of it.
I think that I'm just lame.

cas17 Posted 1 Jan 2010 , 11:14pm
post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by lecrn

Thanks for the replies & the suggestions! It would have made it a little easier to mark the little peg with a color marker. Everything was white & very hard to see. It was very difficult to get the tier onto the little peg! Maybe it would be easier if the peg was a little longer?
I did measure everything. I measured each naked layer, the filling, and the top icing. I used 1/4 foamboard under ea tier. It's my understanding that the cake should be 4 inches regardless the hgt of the cake board.
It would be better to add another 1/4 of an inch to the cake to make the plate sink into the icing a bit.

I just don't know if I'm going to use this again. I don't think I can deal with the stress of measuring a perfect 4 or 4 1/4 inch cake or getting the cake onto that little peg. I worked so hard @ getting my buttercream smooth, and I seriously almost starting crying when my poor husband stuck his fingers all in the cake. The cake turned out okay, but I saw imperfections everywhere from where we were trying to get the tier straight.




lecrn: i'm sure you are not lame! I usually use 1/2" fcb under each of my tiers so maybe that would make it be not have a gap. i wonder... if you measured and everything was okay, is it a tiny bit of compressed cake under each of the pillars that make it a tiny bit too high thus creating the gap? icon_rolleyes.gif

FromScratch Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 12:36am
post #19 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by lecrn

I used 1/4 foamboard under ea tier. It's my understanding that the cake should be 4 inches regardless the hgt of the cake board.




This is where it went wrong for you. If your cake is 4" tall with a 1/4" cake board, then the cake part is really only 3.75 inches tall. The pegs sit on the cake board so that is why you had a 1/4" gap, because the pegs were going through 3.75" of cake and sitting up on 1/4" of foam core. If your cake was 4 1/4" tall then the page would be going through an actual 4" of cake and sitting pretty flush with the top of the cake. icon_biggrin.gif

I use a wide spatula to help place tiers... it helps to keep it stable and not have your fingers (or your DH's icon_wink.gif) close to the sides of the cake. Once you get the process down pat, it is easy and you have less issues and it goes really smoothly.

FromScratch Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 12:42am
post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by cas17

I usually use 1/2" fcb under each of my tiers so maybe that would make it be not have a gap. i wonder... if you measured and everything was okay, is it a tiny bit of compressed cake under each of the pillars that make it a tiny bit too high thus creating the gap? icon_rolleyes.gif




No.. not at all. She measured the cake at 4" tall including the 1/4" foam core board. Since the legs don't got through the board, you have to add the thickness of the board to the height you are measuring. So for you, using 1/2" fcb, your cakes will have to be 4 1/2" tall to not have a gap. If you were to measure your cakes and have them only be 4" tall... you would have a 1/2" gap when you put the pillars in.

HTH's a bit. icon_biggrin.gif

cas17 Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 12:44am
post #21 of 55

oh lordy do i feel dumb!! thank you jeanne for catching that point. must be my pms and peri-menopause sucking away my few brain cells today, lol. i agree about the large spatula. looked high and low for my big flipper.

FromScratch Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 12:48am
post #22 of 55

Hehehe... it's okay. I did the same thing the first time... sitting there wondering why the hec I had an 1/8" gap when my cake was exactly 4" tall. <insert head smack here>

lecrn Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 1:18am
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratch

Quote:
Originally Posted by lecrn

I used 1/4 foamboard under ea tier. It's my understanding that the cake should be 4 inches regardless the hgt of the cake board.




This is where it went wrong for you. If your cake is 4" tall with a 1/4" cake board, then the cake part is really only 3.75 inches tall. The pegs sit on the cake board so that is why you had a 1/4" gap, because the pegs were going through 3.75" of cake and sitting up on 1/4" of foam core. If your cake was 4 1/4" tall then the page would be going through an actual 4" of cake and sitting pretty flush with the top of the cake. icon_biggrin.gif

No, the cake part was 4 inches without the cake board. My foam core board was 1/4 inch. The TOTAL hgt (cake & board)=4 1/4 inches.
Sorry for the confusion. icon_redface.gif

cas17 Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 1:47am
post #24 of 55

detective.gif curious...

FromScratch Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 1:55am
post #25 of 55

Hmmm... well then I have no idea. Were the legs pushed all the way in? It can take some force to get them all the way in. Sometimes they go right in, but sometimes you have to twist them side to side.

Truth be told, I don't LOVE the SPS either, but it does work once you work out the kinks. I'd make sure your legs are fully inserted and try to make your cakes just a little bit taller... by like an 1/8th inch and see if that helps.

luv2bake4u Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 2:24am
post #26 of 55

I also tried SPS for the first time on a 3 tired cake. I struggled with it and got a few marks in the cake. I was like, "Where is the satisfying swoosh?" My husband was looking at me, "Like what are you talking about." I have tried it a few times on 2 tired cakes since and it is getting better but still getting somewhat of a gap. I am going to keep at this until I get it down. icon_wink.gif

lecrn Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 1:26pm
post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellymo

I also tried SPS for the first time on a 3 tired cake. I struggled with it and got a few marks in the cake. I was like, "Where is the satisfying swoosh?" My husband was looking at me, "Like what are you talking about." I have tried it a few times on 2 tired cakes since and it is getting better but still getting somewhat of a gap. I am going to keep at this until I get it down. icon_wink.gif




Never got the satisfying swoosh here either. I did praise the Lord several times when it went in the peg though!

Omicake Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 2:20pm
post #28 of 55

Very interesting post for those beginning to use SPS.

_Jamie_ Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 2:48pm
post #29 of 55

Leahs has rescinded her "listen for the swoosh" comment I believe. And foam core users, (me!), it is failproof as far as getting the peg lined up and in it's spot. if you do it right. Failproof. If you need some tips, ask me. I've got it down to a fine science, for foam core. Pretty simple too.

CakeWhizz Posted 2 Jan 2010 , 3:25pm
post #30 of 55

I might be speaking out of turn here but did you also remember to poke a hole through the board your cake sat on? I use SPS and I find that I only have problems if I miss out some seemingly minor steps in the process. Also your cakes regardless of board thickness need to be 4 inches high. Please stick with using SPS as practice will really make perfect.

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