AileenGP Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 7:33am
post #1 of

This weekend I delivered my first solo wedding cake (gift for my husband's long time best friend) and let me tell you it was full of tears, hyperventilation, and relief, then panic, problem solving, then relief, the panic problem solving, than relief all over again.

I already had some issues prior to delivery, like being overly ambitious and using ganache for the first time (I had so much trouble smoothing it), running out of MFF, no time to make more, and no store open to buy premade (2am) so I had to "stretch" the fondant by rolling it thinner, causing cracks and showing all the flaws of the "almost" smooth ganache, and attempting my first tall tier (let me tell you, square tall tiers are a PITA to cover in fondant).

Well, after all the tiers were boxed up & loaded in the SUV, we headed down to the hotel we were staying at the night before (100 miles away). I've never had problems delivering prestacked 3 tier cakes before so I didn't think twice about letting DH drive with an unstacked cake in the back, especially lined with non-slip liner.

When we got to the hotel, we opened the back and the first thing I see is the tall tier leaning & collapsing against the box. I start freaking internally but I try to keep calm until I asses the damage when we get to the hotel room. When I opened the box sides, I saw how bad it was leaning since the design had stripes, plus the bottom edge was really bulging. I thought the whole tier was a gonner and the tears started to fall, but I thought, what the hell, there's a separator midway through the tier, maybe part of it could be saved...

So I commenced the "emergency surgery" and cut the fondant where the board was to try and salvage what I could. When my MIL and I lifted the top half, the bottom crumbled and collapsed all over the desk and floor, but the top half didn't look half bad.

When I assembled it in the ballroom, I covered up the edge of the cut with a 1.5" wide satin ribbon rather than the originally planned thinner ribbon and the bride and groom were so ecstatic about the cake since the design was left up to me, and only a select few knew what had happened..

The final result.. http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1738178

I know what to do next time and even more drama happened between the assembly and the reception, but this story's already so long so I won't get into further details. =P
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29 replies
julia77 Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 7:54am
post #2 of

Awesome save!!!

leah_s Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 11:50am
post #3 of

What was your support system?

JGMB Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 11:55am
post #4 of

You're my hero!!! I, too, had a major disaster this weekend. I threw in the towel, though, while you ended up with a GORGEOUS cake!!! thumbs_up.gif

antonia74 Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 12:03pm
post #5 of

Looks deeeeee-lish though, I must say! icon_biggrin.gif

Congratulations on not only producing a gorgeous cake, but being a cool & collected professional to salvage it.

Nobody in that room (except you and your fellow travelers) would ever suspect you had any issues at all. It looks wonderful and I'm sure you blew the couple away with this cake!

Relznik Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 12:20pm
post #6 of

Wow! WHAT a save! Congratulations on your professionalism - the bride and groom still got a sensational cake!!

mamawrobin Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 12:20pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

What was your support system?




Ditto.

Have to say....beautiful cake. thumbs_up.gif

AileenGP Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:25pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

What was your support system?




I ordered SPS but unfortunately it didn't come on time and there were no stores within driving distance that carried it. Since this was a free gift/cake, I couldn't afford to have it rushed from the beginning (I won't be surprised if it arrived today). Therefore I had to use a combo of the wilton plastic dowels (which happened to be the on the only cake that collapsed) & the hidden pillars/plate. I've used the dowels very successfully in the past, but I underestimated how heavy this cake was..

So this is where I know one of my biggest mistakes... ORDER SPS EARLY and stock up!...

AileenGP Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:38pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by antonia74

Looks deeeeee-lish though, I must say! icon_biggrin.gif

Congratulations on not only producing a gorgeous cake, but being a cool & collected professional to salvage it.

Nobody in that room (except you and your fellow travelers) would ever suspect you had any issues at all. It looks wonderful and I'm sure you blew the couple away with this cake!




Thanks... upside to the collapse, I got to taste the cake with all the elements before it was served (first time freezing cake a few days ahead). My MIL (who totally helped keep me calm through all this) FIL, and DD ate it for breakfast the next morning. There were a lot of guests who were commenting how moist it was (which is probably what also contributed to the collapse).

The bride saw me and the Groom called me the day before the wedding since we were already at the hotel to see how the cake was, and I just had to pretend that everything was going as planned. They were so happy about how the cake turned out and how it tasted... and how much cake was left over.

Melvira Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:59pm

Ok, I don't know how many cakes you've done, whether you're a professional or hobbyist, etc. but the way you handled that makes you an absolute PRO in my book. I would defy ANYONE to handle it any better than you did. And the final outcome is gorgeous. You did an awesome job! I can see why your friend would be so thrilled!!

catlharper Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:03pm

I saw this post and my heart broke..I saw your cake in the gallery and thought it's just gorgeous...I think I left a comment too...of course I had no idea what you went thru to get that! Congrats on the save!

Cat

AileenGP Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvira

Ok, I don't know how many cakes you've done, whether you're a professional or hobbyist, etc. but the way you handled that makes you an absolute PRO in my book. I would defy ANYONE to handle it any better than you did. And the final outcome is gorgeous. You did an awesome job! I can see why your friend would be so thrilled!!




Thanks everyone, thanks Melvira.. I'm definitely more of a hobbyist and really only do this for friends and family but would one day love to open a custom cake studio...

I just wanted to share the story because I've read serveral "disasters" involving tall tiers and I wanted to show a way that some of your hard work can be saved.

millermom Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:16pm

Leah,

How do you use SPS with a tall tier like that? icon_confused.gif

AileenGP Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:23pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by millermom



How do you use SPS with a tall tier like that? icon_confused.gif




Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was originally planning to put the sps in the bottom half (using a plate slightly smaller than the cake so it doesn't show) and then stack the top half just like two same sized tiers before doing a final coat of icing, then the fondant. Then put the SPS in the top half just like a regular tier....

honeyscakes Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:28pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AileenGP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvira

Ok, I don't know how many cakes you've done, whether you're a professional or hobbyist, etc. but the way you handled that makes you an absolute PRO in my book. I would defy ANYONE to handle it any better than you did. And the final outcome is gorgeous. You did an awesome job! I can see why your friend would be so thrilled!!



Thanks everyone, thanks Melvira.. I'm definitely more of a hobbyist and really only do this for friends and family but would one day love to open a custom cake studio...

I just wanted to share the story because I've read serveral "disasters" involving tall tiers and I wanted to show a way that some of your hard work can be saved.



Way To Go!!! what an elegant and beautiful cake!!!
I am so proud of you for staying calm and WOW how blessed you are to have a MIL who helped you through this icon_smile.gif
I use Bubble tea straws in my cakes...You can find them at Asian grocery strores,now at Kroger and Walmart too...
Good job!!! thumbs_up.gif
-h

BlakesCakes Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:29pm

Vibration is the enemy of every cake and a 100 mile drive over any road and in any car is a LOT of vibration time!

I'd venture to say that the large tier--essentially a 2 tier cake, stacked-- would have been fine on a short ride, but it just vibrated to death over that car ride.

I try to dampen the vibration using several layers of memory foam (the stuff Tempurpedic matresses are made of) under the boxes. I think it really helps.

Great cake and fantastic save. I'm sure the B&G were delighted.

Rae

honeyscakes Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:32pm

what are the tier sizes in the photo " top half" ??

cheriej Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:43pm

What a fantastic save! To keep your cool like that over 100 miles away from home etc. That's what a professional would do in my book. And the cake looked like it tasted great too.

Cindy619 Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:47pm

Great save! I think we should charge an extra fee for wedding cakes that pays our hairdressers to cover all the gray they cause!

BTW - how many people did you plan on serving? The cake is HUGE!!! icon_biggrin.gif

AileenGP Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:50pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeyscakes

what are the tier sizes in the photo " top half" ??




I misnamed the photo but that's actually both the top and bottom half of the tall (12" square) tier after the "surgery". Bottom half went splat, top half looked fine.

I use bubble tea straws for shorter cakes all the time but this cake probably weighed almost 200 lbs overall between the fondant, ganache, and all the layers of chocolate cake, plus filling...

AileenGP Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:53pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

Vibration is the enemy of every cake and a 100 mile drive over any road and in any car is a LOT of vibration time!

I'd venture to say that the large tier--essentially a 2 tier cake, stacked-- would have been fine on a short ride, but it just vibrated to death over that car ride.

I try to dampen the vibration using several layers of memory foam (the stuff Tempurpedic matresses are made of) under the boxes. I think it really helps.

Great cake and fantastic save. I'm sure the B&G were delighted.

Rae




That's true.. maybe my tall tier didn't even stand a chance... lol...It was on several layers of nonskid padding so I though that was enough but I guess not.

We actually had to drive over a fairly steep uphill grade which I totally forgot about.. I feel like maybe it would've been okay had I stuffed foam core in the box so it was butted against the fondant and had no chance to move..oh well.. live and learn =)

Franluvsfrosting Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:57pm

You did an awesome job saving it! Beautiful!

AileenGP Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 6:05pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindy619

BTW - how many people did you plan on serving? The cake is HUGE!!! icon_biggrin.gif




Their original guest list was upwards of 300.. but they cut the guest list to 240 or so...

But the original cake design with tall tiers was for 400 according to wilton, but I wanted them to serve larger slices.. Bride just wanted a simple 4 tiered cake with the stripe design and groom had to have a shot glass as a topper but let me have creative license.

Honestly, I really wanted to challenge myself and it's not often I get to do a wedding cake so I wanted it as big as I could push myself to make it, the serving amounts be damned...lol...

It's good I saved the cake boxes for the top 3 tiers under the cake table because there was so much cake left over... people wanted to take some home at the end of the night (including the servers) so it all worked out =)

honeyscakes Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 3:01pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AileenGP

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeyscakes

what are the tier sizes in the photo " top half" ??



I misnamed the photo but that's actually both the top and bottom half of the tall (12" square) tier after the "surgery". Bottom half went splat, top half looked fine.

I use bubble tea straws for shorter cakes all the time but this cake probably weighed almost 200 lbs overall between the fondant, ganache, and all the layers of chocolate cake, plus filling...



Thanks. ya I bet this was a huge puppy!
ummm reason why I asked was because I see only 4 plastic dowels in the tiers...so i was wondering that you can avoid this disaster next time by adding more dowels for support.
Also, When you made the extra tall tier,did you put any support and a separator board between the two cakes ?
- h

AileenGP Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 3:30pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeyscakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by AileenGP

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeyscakes

what are the tier sizes in the photo " top half" ??



I misnamed the photo but that's actually both the top and bottom half of the tall (12" square) tier after the "surgery". Bottom half went splat, top half looked fine.

I use bubble tea straws for shorter cakes all the time but this cake probably weighed almost 200 lbs overall between the fondant, ganache, and all the layers of chocolate cake, plus filling...


Thanks. ya I bet this was a huge puppy!
ummm reason why I asked was because I see only 4 plastic dowels in the tiers...so i was wondering that you can avoid this disaster next time by adding more dowels for support.
Also, When you made the extra tall tier,did you put any support and a separator board between the two cakes ?
- h




Yeah, you're right, it probably could have stood to use a few more dowels, but I grossly underestimated how heavy this baby was. Plus, there was another dowel that went through the center to stabilize the two layers.

Yes there was absolutely a board between the tiers, which is why I was able to save the top half. I used foam core because I didn't trust a regular cake board from getting soggy.

Next time for a cake this large, I'm using SPS all the way. I'm not gonna mess with trying to figure out the optimal number of dowels. The SPS just didn't arrive on time (it arrived yesterday - go figure) so I had to make do with what was readily available.

honeyscakes Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 3:33pm

Yeah, you're right, it probably could have stood to use a few more dowels, but I grossly underestimated how heavy this baby was. Plus, there was another dowel that went through the center to stabilize the two layers.

Yes there was absolutely a board between the tiers, which is why I was able to save the top half. I used foam core because I didn't trust a regular cake board from getting soggy.

Next time for a cake this large, I'm using SPS all the way. I'm not gonna mess with trying to figure out the optimal number of dowels. The SPS just didn't arrive on time (it arrived yesterday - go figure) so I had to make do with what was readily available.[/quote]
darn shipping service!!! haha! chin up dear... you did great .it turned out to be a beautiful cake!
Good luck for the next one!!!
- h

floral1210 Posted 13 Jul 2010 , 3:59pm

I, too, had a cake disaster this weekend. It was a gift of a post-wedding cake for a couple married in May. It was my first tiered cake of any kind, and I used separator plates because the top tier was vegan and I didn't want to mix the two. I am sure my lack of knowledge of how to do the stacking was the problem, because the top tier slid off of the stacking plate, causing damage to the bottom tier. I somewhat fixed it, but the picture in my gallery is the before, not the after. I like the before a lot more!! LOL The cakes were delicious, but I suppose everyone has to "live and learn". Yours was beautiful!

Darlene Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 1:31pm

Floral-I saw your before pic and it's beautiful. I see you used a separator plate-did you drive with it stacked? Always assemble that type of cake on scene.

floral1210 Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 1:37pm

Thank you, Darlene. I appreciate the kind words, and the tip. I actually was planning to transport the tiers separately, but thought "This is sturdy...it'll be fine". Famous last words....

cabecakes Posted 18 Jul 2010 , 5:59pm

I think your cake turned out fabulous. You have what it takes to go professional if you can hold up under that kind of pressure. Sorry this happened to you, but if it does ever happen again, you can take a deep breath and say "ok, you've worked your way through this before and you can do it again."

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