bk111057 Posted 22 Aug 2010 , 2:44pm
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PLEASE HELP DESPERATE, I just made my second wedding cake yesterday and may never make one again. She wanted a 16 inch square filled with bavarian cream at the bottomw , I put a 12 inch round cake filled with raspberry filling and a 8 inch sqare cake at the top filled with bavarian filling. I put all cakes on cake boards and put them on a heavier solid board. I put a 1/2 inch dowel down through the middle through the cardboard cake boards and into the solid wood base to help stableize it. I also used wooden dowels that were smaller inside the base cake and the second cake to help support it. It was transported all together in a van and picked up. They had to drive about 45 minutes to get to where it was going and it was humid. They had air on in the van but for some reason the top cake split in 3 or 4 locations and some of the roses fell off. They called me and I had to drive there and try to fix it. I could not fix the top and had to throw it away. I did manage to save the other two layers and repaired it to look better than it did. I don't know what happened. I don't know if it was my fault or theirs. They claim they drove slow and had the air on the whole time. I really don't know because it looked beautiful when it left my house. I may never try making a ready cake again. Please help!!!!!!!!!!!

19 replies
DefyGravity Posted 22 Aug 2010 , 2:57pm
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I think sometimes we have a different idea of what "going slow" means. I would just as soon drive with my hazards on and go 12 the whole way there, but someone else might think that because they're not taking corners doing 100, it's fine. The air may have been on, but was it full blast? Just because they felt the air doesn't mean it was getting all the way to the back. The best example I've ever heard here on CC is "drive like you have a baby strapped to the top with velcro."

Since there's no way to know for sure what happened, don't be too discouraged, because it really could have had nothing to do with you. Do you have a clause in your contract for what happens after the cake leaves your possession?

DefyGravity Posted 22 Aug 2010 , 2:57pm
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Also, do you have a picture of the cake before they picked it up?

leah_s Posted 23 Aug 2010 , 2:15am
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I'm sorry, but a 1/2 " dowel thru the middle of the cake? seriously? And why throw the cake away? It could have been cut and plated from the back.

bk111057 Posted 23 Aug 2010 , 9:37am
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I made the cake for a friend who was very understanding. I have never made stacked cakes before and tried using a smaller dowell in the middle of a small rocket cake I made for my neice and it didn't seem strong enough to support it. My husband suggested using a larger dowell he thought that it would support it better since it was a much larger cake. I used smaller dowells inside of the cake under the cake boards to help support the weight. I did take a picture of ir and it was beautiful when it left here. My friend sent other people to pick it up in a full size van. She was very understanding and like me didn't know what could have happened to it. They were all very nice about it and very understanding I just feel bad. I will probably never make another wedding cake again.

Karen421 Posted 23 Aug 2010 , 12:13pm
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We all make mistakes, and have things happen, just don't give up, this is how we learn. Try using the SPS system next time. I have transported many tiered cakes with this system and it is really secure! I don't like dowels, because they are solid and tend to push the cake out. Bubble tea straws work better, because the cake will go inside and not displace it. Good luck!!!!

leah_s Posted 23 Aug 2010 , 1:52pm
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The center dowel doesn't support the cake. In theory it stabilizes it from side to side shifting.

Yes, do try SPS. It will become your best caking friend.

Cindy619 Posted 23 Aug 2010 , 1:57pm
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Don't give up on wedding cakes - just take some time exploring other support systems (like SPS!!!). And maybe considering making the deliveries yourself until you are 100% confident in your structure system. Once you are happy with your support system you'll find wedding cakes exciting!

bk111057 Posted 23 Aug 2010 , 7:43pm
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I hate to sound stupid but what is the SPS System. I have only made a couple other wedding cakes and one was in a class so I'm really not familiar with this system. Does anyone know where I can find out about it? Also what can I put under the cake boards so the board will not stick to the icing on the cake beneath it. I heard you can put powder sugar or coconut between the board and the cake has anyone done this before and will it work?

Cindy619 Posted 23 Aug 2010 , 7:55pm

SPS - Single Plate Separator. Check this link out: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-603925-sps.html+sticky

cai0311 Posted 23 Aug 2010 , 7:57pm

Search in the forums for SPS, tons of topics will come up.

all4cake Posted 24 Aug 2010 , 2:16am

You said you used a 1/2" dowel down through the center and into the wooden base. Were holes made in the base and each of the boards under the tiers before inserting that big of a center dowel? Using that thick of a center dowel without pre-made holes in the boards has been known to create a bad situation. The thickness of the dowel (even sharpened) can cause problems (caving in from pressure caused by the insertion of such a thick dowel) as well as displacing cake to the point of splitting.

julesh268 Posted 24 Aug 2010 , 5:35pm

Hugs. I have been where you are except mine was a practice cake for a class.

I used wooden dowls (never again) and the cake was PERFECT until my dh put the car into park...and then it just all broke apart. The problem with the wooden dowls is that they 1. displace the cake and 2. unless they are cut to a perrfect length they will wiggle under the weight of the cake. Then, with enough wiggling, the cake will fall apart. #2 is what happened to mine.

Now, dust it off, pick a cake you want to make...make it...drive to the nearest police/fire department and donate it to them.

dguerrant Posted 24 Aug 2010 , 9:45pm

The size of the center dowel caught my attention for sure. 1/2 inch is way too big especially in the smaller top tiers, it will make the cake unstable and the pressure and force used can damage the structural integrity of the cake as well. I rarely if ever use fillings, (i'm in arkansas) because of the heat, humidity, and especially one that has to be transported a good distance. TOOO MANY THINGS CAN GO WRONG!!!! Don't give up, find what works best for you and keep going!!! I use SPS especially on larger cakes, smaller two-tiers and 3-tiers I use coated boards and plastic dowels.

Best of luck to you on the next one!!!

costumeczar Posted 27 Aug 2010 , 3:12am

Was the cake cold when it was being delivered? I wouldn't have even bothered with a center dowel, I never use them, I only use wooden dowels in the tiers and I've never had a problem. I deliver three-tiered cakes stacked, but refrigerate them so that they're cold and pretty solid when I deliver them. they're less likely to shift when everything's cold. I don't think it was the 1/2" center dowel tahat was the problem, though, for an 8" square that wouldn't be enough to ruin the tier. It's definitely overkill and not really necessary, though.

amygortoncakes Posted 14 Oct 2010 , 4:34am

I haven't had any major catastrophes yet...knock on wood but I have read enough that I almost insist on stacking cakes on sight for anything larger than 2 tiers. In my contract I make the customer inital that I recommend delivery and that if and when a cake is picked up I forfeit responsibility for the cakes safe arrival. And when someone picks the cake up, I have them sign additional papers that state that the cake is as ordered and that the responsibility for the cake now rests with them and not me. When somone picks up there own cake, I feel like they don't know how fragile it can be. Hope this helps you for the future.

madgeowens Posted 14 Oct 2010 , 4:54am

I have only used the dowel in the center thats like the diameter of a pencil along with small ones to support tiers....I think that was way too big...Im sorry this happened , what a shame.....I can understand your feelling this way....time heals all wounds, you will get back to what you love in time.....I had a big cake for a baby shower I had to take 20 miloes away....I put it together on site because I would never have lived threw the stress of the trip....and fillings especially are tricky if not chilled well I think....better luck in future...we all make mistakes and we learn from them and go on.

mbark Posted 14 Oct 2010 , 4:54am

I had my first cake disaster a couple months ago & it was for a wedding cake, it was the worst feeling! Luckily I had time to fix it. The problem with the big SUV I borrowed to transport the cake was I had the AC blasting but didn't realize it didn't reach the back very well. The cake got hot and started slipping around.
From now on I refrigerate my cakes if they're more than 2 tiers to keep them more "solid" during transport.

howsweet Posted 3 Nov 2010 , 12:44am

While the 1/2 dowel may be over kill I don't understand why people are having problems with it. I used to always use it that thick on all my cakes and they were always solid and secure with no problems. I can't quite figure out how you nailed it into solid wood, but maybe I'm missing something. I impale all my tiered cakes into the drum base (non plated ones).

There's no way to know, but I bet they didn't make sure a/c got to the cake. Who knows, maybe they stopped at a convenience store and let it in a hot car. I also bet they neglected to tell you that they made a hard stop. If there's anything that will cause a cake to go flying , it's that and it doesn't take as much as you might think.

I do let people pick up cakes, but I give them a lecture about transport. I keep meaning to put driving directions in writing and get them to initial it.

4realLaLa Posted 30 Nov 2010 , 3:15pm

It sounds like it looked darling. Can you post a pic? I'm really sorry that that happened but don't give up just yet. We all have bad days.

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