Thinking About Giving It Up...

Decorating By brensmom12 Updated 24 Sep 2010 , 7:09am by Evoir

brensmom12 Posted 18 Sep 2010 , 2:45am
post #1 of 17

Today is not a good day. I have been working on a cake that is due tomorrow for a baby shower and it is not working! I had a request to do baby blocks cake however the customer wanted to transport it about 1 hour away. I recommened we make a sheet cake and place baby blocks on top. Sounds easy enough. I prepared the cakes last Sunday and froze them with the anticipation of working on them last night. That never happened. My son also woke up this morning with croup and we had to take him to the doctor. So finally around 1:30 I was able to work on this cake again with the anticipation of finishing in about 2 hours tops. I began to make the blocks and they started falling apart! They were crumbing and crumbling until I finally said that's it I need to make plan B happen (make more cake). This was all occuring around 2 hours into this mess. I made more cake and stacked them and crumb coated them and they were great. Nice lines, no slouching. It is now hour 8 and the new blocks are slouching. I don't know what I did wrong. I have made cakes before and this has not happened except when maybe there wasn't enough support, but that is not the case here. These only stand about 4" high. I am to the point that it is 10:30pm (I started about 1:30) and I think I am going to just call the customer in the morning and tell her I feel horrible but I cannot complete the cake to her liking. The cake will ultimately have only one baby block and I can cover in fondant buttons. I just hate having to do this because I don't know what happened.
The other part of me is saying to give it up for now. There are too many other things in my life that mean more to me and I think that since this is only a hobby where I make a little money on the side that it is going to have to go. I know my husband will be excited!
Thanks to CC for all the wonderful ideas and tips!

16 replies
Vanessa7 Posted 18 Sep 2010 , 2:58am
post #2 of 17

I'm so sorry your cake has turned so frustrating. I know the disappointment you are feeling but don't turn in your mixer. If this is a hobby you enjoy, then stick with it. Give the "cake disaster" the point this time but know you'll have so many more points in your column in the future. Keep your chin up! icon_smile.gif

jleigh982 Posted 18 Sep 2010 , 3:12am
post #3 of 17

DONT GIVE UP!!! I have wanted to turn in my spatula many a times and then found that it was just a cake...it happens to the best of us...

If I may offer a possible solution for making the blocks...buy some rice krispy treats (walmart, sams, or any other grocery store i would suppose) form them into the shape of the blocks and then cover them as you would have the cake blocks...everyone will be so busy eating the regular sheet cake they may not even notice that they are RKT, and if they do, so what, they can still eat them lol
good luck and happy baking!

cookie_fun Posted 18 Sep 2010 , 3:15am
post #4 of 17

Don't give up! I'm a hobby baker myself, but it's something I love in general. I had a disaster cake for a friend of mine over the summer. It was a topsy turvy that became the bane of my existence.

I made two tiers, and they ended up looking great. When I tried to stack them the side fell off the bottom tier. I just about cried. I tried to put it back up and dowel it, but it was ruined.
It was probably 8:00 at night, and the cake was needed the next morning. I ended up having to re-bake the whole lower tier, and then ice/decorate the bottom tier a 2nd time. I ended up not getting it all done until mid morning.
When all was said and done I wasn't really happy with it, but my friend loved it. I think I disliked it so much because so many things had gone wrong with it. She didn't know all the frustration I had been through.

Ultimately, I'm so glad I didn't give up. It gave me a sense of real satisfaction knowing I didn't let my friend down, and I didn't let that cake defeat me.

SO, don't let this cake defeat you either! Is there any way you can use rice krispies for the blocks? Or something else to make them so they don't sag? What are the blocks covered with? Maybe you could use a ganache, or something more "firm" to help them stand up better?

Don't give up though. Try a plan C if you need to.
I wish I could give you more advice, but I'm definitely not an expert.

Good luck!

LePetitCakes Posted 18 Sep 2010 , 3:17am
post #5 of 17

Aww, don't give up yet! I had a cake last weekend (wish I could post a picture) that fought me every.step.of.the.way! I was so ready to give up at one point, but instead took an hour break to recharge. I came back to it with a more positive attitude, when an hour before I thought there was no way I was going to get this cake done. LOL, I was not going to let the cake defeat me, and I was actually pretty happy with how it turned out.

(((HUGS))) to you, and sending cooperative cake vibes your way.

Ladiesofthehouse Posted 18 Sep 2010 , 3:37am
post #6 of 17

I can also chime in and say don't give up! I made a a baby block cake and like others have said I used rice krispie treats and they worked perfectly. I just covered them with buttercream to smooth the surface and covered with fondant.

I had a bad cake day a few days ago and ended up having to email the customer at 10:00 pm to say I was changing the frosting on the cake because I just could not get it to work in the flavor they wanted. I felt stupid, but she was very gracious and gave me a large tip when I delivered the PITA cake because she liked it so much (I was so sick of the cake that I wanted to throw it out the window on the way to deliver it)

Maybe just take a breather from cakes for a little bit.

carlamac Posted 18 Sep 2010 , 5:42am
post #7 of 17

I agree don't give up...I've had plenty of those nights, and it was only practice cakes, and a few times it was DVD's for events (another hobby) and to think I am going to do both for my Grandparents 50th!! LOL...Q: Are RKT really sturdy/strong. I would like to do my 12in layer out of RKT and put my other 3 layers on top which will be made out of cake?

EvMarie Posted 18 Sep 2010 , 6:17am
post #8 of 17

I think it's "baby blocks" in general...you'll love this - - - -

So, years ago, before I decided to even try making money baking cakes I decided I was gonna make this baby block cake for a friend at work. We were having a shower for her there. Well, I started along the process. Had no idea what I was doing...it ended up sooooo huge and disproportionate....I just was in tears. Didn't know what to do. So, of course, this wasn't a customer & I ended up buying a Walmart cake. (i know, cringe....go ahead) The cake ended up in the "back 40" being eaten by dear or racooonie's or some woodsy type animal. I mean....I chucked that thing out there in the middle of the woods and felt soooo much better.

Years later, I did try cakes seriously & found that they were not my cup of tea. I mainly sell specialty cookies and am learning more and more about cut outs. So - I understand your frustration.

I know that this is a bit different because it was an order. Just try to make it right with your customer so that you can sleep easy. But, I think knowing how to fix the disasters is just as important as the actual techniques you use and the cakes' taste. How are you gonna find out how to fix all these little hiccups & quirks if you quit? Unfortunately, that's the only way your gonna find out about the RKT tricks & such.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the skill set or the patience to learn and continue on with cake. If you get excited about designing and baking cakes....don't quit. Just sum it up to a bad day....

Hugs to you....

_christina_ Posted 18 Sep 2010 , 6:30am
post #9 of 17

The RKT is a great idea! Especially if the extra cake isn't needed.

Definitely don't give up! Just step away for a few minutes and then get right back into it. You'll be so glad you did. I would email the customer if you need a bit more time, or to let her know (just a tad) of what's happening and changes to the design but otherwise, carry on!

brensmom12 Posted 23 Sep 2010 , 5:14pm
post #10 of 17

Thanks guys! After I took a few deep breaths (and an adult beverage) I thought about it a little more. I don't want to give up but I will make it right. I think it looked good without the 2nd block any way.
I called the customer that morning and told her what happened (luckily she is a good friend so she was very understanding). She said she had thought about it as well and she felt 2 blocks would be too much. When the cake was delivered to her she was SO EXCITED! She and the mother to be LOVED IT!!! This totally made my day! I even picked up a few potential customers.
I do appreciate all the comments and I have learned a thing or two with them. If the customer didn't specify the block be a cake I would have done the RKT, but trust me...they will be next time!
I guess I'll hang around a little while longer!!!

pag41989 Posted 23 Sep 2010 , 7:02pm
post #11 of 17

Good for you! I think I am plagued with bad luck when it comes to making and decorating cakes. I always end up with some sort of disaster such as the cake falling, buttercream not setting, forgetting items and having to run to the store 5 times etc. I don't think I have ever had one cake be simple and stress free but I love it so much that I always look back with a sigh of relief and laugh. It almost seems as if I love the challenge of a cake and the late night staying up until 4 am finishing them.

adventuregal Posted 23 Sep 2010 , 7:18pm
post #12 of 17

I'm glad that the cake ended up well for you! We've all been there-some times an adult beverage does the trick and some times a small vaca from cakes is necessary. icon_smile.gif If you ever decide to 'give it up' don't sell your supplies!!! I see so many cakers that gave it up, sold their supplies, and then come back into it needing all new equipment. icon_smile.gif I think even if we have a bad night, we're in it for good. Cake is an addiction LOL

luvmysmoother Posted 23 Sep 2010 , 7:39pm
post #13 of 17

The bad cake days (or bad ganache days or bad buttercream days or bad fondant days) will never go away. I've never seen a cake show or cake decorating contest where the ultimate pros did not run into problems (many times really major problems) so you're in great companyicon_smile.gif I have found that if I make my batter too runny it tends to crumble like crazy - thicker batter (not tooo thick though) never seems to crumble? But yes - I also did a baby block cake that was pretty rough around the edges but the person I made it for loved it and the kids did too so that's all that matters - keep at it - your cakes are really great - don't give upicon_smile.gificon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

cakeythings1961 Posted 23 Sep 2010 , 8:49pm
post #14 of 17

Yay! I'm glad you were able to bounce back. Your cakes are so lovely...a bad day happens to everyone!

brensmom12 Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 2:17am
post #15 of 17

Thanks again everyone for the lovely thoughts! Glad I didn't give it up since I booked another cake today!

carlamac Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 6:47am
post #16 of 17

Congrats WTG. Way to hang in there thumbs_up.gif

Evoir Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 7:09am
post #17 of 17

Good on you!

It is kind of comforting to know we have all had 'those' moments in decorating. I too, have had to re-do baby blocks, though not made out of cake, mine were hollow cubes made out of gumpaste. I still have my first block attempts sitting in a rejects box somewhere in my studio, LOL!

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