Sps........not So Much! For Those Who Love It, This Is Jmo!

Decorating By Tracyj Updated 28 Sep 2010 , 5:21am by cocobean

Tracyj Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 3:33pm
post #1 of 32

So I tried the SPS this weekend for the first time. I cannot tell you how much I disliked it.

First of all getting the cakes to the exact 4 inch height was, apparently, beyond me. After several attempts I ended up with cakes that were too short! Had to build them up with icing yet again.

2nd and most troublesome part, after marking the spot to place the columns in the cake, the plate was still off center when I pushed it into the cake??? It seemed the columns werent standing quite straight when they were inserted into the plates. Even after much manipulation they still weren't straight.

The cake had to have way too big of a border for my taste because of the height problem. And some of the tiers were not centered which killed me!!

I will definitely be trying the Stree Free System, because the SPS caused me nothing but stress......

31 replies
mandirombold Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 3:41pm
post #2 of 32

used the sps for a few small 2 tiers but never for anything big. I can never get the height just right. Not really a fan. what type of suport system do u normaly use?

Tracyj Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 4:26pm
post #3 of 32

I usually use dowels and foam boards and a couple of center dowels. I would have went back to that but all cakes were already on cardboard cake boards not wrapped since they would be placed on the plastic plate of the SPS system.

This cake was 4 tiers and having to sit outside for 2 hours before it was going be cut. I decided to stick with the SPS since I didn't think the boards could stand up to being grease saturated for 2 hours!

Erin3085 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:42pm
post #4 of 32

I plan to use SPS for a wedding cake in Nov. Hope it doesn't give me so many issues! I looked at the SFS, and I almost died when I saw the price. $148 for the starter kit (5 plates and 20 legs) almost gave me a heart attack! I can't imagine myself ever being able to afford to use those. :/

deeb173 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:58pm
post #5 of 32

I just tried the sps this weekend for the first time and I love it. I didn't read all the instructions posted on cakecentral and bought like the 9 inch pillers but they had graduated marks on them to make it easy to cut. I do have a little hacksaw that I ONLY use for cake stuff. I cut them off to 4 inches then discovered that my cake wasn't quite that tall and had to cut them again. But I marked it with a sharpie and no big deal. But I have been doing a similar thing prior to that with buying regular plastic cake plates and hidden pillars. The only difference is the little peg/pointy thing in the center. That is where I usually mess up because then I can never center the board on top of it. (I use tape to hold it to the plastic plate and if you don't do it right the first time you can't adjust.) But with that little peg its great. I transported a three tier with the sps and it didn't even move.

Sorry you had a bad experience. Everyone is different and what one person like someone else may not ---- I just try to learn from all you great ladies and your vast experience.

Happy Baking!

cakesbycathy Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:04pm
post #6 of 32

If you are baking in 2" pans, I suggest adding more batter so that your cakes rise above the rim and you can level them to exactly 2" and then once filled your cakes will be at least 4" tall.

Second, you can order the 4" pillars so that you do not have to cut down the 9"ones.

leily Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:06pm
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin3085

I plan to use SPS for a wedding cake in Nov. Hope it doesn't give me so many issues! I looked at the SFS, and I almost died when I saw the price. $148 for the starter kit (5 plates and 20 legs) almost gave me a heart attack! I can't imagine myself ever being able to afford to use those. :/




You may want to look at ordering everything individually instead. I ordered stuff for a 4 tier cake and it was well under $50. Where did you find the "starter kit"?

cakesbycathy Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:09pm
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by leily

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin3085

I plan to use SPS for a wedding cake in Nov. Hope it doesn't give me so many issues! I looked at the SFS, and I almost died when I saw the price. $148 for the starter kit (5 plates and 20 legs) almost gave me a heart attack! I can't imagine myself ever being able to afford to use those. :/



You may want to look at ordering everything individually instead. I ordered stuff for a 4 tier cake and it was well under $50. Where did you find the "starter kit"?




ITA! You can order the pieces indvidually from Global Sugar Art and it won't cost you that much with shipping!

SugarMoon Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:09pm
post #9 of 32

Agree with cakes by cathy. That's what I do to level my cakes since I'm too poor for an agbay. lol. Also, you're supposed to mark the cake with the plate of the next tier, then measure your pillars and make sure they're too long or too short, then stick them in the base of the next tier, THEN put the whole thing in the cake, THEN slide the next tier until the hole slips over the nubby. This prevents the whole pillars moving out of the way and not going where they're supposed to go. Also - the pillars that are longer than 4 inches are made of a different plastic and not hard to cut at all. Hope you have better luck in the future!
Also, I think Erin was talking about SFS, not SPS. lol. Yeah, if it was SPS, they're really overcharging for their stuff icon_rolleyes.gif

leah_s Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:11pm
post #10 of 32

The Starter Kit is for SFS, not SPS.

And with all due respect, baking the cake too short and not centering the plate placement can hardly be blamed on SPS.

Tracyj Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:34pm
post #11 of 32

I've never had a problem centering a cake when I used my old method. Even after marking the place for the columns they didn't go in straight and the plate was off center. Like I said the columns on the plate didn't sit flush, the plate wobbled when I stood it flat on the table. So I don't know what I did wrong. I always used SS method of letting the weight of the cake push the dowels in and ALWAYS my cakes were center. The SPS system just took a job that usually takes me, at the most 30 minutes, and made it a seemingly endless task!!!

And after looking at 4 inch tall tiers I am not a fan. I like them 5 inches at least.

SugarMoon Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:42pm
post #12 of 32

Well, if the legs were wobbly, something is definitely up. Was this the first time you used the plate? I've heard that the plate slots for the legs get looser after each use and are pretty much unuseable after a few times. I've heard that, anyway.
There are alot of other ways that people stack their cakes and I'm sorry you didn't have a good time with SPS. MY experience with it has been nothing but positive. To each their own, though icon_wink.gif

nhbaker Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:49pm
post #13 of 32

I have to agree with Tracyj, I'm not a big fan of the SPS. I too tried it for the first time this weekend as I had a 5 tier cake to do and wanted to be sure it was stable and after all the rave reviews of the SPS, I thought that's was the answer. Well, not so much.

I put it together following the directions posted by leah and assembled this first three tiers and kept off the top two to assemble on site. I thought I had made my tiers 4" high but still found the legs too high and had to cut them to fit as I didn't want to pile on the icing to make up the difference. (my husband has a power miter saw so that part was easy enough but still a pain). I made sure the cardboard rounds "fell" into place on their hole and thought, wow, this is great. However, when I got to the site I found the the top two of the assembled 3 tier part had slid back about 1/2" (luckily my piped border stayed in place) so I had to push them back into place by pushing on the cardboard round of the second tier. Luckily there was a "back" to the cake that wouldn't be seen. I then put on the top two tiers and, frankly, it seemed a lot less secure/stable that it would have if I had just done my regular doweling. Not sure if I'll be using it again.

Tracyj Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:56pm
post #14 of 32

Thanks Sugarmoon! It was my first time using the system and I was thinking something must be wrong since it was sitting flush. I insured the legs were in tightly even changed out the ones that seemed to be causing problems but still didn't work to sell for me. Oh well. Maybe I willl have better luck next time. I may try it on a smaller cake.

BCo Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 8:12pm
post #15 of 32

I always use double sided carpet tape on my plates as well....those carboard circles aren't going anywhere between the little peg that hooks in and the carpet tape...way secure, no slip sliding and always centered! I would never go back to wooden dowels...one bad disaster and I've been hooked on SPS ever since. Maybe you had a defective plate? I always cut my legs to fit if my cake is taller or shorter with a saw as well and then make sure they are pushed all the way in and test it on the table to make sure it's level before I put it in the cake! Haven't had a problem so far. Sorry you had a bad experience icon_sad.gif

leily Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 8:21pm
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

The Starter Kit is for SFS, not SPS.




I missed that! thanks. That makes alot more sense then.

SugarMoon Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 8:22pm
post #17 of 32

carpet tape.... brilliant!!!

aswartzw Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 8:30pm
post #18 of 32

I love SPS and I'm with Leahs. Not all those issues can be blamed on SPS.

I used them for my wedding cake for the first time, followed Leahs' directions exactly, and didn't have one issue. The only problem I had was the cake was top heavy going up and down all our hills but that's normal for a 4 tier cake that only has 2 inches between each tier size. I know what not to do now but that cake would only have toppled over not fallen apart on those 60 degree inclines I drove to the church.

I'd use it again in a heartbeat.

sillywabbitz Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 8:57pm
post #19 of 32

Just a note, if you put in your legs into your plate and you set it on the table and it's unstable then a couple of things could be off..the table could be wonky...my counter is but my table isn't..but I discovered this recently. I just got a new order of pillars in. And when I put them in my plate it was just a little bit off on 2 of the pillars. Well I looked at them and for me the pillars have a "rough" side and a smooth side. Looks like where the manufacturer cut them. The wobbly ones were on the "cut" side. I turned them over and inserted the rough side into the plate, smooth side would be on the table and that fixed my problem. I love SPS. Have had no problems with it. I just did my first wedding cake (fondant drape in pics) and when I stacked it with the seperators, I hadn't centered the seperators. Not only did SPS help it hold up, it was super easy to deconstruct and restack on site, because the SPS plates were in tact.

Anyway, I hope those of you who have struggled give it another try.

FullHouse Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 9:09pm
post #20 of 32

If I need my pillars to be something other than 4", I use the Wilton plastic dowels, they fit in the plates and are easier to cut. I've never tried the 9" sps pillars though, I may buy those next and compare. I HATE cutting dowels,but I find it more troublesome to get my cake exactly 4" (I'm always off by just a fraction). For me, it's easier to cut the dowels than adjust the cake height. Wish I could get my cake height that exact though.

sillywabbitz Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 12:26am
post #21 of 32

In the SPS thread Leah had some good hints for getting your cake 4inches. Mine tend to be too tall not too short icon_smile.gif and I find if it's just under 4 and 1/2 inches they really work perfect for me. Right at 4 inches and I still feel the plates are a little tall. Also be sure you are taking the collars off the plates (the little round rings that go where you insert the legs). This is a must if you want the plates to sit flush.
When I level my cakes I do actually measure them. I sprang for an Agbay which makes it much easier to ensure you have your layers the right height but I was able to do a pretty good job before with a seweing ruler and a knifeicon_smile.gif

Erin3085 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 12:54am
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

The Starter Kit is for SFS, not SPS.




Yes, I meant SFS. icon_smile.gif I would LOVE to try it, because it looks so stinking easy what with not having to cut anything and just turning the legs to match your cake if it isn't exactly the right height, but geez...I'm a hobby baker so I could never charge enough for my cake to cover the cost. icon_cry.gif

ranbel Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 12:58am
post #23 of 32

About the wilton plastic dowels. I have the sps plates and the wilton dowels do not fit snug into the plate, or at least mine don't. I thought there was only one size of the wilton plastid dowels.

If it will work, they are less expensive and since my local cake supply store shut down, I'm at the mercy of Michaels, Joann's, Walmart or ordering on line.

If anyone has used the wilton plastic dowels and have had success, I sure would like to know...thanks,

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:21am
post #24 of 32

Hi Tracyj ~ I cannot attest to SPS because I've never used it; but I have seen wonderful reviews of it as I am sure you have, too. I'd still like to try it one day. I, however, swear by Cake Jacks. I use them in conjuction with plastic separator plates (you can use Wilton or whatever you have). The jack screws out to whatever length you need. They come in a three sizes (the smallest is 3-inches) with different screw-out ranges. I have never had a problem with them, and I have been using them for gosh it has to be 10+ years now. icon_wink.gif

Here's their web site in case you are interested:

http://www.cakejacks.com/Home_Page.html

icon_smile.gif

karateka Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:21am
post #25 of 32

I have a Stress Free system and it is fabulous. The major drawback is that you have to charge a deposit and get them back: which nobody has balked at yet, but I find it infinitely easier to use SPS. If my cake bakes up short, I simply mark the legs with a pencil and cut them on my DH 's bandsaw he has set up on the workbench downstairs. I move the guidebar until the blade is right on the mark, and they just glide right through! Easy peasy. Still having trouble understanding why some of my cakes bake up short. Why they overflow some days, and others they don't. The SAME recipe. But I guess that's OT.

I've used RI to glue my tiers to the SPS before. But I've also used it with nothing for short cakes, and have had no issues.

The other cool thing about SPS is that you can glue those rings to the bottom of your board to use as feet.

Erin3085 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:27am
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalibuBakinBarbie

Hi Tracyj ~ I cannot attest to SPS because I've never used it; but I have seen wonderful reviews of it as I am sure you have, too. I'd still like to try it one day. I, however, swear by Cake Jacks. I use them in conjuction with plastic separator plates (you can use Wilton or whatever you have). The jack screws out to whatever length you need. They come in a three sizes (the smallest is 3-inches) with different screw-out ranges. I have never had a problem with them, and I have been using them for gosh it has to be 10+ years now. icon_wink.gif

Here's their web site in case you are interested:

http://www.cakejacks.com/Home_Page.html

icon_smile.gif




Do the cake jacks fit into the base of the wilton plates? I know they wont be as secure as SPS since they aren't made for the plates, but I'm wondering if they just sit under the plate like a wooden dowel, or if they rest in the indentions in the bottom of the plate so it does't move around on top of the cake.

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:38am
post #27 of 32

Hi Erin ~ They rest just under the plate like a wooden dowel. In my experience, the indentations on the bottom of the plate add to the stability simply by being pressed gently into the icing and cake.... as opposed to a plate without extentions on the bottom simply resting on top of a cake. Not sure if I explained that right; but I hope you get what I mean. I do make sure that they are inserted straight, not on an angle of any kind. icon_smile.gif

luv2bake4u Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:51am
post #28 of 32

Thanks for your comment Tracy. I have been trying SPS and do feel its alot of work to get it just right but I am going to keep trying until I get it right. I seem to never be able to line up the peg with the whole. Maybe it just takes practice like everything else. You said you were worried about foamcore getting grease soaked. I was just thinking about switching to foam core,,now I'm not sure icon_confused.gif

Karen421 Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 1:58am
post #29 of 32

I have used it with foam core and I was happy with the results. I am a fan of SPS, but I use bubble tea straws also. It just depends on what I am doing. When using SPS, I make sure my tiers are 4" but if I have to cut the 9" down - I put the legs and plate together and level it before it goes into the cake. Good Luck with whichever support system you choose!

jlynnw Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 2:04am
post #30 of 32

SPS with the nub always makes me nervous. I use chocolate to "glue" the cake board to the sps plate. Not a problem using leahs directions,

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