Need Advice - Wedding Cake Leaned -Almost A Disaster!

Decorating By bricker Updated 19 Apr 2011 , 10:52pm by Sangriacupcake

bricker Posted 18 Apr 2011 , 10:14pm
post #1 of 18

I thought I did absolutely everything I could when I stacked this cake so that it would stand tall and not fall down or lean but, unfortunately, it leaned. I really need to figure out what went wrong so that I can correct the problem before I do the next cake in May.

I made 6-8-10-12-14 round cakes. The 6, 8, 10 and 14 I filled with strawberry sleeve fruit filling and crumb coated them then frosted and covered in fondant 6-7 hours later. The 12" I had to rebake so I baked it, let it set and cool a couple hours then filled, crumbed and put the fondant on. I leveled all the cakes with my agbay so they were all even.

I used SPS and I even put double sided carpet tape on every separator plate for extra support. I used a ruler and measured exactly where the plates should go so that they were all centered on the cakes.

I honestly don't know what else I could have done. When I stacked the cakes on top of each other the cake looked great.......for a short time...then I could see that it looked like the top 3 cakes were leaning towards the front of the cake. From the front, the cake looked great, but from the side it looked like the leaning tower of pisa.

The cake stand was a piece of birch tree that had been cut and sanded and leveled. I put my level on it and it was level. I saw that Nadia cakes posted on another thread when the pillow cake she did on the food network went down they decided the cakes needed a center dowel so she uses a cupcake tower? Don't understand how that works? SPS is supposed to do the trick and you can't put a center dowel in with sps.

What do you think went wrong with the cake? I have anoher 5 tier square cake for a wedding in May and I really want to get this right. I've attached a picture of the cake, like I said, from the front it looks good. I didn't take any pics from the side, I wish I had so I could show you.

There has to be a way to stack a cake so it stays straight. I see it on food network all the time and on wedding cake websites....what is their secret??

17 replies
bricker Posted 18 Apr 2011 , 10:36pm
post #2 of 18

I can't seem to post the picture but if you look in my pictures it is the first one. I only have three pics downloaded.

jammjenks Posted 18 Apr 2011 , 10:45pm
post #3 of 18

What type of dowels did you use? I saw you mentioned using plates, but I didn't see any talk of dowels.

If you did use dowels, did you cut one and measure the others to that one or did you cut them each to the level of the top of the cake? (I hope that made sense.)

matthewkyrankelly Posted 18 Apr 2011 , 11:08pm
post #4 of 18

SPS is like the superstructure of a building. The layers can't lean unless there is a mismeasurement or the table is off or they are not attached correctly. Review the instructions. Cut all of the legs for a tier at once so they are the same length. You shouldn't have a problem.

leah_s Posted 18 Apr 2011 , 11:39pm
post #5 of 18

Hmmm . . . I can't see anything wrong in the picture.

Are you cutting the SPS legs yourself or using the pre-cut ones?

Could it be possible any of the tiers were too tall, so that the legs weren't resting on the plate?

bricker Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 12:57am
post #6 of 18

I followed the directions in the sps tutorial and I purchased the sps already cut and made the cakes to 4" high. I should say when the cakes were filled and frosted they measured 4" high before I put the fondant on. I didn't think the fondant would change the measurements too much as I roll it thin. Is it possible that it did? Would that make the difference?

Also, I work out of a very old colonial building and the floors are not even, you know, old buildings, sometimes the floors run up hill and down hill to a small degree. Sounds funny, I know, but could that have contributed to it as well? No space in here is 100% level; close but not 100%. I ask because if the work table is off even a bit would that throw it all off like that?

AnotherCaker Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 3:10am
post #7 of 18

So the stand was level, but did you actually put your hand on it and check that part of it wasn't floating? You know like a chair that looks level, but you sit in it, and now the weight shifts it.....if that makes sense?

Katiebelle74 Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 3:51am
post #8 of 18

I swear by cake stackers it's rock solid no question.

cheatize Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 4:01am
post #9 of 18

Perhaps the cakes weren't really level. It looks as if your top tier is domed, but I could be wrong.

labmom Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 4:23am
post #10 of 18

Your cake looks very nice. I see you use the rounded fondant pans.. i like those they are so pretty but you don't see them used much around here. Anyway.. I was just going to ask what people felt would work better the cakestacker system or the sps system? Right now I use wilton hidden pillars and the plate above fits right into the hidden pillars of the cake below and so on. Those are nice wide pillars and I have done 4 stacked and driven about an hour away and had no problems even with back roads to the hall. Very sturdy. A whole can be drilled in the wilton plates if you want to run dowel down center.
I think both sps and cakestakers should have stopped any leaning so I am not sure what happened. I only had that happen when one tier was off center so the rest were off center. Again you could only tell it was leaning from one view thank heavens and it was stable.
Anyway I hate to purchase the cakestacker system it is hard enough just to get plates and pillars back from halls and brides.. even with hefty deposits. That would be even more money lost having to replace small parts every time and keep some on hand during the busy system, and what I am doing with the wilton hidden pillars is pretty much what the sps system is as long as you get the pillars cut level which I have learned to do.. at long last with a pipe cutter. What about the cake safe system? has any one tried that one at least for delivery security.

bricker Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 10:47am
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie-

So the stand was level, but did you actually put your hand on it and check that part of it wasn't floating? You know like a chair that looks level, but you sit in it, and now the weight shifts it.....if that makes sense?



No I didn't do that. I just put my level on it and checked it that way. You have a very good point though. I could see where that could be a problem.

Also, is it possible that maybe one of the plates didn't connect with the center hole that is in the bottom cardboard cake circle when I went to place it on top of the cake? Could that happen and if so, would I even know it?

Thank you all for your thoughts on this. I appreciate it. Once this happens it makes you a little nervous about making another cake for someone's wedding.

bricker Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 10:54am
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by labmom

Your cake looks very nice. I see you use the rounded fondant pans.. i like those they are so pretty but you don't see them used much around here. Anyway.. I was just going to ask what people felt would work better the cakestacker system or the sps system? Right now I use wilton hidden pillars and the plate above fits right into the hidden pillars of the cake below and so on. Those are nice wide pillars and I have done 4 stacked and driven about an hour away and had no problems even with back roads to the hall. Very sturdy. A whole can be drilled in the wilton plates if you want to run dowel down center.
I think both sps and cakestakers should have stopped any leaning so I am not sure what happened. I only had that happen when one tier was off center so the rest were off center. Again you could only tell it was leaning from one view thank heavens and it was stable.
Anyway I hate to purchase the cakestacker system it is hard enough just to get plates and pillars back from halls and brides.. even with hefty deposits. That would be even more money lost having to replace small parts every time and keep some on hand during the busy system, and what I am doing with the wilton hidden pillars is pretty much what the sps system is as long as you get the pillars cut level which I have learned to do.. at long last with a pipe cutter. What about the cake safe system? has any one tried that one at least for delivery security.


Is there a difference between the pillar system you use and the sps? Also, what type of cake pans do you use?

LindaF144a Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 12:18pm
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by labmom

Your cake looks very nice. I see you use the rounded fondant pans.. i like those they are so pretty but you don't see them used much around here. Anyway.. I was just going to ask what people felt would work better the cakestacker system or the sps system? Right now I use wilton hidden pillars and the plate above fits right into the hidden pillars of the cake below and so on. Those are nice wide pillars and I have done 4 stacked and driven about an hour away and had no problems even with back roads to the hall. Very sturdy. A whole can be drilled in the wilton plates if you want to run dowel down center.
I think both sps and cakestakers should have stopped any leaning so I am not sure what happened. I only had that happen when one tier was off center so the rest were off center. Again you could only tell it was leaning from one view thank heavens and it was stable.
Anyway I hate to purchase the cakestacker system it is hard enough just to get plates and pillars back from halls and brides.. even with hefty deposits. That would be even more money lost having to replace small parts every time and keep some on hand during the busy system, and what I am doing with the wilton hidden pillars is pretty much what the sps system is as long as you get the pillars cut level which I have learned to do.. at long last with a pipe cutter. What about the cake safe system? has any one tried that one at least for delivery security.




If I understand this correctly, is the Wilton Hidden Pillars system a renamed SPS system? It sounds like they both work the same. I'm not too sure on price, but if I am in a pinch, Wilton is right here at my local Michaels.

And if you didn't precut your legs then they all should have hit the cake plate at the same time, I think. And as for it not hitting the center, you will know, at least I did when I used the SPS system.

The problem is it is after the fact, so all this will be second guessing until you go to make another one. But at least you will have a list of things to check first.

labmom Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 6:43pm
post #14 of 18

No wilton hidden pillars are just that, nice wide stance pillars that you can cut off to the leingth that you need. Or leave at the height you purchase. They can be purchased in 5 in 7 in and 9 in. I have never had a cake shift with these pllars. And I have traveled with 4-5 stacked on bad roads.
It works the same way as the bakerycraft sps system except you simply mark where you want the top layer plate by pressing it into the frosting and marking the the feet. Then cut your pillars to height (i use a pvc pipe cutter) and press them down in the cake where the plate impressions are.. then just put the plate on the cake with the feet in the pillars. And repeat. plates can be drilled if you want to put in a center dowel.
wilton does have a cake plate (white plates with clear icecle type pillars) that go into the plate first and then down into the cake. Those you can also cut them to leingth with the cutter.
But I feel comfortable with the wider hidden pillars. You can trim them after cutting with sissors if you need to slice a little here and there. And best they are cheap. I would love a cake safe.. but can't afford the price but I am saving for it. I think is the ultimate delivery tool.
Cakestakers I think would be expensive in the long run to replace parts after halls and people don't return them. and if you don't know the system it can be confusing thus parts lost at halls. I have dumpster dived at halls for plates and pillars that are white and easy to find can't imagin doing it will little screws(tiny parts) like on cakestakers. That to me is the only flaw with that system.

Sangriacupcake Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 7:15pm
post #15 of 18

Labmom, I am having the hardest time trying to cut the Wilton hidden pillars with a pvc cutter...they slip in the cutter and I can never get them even...do you have any idea what I might be doing wrong? Sounds like you've mastered this system!

indydebi Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 7:16pm
post #16 of 18

Heck I cut the wilton hidden pillars with a sharp, serated kitchen knife!

bricker Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 9:50pm
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by labmom

No wilton hidden pillars are just that, nice wide stance pillars that you can cut off to the leingth that you need. Or leave at the height you purchase. They can be purchased in 5 in 7 in and 9 in. I have never had a cake shift with these pllars. And I have traveled with 4-5 stacked on bad roads.
It works the same way as the bakerycraft sps system except you simply mark where you want the top layer plate by pressing it into the frosting and marking the the feet. Then cut your pillars to height (i use a pvc pipe cutter) and press them down in the cake where the plate impressions are.. then just put the plate on the cake with the feet in the pillars. And repeat. plates can be drilled if you want to put in a center dowel.
wilton does have a cake plate (white plates with clear icecle type pillars) that go into the plate first and then down into the cake. Those you can also cut them to leingth with the cutter.
But I feel comfortable with the wider hidden pillars. You can trim them after cutting with sissors if you need to slice a little here and there. And best they are cheap. I would love a cake safe.. but can't afford the price but I am saving for it. I think is the ultimate delivery tool.
Cakestakers I think would be expensive in the long run to replace parts after halls and people don't return them. and if you don't know the system it can be confusing thus parts lost at halls. I have dumpster dived at halls for plates and pillars that are white and easy to find can't imagin doing it will little screws(tiny parts) like on cakestakers. That to me is the only flaw with that system.



I am not clear on the difference between sps and hidden pillars...on both systems you put the pillars into the cake and you put the plastic plate on the top, basically doing the same thing?? Maybe it is easier with the hidden pillars because you can put the pillars in first, check to make sure they are all even, cut down if you have to, before you place the plate on them?? Is this the difference? Thanks for your help.

Sangriacupcake Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 10:52pm
post #18 of 18

Indy, thank you. Yes, the lady at the Wilton store (I live near Chicago) said that the pillars would cut easily with a serrated knife, so I tried that first, but I could not get them cut straight across. Tried another type of serrated knife, still crooked. So I tried the pvc cutter, and they ended up even more crooked!! Maybe I need a miter box....I'll steal my DH's tomorrow and try that.

Bricker, SPS and Wilton hidden pillars are very similar. I think the main difference is that with SPS, you punch a hole in the cardboard cake circle which fits onto a little pin on the plastic plate. Wilton doesn't have that feature, so you have to somehow affix the cardboard circle to the plastic plate under it with icing or double sided tape. SPS is probably a little more stable because of that, and you can buy the SPS supports in 4 inch lengths, which is more convenient (as long as you can get your cake to be exactly 4 in!!) However, Wilton is easier to buy locally.

If I'm wrong, maybe someone could correct me.

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