Humidity Disaster

Decorating By Kitagrl Updated 4 Oct 2011 , 1:44am by BizCoCos

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 12:59am
post #1 of 46

I have a regular venue I've been working with for about 5 months or so...I do between one and three weddings per week for them.

This week its been raining and humid all week long. On Friday I delivered three, 3 tiered cakes and one 8" party cake to them. They have an outdoor walk in cooler they have me store them in, so I just have to make one trip.

I stored some of the cakes in my fridges at home with no humidity problems whatsoever inside the fridges. Of course a little on the outside because its warm and soupy weather.

The venue lady texted me tonight with pictures that the fondant ribbon was falling/melting off the buttercream cake, they were all covered in water...red velvet cake was leaking pink through some of the buttercream, and one cake had a dreaded bubble! All these cakes were delivered just fine to their OUTDOOR walk in.

I have told her I would look into it but I'm convinced that their walk in is WAY WAY too humid. Every time the door opens, wet, rainy air rushes in and condenses. I think the only option would be for me to have to deliver AND set up every cake individually....which will be a pain in the butt, but I can't get these texts on Saturday night that my cakes were disasters and had puddles and bubbles and stripes melting off. I have NEVER had a complaint like that with ANY other cake I've ever delivered! But somehow at this venue I occasionally get complaints that something is "leaking" out of the cake, and now that stripes were falling off and she sent me a picture of water puddles and bubbles all over the surface of one cake. Really?????

A super soggy walk in cooler could cause all that right?

45 replies
WillowsCry Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 1:11am
post #2 of 46

It would seem so to me seeing as how that is the only common denominator to your problem. It only seems to happen at that particular venue, was fine at your home etc. Can you get their cooler tested for humidity levels? You can buy a humidity "thermometer" at local pet stores. They use them for animals such as snakes that are humidity sensitive. That might prove to them that they are the source of the problem and relive you of responsibility. Did you happen to take any pictures of your cake before they were placed in their cooler, or as you placed them there before you left? That might further help your position on this.

Karen421 Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 1:23am
post #3 of 46

Sorry you had that problem! Yes, a soggy cooler can cause that and it sounds like it's their refrigerator. Living in Arkansas, humidity is a constant problem, but I refrigerate all my cakes, and haven't had that problem (yet).

cakestyles Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 1:30am
post #4 of 46

Were the cakes in boxes? If not, I would definitely box them from now on.

The cardboard would absorb any moisture that may be in the walk-in refrigerator.

Wal-mart sells all size packing boxes that are tall enough for up to a 5 tier cake to be completely covered. The most expensive one is I believe under $5 and they're nice and sturdy.


Even when I refrigerate my cakes here at home I box them up.

jules5000 Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 1:45am
post #5 of 46

kitagirl: here are my thoughts on your situation. #1 is she calling you because they expect you to come fix the cakes that their fridge messed up and what does she think you can do to them after that much damage? Do they put them in the fridge or do you? in Another words do they see your completed work before it goes in? or do they pay you when you deliver the cakes? I am just wondering also if their fridge is going to be a problem for your reputation that you have worked so hard to build up? I would think that if they see the completed cakes before they are put in that they would know it is their fridge and would have it fixed. They are not only making you go to extra effort for something you have already done, when it is so unnecessary. You should not have to come back and repair something their fridge caused. Yes, I know that you want your cake to be right and want to know about these problems, but they need to have their fridge fixed.

Somebody mentioned a special kind of box that you could get to place them in, but wouldn't the special box even be affected by that kind of humidity? I would think that the bottom of the box could be weakened some and not be dependable .

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 1:51am
post #6 of 46

The guy who unlocks the cooler for me also signs off on each cake and then I collect my check(s).

Its pretty obvious (to me, not them) that if a cooler is outdoors, every time you open the door, the rainy, wet air is going to go inside and condense. The fondant decos, esp, on the buttercream, didn't stand a chance. I just delivered a fondant-on-buttercream cake to my own client a couple weeks ago and it was fine, no complaints, no melting, no falling apart. Sigh.

I'm probably going to have to just start delivering and setting up each time and charging a bit of delivery fee because its not my fault they do not have a suitable place to store cakes.

I did make a big mistake by not taking pix of these cakes...one I thought was rather ugly (just the design) and the other two were regular designs I do for them all the time. But there's always a guy from the kitchen who watches me unload them because he is the one with the walk in key.

She sent me a few pix and there was literally water beaded up everywhere. Um...I didn't put it there!!!!!! I know its terrible weather but I can't help that...the only thing I can help is to just store it here until its time for each wedding, I guess....

fabray13 Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 2:23am
post #7 of 46

I totally agree that its the humidity. I just had this problem too this morning. Went to get one of my cakes out of the refrigerator and the door wasnt shut all the way!!! The fondant decorations were completely melted and dripping off the cake. Im sure it was from it running all night!

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 2:28am
post #8 of 46

Maybe I'm just hormonal, but I am so tempted at this moment to throw in the towel, close up the home business, and just get a part time job somewhere.....sometimes it seems like a little something 3 times a week might be better than the constant stress of doing it all myself.

I dunno. It will look better in the morning. I guess.

cakestyles Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 2:51am
post #9 of 46

Jules, it's not really a special box that I'm speaking about it's just a box.

The box keeps the humidity away from the cake....not only humidity but other food odors that could be in the venue's walk-in.

Strong packing tape on the bottom of the box keeps it very sturdy.,..that's how I assemble it and of course I carry it from the bottom as I would instruct anyone to do as well.


I never deliver cakes unboxed because if it's humid or raining out I don't want those elements on my cake, so the box protects it from all of that.

Kitagirl, it's feelings like you're feeling right now that keep me doing this only on a part-time basis.

It's just too stressful....I'd grow to hate baking/decorating if I had to make 3 cakes a week.

My hat's off to all of you that do it.

Toptier Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 3:17am
post #10 of 46

Hi Kitagrl, what other items are in the fridge? If there are items that contain a lot of moisture in there...vegetables, fruits for example, those will make a fridge really humid. I use a dedicated fridge just for cakes and my cakes are just fine but if I put them in a walk-in that has other stuff in it the same thing happens, lots of beaded up moisture and collapsed fondant bows, etc. I'm so sorry this happened. Is this the only refrigerator they have?

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 3:38am
post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toptier

Hi Kitagrl, what other items are in the fridge? If there are items that contain a lot of moisture in there...vegetables, fruits for example, those will make a fridge really humid. I use a dedicated fridge just for cakes and my cakes are just fine but if I put them in a walk-in that has other stuff in it the same thing happens, lots of beaded up moisture and collapsed fondant bows, etc. I'm so sorry this happened. Is this the only refrigerator they have?




Yes its not only outdoors, about 20 feet from a large river, but they do keep produce I think and stuff in there. They have a few other coolers inside but they keep them too full of other things to have room for cakes.

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 3:48am
post #12 of 46

Incidentally I have complained about the cooler before....back in like, June, they said my filling was leaking outside of the cake. Like not oozing..just "leaking" like pink watery stuff. But then they cut into it and it was "fine". I told them the cooler was too humid and it was condensation. They did not agree.

I've never been told before that my cakes "leaked" before I started putting cakes in this outdoor cooler!!!!!

scp1127 Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 3:51am
post #13 of 46

cakestyles, would she benefit from wrapping the box in plastic as if the cake was to be frozen? Wouldn't that keep out all moisture along with the box?

scp1127 Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 3:52am
post #14 of 46

And the door could have been left open by kitchen staff. Just a small crack on a bad day would be enough.

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 3:54am
post #15 of 46

Honestly, a wedding cake with 4 tiers is difficult enough to maneuver...I can see somebody grabbing a box and having the humidity making the bottom soft and the whole thing falls to the floor! I find a tall heavy cake difficult to carry in a box....

I feel the only answer for me is to deliver each cake individually. The thing is I recently waived my delivery fees as a favor, since I was combining deliveries...but now doing them separate, I'll need to charge again. Its an hour round trip each time....

We'll see what they say on Monday.

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 3:55am
post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

And the door could have been left open by kitchen staff. Just a small crack on a bad day would be enough.




Its a good thought, but they have to lock it each time so probably not. However its been raining and muggy all week so any time the door opens, all that wet, heavy air rushes inside and starts condensing....

scp1127 Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 3:57am
post #17 of 46

Ask the venue if they can store other items in the outside cooler and give you one that is better. It is their reputation too.

sugarlover Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 3:58am
post #18 of 46

As I said on your other post. DOn't throw in the towel! I was just on FB and looked at your work. You do awesome work. Either they need 2 fix the cooler or give you another cooler that can hold the cakes until the wedding ceremonies. Just think about before you quit!

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 4:00am
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Ask the venue if they can store other items in the outside cooler and give you one that is better. It is their reputation too.




I've tried that but they don't go for it. Anyway recently the river flooded and the lower cooler was inaccessible and I had to put my cakes in their other walk ins. They were not excited about it...one time I put it in a tiny cooler near the ballroom and I guess that was okay. The next time, they had no room in that one so I put it in the kitchen and they made me put it VERY high up because they said they'd run into it or mess it up because they are not careful in their walk in and put a lot of food in it for their catering and restaurant.

I've been complaining about this outdoor cooler on and off since I got there. haha. Most weeks it seems to work okay but in real humid weather...well...my cakes suffer and then it looks like I'm putting out shoddy workmanship.

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 4:02am
post #20 of 46

I should add that I work directly with the venue event coordinator, so she has no control over the weather or the kitchen or the coolers either...however she DOES have to answer to the brides when they get upset that the fondant strips are falling off their cake and melting!!!! So its not her fault...and it looks to the bride like its mine...so its one of those things that is difficult because somebody has to take the blame for it, and neither her nor I can control what happened...my only answer being that I no longer use their cooler from here on out, and just make multiple deliveries. I guess I will get that answer on Monday.

sugarlover Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 4:07am
post #21 of 46

Well if you're going to do multiple deliveries make sure you are compensated for all that extra travel back and forth. Gas AIN'T cheap these days. You feel me?

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 4:09am
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarlover

Well if you're going to do multiple deliveries make sure you are compensated for all that extra travel back and forth. Gas AIN'T cheap these days. You feel me?




I know, I told her I'd be throwing back in the delivery fee. We'll see.

scp1127 Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 4:09am
post #23 of 46

This looks like a no-win situation. They are obviously not taking steps to remedy the situation.

This is what I would do:

Keep on like you are doing, delivering individually if you must. But take some time to seriously look for another venue or rely more on the public. You are not going to be happy there and you will never know if disaster will strike. They sound like they are not going to help you. This isn't an immediate fix, but, as you stated, you will either be making cakes or getting another job. So consider yourself cake job hunting.

cakestyles Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 1:35pm
post #24 of 46

I hate to sound like a broken record but a simple solution would be to box it.....sturdy boxes wrapped on the bottom with packing tape will not collapse from moisture. And if the cooler were humid enough to collapse a box....well than a cake shouldn't be in that cooler to begin with.

If they're storing other foods in there next to unboxed cakes there's a chance those food odors could be absorbed into the cake.
It's actually easier to carry a sturdy box with a cake than it is to carry just the cake....boxes are forgiving.

Susan I suppose wrapping the box with plastic would give extra protection but if you get the nice thick packing boxes you shouldn't have to.

It sounds like you get a lot of business from this place...I'd try to rectify the situation with the simplest solution for both of you. If you absolutely can't carry a boxed cake maybe have one ready to place the cake in at least while its in the cooler.

If it didn't work I wouldn't even suggest it...I live in a humid area so I know it helps immensely.

Good luck!

scp1127 Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 2:27pm
post #25 of 46

Cakestyles is exactly right in her assessment of the situation. After reading her response, I think it is better than mine. I would try her way first and then start looking for replacement clients if all else fails with that venue.

cakesdivine Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 8:25pm
post #26 of 46

I had a similar problem with a venue that was sending me 1-2 events per weekend. It was an outdoor venue with absolutely NO refrigeration and no AC for the outdoor pavilion. I made the decision to no longer service their venue after 2 complaints of melted cakes. Well when you have an outdoor venue and it is a 95 degree day in the shade, & the inhouse planner insists on delivery at 4pm yet allows cake to sit in heat until 9:30pm to 10pm before serving you can pretty much bet that the cake will have melted by that time. Hello people butter, shortening, fondant melt in the heat. I could no longer allow to have my reputation ruined due to the venue's inadequacies. Now if a bride calls and says they were referred to me by that venue I politely decline.

Kitagrl Posted 25 Sep 2011 , 8:33pm
post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

I had a similar problem with a venue that was sending me 1-2 events per weekend. It was an outdoor venue with absolutely NO refrigeration and no AC for the outdoor pavilion. I made the decision to no longer service their venue after 2 complaints of melted cakes. Well when you have an outdoor venue and it is a 95 degree day in the shade, & the inhouse planner insists on delivery at 4pm yet allows cake to sit in heat until 9:30pm to 10pm before serving you can pretty much bet that the cake will have melted by that time. Hello people butter, shortening, fondant melt in the heat. I could no longer allow to have my reputation ruined due to the venue's inadequacies. Now if a bride calls and says they were referred to me by that venue I politely decline.




Wow...well I feel better...I don't understand how venues can be so uneducated about cake as to not understand that there are certain things bakers cannot control....one being how the cake is stored and cared for after they leave it at the venue!!!!!!

I'm pretty much going to insist that I add a delivery fee and that I set up EVERY cake from now on...more work on my part, but its better than having upset texts and horrifying photos sent to me on Saturday night. That, or they can figure out a better storage method. I guess though it should be okay in a few more weeks when colder weather sets in.....

jules5000 Posted 26 Sep 2011 , 2:14am
post #28 of 46

Kitagirl: I think you will be better off and save your self some trouble in the long run by charging for the deliverys and set-ups and not trusting their fridge. If they are not going to own up to the problem being theirs then that would be less headaches for you.

Thanks Cakestyles for explaining. Yes that would definitely help the box be sturdier for sure.

Pebbles1727 Posted 26 Sep 2011 , 3:13am
post #29 of 46

Ok, my 2 cents...since it happened to all 3 cakes at the venue at the same time...it's the venue, fridge or mishandling...taking it out, letting it sit out, etc.... who knows. I don't think there is a way to rectify this other than charging delivery and delivering and setting up each cake before event. That's the only way you'll have a better idea that cake does not get mishandled. I guess you could try boxes, but if the problem is them taking the cakes out of the fridge too early and leaving them in hot humid conditions, box won't help much. My vote again is for deliveries much closer to the weddings. I know it sounds like a pain, but you are amazingly talented, and I bet have a stellar reputation...leaving cakes in care of the venue that now continually proves incapable of taking good care of your creations may affect your reputation and eventually you will lose the venue anyways.
Good Luck, P

Kitagrl Posted 26 Sep 2011 , 6:41pm
post #30 of 46

Well as far as I know, things are okay...we are emailing back and forth about the upcoming cakes and she agreed we can add a delivery fee and I will set up the cakes myself until winter...then I can use the cooler during winter since it won't be so humid. So I'll just decide when I think its safe to use the cooler and when not, and just set up the ones I don't want sitting in their cooler.

Thanks so much for everyone's encouragement and advice!

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