Rachie204 Posted 1 Apr 2012 , 3:20am
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I am assuming a dowel slipped, but I may be wrong. I had my first wedding cake disaster this weekend....I will attempt to post before and after delivery photos. The cake was white almond sour cream with basic buttercream icing. I doweled each tier. It was maybe a 15-30 minute drive with a little sun and construction but not anything terrible. Any ideas?
LL

19 replies
Rachie204 Posted 1 Apr 2012 , 3:23am
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Before....
LL

Bakingangel Posted 1 Apr 2012 , 4:02am
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What a beautiful cake! I'm sorry you had problems. If you used wooden dowels and traveled with it completely stacked, that might be one of the reasons for the shifting of the tiers. Did you use a long center dowel through all the tiers?

Ever since I switched to bubble tea straws and space them approx. 2 inches apart and use a long center dowel through the tiers, I'm able to travel with the cake stacked without any problems.

Please give more detail so we can help further.

Don't be discouraged! It was still a beautiful cake.

Rachie204 Posted 1 Apr 2012 , 4:12am
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thanks bakingangel~ I always use the plastic tube style dowels for my everyday cakes and usually use SPS for my wedding cakes. I have recently used the wooden dowels because the store was out of the plastic tube style. Since the cake was smaller than most of the wedding cakes I make (it was a 6 8 10) I figured I didn't need to bother with the SPS. I guess I was wrong. I didn't put the dowel through the center, I am under the impression the middle one that goes all the way through is just to keep one of the top tiers from falling off, am I wrong about that? I know Leah always says the center dowel is a false comfort so I often don't fool with it.....? Ugh I am still sick over this. On the bright side the grooms cake turned out really well....

CWR41 Posted 1 Apr 2012 , 4:55am
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachie204

I didn't put the dowel through the center, I am under the impression the middle one that goes all the way through is just to keep one of the top tiers from falling off, am I wrong about that?




Top tiers won't just fall off, they might slide off or vibrate off-center when the weight shifts during transport. A center dowel (or two) would help to prevent the tiers from sliding apart from one another when the cake is moved. I think if a support dowel completely slipped, the entire cake would have collapsed.

Bakingangel Posted 1 Apr 2012 , 6:34pm
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Find a local Asian grocery store. They will have bubble tea straws and the price will be cheap. Personally, I don't care for the white plastic tubes for a couple of reasons, 1) Cost. 2) They are too wide. 3) Hard to cut.

The bubble tea straws are very strong, the size of a jumbo milk shake straw, and easy to cut evenly with scissors. Great to use for any kind of cake.

I do mostly wedding cakes and love the bubble tea straws and 1/2 " foam core boards.

Let me know if you try it and what you think.
icon_smile.gif

boge Posted 1 Apr 2012 , 7:04pm
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icon_cry.gif I had my first last month and like you I am still sick about it! To make it worse, it was the wedding gift for a friend. I was unfamiliar wth the location and when carrying the cake uphill one of the wooden dowels in bottom layer must have slipped and the the cake collapsed on that side. I usually use a hard base, but used the cardboard wilton base for lower level, and did not pound it into the cardboard as much as the others. Either way I was and am sick about it, and the next delivery I made had me so stressed out. I feel for you.

sugarpixy Posted 1 Apr 2012 , 7:25pm
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We have all had a cake disaster! At least yours stayed together:0) I NEVER use wooden dowels for support anymore only for the central dowel!
Bubble teas straws as most have suggested or plastic dowels are the only way to go.

Rachie204 Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 1:02am
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thanks eveyone...at least now I know that it was probably due to the wooden dowels...lesson learned icon_sad.gif

Tails Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 11:17am

So wait, this cake only had a wooden dowl down the center but no supports per layer?

leah_s Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 11:41am

SPS, EVERY cake, EVERY time. Even on a 6/8 I use SPS. It's easy. It's fast. It's secure.

Even small cakes are important cakes and deserve SPS.

When the supports don't physically connect to the plate/cardboard under the cake, they *can* shift which means they no longer provide support.

Rachie204 Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 2:00pm

tails, no...I used 5 wooden dowels in the 10 inch bottom and probably 4 wooden dowels in the 8 inch middle

Leah, I have learned my lesson. I will be ordering a truck load of SPS this week...I cant stomach this again.

Rachie204 Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 2:04pm

Leah, Do you just include the price of the sps into the cake so the client keeps the sps or do you charge a deposit on even the small cakes so that you get the pieces back?

One of the reasons I have only uses the sps a few times is because even though I buy the 4 inch legs for the plates sometimes they are still a little bit too tall for my tiers. Probably only a 1/4 inch or so. But they are so hard to cut....is there an easy way to cut them or should i just leave them that height and have the border cover the extra room? That seems like the wrong thing to do...but the legs are super hard, not sure how to cut them other than my husband using power tools.

sugarpixy Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 2:16pm

Purchase Susan Zambito's viedo Sucessful Stacking and you will never have a disaster again. Infact all of her viedos are a must.

ddaigle Posted 2 Apr 2012 , 2:18pm

I only use wooden dowels and a center dowel. I know it's old school---but I have never, ever had a shift or disaster and I have traveled with fully assembled 3 & 4 tier cakes. I also travel with a completely chilled (over night) right-out-of the frig cake..and drive like an old lady. To me, traveling with a room temperature cake is setting myself up for failure.

Evoir Posted 4 Apr 2012 , 10:36am

I know you would have used it if your supplier had it in stock. Sometimes you need to make do with what is available. Before SPS and bubble tea straws people used wooden dowels. I sometimes still do. There are a few key points to remember. Always measure rowels perfectly. They must all be the same height, which is the highest part of the top of the tier they're in. Sand them down till they're perfect. Place 1 for every 2" cake width it's supporting + 1 or 2 eg to support an 8" use 5 or 6 dowels. Use buttercream or fondant to fill lopsided gaps, the apply your ribbon or piping border. Always add in one or two centre dowels, especially if you're delivering solo. And, if it's BC-covered, leave home with it properly refrigerated. Keep it solid.

Having said all this, I use wooden dowels only in heavier cakes (eg mud, banana cake, hummingbird, fruit), and never butter cake. Always use straws for that!

Hth!

MerlotCook Posted 28 Apr 2012 , 3:35am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachie204

Leah, Do you just include the price of the sps into the cake so the client keeps the sps or do you charge a deposit on even the small cakes so that you get the pieces back?

One of the reasons I have only uses the sps a few times is because even though I buy the 4 inch legs for the plates sometimes they are still a little bit too tall for my tiers. Probably only a 1/4 inch or so. But they are so hard to cut....is there an easy way to cut them or should i just leave them that height and have the border cover the extra room? That seems like the wrong thing to do...but the legs are super hard, not sure how to cut them other than my husband using power tools.




I know this post is a bit old, but I wanted to add that I do include the SPS cost in my quote. I charge $15 regardless of the cake size (it all evens out in the end!). They do not have to return it; I once had a bride return it 4 months later, in a bag, UNWASHED- ewwww!

cfao Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 12:44pm

Rachie, I hate the ones that are made to use with sps, you're right, they are so hard to cut. The ones Wilton makes that come 4 to a pkg actually fit the sps plates pretty well and they are a breeze to cut. I mark the cake with the sps plate I'm going to use, push the support posts in place leaving maybe 1/2" above the cake, place the sps plate in place on the posts and then push it down in place. Easy to cut, easy to use and peace of mind no matter how far you are delivering a cake.

leah_s Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 1:11pm

I always charged an equipment fee of $10 per tier. In a decade no one ever cancelled an order because of it. In fact, no one ever objected. Its all in how you explain it. "This is a support system that's very different and very secure. Without it your cake will fall down."

The overwhelming response was, "Oh yes, I want that!"

And yes, if there's a ribbon or a border, just use that to cover a small gap. Then figure out how much batter of each type of cake you bake that needs to go into the pan to bake up to the top of the pan. This will give you the correct height so you don't have to cut the layers.

To cut the SPS legs, you need a miter saw and box, or power tools. They're strong for a reason. icon_smile.gif

SPS every cake, every time.

costumeczar Posted 29 Apr 2012 , 6:08pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddaigle

I only use wooden dowels and a center dowel. I know it's old school---but I have never, ever had a shift or disaster and I have traveled with fully assembled 3 & 4 tier cakes. I also travel with a completely chilled (over night) right-out-of the frig cake..and drive like an old lady. To me, traveling with a room temperature cake is setting myself up for failure.




I was going to say the same thing. I never use anything but wooden dowels, and I don't bother with a center dowel at all.

The only time I've ever had a cake shift sideways (it didn't collapse, but the tier shifted on the lower one a little) was when the cake wasn't refrigerated before delivery. Warm cake is the danger, not the wooden dowels.

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