Bubble Guppies Disaster

Decorating By norahndz Updated 3 Oct 2013 , 2:18pm by KarenAU

norahndz Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 6:15pm
post #1 of 39

Last weekend I make a two tiered cake with cream frosting, and cream filling with raspberries.

I test my cakes for the travel survival by shaking them on their stand all through the decorating process.

Other than a small a small "belly gut" on each tier.













The cake was to travel about 20 miles one direction before another 70 miles another direction on a beautiful saturday morning.


This is how the cake arrived.  icon_sad.gif











Now I am just waiting to hear from my distressed client.  I feel bad for them, and for the person who picked up the cake, but not about how the cake was constructed. 

Please advise as to my defense. 

I do not beleive it's my fault!  Or is it?

38 replies
Gena575 Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 6:26pm
post #2 of 39

Those aren't the same cakes...the ruined cake is 3 tiers and has seahorses on it, while the original is 2 tiers with no seahorses.  I'm so confused.

-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 6:34pm
post #3 of 39

looks like


the bottom tier slid apart


the top tier slid off


so it looks like three tiers




but how did the sticks the letters were on jump from the top tier onto the second tier??


the seahorses are the 's' in the name sasha that's on the top tier before delivery

AZCouture Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 6:35pm
post #4 of 39

It's the same cake, it's just so damaged it's not recogizaable. I don't see seahorses, I see whatever was holding the little figures. What looks like a third tier, is just the two layers of the bottom tier come apart.


OP, why on earth would you shake your cakes? What are you using for support that would cause so much distrust in their ability to hold up a small two tier cake?

Aurora42196 Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 6:42pm
post #5 of 39

AK8 the two layers of the bottom tier split apart. Making it look like three tiers. Was your buttercream shortening or butter based? Was the cake firmly chilled before its long drive? Many things could contribute to this.

Gena575 Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 6:42pm
post #6 of 39

I must need more caffeine today!  Thanks ladies for seeing what I couldn't.  I went back and forth between the two for a good 5 minutes LOL!  The seahorse I'm seeing on the side of the "center" tier must have been a smear of the icing holding the figure to the side. 

norahndz Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 6:53pm
post #7 of 39

Again, I didnt deliver, so I just received the picture on Facebook.  No one has come forward about this directly to me YET!!!

The seahorses are in fact the S' on the name SASHA.  there is a mystery as to how the letters ended up in the first tier for I beleive and will assume that something other than the car ride happened to it.  why else whould the letter end up in the first tier.


I support my cakes the following way:

I ice the bottom tier and insert about 6 boba straws in it before i set the top layer on it which is set on a small cardboard base..  it's only a two tiered cake.  It if were a three layer cake, I'd either add a dowel or use the hard plastic bases.

i iced and filled the cake with cream frosting (pastry pride) and chillled it overnight.

i shake the cakse lightly as to simulate a car ride and make sure the added decorations dont fall off.  so i know its safe proof.


the loooong car ride may have been a factor in this disaster, the way they set it in their car may have also contributed.  I can only advise a customer so much about how to set it so that it's stable.

and word from a guest at the party said to me: "The 411, was a simple malfunction 2nd tier went lopsided. That's all, I'm no rocket scientist maybe it was extra moist at one end if the cake."

KoryAK Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 7:31pm
post #8 of 39

What was the support system inside this cake?  With ANY sort of dowels inserted into the bottom tier, I can't see how it would split like that.

-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 7:59pm
post #9 of 39

nora, you don't have to say one way or another


but this has been a possibly related concern of mine for some time


if someone uses straws and inserts them into the cake and clips them off


then the cake might not be stable


(because i've seen them do this ^^^ on tv and elsewhere)


the correct way is:


  • you insert one straw


  • remove it


  • cut all straws to that same length


  • re-insert the straws


that's the only way a cake can be stacked securely


if the straws are all the same height to each other


not the same height as the top of the cake

CakesByJen2 Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 8:06pm
post #10 of 39

Are you *sure* you put supports in the bottom tier?  I just don't see how the layers could separate like that if there were dowel or straws in it, UNLESS something really severe happened, like the cake was dropped, slid off the car seat into the floor, etc.  It looks to me like the cake got too warm and suffered from rough roads and/or being on a slanted surface, or worse.  Maybe the sun was hitting it while on the long drive, and they slammed on their brakes for something?


I think the topper ended up on the first tier from the second tier sliding backwards into the side of the box, which pushed the topper forward causing it to fall onto the bottom tier.


The only time I ever had a tier slide off is when my cake was not chilled and I was forced into a lane I usually avoid due to a severe slant in that part of the road.  Then the whole 2 tiered cake slide right off it's board! 

norahndz Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 8:06pm
post #11 of 39

k8, the straw cutting in the same length is exactly what i do.  i have learned the hard lessons of cutting steps along the way and i frankly do not want to risk this anymore.

the mystery still stands for i am afraid that the 100 mile ride or setting the cake some other way (like in someones lap [I suspect]) could have cause this.  I am afraid of asking the person who delivered the cake (i know them personally). and I am afraid of opening up a can of worms with my client...

My real question is wether I have to defend myself to them if they make a claim.  i do not have a store nor have i been in business for longer than three years to know how to handle this from a customer service perspective.


To all:

I appreciate all of your comment, since I've seen comments that I wouldnt've thought of. 


thanks to all

norahndz Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 8:08pm
post #12 of 39

by the way, when i deliver, i have a magnetic car sign that says:



then i drive super slow.  lol

-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 8:09pm
post #13 of 39

going a step further


i lay the cut dowels/straws side by side


i take a ruler and touching the cut ends scoot them from each side


back and forth with the straight edge


making sure the cuts are not on a random angle that will throw things off


you can tell if they are true or not then you can trim them so you see them all move as one unit


-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 8:12pm
post #14 of 39

cool, nora!!


but those letter pieces are stuck back into the belly of the bottom tier


that was some brake job!!


seems like someone was c.y-ing their a

-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 8:24pm
post #15 of 39

i think pastry pride is not strong enough to hold the layers together


you needed a dam of icing icing-- buttercream icing so it holds fast/tight


or have the cake delivered so that it stays fully chilled and that might not work without the dam


the long ride and gravity took it

norahndz Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 8:27pm
post #16 of 39

How would you respond to the client if they call you on it.  It's been three days and no mention of it yet. icon_biggrin.gif

pinky73 Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 8:35pm
post #17 of 39

What a cute cake! I'm sorry this happened to all of your hard work! I don;t think it's your fault that someone picked up the cake, drove 100 miles and by the time they arrived at their destination, the cake was messed up. You have know way of knowing how they drove, if they had to slam on the brakes, heck, even a steady and controlled brake can result in massive forces that are otherwise un-noticeable without a pretty cake in the car with you..at least it's that way for me. Anyway, I'm not sure you have any control over another person's driving habits after you hand over the cake. I find it curious that the topper with the letters on sticks managed to insert themselves into the bottom tier...as if they were magically plucked off the top tier and placed in the bottom tier after that part of the tier was exposed. What's with that? Maybe the customer was just trying to salvage what they could and then snapped a picture. I'm really sorry because that is a sweet cake.

norahndz Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 8:44pm
post #18 of 39

THanks Pinky.  It makes me feel better, and I will sure reconsider my cake stacking anyways for future cakes.

What would you do if they call you to claim anything about this disaster?

-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 9:05pm
post #19 of 39

hmmm, i don't insure a cake past my handing it off to the cutomer or placing it on the cake table


but i've done everything i can to ensure the safe arrival too


i'm sure you cautioned the first driver (was it the same driver the second leg?)


that's quite a journey for a cake


so it survived the first 20 mile leg??


i think in this particular case i'd call them & offer a generous refund


i think the picture posting on fb is their way of calling you gently


because i think construction might have been a bit tighter--the icing thing


but man what a pretty cake so much work went into it


i tell my clients that they need to drive like there's a fresh egg rolling on the dashboard blablabla

doramoreno62 Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 9:57pm
post #20 of 39

I think a sharpened dowel driven down the center thru all layers and cardboard would have helped. I do this with all my tiered cakes. And I use Pastry pride, inside and out. On all my cakes. I have never had a problem with them sliding or collapsing or anything. And I've been caking for 20+ years. Never. Not once.(knocking on wood lol). Take a look at my gallery and all you will see are Pastry Pride cakes. I'm sorry this happened to you. I hope it never happens again!

-K8memphis Posted 22 Jan 2013 , 10:08pm
post #21 of 39
Originally Posted by doramoreno62 

I think a sharpened dowel driven down the center thru all layers and cardboard would have helped. I do this with all my tiered cakes. And I use Pastry pride, inside and out. On all my cakes. I have never had a problem with them sliding or collapsing or anything. And I've been caking for 20+ years. Never. Not once.(knocking on wood lol). Take a look at my gallery and all you will see are Pastry Pride cakes. I'm sorry this happened to you. I hope it never happens again!



i defer to the pastry pride expert!!!


no refund then if there's no construction issue


maybe a discount for the next cake

denetteb Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 1:42am
post #22 of 39

The driving hazards are double in this case if there were two different drivers.  I suspect the first driver didn't inform the second driver the same thing you informed the first driver.....don't leave in the car, drive careful, don't set in on the sloped seat, etc, etc. 

cai0311 Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 1:46am
post #23 of 39

AI wouldn't do anything until contacted. For all you know the person that picked up the cake slammed on the brakes, cake went flying and told the client what happened - that it was not your fault. Could explain why you haven't heard from the client.

Make sure you have all pick ups (even non tiered cakes) sign a release form releasing you of any responsibility of damage after pick up.

Also, I hammer a sharpened wooden dowel down the center of all my cakes. Did you have a center support?

RedInLove Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 6:14am
post #24 of 39

I agree that those topper pieces were definitely repositioned on to what remained of the bottom layer. With the pieces being on picks, I'd expect to see ripped up holes where those pieces were torn out of the cake from an impact. There are no serious markings on the top of the top layer to indicate any violent removal. Also, with them all landing like that on the bottom layer, picks all piercing the cake to stand upright? Not a chance. They were all stick in there after the fact, for whatever reason.


I'm assuming that the person that ordered the cake instructed you to give it to whomever picked it up. Wouldn't matter to me if it was the buyer, or their designated agent. They authorized it, so it's on them.

bittersweety Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 1:44pm
post #25 of 39

oh my heart dropped when i saw that picture!  heres my theory...even if the cake was too soft, with supports in the bottom tier i don;t see how it could have split like that... i have a feeling something happened on the customers end..i'm thinking someone dropped the cake while it was still in the box and then they stuck the letters back in just for photo reasons... its just such a disaster!! even slight leaning or cake being a bit soft wouldn't create this bad of a mess!

remnant3333 Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 4:12pm
post #26 of 39

Sorry this happened to your cake. It was a very pretty cake and I know a lot of time went into making it. I know it is pretty upsetting. I agree that you should always make people sign a waiver that once you give them the cake and if something happens it is not your fault.  Looks like to me that someone either slammed on brakes, dropped it or turned a corner a little too fast. I do not think it had anything to do with your cake being unstable!!! Let us know what happens.  I could only hope and pray that if it were the person's fault that they would openly admit it to you. I really do not think you should have to lose money if it was their fault instead of yours.  Do whatever is in your heart to do. If you want to refund a partial payment then that is up to you.  Good luck!!

VickiDelores Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 2:53am
post #27 of 39

The finished product was gorgeous.  I had a similar incident and had several sleepless nights. I am pretty sure there is more to the story than you are being told. I would not refund the money because when it left your hands it was structurally sound. Unless they want to pay you to transport the cake, they are responsible for what happens during transport. I will never allow someone to ever transport a tiered cake that I have made unless they sign a waiver form.  Please don’t continue to worry. This is due to rough driving.

GirlvsCake Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 4:42am
post #28 of 39

 When I send a cake out the door, I advice people on how to carry it, to be extra carefuI, crank the a/c if warm outside, and  tell them that once it is out of my hands it is all theirs. I don't feel like I am accountable for the safety of the cake after that. I am never rude to my customers about it, I just make sure we have an understanding. I also try to deliver most of my cakes.It sounds like you did everything you could do for a 2 tier cake to be stable. The icing could have been an issue but if it stayed cold enough and the driver wasn't going crazy then things should have been ok. I drove my grand daughters cake 600 miles and it made it fine on the floor of my van. As far as how to deal with the customer, if they call and complain then you do what you feel the most comfortable with. You don't want to lose a customer and you don't want a bad reputation as word of mouth is everything for a cake decorator. Every situation is different. Good luck. I hope it all works out for you. 

Ali3971 Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 9:51pm
post #29 of 39

If my customer wants to pick up the cake rather than it be delivered I be sure to let them know once the cake leaves my possession I am no longer responsible for what happens to it..

kikiandkyle Posted 25 Jan 2013 , 1:48am
post #30 of 39

AIt doesn't look melted to me, it looks like it took a sharp shock.

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