TEsplin Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 4:47pm
post #1 of

AI have a huge wedding this past weekend, where I had done everything but beg the bride to cover her buttercream cake in fondant to help protect it. The wedding was in south eastern VS, which is extremely humid. The wedding was outdoors, in a covered tent, without fans or cooling. It was 88 degrees outside. At the reception they were having a formal sit down dinner, which was to last 1 hour, and then the cake cutting. Th bride, groom, and I all decided it would be best for the cake the set it up in the kitchen and for them to carry it out to the tent when they were ready. I expressed to them how concerned I was over carrying a size of this size, fully assembled, and not dropping it, etc.. Well, I left the cake in the kitchen in perfect condition, and sure enough they dropped the cake carrying it out. Does anyone have any suggestions of anything I could, or should have done differently? Would it have been okay to leave the cake out in that temperature for that long? By the time I had assembled and decorated it, it would have been out there for 2 hours. It was out of the direct sunlight, but still at 88 degrees, extremely humid, and buttercream only. It just makes me sick and frustrated, because the bride is now pretty furious with me.

Thanks! Tracey

44 replies
shannycakers Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 4:53pm
post #2 of

absolutely nothing wrong here, you did everything you could for that cake. If you left it outside it would have melted, and you are not responsible after assembly and dropping if off where they stated to drop it off at. If they didnt have the manpower to lift the cake and get it to the tent for cutting, they should have asked someone else for help, not your fault..

 

They dropped it, they are responsible..and you warned them about temp.

Sorry this happened for everyone in volved but you did your due diligence on this one:)

sixinarow Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 5:07pm
post #3 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEsplin 
It just makes me sick and frustrated, because the bride is now pretty furious with me.

Thanks!
Tracey

I'm not sure why the bride is mad at YOU. I would be ticked at the people who dropped the cake, not the person who made it. She needs to lay the blame on the appropriate party, and I would probably find a "nice" way of telling her so. She may have been spoon fed a lie about faulty construction from the ones who actually dropped the cake.

Not your fault!!

TEsplin Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 5:55pm
post #4 of

ABut how hot is too hot? It seems a lot of her guests are saying it was not too hot to have the cake out, and that it should have been put in the tent to begin with. I just know that if I were to book the same wedding again, I would do the exact same thing still.

abchambers Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 6:49pm
post #5 of

You did everything you could. You even said that you came to that agreement with the bride/groom. You gave them ample warning.

 

You can't let the guests dictate either what environment was right for the cake. 88degrees out of the sunlight might have been comfortable for them, but we (as professional cake decorators) KNOW that buttercream can melt very easily in these conditions. We don't tell others how to do THEIR job, so we can't let others tell us how to do our job against our better judgement.

 

Hopefully you had this agreement in writing and signed by the bride and groom as proof and that the only person who can be held liable is the person (or people) who actually dropped it.

cakefat Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 11:06pm
post #6 of

She's misdirecting her anger at you- you didn't drop the cake. And the guests are not professional cake decorators or caterers- which I would politely point out to the bride when I politely reminded her that you warned her about what would happen and she chose to have buttercream in an non cooled environment. Totally not your fault. At all.

 

Personally, I would not accept orders from brides/clients who insisted on environments or cakes that would cause potential disaster. It only causes unwanted stress later.  

 

I know of a  professional wedding cake maker here, where I live, who refuses to leave her cakes in any outside weddings (due to the year round heat and humidity we have here) because of just that. She says it's a just a recipe for disaster. 

liz at sugar Posted 4 Jun 2013 , 11:26pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakefat 

Personally, I would not accept orders from brides/clients who insisted on environments or cakes that would cause potential disaster. It only causes unwanted stress later.  

 

I know of a  professional wedding cake maker here, where I live, who refuses to leave her cakes in any outside weddings (due to the year round heat and humidity we have here) because of just that. She says it's a just a recipe for disaster. 

 

Take a hint from the poster above . . . you don't have to accept any orders where you will be caused undue stress by other people's decisions.  Just say no to outdoor venues, and move on.

 

Politely tell your bride that whoever dropped the cake is who she should be directing her anger at.

 

Liz

sanielle Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 1:20pm
post #8 of

That's insane! How can you possibly be at fault? Write her back and ask what she suggests you could have done after you already explained that her cake would have melted?

Whoever moved the cake really should have wheeled it out or something. I'm not sure what you could have done differently? I live in Florida and sometimes need to take pictures out in the sunshine, I got distracted looking after the kids once (it was just for pictures this cake) and came back an hour or so later to find a multi colored pool of frosting. She would not have prefered that.

810whitechoc Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 1:21pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakefat 

She's misdirecting her anger at you- you didn't drop the cake. And the guests are not professional cake decorators or caterers- which I would politely point out to the bride when I politely reminded her that you warned her about what would happen and she chose to have buttercream in an non cooled environment. Totally not your fault. At all.

 

Personally, I would not accept orders from brides/clients who insisted on environments or cakes that would cause potential disaster. It only causes unwanted stress later.  

 

I know of a  professional wedding cake maker here, where I live, who refuses to leave her cakes in any outside weddings (due to the year round heat and humidity we have here) because of just that. She says it's a just a recipe for disaster. 

I made that same decision a couple of years ago, I even went one further I just don't take orders that are in outside tents in summer.  You do get to choose what you will and will not do.  I'm quite happy to not live with the stress of either worrying that the cake will collapse, or as unfortunately happened, the cake is damaged taking it out.  Also as this has shown no matter what and no matter how clearly you have communicated your concerns it looks like you have failed whether this is true or not.  Sorry this happened to you, it was not your fault they dropped the cake, I would have thought they would have taken a little more care.

cazza1 Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 1:31pm

And totally ignore what the guests think.  They would be the first to sue if they got food poisoning when the buttercream went off.

cai0311 Posted 5 Jun 2013 , 6:08pm

First of all, it is not your fault the cake was dropped by the venue employees. But, that being said, there is always a risk of a cake being dropped everytime it is moved. As the professional I think you should have either insisted on the cake being covered in fondant, refused the order (if the bride won't budge) or have a summertime buttercream that can handle the heat.

I use SugarShack's recipe and it can handle anything summer throws at it. I highly recommend using that recipe.

costumeczar Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 2:01am

I have in my contract that once I set the cake up it can't be moved, and if it is I'm not responsible for it. I also won't do outdoor cakes in buttercream in the summer at all. I even have a clause in my contract about the temperature that the cake needs to be kept at.

 

The bride has no leg to stand on in blaming you, don't blame yourself for someone dropping the cake. Just put your foot down next time and say no if you get a client who thinks they know better than you do.

Viks Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 4:44am

Interesting, I'll need to try that sugarshack recipe!

Viks Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 4:45am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311 

First of all, it is not your fault the cake was dropped by the venue employees. But, that being said, there is always a risk of a cake being dropped everytime it is moved. As the professional I think you should have either insisted on the cake being covered in fondant, refused the order (if the bride won't budge) or have a summertime buttercream that can handle the heat. I use SugarShack's recipe and it can handle anything summer throws at it. I highly recommend using that recipe.

Interesting, I'll need to try that sugarshack recipe!  I have terrible fears of melting buttercream cakes...

costumeczar Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 10:20am

ASugarshack's recipe is just an all-shortening one, if I rmember correctly. I have my own opinion about no butter in icing, but that aside, i've seen that kind of icing slide right off a cake in the Virginia heat. So it depends on where you are and the actual weather.

Sweet_Cakes Posted 10 Jun 2013 , 11:16am

I sure hope that you had all of the above reccomendations in your contract. No more cake OR refund for her!

cai0311 Posted 26 Jun 2013 , 2:33pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

Sugarshack's recipe is just an all-shortening one, if I rmember correctly. I have my own opinion about no butter in icing, but that aside, i've seen that kind of icing slide right off a cake in the Virginia heat. So it depends on where you are and the actual weather.

 

I used that recipe on all my cakes for several years now without any problems. I live in NE Ohio which will reach into the 90's June-August regularly. Last summer I deliveryed an all buttercream cake to an outdoor venue in over 90 degree heat without any problems. The photographer sent me a couple pictures of the cake she took during the reception (a couple hours after delivery) and the cake still looked great.

I can understand you have an opinion about "buttercream" with any butter but if the recipe works for the envirornment it is used in and tastes great - I have no problem using it. My brides love it and I never worry about melting.

costumeczar Posted 26 Jun 2013 , 4:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311 

 

I used that recipe on all my cakes for several years now without any problems. I live in NE Ohio which will reach into the 90's June-August regularly. Last summer I deliveryed an all buttercream cake to an outdoor venue in over 90 degree heat without any problems. The photographer sent me a couple pictures of the cake she took during the reception (a couple hours after delivery) and the cake still looked great.I can understand you have an opinion about "buttercream" with any butter but if the recipe works for the envirornment it is used in and tastes great - I have no problem using it. My brides love it and I never worry about melting.

My point is that the humidity also plays a role. I don't know what the humidity is in Ohio, but it can get pretty heinous here, especially since we're relatively close to the river. I've seen all-shortening buttercreams slide off the cake partly because of the heat, but also because it's absorbing the moisture in the air and turning into liquid.

Petals_and_Pearls_cakes Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 7:57am

AI just posted this is a seperate thread but ill repost here, basically you did the right thing. My cake was fondant covered and it still didn't survive!:

I feel for you this past New Years I did a tipsy turvy 4 tier for a friends wedding I'm in Australia and our summers are HOT well of course it hit the hottests day on record for the year! 46 degrees celcius (about 115 F) and the cake was on a table sitting in direct sunlight all day. There was nothing I could do about it and it was an outdoor wedding on a property so nowhere else to put the cake. After a few hours (before the reception had even started) the cake couldn't take it anymore and one side of the cake just slid off. I was horrified! Thank god she was a friend and understood it was out of my control. It literally started to melt!

costumeczar Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 12:43pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petals_and_Pearls_cakes 

I just posted this is a seperate thread but ill repost here, basically you did the right thing. My cake was fondant covered and it still didn't survive!:

I feel for you this past New Years I did a tipsy turvy 4 tier for a friends wedding I'm in Australia and our summers are HOT well of course it hit the hottests day on record for the year! 46 degrees celcius (about 115 F) and the cake was on a table sitting in direct sunlight all day. There was nothing I could do about it and it was an outdoor wedding on a property so nowhere else to put the cake. After a few hours (before the reception had even started) the cake couldn't take it anymore and one side of the cake just slid off. I was horrified! Thank god she was a friend and understood it was out of my control. It literally started to melt!

Oh that's awful! And there's absolutely nothing you can do if it's that hot and the cake is in the sun. I've had deliveries to places where the humidity was so bad the fondant looked wet and shiny and just wouldn't dry out, but at least they had it in the shade.

nancylee61 Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 2:17am

AWhat if you don't like all shortening recipes? I really dislike shortening buttercream, the cake I got for my niece's engagement was shortening buttercream, and you can taste it. I didn't make the cake because we were so far, and though the cake was gorgeous, it tasted artificial. Is there any butter buttercream recipe that can be used in the summer? What about refrigerating the cake before delivery?

costumeczar Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 10:41am

A

Original message sent by nancylee61

What if you don't like all shortening recipes? I really dislike shortening buttercream, the cake I got for my niece's engagement was shortening buttercream, and you can taste it. I didn't make the cake because we were so far, and though the cake was gorgeous, it tasted artificial. Is there any butter buttercream recipe that can be used in the summer? What about refrigerating the cake before delivery?

If the cake is going to be inside it isn't an issue, but any cake that's sitting outside in the direct sun is going to melt even if it's all-shortening. Heat and sugar don't play well together. If a cake is going to be outside in the summer I will only do fondant on it, and if thy won't go for that they can go get it from someone else. I don't need to deal with someone who thinks the laws of physics don't apply to her.

nancylee61 Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 1:05pm

A

Original message sent by costumeczar

If the cake is going to be inside it isn't an issue, but any cake that's sitting outside in the direct sun is going to melt even if it's all-shortening. Heat and sugar don't play well together. If a cake is going to be outside in the summer I will only do fondant on it, and if thy won't go for that they can go get it from someone else. I don't need to deal with someone who thinks the laws of physics don't apply to her.

I agree. I think I am going to have this same policy. Thanks!

jennybcake Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 1:29pm

It's not your fault at all, if you explained all that information to the bride and the placement of the cake was her decision then you made it clear. That type of heat is too much for almost any type of cake so you did well, she probably needs to talk to the caterers or the people who moved the cake, not you so much. 

Rachie204 Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 3:05am

Firstly....I think you did everything correctly.  I have a clause in my contract that says I am not responsible for cake left in temperures over 75% or direct sun.  It also states that I am not responsible for any damage the cake receives once I have delivered it and set it up

planetsomsom Posted 5 Jul 2013 , 4:29pm

I absolutely hate baking things in summer for this reason but that's when everyone wants to have parties! Next week I get to decorate 200 cupcakes at work with buttercream... in a crowded kitchen that has no air circulation, humidity you can swim in and a temperature no less than 35C. Grr.

 

Sometimes for important things, I try to use half shortening but I find it's already so soft to begin with and when it melts, it can't be removed from any of my tools because it's impossible to break down. <- that's why it sticks to your mouth and inside all of your arteries when you eat it. Plus the smell and the taste of it is so awful. I don't think other people really notice it though.

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 12:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by nancylee61 

What if you don't like all shortening recipes? I really dislike shortening buttercream, the cake I got for my niece's engagement was shortening buttercream, and you can taste it. I didn't make the cake because we were so far, and though the cake was gorgeous, it tasted artificial. Is there any butter buttercream recipe that can be used in the summer? What about refrigerating the cake before delivery?

I know some will disagree with me but I was told by a very successful caker and culinary instructor that he uses IMBC for outdoor weddings in August here in VA. He does use some shortening (hi ratio or with trans fat) but you absolutely cannot taste it. Since then I use it all of the time....and I LOVE it and so do my customers, friends, family.... "Italian meringue's unwavering stability allows the resulting desserts to be finished in the oven, frozen, or torched to dramatic effect."-Martha Stewart  I did 1 wedding cake outdoors in a covered arena and it was very hot. My icing stood up fine. I was so worried because it stood for about 2-2 1/2 hours.

liz at sugar Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 2:17pm

I'm sure a bit of shortening would help stabilize a meringue buttercream, but in the quote by Martha Stewart, I believe she is discussing Italian Meringue, not Italian Meringue Buttercream.  I've never seen anyone put IMBC in an oven or torch it, but you do that with plain Italian Meringue quite often (pies, baked Alaska, etc.).

 

Liz
 

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 2:29pm

Good point..I did not read that closely. But as I have said I have read other supporting articles and spoken with bakers/chefs. Although I have only done 1 wedding cake that was out in the heat I also us it on almost all of my cakes (many outdoor parties) and have never had a single issue.

costumeczar Posted 6 Jul 2013 , 6:15pm

AThis is what happens to a cake in he Virginia heat, you can also look at the vido for Texas heat,

I wouldn't trust IMBC outside for any length of time. Most cakes will sit outside for 5 hours os ro before the cake cutting, unless they move the cutting time up. If I was going to use IMBC I would experiment with it first to see what would happen, but I know that when it starts to melt it gets soft really fast. http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2012/05/cakes-will-melt-in-heat.html

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