Angiescakes12 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 1:44am
post #1 of

I made this birthday cake, I put 6 wooden dowels in and the center dowel too with cardboard underneath cakes.  It was a chocolate cake with vanilla mousse with berries.  It was fine when I moved it and it was sitting for a few hours until client came to pick it.  She calls me 20 minutes later and tells me that the cake fell and sent me a picture. My relatives tell me that once the cake it out in clients hands its not my responsibility anymore and I shouldn't feel bad about it because I did what I had to do. I feel like its my fault that I must of done something wrong so what did I do?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40 replies
shelley286 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 1:54am
post #2 of

Did the client set the cake on a non flat seat in the car.  It didn't just slide a little, it slid a lot.  I find it hard to believe that if your client kept it flat that it would have done this.  Did you have a center dowel through both cakes?  This is why I never let anyone pick up a tiered or stacked cake, I deliver it so I make sure it gets there like it is supposed to.

Angiescakes12 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 2:00am
post #3 of

I put a dowel in the center of both cakes, she set the cake on her lap.  I just might have to take all the cakes from now on or else use other supports so it wont happen again.

Norasmom Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 2:05am
post #4 of

Sounds like it was the delivery method.  I learned the hard way cakes cannot go on laps in cars!  

sixinarow Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 2:06am
post #5 of

The second picture looks like the cake has a slight bulge on the right hand side..right where the little yellow star is. The cake goes in right under it -- leaning off just slightly. If it was leaning on the one side (even just slightly) and the dowels shimmied in the cars, the cake can slid off.  That's a reason I don't use dowels. Look into using SPS next time. It's extremely sturdy and takes a lot of the stress off you.

Angiescakes12 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 2:25am
post #6 of

Thank you, I will definitely look into the single plate separators.

kikiandkyle Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 2:32am
post #7 of

AThat cake has certainly been jolted, most likely the driver braked suddenly and whoever was holding the cake wasn't expecting it.

Your relatives are correct that its in the customers hands once they have it, you can't control what they do with it. But you also need to state that in your contract, and make it clear to the customer when they say they want to pick it up.

Angiescakes12 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 2:56am
post #8 of

Thank you for your suggestion, I will put that in with bold letters.

Smckinney07 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 3:02am
post #9 of

AI'm really sorry this happened. Also I just love the wood detail in the couch, in the background, sorry random.

I insist on delivering most cakes as well, that's not always realistic for everyone. I would instruct the customer to set the cake on a flat surface with non skid matting (you can get cheap rolls at any $1 store, you only need a little) I always have on hand. I'd box it and place it in the car for them.

Yes, you want something in your contract at pickups or a separate invoice that they will initial/sign releasing you from responsibility.

I'm sorry to say that I think partly it was your support system. The cake doesn't look completely centered to me, I can see where a quick break with shifted dowels would make the cake collapse on itself. Even with a center dowel through the board the cake seems offset. Maybe it's just me. But I also think you must inform your customers how to properly transport their cake before they leave with it-if they chose to ignore you that's not your fault.

How were the wings secured?

Angiescakes12 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 3:23am

Thank you, and the wings were put on with piping gel.  I will make sure I repeat myself with instructions because she was running late so I quickly told her.  At the time I thought I centered the cake but it's hard to tell when I don't have a second pair of eyes to let me know if they see it off centered.  What do you suggest to do to make sure cake is perfectly centered and not just rely on sight?  

tam22670 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 3:42am

Seems odd that the bottom tier slid forward onto the red lettering on the board, but the top tier slid backwards off the bottom. Just sayin'. I am leaning towards the "lap ride" and probably a quick stop. Unfortunate, but not your problem. With only two tiers, it shouldn't go anywhere if driven properly. (In my experience anyway! )

matthewkyrankelly Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 4:09am

I think this one is too close too call.  Mousse and berries are much less stable than american buttercream.  In addition, while wooden dowels provide vertical support, they provide very little lateral support.  If a wooden dowel is slighlty off kilter, it can easily rip through a cake. That is the extra element SPS adds since the columns lock into the plates.

 

Could your cake have been supported properly?  Yes, it could have been. 

 

However, as the experts, if our cakes cannot handle a slight ten degree tilt without falling apart, we need to demand it be delivered.

 

In my opinion, it is entirely possible that the lower cake shifted from normal movement and caused the whole thing to be unstable.  Mousse is basically an aerated liquid.  Whereas an american buttercream will return to a more solid state, since that is what butter and shortening want to do at room temperature.  Merely moving the cake could have caused that shift to take place.  A two tier cake is a structure.  In this case, the bottom tier was the weakest link.

 

In short, I hate to say this, it could have been your fault.

RubinaD Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 4:14am

AThat is to bad. I agree that it was the lap delivery and hard breaking, I have delivered a 3tiered cake with dowels in the back of my suv with no issue. So I would say it is out your hands.

Angiescakes12 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 4:22am

I understand this and that is why I am asking advice. I've used wooden dowels with no problems and its the first time it has happened to me so i'm reconsidering and will probably switch to using SPS to ensure no accidents from now on.

Smckinney07 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 5:28am

AI wasn't tryin to be hurtful. Its probably a combination of things. I started out using wooden dowels, I was always worried about the displaced cake. Many people use them successfully, like you said, you've used them. I use poly dowels, bubble tea straws, and sps-depending on my project. The larger the tiers, the larger dowels I use-again just a preference. I prefer the sps I just don't always have them on hand. Another switch I've made is using foam core between tiers, I know they have grease proof boards but foam core is easier for me to get. Make sure your base board is strong enough to hold the weight of the entire cake. You probably know these things.

Matthew made a good point about the filling, the weather probably worked against you as well. I always use a level, during carving and filling I'll place a board on top and my level to make sure things are still even. Whatever supports you do decide to use cut before you put them in the cake so you can line those up as well to make sure they're level.

Again, I'm sorry this happened. We've all had cake accidents

Angiescakes12 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 6:16am

A

Original message sent by Smckinney07

I wasn't tryin to be hurtful. Its probably a combination of things. I started out using wooden dowels, I was always worried about the displaced cake. Many people use them successfully, like you said, you've used them. I use poly dowels, bubble tea straws, and sps-depending on my project. The larger the tiers, the larger dowels I use-again just a preference. I prefer the sps I just don't always have them on hand. Another switch I've made is using foam core between tiers, I know they have grease proof boards but foam core is easier for me to get. Make sure your base board is strong enough to hold the weight of the entire cake. You probably know these things.

Matthew made a good point about the filling, the weather probably worked against you as well. I always use a level, during carving and filling I'll place a board on top and my level to make sure things are still even. Whatever supports you do decide to use cut before you put them in the cake so you can line those up as well to make sure they're level.

Again, I'm sorry this happened. We've all had cake accidents

I didnt mean to sound as it was hurtful I just want to learn and be better at what I do and any and all suggestions are welcomed. I know it might of been my fault so I want to be better so it wont happen again. I love learning new tips and tricks to make sure cake is successful and I am thankful for everyones opinion and take it as advice from bakers that love what they do and want to see other bakers be succesfull also. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn and getting input from everyone is great because it allows me to view things from different perspectives that I might of not seen. So thank you and everyone for taking the time to write and help a fellow cake maker!

Smckinney07 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 6:41am

AYou have an excellent attitude! I learn something new everyday from this site.

shelley286 Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 6:46pm

You do have an excellent attitude and it is all a learning experience.  I did a cake one time and cut one of the dowels a fraction of an inch longer and when I picked the cake up the top tier shifted just a little.  I was blessed that I could nudge it back into place but I learned a lot from that one time. 

maybenot Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 10:14pm

I, too, see the issue with the way the client treated the cake:  lap delivery and likely questionable driving.

 

I'd venture to say that [even with the filling type and possible slight off-center stack] had you delivered the cake using proper caution, it would have just fine.

 

We can only do so much to protect people from themselves.  If they don't follow instructions, then whatever happens is primarily their fault.  If it's just 51% their fault, then it's their fault.  So, if you told her a flat surface and she chose her lap, then it's her fault.

 

Suppose I arrive to pick up a TV at Best Buy and my car is too small.  I take it out of the protective packaging to make it fit in the car.  An employee sees me and says that, now,  if it's damaged during transport it will void the option for a return.  In other words, I'VE BEEN WARNED.  I get it home and the screen is cracked.  I take it back, Best Buy says "Sorry.", and I'm out the money and the TV.  That's how it should be. Period.

 

I tell all clients:  If you choose to pick up the cake, then it--and anything that happens to it--becomes YOUR responsibility the second that you take it from my hands--if you drop it walking to the car, if you brake too hard, if you leave it sitting in the sun while you pick up balloons, if the table you sit it on is crooked.  Why?  Because I would NOT do those things and therefore, the cake would be fine (or I would make it right if there was a problem). 

 

I incorporate a free delivery radius for all of my cakes.  It's rolled into the pricing, but if someone insists on pick up, I don't discount because I have no desire to encourage pick ups.  If someone is outside of the free radius, I try to work with them so that I can deliver [and those cakes are usually very large and expensive cakes because it's not cost effective--for either of us-- for something small or routine].

goodvibrations Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 10:29pm

"I put a dowel in the center of both cakes, she set the cake on her lap"

 

But did you put a dowel all the way through both cakes? Or just one in the center of each cake? You need a dowel to go all the way from the top of the top tier, through the cake board and through to the bottom of the bottom tier. Actually, I put two dowels from top to bottom and use "bubble" straws for support under cake boards.

 

P.S Your furniture is GORGEOUS!!!

scwright Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 10:41pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibrations 

"I put a dowel in the center of both cakes, she set the cake on her lap"

 

But did you put a dowel all the way through both cakes? Or just one in the center of each cake? You need a dowel to go all the way from the top of the top tier, through the cake board and through to the bottom of the bottom tier. Actually, I put two dowels from top to bottom and use "bubble" straws for support under cake boards.

 

P.S Your furniture is GORGEOUS!!!

I tend to agree with goodvibrations - it does not appear you have a dowel through both cakes, it seems as if it's separate which is why it slid off the way it did.  Looking at the post you seem to have gotten the point that you need to adjust your support system as well as provide clear instructions in your contract and to your clients regarding picking up their own cakes.  So just continue your good work and improving! :)  By the way did the client want you to give her another cake or something or she just wanted you to see what happened?

Apti Posted 18 Aug 2013 , 10:58pm

Laps don't work.  Ever.

 

FLAT floors (NOT seats) work IF there is nothing that can fall on or against the cake and the cake is on non-skid material and the driver drives VERY carefully! 

 

I hobby bake and recently gave a friend a cake to hold on her lap.   Oops......  It was a single tier, 10", torted, with Pastry Pride and lemon curd.   I was driving and saw the vibrations caused the Pastry Pride on one entire side to s....l....o....w....l.....y..... slide off.  Since we were on the freeway, I grabbed my "car towel", told her to catch the frosting as best she could, and said "nuthin'  could be done".

 

Personally, I would never, ever, put a tiered cake on anyone's lap---ever.  Now, I won't even put a SINGLE tier on anyone's lap---ever. 

 

Sorry this happened to you and the customer.  You have my sympathy and understanding. 

howsweet Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 2:22am

The center dowel ideally should go all the way through into the cake drum. You're base wasn't thick enough for that. And unless it was made of something sturdy like masonite, I have to wonder if this wasn't an issue.

 

Also there's nothing wrong with wood dowels for support, but they do have to be cut the same the length. And they have to be positioned in a balanced way. I'm always hearing how much easier straws are to cut, but dowels are just as easy with a pair of pruning shears.

jenmat Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 2:28am

did you say the cake was sitting out before the client picked it up? Always chill that cake solid, so much easier on your nerves and on the cake!

Angiescakes12 Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 2:31am
Quote:
Originally Posted by scwright 

I tend to agree with goodvibrations - it does not appear you have a dowel through both cakes, it seems as if it's separate which is why it slid off the way it did.  Looking at the post you seem to have gotten the point that you need to adjust your support system as well as provide clear instructions in your contract and to your clients regarding picking up their own cakes.  So just continue your good work and improving! :)  By the way did the client want you to give her another cake or something or she just wanted you to see what happened?

 

I put dowel through both cakes and went all the way down to the bottom board. I will change up the support system and follow suggestions. Client wanted to know if I had another cake  that I could decorate and take, which I didn't because I just make what I require, I told her maybe I could go and fix it but she told me it wasn't fixable and sent me the picture.  She then asked me for a picture to show at least and just wanted to let me know what had occurred.  She had a good attitude I feel bad that the cake didn't get there intact so for sure change up the supports so no more accidents!

mcaulir Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 2:40am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti 

Laps don't work.  Ever.

 

FLAT floors (NOT seats) work IF there is nothing that can fall on or against the cake and the cake is on non-skid material and the driver drives VERY carefully! 

 

I hobby bake and recently gave a friend a cake to hold on her lap.   Oops......  It was a single tier, 10", torted, with Pastry Pride and lemon curd.   I was driving and saw the vibrations caused the Pastry Pride on one entire side to s....l....o....w....l.....y..... slide off.  Since we were on the freeway, I grabbed my "car towel", told her to catch the frosting as best she could, and said "nuthin'  could be done".

 

Personally, I would never, ever, put a tiered cake on anyone's lap---ever.  Now, I won't even put a SINGLE tier on anyone's lap---ever. 

 

Sorry this happened to you and the customer.  You have my sympathy and understanding. 

 

 

Laps work all the time. I've carried three tiered cakes on my lap. Why is a lap any more prone to vibrations than the floor of the car?

Angiescakes12 Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 2:43am
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet 

The center dowel ideally should go all the way through into the cake drum. You're base wasn't thick enough for that. And unless it was made of something sturdy like masonite, I have to wonder if this wasn't an issue.

 

Also there's nothing wrong with wood dowels for support, but they do have to be cut the same the length. And they have to be positioned in a balanced way. I'm always hearing how much easier straws are to cut, but dowels are just as easy with a pair of pruning shears.

I used 1/2 inch board, and I thought of the bottom board being another problem so I will be getting masonite or even wood rounds.  After this incident I am reconsidering everything to make sure when people pick up there wont be any issue and looking into the SPS I see that it looks like the safest way to go. 

AZCouture Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 3:41am

AI delivered many cakes on my lap. I could gently lift the box up over bumps, shift it a bit on turns, etc. Can be done quite successfully if you know what you're doing.

AZCouture Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 3:41am

AWhile someone else drives, naturally.

scwright Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 3:57am

A

Original message sent by Angiescakes12

I put dowel through both cakes and went all the way down to the bottom board. I will change up the support system and follow suggestions. Client wanted to know if I had another cake  that I could decorate and take, which I didn't because I just make what I require, I told her maybe I could go and fix it but she told me it wasn't fixable and sent me the picture.  She then asked me for a picture to show at least and just wanted to let me know what had occurred.  She had a good attitude I feel bad that the cake didn't get there intact so for sure change up the supports so no more accidents!

well at least she was nice about it she seems like a good client did you offer her some sort of discount for her next purchase

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