amyssweettopia Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 3:19am
post #1 of

So I did my very first wedding cake which was very exciting and scary at the same time.  I have been making cakes for years but mainly for friends and family and nothing with as much pressure as a wedding cake, but I really want to take my talents to the next level and someone had to be the first wedding cake, right?  Anyway my sister-in-law referred me to her friend she showed her my work and told her that I have never made a wedding cake before but that she was confidant that I could do it.  Once she saw my work she loved my cakes and called me to create her wedding cake.  She was looking for a deal and since she was my very wedding and since I struggle with pricing (I could really just some pointers because I am pretty clueless but I am getting better) I only charged her $300 for a 4 - tiered cake to server 150 not counting the top tier plus $75 for deliver since I am over an hour and a bridge away.  I pulled some images off the Internet to give her some ideas because she really had not insight on what she wanted it to look like just the flavors 2 tiers red velvet with cream cheese frosting and 2 tiers butter cake with butter cream icing.  We made some changes and off we went, the tiers where 12", 10", 8", 6" squares.  I definitely managed my time well, I had a few hiccups but nothing too serious (had to make all the cakes three layers instead of 2 because they were not 2 inches after leveling and it would not have been enough cake for a 150 people, had to recover the top tier 3 times for some reason I had a really hard time with it, my Kitchen Aid mixer broke during the cream cheese frosting, so I had to make 6 single batches of butter cream with an cheep stand mixer) and I actually had enough time to go to sleep all three nights that I work on the cake, lol. I had problems with the fondant not being totally smooth so to me it didn't look totally professional but after I decorated it looked very pretty and I was pleased. In reference to the fondant not being smooth I really would like pointers of what I am doing wrong I think it is a problem with my crumb coating or maybe cause I don't refrigerate the cake before covering it, or my fondant isn't thick enough, Idk?  Any help is appreciated. Anyway my brothers girlfriend agreed to come with me to deliver the cake and I decide to stack it at home and transport it that way since I wanted to see how it would look at the reception so if I had to make tweaks I would have everything I needed.  I was really scared to stack the cakes there I was just so scared something would go wrong and I was mistakenly thinking if the cake was completed before I left the house there would be less chance of things going wrong.  I bought a delivery box for stacked cakes from Oasis and had my companion in the back with the cake we left the lid off so she could make sure it didn't tip over. Well we get all the way to Philadelphia (an hour into the drive) and as we are going over the bridge she starts yelling "oh no oh no" I pull over on the bridge and jump in the back.  All 4 of the tiers were lined up in the back since there were only 2' difference in sizes so all the dowels were supporting the wait toward the back well the top three tiers slid forward crushing the front of the bottom tier. We lifted the top 3 tiers off with our hands and put them on the lid.  I just wanted to cry but Kelly just kept saying it was okay and not as bad as I thought and that I could fix it we just had to get to the reception. Well we could find the hall, the bridge gave me the wrong name of the place but luckily the correct address which GPS did not take me to but we did find it finally.  The air conditioner was broke in the truck and so when we touched the cake it was soft and there were finger holes all over from the rescue.  When we brought the cake into the room there was only one women there but see said she was the brides cousin and that her cousin would be extremely mad and if that was her cake she would have been pissed.  I told her we were going to do our best and if worse came to worse I would use set the bottom tier in the back with the caterers let the cut it and serve and just display the top 3 tiers but she was trying to hear that (plus there were no caterers just serve yourself buffet).  Luckily I did bring a bag of tools and supplies just in case but I really didn't think I would need them.  I already wanted to cry but this women was just mean, negative, nasty and worse yet she stood over us as we worked on fixing the cake.  Super long story made a bit shorter we worked some magic with the tool I had and used some real flowers from the center pieces to fill in stuff I couldn't fix and by the time I was done the negative lady and the wedding coordinator (the only 2 people that saw the broken cake) asked me for my card and the guest the started filing in were immediately complimenting me on how beautiful the cake was.  All I could think was really???? Thank god.  My sister-in-law text me later and said that my cake was a huge hit and that everyone was raving about how great it was.  All I can say is I was so anxious about it I couldn't sleep until I got that text. 

 

BEFORE DELIVERY

 

 

AFTER FIXING THE DISASTER DELIVERY

 

Since the front of the bottom tier was so squished down I just used the fondant smoother and pushed the sides up as much as I could and then made the side of the cake the front, took out the dowels and re-cut them since they were now to long added more flowers, fondant and real... just did my best to save this cake and make it as presentable as possible.  If you know cakes you know this is not what a wedding cake should look like but the guests could tell so I wasn't going to =)

 

I guess I will be figuring out a way to stack on site.  Can you stack at home then dissemble and reassemble at the location (I guess I am just concerned on not being able to see the finished product in cause it needs some changes) For example I was not going to put a boarder around the bottoms of the cakes but I wasn't real happy about how it looked so I tried a couple different boarders and finally decided on a simple rope as it complimented the simplicity of the cake most and gave it a finished look. 

 

Oh one more question what would you have charged for the cake (before it got messed up)?

 

All advise is welcome.  

 

Thanks for reading my extremely long winded story. 

73 replies
Norasmom Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 3:51am
post #2 of

That's quite a story, but you're definitely not alone as far as falling cakes go.  Glad you were able to salvage things.  I would have charged $3.00 per serving plus delivery fee, but again, you aren't alone with undercharging when it's your first time doing something.  Next time you can charge more!

 

What went wrong with the doweling?  Did you center all of the dowels?  I am curious because it seems like you did it right and it should not have fallen apart...

Did you use an SPS?  Wooden dowels? Were there dowels in all of the tiers?

mcaulir Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 3:54am
post #3 of

Wow! What a story! Can I suggest a couple of things - can you split your long text into paragraphs? It's very difficult to read. Also, I would photoshop your first photo before posting it here.

 

As to your questions, I think you need to make sure that you have a transporting vehicle with working air-conditioning befor attempting a long delivery again.

 

Also, many fresh flowers are poisonous, and the ones from the centrepieces were probably not supposed to be used on food. I'm not sure what kind of flowers those are, but they may have had poisonous sap, and they probably had water on them from the centrepieces. That's a bit yuck.

 

You might have been better to just use the top three tiers, rather than trying to redo the bottom tier at the venue.

amyssweettopia Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:20am
post #4 of

I watched a few you-tube videos on how to stack a cake and the one I mainly used was from Global Sugar Art, but none of them mentioned a center dowel rod that went through all the cakes. I used nine wooden dowels in the bottom (just to be safe) and less as I went up each tier.  But after the incident I went back and searched for transporting tiered cakes and read about that, so it defiantly would have prevented what happen because the cake didn't fall it just slipped forward when we hit a bump on the bridge and the weight instantly squished the cake down and we pretty much did the rest of the damage lifting the cakes off and then back on the bottom tier. I still think I would be afraid to stack such a big cake for such a long distance ever again even with the SPS system.

thecakewitch Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:31am
post #5 of

AA cat and a baby crib. That is all.

amyssweettopia Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:32am
post #6 of

Thanks for the suggestions as far as the air conditioning thing goes that is pretty much a given but I had no other option at the time. 

 

As for the text I would be happy to split it into paragraphs but can I edit it now?  I can't find that options. 

 

And the flowers I really wasn't thinking very clearly I was pretty much in panic mode and just trying not to break down.  I know that people put fresh flowers on cakes all the time so I didn't really think of poison but I will surely be researching that for the future. 

 

The picture I will try and Photo Shop but I'm not even sure I have that on my computer but I will look around and also remember that for the future. I am new at this cake central sharing thing =)

 

Thanks

FromScratchSF Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 5:05am
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyssweettopia 

BEFORE DELIVERY

 

 

AFTER FIXING THE DISASTER DELIVERY

 

 

 

I'm so sorry this happened to you, and I'm sure you are already upset enough about this, but you asked...

 

I am not familiar with all the laws everywhere, but there seems to be one unifying part of the cottage laws around the world, which is NO ANIMALS in your workspace.  You posted a photo of a cake for 150+ people with a cat hanging out in the background.  It's unsanitary and and I may be wrong, but probably illegal.  I hate to mention this first off and want to keep things positive as a learning experience for you, but it's hard to take you seriously when I see that.  Maybe you are unfamiliar with having to have a license and permit to sell food from your home and maybe you don't know that no country would give you a permit to sell food with a cat walking and sitting on your kitchen counters with their gross fecal-covered feet and uncovered anuses, so I encourage you to stop everything and research this aspect before you agree to make another cake for the public.  

 

Making a tiered cake takes practice, skill and experience.  "Practicing" on someone's wedding is a really, really horrible idea that we on CC stress over and over to never do.  Most successful professionals don't do their 1st tiered cake for the 1st time for a wedding  - we all practiced before promising to deliver a product to someone on one of the most special days of their lives.  I have never had a cake so much as buckle, let alone collapse - but I researched, studied and practiced for at least 6 months before promising to make a tiered cake for a customer - but I also researched legalities of running a home business, had a business plan, did my own homework on pricing and figured out what goes into it before meeting my 1st client to sell a real cake.  If you plan on having a business you need to learn the business first.

 

Since you have never heard of a center dowel I am assuming that you didn't treat the fresh flowers before putting them on the cake.  This post is feeling like I'm beating up on you so I hope you take this also as a learning thing, but the blob of hydrangea you stuck on the top of the cake are poisonous and should never come into contact with food - and it looks like you stuck a whole branch in there.  Please study what flowers are safe for coming into contact with food and which should never, and how you need to treat the flowers before placing them on or in a cake.  
 
I didn't really get very many questions in your post, but when to stack the cake is a matter of preference.  I deliver a 100% completed cake and do not stack or decorate on site.  But nobody stacks, takes apart, transports and re-assembles.  Again, this is a preference and every decorator will give you a different answer.
 
I mean this with love when I tell you that you need to stop right now, look at what being in business entails, mainly working from a legal kitchen with NO animals, proper food safety and handling, and not poisoning your guests with dangerous flowers.
 
Good luck!
FromScratchSF Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 5:08am
post #8 of

I missed the baby crib.  Sigh.  Yeah, kids are also a big NO-NO in the workspace.

thecakewitch Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 5:12am
post #9 of

ANew Jersey does not have a Cottage Food Law yet.

kaylawaylalayla Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 5:14am

AWhat a constructive and thoughtful post from scratch

Smckinney07 Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 5:29am

AYou charged about $1.70/serving, when you figure things out you should really work on your pricing. Also delivery round trip, that's a long drive for $75. You did good fixing it, I don't like people watching over my shoulder! I know you were trying to salvage things, but you should never have flowers in direct contact with your cake as MC said many are poisonous so be careful there. I'm not sure about the box you used, so I don't have tips there but you should have some sort of plastic wrap just shielding from dust and you really need a cool temp in the car. Cream cheese frosting is not technically shelf stable (unless you just used flavoring), with the heat this probably contributed to the sliding too.

The main problems seem structural. Your cakes must be level, when stacking cakes and filling I put a cake board on top and a level to double check (do this for each tier) if your cakes aren't level to begin with you will have major problems. I bake, freeze or refrigerate-because it's easier for me to carve and torte cold cakes-this isn't necessary just something that helps me work ahead and it's easier to manipulate cold cake, fill and crumb coat then I let my cakes settle either overnight or I'll place something light on top to help speed up the process-this is an important step so your cakes don't settle after wrapped in fondant, this causes sagging. Then I do my final coat with each cake on their own cake board (something that's grease proof).

I prefer using sps, bubble tea straws, or polydowels. You have to make sure you cut all the dowells the same length for their tiers, you mentioned moving the dowels in the bottom cake and cutting them again-no matter where they were placed you shouldn't have had to recut them-this tells me something was off there too which probably caused the shifting/sinking during the car ride along with the heat.

You can dowel your cakes and stack them then unstack and box individually (or in sets of two, like 10&12" and 8&6"). Just make sure you use boards underneath each tier as well as a final board that will support the weight of the entire cake when completely assembled as well as some sort of internal supports. I would recommend sps, they will give you extra confidence, they are super sturdy, and inexpensive. Another thing that will help is chilling the cake overnight before delivery.

I'm sorry you had a stressful experience. Definitely practice leveling your cakes, one tier being off can mess up the integrity of the entire cake. This is my process, you probably know a lot of it, just wanted to cover everything so you can see what you missed. I actually think your fondant looks a bit too thick, I imagine the sliding was a combo of the heat, settling and sliding cake. I'm glad the bride & groom were happy!

Godot Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 5:40am

Did you have the cake on the car seat?

 

Ditto on the cat and kid - grossly unhygienic, both of them.

 

That said - I have a cat and I love him! I change my clothes at work to minimise any contamination from cat hair and fecal paws and uncovered anuses.

doramoreno62 Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 7:31am

" a cat walking and sitting on your kitchen counters with their gross fecal-covered feet and uncovered anuses"

icon_surprised.gif icon_eek.gif thumbsdown.gif 

Disgusting but very well put!

amyssweettopia Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 7:44am

ASo I agree a cat on the counter in hygienic, and it really just down came to bad timing since I agreed to cat sit for my aunt while she was on vacation, my kids have been begging for a pet so I figured it was a good alternative, but I didn't know I was going to be making a wedding cake at the time and honestly forgot about the cat until she showed up and my door and then my kids weren't even there to play with it because I sent them to my mother-in-law so I could make the cake. I had the cat in the basement but my husband must have accidentally let it out. Needless to say I am now mortified and wish I could just delete this whole thread or at least the picture but I can't.

As far as practicing on someone's wedding cake goes the woman was a friend of the family who was well aware that I was not a professional, that I baked from my home and that I have children. She was just looking to save money she could not find a cake for under $600 so my $300 cake was just what she was looking for. I have only ever made 1 cake for someone that I myself or a family member didn't know personally and I made her aware that I was baking from my home and she came to house to pick up the cake.

This is basically a hobby that I hope will lead to making money but right now I pretty much charge for ingredients and not much more. Yes my ultimate goal would be to make this a true successful business and I bought a book to guide me through the legality of doing this but the whole reason I posted this was so that I could learn the craft better so I could get opinions of people who know more than me. I ALWAYS strive for perfection in all that I do and that is why I want my cakes to look professional but I'm not perfect and obviously have a lot to learn but I never claimed to be a professional baker, I honestly thought that this website was for professionals and amateurs.

I apologize to everyone I have offended and have certainly learned somethings:

The cat will never be an issue again as that is definitely the last time I pet sit The flowers were obviously a huge mistake on my part that was just a lack of knowledge and a bit of panic As for those kids I think I'll keep them, they are what I live for....That is at least until I have a real business.

mcaulir Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 10:55am
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyssweettopia 

Thanks for the suggestions as far as the air conditioning thing goes that is pretty much a given but I had no other option at the time. 

 

As for the text I would be happy to split it into paragraphs but can I edit it now?  I can't find that options. 

 

And the flowers I really wasn't thinking very clearly I was pretty much in panic mode and just trying not to break down.  I know that people put fresh flowers on cakes all the time so I didn't really think of poison but I will surely be researching that for the future. 

 

The picture I will try and Photo Shop but I'm not even sure I have that on my computer but I will look around and also remember that for the future. I am new at this cake central sharing thing =)

 

Thanks

 

I was talking here about removing the cat from the background of your photo. I knew you'd get pounded for that. At the bottom of your post, there's a button with a red pencil to edit.

cakefat Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 11:25am

Paragraphs please! That was hard to read.

Norasmom Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 1:34pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecakewitch 

A cat and a baby crib. That is all.

I didn't even notice that, but EWWWWWWW.

Norasmom Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 1:45pm

Well, no one died from eating the cake so now you learned about fresh flowers on cakes.  You learned about SPS and not having animals in the kitchen too.  You also got some info about pricing.

That's why I love CC.  People can be blunt, but the help you get is amazing.

Good luck if you begin a business.  

I have a 6-year old and I bake out of my home.  It's possible, I just don't bake when she is underfoot.  

sixinarow Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 2:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by amyssweettopia 

I ALWAYS strive for perfection in all that I do and that is why I want my cakes to look professional but I'm not perfect and obviously have a lot to learn but I never claimed to be a professional baker, I honestly thought that this website was for professionals and amateurs.You can't have it both ways, selling cakes for profit (no matter how small the profit) and advertising your business by handing out business cards at the wedding are both business practices...not hobby. You can't claim to be a hobbyist and not know better but still profit financially and pass out business cards. Are you aware of the fines you could face if the health department finds out about you through an unsatisfied customer? You need to educate yourself on business and the consequences of running an illegal one.

 
leah_s Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 3:02pm

Yes, please do try SPS.  It likely would have saved your cake.

FromScratchSF Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:00pm

OP, I feel for you, I really do - you put your situation out there and now you are getting the 2 cents you never in a million years thought you would.  I have no doubt you are embarrassed by this situation and are really regretting posting in the first place.  I hope you can rise above it because it may not feel like it right now, but WE ARE HERE TO HELP.  The problem is you are focusing on the moment when we (or me) are looking at the problems with your big picture.  The biggest problem here is you, like so many others, have completely trivialized and demeaned what I do for a living as so easy that anyone can do it after spending 20 minutes on You Tube.  You disregarded laws and food safety with the rationalization that its' a family friend, what harm could it do?  I know your friend told you that everything worked out, but what else is she going to say?  Look, my 1st sold wedding cake was perfect because I put in the blood, sweat and tears over months of practice to make sure I could deliver as promised.  My very first bride is a loyal customer to this day, has sent me 6 of her friends, orders all her birthday cakes from me, and hooked me up with her 500 person office where I do cupcakes every month for employee birthdays.  She Tweests about me, she Facebooks about me, she Instagrams about me.  That is how people start referring business to you.  Reality check:  If I delivered a cake that was falling down to her, best case scenario is I'd never hear from her again.  Worst case is she'd leave a Yelp review about how much I sucked and/or turned me into the HD after one of her guests went into anaphylactic shock after swallowing a cat hair.  I know you took a bite of humble pie, but you have much more to eat.

 

I really do not mean to pour salt in your wounds, but no way is a venue going to refer brides to you over relationships they have built with the known bakeries in the area based on the cake you delivered and the way you handled yourself at the venue.  Same with coordinators.  No way are they going to start sending you brides after this experience.  No guest at the wedding is going to ask for your info, and your bride isn't going to be singing your praises to all her friends. I know you want to believe that what you just did as a seed planted to get your business on the way, but it's just not.  It hurt you.  The woman that saw the disaster you brought in is telling everyone with an ear about the disaster you brought in.  Her friends, family, the bride and bride's family, other bakeries, others in the industry - everyone.  Although it may not feel like it, I'm helping you by telling you this reality so you stop, re-evaluate and try again AFTER you actually are ready and prepared to be a business.  Because on the bright side, you got no backlash and you have no reputation because nobody knows who you are.  You can hold back to a year and get your stuff together and try again (in a year) and nobody will know or remember this disaster.

 

I wish your situation was unique but it's not - there are thousands of brides every week that get disasters of a cake because someone like you told them you can do it for pennies (which further trivializes and demeans real professionals by perpetuating the notion to the public that what we do is so easy anyone can do it after 20 minutes on You Tube and is not worth 1/2 of what we charge). 

 

I'd like you to consider all your posts here, what is wrong with them, and how you can fix them because here's essentially what you just told us:

 

- I'm not a business but I want it to be.

- it's a hobby but I charge money

- I undercut all the legal bakers in my area and made this disaster of a wedding cake because my bride was cheep

- a family friend and I advertised that I could make a wedding cake for half of what everyone else would

- I made it unprepared in a kitchen that was unsanitary because I don't know how to manage a calender and I know nothing about food safety

- it fell down because I have no idea what I'm doing,

- I have no idea how to transport a wedding cake

- My friend helped me to try and fix it and we both stuck our hands all over it on the side of the road,

- Some meanie yelled at me when I was trying to fix it at the venue

- I stuck a bunch of poisonous flowers all over it to hide my mistakes

- I was able to pass out cards because everyone liked it anyway

 

We want to help you, we really do.  But my friend, you MUST look at the big picture if you are even entertaining the idea of doing this again.  Start by researching legalities in your area of selling food and get yourself signed up at a legal commercial kitchen.  Take a food safety class.  Get your caterer's permit.  Practice with making 2 tiered cakes then drive them around town.  Take PAID classes off the many online websites now offering classes.  Take a Wilton class at your local hobby store.  Get a job at a bakery.  Visit the SBA and take all the FREE classes offered about how to start and run a business.  And read the thousands of threads here on CC with advice on how to do literally all those things.

 

I really do wish you the best of luck!

cakeyouverymuch Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:09pm

Given the speed with which mods land on threads where there is the slightest hint of a dispute between members, you'd think these spammers would be dealt with BEFORE my e-mail box is full of this rubbish and any attendant viral components AND BEFORE the 'new posts' page is full of this same rubbish.

 

 

AND, I agree with everything FromScratchSF said.

amyssweettopia Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:17pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF 

OP, I feel for you, I really do - you put your situation out there and now you are getting the 2 cents you never in a million years thought you would.  I have no doubt you are embarrassed by this situation and are really regretting posting in the first place.  I hope you can rise above it because it may not feel like it right now, but WE ARE HERE TO HELP.  The problem is you are focusing on the moment when we (or me) are looking at the problems with your big picture.  The biggest problem here is you, like so many others, have completely trivialized and demeaned what I do for a living as so easy that anyone can do it after spending 20 minutes on You Tube.  You disregarded laws and food safety with the rationalization that its' a family friend, what harm could it do?  I know your friend told you that everything worked out, but what else is she going to say?  Look, my 1st sold wedding cake was perfect because I put in the blood, sweat and tears over months of practice to make sure I could deliver as promised.  My very first bride is a loyal customer to this day, has sent me 6 of her friends, orders all her birthday cakes from me, and hooked me up with her 500 person office where I do cupcakes every month for employee birthdays.  She Tweests about me, she Facebooks about me, she Instagrams about me.  That is how people start referring business to you.  Reality check:  If I delivered a cake that was falling down to her, best case scenario is I'd never hear from her again.  Worst case is she'd leave a Yelp review about how much I sucked and/or turned me into the HD after one of her guests went into anaphylactic shock after swallowing a cat hair.  I know you took a bite of humble pie, but you have much more to eat.

 

I really do not mean to pour salt in your wounds, but no way is a venue going to refer brides to you over relationships they have built with the known bakeries in the area based on the cake you delivered and the way you handled yourself at the venue.  Same with coordinators.  No way are they going to start sending you brides after this experience.  No guest at the wedding is going to ask for your info, and your bride isn't going to be singing your praises to all her friends. I know you want to believe that what you just did as a seed planted to get your business on the way, but it's just not.  It hurt you.  The woman that saw the disaster you brought in is telling everyone with an ear about the disaster you brought in.  Her friends, family, the bride and bride's family, other bakeries, others in the industry - everyone.  Although it may not feel like it, I'm helping you by telling you this reality so you stop, re-evaluate and try again AFTER you actually are ready and prepared to be a business.  Because on the bright side, you got no backlash and you have no reputation because nobody knows who you are.  You can hold back to a year and get your stuff together and try again (in a year) and nobody will know or remember this disaster.

 

I wish your situation was unique but it's not - there are thousands of brides every week that get disasters of a cake because someone like you told them you can do it for pennies (which further trivializes and demeans real professionals by perpetuating the notion to the public that what we do is so easy anyone can do it after 20 minutes on You Tube and is not worth 1/2 of what we charge). 

 

I'd like you to consider all your posts here, what is wrong with them, and how you can fix them because here's essentially what you just told us:

 

- I'm not a business but I want it to be.

- it's a hobby but I charge money

- I undercut all the legal bakers in my area and made this disaster of a wedding cake because my bride was cheep

- a family friend and I advertised that I could make a wedding cake for half of what everyone else would

- I made it unprepared in a kitchen that was unsanitary because I don't know how to manage a calender and I know nothing about food safety

- it fell down because I have no idea what I'm doing,

- I have no idea how to transport a wedding cake

- My friend helped me to try and fix it and we both stuck our hands all over it on the side of the road,

- Some meanie yelled at me when I was trying to fix it at the venue

- I stuck a bunch of poisonous flowers all over it to hide my mistakes

- I was able to pass out cards because everyone liked it anyway

 

We want to help you, we really do.  But my friend, you MUST look at the big picture if you are even entertaining the idea of doing this again.  Start by researching legalities in your area of selling food and get yourself signed up at a legal commercial kitchen.  Take a food safety class.  Get your caterer's permit.  Practice with making 2 tiered cakes then drive them around town.  Take PAID classes off the many online websites now offering classes.  Take a Wilton class at your local hobby store.  Get a job at a bakery.  Visit the SBA and take all the FREE classes offered about how to start and run a business.  And read the thousands of threads here on CC with advice on how to do literally all those things.

 

I really do wish you the best of luck!

Your absolutely correct.  I will stick to only making cakes for my kids.  Thanks

amyssweettopia Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir 

 

I was talking here about removing the cat from the background of your photo. I knew you'd get pounded for that. At the bottom of your post, there's a button with a red pencil to edit.

yeah thanks for trying to help I can not find the red pencil I don't think I have that option and at this point I'd prefer to just delete the whole thing but I can't seem to delete anything either. 

 

Thanks though. 

amyssweettopia Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:32pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smckinney07 

You charged about $1.70/serving, when you figure things out you should really work on your pricing. Also delivery round trip, that's a long drive for $75. You did good fixing it, I don't like people watching over my shoulder! I know you were trying to salvage things, but you should never have flowers in direct contact with your cake as MC said many are poisonous so be careful there. I'm not sure about the box you used, so I don't have tips there but you should have some sort of plastic wrap just shielding from dust and you really need a cool temp in the car. Cream cheese frosting is not technically shelf stable (unless you just used flavoring), with the heat this probably contributed to the sliding too.

The main problems seem structural. Your cakes must be level, when stacking cakes and filling I put a cake board on top and a level to double check (do this for each tier) if your cakes aren't level to begin with you will have major problems. I bake, freeze or refrigerate-because it's easier for me to carve and torte cold cakes-this isn't necessary just something that helps me work ahead and it's easier to manipulate cold cake, fill and crumb coat then I let my cakes settle either overnight or I'll place something light on top to help speed up the process-this is an important step so your cakes don't settle after wrapped in fondant, this causes sagging. Then I do my final coat with each cake on their own cake board (something that's grease proof).

I prefer using sps, bubble tea straws, or polydowels. You have to make sure you cut all the dowells the same length for their tiers, you mentioned moving the dowels in the bottom cake and cutting them again-no matter where they were placed you shouldn't have had to recut them-this tells me something was off there too which probably caused the shifting/sinking during the car ride along with the heat.

You can dowel your cakes and stack them then unstack and box individually (or in sets of two, like 10&12" and 8&6"). Just make sure you use boards underneath each tier as well as a final board that will support the weight of the entire cake when completely assembled as well as some sort of internal supports. I would recommend sps, they will give you extra confidence, they are super sturdy, and inexpensive. Another thing that will help is chilling the cake overnight before delivery.

I'm sorry you had a stressful experience. Definitely practice leveling your cakes, one tier being off can mess up the integrity of the entire cake. This is my process, you probably know a lot of it, just wanted to cover everything so you can see what you missed. I actually think your fondant looks a bit too thick, I imagine the sliding was a combo of the heat, settling and sliding cake. I'm glad the bride & groom were happy!
 
Thank you for all you thoughtful consideration to the things I asked I keep these things in mind in the future but I think I'll just stick to making my kids cakes. Thanks
 
Godot Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:40pm

AFrom scratch for governor.

MimiFix Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:43pm

Amy, deleting your thread would be a disservice to everyone. You're very new here and probably don't understand that when someone asks a question, it becomes a learning tool. Many people read and learn from these threads, now and in years to come. FromScratch is a busy professional but spent time replying to you; and whether you agree with her assessment or not, it may help others avoid your mistakes.  

JWinslow Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:46pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF 

OP, I feel for you, I really do - you put your situation out there and now you are getting the 2 cents you never in a million years thought you would.  I have no doubt you are embarrassed by this situation and are really regretting posting in the first place.  I hope you can rise above it because it may not feel like it right now, but WE ARE HERE TO HELP.  The problem is you are focusing on the moment when we (or me) are looking at the problems with your big picture.  The biggest problem here is you, like so many others, have completely trivialized and demeaned what I do for a living as so easy that anyone can do it after spending 20 minutes on You Tube.  You disregarded laws and food safety with the rationalization that its' a family friend, what harm could it do?  I know your friend told you that everything worked out, but what else is she going to say?  Look, my 1st sold wedding cake was perfect because I put in the blood, sweat and tears over months of practice to make sure I could deliver as promised.  My very first bride is a loyal customer to this day, has sent me 6 of her friends, orders all her birthday cakes from me, and hooked me up with her 500 person office where I do cupcakes every month for employee birthdays.  She Tweests about me, she Facebooks about me, she Instagrams about me.  That is how people start referring business to you.  Reality check:  If I delivered a cake that was falling down to her, best case scenario is I'd never hear from her again.  Worst case is she'd leave a Yelp review about how much I sucked and/or turned me into the HD after one of her guests went into anaphylactic shock after swallowing a cat hair.  I know you took a bite of humble pie, but you have much more to eat.

 

I really do not mean to pour salt in your wounds, but no way is a venue going to refer brides to you over relationships they have built with the known bakeries in the area based on the cake you delivered and the way you handled yourself at the venue.  Same with coordinators.  No way are they going to start sending you brides after this experience.  No guest at the wedding is going to ask for your info, and your bride isn't going to be singing your praises to all her friends. I know you want to believe that what you just did as a seed planted to get your business on the way, but it's just not.  It hurt you.  The woman that saw the disaster you brought in is telling everyone with an ear about the disaster you brought in.  Her friends, family, the bride and bride's family, other bakeries, others in the industry - everyone.  Although it may not feel like it, I'm helping you by telling you this reality so you stop, re-evaluate and try again AFTER you actually are ready and prepared to be a business.  Because on the bright side, you got no backlash and you have no reputation because nobody knows who you are.  You can hold back to a year and get your stuff together and try again (in a year) and nobody will know or remember this disaster.

 

I wish your situation was unique but it's not - there are thousands of brides every week that get disasters of a cake because someone like you told them you can do it for pennies (which further trivializes and demeans real professionals by perpetuating the notion to the public that what we do is so easy anyone can do it after 20 minutes on You Tube and is not worth 1/2 of what we charge). 

 

I'd like you to consider all your posts here, what is wrong with them, and how you can fix them because here's essentially what you just told us:

 

- I'm not a business but I want it to be.

- it's a hobby but I charge money

- I undercut all the legal bakers in my area and made this disaster of a wedding cake because my bride was cheep

- a family friend and I advertised that I could make a wedding cake for half of what everyone else would

- I made it unprepared in a kitchen that was unsanitary because I don't know how to manage a calender and I know nothing about food safety

- it fell down because I have no idea what I'm doing,

- I have no idea how to transport a wedding cake

- My friend helped me to try and fix it and we both stuck our hands all over it on the side of the road,

- Some meanie yelled at me when I was trying to fix it at the venue

- I stuck a bunch of poisonous flowers all over it to hide my mistakes

- I was able to pass out cards because everyone liked it anyway

 

We want to help you, we really do.  But my friend, you MUST look at the big picture if you are even entertaining the idea of doing this again.  Start by researching legalities in your area of selling food and get yourself signed up at a legal commercial kitchen.  Take a food safety class.  Get your caterer's permit.  Practice with making 2 tiered cakes then drive them around town.  Take PAID classes off the many online websites now offering classes.  Take a Wilton class at your local hobby store.  Get a job at a bakery.  Visit the SBA and take all the FREE classes offered about how to start and run a business.  And read the thousands of threads here on CC with advice on how to do literally all those things.

 

I really do wish you the best of luck!

 

Totally excellent advice.  Should be required reading :)

amyssweettopia Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 4:55pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 

Amy, deleting your thread would be a disservice to everyone. You're very new here and probably don't understand that when someone asks a question, it becomes a learning tool. Many people read and learn from these threads, now and in years to come. FromScratch is a busy professional but spent time replying to you; and whether you agree with her assessment or not, it may help others avoid your mistakes.  

Yeah I suppose you are right and I was only thinking about my own shame and embarrassment.

remnant3333 Posted 2 Sep 2013 , 5:14pm

Amyssweettopia, Don't be embarrassed. Don't think that you are the only person who has done things wrong!!! We have all done things wrong before and because of that, we learn through our mistakes!!!   I think the first picture you had of your cake was very nice!!! I agree with Leah that if you had used SPS, you would not have had an issue with your cake falling. At any rate, it is always smart to bring extra cake supplies just in case they are needed!! I can see with more and more practice that you will be able to make cakes in the future without having these problems.

 

Look at it as a learning curve and the more experience, the less problems you will have in the future. Don't feel bad or beat yourself up about this!!!  Nobody deliberately messes up things on purpose!!!!  Don't give up just because you made a few mistakes along the way!!! Now that you have learned I am sure one day you are going to be right up there with the professional cake makers  if you keep pushing forwards and practicing. Hang in there and keep your faith!!!!!!
 

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