SweetBoutique24 Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 3:51am
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A[IMG ALT=""]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3114800/width/200/height/400[/IMG][IMG ALT=""]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3114801/width/200/height/400[/IMG][IMG ALT=""]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3114802/width/200/height/400[/IMG] I'm still new to the cake decorating world, so I need some help! I did a three tiered cake yesterday (buttercream with fondant decorations) and my husband met the lady a little over half way and the cake was transported fine, but after she made it home she called to tell me the top two tiers had shifted and the bottom cake split. I have no idea what I did wrong?? I dowelled all layers and put two dowell rods through all the layers. The first pic is before it left my house and the other two are what she sent me. Any help or suggestions would be grearly appreciated :)

47 replies
IowaBaker Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 4:25am
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ADid she transport it sitting flat or sitting at an angle on a seat?

IowaBaker Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 4:26am
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ABeautiful cake, by the way! Delightful design!

SweetBoutique24 Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 10:52am
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AIt was sitting flat in the back if her SUV.

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 11:51am
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What a shame. It was a very cute cake.

JSKConfections Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 11:52am
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Wow...look where the brown frosting from the top tier is on the box...that was either leaning or a quick slam of the brakes, or something.  What kind of vehicle did she have?  What a shame, so sorry this happened to you.

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 11:55am
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Quote:

Originally Posted by JSKConfections 
 

Wow...look where the brown frosting from the top tier is on the box...that was either leaning or a quick slam of the brakes, or something.  What kind of vehicle did she have?  What a shame, so sorry this happened to you.

 

I just love cake detectives!

nhbaker Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 12:08pm
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Is it me or from the smudges of brown frosting on the back of the box, does it look like maybe she slammed on the brakes, stopped too quick and the cake tipped forward & up hitting the front of the box and then set back down?  That would explain the cracking, etc. of the bottom tier only.  I'm thinking this is not your fault, you appear to have doweled it correctly, etc.  She either had to stop quick for something or totally forgot she had a delicate item in the back and didn't drive accordingly.

 

One of the terms in my contract specifically states:

"If you or your representative elect to pick up and set up the cake, you assume all liability and responsibility for the condition of the cake once it leaves my location". 

 

This covers me from these types of incidents.  However if I felt it was truly something I did wrong, then yes, I would offer a refund or something.  In a case like this where you don't appear to be at fault, I wouldn't.

 

Good Luck.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 12:48pm
post #9 of

Quote:

Originally Posted by nhbaker 
 

Is it me or from the smudges of brown frosting on the back of the box, does it look like maybe she slammed on the brakes, stopped too quick and the cake tipped forward & up hitting the front of the box and then set back down?  That would explain the cracking, etc. of the bottom tier only.  I'm thinking this is not your fault, you appear to have doweled it correctly, etc.  She either had to stop quick for something or totally forgot she had a delicate item in the back and didn't drive accordingly.

 

One of the terms in my contract specifically states:

"If you or your representative elect to pick up and set up the cake, you assume all liability and responsibility for the condition of the cake once it leaves my location". 

 

This covers me from these types of incidents.  However if I felt it was truly something I did wrong, then yes, I would offer a refund or something.  In a case like this where you don't appear to be at fault, I wouldn't.

 

Good Luck.

 

i been thinking about this--and i have discarded the idea of poor construction--i mean this icing smudge on the box is very telling as you sagely point out nh and the two dowels all the way through that op mentioned kept the cake from dissolving--yes it got whacked good--consider the g-force on those two dowels--thwack!--if it was poor construction the smear would be lower where it slid--but it thwacked--plus one side of the bottom tier would be mush--

 

pilot error

kikiandkyle Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 1:27pm

ACakes don't just split down the middle for no reason, they have to be knocked or dropped to do that.

As everyone else has said the big old smudge of frosting from the top tier on the back of the box indicates the cake tipped over in the box, when it flopped back down flat (with a thud) this is what happened.

If the cake had just collapsed of its own accord, the bottom tier would be lopsided rather than split, and the top tier would still be attached to the side of the box.

Now I do think you should have used a more sturdy base than a single cardboard circle. You could have put a central dowel through and anchored it into the base, but it wouldn't have stopped the client either driving poorly or handling the box poorly.

pieceofcaketx Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 2:00pm

What kind of board is that for the very bottom? Is it just a single cardboard cake round?

SweetBoutique24 Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 2:06pm

AYes, I did use a single cardboard round and I now realize that I should have used a thicker board for more support.

Baking Sis Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 2:09pm

Wondering how did the second tier (blue) get smooshed frosting on the left side?  The chocolate frosting is on the back of the box and yet there isn't any blue frosting on the box.  Just curious if anyone would know how that could happen.  The cake was adorable; so sorry that this happened to all your hard work.

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 2:11pm

When something tips the top will hit a vertical surface first.

dawnybird Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 2:22pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baking Sis 
 

Wondering how did the second tier (blue) get smooshed frosting on the left side?  The chocolate frosting is on the back of the box and yet there isn't any blue frosting on the box.  Just curious if anyone would know how that could happen.  The cake was adorable; so sorry that this happened to all your hard work.

I was just about to wonder whether anyone else noticed that the blue tier is smooshed, but on a different side from the brown. It gets curiouser and curiouser. So sorry this happened to you.

ddaigle Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 2:31pm

I think the first problem was the way they drove....Looks like a definite slamming of the brakes...but a bigger issues is the thin cake board.   That cake should've been put on an at least a 1/2" drum.   Also, It's hard to tell, but how many dowels are in that bottom tier?   It looks like only 4????  Can't really see due to the dark icing.   I use the amount of dowels based on the cake it's sitting on..e.g....if an 8" is sitting on a 10"...then I put at least 8 dowels in the 10" cake. 

 

I am a wooden dowel/center dowel user.   If done correctly, wooden dowel rods can be successful.  I travel constantly on these crappy roads of Louisiana...fully stacked.   A cake stacked with the proper amount of dowels and on the correct board will help some of the driver's issues.

smittyditty Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 2:57pm

Looks to me like a sharp right hand turn and a slam of the brakes. If done smoothly the cake would slowly drift to the left of the box start to lean and the bottom two tiers would get that smudge before abruptly straightening the car out. Which would slam the car and slam the cake causing all the breaking at the bottom of the cake. Then Then after hearing the slam she panicked and slammed on the breaks making the top tier hit the back of the box because it was done immediately.

SweetBoutique24 Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 2:58pm

AI used 5 dowell rods in the bottom 10" cake and 4 in the 8" cake. And i also used two center dowell rods. I'm still in the learning process and I really appreciate all your feedback! I will definitely use a thicker cake board next time and may a few more dowell rods :)

howsweet Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 4:06pm

Isn't it funny how these things happen while in the possession of the customer not the baker?  In my opinion, that doesn't necessarily mean the customer is at fault and you are to be commended for asking for suggestions rather than slamming the customer. We are the professionals and we know the pitfalls, so it's our job to make sure everything possible has been done to make sure the cake arrives safely

 

So here are my suggestions:

 

When you give them the cake, you have to let them know how to drive and that the cake is very delicate and that you won't be responsible if something happens. You can't say you won't be responsible if you don't stack it properly and give proper instructions

 

For a 3 tier cake traveling with a customer

1) no boxes - they might push the box into the cake

2) For the base, I glue two drums together and stake the whole thing with a center dowel all the way through to the bottom of the base

3) I warn them about how to drive carefully to the point of sounding a little over cautious. Don't just say drive slow - tell them everything they need to know. Explain about slow stops, bumpy roads and leaving a wide berth in front.

4) if my husband were handing off the cake, I would make sure I personally spoke with the driver by phone

5) I tell them in advance that if the cake won't fit where they can see it as they drive, they should bring an extra person to keep an eye on it and give the feedback about whether their stops are slow enough.

howsweet Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 4:09pm

When people are spending $200-300+ on a cake, I find they are grateful for all the info you're giving them about traveling with it. They are picking it up to save $40-$50 for delivery, so the cake is probably a splurge and precious to them. If the cake was under priced and basically the customer was getting a steal, then you may be dealing with another type of person.

howsweet Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 4:20pm

I wonder if the tendency is to not stress out customers about driving with cake. But how many of us stress over delivery? The customer needs to know what can happen.

 

One more thing - I only do fondant cakes, so if the cake falls over, the mess is minimal. If I were doing buttercream, I might tell them to bring a clean sheet to spread in case the cake falls over. That serves two purposes, helps save their car if needed and lets them know I think the cake could easily fall over with if they aren't careful enough.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 5:37pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

I wonder if the tendency is to not stress out customers about driving with cake. But how many of us stress over delivery? The customer needs to know what can happen.

 

One more thing - I only do fondant cakes, so if the cake falls over, the mess is minimal. If I were doing buttercream, I might tell them to bring a clean sheet to spread in case the cake falls over. That serves two purposes, helps save their car if needed and lets them know I think the cake could easily fall over with if they aren't careful enough.

 

just the opposite is my tendency--i really emphasize it and explain it as best i can--i say among other things--drive like there's a fresh egg rolling around on your dashboard--no g-forces stopping and turning, drive like an old lady-- etc.

 

but i totally use boxes for client cake pick up--because the reverse of it is that they might hug the cake too close while walking with it--idk--not for the timid huh--not for timid cakers and not for timid cake-picker-uppers--but hey that's a good description word for it too--DRIVE TIMIDLY for real huh drive like your driving instructer is your co-pilot--

 

-i really go for it--i would think most of us do--i hope we do

DeliciousDesserts Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 6:02pm

AI disagree!

If the cake started to crack from lack of support, it would lean as it did. That could explain the smudge. The cake didn't implode on itself like a demolition building.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 6:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeliciousDesserts 

I disagree!

If the cake started to crack from lack of support, it would lean as it did. That could explain the smudge. The cake didn't implode on itself like a demolition building.

 

you disagree which way? that it was inadequate construction by the caker or pilot error by the client? 

 

because i pondered inadequate construction also--surely would (yes i agree) wipe the icing off onto the box--but don't you think one of the tiers would be shmushed/crushed on one side where the weight of the cake above slid into it and none of them appear to be smushed?

 

and in fact thinking this through again--i think it's a testament to the correct construction that it does not seem to have collapsed into itself anywhere

 

that's how/why i think pilot error 

 

but i am not arguing or anything--i competely respect your opinion i just thought it through again as i typed and i wasn't exactly clear which way you meant

 

much respect to you

 

edited for typo

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 6:29pm

Would it lean then stand back up though?

-K8memphis Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 6:34pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by BatterUpCake 
 

Would it lean then stand back up though?

 

it seems to have been put back together a bit maybe?

 

they usually attempt to restore to former glory but it's often a humpty dumpty thing

savannahquinn Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 6:42pm

Maybe the dowels were uneven or not high enough which caused the cake to weigh down on the bottom tier coupled with a driver error?

The top tier looks like it's sinking into the middle tier too. Hmmmm.

-K8memphis Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 6:57pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by savannahquinn 
 

Maybe the dowels were uneven or not high enough which caused the cake to weigh down on the bottom tier coupled with a driver error?

The top tier looks like it's sinking into the middle tier too. Hmmmm.

 

do you think that would cause it to crack down the middle and at the same time not obliterate an entire wall/section of cake somewhere

 

because that one dowel that's still in there--it's not askew much at all-- so if the cake was constructed poorly the upper tier just might have flipped up and off that dowel but then it would have to show more damage to the other edge of the cake

 

i think

 

that crack down the middle is puzzle some

 

a crevice like that with a corresponding demolished portion of cake--could be poor construction but idk...this doesn't depict that

savannahquinn Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 7:06pm

this is like cake CSI!  The cake is very tight in the bottom of the box it looks like the edges of the cake board are tight against the box.  maybe it was someone lifting it wrong by the edges which caused the cake to crack or hit a side?  We may never know!  And the left side of  the cake (blue second tier)  is flattened and the cake is tilting the other way to the right....Something is not adding up here!

BatterUpCake Posted 6 Oct 2013 , 7:35pm

We need a reality series "Cake Detectives" :detective:

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