Disaster Cake

Business By plcharles Updated 2 Aug 2015 , 3:38am by rowantree

plcharles Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 2:17am
post #1 of 21

So I've been making cakes for about 20 years and today I had my very first disaster cake. I feel just horrible. Its been very hot and humid here and even though I had my car AC on fill blast, my 14" rehearsal dinner cake broke. First time in 20 years I couldn't deliver what was ordered. I spent almost an hour at the site trying to fix it, no go. I wouldn't even bring it in. Customer asked if I had "anything" I could bring. So I ran back and decorated a couple of smaller cakes and ran back to the site. Did I mention how bad I feel? The bride to be was beyond gracious and asked if I'd be able to recreate the cake and bring it to the reception. Anybody else out there had a disaster cake?

*Last edited by plcharles on 1 Aug 2015 , 3:08am
20 replies
costumeczar Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 3:55am
post #2 of 21

It happens to everyone...I had one that slid once before I refrigerated everything, but it was fondant so it was kind of crooked with the top layer slid off-center. That was because of a combination of heat and slippery strawberry preserves filling with the cake being at room temperature when I delivered it. We disguised it with the flowers, then the MOB complained that the color was wrong and didn't notice the sliding. (The color was right, I had a swatch to show her.) I've heard of people using the most secure support systems have a piece fall off the cake, or whatever...It's usually heat-related. I started refrigerating everything before delivery and that eliminated any problems

plcharles Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 4:59am
post #3 of 21

Thank you costumeczar. I guess I should feel thankful this is the first time. I will definitely keep cakes in the fridge until its time to deliver from now on! This cake had the strawberry preserves on top of a strawberry cream cheese filling (bride to be loves strawberry) so I have a feeling the heat cause the butter in the cream cheese frosting to get real soft and add the preserves...I should have thought about that. I've now put some dowels in the "redo" cake to hopefully stop it from going side to side...and refrigerate. Thanks for sharing.

810whitechoc Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 9:01am
post #4 of 21

It is a horrible feeling, but sooner or later it does happen to everyone.  The two major disasters I have had over 20 years were both heat related and both on the same day.  November here is extremely humid and I had 2 wedding cakes fail in November 2013.  Without trying to sound melodramatic, I was upset for weeks afterward.  Since then I absolutely refrigerate cakes before delivery.  Hang in there the pain will pass.

*Last edited by 810whitechoc on 1 Aug 2015 , 9:02am
costumeczar Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 1:15pm
post #5 of 21

Strawberry is evil! Really, whenever anyone on here posts anything about a cake collapsing or sliding or doing anything weird, I guarantee you that 90% of the time it had some kind of a strawberry filling. I don't know why it's worse than other preserves, but it really does seem to perform badly on the structural issues. Refrigerating helps A LOT.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 1:41pm
post #6 of 21

cc, strawberries have a  very high water content -- so when I make mine I cook all the water out instead of suspending it in starch/gelatine/pectin

and if you were using real cream cheese, plc, it should be kept cold anyway unless you used a shelf stable recipe --

i've had a cake collapses -- thankfully not a wedding cake but it's not cool -- i feel yah -- and i've worked for others and known in advance I would be witnessing a cake collapse -- yoiks ruh roh and ouch --

20years disaster free is a dang good record -- here's to  the next 20 -- best to you

Jinkies Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 2:00pm
post #7 of 21

The only cake I've had issues with...had strawberry filling.  Luckily, I was waiting for it  (after reading all the horror stories) and was able to save the cake but almost lost my sanity.

I'm not sure I will take another order for strawberry filling.  I may just offer strawberry buttercream from now on.

I agree, 20 years disaster free is an excellent record.  Can't feel bad about that!

costumeczar Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 2:02pm
post #8 of 21

This is how I do strawberries inside a cake now, those little devils... http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-use-sliced-strawberries-inside.html

Jinkies Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 2:06pm
post #9 of 21

Yes, I did that once for a family cake and it worked great!  Unfortunately, I'm home based and I can't use fresh fruit.  They are little devils, aren't they?

plcharles Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 2:08pm
post #10 of 21

Thank you for the words of encouragement. Guess there are still lessons to learn...or re-learn!

costumeczar Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 2:10pm
post #11 of 21

@Jinkies, that's irritating...I'm home based but I'm inspected so I can use fresh fruit or whatever. I think if I was operating under the cottage food laws I wouldn't be able to. 

Jinkies Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 2:15pm
post #12 of 21

Oh, I'm licensed, inspected and insured, the whole deal.  But, no fresh fruit or cream cheese...yes, frustrating to say the least.

-K8memphis Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 2:53pm
post #13 of 21

when i do a fresh strawberry filling i put a layer of whipped cream* then a thick tight mosaic of strawberry pieces freshly cut with a sharp knife** -- no full slices because they will ruin a tier cake serving -- and tight coverage so no one gets one weeny little piece or a little pink area where the strawberry was -- then seal it in with more whipped cream --

* if you whip cream too much it turns to butter right so whip it to almost butter -- it is tight as a drum does not weep -- no stabilizing needed --

** a nice sharp knife precludes weeping

also mine freezes and thaws perfectly

costumeczar Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 5:07pm
post #14 of 21

JInkies wrote: Oh, I'm licensed, inspected and insured, the whole deal.  But, no fresh fruit or cream cheese...yes, frustrating to say the least.


That's messed up...Why go through the process of inspection etc if they won't let you use real food? that's what refrigerators are for!

plcharles Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 5:24pm
post #15 of 21

Interesting not being able to use real fruit. With my bakery license in my state, if I wanted to make real custard, I would need a different license. But...even though I primarily cakes, I could sell pizza if I wanted to. Go figure.

Jinkies Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 6:55pm
post #16 of 21

I know, right?  I can sell jams and jellies (no salsa's though) or any cooked fruit, just not fresh fruit.  I can sell fruit pies, but no custard type pies. No cream cheese icing.  Oh, and I can't sell anything with meat (not that I'd want to anyway).

And, i just thought of this: I have to be serv safe certified!  That's odd because I can't sell anything that would go bad, haha!



FrostedMoon Posted 1 Aug 2015 , 11:36pm
post #17 of 21

Jinkies, it's the same for my licensed residential business.  Health Board inspects every 6 months, Serv Safe certified and everything, but I can only sell non-potentially hazardous foods.  No fresh fruit, no fillings or buttercreams that need to be refrigerated.  The most frustrating part is some of my local cake friends are also licensed in the same manner and use both fillings and buttercreams that need to be refrigerated.  Their board of health inspectors know but choose to look the other way.  I know if there is ever a legal issue they are still in the wrong so I don't push that boundary, and I love and respect these cake friends, but it's still frustrating. 

Jeff_Arnett Posted 2 Aug 2015 , 2:51am
post #18 of 21

No cake ever leaves through my doors that has not spent at least overnight in the cooler and is boxed in a heavy cardboard shipping box.  And we keep the delivery SUV like a refrigerator….my wife’s only real complaint.  A cold, solid cake will travel so much more safely, even over bumps and around curves that really push the G forces!


rowantree Posted 2 Aug 2015 , 3:30am
post #19 of 21

I totally sympathize with you all!  Heat is a cake killer!  My first ever wedding cake was in August, and I had to hold the top three tiers (12, 8, 6") in my outstretched arms for 4 miles of washboard dirt road at 5-10 mph (my sister was driving!), to a forest campground wedding.

The base tier was on the floor in the back of the suv, and when we finally got there it was at least 100 deg out, and we were met by a flight of yellow jackets who really wanted the cake!.  We managed to get it put together and under a plastic strage tub (upside down) and covered with bags of ice. 

Fortunately no one was stung by the yellowjackets, and once the cake was covered, they lost interest and left.

Everyone went off to the lakeside ceremony, and we went home.

Later I heard the bad news--when they got back, the newlyweds wanted to put the topper on the cake, and the husband moved the mostly bags of water, and lifted the tub off a little too quickly--he took off the top tier in one swoop!  <sigh!>

rowantree Posted 2 Aug 2015 , 3:31am
post #20 of 21

I totally sympathize with you all!  Heat is a cake killer!  My first ever wedding cake was in August, and I had to hold the top three tiers (12, 8, 6") in my outstretched arms for 4 miles of washboard dirt road at 5-10 mph (my sister was driving!), to a forest campground wedding.

The base tier was on the floor in the back of the suv, and when we finally got there it was at least 100 deg out, and we were met by a flight of yellow jackets who really wanted the cake!.  We managed to get it put together and under a plastic strage tub (upside down) and covered with bags of ice. 

Fortunately no one was stung by the yellowjackets, and once the cake was covered, they lost interest and left.

Everyone went off to the lakeside ceremony, and we went home.

Later I heard the bad news--when they got back, the newlyweds wanted to put the topper on the cake, and the husband moved the mostly bags of water, and lifted the tub off a little too quickly--he took off the top tier in one swoop!  <sigh!>

rowantree Posted 2 Aug 2015 , 3:38am
post #21 of 21

I totally sympathize with you all!  Heat is a cake killer!  My first ever wedding cake was in August, and I had to hold the top three tiers (12, 8, 6") in my outstretched arms for 4 miles of washboard dirt road at 5-10 mph (my sister was driving!), to a forest campground wedding.

The base tier was on the floor in the back of the suv, and when we finally got there it was at least 100 deg out, and we were met by a flight of yellow jackets who really wanted the cake!.  We managed to get it put together and under a plastic strage tub (upside down) and covered with bags of ice. 

Fortunately no one was stung by the yellowjackets, and once the cake was covered, they lost interest and left.

Everyone went off to the lakeside ceremony, and we went home.

Later I heard the bad news--when they got back, the newlyweds wanted to put the topper on the cake, and the husband moved the mostly bags of water, and lifted the tub off a little too quickly--he took off the top tier in one swoop!  <sigh!>

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