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the cake collapsed all over the floor...

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
I'm pretty new to posting here but I'm hoping you can all help me out.

I did a wedding cake yesterday that was covered in fondant. I made the cake gray and for some reason by the time we got it there, it had turned purple. I don't understand what on earth happened here!!!

But, that's not the worst part. When we got there and started to set it up, the cake started collapsing on itself. I put in extra dowels, and did everything i could think of, but found out today from the bride that shortly after we left, it collapsed and the top two tiers (it was 4 tiers) fell over.

I used boards for each cake, and used the small wooden dowels to stack it. I really do not understand what happened.

I've offered her a full refund but am really very heartbroken over the whole ordeal. I know that I ruined a moment for her that she can never get back, and it frustrates me because I have never had a problem like this before, and I can't figure out what went wrong. I know that somehow, it must have been the weight of the top cakes that starting making everything collapse, but I wish I could figure out why. I thought I did everything I was supposed to do to prevent something like this from happening. I do cakes out of my home, and have been doing it for almost two years now, and have never had such a huge failure. It's a huge hit to my confidence level, so much so that I don't know if I'm going to keep up my home cake business, because I am so afraid I could ruin someone else's event.

Any advice would be sooooo appreciated. Thank you everyone.
post #2 of 56
Hello Cathie first off I would like to tell you sorry this happend to you the fact that you are on here asking for advice tells me you should not even consider giving up on cakes this is a lesson learned and you have tp pick up find a solution and move on with the wooden dowls if the weight is to much they will just fall to the side cakes covered in fondant are very heavy all it takes is for one to give way and they will all follow you should look into sps system it is an internal support system for cakes and it is very cheap and you are guranteed to have stability for all your cake layers i did a 4 tier cake and delivered it stacked 45 min away and it held up great... look into to it you will not regret it .. Crystal icon_smile.gif
post #3 of 56
I am no professional but some things that come to mind are: You say you put in "extra" dowels. How many dowels in each cake and what size layers?
It is possible to "over dowel" the cake layer whereby making it more fragile because of displacing the cake. Too much of a good thing is not always better.

How did you transport it? Was it transported stacked or did you assemble on site?
Was thinking maybe the dowels shifted in route?

What kind of boards did you use?

I have no clue about the color change. Could frosting under the fondant have changed it or grease/moisture? Just thinking out loud on this one.

Sorry this happened to you.
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6
Reply
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6
Reply
post #4 of 56
Im so sorry that happened to you! Did you get a pic of the cake you could post? How thick were the wooden dowels you used? How many dowels did you use in each tier and how did you space them? What were the tier sizes? Sorry for so many questions trying to figure out what went wrong.
post #5 of 56
One time I put my cake where the sun shined. I was not full on sun, just evening light, that's it light. could this account for your color change? I cant really give you any advice on the collapsed cake since I myself had my first collapse it's my daisy cake on my pics. I still dont know what happened or why it happened, have done plenty of tiered cakes and this was my firs. dont quit, learn
post #6 of 56
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much everyone for the support, it really is comforting to hear that. I know giving up is not the right option but my confidence is just so low right now. I'm thankful I don't have anything coming up soon, I'm going to definitely take the down time to practice and make myself better.

Quote:
Quote:

you get a pic of the cake you could post? How thick were the wooden dowels you used? How many dowels did you use in each tier and how did you space them? What were the tier sizes



Unfortunately, I don't have a picture. I asked her if she could send me one, but it sounds like it hit the floor before they had a chance to take one. The sizes were 12, 10, 9, and 8 inches, three layers each. I used the wilton wooden dowels, I'm not sure the exact size but they are just the 12 pack you can get at michaels or I think even Walmart sells them. I spaced them a square, four for each layer

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Quote:

One time I put my cake where the sun shined. I was not full on sun, just evening light, that's it light. could this account for your color change? I cant really give you any advice on the collapsed cake since I myself had my first collapse it's my daisy cake on my pics. I still dont know what happened or why it happened, have done plenty of tiered cakes and this was my firs. dont quit, learn



It was inside, so I don't think the sun had something to do with the color change, but I did some researching online and found that the wilton black food color has a tendency to do that....I'll be looking more into how to avoid this. And I'm sorry to hear about what happened to you as well, it's a crappy feeling ruining something when someone trusted you to do a great job.

Quote:
Quote:

You say you put in "extra" dowels. How many dowels in each cake and what size layers?
It is possible to "over dowel" the cake layer whereby making it more fragile because of displacing the cake. Too much of a good thing is not always better.

How did you transport it? Was it transported stacked or did you assemble on site?
Was thinking maybe the dowels shifted in route?

What kind of boards did you use?



I put four in each cake, and that makes sense about the extra dowels, because we put more in the front since that's the way it started leaning, but then that would put more pressure on the back. I transported them individually, because I tried transporting cakes stacked before and it was a nightmare, so I always do them individually and assemble them on site.

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Hello Cathie first off I would like to tell you sorry this happend to you the fact that you are on here asking for advice tells me you should not even consider giving up on cakes this is a lesson learned and you have tp pick up find a solution and move on with the wooden dowls if the weight is to much they will just fall to the side cakes covered in fondant are very heavy all it takes is for one to give way and they will all follow you should look into sps system it is an internal support system for cakes and it is very cheap and you are guranteed to have stability for all your cake layers i did a 4 tier cake and delivered it stacked 45 min away and it held up great... look into to it you will not regret it .. Crystal



I think that may be what happened, because once it started tilting, I unstacked them to try to fix it, and a couple of the dowels had gone sideways. I'll definitely look into the sps system you mentioned, and thanks so much for the advice. I guess it is just live and learn, I have never done a fondant cake this tall, and so I guess I should have looked a little more into whether or not the wooden dowels would be enough support for something that heavy.

Thanks so much everyone for the advice and support, she contacted me back and gave me her address so I can mail her a full refund, and I offered to do a free cake for her for her next event to kind of make up for it (though I know that I won't be able to fully fix the "damage") and she said that she will contact me when they have their son's birthday party, so I am a little comforted that at least she seems to understand that it was just an awful mistake and I am not a horrible cake maker!
post #7 of 56
I love the SPS system. It is so very stable and worth every penny spent icon_smile.gif
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6
Reply
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6
Reply
post #8 of 56
I'm thinking that 4 dowels weren't enough for the bigger layers. I'm thinking I normally use 6 evenly spaced.
post #9 of 56
SPS! One of the downsides of dowels is they displace cake. The SPS pillars are hollow and don't displace nearly as much cake as dowels do.
post #10 of 56
HUGS! Can I tell you that the exact same thing happened to me, except it was an early practice cake. Three tiers all over the back of my car! It was the wooden dowels that did me in. I agree with everyone else. Now, pick yourself off, dust it off, and bang out another cake!
post #11 of 56
yeah, i lost a christening one early on. not fun at all
post #12 of 56
Do you think the difference in the diameter of each tier was only an inch except for the bottom one, can this be a problem? I am asking I don't know. I have not had tis happen yet.....and I feel so bad for you and the bride that this happened.
post #13 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by still_learning

I'm thinking that 4 dowels weren't enough for the bigger layers. I'm thinking I normally use 6 evenly spaced.

i always used 4,even on tiers bigger than these.

I did have a dowel go crooked on me once. I think once that happens, we're screwed! icon_redface.gif what i observed on my cake is when the dowel went crooked, it created a larger-than-needed "hole" in the cake, so even when the dowel was reinserted straight-up-and-down, the dowel had wiggle room because of the enlarged hole caused by it going crooked.
post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by madgeowens

Do you think the difference in the diameter of each tier was only an inch except for the bottom one, can this be a problem?



Yes, this was probably one of the factors.

How were the wooden dowels cut? Did you measure the first on at the high spot in the cake and then cut the rest to that first one? Did you check to see that they were all level after inserting them in the cake?

Also, when having cakes so close in size it's important to make sure that dowels in the cake above DON'T line up with the dowels in the cake below. Having them staggered distributes the weight much better.

For the sizes of tiers used, if using wooden dowels, I'd have put 6 in the 12, 5 in the 10, and 4 in the 9. I now use bubble tea straws pretty exclusively, so it would have been 4, 3, 3.

HTH
Rae
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
Reply
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
Reply
post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by madgeowens

Do you think the difference in the diameter of each tier was only an inch except for the bottom one, can this be a problem?



No, probably not. Even if there was zero difference in diameter and many layers of the same size are stacked, it doesn't spell disaster if supported properly. Some examples are tall tiers, castle turrets, and pillar-shaped cakes, etc. I've done all of these without building it onto a center support pipe, although I think a tower of Pisa would require one!
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