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First cake disaster...and no clue why!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Okay so I was to deliver a cake tonight at 5:30...which means I had to leave the house at 5.....I made a 2 tier 12 in square and 8 in square....all decorated Zebra stripped on the bottom top layer with circles. A gum paste car, phone, music notes and a bit "16" on top.....and as I am picking it up to walk out the door....the bottom cakes literally crumbled!! I don't know why! I made the cakes on Thurs. night (like I do all the time) I have been moving them around all day....turning them on the turn table...everything! Nothing seemed to show that anything was wrong! I even had the torte done on them yesterday so they could settle!

The only thing I can think of was Duncan Hines might have changed their "formula" when they changed the packaging. Anyone else having these problems....or is it just me?!?

Oh and to top this all off, I am 10 weeks pregnant so with the hormones going on in my body....I was literally in tears for about 45 min! My husband has been cleaning it up off the floor. And the people I made the cake for (my boss!) when I called they didn't seem to be bothered by it she said she would run down to the grocery store and get a cake and it was no problem! Which is a relief a little....I kind of wish they were mad so I can feel justified so I can be so upset!

UGH!! Thank you for letting me vent and please let me know if you have any problems with the "new" Duncan Hines!
Melissa
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Melissa
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post #2 of 27
Define 'literally crumbled'--I'm imagining buildings crumbling like in an earthquake.

Didja forget eggs? Too much oil in cake?

Didja have dowel??

Didja have too many dowel??? (Indy, start your engine!!! icon_lol.gif )
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
it crumbled....it started on the outside corner and just kept falling...which took the top later and all decorations. I had all the ingredients because I have just enough eggs to do the recipe and i measured out the oil....I had it dowels in it....i had 3 in a diagonal the middle one all the way through the two layers and then the other two were just in the bottom layer.
Melissa
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Melissa
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post #4 of 27
2 dowels is not enough, I would have used 4 but at least 3 dowels. The top tier resting on only 2 dowels is a disaster waiting to happen because the top tier can tilt off the 2 dowels. (Think of a table with 2 legs, doesn't work, you need at least 3 for stability)
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
There were 3....I have done this cake before and I've never had this problem.
Melissa
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Melissa
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post #6 of 27
OK, picture in your mind a square table with three skinny legs on the diagonal. Would it stand up?

The dowels would at least have to be positioned in a triangle, like a stool. A 3-legged stool stands just fine.

Sorry, but your support system just wasn't supporting.
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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post #7 of 27
I think your problem must have been the dowels too. I just made a three tier square cake (10, 8, 6) and had five dowels on the bottom tier (four to support corners of 2nd cake and one through the center. I was afraid I had not put enough because these things were heavy! It lasted through an hour delivery and several hour event so I breathed a sigh of relief. So sorry about your cake though... thank goodness it wasn't a wedding cake!

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

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If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

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post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
okay well I thought there was only 3 dowels in it...but my husband told me he doweled it (because i was feeling the effects of morning sickness at 4:30 pm!!!) and he told me he didn't listen to me but put dowels in each corner to hold the top layer and one down the middle. so it wasn't a dowel issue. It had to be the cake. He also said when he was picking it up off the floor he said it was just falling apart.

He told me it tasted good....i guess he felt the pieces that didn't actually touch the floor could be eaten! HAHA I asked him if it was dry or not done and he said it wasn't either it was perfect! So now I am really baffeled at what happened!
Melissa
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Melissa
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post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel2085

okay well I thought there was only 3 dowels in it...but my husband told me he doweled it (because i was feeling the effects of morning sickness at 4:30 pm!!!) and he told me he didn't listen to me but put dowels in each corner to hold the top layer and one down the middle. so it wasn't a dowel issue. It had to be the cake. He also said when he was picking it up off the floor he said it was just falling apart.

He told me it tasted good....i guess he felt the pieces that didn't actually touch the floor could be eaten! HAHA I asked him if it was dry or not done and he said it wasn't either it was perfect! So now I am really baffeled at what happened!


"Dowels in each corner to hold the top cake.." In the corners of the bottom tier?

I still think it was your support system. A cake that's properly supported doesn't just crumble. If you don't use SPS, I recommend the hollow plastic Wilton tiers. I'm sorry this happened to you. icon_sad.gif
post #10 of 27
I'm voting for the support system also. And don't take this the wrong way, but the person who did it too.
If one of those dowels went in crooked in the most teeniest of ways, it will collapse like you said.

Your cake being all falling apart makes no difference. If the correct support system is not used, you will have issues. I used the SPS system the one and only time I moved a tiered cake. I will not use any other.

At the cakery where I work, she uses straws. Plain old ordinary straws. BUT, her cakes are so cold when the leave the door that is the coldness of the cake and frosting holding everything together when they lift it. If they had to lift one of those cakes at room temp with just straws it would fall like yours did.

So next time you could either use a stronger support system, or make sure you do to to ensure they go in straight. Or keep your cake chilled for the delivery and deliver it in plenty of time to come to room temp before it is eaten.
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post #11 of 27
"I had it dowels in it....i had 3 in a diagonal the middle one all the way through the two layers and then the other two were just in the bottom layer."

You put dowels on a diagonal icon_confused.gif That doesn't make any sense?
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
K8memphis - I made the cakes on thurs night. So they weren't fresh.

And I don't think it was the support system because i know my husband is anal.....and he uses a sewing gage and makes sure the are all level....and the part that came apart first was the outside corner of the bottom layer (no cake on top of that section) and from there it just went crashing down.....I seriosuly can't figure it out!!
Melissa
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Melissa
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post #13 of 27
You have figured it out. No offense here, but you are not listening. You used the wrong support system. I am sure your husband was extremely careful about this, but even experts can put in one dowel the wrong way. Search here on CC. I have read about the best of them having this happen.

Plus the cake was room temp since Thursday, but that doesn't matter because it was not a matter of the cake being dry or moist. You also said you were moving the cakes around on the turn table, torting them a day early. How much did you move it AFTER it was stacked? You torted them Saturday and let them rest, so this means they weren't stacked since Thursday. You must have stacked them Sunday? And it may not be instantenous, but the strain of the weight of the upper tiers will take its toll eventually and cause the cake to crash. That is why you see so many cakes on cake wrecks where it looks good at first, but then you start to see it sag. A cake crashing because of support system doesn't necessarily have to happen the instant you stack it. It can happen several hours latter also.

And I don't see any other photos of stacked cakes in your photo section either. So is this your first stacked cake?

It is not the cake formula. Keep an open mind and listen to the experts here. They are giving great advice. Even Indydeb wrote about a cake disaster from doweling and it was not her first cake either.
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post #14 of 27
I also had a bottom-tier-crumbling disaster not too long ago, and I've just come to accept that it was my support system. My cake also wasn't fresh, dowels were in perfectly, etc etc. My cake wasn't chilled because my fridge isn't big enough to put a three-tier monster into.

My support system failed...no question. I'll not send another fully assembled tiered cake out of my house without SPS. Nuh unh.

Sorry this happened, dear, but live and learn. Cakes don't just crumble for no reason, so use this as a lesson. And be thankful that the intended recipient had a great attitude lol .
post #15 of 27
Ok, I totally get what everyone is telling you and I agree that three dowels wasn't enough BUT!!!! I have a VERY similar problem last week. I posted a question too "Why did my cake just crumble??!!" and no one responded. It was Duncan Hines too!

While I am sure the doweling contributed, I also wonder if DH has changed their recipe. My cake was just a 9" round, nothing stacked. I had to rebake twice. The first cake fell apart when I torted it while the second cake didn't have problems until I applied the fondant. I ended up making 5 cakes for only project!

Any other DH problems out there? Makes me rethink my recipes...good luck Mel
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