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Where did I go wrong?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Hello to all,
I've just become a member, but I've been visiting CC for years.
I've just come out of a huge first-time cake disaster/nightmare, & I'd like your input.
I delivered my first non-friend/family-related 4-tier wedding cake on Friday evening. We left the place at 8 pm, the cake was awesome. At 12 am, the groom, who had been staying there with his buddies for the night tries to call me, but I didn't hear the darn cell phone. My 12" tier (the bottom one) had sunk/slid. By the time I got the message at 8 am, the 2 top tiers had fallen, everything was a mess. I had put wooden dowels (which I will never do again), was this my mistake? The wedding took place at a mansion the b&g had rented for 4 days. Could it have been pushed un purposely? Was it because the table wasn't stable enough? I had delivered the cake into 2 sections, had kept the cakes in my air/conditioned living room, the mansion was the same temp. Was that part of the problem, not refrigerated? I know it can't be my cake recipe, I use & love the WASC recipe.
Another addition to the problem, the bride wants a full refund. I did everything I could to solve the problem. I cooked a new 10" to make for the cake that needed to be cut & thrown out, I bought dummies, covered them with fondant, put the flowers on the new "cake", also provided a new 6". But she's unhappy, she would have wanted 4 totally new tiers, which was impossible for me to do. I had not made a contract with her. Do you guarantee your work after setup? Should I give her a refund? Thnx.
post #2 of 56

What kind of icing did you use? Try the SPS system in the future....besides that I don't know what to say except that sucks.... icon_sad.gif

post #3 of 56
Thread Starter 
I always use ganache. I've already ordered a few SPS systems, never will I go back to wooden dowels...
post #4 of 56

It just doesn't sound right to me. Did you use cardboard between the layers or something else?

post #5 of 56
Was the wedding on Saturday? I gave a bride her cake and she drove it 2 hours away for her wedding the next day I explicitly said after it left my possession, she was responsible for the condition of the cake. Usually after set-up, it's out of your hands, but you also need to make a cake that doesn't fall apart (obv). That stinks. Do you have any photos for Cake crime scene analysis? So sorry this happened!! What a bummer.
post #6 of 56
If it was delivered and setup properly there shouldn't have been any problems.

Did you use seperators between your tiers like BatterUp asked? Did they move the cake?

I assume it was setup inside, and it happened that evening so I don't think the problem would be with temperature but it's hard to tell without seeing it or having more info. I don't care much for wooden dowells, especially for larger tiers-I always use larger supports for larger tiers just a personally preference I like poly dowels and sps.

Honestly, if you used enough support it shouldn't have mattered what system you used-some are better then others but people use varieties with ease. I don't mean that to be offensive, like I said its hard to tell.

Yes, someone could have bumped the table. It sounds like you did what you could to fix it. I think you'll like the sps. Did you take a picture when the cake was assembled, perhaps you could post that here so we could have a better idea of what went wrong and how you can proceed. I'm so sorry this happened!
post #7 of 56
Photos? Before and after? Tell us word for word how you constructed this cake, even if you think tiny details wouldn't matter to the story, because they might.
*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Reply
post #8 of 56

Sounds to me like a bachelor party got out of control.....a call at 12 am? In a house with nothing but a groom and his groomsmen? I seen Hangover...I KNOW what happens..lol. Sorry. This is no laughing situation. I honestly don't know what I would do for the bride. In the future ALWAYS have a contract and make them sign for the cake saying they accept it and the condition it was received in.

post #9 of 56
I have a contract that states if they chose to pick up it is no longer my responsibility, after delivery and setup same thing-once they accept the cake it's theirs. Someone posted a few weeks ago having a second invoice for them to sign or initial upon delivery that they are pleased, what have you-I have added this to my policy as well as documenting with a photo.

Of course things happen, I've ran over to someone's house to hide a dent they made while getting their cake home, it was close to me and a quick fix so no charge but I suppose this is different.

If you believe this was a mistake on your part you should consider a partial refund.
post #10 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture View Post

Photos? Before and after? Tell us word for word how you constructed this cake, even if you think tiny details wouldn't matter to the story, because they might.


^this.

 

Unfortunately, it's pretty much impossible for anyone here to help you out without all the details.

post #11 of 56
Thread Starter 
Before & after pictures. I had a drum base, each tier was sitting on cake circles, the 12" had 6 dowels, 10" - 5, 8" -4. DH & I lifted the cake once it was setup, they had forgotten to put a tablecloth on the table. I had put double tape in my box for transportation, & it stuck so well, we had to cut the box & work hard to seperate drum and box, all this without one glitch. 15 minutes on unpaved roads. Does this help?
post #12 of 56

From those pictures I would think that either your dowels were not level or not straight (vertically) 
It looks like the bottom tier dowels have shifted (2nd pic) and cake is sinking at the back - once that happens, its only a matter of time before the whole thing collapses.

Definately a 'support' problem.   A well supported (constructed) cake should not have a problem on unpaved roads - I drive on dirt, bumpy, windy roads all the time.

A sense of humour is a wonderful thing  - without laughter, the world is a SUPER boring place

PS..... only smart people can read truly WITTY comments and chuckle instead of getting all miffed

Hero of all time - GODOT

 

 

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A sense of humour is a wonderful thing  - without laughter, the world is a SUPER boring place

PS..... only smart people can read truly WITTY comments and chuckle instead of getting all miffed

Hero of all time - GODOT

 

 

www.facebook.com/applegum

Th...

Misc 3D Cakes
(1 photos)
  
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post #13 of 56

Hi there, welcome to Cake Central.

 

Its great you have some photos of the cake post-crash.

 

I believe your 12" tier supports were insufficient, and/or unevenly cut. There is every chance the table was shoved from the front causing the backward movement of the cake to occur, and hence initiate the collapse at the rear of the 12". But this is something that you CANNOT blame on anyone, because you do not have evidence.

 

For cakes this size, I would have had 8-10 dowels in the 12", 8 in the 10" and 6 in the 8". There is nothing wrong with using wooden dowels, so long as you cut them properly and level each tier as you go. I also would double up cake boards under the 10".

 

I know you are saying you will no longer use wooden dowels, but in case anyone else is wondering how to use wooden dowels for support while reading this:

 

1. Use a template on the top of the base tier to mark where you'll place your dowels.

2. The dowels should sit around 2cm from the edge of the tier above. Arrange the dowels markings so that they are equally spaced, and add a centre one also if desired.

3. Get down and eyeball at the level of the tier top to see if any part of the tier is slightly higher than anywhere else.

4. Using the pointy end, place your first dowel into the highest point of the tier (within your selected doweling points), ensuring it is going in at 90degrees. You can use your level for this (from front and from the side).

5. Using a pencil, mark your dowel about 3mm higher than the fondant skin.

6. Carefully unscrew out this dowel, wipe clean.

7. Use a sturdy flat border, such as the straight edge of your gumpaste board, and place the point of your dowel against it at 90 degrees, then align EACH dowel in turn and mark for cutting exactly in the same place as your first dowel. Do not try to do all at once along a row of dowels.  Repeat for all the dowels.

8. Use sharp, secateurs that you reserve solely for this job. Carefully cut each dowel straight across the top. Check that each cut length is the same as the height of your marked pointy dowel.

9. If there are ANY discrepancies, use sandpaper or an emery board to get the perfect height across all dowels. If any are too short, discard and repeat step 7.

10. Clean your dowels before inserting into your cake tier - off any dust or pencil marks.

11. Insert  each dowel into the cake tier, using your level to ensure they are going in perpendicular to the table surface. Remember you need to check 90 degrees from the front and 90 degrees from the side!

12. When every single dowel is firmly in the cake, check that they clear the tier surface by 3mm (approx), then place a flat board on top of all the dowels sticking up a bit, and check (front and side again) that the dowels are now all LEVEL.

 

OP - can you please explain what happened on the wedding day? Did you replace everything so they had a full 4-tier cake in the original design? Can you post a photo? Because if you provided a cake exactly the same and on time (before the reception) - no refund. If you provided cake but not to the specifications, I would issue a partial or full refund. If you didn't supply anything in time for the reception - full refund, and a free cake to a nominal sum.

 

I also have a policy of not accepting liability after my cakes have been set up or collected. This is signed for upon delivery/pickup and I take photos of every set up. Why did the cake get delivered the night before (just out of interest)? Seems risky.

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

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Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply
post #14 of 56

That's a shame!

 

the cake was lovely

post #15 of 56

That's a shame!

 

the cake was lovely

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