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What did I do wrong???

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

I made this birthday cake, I put 6 wooden dowels in and the center dowel too with cardboard underneath cakes.  It was a chocolate cake with vanilla mousse with berries.  It was fine when I moved it and it was sitting for a few hours until client came to pick it.  She calls me 20 minutes later and tells me that the cake fell and sent me a picture. My relatives tell me that once the cake it out in clients hands its not my responsibility anymore and I shouldn't feel bad about it because I did what I had to do. I feel like its my fault that I must of done something wrong so what did I do?  



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post #2 of 41

Did the client set the cake on a non flat seat in the car.  It didn't just slide a little, it slid a lot.  I find it hard to believe that if your client kept it flat that it would have done this.  Did you have a center dowel through both cakes?  This is why I never let anyone pick up a tiered or stacked cake, I deliver it so I make sure it gets there like it is supposed to.

post #3 of 41
Thread Starter 

I put a dowel in the center of both cakes, she set the cake on her lap.  I just might have to take all the cakes from now on or else use other supports so it wont happen again.

post #4 of 41

Sounds like it was the delivery method.  I learned the hard way cakes cannot go on laps in cars!  

post #5 of 41

The second picture looks like the cake has a slight bulge on the right hand side..right where the little yellow star is. The cake goes in right under it -- leaning off just slightly. If it was leaning on the one side (even just slightly) and the dowels shimmied in the cars, the cake can slid off.  That's a reason I don't use dowels. Look into using SPS next time. It's extremely sturdy and takes a lot of the stress off you.

Edited by sixinarow - 8/17/13 at 7:13pm
Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
Let's eat grandma. Let's eat, grandma. Punctuation saves lives.
post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 

Thank you, I will definitely look into the single plate separators.

post #7 of 41
That cake has certainly been jolted, most likely the driver braked suddenly and whoever was holding the cake wasn't expecting it.

Your relatives are correct that its in the customers hands once they have it, you can't control what they do with it. But you also need to state that in your contract, and make it clear to the customer when they say they want to pick it up.
post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your suggestion, I will put that in with bold letters.

post #9 of 41
I'm really sorry this happened. Also I just love the wood detail in the couch, in the background, sorry random.

I insist on delivering most cakes as well, that's not always realistic for everyone. I would instruct the customer to set the cake on a flat surface with non skid matting (you can get cheap rolls at any $1 store, you only need a little) I always have on hand. I'd box it and place it in the car for them.

Yes, you want something in your contract at pickups or a separate invoice that they will initial/sign releasing you from responsibility.

I'm sorry to say that I think partly it was your support system. The cake doesn't look completely centered to me, I can see where a quick break with shifted dowels would make the cake collapse on itself. Even with a center dowel through the board the cake seems offset. Maybe it's just me. But I also think you must inform your customers how to properly transport their cake before they leave with it-if they chose to ignore you that's not your fault.

How were the wings secured?
post #10 of 41
Thread Starter 

Thank you, and the wings were put on with piping gel.  I will make sure I repeat myself with instructions because she was running late so I quickly told her.  At the time I thought I centered the cake but it's hard to tell when I don't have a second pair of eyes to let me know if they see it off centered.  What do you suggest to do to make sure cake is perfectly centered and not just rely on sight?  

post #11 of 41

Seems odd that the bottom tier slid forward onto the red lettering on the board, but the top tier slid backwards off the bottom. Just sayin'. I am leaning towards the "lap ride" and probably a quick stop. Unfortunate, but not your problem. With only two tiers, it shouldn't go anywhere if driven properly. (In my experience anyway! )

post #12 of 41

I think this one is too close too call.  Mousse and berries are much less stable than american buttercream.  In addition, while wooden dowels provide vertical support, they provide very little lateral support.  If a wooden dowel is slighlty off kilter, it can easily rip through a cake. That is the extra element SPS adds since the columns lock into the plates.


Could your cake have been supported properly?  Yes, it could have been. 


However, as the experts, if our cakes cannot handle a slight ten degree tilt without falling apart, we need to demand it be delivered.


In my opinion, it is entirely possible that the lower cake shifted from normal movement and caused the whole thing to be unstable.  Mousse is basically an aerated liquid.  Whereas an american buttercream will return to a more solid state, since that is what butter and shortening want to do at room temperature.  Merely moving the cake could have caused that shift to take place.  A two tier cake is a structure.  In this case, the bottom tier was the weakest link.


In short, I hate to say this, it could have been your fault.

post #13 of 41
That is to bad. I agree that it was the lap delivery and hard breaking, I have delivered a 3tiered cake with dowels in the back of my suv with no issue. So I would say it is out your hands.
post #14 of 41
Thread Starter 

I understand this and that is why I am asking advice. I've used wooden dowels with no problems and its the first time it has happened to me so i'm reconsidering and will probably switch to using SPS to ensure no accidents from now on.

post #15 of 41
I wasn't tryin to be hurtful. Its probably a combination of things. I started out using wooden dowels, I was always worried about the displaced cake. Many people use them successfully, like you said, you've used them. I use poly dowels, bubble tea straws, and sps-depending on my project. The larger the tiers, the larger dowels I use-again just a preference. I prefer the sps I just don't always have them on hand. Another switch I've made is using foam core between tiers, I know they have grease proof boards but foam core is easier for me to get. Make sure your base board is strong enough to hold the weight of the entire cake. You probably know these things.

Matthew made a good point about the filling, the weather probably worked against you as well. I always use a level, during carving and filling I'll place a board on top and my level to make sure things are still even. Whatever supports you do decide to use cut before you put them in the cake so you can line those up as well to make sure they're level.

Again, I'm sorry this happened. We've all had cake accidents
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