As Joan Rivers used to say "can we talk?", I need to vent.
Ok, so for months and months now I have been gathering supplies, reading tons of stuff on CC in preparation for a 7 tier wedding cake due this coming Saturday. Even made reservations to rent a SUV to drive this cake to the wedding 2 1/2 hours away. I have been obsessed about this particular cake and wanted everything to go just so. (don't we all???)
So, my cake boards are ready, my foam core is cut, my cake base board is cut and sanded. Cake delivery boxes set up and stacked in the living room. Enough supplies to make it look like I am going to feed a batallion.
I'm on schedule for my 3 day weekend - shop and relax with granddaughter on Friday - check! Saturday - put in a/c units and replace dryer vent hose (long one - 30 feet (that's another story) - buy window film to put on front windows - go out to eat because too tired to cook - check! Sunday - laundry, miscellaneous things I need done to take home for the wedding - photo dvd's for family, new photos of the granddaughter, clean off the camcorder, clean off the camera, charge batteries, cook supper, make chocolate ganache, lay out butter to soften and relax. Monday is coming and that's when all the real work begins.
Plans for Monday were to make all the batters for the cake - pound cake (15 batches) and chocolate cake (12 batches) and start baking. DH and DN are on standby for dish duty, lifting heavy cake pans, etc. All ingredients lined up on the kitchen table and ready to use. First thing to happen was I knocked an egg carton off the table and lost 4 eggs. Cleaned up the mess and made the 1st 6 batches of pound cake to start the largest tier (16") cake first. Get it made, put in oven and turn on timer and start on the chocolate cake - 6 batches. Set this aside. First cake timer goes off and oh no...that's when it starts!!!! the dreaded "things that go wrong"... cake is too overdone on the sides and bottom and some not done enough and parts of the top of the cake aren't cooked and some are...don't know how in the world this happened???? Used cake cores, did everything I learned. So depressed...cut off the bad parts, put the underbaked parts in a bowl to turn into cake crumbs and bake off in the oven to make cake balls later.
Pour batter in next pan (12") and made homemade cake strips and wrapped around the cake, put in cake core and put it in the oven and prayed. Timer goes off and I take out the cake and it looks great! So it goes on the cooling rack and I start the next cake. Did everything just like before, except no cake core (just a 8" square). Bakes and it looks good when I take it out and then I notice that the sides (all 4 of them) are pulling in towards the center of the cake...oh no, not something else going wrong..then I turn it out of the rack and several small pieces stuck to the bottom of the pan....well I can repair the bottom and afterall, no one will see it but me..
On to the repeat of the 16" - make 3 more batches of pound cake batter, make cake strips, fill the pan and into the oven...now and sitting here wondering will the cake come out right? It's 6:30 pm, and I have only 2 cake layers baked with the 3rd in the oven. With any luck, the 3rd tier will come out in about 1 hr and maybe I can get another layer baked before bedtime. Have to go to work tommorrow and really feeling the stress of it all.
Looking back I should have figured out a way to buy another mixer so I could have two going at the same time. One 5 qt KA is just not enough. But more depressing is that I have been making cakes for 2 1/2 years now and this is the first time I have had a problem with the baking part.
Thanks for listening to me vent. I'm trying to keep myself pulled together and know that this happens to cake decorators all the time. Should have known that because this cake is to important to me that things would go wrong if they could...
Bless your heart. I feel your pain. Seems when we are most consciencious it all goes haywire, but when we just whiz through it without a concern, it all comes together like a dream. Go figure! Keep your chin up. It will all work out. That I have learned!
Dear Ptanyer, breath in...breat out....breath in, breath out. I feel for you...I know exactly what you mean. I'm not a professional baker nor I've ever made a wedding cake, but I take baking as seriously as if I was a professional!! and exactly the same thing has happened to me. When I think I'm the most prepared something goes 'sideways'...
One of the experts here told me that baking is also like having a 'bad hair day'...there are times when you can have a 'bad baking day.'
Good luck, I'm sure your cake will come out beautiful!!!
Lucky to have a husband that's willing to do the dishes...I'm single so, I have to do everything by myself
I hope the rest of your week goes without a hitch. I agree with you, one 5 qt KA is not enough.
I don't know your beliefs, but when I see a "baking day" not going as planned, I say a serious prayer that whatever skills I have (or don't have) will work together to make the cake turn out great. AND IT ALWAYS WORKS! Maybe it's that I've calmed down and stopped stressing, but somehow it all works out for the best in the end. I was thinking maybe you will want to have a technician make sure your oven working properly. That could be a problem, too. Losing heat, overheating?
Hang in there!!! I have never attempted a wedding cake but I do a lot baking for fun and fundraisers. When i was looking for a mixer I got a 7 qt mixer because I hardly ever make a single batch of anything. Even with that I am thinking having another mixer isn't that bad of an idea.
You'll get through this. You've really planned everything out and it will be okay. Sound like you've got lots of wonderful help. Keep us posted and can't wait to see pix of the cake!!!
It was a smart idea to vent--it helps to get through the rough patches.
I'm so sorry to hear you're off to a rough start. I'm crossing my fingers that EVERYTHING else from here on out goes well and that the guests at the wedding tire you with all of their compliments about how great the cake looks AND tastes!
Keep on keepin' on and please keep us posted as we'll be thinking about you.
Just now had to take the 16" layer out of the oven - same thing - burning on sides and bottom. Going into the trash. Don't what it can be, unless there just isn't enough space between the pan and the walls of the oven - mine is small, but the 16" pan fit in with about 1" all the way around. I have the oven on 300 deg's, with 2 cake cores, 2 rose nails and baking strips. Totally defeated. This makes a total of 6 batches of pound cake wasted...can't stand waste
So after phone calls to family members to check out the dimensions of their ovens, I have decided to scratch using the 16" pan and make 4 - 8" cakes and make that one layer, and then another 4 - 8" cakes for the 2nd layer and hope that I do a really good job icing and fondanting so that no one will know....
Anyone want to buy a 16" Fat Daddio square (only used twice...) and a 18" Fat Daddio square (never used at all - wouldn't fit in my oven (or anyone else's either)???
I sure hope you didn't commit to any other cakes for this week. I could've come over and helped you today. I was off work and was just in Lenoir last night. Keep us posted on your progress and I hope it all starts to work out for you.
It is so true what someone else said about everything going haywire when you think you have it all planned out. Did you read the thread about Indydebi forgetting a cake? It turned out to be one of the smoothest bc jobs she's had.
So sorry to hear this. I hate it when you have a plan of action; trying to get a nice flow going so that your time management is working in your favor, and you start to experience things you never had before or haven't for a very long time. Doesn't it just blow your whole concept of having everything under control.
No, I didn't take any other cake orders this week. Knew this was going to be a biggie, but didn't count on all this. Thanks Jammjenks for the offer to help. Are you close to Lenoir? What brought you to my neck of the woods?
I'll have to look up that thread about the forgotten cake, could use a laugh right now...
I only have 1 square pan of each size needed for this cake, so it will be a slow baking night, but one way or the other I am going to get as many baked tonight as I can.
Thanks for all the support!!! I couldn't do this without your help and shoulders to lean on
I forgot to say that even though your baking at 300 degrees, is it possible that your oven is no longer regulated? You're turning it too 300 but it may be baking at a higher temp. I had this problem. My oven baked at what I set the temp to; then somewhere down the line my oven flipped the script on me and started baking at a higher temp. I found this to be true after I purchased a oven themometer and it read 25 degrees higher than what I set it at. Needless to say it wrecked havoc on my cakes until I purchased a ot and figured it out. I hope this helps; and maybe you can buy a oven themometer while your out tomorrow.
Oh dear, I do hate when that happens. So sorry you are having trouble. I do have a trick I use for larger pans. Instead of one heating core, which tends to tip over and leave a large hole in the cake I use 3 flower nails, sprayed with PAM flour spray and placed flat side down. I have also used larger decorating tips, like the triple star and the large rose petal tip. This works quite well for me.
Oh honey, I feel your pain! It's soooo frustrating when this happens.
We moved into our house almost 3 years ago and the oven (wall oven) was only 1 year old when we moved in. Things weren't cooking right so I finally got an oven thermometer and learned that my oven cooks 35 degrees too low so everything automatically gets up 35 degrees from what the recipe says. It also cooks unevenly, hotter on one side so I have to take that into account.
About 2 1/2 years ago, I started getting serious about cake decorating again and I have THIS oven. So, 2 weeks ago, I'm making a 2-tier cake, 10" and 8" rounds using WASC. Made this, oh, I don't know how many times. I'm noticing that the oven is cooking really low, like 300 degrees and it is taking FOREVER for the cakes to get ready. I pull the 8" out when they are ready. One is fine and I realize that the other one, although it was done in the middle, is completely not done on one side. The 10" cakes were done but they were heavy. I did rebake the 8" cakes the next night but it put we way behind. I wanted to do OVER THE TOP and instead, it was a disaster in my eyes. Everyone thought it was so cute but I absolutely hated it.
We plan to gut and remodel our kitchen and my plan is/was to hold out until then to get a new oven. But, I'm also trying to get legal this summer and I'll have to rent a commercial kitchen so maybe it won't be an issue much longer.
sorry to hijack! I DO know how you feel but I've never made a 7-tier before! Wow! Be sure to post pics!
Sorry for your trouble but I think you are great for thinking of using the 4 8inch pans. I know it is more work and trouble, but at least you came up with a solution.
Thanks for the advice while I've been in the kitchen making yet another 6 batches of pound cake batter. After this I may never want to eat another pound cake as long as I live - and I have always loved this cake.
I have calibrated my oven and have an oven thermometer. Mine runs 50 deg hotter so I cut back all the temps by 50 deg. Here's what I came up with so far -
the 1st 16" was a disaster - overcooked in some areas and underdone in others;
the first 14" was good;
the first 8" is okay, but the sides shrunk in towards the middle of the cake (this had cake strips around it);
the 2nd 16" was the same disaster as the 1st except that I also used cake strips around it as well - threw it away;
the second 8" is okay, but the sides also shrunk in (alot) as well - used cake strips on this too.
the 2nd 14" is in the oven now, no cake strips, and 1 cake core and I set the oven at 275 deg.
Keeping my fingers crossed and hope that the one in the oven comes out okay and I might get one more done before I go to bed. Wouldn't go to bed if I could, but have to work tomorrow...(loud sigh).
There were a couple of light hearted moments a little while ago: my DH is in the kitchen helping me mix pound cake batter by hand while I do part in the mixer - making all 6 batches at one time. I poured some milk in his bowl and a little slopped out of the bowl and he looked at me and said that the bowl spit at him - looking so surprised that I couldn't help but laugh. But the funniest part was when he was sifting flour and needed a 1/2 cup to finish it up and I looked over and he was trying to level flour in a 1 cup measure and asking how to make sure it was only 1/2 cup...I had to laugh and show him the 1/2 cup measuring cup sitting right beside his bowl!!!
I'll keep you posted for sure. I appreciate all of you more than you know!!!
Sounds like things are back on track. Thanks for sharing the light moments.
About a week and half ago my husband was helping me make ganche--he didn't know what ganche was until I explained. He also helped me torte a 12x18 cake. It was a fun to have him involved. It's so great when the DHs are in there helping. Oh and he loved the ganche when he tasted as the filling in the cake the next day.
Keep us posted with your progress.
Sorry that is happening to you!!!! I hate bad baking days and they always seem to happen when you try really hard. Well wishes
my bad baking moments have not been as dramatic as yours, for sure, but i have had them! good luck and may the cake gremlins run out of your kitchen like their butts were on fire!
I feel for you!!!! I am so sorry this is happening at the WORST possible moment. Every time I tried to use a particular recipe for large or deep pans, it didn't work. Then I decided to use less batter and just have several layers, versus torting. It worked. I don't know but could there be too much batter? I think you mentioned that you have used this recipe before without hitch. Have you ever made such large cakes with it?
I hope your luck changes. But think of it this way.....a trued baker/designer is one who can adapt QUICKLY and plug at it. You are doing both. Have a good cry and then be proud.
I have absolutely been there! Especially when baking larger size cakes. My last experience was so dire that I have been scared to bake a cake larger than 10". I had particular trouble with the squares! They just did they weirdest thing! I can't even explain. I wil have to take a picture next time because there are no words! I applaud you for keeping such an upbeat attitude and plugging on! Good for you! I might have run away from home by now!
Best of Luck!
Im sorry that you are going through this. I know how frustrating this can be. Thank goodness you didnt have any order. Hopefully things will go smoothly for you while doing the reat of the cake.