First Paid Wedding Cake...sps Issue And Things I've Learned

Decorating By shannonlovebug Updated 3 Dec 2009 , 9:30pm by Manotas

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shannonlovebug Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 1:48am
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Here's my first paid wedding cake, also my first stacked 4 tier, first time using SPS.
Go ahead, critique away and don't hold anything back! It wasn't terrible but I know I could have done better. Still the bride and her family were thrilled and that's all I care about.

So my issues with the SPS...I didn't hear the "satifying whoosh" as described in the tutorial. The little pokey thing wasn't tall enough to keep the cake from sliding around on it's plate (fixed that with some b/c so it's all good). The bigger problem was that the plate between the 14" and 12" tier showed even when I put the pearl border on. Had to do some doctoring to cover it up and I wasn't happy. What do I need to do to prevent this in future? The other tiers didn't have this problem. I will probably use SPS in future b/c it was so sturdy! Just need to iron out the bugs.

WASC problem...I will never use WASC again! It tastes great but it is SOOOOO moist that it made my cake weigh a TON!!! I could barely lift the bottom tier by itself and it was so heavy it cracked the fondant on the masonite board underneath. AND, if I didn't have the SPS I'm certain the whole thing would have collapsed in on itself. Plus it was super crumby, stuck to the pan, and broke when I torted it. I've had this problem with wasc in the past so I know it wasn't just a fluke.

Some other things I learnned...

My marshmallow fondant is just as easy to use as premade/semi homemade, and tastes better so I will save myself some money and stick with that in the future.

I LOVE Jennifer Dontz's pearl clay...made quick work of my pearls!

Square cakes are not nearly as scary to cover in fondant as I had imagined. YAY!

I need to find a better way of making loopy bows, I don't know what I'm doing wrong but the loops never jive together enough for the full look I'm going for.

Going to consider buying buttercream by the 5 gallon bucket instead of making it's a real PITA!


Thank you for listening, that is all icon_smile.gif

44 replies
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selfconclusion12 Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:01am
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Your cake looks amazing!! The last time I made WASC I did not like it either. Tastes great but it just does not work for me. I also make my own fondant. What a money saver!!!!

You really did such a good job though! I would LOVE that cake as my wedding cake!

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aundrea Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:02am
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wow! the cake looks fantastic!!! you would never know that you had any problems at all. i love your scroll work and purple and white is so pretty.
thanks for the info on your mis-haps (although hard to find any).
i love when people post good and bad with their cakes it helps me learn alot!

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Texas_Rose Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:05am
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It's a really beautiful cake!

I think a 14" square is going to be really heavy no matter what recipe you use. I've only made a 14" round and even it was really, really heavy.

About the loopy bow, get a 1" dowel and hang it up. I use a couple of mug hooks screwed into the underside of one of my cupboards, then hang two loops of ribbon from it and use them to hang the dowel...when the dowel and ribbons are gone the hooks are just aout invisible. Anyhow, dry the loops over a dowel to get the roundness that you're looking for.

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cakesbycathy Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:06am
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Your cake is beautiful!!

For the sps "swoosh" - I usually use a flower nail to really poke the hole all the way thru the cake board. Definitely helps.

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bellabakes Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:10am
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beautiful cake!!! I love the quilting on the top tier its perfect! thumbs_up.gif

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shannonlovebug Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:16am
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Texas Rose...I use a pvc pipe to get the loops and that works fine but it's when I go to put it all together that it doesn't want to fit. Maybe I'm not tapering the ends enough? I don't know. Maybe there's a tutorial or someting. I definitely need to get better at it though!

Cakes by Cathy...yep I used a flower nail too and still didn't hear the swoosh. Maybe I'm just going deaf.

Thanks for all the nice comments...I appreciate critiques too though, that's how I learn. Anyone want to point out my flaws and tell me what I could have done better? icon_smile.gif

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cylstrial Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:31am
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The cake is very pretty! There are some bow tutorials on here. I don't actually use PVC pipe on mine. I actually just make the loop and then take the non-brush part of a little paintbrush and push the loop into the shape that I want. Then I just let them dry on their side in that shape. It works wondefully. They are very full!!

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luv2bake4u Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:35am
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I used SPS twice now and still haven't heard the satisfying swoosh - I was wondering the same thing. icon_smile.gif

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FromScratch Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:41am
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It looks like your loops weren't 100% dry and they collapsed a little. Are they all fondant? When I make loops I use gumpaste or at the very least add some tylose to the fondant so that it dries rock hard. Definitely taper the ends into a point... that way it's not as hard to get them closer together.

Overall you did a great job. With the SPS, I like to use a plate that is 1" smaller than the cake board... this way the plate will not show at all. And be sure that when you are measuring for height, you take into account the cake board. So if your cake needs to be 4" tall and you have a regular cardboard cake board, the cake should be at least 4 1/8" tall so that it will sit more flush. I never get the whoosh either, but you do know when it gets where it needs to be.

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DebBTX Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 2:55am
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Your cake turned out beautiful.

-Debbie B. icon_biggrin.gif

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anotherslice Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 3:14am
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It's a beautiful cake!

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Justforfun751 Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 3:31am
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I love the mix of textures in your cake (quilting, scrollwork). Thank you for also posting your strengths and weaknesses to those of us newbies who are trying to get bold enough to try something that big!

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twincakesanabelle Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 3:40am
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Beautiful cake love the colors. I think you did a great job. icon_smile.gif

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leah_s Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 3:46am
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Meh, forget about the swoosh. Probably my wacky sense of humor.

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Cathy26 Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 7:44pm
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Holy crap!!! i was scrolling down while reading and expecting an obviously flawed cake with lumps and bumps and probably not that well designed, etc but

OMG that cake is fab! its flawless, you literally would never know you had those issues and it looks exactly like a professional in wedding cakes did it. good job!! you should be really really proud icon_smile.gif

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BecuzImAGurl Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 11:02pm
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gosh, what is SPS? abbreviations are driving me crazy!! icon_redface.gificon_sad.gif

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therese379 Posted 29 Nov 2009 , 11:22pm
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kathy26.. I was looking over your photo's.. AMAZING... perfection.. If you are not in the business selling these beauties.. well.. you should be.. I was impressed by all your cakes.. what a talent... I'm new to decorating.. I wish only to be half as good.. icon_wink.gificon_wink.gif therese icon_smile.gif

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cakesweetiecake Posted 30 Nov 2009 , 4:29pm
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Beautiful cake!!

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KHalstead Posted 30 Nov 2009 , 4:43pm
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Just wanted to add about the "woosh" sound, I only get it when i don't poke the hole all the way (sometimes I just take a skewer and pop a little starter hole in the center of the cake board), and also only on cakes that are heavier like a 10" and up. I think the "woosh" is actually the sound of the heaviness of the cake forcing the poky thing through the cardboard (if you've already shoved it through the cardboard all the way, before assembly you won't get that noise) regardless need a hole, and you don't have to worry about the cake being off centered (I used to struggle with that sooooooooo much). far as having a gap between your plate and the cake, that's're not cutting the supports short enough. I've found that when I measure the sps pillars ( I use a sewing ruler to measure the depth of my cake), I always cut them ONE notch shorter than what they measure. This accounts for the extra height you get once the plate is added. The pillars should be just slightly shorter than your icing level on the cake. If you do that you get a perfectly stacked cake with no seems.
Here is a pic of a cake I did to prove that. The fondant ribbon was attached BEFORE delivery and stacking (I always stack on site even with SPS)....and you can barely see a crevice between the cake layers.

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catlharper Posted 30 Nov 2009 , 5:10pm
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For the poster: Ok, if you want me to get nit picky...which is hard to do with this gorgeous cake...I agree with the tip to mix tylose with the fondant to make the bow dry harder, they looked a teeny bit droopy. The only other thing is the diamonds...maybe let those dry completely then put them on to make the sides more crisp? I told you, hard to get nitpicky on this one! LOL!

for the person who wanted to know what SPS's a support system for multi tiered cakes. Just type in SPS into google and it will come up for you.

As I said, gorgeous cake!

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cakesrpretty Posted 30 Nov 2009 , 5:14pm
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To the original poster: Beautiful cake! i would be happy to receive this as my wedding cake as wellicon_smile.gif

One question, did you stack this cake on site, or deliver assembled?



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Mug-a-Bug Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 3:41pm
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BEAUTIFUL CAKE!! icon_eek.gif Really amazing. There is another technique for making those bows where each loop is attached to a toothpick and then stuck into the cake. That may help with your arranging 'problem' although I don't think it looks like you had any problems at all. Then you don't get any of the white chocolate 'glue' showing through. Great job.

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shannonlovebug Posted 2 Dec 2009 , 11:04pm
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Thanks everyone again for all your helpful tips and comments! Don't know what I'd do without CC!

Cakesrpretty- I stacked the two bottom tiers and two top tiers at home and then i assembled them on site. It was just too heavy to stack them all.

Catlharper- DOH, I'm kicking myself for not remembering to let the diamonds dry a little before sticking them on. That would definitely have made my edges crisper.

I actually used 50/50 fondant/gumpaste for the bow and it was dry but I couldn't get my fuller loops to fit together right so I went with the flatter loops. Looking down from the top the loops didn't look quite so flat. Gonna try the toothpick trick, that sounds like it could work for me. Thanks Sincitycakes for the suggestion.

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__Jamie__ Posted 2 Dec 2009 , 11:09pm
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Perfectly perfect results so you NEVER ever ever have any board showing, or have to fiddle with poking a hole in your board.

Use foam core.

Take the SPS plate, put it pointy side down on foam core, this before you cut your foam core mind you, press it down, so the pointy side is poking into the foam core. Trace around the SPS plate, cut out your board, flip it over (so hole is now on bottom)

You now have an undisputed, error proof, perfectly matched board and perfectly centered hole for the peg.

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LoriMc Posted 2 Dec 2009 , 11:25pm
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I think your cake is awesome! I have also had a problem with getting the border to cover the SPS plate and carboard cake circle.

Maybe I need to try cutting my supports shorter.

Also, my cake is never perfectly level. Do you guys cut all your columns by the shortest one or what?

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__Jamie__ Posted 2 Dec 2009 , 11:27pm
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I wouldn't dream of cutting an SPS leg. I use the 4" legs and I take care to bake to the level needed, and measure how much filling/icing is needed.

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__Jamie__ Posted 2 Dec 2009 , 11:32pm
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I wouldn't dream of cutting an SPS leg. I use the 4" legs and I take care to bake to the level needed, and measure how much filling/icing is needed.

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DDiva Posted 2 Dec 2009 , 11:50pm
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I've used SPS exclusively for years. However, I use TuffBoard cake boards (corrugated plastic) and the SPS peg won't go through. I use a little hack saw (the small hobby kind) and cut the peg off. I then apply double stick carpet tape to the plate.

I use both the 4" columns and the pre-scored columns. I do a lot of sculpted cakes so I don't do 4 inch cakes consistently. There is a 'cap' that is around the 'female' part of the plate. It can be removed (thanks B. Keith). Removing that cap will allow your plate to be pushed down completely into the cake. I also use a SPS plate that is one size smaller than the cake diameter.

You did a great job on your cake!! You'll find SPS to be a great comfort as you continue to make tiered cakes. I have done a wedding cake that was 7 tiers. I stacked 4 and then 3. Assembled the 3 on top the 4 on site with no problem. But 4 and 5 tiers, I stack at the shop. Fortunately, my husband handles those for me icon_biggrin.gif

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LoriMc Posted 2 Dec 2009 , 11:51pm
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I always have to cut mine. I fill the pans based on the wilton chart, and they are 2" deep, but by the time they cool and I level them, they are never 4" high. That is including filling them with buttercream in a coupler.

Am I the only one who cuts them?

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