Cake Fell Apart - Help!!!

Decorating By sleepy20520 Updated 23 Aug 2014 , 6:53pm by buttercreamqueenbee

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sleepy20520 Posted 2 Aug 2014 , 1:34am
post #1 of 15

Ok i had a customer that wanted a 2 tier cake, she mentioend she actually makes cakes in her spare time (has made tiered cakes) but just didnt have time to make this one because she was making all the food for her daughters first birthday.

Anyways, i made this 2 tier cake, weve made LOTS of cakes - not our first rodeo here.... we make on average 2-4 tiered cakes a week.... ive traveled with TONS of cakes over my years doing this, never had this happen.  Not once!

Well she said she wanted to pickup the cake, i figured since it was just a small 2 tier (6" 8") it should be ok and since shes had some experience with cakes, again i figured it would be safe.

Well, low and behold, 2 hours after i delivered it to her house, she called to tell me it was sliding off the cake drum and collapsing.  Now i def dont think she intentionally ruind her cake, why would she... but i think someone mishandled it and/or it was not in a cold environment.

I finished this cake 24 hours before it was do, as i do all cakes to ensure they are not going to start falling over for any reason.


We had it in the box, in our fridge overnight, so it was well chilled.  I did not use SPS, but used wood dowels to support the top tier and a plastic hollow dowel thru the center.

It was a fondant covered cake with some decorations on it.

After a long conversation with her, she didnt want a refund and even said several times she knew it wasnt my fault but also that she didnt know what could have happened - she basically wanted me to drive an hour to her party to help her and fix the cake - but i didnt know what else could be done honestly.  she said one side looked fine so i suggested the only thing i could, turn it around and no one would even know. not a great answer but with the party being less than an hour away there was no way it was getting remade - it took me several days to make.

Anyways, im just curious if any of you have any ideas as to what culd have happened to this cake?

Ive attached a before (pic i took) and after (pics she took).  You will notice the pics she sent, the cake is sitting in someones lap in a car.  That is NOT how i left the cake.  When i delivered it, it was in a tall cake box, completely covered.  We put them in these boxes and put them in the fridge to keep out heat and direct light.  I gave the cake to her husband who then gave it to some other family member who took it upstairs - last i saw of it.  He then had hsi wife sign for it inside... i even told him, dont take it out of the box, just put that box on the floorboard of the car (she previously told me they had a van).

Well when she called it was 2 horus after i delivered it and she mentinoed she had alot of people in her apartment helping her - so i imagine it was perhaps hotter than she imagined and/or someone mishandled it, not meaning to but maybe they did.  Also, i asked why is it out of the box she said they took it out once they saw it was sliding around.... again, NOT what i told them to do, but what can you do.

Anyways, any opinions would be great!



14 replies
-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 2 Aug 2014 , 2:13am
post #2 of 15

Aidk -- you are saying you think it will be safe for her to pick it up but you delivered it -- that someone took it upstairs and you're telling hubby to set it in the floorboard -- why would they need to be cautioned about not taking it out of the box if they were taking it somewhere else -- so confusing

all that to say -- coulda been an air bubble formed under the fondant that found a weakness in that edge & ripped it a little when it got stretched out -- aka a cake fart

but taking it out of the box wouldn't do that

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candcmom2 Posted 2 Aug 2014 , 2:36am
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ALooks like it might have been dropped? Or it did slide onto something.The way the lettering is all messed up and the side is smooshed in, and all the beads are messed up? So sorry!

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Pastrybaglady Posted 2 Aug 2014 , 2:44am
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AMaybe stuff could fall off the cake but why are the letters on the board all messed up? That looks like something went wrong on their end. So you delivered the cake to them, right? Very strange...

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mattyeatscakes Posted 2 Aug 2014 , 3:25am
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AYup i agree with the other posters.. Something bad happened to the cake and someone is not 'fessing up! I think the cake slid or was dropped and was caught. Explains why the fondant balls on the bottom are squished in, and the letters are all wonky. Like they were swiped in the process of saving the cake from falling forward..

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sleepy20520 Posted 2 Aug 2014 , 4:24am
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sorry if my original post was confusing.... the customer was kind of all over the place with this cake.  from day 1 was sending me youtube videos of "how tos" for the design... i kept telling her we know how to cut out letters and make borders and not to worry.  and every other day shed change what she wanted on the wise.  2 days before it was due asked me to add the gumpaste ball border instead of a more simple piped border... needless to say i wasnt happy, but i didnt even tell her that i just agreed and did it.... trying to be nice.  she was always a nice customer just very very worried about getting a good cake and making sure we knew what we were doing.

well originally she was going to pick up the cake then called me an hour before pickup and asked if i could deliver it to her house which is about 15 min from my location.  i agreed and deliverd it to her.  the actual party location is an hour or more from her she was going to transport it there.

she asked me to deliver the cake at a VERY specific time she it wouldnt be sitting around her house or car, it would be the last thing packed in the car and they could leave.  so when i delivered it to her house, it was an apatment.  one of those apartments where you walk in and its just stairs up to the apartment, so the entire apartment is upstairs.  when i got there she was in the shower so her husband came to the door. i gave him the cake, which he stood around holding for a few minutes them handed it to another family member who was walking up to the door, this guy carried it upstairs - last i saw of it.  the husband siad hed take it to show his wife (who was just out of the shower) and have her sign for it.  so she did and he brought me back the paper at whcih point i told him, make sure to leave it in the box, in a/c, on the floorboard, etc etc... i explained it all, which i had previously explained to her more than once before i delivered it....

when she called me to tell me something went wrong with it, it was over 2 hours later and she had just left her house-my point is the cake was sitting somewhere for 2 hours....i have no idea what the temperature was, who touched it, etc.  she said there were alot of people in her apartment helping them pack up their car....who knows!  my theory is it was alot warmer wherever they were then she realized, the cake heated up in those 2 hours, they got in the car and maybe she took a turn to fast or hit the brakes or who knows what, and with the warmed up cake it slid or someone dropped it and didnt fess up to her. i highly doubt she did it because obviously she wanted her cake to make it in tact but something happened to it.....something that someones not fessing up to.

i highly doubt its an air bubble, ive had air bubbles before and thats def not what it looked like....air bubbles can be fixed and usually occur within 24 hours of stacking.... this cake was done 26 horus before i delviered it. 

i REALLY believe it was a sliding, dropping, bumping, etc situation.....

the girl didnt want a refund she just wanted me to perform a miracle and fix it or make her a new one in 1 hour and deliver it an hour away- obviously wasnt doable and she actually apologized to me and said it wasnt my fault...shocking.

i will tell you tho she did mention a few times that since the cake drum wasnt covered in fondant thats why it slid off - i reassured her that ive done hundreds of cakes, none have slid off and 99% were NOT covered in fondant....altho i feel like she didnt believe me.

what do you guys use to attach your cake to the drum? buttercream, royal, etc?

i was SOOOO sad to see this cake messed up - it took alot of time, alot of cutouts, rolling gumpaste balls, etc.

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sleepy20520 Posted 2 Aug 2014 , 4:26am
post #7 of 15

another odd thing, the customer asked me to add those gumpaste balls to the cake the 2 days before it was due.  so i handrolled all those balls and because it was so close to the due date, they werent totally hard but in between hard and soft balls, which i dont see why it would matter as they are just sitting there as a border.

she said to me it was weird my gumpaste wasnt as hard as hers and she thinks they were just fondant. 

i tried in my nicest tone to say well you changed that on me 2 days ago and i cant cnotrol how fast gumpaste dries.... seriously???

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sleepy20520 Posted 2 Aug 2014 , 4:58am
post #8 of 15

heres a clearer picture i took (before it was ruined) :(

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simplyme4469 Posted 3 Aug 2014 , 3:05am
post #9 of 15

AIIm just a hobby baker and haven't experienced this before. Like previous poster said. ... its not just the fondant covering the cake... gumpaste/fondant decorations that have been effected. It is the wording that is completely messed up. If it was environmental damages.... it wouldn't look like that. If the cake has slid. ... it seems like the problem was the way the cake was handled. She most likely just wanted to convince you to fix it for her. From your post... she comes across as very particular regarding getting her perfect cske.... if it were your fault wouldn't she demand a refund? (I would). She probably didn't tell you what happened because she feels bad for trying to get you to come fix her mistake. My thoughts anyway. ... I could be way off.

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Claire138 Posted 3 Aug 2014 , 7:18am
post #10 of 15

Firstly, the cake is so cute; Love the design. Also, I don't think (I could be wrong) that bc the gumpaste hadn't set completely that would be why the cake had shifted. Looks like it had been handled one time too many.

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-K8memphis Posted 3 Aug 2014 , 1:30pm
post #11 of 15

it's a strange mishap-- it could have been dropped to get that blow to it -- it is a very curious wreck job --


and it is absolutely cute as a button cake --


because just gravity alone could cause the one little bow to pull down the black circle (minnie's head) -- but then look at the big smear hole there where the bow is rolling off -- so weird -- the bottom of the top tier, the top of the bottom tier -- it doesn't seem melted uniformly enough to have been effected entirely by heat -- dropped maybe? could have been in tug o' war with kids and somebody hugged it up to their self? trying to balance it in the car ride?



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TheItalianBaker Posted 4 Aug 2014 , 1:39pm
post #12 of 15

The letters are all messed up, so yes, something happened to that cake.. but also looks like the cake was melting..

So I want to ask you what did you use under the fondant? Buttercream? Was the car very cool?


Because I helped some people to delivery a cake on sat and, due of the sun hitting the car and bumps on the way, the buttercream basically melted.. 

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costumeczar Posted 6 Aug 2014 , 12:17am
post #13 of 15

That looks like heat plus somebody smashing in the board somehow.

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mrsgreshcakes Posted 21 Aug 2014 , 3:35pm
post #14 of 15

I agree with Costumeczar - someone either messed it up when the took it out of the vehicle or they maybe lost their grip and it dropped.  In my contracts, or even quotes, I specifically outline that if the cake (or baked good) is to be picked up, that they customer takes full responsibility for it from the time they leave our studio.  That, or they can pay me to deliver it.  I had a customer order a My Little Pony cake from me and it was a single tier cake with a gumpaste rainbow and buttercream clouds.  She sent me a message the next day telling me that the cake just melted.  When I asked how she transported it, she said her boyfriend was holding it in the front seat of the car and that they drove to the park.  Well, the cake was sitting in direct sunlight and even though the air conditioning was on, the windshield and windows concentrated the heat so much that it melted a portion of the buttercream clouds.  The clouds that were in the shade were just fine.


I would not issue her a refund and instead let her know that with your vase experience of cake deliveries, the only way that type of damage could have happened is if there was a drop of some sort or it was hit on that side.  You're the professional, and you know how your cakes react.

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buttercreamqueenbee Posted 23 Aug 2014 , 6:53pm
post #15 of 15

AAgree no refund. Thats fingerprints and some hot buttercream under the fondant. People amaze me!

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