AHi there. I did a small tiered cake using straws as support on the botton tier and a dowel through the center. The customer met me at my meeting place where i placed it into her car ( flat surface) when she reached the party she said as it got moved to the table....the top tier fell over and the number on top broke and also ruined the bottom tier. Just wondering if anyone can give me insight on how i can avoid this from happening? And what could cause this to happen? First time in 3 years...i usually use sps but they dont make a plate for 4 inch round cakes. Thanks! [IMG ALT=""]http://www.cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3301078/width/350/height/700[/IMG]
I am interested in what the others think about this because I do not have the experience. While driving and cake sitting in a car flat, the cake held enough and did not fall over. There is no icing on the side of the box. It definitely happened when they took it out of box. Maybe the person taking it out of the box accidentally somehow tipped it over and caught the top layer but I am only guessing. Hopefully, others here who have had this kind of thing happen will be able to maybe explain what could have went wrong. It may have not been your fault at all. Sorry this happened to you. It was a beautiful cake!!!
There's not a lot that makes sense with that pic.
1. The flower border is missing from the 4" tier.
2. The lavendar bows aren't under the pictrures/cameos.
3. Unless the pictures/cameos were on the front and the back, the 6 has been removed and jammed back in, because the upstroke of the 6 is on the wrong side and its no longer centered.
Honestly it looks lke intentional damage, but I can't undersand why.
AThanks both of you :). I cant really figure it out and feel kind of weird asking non stop questions via email to the customer since i dont want to come across as accusing. I noticed the bottom tier flowers moved..so maybe the whole cake shifted...and the top cake spinned while on the dowel? Is there anything specific to use between the top tier board and bottom tier buttercream?, i did just use tape under the cake onto the foil board..but ive used that all the time.
My thoughts: When they went to take the top tier off without taking out the center dowel they ran into nothing be trouble and the pic is the results. Either that or nothing but fast driving! Took turns on 2 wheels, slammed on breaks etc :)
AIf it was being moved those pieces probably fell off and were tossed back on for the photo.
Here's my question. How long was your center dowel? If it came all the way to the top of the top tier and touched the bottom of the cake drum, then the top yore couldn't have fallen off. If it didn't extend from the very top to the very bottom then it could have.
Otherwise, I'd say it fell when the tiers were being separated.
AThe dowel was from the bottom board to the top of the cake..except about the length of a toothpick..i trimmed it off and stuck it down and then had the number on the toothpick. She sent me the photo i believe right before the party started so they were just setting up..not getting ready to serve. Oh well. Guess situations like this i wont really know what happen. I just feel bad and know they expect some sort of discount even when it may not have been the fault of structure.
Unfortunately, there is no way to tell what has happened. My advice to you is to build a practice cake with your typical structure and drive like you would expect your customers to drive. If you feel is it sound than you will be more confident in addressing these problems with your customers. If you only trust SPS, then only do 6" top tiers. If you aren't confident in your cakes handled by customers than you should make delivery mandatory. If this keeps happening your reputation/loss will be substantial.
AGood idea! I think i will do that. I hate that nagging feeling that it was my fault so that would make me feel better testing it out with the smaller tiers. Thank you!
Your support & stacking seems perfectly sound to me. I'd say that it was the customer transport that did the damage. Sudden movements, car vibration, sun magnified thru a window, etc. The average person just doesn't know how to treat a cake delivery. Sorry.
It looks like it may have been dropped. Was the customer shown how to carry the cake? More times than not they just want to grab the base (of the cake board) by the sides and not with one hand under the cake base. It really wouldn't matter how you carry the cake if it the base is strong (made of wood etc), but if just cardboard it could have buckled. Also that would explain some of the damage (if it was dropped). The 6 facing the wrong way really isn't a mystery if if just has a toothpick holding it to the cake...easily could have just spun around. It looks like too much damage for it to have been a driving issue. I'm going with it having been dropped.
I've made this cake as well and I'm wondering if rough driving caused the weight of the bows to pull the fondant off the cake and slip off.I would say it's definitely rough driving. It's just odd because the top tier is fine and perfectly level. I'd say a sudden stop or a sharp turn caused the box to shift and that was enough to jar those bows, pulling the fondant and the ruffles down. Do you make sure your customers understand that you are not responsible for the cake after placing it into their vehicle? If you are not delivering (or should I say if they are not paying additional for you to deliver it), then they must take responsibility for the cake arriving safely at the party location. Once the cake is out of your hands, it's literally out of your hands. If you feel confident in your stability of the cake, and it sounds perfectly adequate from what you've described, then it really is their fault. It's easy to say that though, but hard to disappoint a customer. I would offer them a discount off their future cake or something. I really can't see how this is your fault. So sorry this happened. :-( It's one of my greatest fears as well when it comes to selling cakes.
AHow can the top tier fall off and look fine (except for the number) and the bottom tier being the damaged one? Looks even cake broke off!!! The cake didn't collapse, to me it looks like a case of carelessness and wanting a refund for it. Sorry for you!
AThanks everyone for taking the time to post. I havent told anyone how to handle a cake when picking up..altho a good point. I do always place it in their car for them. I did offer a percent off her next cake...she had already had one scheduled in 2 weeks anways...so she seemed happy with that..she never did ask for any refund..it was more of me feeling bad and not knowing what happen. I do think it happened in the drive to the event. And i havent ever stated to a customer once its out of my hands no responsibility... I dont use a contract ( except with wedding cakes where that is stated) but thinking ill add that in from now on.. Or even state tiered cakes have to be delivered and tack on the charge. I also thought maybe the bow and swag caused it...i had toothpicks holding the bows in.
If she said that the top tier fell off it would explain the damage as it tipped over and fell onto the bottom tier. The cameo with the face isn't in the same position in the bottom picture as it is in the top one, so it looks like they picked up the top tier and stuck it back on the cake to take the wreckage photo. See the row of blue flowers from the top tier's border at the back of the bottom tier? That's consistent with what they said about the top tier falling down. That would have pushed the flower border out and toward the edge of the cake, and it looks like that's where they are now. Also, look right under the girl's face on the top tier...There's an area that's white, which looks like the fondant is torn or there's icing on it from falling over on that side.
It must have been an issue with the center dowel. When you stack the cakes do you push the straws into the tier then cut them off level with the top of the tier, or do you insert one, mark it, take it out and use that as a way to measure the other ones to make sure they're all the same length? If you're cutting them off without making sure they're the same length the bottom tier might not have been level. If you cut them off slightly higher than the surface of the bottom tier that would make the top tier even more unstable, so that might have been a factor. I think it looks like a structural thing, not something that the customer did on purpose, especially based on the top tier not being lined up the same way...That just looks like they tried to put it back where it started.
I was thinking that maybe someone dropped something on it or something fell on it, tearing off a chunk of thebottom tier? Is the bottom tier also fondant? If it is buttercream, it's possible that the bows were just too heavy and fell off. But it's still weird how the number is backward and the faces/bows, etc., are no longer matched up?
I would tell them that you are sorry, but the cake was obviously not in its original damaged position, and therefore, you can not be certain what happened to it. Point out the incongruities...if they're trying to fool you, they'll know you aren't going to have the wool pulled over your eyes easily. They should have taken the pic as it was when it was first damaged.
If you don't have a contract, make one. One that includes what to do in the instance of damage by them, by accident, or by you. My contract says that if damage occurs while in their possession, they are to take a picture immediately. Without a picture, there is nothing to argue. And full refunds are only given if the damage was done by me and their entire cake is undeliverable. If the damage could have been prevented by me (decos too heavy, fall off, etc.) they get a refund for the monetary value of that element.
I email them a blank contract along with their price quote so that they can read thru the fine print. If they don't, not my problem. But at least they will know I mean business and will not be taken advantage of.
Good luck...this situation stinks!
I just read your original post again...so did you just not use SPS for this. Or do you mean that you just put the 4" on top of the bottom tier without a board at all?
It looks like there's a cardboard round under there where the flower border is missing?
lisatipperoo said:........I would say it's definitely rough driving.........
Definitely my opinion also.
Re center dowels: I always leave mine at least an inch or two sticking up out of the top tier so customers can pull it out. The hole can be covered w/some deco - a flower or leaf in front that could gently be pushed over the hole. this makes it much easier for the customer to know it is there and makes serving a cake much easier.