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Nothing about this cake went right....

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
This was only my second cake (that I was getting paid for) and now I am very discouraged about trying again. Here's what happened.....

First off, I left the small square I was going to put on top of the cake within reach of my 2 year old. I noticed him in the fridge and before I could do anything about it, he bent over and took himself a bite. (I realized after he stepped back there were 3 bite marks total) Then I started off with one round layer, which was almost perfect. Then I realized it may not be big enough so I decided to go get more cake mix and make another layer. Problem with this was the first layer I made had more than one box of mix in it, so the second layer was much smaller. Also I needed more icing, but when I got home from Walmart I realized I picked up cream cheese icing by mistake.

I didn't have enough time to let the second layer cool completely before I tried to level it...so it broke up a little. Then trying to put the second layer on the first one I flipped it crooked, so I had to try to scoot it over, which didn't work well since there was icing on it. Then trying to frost it with the crumb coat...it just started falling apart. I had to make up for the empty spots with extra icing, which made me run out of icing. So my mom took a second trip to walmart for more icing.

This is getting too long so I'll get to the point......I couldnt get the top or the edges smooth. My top border started melting down the cake, and I was 45 minutes late to the baby shower!! Needless to say, I don't want to make cakes anymore icon_redface.gifouch.gif
post #2 of 20
Don't give up ~ for every trouble cake, you get one or two that aren't!
I always have a hard time smoothing store bought icing but the best trick I know is to use a hot, dry knife/spatula when you're trying to smooth it. HTH - keep trying!
post #3 of 20
JanessaJo you will hear and see this statement often, especially if you are in the cake disaster forum. Cake decorating should be fun. If you don't feel like you are ready for paying cakes, don't do them. Start out small. Practice decorating techniques on styrofoam plates. Practice icing dummy cakes. Make cakes for family. Take a Wilton starter course. Being a newbie, you may just not be ready for the stress that comes along with doing paying cakes. Please don't give up. It takes a lot of practice. I know, because I too am a newbie. My suggestion is this. Start making you a "cake diary". Take photos of everything you do cake related. As you progress, I'm certain you will see a marked improvement. Once you learn some of the techniques on here (and there is nothing that you can't learn on here related to cakes) you will slowly start to improve. Keep your chin up and keep trying. Another suggestion would be is to prepare for you cakes. Sit down and make you a list of the ingredients you will need beforehand (also if your budget will allow, keep backup ingredients) and also write you out a time-line to preparation. Say your cake is due on a Friday, write you out a timeline (e.g. decorations made of gumpaste/fondant made on Wednesday, Cakes baked on Thursday, take cakes out of freezer Friday morning. well you get the idea) Just keep trying.
post #4 of 20
I agree with cabecakes, keep practicing and your cakes will improve. I didn't take pictures of a lot of mine, but everyone at work says I've improved quite a bit and also, my cakes taste better - I switched to the WASC recipes.
post #5 of 20
Yes, I concur! I started a cake diary on http://www.blogger.com. It's free and easy to use; you can record what went well and what you want to correct in the future. And as a new mom, I found planning to be essential for a well decorated cake. I just planned what I want to do for a cake this weekend, then realized I didn't have everything I needed. We went to the store today, and now I can rest easy knowing I'm prepared and won't have to rush to the store after work during the week.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
What is WASC? and my first cake turned out perfect (it was only a one layer sheet cake that was a outdoors scene, easy because it didnt have to be perfectly smooth)

and reading through this website a little bit I think I know some things that might have went wrong...

1. My cakes werent frozen before I leveled or decorated
2. I baked at the last minute
3. My spatula wasn't heated
4. I left my icing out too long so it was too warm to try and decorate with (and I later learned the person who made the icing used tons of butter, which makes sense since it started melting down the cake).

I plan on buying that cake bible I have seen mentioned on this site and reading it front to back (and practicing more) before I do another cake. Thanks for the advice everyone!

Oh and at the baby shower everyone talked about how good it tasted and how pretty it was, and even though it wasn't perfect.....they couldn't have done it any better. So I suppose it wasn't so bad?!!?
post #7 of 20
Everyone has problems occassionaly, but bless your heart that was extreme, try not to be discouraged , practice will improve your skills. You have come to one of the best sites you will ever find loaded with talented people who will answer question and give you advise. and the tutorials on this site are amazing. Sometimes we let our fear hold us down, there is always failure before success. Good Luck
post #8 of 20
wow, I feel for you icon_smile.gif I've gotten discouraged and wanna give up sometimes too lol but I love decorating so much I can't give up. Hopefully I get better. I just figured out also that u gotta freeze the cakes first. OMG my problem is making the cake and icing it. either the cake sticks to the pan, crumbles, or else when I frost it, it breaks up the cake icon_sad.gif I wish I can just buy the cakes already made and frosted and I can decorate it lol

I really do hope I get better, I'm still not throughly pleased with the way my cakes come up, then again I'm a new mommie so I don't have as much time...

oh yeah I had a question, whats a crumb coating? and when is a good time to use it? I've seen it talked about in posts, and sounds like something I wanna try icon_smile.gif
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nastassia

wow, I feel for you icon_smile.gif I've gotten discouraged and wanna give up sometimes too lol but I love decorating so much I can't give up. Hopefully I get better. I just figured out also that u gotta freeze the cakes first. OMG my problem is making the cake and icing it. either the cake sticks to the pan, crumbles, or else when I frost it, it breaks up the cake icon_sad.gif I wish I can just buy the cakes already made and frosted and I can decorate it lol

I really do hope I get better, I'm still not throughly pleased with the way my cakes come up, then again I'm a new mommie so I don't have as much time...

oh yeah I had a question, whats a crumb coating? and when is a good time to use it? I've seen it talked about in posts, and sounds like something I wanna try icon_smile.gif



Buy a can of nonstick spray with flour in it and use that to grease your pans. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven, then turn it out onto a cooling grid.

Crumb coating is putting a thin layer of frosting on the cake and letting it harden, then putting your thicker layer of frosting on.
post #10 of 20
oh wow thanks, so is that the way u can get a cake real smooth by crumb coating? I still haven't been able to get a cake real smooth yet...
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nastassia

wow, I feel for you icon_smile.gif I've gotten discouraged and wanna give up sometimes too lol but I love decorating so much I can't give up. Hopefully I get better. I just figured out also that u gotta freeze the cakes first. OMG my problem is making the cake and icing it. either the cake sticks to the pan, crumbles, or else when I frost it, it breaks up the cake icon_sad.gif I wish I can just buy the cakes already made and frosted and I can decorate it lol

I really do hope I get better, I'm still not throughly pleased with the way my cakes come up, then again I'm a new mommie so I don't have as much time...



I know what you mean. I have a 2 yr old and a 9 month old. Between them and working 2 jobs and taking a kickboxing class 3 nights a week, and cleaning and cooking and.....lol you get the idea.....I just dont have a lot of time to practice and read and do research.
post #12 of 20
A custom cake business takes time & commitment. If that is something you don't have a lot of, I suggest you don't start selling cakes yet. I have a total of 7 kids, 6 at home (one left this year to college) and three of them are three & under. I only take on so many orders & do not have a lot of extra curicular activites. A sold cake is also not your time to practice. i don't think that is fair to your paying client. I suggest your practice by making cakes for your friends & family and once you feel comfortable & have time, then sell them.
post #13 of 20
Some things to think about for future cakes ... great entries in the cake diary that others have mentioned .....

The "small square" that your 2-year old decided to sample ... was this a square cake? a square gumpaste plaque? a square what? If it was a cake, why was it in the 'frig? Unless you are using a perishable filling (and if you're using canned icing, I would presume any fillings would be shelf-stable, also), there is no need to refrigerate a cake.

You started with one round layer ... so this was going to be a single layer cake? Then you thought you wouldn't have enough cake? So decided to make it a 2-layer cake? Here's a serving chart you need to print out and tape to the inside of your cabinet door: http://www.wilton.com/wedding/wedding-cakes/wedding-cake-data.cfm This chart assumes a 2-layer, 4" tall cake. This will help you know up front how big a cake you will need and how many cake mixes/batter you will need.

Make a list of how many cake mixes it takes for each pan so you'll always have the right number of mixes handy.

If the 2nd layer you baked wasn't the same height as the first layer, it's not a total loss. Once you ice it, no one can tell. And once it's cut, no one cares.

The cake doesn't have to be cooled before you level it. I level my cakes while they're still in the pan and my cakes are leveled and flipped out onto a cooling rack within 2 minutes of coming out of the oven. Sounds like you need a sharper or better quality knife.

I've no idea how big the cake was that you tried to flip, but use a cardboard and slide the cake onto the bottom layer rather than flipping it. Much safer. As you found out, you can't "scoot" a cake across icing. Use your spatula to lift and move the cake. Scooting will definitely cause a problem. Unless the cake is partially frozen, then you can handle it a bit easier, but a partially frozen cake can also be lifted and moved real easy.

Find a good icing recipe and make your own. (1) canned icing is designed to be spread, not really designed for decorating. (2) if you run short, it's easy to whip up another batch instead of taking the time to run to the store.

As mentioned above, a paying client is not who you should be practicing on. I'm not trying to be harsh, but the issues you ran into are pretty basic and you should be past that level before accepting money for a cake. I'm sure some will disagree with me and that's ok .... all of this is offered in the spirit of helping you master those skills and get to the point where lots of people want to pay you for a cake. If your goal is to do this as a business, then you have to be serious and get serious about it. That means investing the time and commitment to the task, to the skill, to the vocation.

As cabecakes suggested, a wilton class will get you thru the basics and get you going in the right direction.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Great advice everyone, thank you!

indydebi, the small square was a cake. i had put the crumb coat on it and was letting it harden up to prepare for frosting

and to ease everyones mind, the 2 cakes I have made so far have been for friends. The first cake turned out great so there was no problem getting paid for it. The girl even wanted to give me more for the cake but I told her no, that $20 was enough.

As for today I told my friends mom she didn't have to pay me for it because I was late with the cake, but she insisted. She thought it was pretty and my friend (the pregnant one) said she really liked it.

You all are defintely right though about selling cakes to people I do not know. Trust me, after what I went through today....I will not make another cake for sale until I get better icon_smile.gif and spend the time doing research!
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nastassia

oh wow thanks, so is that the way u can get a cake real smooth by crumb coating? I still haven't been able to get a cake real smooth yet...



Try the Melvira method http://cakecentral.com/articles/126/quick-easy-smooth-icing-using-a-roller-melvira-method

I just tried it myself...before that all I was doing was fondant because my BC looked so bad. Anyhow, it works great and it's so easy to do that my husband did half of it icon_biggrin.gif
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