Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Disasters › ShiftingTiers Disaster!!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

ShiftingTiers Disaster!!!

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Help!!! I had a three-tier wedding cake today and all was going well until.....

I stacked the top and middle onto the bottom tier. I got a little slipping of the middle tier, nothing bad though. The problem came when I backed out of the driveway to deliver the cake. I was going SLOW!!!! When I got to the church (less than 1/2 mile away) and opened the car, the entire "top" of the bottom tier had shifted. I had to try to push it back together and then fix as much of the decorations as I could. Then, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, as we were standing there watching, the cake continued to shift and shift backwards. We had to prop the back up with two small butter dishes since a good inch and a half of the bottom tier was hanging off the back.

Thankfully the bride and groom were planning on cutting and serving the cake, but I feel so horrible. They were very gracious. We kind of joked that every wedding has a horror story and this was it, but still I feel really really bad.

I am completely confused how a cake can shift when it has been doweled. The bottom and middle tiers each had 8 dowels rods. The cake was WASC and frosting was regular butter cream. Raspberry filling on all tiers.

I will be going back to the reception shortly and talk to the groom's mother who ordered the cake. Finally, I had a piano recital that I was a few minutes late for since I was on cake CPR. But at least the recital went great!!

Any help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 31
im so sorry to hear about your 'disater'. i know people on here recommend SPS. it sounds from what you said there was enough support. had the cakes settled prior to stacking? and once stacked did they get time to settle?
i saw your pic of the wedding cake entry-it is unbelievably awesome! you definately have talent. no wonder it took first place.
hopefully others here will have better advice for you.
atleast the bride and groom were gracious enough to make light of the situation.
Wilton Method Instructor. If you're lucky enough to be on a beach...you're lucky enough.
DANCE as though no one is watching you, LOVE as though you have never been hurt before, SING as though no one can hear you, LIVE as though heaven is on earth...souza
Reply
Wilton Method Instructor. If you're lucky enough to be on a beach...you're lucky enough.
DANCE as though no one is watching you, LOVE as though you have never been hurt before, SING as though no one can hear you, LIVE as though heaven is on earth...souza
Reply
post #3 of 31
I just checked out your wedding cake, photo, too - stunningly beautiful/complex, so obviously you must be experienced in stacking tiers. Did the tier slip across or kind of tip over? If the dowels aren't exactly the same height, of course, that can happen. On many cake shows they drive a long dowel through the entire cake after it is assembled so it doesn't slide. SPS sounds great. Sorry this happened.
post #4 of 31
Yes, SPS. Why on earth anyone balances their works of art on glorified pencils is beyond me. At least try bubble straws for smaller tiered cakes. icon_smile.gif
post #5 of 31
Oh....8 dowel rods. How large were these tiers? 8 dowels sounds a bit like overkill to me. That's a lot of cake being displaced and a lot of room for error by not having them all the same length.
post #6 of 31
I have to ask. What did you use for dowels?




Minette

Watch us on Food Network Challenge Jan.3@8:00pm "Beauty Pageant Cakes"
post #7 of 31
If those 8 dowels were not all the same exact length &/or not put in straight they would allow the cake to fall. And.....as another poster said, it sounds like overkill unless the tiers were like 18; 14; 10; & 6 or something near those #s.
post #8 of 31
Did you have a dowel going through all the tiers?
post #9 of 31
Was there a dowel going through the base board of the bottom cake? This is another reason why I like using the bubble tea straws - they do not "displace" cake like a regular dowel does.
Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
Reply
Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
Reply
post #10 of 31
As I understand this, you had a 2-layer bottom tier and the top layer of this 2-layer tier moved .... slid over 1.5" (plus or minus).

I had this EXACT same happen to me. My first slider ever. During the cake autopsy, I determined I had too much raspberry filling. (the guy who slammed on his brakes in front of me didn't help, but the cake DID have too much filling!)

Now, I use raspberry filling all the time, but this one was WAY thicker than I normally use. I turned the 4 tier cake into a 3 tier cake, we cut and served the messed up bottom tier from the kitchen. Bride and family were a-ok with this.

I had the cake center-doweled and the dowel went down thru the cake board. however, when the cake slid, the cake slid right thru the dowel. This dowel will hold the CARDBOARDS in place, but cake is cake and a dowel will cut thru cake like soft butter.

leahs has said it a number of times and I totally agree with her. A center dowel will make you FEEL more secure, but it's no guarantee.

How big were your cakes? 8 dowels is overkill to me, too. (I use 4 with all cakes .... I'll use 5 in the bottom tier if it's 5 tiers or more.) I would also ask about the heights .... did you cut one dowel, then measure each dowel against that one ... or do you insert/measure/cut each dowel separately?
post #11 of 31
All it takes is for one dowel to go slightly off exactly 90 degrees vertical for disaster to happen.

Seriously, switch to SPS.
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
Reply
Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
Reply
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input everyone. As far as the dowels, I used wooden dowels and measured each one separately. Also, I didn't know there was such a thing as too much doweling. I just figured more support was better icon_smile.gif The tiers were 12-10-8. I put the dowels in a circle with one in the middle. I did not put one long dowel through from very top to bottom. I wondered if that would have made a difference.

I also was wondering if there was too much filling. I saw (I think on a Food Network Challenge) that the filling was supposed to be 1/2 thickness of the tier. Is that right?

Talked with the mother last night and she continued to be very gracious and said she would be a repeat customer, that the guests didn't notice anything (which I don't believe for a second) and everyone loved the flavor. In the end it all turned out alright, but UGH!!
post #13 of 31
Wooden dowels. I knew it.... Seems whenever a cake disaster occurs involving sifting, moving, falling cake, wooden dowels are usually involved...I see a pattern evolving.

Just saying....


Minette
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mahutch

I also was wondering if there was too much filling. I saw (I think on a Food Network Challenge) that the filling was supposed to be 1/2 thickness of the tier. Is that right?


I would respectfully disagree with this. That means if you have a 2-layer cake that is 4" tall, then you would have 2 INCHES of raspberry filling????? icon_eek.gif Seriously .... that just won't work. Even if she said half the height of the LAYER, that's still 1 full inch of raspberry filling. I ask you just to think about having a 2-layer cake with one full inch of slippery, slidery (no it's not a word but I like the poetic sound of it! icon_biggrin.gif ) fruit filling.

Too much doweling can damage the structural integrity of the cake. It turns it into swiss cheese .... lots of holes. This is why I strongly encourage all cakers to stay and cut at least 3 of their wedding cakes a year. You need to see first hand how your construction affects the cutting/serving of the cake.

I've cut a cake with dowel-overload. It was made by someone else and the bride had arranged ahead of time for me to cut it. Holy moly what a freakin' mess! The cake was swiss cheese .... so full of holes that I couldn't get a decent looking slice from it that wasn't all crumbly and nasty looking. I was really ticked that I was put in a position to have to serve this bad looking cake to my bride's guests.

Cut some of your own cakes ... it will really help you grow in your craft .
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mahutch

Thanks for the input everyone. As far as the dowels, I used wooden dowels and measured each one separately.


No, you insert ONE dowel, measure that one, then cut the rest of the dowels that length.

Unless you know for 1000% certainty that your cake is perfectly level and flat and the icing you applied is perfectly level and flat, you're going to have some high and low spots on the cake.

Here's a thread where I posted some pics: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-434013-dowels.html

Notice the front left dowel compared to the back right dowel. There's at least 1/8" to 1/4" height difference. Had I measured and cut each one individually, the cake would have been crooked, sloping and possibly fallen. Even tho' it LOOKS like the dowels are uneven, they are the very same height, insuring the cake is nice and level.

I've used wooden dowels for most of my cake life. I can't recall any issues or problems due to a dowel. I think it's a skill like any other ... some can whip out BC roses from the git-go ..... some needs months or years of practice. Some can use dowels with zero problems .... some take much longer to master it.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cake Disasters
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Disasters › ShiftingTiers Disaster!!!