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Mortified....EPIC cake fail...and it was for a wedding

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am still stunned. In 5 years of caking, I have never had a cake fail beyond fixing. Not only did it fail once, but I rebaked a tier and it failed AGAIN.

I have my opinions on what happened, perhaps you guys can confirm my suspicions or give some new perspective.

The bride wanted a square, tapered, topsy turvy, 4 tier cake. Red velvet,raspberyy preserve filling, & cream cheese icing in a sort of stucco textured look. (This was not my cup of tea, but its what she wanted)

Typically when I do topsy turvy, I use ganache and fondant to help with stability, but I couldn't get the bride to budge on the flavor. All of the interior support was correct, but I think the weight of the cream cheese on the angles of the cake and the slippery nature of the filling caused the cake to break apart. I rebaked and tried again, but it did the same thing.

What do you guys think? does that sound like what happened?I was able to bring the top tier with the fondant figures of the bride and groom so they had something to cut. The grooms cake was perfect. I gave the MOB a full refund in cash and brought cupcakes that I had planned on using for a different occasion so they at least had something to serve thier guests. I've also offered to remake a top tier for thier 1 year anniversary for free.
I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. ~Etienne de Grellet
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I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. ~Etienne de Grellet
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post #2 of 16
I wouldn't think that the icing would make the cake break apart, but I could be wrong. What kind of filling and cake was it? Were the tiers tapered really dramatically? I'd think it was something to do with the shape of the cake rather than the components, unless it was a really soft cake recipe.

Wait a minute, was the red velvet cake one of the recipes that use oil instead of butter? That could be why it broke, because the oil recipes are softer, in my experience.

Was it a cream cheese recipe that used confectioner's sugar too? That kind of cream cheese is really heavy, so yeah, I guess that could have contributeds to pieces coming off of the sides.
post #3 of 16
No advice but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry this happened to you.
Optimism produces the very success it desires and expects.
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Optimism produces the very success it desires and expects.
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post #4 of 16
I am very sorry! I use an oil based RV cake and it is not too soft for carving at all! Yes, I do think the fillings cake make a cake softer and more prone to braking...but those darn topsy turvy cakes are tricky!! Perhaps it was carved too wonky?? Do you have a picture? Not sure what else might have happened!
post #5 of 16
I'm so sorry this happened! The frustrating part must have been that you couldn't get her to change her mind on the type of cake. I know you wish you could have made it work you did give her a heads up in the beginning, so don't beat yourself up over it. I'm sure it would have been an amazing cake if you were able to do the type that you wanted which was out of your control.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhay



The bride wanted a square, tapered, topsy turvy, 4 tier cake. Red velvet,raspberyy preserve filling, & cream cheese icing in a sort of stucco textured look. (This was not my cup of tea, but its what she wanted)

Typically when I do topsy turvy, I use ganache and fondant to help with stability, but I couldn't get the bride to budge on the flavor.



I don't believe I would have attempted this cake with cream cheese frosting; it's just too soft, and as you said, not enough stability. If it were me, this would be a learning experience that would help me know that next time you have a bride who "won't budge", it's time to put your foot down because you are the expert -- or walk away and let someone else have the disaster. You knew that the cake needed ganache and fondant. The structure of the cake has to be king. She insisted on cream cheese, and in the end, she got no cake at all.

I think you did everything right to make this disaster up to the bride and groom. Bless your heart, this must have been a horror.
post #7 of 16
I hear that the acidity in cream cheese eats away at fondant. do you think maybe this had something to do with it?
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakencake

I hear that the acidity in cream cheese eats away at fondant. do you think maybe this had something to do with it?


I don't believe fondant was used on this cake.

I have no idea where the "cream cheese frosting can't be used under fondant" myth came from, I've done it at least a dozen times, with no issues whatsoever.
post #9 of 16
Yeah, topsy turvy + cream cheese icing = disaster.

Sometimes the brides are not the experts and you have to put your foot down. For me, topsy turvy cakes MUST be fondant with IMBC or ganache underlayers. I have done cream cheese IMBC with the fondant, but I require fondant.

Proper supports will help the cakes not to sink into each other, but it won't help the fact that TT cakes are incredibly top-heavy, especially if the tiers are tapered. I think of topsy turvy cakes as 3D cakes, and treat them like that.

You poor, poor, thing. I really can't imagine the stress you were/are in.
life is short, get a cakesafe.
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life is short, get a cakesafe.
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post #10 of 16
I've done cream cheese frosting on topsy cakes before and the trick for me was to pipe of dam of regular crusting buttercream around each layer first, put the cream cheese frosting in, then add another layer of cake. Pipe a buttercream damn again, then put the cream cheese frosting inside. After 4 years of caking, I recently decided that I will frost all of my cakes in either a crusting BC or a ganache that will thicken up and harden in the fridge. I frost a few separate thin layers of BC on each tier and that seems to keep the soft cream cheese frosting inside and nothing can seep out. If I use a really watery, or thin filling (like your raspberry preserves), I will ALWAYS pipe a really thick and strong damn, crumb coat and get that in the fridge asap for it to harden up.

I don't use cream cheese frosting to crumb coat or even to frost a cake when BC holds up so much better. Maybe that'll help.

I'm so sorry this happened to you! It's all a big learning game icon_smile.gif Keep up the caking!
post #11 of 16
SaltLakeCity said:...........really watery, or thin filling (like your raspberry preserves............

For some 20+ yrs I have used raspberry preserves and they have Never! been thin nor watery. Think jam ie: peanut butter and jam. That is NOT watery nor thin.
post #12 of 16
I use a cream cheese based crusting buttercream that hardens nicely in the refrigerator. Was your cake cold or room temp? Cold cake is denser and holds up better. That's why I deliver cakes cold and let them come to room temp slowly. Your cake could have been very soft. I speak from experience as I too had a wedding cake topsy-turvy disaster this summer. Mine was round but not tapered. It was so big and heavy I could not keep it in the refrigerator as long as I needed to get it good and solid. Temperatures outside were 108 degrees and my cake was VERY soft. It collapsed on the way to the venue.
Something about topsy-turvy and soft cake and buttercream. I believe fondant would have added the stability necessary to keep my cake from collapsing, and it probably would have yours too.

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

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If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

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post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the responses and support. I think I had an feeling about that cake from the beginning, but I was being stubborn and didn't want to dissapoint. icon_cry.gif

Lesson learned. Though it sucks that I had to learn a lesson on someone's wedding day. I still feel terrible, but if everyone who had an epic cake fail stopped making cakes, I have a feeling we wouldn't have many cake makers around. icon_rolleyes.gif


Have a great day everyone. Thanks again!
I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. ~Etienne de Grellet
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I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. ~Etienne de Grellet
Reply
post #14 of 16
My humble opinion, I would have told the bride: "If you want a topsy turvey cake, this is how it has to be done. I won't do it any other way. Since your heart is set on X flavours, I could do a smaller free standing cake (such as the grooms cake) in the flavours you want."

I'm not going to cause my self unnecessary stress, when I know from experience what works and what doesn't just to please the bride. If she doesn't like it then she can find someone else to do her cake. I know harsh but remember you are the expert not her. Clients come along with the craziest requests and you have to set them straight ie "that can't happen with cake"
post #15 of 16
jhay, I am sooo sorry!!! My heart sank reading your post. I too have had the collapsing TT. Figured it had to be that my cake was too moist to support all the weight. I realized this with my epic failure at midnight the day before the cake was due and after it collapsed, I smashed it to bits before I chucked it and headed to the store for "do-over" supplies. I don't torte my TT's and as a pp said, only sturdy fillings. Chin up and keep caking!! icon_biggrin.gif
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