Sunday, June 28, 2009

TV cake-not as easy as it looks!


Well, it was bound to happen, I had a cake tragedy. I am trying to look at it as a lesson but I'm so tore up that I did not deliver a product that wasn't what I promised. Here is the set up. A mother of the groom (MOG for short) called me with 10 days notice because her other baker decided she could not handle the cake they wanted. The MOG met us at the Dalton Bridal show in January. They didn't use us because they were told, not by us but lots of others, that no baker would make the bridal cake they wanted because it had live goldfish in between the tiers. Anyway, the request was for a 3-D flat screen TV cake with ESPN on the screen and any prop items we had time to make. We made a box out of 1" x 4" wood and 1/4" hard board in the back. We drilled a hold in the bottom and a piece of PVC with threads went all the way up. My brother made me a great stand that was heavy with a metal thing in the middle for the threaded rod to screw into it. I just saw them do this sort of thing on "Amazing Wedding Cakes". The cake girls made a great box of sweet tarts. Those shows make it look SO FREAKING EASY and it's not. We spent hours on this cake, 7 decorating. We set it up and it looked great. THEN the fondant screen starting sliding. It tore at a weak point that should not have been, I don't understand why it did what it did. We sat there for 50 minutes and watched it slide and total of about 1/3". I used black royal icing to caulk the boo boo, it looked fine. We left, went shopping at Wal-Mart and the ladies at Trevitt Hall called and told us it was buckling. We went back and it was about 15 minutes to show time. The screen had slipped another 1/4" inch. I did the same caulking job and it was still OK. 85% of people would not have noticed it. I had to leave and hope for the best. About 11:30pm the venue called and told me that as someone was walking by, the cake PVC rod broke and fell. Luckily the person caught it and nothing hit the floor or anything. They laid the screen down on the table and cut it as a sheet cake. Everyone got cake and it didn't break until after everyone sat down for dinner. I guess that's the good news? I don't know how upset the MOG is, but my heart is broken. What I learned....I should have insisted on a pound cake. I should have used a metal threaded rod (I don't know for sure that the PVC snapped until I pick up the stand). I should have stacked the cake in small layers, as opposed to the big sheets of cake that filled up the box. I should have put it vertical the day before decorating it so it could settle all that it wanted before I put the fondant on. I think I'm going to do the cake again and see how it goes with all my newly gained knowledge. Tomorrow is another day.

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story - this may sound dramatic, but my heart does break for you because I know how passionate you are about your work. Thanks for sharing you learnings too - that is helpful to others.

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  2. That is heart-breaking!!

    I droped my daughters 4th birthday cake 8 hours before the party and had to start all over! It was a 3d spongebob cake.

    We live and learn right?!

    The cake still looked AMAZING!!!!!

    Raychel - MyCreativeWay.blogspot.com

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  3. In spite of the tragedy it was a beautiful cake! I definitely appreciate your sharing. If I ever attempt something like this I'll take your wisdom and experience to heart!

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  4. THANK YOU ALL! It's nice when your husband or family pats you on the back and says "it's ok, you tried your best" but to hear that I'm not alone is truly appreciated! You all did your good deed for the day!

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  5. Your cake looks awesome in the pic , sad to know about the disaster but like you said, there's always a next time & you will learn from ur mistakes.All the best for ur future cakes!

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  6. The cake looks nice and your experience comes with the territory. I've had a disaster cake once and it happened in transport. It was whimsical cake and it flipped over and got ruined. When I opened the trunk of my car with the customer standing by me...it was so dissapointing. I fixed it to the point of it looking cakeish and couldn't take the money for it. And it was fairly expensive cake. The customer was sweet and did not create a fuss, but I've never heard from her again :-(.

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  7. Oh Kathy, thank you for your story. I know it happens to all of us and one point or another. I try to treat every delivery as it's my first. Every precaution, drive like my car can't go into 5th gear, etc. I really appreciate you sharing your story!

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  8. Just found your blog, and I'm blown away by your cakes, and I totally imagine how awful it was to see that. I'm just a beginner, but I've already had my fair share of disappointment and disaster. People generally dont seem to mind so much as long as it tastes good but I do!

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  9. Oh I so so feel for you!!
    one time I was finishing a cake and loosing my patience because I had so much going on I finally lost it and put my fist through the cake and had nothing to bring to my sisters for her husbands 30th birthday. Thankfully not for a customer (I did not have a business back then, still learning) but I love this story and it really helps to hear the pitfalls because that is in fact how we learn.

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  10. Hello if this conversation is still active brill! I'm making the same product that your made. I've been asked to do it for march so getting loads of practice in as I generally only design cupcakes and giant cupcakes. Have you got any advice or recommendations. Read the top but a little confused about the rods etc. please email me at hannah@cupcakesbyhannah.co.uk

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