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wedding cake disasters

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I just have a couple of questions, but first. I have been a caker decorator for 18 years now. I do it both at home and work and I have made many of wedding cakes. I just made a wedding cake that looked similar to a wedding dress. I made sure and placed plenty of cardboard and I used the hard plastic dowels in each layer. The bride was supposed to bring me over the lace to use on a tuesday, never called never showed. Called her all day on the friday before the wedding because I wanted to assemble it there because I worked the next day and she never returned my calls. Had no choice but to assemble it at home. Everything was fine I went on my lunchbreak to deliver the cake and it was fine on the whole way there. She finally called me when I got to where the reception was. The cake was leaning a little bit then. I fixed it all up and left. She called me the next morning and said she was unhappy because within 2 hours the top of the cake slid off. I feel my responsibility ended when I left after setting it up and making sure everything was fine. She said it happened within 2 hours of my leaving. My question is What am I responsible for and when does that responsiblity end? She was with me when I left the hall.

post #2 of 14

I've been there myself.

Usually the cake gets placed within hours of the wedding.

Once it's set up, your responsibility is over.

Period!!!

 

The only lesson you can come away with here, might be to make double and triple sure that the cakes are secure before you leave.

You might even go so far as to take a quick photograph as your proof.

post #3 of 14

If you have a photo of the cake when you left the site, you can show that the cake was fine when you left. After you go, you have no control over what happens next and the photo shows what it looked like when you delivered it..   It troubles me a little that you say the cake was leaning a bit and you were able to fix it - how did you fix it?  Was it the top tier that was leaning? 

 

But there are so many other factors that come into play - how warm was the room? how much time was there from when you dropped off the cake and when guest arrival was? how many tiers is the cake? is it a buttercream or fondant finish? What kind of table was it on?  Was it moved after you left?  Can you contact the photographer for any photos he or she took of the cake?

 

I once worked with a caterer who got a wedding cake delivered (from another bakery) 6 hours before guest arrival.  It was a buttercream topsy turvy cake, and the top tier fell apart just after the guests arrived.  The bakery should never have delivered it that far in advance because there was no onsite refrigeration. So while the cake was in fine shape when it was dropped off, it wasn't going make it for 8 hours.

 

If the bride is asking for a refund, offer her a gift certificate for something you make (a dessert type of cake? cheesecake? cupcakes? a birthday cake?) for her to use with a future order.  When people complain, they never stop....

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post

I've been there myself.

Usually the cake gets placed within hours of the wedding.

Once it's set up, your responsibility is over.

Period!!!

 

The only lesson you can come away with here, might be to make double and triple sure that the cakes are secure before you leave.

You might even go so far as to take a quick photograph as your proof.

100 % Always take a picture.

 

As soon as I walk out the door, its belongs to them.

 

Petals.

 

Good points JCakes

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(163 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(163 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #5 of 14

J Cakes reply is valid. However one thing I learned years ago from Pastry Chefs(I am not one nor claim to be ) but DO NOT USE CARDBOARD CIRCLES ON MULTIBLE LEVEL CAKES. You even said you used plastic dowls so why not plastic circles that lock in to dowls.  Cardboard absorbs a lt of moisture and gets soft, plastic does'nt. . Plastic is far more sturdy, in particular when shipping. Next time charge them in price of cake but use plastic, and on your original order form write . We assume no liability nor responsibility after cake is delivered. Make in duplicate, have them initial both copies, you keep one they get the other.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #6 of 14

or maybe take a video of the cake, yourself and the person receiving or acknowledging  the cake has been delivered , set up and looks great.

post #7 of 14

I don't see you mentioning that you placed a long thin dowel all the way through all tiers of the cake to make sure it did not slide sideways. I've always used bamboo skewers to stabilize my

cakes. They are easy to hammer through the cardboard separators and prevent any sideways slippage.......especially in warm weather.

post #8 of 14

I want the awesome picture of cakes for my culinary project.any suggestions for me.

 

 
post #9 of 14

Are you asking for cake photos ?  not totally sure what you needed.  are you making an album ?  what is your project ?  are you baking a cake or decorating a cake ?

post #10 of 14

You might consider purchasing these earlenes cakes for your next stacking order.

They are a bit pricey, but worth it when it comes to peace of mind.

post #11 of 14

OOPS! Got spanked for posting a link.

Try googling the SPS system for cake stacking.

post #12 of 14

I live in Southern Arizona and often transport cakes to reception sites when the temperature is over 100F. Here is what works for me:

 

In place of cardboard circles I use plastic seperator plates with the feet on them, just decorate the cake right on the plate.  Lightweight poly cutting boards will also work if you have a way to cut them to size. 

I always try to refrigerate the finished cakes for 1 -2 hours before transporting them.

 

If a cake is only 2 or 3 layers tall I use wooden dowels for stabilizing.  If the filling is heavy or the cake is tall I use 4 hidden pillars for support plus extra wooden dowels in anything over 10 inches.  The pillares are made of rigid plastic and the feet of the seperator plates fit into the pillar.  I cut them down to the level of the cake, lightly mark the cake top with the feet of the seperator plate that will go on top then push the pillars into the cake where the marks are. When the cake is assembled the plastic seperator plates and the hidden pillars support the weight of the cakes completely.  Even if one tier has problems the cake still stays straight and tall.

 

I'm adding my voice to those who commented before me.  I always take pictures AND check out with someone on site before leaving -- wedding planner, the catering manager at a hotel or the mother of the bride, etc. That way if there is an issue it is addressed before I leave the property, I leave property with the delivery approved and after I leave it's not my problem.

post #13 of 14

While your responsibility to the client may end upon dropping off the cake, your responsibility to yourself does not end there.

If something "happens" to the cake, who suffers the most?  Potentially you.  How many potential clients are then thinking that you didn't do a good job assembling the cake?

Maybe it was a warm room.  Or put on a small table in a high-traffic area and kept taking little knocks?  Or whatever.

While we can't control everything, I think it's in our own best interests to leave the cake....responsibly.

 

Regarding the OP, I'm truly bothered by the fact that the cake was leaning.  I believe you fixed it, but I also believe that you knew it was a very temporary fix and that you knew there was the possibility of the top layer sliding off.  My feeling, right or wrong, is that you posted originally asking more as a pseudo-legal question to bolster you're cry of "I'm innocent. The cake was fine when I left - you were even with me!" to the bride.

 

It's all BS, and every one of you knows it!  You're "responsibility" does not "end" - not until that cake is cut and eaten.  I'll prove it.

Assemble a cake for a client, but do it in a way where you KNOW, without a doubt, that at some point after you leave, the layers are going to fall or slide or whatever.  Responsible for the downfall?  or not?  Of course you are!  You may not be caught or found out, but you be guilty, homie.  Leave a match smoldering in a sub-basement with some old papers nearby and 2 hours later the entire building's on fire....That's all on you.  Doesn't matter if it smoldered for 3 days...You are the guilty one.

 

"But it was fine when I left" don't work.  It needs to be designed and assembled to be fine when the knife slices through it, and as it's being cut and served.  And only then are you absolved from responsibility - unless people get sick from it, but that's another issue...And yes, I understand many of these cakes are only for show.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefDave11 View Post

While we can't control everything, I think it's in our own best interests to leave the cake....responsibly.

 

I should have read the OP more carefully.  I missed the part where she had to fix it but it was "fine"

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