Saturday, April 13, 2013


I believe that eventually every decorator will have a caketastrophe.
Minor or major, they are heart stopping.
After 13 years of caking I had mine.
I've had minor issues where something happened while constructing the cake, or before delivery , that were quickly fixed and the recipient never knew what happened.
My caketastrophe happened during transport.
It was the Dr. Seuss hat , carved to be floppy and top heavy.

I knew when I walked out the door that I needed to keep a close eye on this cake.
I was worried it would flop over so I decided to hold it on my lap so I could steady it.
Normally I would never transport a cake on my lap, only on the flat surface in the back of the SUV, but this one was special and had me very nervous.

The cake was for a little boy's 1st birthday and the parents even built a Dr Seuss themed display for a cake stand.
The cake was important and had to be perfect.
Ten miles into a 25 mile trip I look down and watch the bottom crumble and the cake start to lean.
All I remember saying was " Turn around, we have to go home, I have to fix this".  The next 10 minutes are a blur. I could hear my heartbeat and I was starting to sweat.
I had no idea how I was going to fix it, I just knew that I had to.

The cake was going to be late, and that in itself was more than I could stand.
I messaged the recipient to let her know the cake had an accident but would be fixed and we would be a little late.
Brandon held the cake up while I just stared at it trying to figure out what I could do to fix it. I swear I could hear the clock ticking...
There was no way to repair, it had to be redone.
I stripped off all the fondant, re- carved it to be less top heavy, re- iced it and redecorated it. My hands shaking the entire time.
I must work best under pressure because I had the cake redone and we were on our way to the party in just under 40 minutes.
I was 40 minutes late for the delivery but fortunately the delivery time had been scheduled for a considerable amount of time before the party started so I was able to beat most of the guests.
Was I happy with the reconstructed cake? No, I was just happy to have gotten one there to complete the display.

All that matters is that the birthday boy's parents were happy with the cake and the guests were ooohing and aahing.
That's when I think my heart started beating again.
Caketastrophe's are a cake decorators true test.
How you handle them can make or break you.
After experiencing one for the first time there are things that I realize should be done different.
#1 Plan on delivering at least 1 hour before the event starts. I do this with wedding cakes but have not enforced it with basic birthday cakes.
#2 If you leave to deliver a cake and it doesn't feel stable, it isn't.  Make adjustments before you transport.
#3 Always have an extra batch of buttercream and fondant on hand.
#4 Try to stay calm, breathe, and do the best work you can, quickly.
#5 In some cases a " fix' won't cut it and a re-do is the best option. ( in my case)

Fortunately this happened at a point when we could get home quickly to repair it and not as we were carrying it in to the event.
Also, the cake was a very simple design to decorate so I was able to re-do it quickly, had this been a more elaborate design I may not have been so lucky.

Caketastrophe's happen, even to the best, I've seen them on Cake Boss and D.C. Cupcakes.
If it happens to you don't panic, you made it, you can fix it.
Even though I feel I am more prepared to deal with a caketastrophe, I hope I never experience one again...EVER!

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