Saturday, September 03, 2005

This Takes the Cake!


Wouldn't you be upset if this had happened to your wedding cake five hours before the reception?

I was working with another florist some years ago for a wedding in Morehead City, NC. The reception was taking place in a medium-sized convention center. I was about 80 feet from the cake table when I saw the avalanche. I screamed bloody murder and then began thanking my lucky stars that I had been no where near it when it fell.

We called the home of woman who baked the cake; she was also a caterer and was at that moment delivering food to another wedding about 12 miles away. He husband got in touch with her and she advised him to come and pick up the portion of the cake that was still on the table. She rushed home and supposedly baked another set of layers. This cake was poppy-seed, with a buttery cream-cheese icing. The problem was that she had delivered it to us while it was still warm, and when she put the tiers together, it melted the icing and that's what made it fall.

The cake was supposed to be seven layers, stacked on each other. The bride had requested no supports, such as dowels which are ordinarily used with heavy, dense cakes, especially when they are tall. The reception was supposed to start at 7:00 pm, and the cake fell about 2:45 pm. At 6:45 pm, she walked in with 5 more tiers and also a sheet cake. As she began to assemble the cake again, I was watching - and holding my breath. The first three tiers went together well, but as she laid the fourth tier on top, the sides of the 3rd tier began to buckle. I screamed (once again) and she quickly removed that layer. As before, the cake was still warm.

What we ended up with consisted of one 6" layer atop an 18" layer. It looked more like a sun hat with a wide brim than a cake, especially after I decorated it with flowers around the "crown"! She left the other layers in the kitchen for the staff to cut and serve like the sheet cake.The bride and her mother were remarkably calm about it, and I found out later that the caterer/cake baker was distantly related to them. In my 24 year floral career, this is the only cake with a disaster attached to it!

Be forewarned: if you are ordering a wedding cake, especially one with a dense texture, allow the baker to use the necessary supports or you risk the avalanche above.


32 comments:

Heather said...

*shudders* I would have freaked out if it had been my wedding! How funny that you got a picture!

Carmi said...

OMG, what a story! Who woulda thought that warm cake could do ya in not just once, but twice?

This is why I'm not a caterer: way too much pressure.

Of course, journalism-related deadline pressure doesn't seem to bother me. Go figure!

I'm here, yet again, from Michele's. By now, I would have expected you to have a permanent ban on my IP address!

Carmi said...

Hi again. To answer your question on my blog, you may be right. When things slow down on Michele's site (like when most North Americans hit the hay), that's when I'm usually awake and writing. So it's easy for me to pop in and play the m&g game. It's a trivial thing, I know, but it's connected me with some great folks with great blogs. And if it inspires me to write, then it's a good thing.

So all this m&g inspired me to write a softer kind of piece on my blog. I just posted it, and I'm teary now. So I'm going to tuck in. I hope you enjoy it.

srp said...

Oh! No! But the poppy seed cake sounds yummy. Here I sit all alone, awake and now hungry.

Mom made my grandparents 50th anniversary cake. Big square layer on bottom then three or four round on top. Wedding cake (they never had one at the beginning) with pillars and white flowers and everything. We had the layers iced and had to divide them up to go to the church. There was an ice storm, the roads were slick but we got it there ok. I attribute this to the fact that Mom said she would kill if any arrived messed up. Threats do work.

Nino the Mindboggler said...

Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the post about my therapy group. I've seen you comment at Mamacita's and Vicki's blog and glad to finally meet you and check out your place. I'll be back!

Carmen said...

Here from Michele's this time.

Um, why was she trying to ice and stack warm cakes? Usually you wait until they are cooled. The supports are a definite too - I made a cake for one of my daughter's first birthday - it was a stack of presents covered in rolled fondant, and without supports it would have smushed.

Regardless, it sounds yummy.

Gianluca Di Milano said...

Yes be carful for the cakes. My freind Stefano was eat one cake in amsterdam and was begin to make the sound of a duck then was hitted by the tram and stay in hospitel for 2 week. What a funny!

colleen said...

I wouldn't want that kind of omen on my wedding day...but I bet it still tasted good!

Yaeli said...

Am I the only person who thinks the cake will still taste the same no matter how it looks?

It just goes to show that the KISS rule is the best rule of thumb! (KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid...)

Michele sent me! :o)

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Where's a dog when you need one?

This is rich, Judy. Cake was too, I suppose.

Jennifer said...

Oy vey!!! That's hysterical! Wonder what the bride's issue was with supports? For goodness' sake...let the pros do their job! That's why they are the pros, doh!

Here via Michele today, but I think we may have met before? You seem awfully familiar...

:-)

Kim said...

I'm with Yaeli, it would all taste the same! LOL! My niece's cake began to "list starboard" at her reception so we did the cake thing first so the caterer could demolish it!

Minerva said...

Oh no, could you imagine! As if there isn't enough to worry about already!

Note to self - cool the cake down first!

Minerva

Hope said...

I was having lunch where a wedding reception was being held in another room. They had closed certain doors of the room and set up the cake. A misinformed waiter flung the door open and the table went flying along with the cake. We left before we found out how the bride reacted. (I bet Angie knew this tip, but I am making a mental note and praying I don't lose it, lol)

brendalove@gmail.com said...

Oh well, you can always run out to the deli and get one of those pre-made cakes from the cooler!!!

RIIIIIIIIGHT.

utenzi said...

Michele sent me to you, Judy.

...of course the baker could have always let the cake cool sufficiently. Just a thought.

I hope your voice recovered, Judy. You were doing a lot of screaming that day.

I can't imagine the horror of having a wedding cake collapse like that just hours before the wedding. Since it was a 7 layer cake I assume it was a big wedding--and those have nerves wracked already, something like this happens and people have been known to go ballistic.

zazzafooky said...

I was more surprised that 24 years you've only ever seen 1 cake topple. It's a great testament to the fact the you should listen when the experts tell you something!

Great story!

Maria said...

Talk about a stressful situation. Well, it just makes me realize another reason I am not in the catering business. The idea of it looking like a sun hat was too funny. I would love to see photos of the bride and groom cutting it.

Mildred Garfield said...

That cake story reminds me of a friend who was asked to be the photographer at a family wedding. Unfortunatly he agreeded and when the bride got the pictures back there was only ONE picture of her!

Let the professionals do their job.

Millie

moonbatty said...

Yeek! Glad that there was time for it all to be fixed, somewhat. Sad that the bride's not wanting the proper reinforcement ended up in her having a less-than-perfect cake.

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Oh lord.

I cannot even imagine!!

Hello Michele sent me

Mike said...

If you only had it on video you could win funniest home videos!

Michele sent me.

Morah Mommy said...

Our photographer knocked over our cake during the speeches.

Our caterer was kind enough to make us a new top layer for our 1st. anniversary.

Here again, via Michele!

Indigo said...

Oh my, what a disaster! Great pic of it though.

Paul said...

I have just begun taking cake-decorating lessons. It's a lot of fun, by the way.

But this info is suddenly invaluable to me. Thanks for the lesson. When I decorate my first cake, I'm going to put up a picture, so stay tuned....

Anonymous said...

This story just made me laugh, Judy. It's great- and good for the bride that she didn't come undone over spilt cake. I'm sure you rettied it up just fine.

Vicki said...

That's me, Judy- it's not giving me a place to type my name. My magic word, however, is AZWVEGP!

Michelle said...

That is awful and hilarious at the same time. I'm not so sure I would have been calm if that was my wedding cake on the floor!!

Erin said...

Great picture.

Makes my heart hurt, though, because I think I'd be very upset if that happened to my cake!

Here from the Meet-N-Greet. Hope you're enjoying your long weekend!

panthergirl said...

Hahahahahaha!!! An omen if there ever was one!! (ok, so I'm a little cynical about marriage...LOL)

Here via michele, but I don't need to be!

Laura GF said...

I'm actually here from Melange's site, though I've seen you over at Michele's. I'm glad I clicked through, because this story of the cake is hilarious. Having a picture of the disaster is...well, the icing on the cake :) (you can tell I'm up late if I'm making jokes as bad as that...)

Weary Hag said...

Holy wow. There used to be a website where people could post their "wedding day disasters." It included everything from car accidents involving the limos to grooms passing out at the altar. There were several cake avalanches on there as well, but none looked quite as horrific as this one!!
Good job grabbing your camera to capture this moment, Judy.