Collapsing Cakes - updated 2018:
Sadly, not everyone reads everything on these wedding planning pages comprehensively - it would be impressive if everyone did. Not even our staff will read everything on this site, so if you did read it all, you could tell us a thing or two!
Yet most things that go wrong we’ve seen before and warned against, somewhere in our advisory notes. And though our Page on Wedding Cakes has been on the Wedding Planner section of the website for several years, we still see cakes that collapse (mostly in-transit issues).
A professional cake maker should know how to get it right. It's the centrepiece of your wedding reception room display, for the most important day of your life, which is probably why Suppliers charge a tidy sum for a wedding cake. You may also have to wait months for a specialist cake to be made so need to book your wedding cake and choose your design well in advance.
We’ve just had an Eastern European Wedding Cake prepared by a close relative collapse in to a messy mush. Naturally we have every sympathy for the Wedding Couple who must have been devastated. This is just not something you want to have happen on your Wedding Day.
Apparently, this particular style of cake has an infill of fluffy whipped cream, at least this one did. This does mean it has to be made and eaten within a very short time frame, which is maybe why it was not made by a traditional wedding cake maker.
Indeed, I have bought lovely creamy chocolates, both Russian and Polish in a shop in Swansea (not fresh cream but a marshmallow interior), that have these same creamy fluffy interiors. They're gorgeous. So I can see this probably is how an Eastern European Wedding cake might be made. They must taste very 'light' and fresh.
But add on several tiers with weak structural supports and a base of fresh fluffy light cream is not going to work.
All went fine until the upper tiers went on to the whipped cream filled base. Without support, the result was highly unfortunate, compounded by the fresh newness and hence softness of the external icing (the cake must have been so fresh the icing had no time to harden). Logically if you put something heavy onto a soft and light base, you are going to have a collapse.
On arrival the Bride was not sure whether to put it in the fridge, and, unaware of its interior of fluffy cream, our in-house Wedding Planner merely advised that refrigerating icing can make the icing go hard, which it can.
Had we known it had a fresh cream interior, our advice would be that it needs to be refrigerated, as cream will go sour otherwise.
Anyway, it was left out of the fridge overnight, in a reasonably cool room beside the Wedding Banquet room. Not that this would make any difference to its weight-bearing properties, or lack thereof. When I saw the remains, it had been moved to the cold store, for with the interior exposed, we could see the fresh fluffy cream.
With the various tiers placed on top, gravity took over.
We've remade cakes in the past with some success, typically when they get damaged in a car in transit to the venue, but this very soft cake was so spectacularly beyond repair there was nothing anyone could do. The poor bride!
It was clearly a superb cake with lovely icing, all so painstakingly made, so much had gone into it, that this just is not something anyone wants or expects.
Closer inspection of this home made cake also shows it did have construction pillars but these were too thin with sharp tops. The idea was sound, for internal pillars had correctly been factored in - but they were too thin so had no stability.