1981 seems like a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was on my lunch hour. The building had an indoor parking garage. It was a half-sheet cake. I took the cake out of my hatch-back, tripped over my high heels, and flipped the cake onto the floor of the garage.
I shut my eyes, hoping it was a dream, but when I opened my eyes, the cake was still icing down on the concrete.
I had that job for about a week.
Top 10 causes of cake disasters:
- Personal foul. The person carrying the cake drops it. Doesn't really matter why; the result is the same.
- Driver error. This is similar to #1, but there is a vehicle involved. Slamming on the brakes, taking a two wheel turn will cause a cake to slide (the preamble to slipping and falling).
- Auntie Mae. Auntie Mae offered to make your wedding cake and you couldn't say no. It looks like a lumpy pillow. No worries as long as you have a really good florist who brought lots of extra flowers.
- The cat ate my cake. This actually happened to one of our cakes. The customer wouldn't admit it, but anyone with half a brain could tell from the way the icing was missing on the back side of the cake that the family cat would have a belly ache for days.
- No cake support. Tall or tiered cakes need appropriate architectural support or they will slide and fall. Any professional baker, pastry chef or cake decorator should know this.
- Can't spell it. If you don't know what I mean by this, take a look at Cake Wrecks for examples of poor spelling from "professional" decorators.
- "I'm melting." If you leave the cake in a hot car while running other errands, it's really #2. If you put the cake on display outside when the weather is over 90 degrees, then it's #1. Because without some type of outside influence, a hot day will not create a cake disaster.
- Mechanical failure. This covers everything from oven failure (overbaked and underbaked cakes), to mixer failure (lumpy buttercream), and telephone failure (we really did not hear you say STRAWBERRY cake).
- Near miss, or failure to communicate. Your definition of "vibrant" or "pretty" may differ from that of the decorator. You were thinking pale pink, and got hot pink. Lime green became neon green.
- The Bakery. Yes, it does happen. Some cakes just taste bad, are poorly decorated, or downright ugly, and none of the other explanations apply.