Birthday cakes

My top 5 cake disaster tips!


Last weekend I made a birthday cake for little Dahlia. I can’t quite believe that she is two already! It seems like just yesterday that I made a rainbow cake for her first birthday. It was the first time that I had a cake disaster! I’ve heard many people talk about when they dropped cakes or the dog licked the buttercream when they turned their back for two seconds but luckily it hadn’t happened to me! Till Saturday!  I learnt a few things from my disaster. I will share all!

1. Listen to your intuition

What was I really thinking! I made a cake covered in pink buttercream which was decorated with sprinkles. I didn’t want to have to pick it up to place it on a cakestand (Theoda – Dahlia’s mum is probably the only person who really gets my obsession with cake stands!) so, I secured the cake on a white ceramic cake stand with a dab of royal icing. I then put the cake stand in a big cardboard box and wedged it in place. It felt a bit unstable but I thought as long as I drove the one mile to Theoda’s house it would be okay! My intuition was screaming “WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING YOU. YOU’RE CRAZY. THIS WILL NEVER WORK” Tim, who was watching me  load up the car on what was the hottest day ever said “Oh it will be all right” which in all honesty is what I usually say! I knew it wouldn’t be but I didn’t want to be late so I gave it a go.

2. Don’t travel with a cake on a cakestand. EVER!

So, what happened?

Dahlia Birthday cake

I pulled off my driveway. Slowly. Carefully. I turned the first corner and I heard a ‘pfffwamp’ sound. My heart sank. I knew it was the cake. I hadn’t driven 200m. I got out and looked in the boot and this is what I saw!

No matter how well you think you have secured your cake and cakestand it’s way too stressful to travel this way. Next time the cake will be put on a very thin board and transferred onto the cakestand at the venue!

3. Don’t shout at your husband who is trying to help! 

Oh dear! Poor Tim. He tried to help and tell me how to salvage the cake and what did he get from his ever loving wife? “I KNOW what to do. Who’s the cake decorator around here?” Sorry Tim. I did apologise straight away but I was horrible!

3a. Don’t shout at your kids!!!

Oh dear, Oh dear! Beau came to see what all the commotion was about “Why are you back? What happened to the cake?”  she asked. It took all my strength not to shout at her. I said in a not so calm voice “If ever there was a time to stay away from me, NOW is that time!” And what did my highly sensitive nine year old do? She just shrugged her shoulders and walked off to find the nearest TV. Not a peep out of her! Sometimes she really does surprise me.

She got big kisses before I left for a second time to deliver the cake by the way. She just wanted to get to the party so she could see Dahlia and her dog!

4. Don’t Panic

This should probably have been tip number 1. I didn’t panic as much about the cake as I did about being late! I’m always late and I really hate that. I took the cake inside the house and lifted it out of the box to asses the damage. Not as bad as I expected. The top was dented on both sides but I was lucky. Had this cake been covered in sugarpaste I wouldn’t have been able to fix it. As it was I scraped off the damaged area and just piled a load of excess buttercream on top, smoothed it to hide the mis-shape and added a few more sprinkles.

I had originally spent quite a long time getting the cake all even – as Tim is always telling me they are wonky so I work really hard at perfecting that. This cake was far from perfectly flat!

5. Make a mess if it means getting the cake fixed

So, to fix the cake I had to add more sprinkles. Lots more! When I added sprinkles to the finished cake first time round I was slow and methodical. The cake was positioned over a tray which caught most of the stray strands. Now I was in such a rush that I just left all the mess behind. No tray, no method! Buttercream, big black mixing bowl full of sprinkles, sprinkles on the worktop, sprinkles in the fruitbowl, sprinkles on the floor. Mess EVERYWHERE!

Dahlia Birthday cake

Tim is so good. He just leaves me to it! I walked away leaving the kitchen like a bomb had gone off! A bright and colourful bomb, but a messy one no less! He really does have the patience of a saint. Tim I so love you!

All’s well that ends well. 

Dahlia Birthday cake

So, I fixed the cake. Put it on a plate NOT a cakestand and delivered it. I was only 20 minutes late! And did Dahlia like it? Well, put it like this. Before we even started to sing happy birthday and the cake was cut she was scooping up sprinkles and buttercream on her finger and eating it.  I think it was a winner!

Happy Birthday gorgeous Dahlia. We love you.

So tell me, what are your cake disasters then? I’m sure I’m not the only one! I’d love to hear your stories.

More Kids Birthday Cakes you may enjoy 

How to make a merry go rounds birthday cake 

Mr Men Birthday cake

How to make Beau’s sleepover cake

How To Make A Swimming Pool Cake

How to make a Mario and Yoshie Birthday Cake

How to Make a Rocket cake 

Twitter and the horse birthday cake

Dinosaur birthday cake

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EmmaMT from

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  1. Oh no!! What a shame! But look how much she enjoyed it in the end, all is well and good (and pretty and pink!)
    Transporting cakes is by far the worst bit. I normally hold mine and get Rob to drive. Then I bark at him every time he brakes, accelerates, turns corners, etc. etc! xx

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      That’s so funny. I’d be exactly the same!

  2. Oh Dahlia loved the cake and so did everyone else. Emma, it was beautiful and tasted delish too. Thank you so much. Maybe it’s a good thing it happened, learning lessons and and all that. And now if it ever happens again you know not to panic, ‘it will all be alright’ !

  3. Sue Warner says:

    I made a lovely wedding cake for my nephew last year, 3 tiers on dowels/pillars my 1st cake using pillars Set it up in the marquee with fresh roses and freesias looked lovely, trouble was it was a false floor and the cake shook every time someone walked near it, people kept saying it will be fine don’t worry. I was worried sick and after about an hour my husband stood up to look at the cake and it was leaning, as he said ” it’s gonna go” he caught it before it totally went over! We got 3 tall glasses from the bar, took the tiers off, stuck the glasses in the bottom tier, rebuilt it and put the flowers back on, it stayed up for the rest of the afternoon. Bride and groom loved it and I managed to whip the glasses out before anyone could see, it was carrot cake and it tasted lovely. I lost my confidence for a while but i’m back on track now lol.

    1. EmmaMT from says:

      Oh my word!!! What a nightmare!

      I think wedding cakes are more nerve wracking than any other cake. They’re so important to the bride and groom and you know how much thought and decision goes into them that the pressure is really on. I think I would have been having kittens if I were you, but I’m glad you’re back on track now. These stories are awful at the time but we can look back and laugh afterwards. Much later that is!

      Thanks so much for sharing your story and well done. You literally saved the day with your quick thinking.


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