Soooooooooo Discouraged!!!

Decorating By imaginecakes Updated 31 Mar 2008 , 4:51am by indydebi

imaginecakes Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 4:26pm
post #1 of 40

The last 3 cakes that I have tried to make ( all within the last month ) were total disasters. I have a SERIOUS problem with all of my fondant and gumpaste figures completely falling apart. All of them. And not just once, but all over, like crumbling in my hands to the point were they are unfixable. So, I have to say that I live in Fort Collins Colorado and we are aprox 5500 feet in elevation. It is also increditably dry here, the humidity is almost non-existent. I am hoping this is the problem, but even if it is....how can this be fixed? Aside from moving icon_sad.gif I should also mention that I have used several different brands of fondant as well as MMF and I have used Satin Ice Gumpaste and two different recipies that I have, they all turn out the same. The last cake was my daughter's 5th birthday cake this past Saterday, the entire family was here to witness me attempting to assemble it, only to have everything fall apart...I ended up running upstatirs to the bedroom balling. I couldn't even bring myself to stop crying long enough to sing Happy Birthday to her. I worked on some of those gumpaste figures for three days, and to see it all just fall apart...WOW. I think I actually said....That's it. I give up! Any ideas? Sorry this turned out so long! icon_redface.gif

39 replies
AJsGirl Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 4:52pm
post #2 of 40

I don't really have any answers for you, but I know it sucks to be in a cake rut. icon_sad.gif Something you've worked so hard on, looks so perfect in your mind, you just can't make it happen! icon_cry.gif We've all been there.

Just remember, this too shall pass. Chin up! thumbs_up.gif

imaginecakes Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 4:59pm
post #3 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJsGirl

I don't really have any answers for you, but I know it sucks to be in a cake rut. icon_sad.gif Something you've worked so hard on, looks so perfect in your mind, you just can't make it happen! icon_cry.gif We've all been there.

Just remember, this too shall pass. Chin up! thumbs_up.gif




Thanks so much for the vote of confidence!! icon_smile.gif

Curtsmin24 Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 5:06pm
post #4 of 40

I really don't know how to help you but I am really sorry this happened to you. I have also been to that point and crying soothes the soul so it's okay. Try to stay positive and please don''t stop making cakes. Take a break from fondant because it can be a pain at times. Hugs!!!! I'm sure someone on cc can help you. Sorry that I can't. I really wish I could. icon_smile.gif

asmith Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 8:10pm
post #5 of 40

I live in Wyoming at about the same elevation and dryness. I have had pretty good luck with Satin Ice fondant. I do use a lot of shortening when I work with fondant. I haven't done a lot of elaborate figures, but have covered some good sized cakes and have found that as long as I work the shortening in to the fondant it works okay.

Melvira Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 8:11pm
post #6 of 40

Alright Missy... that's enough talk about 'quitting'!! I will not listen to that one more time!! You can DO THIS! We are going to figure out what the deal is, and you are going to turn this around!

Now, I'm not familiar with any adverse effects of altitude on fondant, but if it's that dry, perhaps you need to knead in some crisco to the fondant before making the pieces! Also, consider storing them in a bag or container where they will not completely dry out. You want them a little dry, but obviously cracking into a million pieces in your hand is NOT the desired effect! How do the pieces feel/look after you've made them, but before they sit for a few days? Are they supple and nice or are they already too dry? If they are fine at first, then simply try storing them covered. If they are already too dry, add some crisco. You are unfortunately going to have to try and fail a little here to figure it all out. Hopefully we can find someone who has been through this and figured out some tricks and tips.

You can do it, have faith in yourself. The best of the best have failed at something more than once before becoming the best! I bet even Colette Peters made a lopsided, ugly cake once!! icon_wink.gif But look at her now!! Like a pal of mine here has on her signature line, "Fall down seven times, get up eight!" Don't give up!

Doug Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 8:15pm
post #7 of 40

have you tried getting a humidifier -- either room or whole house size?

if it's that dry, it isn't good for your health either.

(the ultrasonic type, while nice to watch with there little stream of fog have the annoying habit of generating a fine white dust. the type that use wicks or heat won't do this)

springlakecake Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 8:18pm
post #8 of 40

Maybe some crisco kneaded into it?

Is it just hte figures you are having trouble with? If so, and if I were you, I would just take a break from the figures and go back to something that you know will work...just to get you out of your rut. Then head back to it when you have your confidence back.

crl Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 8:21pm
post #9 of 40

Jhansen13 - I am about an hour or 2 south of you in Parker, CO. I've never used gumpaste, but the only times I have had issues with my fondant cracking or falling apart was when I had added too much powdered sugar to it, or didn't work fast enough when making a figure and the air made it unworkable. I haven't tried this since I read the tip on this site, but maybe next time you find the fondant crumbling, try adding some shortening to see if that helps. It is supposed to add the moisture back in to the fondant. Stick with it, it has to get better.

mommyle Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 8:46pm
post #10 of 40

Try adding Vodka. To your tummy. Then Criso to your fondant. If it is sticking while you work with it, instead of using powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to you, use crisco. And if it is crumbling in your hands, add a SMAll amount of water. Work it in. It WILL be a sticky mess, but it may help. Good luck, and never quit!!!

kakeladi Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 8:57pm
post #11 of 40

Any chance someone in the family took some pix of what you made? Maybe seeing it would help us try to solve this for you.
Yes, the Criso should help but you can also work too much in. There is a fine line between enough and too much.
Take a piece of fondant about the size of a large walnut; dip about 1/3 of it into egg white & shake off; work it, work it, work it.....it will become a sticky mess, but if you keep working it it will become supple; now add some Crisco to your hands and work it, work it, work it. HTH

sbachorosk Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 9:12pm
post #12 of 40

I'm sorry you are having trouble! I know how discouraging that is when you work so hard. I live in Colorado at about 6000 feet. I haven't had trouble with my figures falling apart. I've used Wilton Fondant and made Toba's fondant. I knead a little gumpaste powder into my fondant to help it dry and keep it's shape. When it gets sticky or cracks I put a little crisco on my fingers and work it in. Don't give up!

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 9:17pm
post #13 of 40

Okay, Doug took my idea. I was going to suggest a humidifier. Also, since there's humidity in the fridge, what about storing your gp figures in there for a while after modeling them before letting them dry? I'm just guessing here, but maybe that would add a bit of necessary moisture before drying them. Again, just sort of thinking aloud here.

Or maybe letting the figures dry in the oven and putting a small cup of water in there also?

I really wish I had the answer for you. I know what a terrible feeling it is to have all your hard work go up (or down) in smoke as soon as you've finished it. {{{Big Hug}}}

Between you and everyone on this board, we'll figure something out!

candee2300 Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 9:17pm
post #14 of 40

I just recently experienced having my fondant really dry also. For some reason I thought to put the fondant in the microwave, and wow it really helped. It made it so much softer and pliable. Hopefully it will work for you. I have so been there!!! Don't give up.

MacsMom Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 9:25pm
post #15 of 40

I add a tablespoon of glycerine to my MMF. I live in a dessert zone and haven't had any trouble.

Recently I was laying a piece of MMF over a board coated with piping gel and I got it on crooked, so I scraped it off and went ahead and kneaded it again with the piping gel and it came out wonderful! So great that I want to experiment with adding piping gel to my MMF instead glycerine.

I use a lot of toothpicks and gumpaste glue when I make figures to be sure they don't fall apart -- and I use 50/50 gumpaste and MMF.

deanwithana Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 9:35pm
post #16 of 40

First of all....let's look at the positive!!! You live where there is no humidity so you probably have a great hairstyle!!!! I live in New Orleans so it tends for a lot of bad hair days!!!!

Try adding crisco!!!! This should really help make them soft!!!

laurynrn Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 2:19pm
post #17 of 40

I don't have any fabulous ideas for you that weren't already mentioned.
I just wanted to tell you that I too have felt like giving up on many occasions! Take a break if you need to, but don't give up, it happened to everyone I promise! icon_smile.gif

Bossy Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 2:45pm
post #18 of 40

I can so relate! I have the oposite problem with to much humidity. I just posted my frustration about my stuff basically melting and them saw your post!
I plan to keep trying ways to compensate, I so want to create beautiful flowers!

Liz

kcw551 Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 2:49pm
post #19 of 40

Hi Jhanssen, I live in Ft. Collins too. I know what you mean about the dryness here and working with fondant/gumpaste. I found that adding shortening is really the best way to go. I just keep adding it to my hands as I'm working with the figurines. I have even taken some shortening and just smoothed it over the dry spots, lightly rubbing it in until it smooths out. I love making things out of fondant because my hands get so soft from all the crisco I use on them. LOL Don't get discouraged! And don't put so much pressure on yourself about this. I'm sure your daughter was happy that you tried to do something extra special for her cake! And I bet it was delicious!

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 4:44pm
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvira

Alright Missy... that's enough talk about 'quitting'!! I will not listen to that one more time!! You can DO THIS! We are going to figure out what the deal is, and you are going to turn this around!

Now, I'm not familiar with any adverse effects of altitude on fondant, but if it's that dry, perhaps you need to knead in some crisco to the fondant before making the pieces! Also, consider storing them in a bag or container where they will not completely dry out. You want them a little dry, but obviously cracking into a million pieces in your hand is NOT the desired effect! How do the pieces feel/look after you've made them, but before they sit for a few days? Are they supple and nice or are they already too dry? If they are fine at first, then simply try storing them covered. If they are already too dry, add some crisco. You are unfortunately going to have to try and fail a little here to figure it all out. Hopefully we can find someone who has been through this and figured out some tricks and tips.

You can do it, have faith in yourself. The best of the best have failed at something more than once before becoming the best! I bet even Colette Peters made a lopsided, ugly cake once!! icon_wink.gif But look at her now!! Like a pal of mine here has on her signature line, "Fall down seven times, get up eight!" Don't give up!




Thanks so much!! You crack me up! icon_lol.gif My figures actually start out ok, but by the time I am done assembing them, I can already notice some hairline fractures...which grow and grow! My people end up looking like they have spent waaayyyy to much time in the sun!!! Only they are still white icon_biggrin.gif ! They are seriously wrinkled everywhere. I feel like I already use like a whole tub of Crisco whenever I am making figures....but I suppose I just need to try using a bit more! Also?! If you make figures, do you try to assemble the arms, legs, etc. while they are still wet? Or after they have already dried? That may be an issue I have as well! Anyway...thanks so much for the support and laughs! BTW...I would be brave enough to post the ugly pics for you all too see, but I got a new digital camera for Christmas and I can't figure out how to downsize the photos to put them in my Gallery!! icon_cry.gif
Thanks Again!!!

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 4:52pm
post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

have you tried getting a humidifier -- either room or whole house size?

if it's that dry, it isn't good for your health either.

(the ultrasonic type, while nice to watch with there little stream of fog have the annoying habit of generating a fine white dust. the type that use wicks or heat won't do this)




Yeah, humidifiers are pretty much a must here for this time of year! We have a little individual one for each of the kids rooms and ours, but that's it. Our house actually has a built in humidifier with the heating and air-conditioning system, which I was actually really excited about when we bought the house. But the guy that did our inspection told us not to use it! And it was turned off, so apparently the previous owners had been told the same thing....I guess from what he says they are prone to causing mold to grow inside of your vents....which would lead to much worse problems!! I have thought about buying a small one for me to have around my work area, but after reading about all of the problems people have with too much humidity, I guess I'm alittle worried that it may be hard to control...but you are right, I think I am going to have to give that a shot! Thanks Doug! icon_lol.gif

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 4:54pm
post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by crl

Jhansen13 - I am about an hour or 2 south of you in Parker, CO. I've never used gumpaste, but the only times I have had issues with my fondant cracking or falling apart was when I had added too much powdered sugar to it, or didn't work fast enough when making a figure and the air made it unworkable. I haven't tried this since I read the tip on this site, but maybe next time you find the fondant crumbling, try adding some shortening to see if that helps. It is supposed to add the moisture back in to the fondant. Stick with it, it has to get better.




Thanks! I think I will have to use some more....BTW...I have your Pooh cake in my Favorites!!! It's adorable!!! icon_biggrin.gif

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 4:57pm
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyle

Try adding Vodka. To your tummy. Then Criso to your fondant. If it is sticking while you work with it, instead of using powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to you, use crisco. And if it is crumbling in your hands, add a SMAll amount of water. Work it in. It WILL be a sticky mess, but it may help. Good luck, and never quit!!!




LOL....too Funny!!! icon_lol.gif You have no idea how many times of thought of that while trying to paint Luster Dust over all of the things that were'nt completely destroyed tring to make them look better!!!

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 5:01pm
post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

Any chance someone in the family took some pix of what you made? Maybe seeing it would help us try to solve this for you.
Yes, the Criso should help but you can also work too much in. There is a fine line between enough and too much.
Take a piece of fondant about the size of a large walnut; dip about 1/3 of it into egg white & shake off; work it, work it, work it.....it will become a sticky mess, but if you keep working it it will become supple; now add some Crisco to your hands and work it, work it, work it. HTH





Oh there's pics alright!!! You know how family is...."Oh Jenn"...."it looks great....REALLY!!!!" and I would totally post them too, but I got a new camera and apparently the pics it takes are too big to upload to my Gallery, and I can't for the life of me figure out how to downsize them!!! As soon as my hubby figures it out for me, I'll make sure to post them and then let everyone see them in all of their glory!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 5:03pm
post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by merissa

Maybe some crisco kneaded into it?

Is it just hte figures you are having trouble with? If so, and if I were you, I would just take a break from the figures and go back to something that you know will work...just to get you out of your rut. Then head back to it when you have your confidence back.





Probably not a bad idea!!!! BTW....LOVE your avitar...I'm soooooo jealous!!! thumbs_up.gif

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 5:05pm
post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by crl

Jhansen13 - I am about an hour or 2 south of you in Parker, CO. I've never used gumpaste, but the only times I have had issues with my fondant cracking or falling apart was when I had added too much powdered sugar to it, or didn't work fast enough when making a figure and the air made it unworkable. I haven't tried this since I read the tip on this site, but maybe next time you find the fondant crumbling, try adding some shortening to see if that helps. It is supposed to add the moisture back in to the fondant. Stick with it, it has to get better.





And another thing....Parker is so beautiful!! I love it!!! We were actually set on moving there until my hubby tried his work commute, and it was just going to be too long.... icon_cry.gif But I love Fort Collins too!

Melvira Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 5:10pm
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhansen13

My figures actually start out ok, but by the time I am done assembing them, I can already notice some hairline fractures... which grow and grow! My people end up looking like they have spent waaayyyy to much time in the sun!!! Only they are still white icon_biggrin.gif !




Hehehehe... maybe you need to start painting them bronze and selling your cakes to people who tan too much! icon_wink.gif

You definitely want to assemble while it's still wet and at it's most supple. Keep adding more Crisco as needed, and definitely consider another small humidifier for your workspace. Try not airdrying them as much also. And I absolutely stand behind the liberal use of alcohol in your modelling. I can't guarantee it will improve your results, but it will make you appreciate the humor of it all! icon_wink.gif

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 5:21pm
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbachorosk

I'm sorry you are having trouble! I know how discouraging that is when you work so hard. I live in Colorado at about 6000 feet. I haven't had trouble with my figures falling apart. I've used Wilton Fondant and made Toba's fondant. I knead a little gumpaste powder into my fondant to help it dry and keep it's shape. When it gets sticky or cracks I put a little crisco on my fingers and work it in. Don't give up!




How far in advance do you usually make your figures? And what type of Gumpaste material do you add in? Do you like Toba's recipe for Fondant? I love Satin Ice, but with shipping, I think I am going to have to take a break from it for a while and make my own. I really like the taste and the ease of MMF, but it really does rip and tear more for me for some reason. Thanks! icon_biggrin.gif

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 5:26pm
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugar_Plum_Fairy

Okay, Doug took my idea. I was going to suggest a humidifier. Also, since there's humidity in the fridge, what about storing your gp figures in there for a while after modeling them before letting them dry? I'm just guessing here, but maybe that would add a bit of necessary moisture before drying them. Again, just sort of thinking aloud here.

Or maybe letting the figures dry in the oven and putting a small cup of water in there also?

I really wish I had the answer for you. I know what a terrible feeling it is to have all your hard work go up (or down) in smoke as soon as you've finished it. {{{Big Hug}}}

Between you and everyone on this board, we'll figure something out!




Thank you for all of your support!!! It really lifts the spirits you know? I will try the humidifier idea I think. I just have to be careful not to add too much humidity....I don't want that problem either!!! I need a comfortable medium I guess! BTW...you have some gorgeous cakes in your gallery!! And I love your pulled sugar rose!! I can't wait to get some of the equipment for doing sugar work!! It's so awesome!!

imaginecakes Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 5:27pm
post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by candee2300

I just recently experienced having my fondant really dry also. For some reason I thought to put the fondant in the microwave, and wow it really helped. It made it so much softer and pliable. Hopefully it will work for you. I have so been there!!! Don't give up.




Hummmm... never thought of this idea!!! Thanks!! Very clever. thumbs_up.gif What kind of Fondant do you use?

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