Made A Practice Cake, Confidence Shaken! Help!

Decorating By Shola Updated 22 Apr 2008 , 8:08pm by aswartzw

Shola Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 4:36pm
post #1 of 27

Hi All,

So today I made my first actual iced cake icon_biggrin.gif , I made the Magnolia Bakery Vanilla one and the frosting, it's not very pretty but it was more of a taste test than anything! I want to do the real one in fondant with a second tier, thing is making this cake has really dented my confidence icon_sad.gif I now see the importance of dowels as even when I put the third layer on top all the cream and jam squished out the sides on the bottom!
The cake itself tastes lovely but it's a bit dry?? I followed the recipe exactly, could I have over cooked it? It wasn't burnt but fairly browned.
Also the BC is sooooo sweet, is there anyway to make it less sweet, or is there a less sweet frosting someone can recommend?

Also I'm not sure I have a work space big enough to roll out the size of fondant i'd need to cover a cake like this, and if I did could I deftly pick it up and lay in on the cake??! Argh panic!! icon_cry.gif

Thing is my DD's 1st Bday cake has got to be great, does anyone know a cake I could make that would look great but more simple than what I'm planning as I think i may have had 'ideas of grandeur' with the 3 layer 2 tier fondant one! icon_rolleyes.gif

Thank You for your input so far this cake would not exist with out all of you guys advice!! thumbs_up.gif

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26 replies
all4cake Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 4:59pm
post #2 of 27

dowels wouldn't have prevented your jam from coming out. A dam would've though.

When is your dd's bd?

I used that recipe a couple of times...I'm not sure what I did either...it, too was dry...okay, drier than what I was wanting.

kbrown99 Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 5:07pm
post #3 of 27

As far as dry, you can always brush it with a simple syrup (either homemade or one like DaVinci or Torino).

I'm new to structuring so I can't offer much help there, but as far as filling squishing out, I'd say either use a dam (like previous poster) or use less filling.

For your buttercream being too sweet - I assume you're using a shortening based buttercream since those are the ones that most people have that complaint about. Anyway, before I really modified my recipe, I used to just add lemon juice to it until the sweetness was toned down.

HTH

kbrown99 Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 5:10pm
post #4 of 27

I forgot about the fondant. I'm new to it too so take what I say with a grain of salt compared to the fondant experts that will hopefully answer you.

After you roll out your fondant, lay it over your rolling pin and use it to carry it to your cake.

feliciangel Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 5:12pm
post #5 of 27

I'm new at this too, and made a few cakes without the confidence to post them lol...but anyways um try adding a pinch of salt to your frosting. and use a lower temp to bake with. You might want to get an oven thermometer just in case you oven's temp is wrong. Oh and I tried the wasc (white almond sour cream cake) and it was really good.

Bossy Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 5:14pm
post #6 of 27

I'm new at this also, but here's what made a really big difference for me. Level the cake first, cut the layers, make a dam to hold in the filling between layers, fill and stack, get it cold in frig and then crumb coat, let crumb coat crust, then add on final layer of frosting and let crust, use use the roller, wax paper or paper towel method to smooth frosting. There are tutorials for all of these here at CC or on at other sites. When I was making pratice cakes to try techniques on using just store bought mixes, I found that puttng pudding inbetween the layers rather than frosting made the cake moist and less sweet that using jam or frosting. Take the time to let the butercream crust over before smoothing. I'm no expert, but I know your frustrations! CC is a great site for reading up on how to use the techniques and solve problems. Just type in the search and see what comes up. I would probably never have started seriously tried decorating cakes if it were not for CC even after taking some basic Wilton courses.

vickymacd Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 5:18pm
post #7 of 27

You posted your pic and that says CONFIDENCE. Good job!
Make a dam all around each of your layers. That will help keep any filling in. It's hard to say how big your cake is, but dowling it wouldn't have hurt it either way.

Add a pinch of salt to the frosting and it kind of kills the extreme sweetness.

Plug away at it, I too am still learning every time.

wgoat5 Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 5:18pm
post #8 of 27

I agree with the dam for the filling coming out..

Sometimes I make my cakes with 4 layers.. not stacked just layers.. if you want to stack another 4 inch (high)cake you need to dowell.. put some sort of support in there so it doesn't just go down into your first cake (especially with fondant on it) .

Your cake actually looks so straight and level !! I know you don't like the looks of it.. but as far as I am concerned you have the first thing down... level cake.. sides are nice and even .. you have that down!!!

As far as the dry fix.. well I had heard that recipe comes out dry so I'd do the simple syrup.. and there are sooo many recipes for it (flavored)..

just adding my 2 cents icon_smile.gif

kbrown99 Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 5:20pm
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shola


Thing is my DD's 1st Bday cake has got to be great, does anyone know a cake I could make that would look great but more simple than what I'm planning as I think i may have had 'ideas of grandeur' with the 3 layer 2 tier fondant one! icon_rolleyes.gif

Thank You for your input so far this cake would not exist with out all of you guys advice!! thumbs_up.gif




Just wanted to say that I understand having grandiose designs for your dd's birthday. I do the same thing. But, even if your cake doesn't turn out like you dream it to (we are always our own worst critics), your dd will still love it and you will have the opportunity to practice, improve, and hopefully enjoy.

cakebaker1957 Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 5:30pm
post #10 of 27

Hi i recently purachased sugar shaks dvd in perfecting buttercream i have been making cakes for about a year and half i always use a dam but according to sugar shake it is to be a really stiff dam, she shows on the dvd that you can actually roll it into a ball, make a small batch that is really really stiff, and then let your cake sit for a couple of hours, when you put your top cake on take a cake board and mash down gently on the top to help squish the dam down let it sit then take a spatual and run around the out side of the dam and scrape off any extra that is ozzing through this is really important, if your icing is too dry dont use a lot of powdered sugar i gradually add my sugar a little at a time then when i scrape down the sides i can feel it if its right , Hope this helps

Narie Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 5:32pm
post #11 of 27

As All4cake said a frosting dam helps keep the filing in place.


I have never tried Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cake, but when I made their chocolate cake I was definitely not impressed. I seriously doubt that you did anything wrong. I think your cake came out very well for a first attempt.

all4cake Posted 20 Apr 2008 , 7:22pm
post #12 of 27

shola, I was pming you a while ago after replying to this thread. Just as I was adding my final notes, lightning struck and turned off the puter. I didn't even know it was storming until it did that. Sorry.

I would recommend you roll your fondant out on a large vinyl or thin plastic mat. It makes it easier to flip it over and position on the tiers.

As mentioned by a PP, level your layers, pipe a dam with medium/stiff icing about a 1/2 inch in from the edge. Fill, making sure not to rise above the level of the dam. Place another layer, dam, fill....until all layers on in place. Crumb coat with a thin layer of icing and allow to rest several hours or overnight. The crumb coat will help it not to dry any further while the jam and dam settles. After leaving it to settle and it's ready to be covered, roll out fondant on lightly greased vinyl mat( If doing directly on countertop, I would recommend using a mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch so that it doesn't stick). Then, if using a crusting buttercream, apply another layer of icing...not too thick...and before it has time to crust over, position fondant on cake(2xheight=diameter of cake). If using a non crusting buttercream, chill until firm, apply another layer of icing...not too thick...chill until firm again then proceed with covering it with fondant.

mark bottom tier for placement of top tier then dowel...check for level. You should be ready to stack.

I believe you can do this!

Shola Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 9:11am
post #13 of 27

Gah! went to make a reply this morning and lost access to CC just as I was submitting icon_cry.gif

Thanks for all the input guys! icon_smile.gif

Was definatly happy that my layers came out very flat and even, i didn't even have to cut any off, icon_smile.gif took all the tips on CC about leveling the batter and tapping and spinning the pans, defo works! thumbs_up.gif

So a dam to help with the squishing problem, this is just extra thick BC piped around the edge of each layer?

I like the idea of using pudding as a filling, could I also crumb coat with pudding and stick fondant over it?? icon_confused.gif

When I dowel should a put the dowels in, mark the height, removed and cut then put back in? Is there a tutorial on CC?

I am going to have to make another practice cake, I think I'll try with pudding as a filling icon_smile.gif

My DD's Bday is May 2nd so I have around 10 days to get this sorted!
Shola
XXX

all4cake Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 3:42pm
post #14 of 27

Stiff buttercream...

some have posted that they take cake trimmings and mix it with thin/medium buttercream and pipe their dam with that.

I don't know about crumb coating with pudding...I've never done it(that doesn't mean it ain't possible)

Here's a link for the doweling tutorial

http://www.cakecentral.com/article23-Teired-Stacked-Cake-Construction.html

Shola Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:03pm
post #15 of 27

Thx for that!

Can anyone recommend a nice moist cake recipe?

I also amazingly found Pilsbury frosting in a tub at one of the big supermarkets today! So I will give that a try next! icon_smile.gif

aswartzw Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 4:05pm
post #16 of 27

A pinch of salt helps a lot with cutting the sweetness. Also, to smooth your BC, if it's a crusting recipe, I'd suggest using a VIVA paper towel (no print) to smooth your icing. If you can't find VIVA, you can use a regular paper towel but it will give you a pretty pattern all over. Some people even use regular typing paper to smooth it too.

Perfecting the icing (I think), is the hardest part about decorating and is the most time-consuming/frustrating! Don't get frustrated! In time, it will come much easier!!

Personally, I would hold off on the fondant until you've had a little more experience with icing since fondant can be a pain. Plus you definitely will need to practice covering with fondant. If you do decide to cover in fondant, get your icing as smooth as possible and roll out your fondant 1/4" thick. With practice, you will probably not roll it as thick but this will actually make smoothing it easier and easier to cover up any icing flaws. icon_rolleyes.gif Good luck and let us know how it goes!

alanahodgson Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 5:00pm
post #17 of 27

I would not recommmend the pilsbury frosting in a tub if its anything like the icing in tubs we have at our grocery stores here. Its likely to be sticky, sweet, and too soft for fondant. When reading your thread about the fondant, I just wanted to clarify. Were you planning to stack then cover both tiers with fondant? It'll be much easier to cover each of your tiers separately and then stack them. That's the way it is typically done and you would have a much easier time covering the individual cakes first than trying to roll out enough fondant to cover both without any tears.

aswartzw Posted 21 Apr 2008 , 8:31pm
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shola

So a dam to help with the squishing problem, this is just extra thick BC piped around the edge of each layer?




Not extra thick BC but extra stiff! icon_lol.gif Just add lots and lots of sugar until it's super thick and then use a coupler without a tip to pipe it. Also, pipe it a little inside the edge so you can squish it down a little when applying the next layer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shola

I like the idea of using pudding as a filling, could I also crumb coat with pudding and stick fondant over it?? icon_confused.gif




I wouldn't. The pudding will be too soft. You need a very smooth and firm surface when applying your fondant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shola

When I dowel should a put the dowels in, mark the height, removed and cut then put back in? Is there a tutorial on CC?




Yes, stick the dowel in and measure (just slightly above the cake--about 1/8"). Cut all the remaining dowels for this level the same. The extra height prevents the next tier from ever touchign the bottom and is not too large that your border (which is applied after you stack) won't cover it.

Shola Posted 22 Apr 2008 , 5:16am
post #19 of 27

I was going with the fondant covering thinking it would be the easiest option for getting a nice uniform covering, considering how difficult doing the BC was! (will cover each tier separatly then stack)

So extra stiff BC for the dam got it! Plus a pinch of salt for sweetness, I'm going to just open a tub of the icing and check the taste/consistancy, it's soooo hot here BC is very runny, even when I refridgerated my cake then took it out to resmooth the icing it only took a few minutes before it was all gooey again and I was removing more than I was smoothing! icon_surprised.gif

Got some bamboo scewers for the dowels, unfortunatly won't be able to practice that untill the real thing though!

I have bought cornflour, is this a better option to knead into the fondant than normal flour?

Also if anyone can recommend a nice moist cake recipe I will try it asap!


Really appriciate all this great input!
Thx
Shola
XXX

chinadoll652003 Posted 22 Apr 2008 , 5:36am
post #20 of 27

I don't make my cakes from scratch, so can't help you with a recipe, but if you use a box cake mix whatever oil the mix calls for I always double. My cakes ALWAYS come out moist tht way.

Hope that helps.

Amia Posted 22 Apr 2008 , 5:41am
post #21 of 27

The WASC is a very moist cake. If you want a vanilla cake, nix the almond and double the vanilla. Or try adding a box of instant pudding mix to your recipe. I like adding a white chocolate pudding and 6 oz melted white chocolate to a white cake mix. Yum!

WASC recipe: http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-2322-White-Almond-Sour-Cream-Cake.html

amysue99 Posted 22 Apr 2008 , 5:42am
post #22 of 27

It sounds like you're getting on the right track. Here are a few suggestions regarding your last post:

bamboo skewars: I would recommend something stronger and thicker as these tend to break easily and will not support the cake very well. Can you get wooden dowels in Thiland? About 1/4 inch thick. Lollipop sticks work well too.

Flour: DO NOT use regular flour for fondant. Cornflour, confectioners (powdered) sugar only. If you try to use regular flour you will end up with a very yucky icing.

Cake recipe: I really really like the White Almond Sour Cream (WASC) that is posted in the recipes section. It uses a regular mix (are those available to you?) and then adds extras to enhance the flavor and texture. I've never had a compliant with that recipe.

Good luck!! And please post your results!

Shola Posted 22 Apr 2008 , 6:52am
post #23 of 27

Okies, the only thing I have available that I can think of for dowels then is chopsticks? The thing would be how to cut them without making the wood all splintery???

I can get a box cake mix here called 'Green's' vanilla cake mix, would that do for the WASC? or does it have to be a specific brand?

I've just tried the Pilsbury tub icing(cream cheese flavour) and it tastes lovely! icon_smile.gif But it's very soft at room temperature, does it set or crust like normal BC? icon_confused.gif

Shola
XXX

amysue99 Posted 22 Apr 2008 , 1:38pm
post #24 of 27

Store-bought icing will not crust.

Any brand of cake mix will work. The ones we usually use are 18.25 ounces (517 grams). Not sure what size you have available, but I'm sure you can measure out that amount to get the best results.

Chopsticks will work - If you have small hand shears (like the ones you would use to cut flowers) they work great for cutting them to size.

amysue99 Posted 22 Apr 2008 , 1:39pm
post #25 of 27

Store-bought icing will not crust.

Any brand of cake mix will work. The ones we usually use are 18.25 ounces (517 grams). Not sure what size you have available, but I'm sure you can measure out that amount to get the best results.

Chopsticks will work - If you have small hand shears (like the ones you would use to cut flowers) they work great for cutting them to size.

By the way, this is reallly cool talking to someone in Bangkok!

Shola Posted 22 Apr 2008 , 2:16pm
post #26 of 27

Thanks amysue icon_smile.gif

I will go out tomorrow and get myself some cake mix for another practice 'taste test' cake!
Although I do feel a bit of a cheat using a box mix icon_lol.gif

Really cool to connect with you guys from here too, Bangkok is a very difficult place to get nice cakes let alone cake ingredients and any advice on making them!

Thai versions of cake are some kind of bone dry sponge with some greasy sweet glop that is supposed to be icing! Blah!
Every birthday up untill now I have always ordered Haagan Daas ice cream cakes!

Shola
XXX

aswartzw Posted 22 Apr 2008 , 8:08pm
post #27 of 27

Since it's so hot there, why don't you try Indydebi's Dream Whip BC? She just recently posted it in the CC recipe section and swears she's used it in 90 degree weather with no problem. I'm not sure if you have Dream Whip there or not which could cause a problem if you don't. icon_lol.gif Also, fondant will help with the heat. Fondant won't melt or slide off so sounds like you'd do better with it!

I recommend powdered sugar, cornstarch, or shortening for rolling out your fondant. Shortening will soften it up by adding moisture while powdered sugar will dry it out. If it gets too dry, work in shortening, too wet, add powdered sugar.

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