the last few stacked fondant cakes I've made have gotten stress cracks (especially in the lower tiers)in the fondant, and/or bubbles that cause the fondant to puff out.
I'm really trying to perfect this, so any and all tips would be greatly appreciated.
I bake from scratch - I notice that this doesn't happen as much with my chocolate cake which is a bit firmer than my vanilla.
I also use SMBC filling almost exclusively.
I've heard that cakes that will be covered in fondant need to rest 24 hours before assembling - to let them settle - since escaping air is usually the culprit.
Another tip that I've heard is that there should be the tiniest of gaps between the fondant and the board (in other words, don't seal the fondant to the edge of the board) again so that escaping air has somewhere to go.
This last time, I froze the cakes before I let them settle (?), and I was sure I didn't seal the fondant to the board.
Do I need to find a vanilla recipe that doesn't settle so much? (boo. I really like the one I use now... )
Does this happen less often if you roll the fondant thicker? (I hadn't rolled too thin, but it wasn't thick either..)
I also cut the dowels/supports just a hair short so that the plate from the tier on top can sink into the tier below ever so slightly. (bad idea?)
I think cutting the dowels a bit short could be the problem, especially if you're not assembling the cake until a while after it has been covered in fondant. You know how the fondant will start to harden a little bit? Think of it as an eggshell (I know, it's not that delicate, but anyhow ) and imagine that you're setting a heavy plate on top of your egg...you're going to get a few cracks from the weight of the upper tier sinking in and pressing on the already slightly hardened fondant. You want the upper tiers sitting on the dowels, not pressing on the cake.
For the air bubbles that sometimes show up between the fondant and the cake, the best thing to do is to take a toothpick and poke a very small hole at an angle in the middle of the bubble. It will be invisible or nearly invisible but it will let the air out of the bubble.
Yup. you answered your own question. You're cutting your dowels too short.
About the air bubbles, well I am not a fondant expert but I was getting air bubbles after the fondant initially was sticking to the sides. I use IMBC and I decided to very lightly mist the cake with water before I put on the fondant to glue it to the buttercream. Now I have no more bubbles!
are you icing or covering when the cakes are frozen?
that could be part of the problem
your cake may be too soft
and your dowels are too short for sure.