When I decorate a cake that requires alot of time, the buttercream gets too crusty. I add corn syrup and all that, but it is still sooo crusty. Everyone tells me this is normal, but it still just doesn't seem right to me. I made a baseball cake last night and spent about 5 hours decorating and now the icing is so crusty that when I pick the cake up and the board bends slightly the icing cracks. I don't get on wedding cakes how you can let them sit out all night uncovered and the icing be OK the next day. Anybody got any thoughts on this?
Most of my cakes are bc and so far I haven't had any trouble (27 years). Maybe you are not using enough liquid in your recipe. I use heavy whipping cream in my bc, not milk or water. Maybe you could share your recipe and we can see what the trouble is.
Also, perhaps you need a stronger cake base. If there is flexing the icing will crack. I use 1/2 inch thick foam for the base of my cakes. If it is a large cake, then I will use wood.
What kind of recipe are you using?
If it is a shortening based recipe try increasing the amount of shrotening. If you are using meringue powder..decrease this. When i first started i used the wilton recipe and this happened all the time with that one. Now i use something different as i find the wilton recipe is too dense and sweet.
A sturdy board is also important but if you are using enough 'fat' in your recipe you shouldn't have this problem. Just add a little at a time..not too much or it won't crust at all. What i do is use a plate as a pretend cake. Smear some icing on it flat like you would on a cake and wait and see how quickly it hardens. HTH
Tell us what your BC recipe is
Here's my recipe, although I have changed recipes 2 or 3 times and it always happens.
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 pounds powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
pinch of salt
I have also noticed sometimes on a finished cake moisture forms on the cake and I wondered if I was adding too much liquid. How can it be so dry its cracking, but sweat too?
Maybe your board is not strong enough..
Are you decorating your cakes cold?
Yes, completely cooled before decorating.
I'm not an expert, but I think you need more fat. I used to have this happen as well - very hard crunchy crust, cracking icing. I changed my recipe and it's been much better since. 1 lb of butter, 1 cup of shortening, 3 lbs of sugar.
A stronger board will help too. I always use at least two cardboard boards.
Thank you AmySue I'll try that. Did you ever have anyone complain about the hard icing? Thats what I am worried about, is that other people are noticing! No one has complained, but most of my cakes have been for people I know. I guess if I don't get any repeat business I'll know why!
Where do you buy this foam core board everyone is talking about? How expensive is it and do you have to cut it to size or does it come in different sizes? My board was definately too flimsy. I usually buy them at the cake supply store, but this time I bought a package of them at Walmart and they were definately not as strong as what I usually buy.
Personally I find foamcore board hard to cut smoothly;9
I'd much rather buy 'regular' cakeboards and double or triple them (glue them together).
Your recipe has 2.5 cups of fat to 2 lbs of p.sugar. My recipe is only 1-1/3 cups of fat to 2 lbs of p.sugar. Mine crusts well, but is still nice and soft when cutting. Honestly, with that much fat in the recipe, I'm surprised it's not sliding off the sides.
If cracking is the main problem, I'd also go with using a more sturdy board. I use 2 cardboards min on 11x15 sheets and 3 boards on a 12x18.
Actually it is only 2 cups fat to 2 pounds sugar ( i think if I am reading correctly). I think that is a pretty good ratio.
I think stiff board will definitely help and perhaps subing milk or cream instead of water might help too.
Actually it is only 2 cups fat to 2 pounds sugar
You're right! I went a little math dumb there! Thanks for the correction!
also if you don't like the crusting, you could try a meringue buttercream which doesnt crust at all.
Thank you all for posting. I feel better now. I got to go to the tail end of the birthday party my last cake was for and was able to have a slice of cake! It turned out fine and tasted great. I tried to post a picture, but I am getting an error message about the resolution. Thanks you all for your help!