What The Heck Is This??!!!

Decorating By Callyssa Updated 23 Oct 2008 , 5:12pm by Callyssa

Callyssa Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 4:10am
post #1 of 39

Well, I know what it IS, but I don't know what causes it; blowouts, or air bubbles bulging on the sides of a cake? I'm completely irritated right now! I'll list my steps, and if anyone can tell me what I did wrong I would be SO grateful! I'm on the verge of scraping all my icing off and starting over, but afraid it will happen again.


1. Baked doctored carrot cake yesterday, let cool (but not completely), wrapped in plastic and put in freezer.

2. Took out of freezer this morning to let thaw, but kept it wrapped per advice I've seen on here until it was completely thawed.

3. Dammed the cakes with stiff cream cheese icing.

4. Crumb coated with crusting cream cheese icing (that I've never made or used before), and that seemed fine and went on smoothly. The cakes were thawed but still cold. Potential problem?

5. I let the crumb coated cakes sit unrefridgerated for about two hours before I iced them.

6. Iced the cakes, and had a terrible time getting it smooth; I haven't done much icing/smoothing since I'm so new to this, but I'm SO hoping this is because of it being cream cheese icing and not because I can't do it right!

7. I got the icing mostly smooth using Viva and computer paper, my hand, and a fondant smoother.

8. Within just a few minutes I could see a bulge between the layers beginning, and then the dreaded bubbles growing mostly near the bottom of the cakes. I kept going back and trying to work them out, popped with a pin and tried to smooth them, but by this time the crusting was enough that it was making the surface look wrinkly.

That's about it. Last week in class (not Wilton; I'm taking them at a local cake supply store) our teacher jumped on me for bringing my cakes to class wrapped in plastic wrap saying that will cause "cake gas" to build up and cause bulging and blowouts, which is why I couldn't bring myself to ask her tonight about this! But I thought practically everyone wrapped their cakes in plastic, and if not, what else would I use? I don't want them to be dry, and I do believe that freezing makes them more moist.

I've been afraid to ask since I have so many newbie questions already, and this didn't relate to me until now (I had the mistaken notion that I was invincible!), but I really need to know what I did wrong so I can avoid it in the future. I'm sorry this was so long, but I will be so grateful for any help in figuring this out. Thank you for listening!

38 replies
JanH Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 5:08am
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Callyssa Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 12:07pm
post #3 of 39

Thank you once again Jan, you are the QUEEN!!! Unfortunately, I'm still lost as to what to do! From what I got from that thread, icing a cold cake will definitely cause the blowouts.....but Sugarshack said she gets them even if she ices room temp. then refridgerates, and we all know her word is GOLDEN, so WHAT TO DO???! Cream cheese icing HAS to be refridgerated, doesn't it? Maybe this is why I haven't experienced this yet; I've iced all my cakes at room temp. and not refridgerated.

Thank goodness I didn't get this cake finished yesterday and drop off for a party on Thursday.....I would have DIED for my family to see this mess, and I wouldn't have known about it until it was too late. No matter how much I tried to "fix" it, the bubbles just would not adhere to the sides of the cake, and the icing looked so stretched, wrinkled and crappy that I'm terrified now to re-do it.


I had another thought too......maybe I could get some opinions on this; I wrapped the cardboard circle underneath each cake in foil. I hate to see grease-stained and soggy cardboard under a cake. But, I know between that and airtight icing there really is no other way for the cake gases to escape. If I left it uncovered can the cake still "breathe" through the cardboard, thereby avoiding the blowouts?

I'm just having a really hard time grasping the not refridgerating thing....especially when you have icings that MUST be refridgerated? Thanks again for any help!

sweetpea1972 Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 5:38pm
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My only thought would be the cream cheese icing. Everytime I"ve made cream cheese icing it is 1) very difficult to work with and 2) gets soft really quickly. Maybe its just not strong enough to use as a dam. I've started using it just as a filling and using BC to dam and cover.

Just my thoughts... icon_smile.gif

leah_s Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 6:16pm
post #5 of 39

For the dam, you really just need to use a very very unbelievably stiff icing like the Wilton recipe, but not even quite that much liquid. Not all cream cheese icings have to be refrigerated. There's one on earlene's site that's OK outside refrigeration. It a sugar to cream cheese ratio thing. That said, i will only use cream cheese icing as a filling, not on the outside of the cake. tempermental stuff.

sugarshack Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 10:14pm
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1) cream cheese icing can stay at room temp for a few days (at least), if made with butter, cream cheese and sugar. so that solves the fridge problem. tee hee

i think u have 2 problems here:

1) after you unwrapped them from the plastic, did u crumbcoat them right away? ir did u let them site out 20-30 minutes so all condensation and stickiness on the surface of the cakes was gone?

2) icing a cold cake

if you change those 2 things i think you will do much better with the blow outs.

sugarshack Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 10:17pm
post #7 of 39

PS.

the cake boards will no impact on this one way or the other.

and now u see why i use nothing that needs refrigeration, lol

and PSS. i too will only use CC icing as filling or for a dessert cake icing; not a decorated cake. Too much PIA factor

Callyssa Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 11:23pm
post #8 of 39

Well then, I feel so much better! I've concluded that I won't be using cc icing to decorate with ever again either!

I did crumbcoat as soon as I unwrapped, and they were still chilled, just not frozen. I will let them sit unwrapped for a while for the next cake.

You know what's really bad? I JUST got Sharon's BC DVD last week, and it never even occurred to me to only use BC as the dam! Can you tell I'm a newbie?! icon_wink.gif


All was not lost though; I ended up re-icing both cakes acting as if the messed up icing was a crumbcoat, and got a great deal of time working on smoothing. In the end they actually did resemble fondant, except for the unfixable blowout on the back of the bottom cake. So knowing CC is difficult to work with, and I was (mostly) able to smooth it, I can't wait to really try Sharon's techniques and BC. I got to try my hand at brush embroidery, and made a loopy gumpaste bow for the first time also. I'm dying to see it all put together, but I'm not about to stack it until tomorrow AT the party! It's over an hour away, and with the problems I've already had I'm not chancing it! It looks like my next investment will be the Successful Stacking DVD!

Thank you all for coming to my rescue. I'll take pictures and try to get them posted. Thanks again!

Christine


PS I also got some advice about poking a few pinholes after icing, so I did that with new coat of icing, and no blowouts (yet!), so that is something else I will be doing. It can't hurt, right?!

-K8memphis Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 12:15am
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I'm not trying to burst anyone's bubble--hahaha icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif

No but really...I ice my cakes frozen and I do not have a problem with blow outs. I keep them chilled all the way through delivery.

I worked for a bakery that did not have room to keep their cakes chilled and their cakes had continual blowouts.

I mean if something works for you great but it most likely is not a universal fix.

From my experience I have determined that there is no rhyme nor reason for cake farts, air accumulates and tries to find an escape route and pushes the icing out. It just happens. We had a thread going on another board and there was no determinable common denominator.

The only 'cure' I know is to poke through the icing into each layer of the cake with a hat pin so the air has somewhere to go. When I remember to do this, which is rare, I try to place the hole so it is unnoticable, under a leaf or next to a scroll or something in the back of the cake.

sugarshack Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 12:23am
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Kate, I think if you keep them chilled all thru delivery; that helps prevent the blow outs. because it is always chilled and you dont have the extreme temp changes occuring that cause the condensation to lead the blow out as we were attributing to it above. It's the fridge/freezer to room temp (or a humid envireonment also) that I think is one of the causes of blow outs.

as far as the pin pricking, I have tried that and it never did anythng to prevent them. So go figure! we all have different fixes, like you said!!!

-K8memphis Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:18am
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I understand what you're saying but in my experience it doesn't hold true.

The bakery I worked at had no room to keep things chilled and had continual blow outs. At that time they would pin prick to release the pressure and deflate the blow outs.

At another bakery, they pin pricked the cakes in advance and avoided blow outs. This bakery did not keep things chilled either.

There is no common denominator except cake has air in it. Air is a gas and gas collects in there and tries to find somewhere to exit.

The pin has to penetrate the icing into the cake and the hole has to stay open. Works.

Cake fart thoughts for yah.

sugarshack Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:29am
post #12 of 39

Like you said, no one really knows. I personally do not think air is the original culprit. I think condensation forms between the icing and the cake ( whether it be from fridge temp change, a warm or humid environment, wet or moist cake surface when icing....). the icing does not stick well, and then the bubble forms. Like I said, pin pricking never prevented them for me. In my personal experience they have always been associated with moisture in some way.

But like you said, different things work for different people because all of our environements/ingredients are different.

The above is just my opinion based on my experiences . I in no way think I have the end all definitive answer to this.

tonedna Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 1:48am
post #13 of 39

I think is just something in the cakes.. I make between 8 to 13 weddings a week. We refrigerate our cakes. And we cover them in plastic. And I can honestly say that I have blow outs once in a blue moon...I think it has to do with something in the baking of the cake. But I cant say for sure.
We should ask Alton Brown!..

*waves to Sharon*...... Hope you are doing great!
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

-K8memphis Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:11am
post #14 of 39

I don't remember saying no one knows. I said in my study, research and experience there is no common denominator. There is no rhyme or reason, no specific cause and effect. They just happen regardless of anyone's theories. Hot, cold, wet, dry, buttercream, fondant, up, down, in, out, cakes fart.

Moisture may play a part but there is no moisture in the bubbles in the cakes I've encountered. Because they are so easily repaired--if it was stretched out plus moist & gooey it would sag it could not hold the air in there and grow. You think the air dries out the gooey-ness? Maybe.

I think we can agree that they are very frustrating occurances huh.

I'm sure the pod people are ultimately responsible. Cellulite is under their jurisdiction too. Bastards!

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

sugarshack Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:23am
post #15 of 39

Well, there is a common denominator in mine: moisture! icon_biggrin.gif

but that's it for me.... over and out! thumbs_up.gif

Hi Edna you gorgeous sweet lady! I hope you are doing great!!!!

Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:59am
post #16 of 39

I feel your pain. Last weekend I made a scratch carrot cake and cream cheese frosting from recipes that were handed down through the ages. It's a very soft, creamy, yummy frosting and I live in south Louisiana where it's usually warm and almost always humid. I always start out knowing it's going to give me problems, but I use it anyway because a) I haven't experimented with crusting buttercream yet and b) it's just so YUMMY!

It's THE most requested cake by my coworkers. I always make sure that I try to come up with a really eye-catching decoration to draw their eyes away from the bulges. And it works every time! They love what they see and they love how it tastes. And they keep coming back for more.

I guess there's a tradeoff; if I want to use my really creamy frosting on my cakes, I won't get the performance that I would from a stiffer frosting. Again, I'm sure I could add more powdered sugar and possibly some meringue powder, but I just haven't taken the time to find the right combination.

Here is the autumn leaf cake from this weekend and some others - all cream cheese frosting. Notice how I've found a creative use for basketweave as a bulge camouflage! Oh, and most of these were taken earlier in the year before I had started stacking layers for height and smoothing my frosting a la Viva! I think the green and pink cake was probably the best of the bunch. Not sure what went right!

Good luck and don't give up!

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seagoat Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 3:25am
post #17 of 39

Ok guys....Is this a blowout? LOL icon_cry.gificon_surprised.gificon_redface.gif

This is the reason why I do NOT do cream Cheese frosting anymore! The heat and humidity is just too high here.

Thought you might want a good laugh....
LL

seagoat Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 3:26am
post #18 of 39

oh, by the way, this was also my fisrt try at topsy turvy cake....NOT a good combo!

sugarshack Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 3:26am
post #19 of 39

oh Yikes!

That makes my heart hurt. You poor thing. HUGS

amberhoney Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 3:31am
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by seagoat

oh, by the way, this was also my fisrt try at topsy turvy cake....NOT a good combo!




Well you definitely got the topsy turvey effect spot on! *snicker* icon_wink.gif

This is why I love quilting - you will see it on just about all my cakes, bulging only makes the little squares look puffier, almost like they were supposed to look like that. Flaunt the imperfection!

tonedna Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 4:00am
post #21 of 39

I don't know how other peoples blow outs look, but mine, they dont look like that!..And they never happen in all cakes on the same side..
Edna

Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 4:38am
post #22 of 39

Oh my, my, my!
I want to laugh.
I want to cry.
Stacked cream cheese I will not try.

Cream cheese frosting
Tastes so grand;
But heat and humidity
It cannot stand!

So if you use it
Please beware;
It could slip and slide
And go everywhere!

aztomcat Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 5:06am
post #23 of 39

I have made many cakes with this crusting cream cheese icing:

http://cakecentral.com/cake_recipes_rate-6817-5.html

No problem, here's a few sample pics
http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1123023

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1158427

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1123083

Also, You do not have to refrigerate the frosted cakes for a few days.

Don't be afraid of cream cheese icing, just use a stiffer recipe.

aztomcat Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 5:07am
post #24 of 39

Ps. Love the poem

sugarshack Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 5:10am
post #25 of 39

OMG thats hysterical!!!

MacsMom Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 6:02am
post #26 of 39

k8memphis, I love you! I never thought of pin pricking my cakes before covering in fondant. At least with fondant the holes you have to poke when blow-outs happen can be easily camoflauged. (I fridge all of mine wrapped in plastic).

Those friggin' pods better start giving us a break on the cellulite thing before I get too old to care icon_lol.gif

Oh, seagoat, how heart-breaking! All that work into one melted landslide...

Callyssa Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 11:55am
post #27 of 39

Seagoat, I'm not laughing at all (really!!)! Oh my gosh, all that hard work dripping down like a huge candle melting right before your eyes.....I would have thrown in the towel then and there! That's not what mine looked like. Mine actually looked like something was growing between the cake and icing and the more I tried to fix it the worse it got. It's totally passable now, thank goodness it's just for a family friend and I don't get paid for them, but there is one spot that I deliberately turned into the back that I just could not fix. I think part of the cake actually broke off or something there? And the icing wasn't holding it in place.

I will POSSIBLY try Aztomcat's recipe with meringue, but not for a while!

In my case I absolutely believe moisture played a huge part, since the cakes were still damp and chilled when I first iced them. I don't understand why the crumbcoat was fine though; I would have thought it would affect that first, but maybe it wasn't until the cakes reached room temp. that they started to build gases? Well, I certainly learned alot in many different areas on this cake, so as frustrating as it was, some good came of it too.

Sharon, I have a question for you; you said you never refridgerate.....do you not freeze your cakes also? I'm asking because I didn't have time to freeze then thaw for my class cake two weeks ago, and I wasn't super impressed with the quality of the cake (WASC). It didn't seem to have the flavor, and definitely not the moisture as when I've frozen them, but I wondered if maybe I had just overcooked them.

I also wanted to ask you about your heating cores; do you just use a flower nail? I understand the theory behind it, I've used potato nails when baking potatoes, but I would think it would need a bigger center since cakes are bigger?

Thanks again everyone for all the insight!

-K8memphis Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 11:59am
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by seagoat

Ok guys....Is this a blowout? LOL icon_cry.gificon_surprised.gificon_redface.gif

This is the reason why I do NOT do cream Cheese frosting anymore! The heat and humidity is just too high here.

Thought you might want a good laugh....




Hmm, maybe that's why this thread is so confusing. No that's not a blow out. That's a melt down. The icing is too soft and the change from cool to warm was obviously sadly too much. Ouch -so sorry!

There might be a blow out shown on the top border of the top tier. A blow out is where it looks like there's hematoma under the icing. The one pictured rose and burst already possibly from the weight of the shell border.

Usually it's just a random tumorous large or small looking air pocket under the icing, a bubble where you don't want a bubble in buttercream or fondant that is easily fixed most of the time. It stretches the icing some and deflates by itself if it finds a weak spot or if you poke a hole in it.

MacsMom, yeah the pod people are especially ruthless with that cellulite thing- lol

marriedtoagreek74 Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 12:13pm
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim_in_CajunCountry

I feel your pain. Last weekend I made a scratch carrot cake and cream cheese frosting from recipes that were handed down through the ages. It's a very soft, creamy, yummy frosting and I live in south Louisiana where it's usually warm and almost always humid. I always start out knowing it's going to give me problems, but I use it anyway because a) I haven't experimented with crusting buttercream yet and b) it's just so YUMMY!

It's THE most requested cake by my coworkers. I always make sure that I try to come up with a really eye-catching decoration to draw their eyes away from the bulges. And it works every time! They love what they see and they love how it tastes. And they keep coming back for more.

I guess there's a tradeoff; if I want to use my really creamy frosting on my cakes, I won't get the performance that I would from a stiffer frosting. Again, I'm sure I could add more powdered sugar and possibly some meringue powder, but I just haven't taken the time to find the right combination.

Here is the autumn leaf cake from this weekend and some others - all cream cheese frosting. Notice how I've found a creative use for basketweave as a bulge camouflage! Oh, and most of these were taken earlier in the year before I had started stacking layers for height and smoothing my frosting a la Viva! I think the green and pink cake was probably the best of the bunch. Not sure what went right!

Good luck and don't give up!

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Totally off topic, but Kim I just looked at your cookies and I am loving them, they are absolutely adorable!!!!

-K8memphis Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 12:32pm
post #30 of 39

Bulges like those in Kim's photos are different from blow outs, right, Sharon?

It seems there's three thing getting mixed together,

1. a blow out

2. melting icing

3. filling bulges

I have only been talking about #1.

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