New To Decorating And Baking, Cakes Too Soft!!!

Decorating By Niquie Updated 10 Nov 2008 , 1:44pm by mixinvixen

Niquie Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 3:34pm
post #1 of 21

Hi All,
My name is Ashley, and I got into cake decorating when my mom started doing it a few years ago. She was great, but me, not so much!!! I am getting back into it now because I lost her to heart problems last year, and this was a big passion of hers, and I am very creative with my hands, so I figured this would keep me close to her. Anyway, I am self teaching myself decorating and baking, which is not easy, but I am getting the hang of it. I am doing this on my own because where I live, the Wilton courses don't match my schedule, and everything they teach in the classes over here (I am a military wife living overseas) I already know how to do. My problem is that my cakes always seem to be too soft when I bake. Sometimes I use box mix, only because it's cheap and it makes for good practice and my family and neighbors love to eat them afterwards. I am looking for a really good, great tasting, and simple cake recipe that will stand up to being covered in fondant and making tiers and what not. Does this make sense??? I hope so.

I just love being a part of this site. So many great ideas and wonderful people that help alot. If not for this site, I would have probably given up a long time ago, but you guys definitely keep me going strong. Any help, recipes or comments are welcome. I hope to make something gorgeous soon to post for the first time on the site. Up until now I have only been doing stuff for my son's b-day's and practice (not worthy of this site) stuff. Sorry this was so long, and thanks for reading. Also thanks in advance for any help.


20 replies
bettinashoe Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 3:53pm
post #2 of 21

Welcome Ashley. I'm also fairly new to decorating but have been baking my whole life. Coincidentally, I also began decorating after losing my mother. It's a difficult thing but I have found decorating to be such a wonderful outlet and after every piece I silently ask my mom if she approves!

As far as the cake goes, I have found cake mixes too soft for decorating and that is one of the reasons I don't use them. That and the fact I just love to bake. A good pound-type cake recipe works well for practicing (putting icing on, not liking the look, scraping it off, putting it on again). There are many posts on CC from people who use a mix to make the WASC cake (you can search it in CC recipes). I haven't tried it as I don't use mixes, but you may find the alterations to the mix will help with stability.

Good luck,


lilscakes Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 4:01pm
post #3 of 21

HI Ashley....have you tried a cake mix extender recipe? They do a fantastic job extending your box mix, and produces a firmer cake texture without drying. Great for decorating & makes the cakes almost home made like. Here's one I swear by....

there are others on this site, but I've never tried them. Good luck with it & happy baking icon_smile.gif

KrissieCakes Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 4:01pm
post #4 of 21

Welcome! I'm a hobby baker too, and I've been trying out different recipes from this site for a few months now. Some have been awesome and some, let's say...not so good. Here are my faves so far...

White Almond Sour Cream (tastes like a wedding cake to me) -

Basic Chocolate cake (moist, but sturdy) -

Icing - buttercream dream -

Hope you like them!

amoos Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 4:02pm
post #5 of 21

Hi Ashley! (from another military wife overseas named Ashley icon_smile.gif ) I personally love box mix and I only use those. You can put them in the freezer for a few min to stiffen them up if they're too soft for you. I use Satin Ice fondant and it hasn't been to heavy on the box cake yet. WASC is another great option, although personally I find it too heavy and dense for my taste. The cake mix doctor book has some GREAT recipes that are based on a cake mix, but with so much extra added to it, gives it more density, etc. Good luck!!

Niquie Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 4:14pm
post #6 of 21

Wow, thanks. Those were some really quick replies and they came along with some great help too. Hey amoos, since you are a military wife also, where do you get most of your supplies? I know you have to order them from somewhere, right? I know I do, in order to get the good stuff that is!!! You can email me off board with the answer. I don't want it to seem as though anyone is endorsing or anything. This question can also go to anyone else that knows of a great place to order from online that will ship to military addresses (APO,'s and FPO's). Thanks again. I am still accepting all the help I can get on that first post as well.


kakeladi Posted 8 Nov 2008 , 4:25pm
post #7 of 21

Lookd likr you are the perfect candidate for my *original* WASC recipeicon_smile.gif
I'll send it to you via pm.

DsLady614 Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 2:42am
post #8 of 21

Yup! I'm going to recommend the WASC as well. You can make so many variations of it. I've done white cake and I just did a chocolate cake with the same technique. It was awesome!

I don't use fondant, but I'm very comfortable with the fact that it would stand up to it if I did. Try it out!

sayhellojana Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 2:54am
post #9 of 21

I personally don't like cake mix cakes, just something chemically sweet about them to me. I'm a scratch baker, but have found a few not too-difficult recipes that come out nicely every time.

Best Red Velvet -

Blue Ribbon White Cake -

The white cake is really good. just be sure to pop it in the oven as soon as you fold in the egg whites and it will rise no problem. I have added lots of different flavorings to it depending on what filling I'm using, and it comes out perfect every time. Also, the chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey's cocoa box is very good and very easy. (It's not my favorite chocolate cake recipe though, but its easier than the one I prefer to use from food network

I'm not a professional baker and I've never taken a class either, so I hope this helps at least a little. If your looking for box-mix only cakes, and my advice doesn't apply, there are some really knowledgeable girls on CC that will help.

JanH Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 2:59am
post #10 of 21
Originally Posted by Niquie

I am looking for a really good, great tasting, and simple cake recipe that will stand up to being covered in fondant and making tiers and what not.

Any cake as long as it can support b/c or fondant is suitable for decorating and stacking, tiering, etc.

The cake layers at the bottom of a stacked/tier cake are NOT supporting the upper cake tiers - each tier of cake is supported by a cake support system.

The cake support system (your choice of quite a few systems) makes it possible to make large tiered/stacked cakes without worrying about the weight of the cake crushing/collapsing upon itself.

Everything you ever wanted to know about making your 1st tiered/stacked/layer cake:
(Has WASC and frosting recipes, common cake support systems and SO much more.)


bettinashoe Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 3:09am
post #11 of 21

I'm just like you, sayhellojana. Not only do I not care for the taste or texture of box cake, I personally just love the art of baking as much as I do decorating. But I know not everyone has that same feeling and I totally understand that.

In my opinion most scratch cakes are denser than box cakes and hold up better under icing.

Narie Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 3:14am
post #12 of 21

Ashley- I checked my favorite web site and they do send things to APO's and FPO's.

Don't worry about asking where to get things. Many companies get a lot of business from people telling others where to get something. These are places where CC's have found good service or good value. Global Sugar Arts -which has an ad on this web site- is supposed to be very good also, but I have never ordered from them. Also don't be afraid to ask what brand of pan or food color or fondant to buy, people will quickly help you out. Of course you will get different opinions, but you will quickly figure out which would be best for you.

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 3:47am
post #13 of 21

I've been a mix baker for 30 years and am not quite sure what you mean by "will stand up under icing" because they've been working fine all this time (and in my mother's time and my grandmother's time.....)

As a fondant newbie (3 whole cakes with fondant under my belt, now!), I used a box mix for my first fully-covered fondant cake (square one with green dots in my pics). I added an envelope of dream whip and an extra egg per cake mix. I iced/decorated the cake on Thursday for a Saturday night wedding ... it sat on my counter for 2 days and held up fine.

I used Choco-Pan, which says it can be rolled a lot thinner (so I did) and maybe that was a factor in why the box mix held up fine ... thinner fondant so not as much weight on the cake. icon_confused.gif

sayhellojana Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 5:54am
post #14 of 21

bettina- I think scratch cakes are not so much denser, but they have a different texture. It seems to me that mix cakes tend to develope that sweet, sticky film on top of the cake, and I could imagine that getting really difficult to decorate. I also found that with scratch cakes, I don't need to crumb coat!

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 1:12pm
post #15 of 21
Originally Posted by sayhellojana

It seems to me that mix cakes tend to develope that sweet, sticky film on top of the cake,

What sticky film? icon_confused.gif

Niquie Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 3:29pm
post #16 of 21

I am really taking in all that you guys are saying, and all of your help and advice is really helping me alot. You are such wonderful people for offering such great help. I hope that I can make something gorgeous to show off to all of you now that I have so many great recipes try out. Thanks so much for all the help, and keep it coming!!! icon_lol.gif


mixinvixen Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 3:37pm
post #17 of 21

welcome to cc!! the one thing that stands out about your post is saying that your cakes are not worthy of this site...excuse me???? we are all just clay pots here, in the molding process! there are some who are prettier, maybe, or have a bigger ticket price, but we all still serve our purpose. please do not think you need to have a "showpiece" before posting...many times, that is where we gain the most posting pics and asking for comments on what you may have done better or differently.

i have been doing this now for about 2 1/2 years, i am completely self taught, and if you promise to not laugh or bust a gut...i just might post the pic of my first cake i did for my daughter, which i have never posted virginia slims cigarettes, "we've come a long way, baby!!" icon_redface.gif

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 3:42pm
post #18 of 21
Originally Posted by mixinvixen

we are all just clay pots here, in the molding process! there are some who are prettier, maybe, or have a bigger ticket price, but we all still serve our purpose.

agree!!!!! I've picked up some great ideas and new techniques from lots of "newbies" ..... the cake may not have been a first place cake at Oklahoma Sugar Show level, but I like the cake, the idea, the technique, etc. We learn from everyone on here, regardless of skill level or experience! thumbs_up.gif

lecrn Posted 9 Nov 2008 , 6:17pm
post #19 of 21

I haven't noticed my box mix recipes "sticky" either. For my white cake I always use the WASC recipe. I use the same recipe (with alterations) for strawberry & lemon cake. I also some of the Cake Mix Doctor's recipes for my spice & choc. cakes. I do use a few scratch recipes: red velvet, carrot, pumpkin, coconut. It seems like my box mix cakes have a tighter crumb. You can always add an extra egg &/ box of instant pudding to make the cake more sturdy.
When you start trying recipes, there's a lot of trial & error. You'll find out what works & tastes best to you (box/scratch) & stick with it.
Good luck!

Niquie Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 12:22pm
post #20 of 21

Ok, well reading the last few posts made me decide to share my 4 cakes that I managed to get pics of. Mind you, they are really not the best looking things, but at least they all tasted great, and they went over very well for parties. Here is the link to my album. Thanks for looking and feel free to comment. I can take the bad also, so if you have some feedback please share it with me. Thanks again.


mixinvixen Posted 10 Nov 2008 , 1:44pm
post #21 of 21

good for you!!! another brave soul steps up!!!!!

looks like you're on your way...way to go!

Quote by @%username% on %date%