Cake Settling.... H-E-L-P!!

Business By ladybug76 Updated 10 Jan 2009 , 11:06pm by ladybug76

ladybug76 Posted 9 Jan 2009 , 11:41pm
post #1 of 15

Picture it..... I am just finishing the touches to my first topsy cake, which mind you is being picked up tomorrow morning and as I am smiling, looking at my cake I notice a nice little 'poke' starting to come through the fondant... and what's that - another one on the other side!! My fondant is sagging alittle and this is apparently my straw supports!! My cake seemed so stable and I have never had this happen before and now I am freaking out!!! Will my cake collapse?!?!? The cake is only 2 tiers - topsy. I am sssoooo sad!!! I am going to try to cover up the 'uninvited guests' (aka: supports) with some fondant ribbons, etc. but any advise, support is more than welcomed!!! Thanks!!
Baker Goin' Crazy in PA
(aka: Jaime)

14 replies
costumeczar Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:54am
post #2 of 15

Take it apart if you can and redowel it, or you'll be throwing it out when it collapses! I don't know what kind of straws you used, but if they're regular drinking straws those aren't enough for support. I use wooden dowels, and as long as you cut them right they work fine. There are other support systems out there, but I find the dowels are enough, and it sounds like you're not going to have time to go out and get a specialized system. Walmart or craft stores sell the Wilton dowels, try those. I use a cable cutter to cut mine, and you can also use pruning shears that are made for thin branches.

Also, how did you build the tiers on the cake? Did you cut them at angles or are they stacked flat with an extra piece to make it look crooked? If you actually cut the angles and lined them up, I'd look into how to do them the other way, it's a lot more stable.

ladybug76 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 12:59am
post #3 of 15

They are stacked flat! (I cut a whole into bottom layer, then layed top cake into hole). I have used straws for all other cakes without any problems. I think the 'culprit' here is the type of cake I used. After looking into some forums here, I should have used a mud cake rather than typical ol' chocolate / vanilla, which I added pudding to and made it even more moist!! Big mistake!!! Just wish I wasn't realizing this now!!

costumeczar Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 1:03am
post #4 of 15

Yeah, softer cakes aren't so good for crooked cake styles. I did a strawberry cake on one once and it totally collapsed. Too soft.

If you can, though, you should still take it apart and re-dowel it. Once those start going they don't stop!

Toptier Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 5:17am
post #5 of 15

Were your straw supports cut slightly higher than the fondant? And did you use enough? I cut one of my supports too short once and the fondant buckled. It only took once. I use straws all the time in Topsys and I've never had one buckle so I doubt that's it.

I'm hoping for you. You'll need to take it all apart, possibly recover, resupport and restack - I'm sorry but it happens to all of us and we learn.

Best of luck!

ladybug76 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 10:57am
post #6 of 15

Oh... I'm learning all right!!! It's 5am here in PA and I was up to 1am, I think just staring at the cake, telling it to hang on. I was literally *done* with the cake when I saw the supports at 7pm last night. Now this morning, at 6am (not much sleep icon_rolleyes.gif ) the fondant hasn't buckled anymore. Does anyone have a tried and true recipe for whimsical cakes? I have seen 'mud' cake written about but never tried one.

Thanks for everyone's help... .this is definitely a lesson I am taking with me to the next cake and it can't be a cake disaster if I am learning from it!!!! thumbs_up.gif
~ Jaime

costumeczar Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 2:15pm
post #7 of 15

I think that as long as you use a recipe that's a little firmer, as opposed to something with a loose cumb, you should be all right. The only time I had a problem was with the strawberry cake, and that tends to be a lot softer than the other cakes I make.

When I watch the food network challenges where they do carved cakes, it looks like their cakes are made from cement, the way they toss them around.

Bonniecakes08 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 6:03pm
post #8 of 15

Hi, I hope the cake turns out well for you. I'm sure it will. With regard to the cakes on the cake shows, I also noticed that the cake seems like a brick, I wonder what they use for recipes, and how can they be moist? Anyway, good luck, let us know what happens!

ladybug76 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 6:35pm
post #9 of 15

Well... the cake is happily on the way to the party. I even showed the customer the slight buckle of fondant in the back of the cake, offerred to discount cake and he told me, "Absolutely not" - they loved the cake. The fact the settling was in the back of the cake wouldn't be a factor due to the way they had their cake table set up - no one would see it anyway!! What a sigh of relief.... PHEWWWW!!!!

Now... I'm on a mission for that 'perfect' dense cake. I agree about the cake challenges... unwrap, slap it on, cut away, stack it here, stack it there and walaa -- a beautiful cake!! Too bad TV doesn't always work out the same way in my kitchen!! HA!

Anyway, here's a link to my picture. Need practice, but happy considering it's my first.

Thanks mucho again for all the help!
~ Jaime

summernoelle Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 6:42pm
post #10 of 15

I'm glad it worked out for you!

For future reference, you should really only use SPS for topsy turvy cakes. At the very least, the large plastic tubes the Wilton sells. I can't imagine straws will be strong enough, and I have had 2 serious disasters with wooden dowels and will never ever touch those suckers again.

The cake was adorable! I am glad it was OK!

ladybug76 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 7:07pm
post #11 of 15

I agree about the supports. I think the combination of baking a softer cake and the straws.... although, in 'their' defense, I have never had a mishap using a straw before. I have taken a few classes with Kim Morrison and she swears by straws. I was like, "WHAT!" when she told us that, but then I tried them and no problems - until today!! For my topsy cake, I am taking your advise and at least investing into Wilton's tubes. Thanks for the advise!!

~ Jaime

summernoelle Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 8:34pm
post #12 of 15

Also, I use WASC a lot for the topsy turvy cakes, and it works great!

terrylee Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 8:47pm
post #13 of 15

A big sigh of relief.... huh? You did a beautiful job and no one was the wiser. I think you handled the mistake with the customer well....I would rather tell them, then to have them see it and think I don't care.

KathyTW Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 9:09pm
post #14 of 15

I have a quick question ... were the straws the supports in your bottom cake or were they through both cakes to hold them together?

ladybug76 Posted 10 Jan 2009 , 11:06pm
post #15 of 15

The straws were the supports in the bottom cake. I actual dowed the entire cake.

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