How Do I Prevent Bulging Buttercream?

Decorating By calivettie Updated 5 Feb 2009 , 4:52pm by ruthi

calivettie Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 7:29am
post #1 of 19


I have been searching for a crusting buttercream that is not overly sweet and that will not bulge on the sides. Any ideas?

Also, is the bulging caused by something that I am doing wrong is it just the recipe of the buttercream?

Help would be much appreciated!


18 replies
JanH Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 7:42am
post #2 of 19

Bulging is usually caused by the filling trying to escape and/or not allowing the layers to settle before applying final frosting.... (A strong icing dam will prevent filling from pushing out to the edges of the cake layers.)

Everything you ever wanted to know about baking, assembling and decorating your first tiered/stacked/layer cake:


Skirt Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 8:09am
post #3 of 19

JanH, you're a wealth of knowledge!

My last cake, I followed SS's recommendation of using a stiffened BC to dam. It worked great. I just took my regular BC and added a bunch of PS to it. I piped the dam with a bag and coupler (no tip). When it's that stiff, you can actually move it around with your hands (gloved of course)to line it up perfectly. HTH icon_smile.gif

JanH Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 8:24am
post #4 of 19
Originally Posted by Skirt

I piped the dam with a bag and coupler (no tip). When it's that stiff, you can actually move it around with your hands (gloved of course)to line it up perfectly. HTH icon_smile.gif

Exactly what I do. icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif

TonjaTX Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 8:49am
post #5 of 19

If you use SMBC is their a way you can stiffen it? I haven't had any sucess trying to

lostincake Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 9:40am
post #6 of 19

I too am curious about the issue of bulging.

I will be trying a new recipe that requires a fruit filling which I know will need a dam of BC. Skirt & JanH, your suggestions are great for thickening the BC but I was wondering if it's necessary to let the BC set before actually putting in the filling, or if it would be fine to fill immediately?

I thought this may be something the OP would want to know too so am just asking here rather than posting a new topic. TIA.

Skirt Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 2:28pm
post #7 of 19

You can use it right away. At least, that's what I did. You may want to let you cake sit for an hour or so after you've filled it just to guarantee nothing comes out. But really, I think that's a precaution more than an essential step. You know, just in caaaasssee..

niccicola Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 2:35pm
post #8 of 19

i learned not to use too much filling especially if you are stacking cakes on top of each other. That can cause it to want to blow out/bulge.

Justbeck101 Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 2:40pm
post #9 of 19

Purchase Sugarshacks buttercream video and you will be so happy!!! It is well worth the money, and is actually a very good deal.

SweetOccasionCakes Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 2:45pm
post #10 of 19

I use Sharon's (sugarshack) method of damming. I just use my regular buttercream icing and add extra powdered sugar until i can use my hand to form a ball. I then use my hand to put it in the bag with coupler but no tip. I pipe it right on the edge of the cake and I just make sure it's all connected (you can use your hand to connect it if you need to). I then use a cake board to smoosh it down a littleso that it's all level. I then fill to the top (not over!) with whatever filling I'm using (I've used fruit, cream based, and icing and NEVER had a problem!). I place the other cake on top and smoosh with the cake board again. Then I pipe more of the stiffened bc around the middle and use a spatula to seal it in. I then let it set overnight or at least a few hours. Smoosh again and use the spatula to smooth icing dam if you've had any buldge. Ice as normal. I've used this method and never had a problem with buldging after I iced all thanks to Sharon and her wonderful videos! Good luck!

pattigunter Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 3:00pm
post #11 of 19

I find it also helps to spread a little of the thickened buttercream around the crease where the two layers meet. Just a little to seal them together good. My filling wouldnt dare try to get through that! Seriously between the dam around the edge and then the seal it doesnt move at all.

ranbel Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 3:02pm
post #12 of 19

Sugarshack's method all the way. You will not be dissapointed in purchasing her B/C's worth every penny and more...

calivettie Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 6:36pm
post #13 of 19

Wow thanks guys!!

I think I will definitely have to purchase sugarshacks video, I hear so much about it all the time... icon_smile.gif

2508s42 Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 9:08pm
post #14 of 19

Also, are you freezing your cakes? If you are, let them defrost completely. I had one that I froze, because it is easier to carve, then I iced it. As it was sitting, the icing bubbled up. I think it was because the difference in the temperature of the icing and the cake.

Make sure that you are trimming your cakes to be smooth on the sides so there are no buldges. THEN dam and fill and stack, let settle (while you do the other cakes, Then crumb coat, THEN ice.

ruthi Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 9:08pm
post #15 of 19

Does this apply to fondant covered cakes as well? I sometimes have a problem with the layers showing slightly through the fondant. Not the actual cake, just the outline so that you can tell where the layers are, and also sometimes getting bulging well after the cake has been covered. What am I doing wrong?

calivettie Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 9:15pm
post #16 of 19

I'm pretty sure this was because I didn't dam my cake. I usually do, but I thought since I was filling with buttercream that I would not nead a dam. I guess I was wrong.

I am also still very new to crusting buttercream as I have never had this problem with non-crusting buttercream.

icon_smile.gifThanks all for the advice!! This is why I truly love CC icon_smile.gif

Deb_ Posted 4 Feb 2009 , 10:05pm
post #17 of 19

I place a sheet of saran or wax paper on top of my filled cake and place a book on top, it helps settle the cake and if there is any bulging you will see it before the icing and fondant goes on the cake. (this is in addition to the dam of BC)

I dam my SMBC cakes with some of the SMBC that I've thickened with PS. I have wondered what the SMBC exclusive decorators use to dam their tiers, also. I didn't think damming with reg. BC would work with the overall flavor and taste of the cake.

to ruthi..........are you putting a thick enough layer of icing on the cake before the fondant goes on? or Maybe the fondant is rolled too thin, this could be why you're seeing the different layers of your cake.

2508s42 Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 12:34am
post #18 of 19

Yes it does.

Also, make sure that you "pop" any air bubbles with a pin and gently work the air out. Then fill in the hole with some icing that matches your fondant and wipe off the excess. You wont even be able to tell.

I looked at your pictures, Ruthie, and HOLY COW! They are amazing!! I dont even want to know how long the pot of sugar flowers took. okay, I do want to know. How long?

ruthi Posted 5 Feb 2009 , 4:52pm
post #19 of 19

Thanks for the compliment - I had plenty of advance notice as it was done for a fund-raiser for a friend...I probably worked a couple of weeks at night on the flowers. Assembly was done in a couple of days - would have been sooner but I tried to cut corners and didn't internally support the flower pot cake before covering with fondant and when I came downstairs the next morning the cake had sunk about an inch!! Had to start over from scratch on the cake - live and learn. Still, it is so frustrating when I look at that picture and then do a simple cake covered in fondant and get bulges and bubbles. I am going to try all the tips that were listed here....I do think that I started rolling the fondant too thin - in the belief that the less fondant the better! - until I saw a demo or two and realized that less is not necessarily more! LOL. As for popping air bubbles - I do that - the bulges/bubbles that are driving me crazy are the ones that appear hours later, or overnight after I have finished covering and smoothing the cake. I have become adept at covering mistakes but that limits my design possiblities - I want a perfect covering!

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