Help! My Fondant Tiered Cakes Always Buckle !!

Decorating By Carlachef Updated 25 May 2009 , 3:02am by yamber82

Carlachef Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 3:52pm
post #1 of 20

Although I've been decorating cakes for 10 years, I never been able to solve this issue. When stacking fondant cakes, my cakes tend to buckle.I always use dowel rods and have no trouble with buttercream. Would it help if I freeze the cakes first? If so, when they thaw, wont it happen anyway. What am I doing wrong??

19 replies
Jeannem Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 4:58pm
post #2 of 20

Are you saying they they bulge?? Couple of things might be causing it..the cake settling from gravity. I usually leave mine sit overnight once crumb coated.
Or it could be that the dowels are cut a tiny bit too short and the cake is just barely resting on the cake below it. This usually gets worse when transporting..

2508s42 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 5:05pm
post #3 of 20

Is it air bubbles? Make sure that the icing underneath is moist so tha the fondant sticks to it.

amy2197 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 5:07pm
post #4 of 20

Give us a little more info and we'll try to help...

2508s42 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 5:19pm
post #5 of 20

okay, I looked at your photos, and here are some things that I think will help.
Fondant mirrors everything that the icing is doing. Make sure that your icing is as smooth at you want your fondant to be. It helps to let the cake settle for a while. I actually will put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to let it firm up, then add a final thin coat of icing.

If air bubbles do develop, then poke them with a little pin and work out the air gently. Fill in the pin prick with some matching icing.

Use a fondant smoother. Your fingers make ridges.

Last, I could see dowels in the top of your super cute purse cake. Maybe the fondant was too thick. It looked like the fondant pulled down the cake and showed the dowels that used to be level with the top of the cake. Another thing you could do is cut the dowels much shorter. (The same thing happened to me on the football pads and helmet cake. Look at the shoulder pads, gggrrr. So frustrating)

Don't give up, you can do it. I love your cake style, by the way.

Carlachef Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 6:42pm
post #6 of 20

Thanks for all your suggestions. I think maybe I'll try not to dowel untill the cake settles a bit. Do you What is your opinion about separator plates. I was taught to use regular cake boards, but I know some use foam core and others use separator plates. What about the self support systems.

2508s42 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 8:08pm
post #7 of 20

I know people swear by the sps system. I have never personally tried it.

I also have never used foam core. I am a little afraid. It doesn't seem very strong.

I use regular old cake boards. I do double them up, and I wrap them with clear contact paper so they wont soak up grease. I also use regular dowels. I have found this to be just right, and I transport fully assembed cakes as high as 4 tiers all the time. I just make sure all the dowels are very even, the cake is level, the icing is level. I take the time to make sure that all the steps are followed.

I am sure that someone else will tell you that my way is dumb, and not very stable every person have what works for them.

jsmith Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 8:41pm
post #8 of 20

Here's some things I learned lately. They may not work for everyone but they work for me.

I used to cover my cakes with fondant when the cakes were room temp. because, if the cake is cold and you cover it with fondant and then leave it out, the fondant will get all sorts of horrible air bubbles. But then my cake would buckle under the weight of the fondant because the cake was soft at room temp.

So I experimented a little and found that if I crumbcoat my cake and refrigerate it for a few hours so it's firm, then cover it with fondant and immediately put it back in the fridge for a couple of hours, then the fondant and cake get to the same temp. and I didn't get air bubbles. Just make sure your icing is as smooth as possible because any bumps will show thru the fondant. I spray the cake with a water bottle before covering so the fondant will stick to the cake.

Also, if you have any decorations that have to be applied to the fondant before it gets hard (diamond impression, stamping) then do that before refrigerating but try to be fairly quick about it because the cake will start to inflate after about half an hour depending on the temp. of your house. Try to keep your house at a cool temp. while working on the cake. I also don't insert dowels until after the cake has been covered with fondant and chilled. The fondant will lower the cake a little and you want the dowels to be the same height as the cake.

The cake should be refrigerated until about two or three hours before the event. That will give the cake time to get to room temp. so the guests don't have to eat cold cake and the cake and fondant should stay firm until then.

Hopefully that makes sense. icon_smile.gif

Carlachef Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:48pm
post #9 of 20

Thanks Jsmith, and everone else for responding. I dont think I ever had bubbling per se, that may be the humidity in the south. But I will try your suggestions. Yes all of it has helped, keep em coming !!!

lolosmommy1 Posted 24 May 2009 , 4:40am
post #10 of 20

I have had this problem as well. I don't know why but every time I do a fondant cake the bottom tier starts to buckle. Today I delivered a cake that was 2 tiers and the top tier wasn't even touching the bottom tier (sps system) and I STILL had the problem of the bottom layer starting to buckle!
I don't understand it. Could it be that my cake board on bottom isn't strong enough to support it?
What is happening??? My cakes are PERFECT until I start to transport them and then they buckle.

One other thing is...For each tier it consists of 2 cakes with a filling in the middle of the cakes and then the cakes stacked on top of each other. So for instance if the bottom tier is a 10 inch round, it would be like this...1 10 inch round 2 inches tall and then a filling on top of that. Then I stack the other 10 inch round 2 inch tall cake on top of that. I crumb coat, freeze, remove from freezer, spray lightly with water and cover with fondant.
I know that is alot of info but I want everyone to get the picture and help me out as much as possible.
Thanks =)

KoryAK Posted 24 May 2009 , 5:52am
post #11 of 20

Try a thicker coating of buttercream and chilling if before applying. I do a full coating of SMBC and chill it completely before fondanting and it works great. I know if I get a spot of cake showing it buckles there but nowhere else.

FlourPots Posted 24 May 2009 , 6:18am
post #12 of 20

This is very helpful, especially the two diagrams:

OK, so there's no way to make that a clickable link, but if you go to cakeboss, under Cake Stuff, tutorials, then How To Prevent'll see what I was referring to.

Melnick Posted 24 May 2009 , 6:50am
post #13 of 20

Do you think it might be the cakes you are using aren't dense enough to support the weight of the fondant? If the cake wasn't dense enough you wouldn't see an issue with buttercream as it's so light, only with fondant. I imagine it would start to 'buckle' as you've described. I know that was one of the first things my sister emphasised to me when I first attempted a fondant cake - the cake has to be really dense to support the weight. Over here, a lot of people use chocolate mudcake for that reason.

The other thing to look at is maybe your fondant? Is it really soft so it keeps moving? The first fondant I bought to use has been terrible. I went to a cake decorating class recently and was told there was a huge difference between brands. The instructor had used the brand I was using and nearly stopped decorating because of it. She found a much better brand and the results are so different. I'm going to try that brand on my daughter's cake in July and see if I can't get a better result. I am only starting out but those are the two biggest points that were emphasised to me.

underthesun Posted 24 May 2009 , 10:24am
post #14 of 20

Knock on wood, I've never had a buckling problem. I fill my cakes and always let set in fridge overnight to settle, suggestion by many cc'rs. Next day, crumb coat, fondant, and decorate. Once I put fondant on, it never goes back into the fridge.

I have sugarshack DVD's and live by them. Best investment I've made! thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 24 May 2009 , 1:41pm
post #15 of 20
Originally Posted by Melnick

Do you think it might be the cakes you are using aren't dense enough to support the weight of the fondant? If the cake wasn't dense enough you wouldn't see an issue with buttercream as it's so light, only with fondant. I imagine it would start to 'buckle' as you've described. I know that was one of the first things my sister emphasised to me when I first attempted a fondant cake - the cake has to be really dense to support the weight. Over here, a lot of people use chocolate mudcake for that reason.

I dont' make a lot of fondant cakes, but the ones I have made were just straight-out-of-the-box mixes. I use choco-pan fondant, which is designed to be rolled really thin, so maybe that's the difference. But I've also used Satin Ice (which seems to 'harden' faster than choco-pan) and I roll it really thin, too.

yamber82 Posted 24 May 2009 , 1:54pm
post #16 of 20

i had a buckling issue with the last one. i am also pretty new so i think i learned several things i was doing wrong. btw it didn't buckle until transport and it was the bottom layer. this is what i think i did wrong... i think i put too much bc, i use the regular wilton bc recipe and it is kinda softer i think. i also probably cut the dowels a tad too short. i'm not really sure, but that's all i can think of. i also live in hot humid texas so maybe location has something to do with it also? my cakes are kinda soft too. i was using mmf that i tried to color hot pink and it nearly ruined the fondant but i managed to make it work, but i had to keep it kinda thick to keep it together. i have tried rolling it thinner but it tears easier that way icon_sad.gif

KoryAK Posted 25 May 2009 , 12:39am
post #17 of 20

You should be able to use any cake with fondant. I use a scratch chiffon cake that is quite light with mousse fillings and all and never have bulging. It's more about temperature control.

cakeladyatLA Posted 25 May 2009 , 12:51am
post #18 of 20

I have the sugar shack DVDs and let me tell you I think that your problem will be solved by useing STIFF consistency buttercream on the ring for the filling, then crumb coat the day before, that way if its gonna give a little it will do it without the fondant on top, let it settle first, then fondant, good luck


leah_s Posted 25 May 2009 , 12:56am
post #19 of 20

What exactly are you using for the base board?

yamber82 Posted 25 May 2009 , 3:02am
post #20 of 20

i just ude a cake dircel cardboard thing.

i just bought some plastic dows toady and am going to try those this week

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