Dummy Cake Disaster!

Decorating By cakemama175 Updated 19 Apr 2009 , 2:10am by rschaarschmidt

cakemama175 Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 9:52pm
post #1 of 38

Ack!! I I tried to cover my first dummy cake in fondant today and it looks horrible!!!! I covered it with plastic wrap like someone suggested so I could reuse it as much as I'd like. Well you can see EVERY CREASE in the fondant! I haven't decorated it yet so I'm hoping to do a good enough job to take the attention off of the awful covering! My husband won't let me live it down! I'm decorating tonight and will post it tomorrow! DON'T COVER YOUR DUMMY CAKE IN PLASTIC WRAP BEFORE COVERING WITH FONDANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

37 replies
BlakesCakes Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 10:50pm
post #2 of 38

There's so much good info on this site--I'm sorry that you had to learn the hard way about covering dummies with saran.

All you need to do with a dummy is to soften the upper edge by sanding it with fine grit sandpaper, a nail file, or pressing it (hard) onto the countertop or by running a small rolling pin across it.

You can sand out any imperfections on the sides and then give it a good massage with plenty of crisco. Roll out your fondant and apply. The crisco is the binding agent.

Want to re-use the dummies? Pull the cake apart and put each tier into the dishwasher and run it on a full cycle with air dry. They come out looking brand new.

HTH
Rae

mmelyss Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 11:34pm
post #3 of 38

How thick have you rolled your fondant??? Cuz it's seems to me like it was not thick enough... if you could see all the crease... well that's what I think... hope it helps!!
icon_smile.gif

sugarwishes Posted 8 Apr 2009 , 11:53pm
post #4 of 38

I'm pretty sure you meant that there are so many creases because of the saran wrap, right? I've seen quite a few post on that and NEVER understood how it could possibly work without it looking a mess!!

sadsmile Posted 9 Apr 2009 , 3:41am
post #5 of 38

I lumpy mess huh?
Plastic works if you can get it to behaive. try spanking it. LOL But in all seriousness...This makes cleaning up the dummies much easier. They are expensive so take care of them. When you put the icing directly on the dummy - it can never really be clean again - it will always have some icing residue on it. things like heat and soap from a dishwasher will degrade the styro over time and I wouldn't want styro gumming up my dishwasher drains.

When wrapping in plastic it is key to stretch the plastic wrap at tight as possible and secure it ti it's self on the under side of the dummy with a low temp glue gun. Your top should be smooth already and have tight creases ion the sides. Then you ice in rolay or butter cream to fill in all the creases and creat a perfectly smooth surface to lay your fondant on. Did you ice it? Icing is the foundational layer and needs to be perfectly smooth aslo and that takes practice.

BlakesCakes Posted 9 Apr 2009 , 7:13pm
post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadsmile

When you put the icing directly on the dummy- it can never really be clean again - it will always have some icing residue on it. things like heat and soap from a dishwasher will degrade the styro over time and I wouldn't want styro gumming up my dishwasher drains.

Then you ice in rolay or butter cream to fill in all the creases and creat a perfectly smooth surface to lay your fondant on.




Sorry, Sadsmile, but I respectfully disagree with the comments quoted above.

My dummies are re-used many, many times. I have washed them in the dishwasher --without soap--and they come out in perfect condition--quite far from "degraded" because of the washing procedure, or because of having fondant put directly on them. I generally place them only on the top rack. If pieces of styro were "gumming up my dishwasher drains", believe me, I'd know it.

Styrofoam is a remarkably inert material. It's pretty much unaffected by anything except extreme heat (the melting point is near 250 degrees and no dishwasher gets that hot--ever) or commercial solvents (i.e. turpentine, nail polish remover, etc.). A little Dawn wouldn't touch the stuff.

Covering dummies with royal or buttercream and saran wrap is just plain overkill. There's no real reason to go to all of that time, trouble, or product use to get a great result. If it's just something you want to do, that's fine, but it's completely unnecessary.

The cake in the attachment is styrofoam from top to bottom--all re-used dummies. Nothing is under the fondant except crisco.

Rae
LL

sadsmile Posted 9 Apr 2009 , 9:07pm
post #7 of 38

Add in here: most dishwasher detergents are a lot stronger then just Dawn dishwashing liquid and contain some bleaching agents and food solvent agents... and FYI Dawn dishwashing liquid ruins the jel clear coat on cars if used for washing. More in there then you think.

If you are doing dummies for practice it is more realistic to work over butter cream just as you would with real cake. It helps you to improve your overall set of skills working in the mixed mediums. It's kind of cheating and short changing yourself if you are leaving the butter cream out. It's easier to get a flawless look on a naked dummy. I think it is better practice to go the whole nine yards. Then you know you can re-create your work on real cake and it will look just as good not worse. The real thing takes a little more finesse and that is worth practicing to me. My two cents worth... are not the law I tell you. That is just what was imparted to me and I stuck to it. Do what works for you. thumbs_up.gif

To each their own. I can live with that. icon_wink.gif Thank goodness we are all not cookie cutter cake people hehe! Variety is the spice of life! icon_biggrin.gif

BlakesCakes Posted 9 Apr 2009 , 9:28pm
post #8 of 38

You know, I find working on dummies and working on real cake like working on apples and pineapples--and it's not the buttercream that makes the most difference.

A smooth dummy--naked or buttercream coated--isn't really comparable to a real cake (at least not my real cakes). The stiff surface makes everything easier, there are no issues regarding proper support, smoothing fondant on a rock hard cake is super easy, the fondant can't sag because the cake is stiff, there's no issue of the chemistry of the cake & icing causing blowouts, etc.

I don't consider any of my dummy cakes real practice. I've seen plenty of people who can do a nice dummy and can't make a decent looking real fondant covered cake to save their lives.

I feel that if you need practice, you need to work on real cake with all of it's problems and issues. I think that's why Wilton classes use real cakes.

Working on dummies gives you a false sense of accomplishment because the cake underpinnings are "perfect"--and few real cakes meet that standard.

I've worked with teachers who recommend practicing smoothing buttercream on dummies using crisco (with or without PS mixed in), scraping it off, and doing it again. I know of one teacher who practiced her award winning stringwork with nothing but crisco. She used the same batch for weeks.

You're right--to each his own. I just don't want anyone to think that a dummy has to be prepped with saran, buttercream, or royal, since the RESULTS can be just fine with less time, effort, and ingredients.

Those who choose to do it just crisco or water aren't cheaters or short changing themselves--just doing it differently and in the way that works for them in their personal circumstance..

Rae

cylstrial Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 1:54am
post #9 of 38

Beautiful cake Rae!

dennettesdelectables Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 2:50am
post #10 of 38

I am so glad I found this topic, but I decided to buy a few foam cake the other day at our supply store in Houston, and have yet to touch them. I just really wanted to practice rolling the fondant the right thickness and applying it. I understand it's probably going to be easier than using a cake b/c a cake has more give than styro..but my daughter keeps coming up with colors to use, and "use flowers, and crowns and hearts mommy" and i want to show her I can make what she wants, but goodness the girl changes her mind as many times in a day as she bats her lashes, and I don't want to waste all that time and money on cake, bc, fondant....and not to mention the mess! ugh...i just want to be able to try things out i.e....designs, color schemes. w/o all the trouble....so haha, long story long...what exactly are the steps i need to go by...just make sure the dummies are fairly smooth, and then rub then down with some crisco, and have at it???

BlakesCakes Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 2:58am
post #11 of 38

Yep, that's pretty much it.

You do need to soften the upper edges of the dummy or the fondant will rip and tear to no end. You can do that by filing the upper edge with an emery board nail file, fine grit sandpaper, by rolling over it several times with a rolling pin, or by pushing down on it on the countertop.

If you have no real plans to keep/display the dummy for a very long time, you should be able to peel off the fondant by hand pretty easily for up to a week, unless it's extremely dry where you live.

After peeling off the fondant, if you want to decorate again, you can wipe it down a bit, re-coat with crisco and go again.

Have fun.
Rae

dennettesdelectables Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 3:32am
post #12 of 38

Let's say Hypothetically...I may a dummy cake that was just absolutely beautiful, Maybe it matched the colors of my daughters room( she has been begging for a pink and purple cake) and a picture just didn't do it justice...( I know what may be going thru your head" she is not planning on putting a cake in her Daughters room" NO, NO, im not) what if I did want to keep it. A few ?s

How long will it keep for w/o lookin horrible?
What steps need to be taken to help keep it looking its best?
Does it need to stay stored a certain place?

Remember that is a hypothetical example just for ? purposes.

BlakesCakes Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 3:43am
post #13 of 38

A fondant decorated dummy kept in a dry enviroment at a reasonable temp--above freezing and below 80 degrees--out of direct sunlight will last indefinitely.

You don't need to do anything special to it at all--except to dust it genlty on occasion.

Most colors will fade a bit, even with just minimal exposure to lamp light or indirect sunlight. Pinks and purples fade the most and the fastest. Reds and blues are next most vulnerable.

Rae

queenie1958 Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 3:44am
post #14 of 38

I am so glad I found this post. I just bought a dummy and wanted to practice my fondant. I wasn't looking forward to using all that buttercream. I will certainly try the crisco.
I just love this site. So helpful to newbie's liike me.

daisyjenn Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 9:32pm
post #15 of 38

I am just starting out with using fondant on cakes and would like to be able to practice. I was going to buy some cake dummies and cover them in fondant so I can practice. If I cover them and let them sit for a few days to dry before I practice my decorating on it. Do you think that after I decorate it I would be able to leave the fondant on for the next time? Or will I need to take it off too and start over?

BlakesCakes Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 9:57pm
post #16 of 38

If you don't care what the fondant looks like, you can leave it on and scrape off any buttercream or royal icing that you've put on it. You can even wipe it down with water to get stuff off. It will leave the fondant shiney, but again, if you don't care, then it won't matter.

Anything that you pipe or attach to the fondant will leave a mark after you remove it.

You don't have to cover a dummy to practice buttercream or royal skills. You can pipe directly on the styro and scrape/wash it off.

You don't even need stryo dummies for this--just turn a cake pan upside down and pipe away--or buy a cheap hatbox, take off the lid, turn it upside down, and cover that with fondant.

Have fun.
Rae

cas17 Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 10:20pm
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes



My dummies are re-used many, many times. I have washed them in the dishwasher --without soap--and they come out in perfect condition--quite far from "degraded" because of the washing procedure, or because of having fondant put directly on them. I generally place them only on the top rack. If pieces of styro were "gumming up my dishwasher drains", believe me, I'd know it.

Styrofoam is a remarkably inert material. It's pretty much unaffected by anything except extreme heat (the melting point is near 250 degrees and no dishwasher gets that hot--ever) or commercial solvents (i.e. turpentine, nail polish remover, etc.). A little Dawn wouldn't touch the stuff.

Covering dummies with royal or buttercream and saran wrap is just plain overkill. There's no real reason to go to all of that time, trouble, or product use to get a great result. If it's just something you want to do, that's fine, but it's completely unnecessary.

The cake in the attachment is styrofoam from top to bottom--all re-used dummies. Nothing is under the fondant except crisco.

Rae




i am SO glad i found this thread! i bought some cake dummies last year that i have practiced on (mainly piping vertically) and washed them in the hottest water i could stand with dawn detergent even using the sprayer but they just never seem to get really clean and now they even smell kinda rancid to me. i am going to try putting them in the dw without the soap to see if it will help. if it doesn't then unfortunately i will have to toss them as i just can't stand them with that awful smell.

daisyjenn Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 11:48pm
post #18 of 38

Blakescakes

Thank you very much for the advice. I never thought about using the upside down cake pan. Great idea!

Thanks again!

__Jamie__ Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 11:54pm
post #19 of 38

Or....buy the rounded edges ones that I get...no sanding! Square and round! www. tay lor foam . com

icon_smile.gif

Win Posted 12 Apr 2009 , 12:18am
post #20 of 38

Rae is a fountain of wisdom.

Quote:
Quote:

A smooth dummy--naked or buttercream coated--isn't really comparable to a real cake (at least not my real cakes). The stiff surface makes everything easier, there are no issues regarding proper support, smoothing fondant on a rock hard cake is super easy, the fondant can't sag because the cake is stiff, there's no issue of the chemistry of the cake & icing causing blowouts, etc.

I don't consider any of my dummy cakes real practice. I've seen plenty of people who can do a nice dummy and can't make a decent looking real fondant covered cake to save their lives.

I feel that if you need practice, you need to work on real cake with all of it's problems and issues. I think that's why Wilton classes use real cakes.




So much truth to those three paragraphs! The first time I tried working with dummies, I took the printed advice of an unknown author and actually had my husband sit for an hour and cut out contact paper to fit! Oh my goodness... how far I have come since. Now I file down those edges, slap on a little Crisco and cover away!
I just shake my head at some of my past failures and feel very sorry for my DH. (I tend to operate a little like Lucy and Ethel all rolled into one.)

alanaj Posted 12 Apr 2009 , 12:19am
post #21 of 38

BlakesCakes, I've been afraid to ask this question because it sounds so stupid in my head but here goes anyway. When you do an all buttercream dummy, what do you use? I'm taking my dummies to a show and I'm just afraid that buttercream will be potentially messy. Do you pretty much just stick to fondant dummies in case people touch it or it gets bumped? Is there a super crusting recipe or should I use royal all over it instead?

As a side note I've just done a couple of fondant dummies and I used crisco by happenstance. (I read on here to use piping gel but was out of it.) It worked great but I didn't know to smooth the edges so ran into problems. Glad I ran across this post so I can make it easier on myself next time!

Kitagrl Posted 12 Apr 2009 , 12:36am
post #22 of 38

Happy to see this thread! I have a dummy cake to do for a competition this week and I have never worked with dummies before. Loved the tip about smoothing out the top edge, and the Crisco. I was thinking piping gel but that stuff is a mess.

How thick should the Crisco be? Is a very thin coating (like rubbing lotion into your skin) enough?

BTW...how do you keep the dummy still (as it is lightweight) while you trim fondant, or even ice with buttercream? (Which I'm not doing this time, but still, for future reference....) Cake is nice and heavy and stays put with pressure, but I imagine the styrofoam is hard to keep still as you work...????

BlakesCakes Posted 12 Apr 2009 , 12:38am
post #23 of 38

I've never covered a dummy in buttercream (and to be very honest, I never will)--only royal or fondant.

I hate covering in royal, especially when fondant will do the job just as well, in my opinion.

I do know people who've covered dummies in buttercream. They used just very basic Wilton's class buttercream without any dairy or flavorings--so it's basically crisco, powdered sugar, and water. With the current "issues" with 0 trans fat crisco, I think you'd have to add some meringue powder and possibly some cornstarch to get the buttercream to withstand heat exposure and hold onto the sides of the dummies. I understand that these dummies can last for a long time.

The buttercream will dry hard after some time, but yes, I'd think that it's more vulnerable to dings and chips than fondant--especially when fresh.

Some people use Perma-Ice, but it's way to expensive--unless that dummy is going into a shop window or showroom for 4 or 5 years.

I think you should use the medium with which you're most comfortable, honestly--for me, that's fondant when it comes to competition cakes.

Have fun.
Rae

BlakesCakes Posted 12 Apr 2009 , 12:47am
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl


How thick should the Crisco be? Is a very thin coating (like rubbing lotion into your skin) enough?

BTW...how do you keep the dummy still ????




My crisco coating is thin--I put some in the palms of both hands and massage the dummy until it's completely coated. If I find divots on the sides or edges, I use crisco like spackle to fill them in.

I put my fondant over my rolling pin and drape it over the dummy. Once it's on, I smooth from the top down. I trim away most of the excess and then either lift it up and trim away the rest, or sit it on top of something smaller and run a paring knife along the bottom edge to trim.

They get much heavier when the fondant is on, so they stay put better at that point.

Rae

Kitagrl Posted 12 Apr 2009 , 12:52am
post #25 of 38

So cool...thanks!

I really should do some dummy cakes just to increase my wedding part of my portfolio, but I never seem to have time, nor do I feel like wasting fondant on them.

But this week I get my experience!

alanaj Posted 12 Apr 2009 , 2:56am
post #26 of 38

Thanks Rae, that's what I was afraid of. I think I'll stick with fondant. My dummies aren't going in a shop window but I'd like to do more shows and I want to keep them around for awhile.

RandomCakes Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 12:45am
post #27 of 38

I've never done a dummy cake, but it seems this might help to keep them still. My Wilton Instruction showed us how to keep your cake board still on the turntable, in the box, or carrier, and would apply to this too. Buy a roll of the cabinet grippy stuff (not sure of the exact name of it), cut off a square smaller than your cake board, or in this case, styrofoam, and put it between your cake board or styrofoam and whatever surface you are working on. It keeps it from sliding around (my first cake I delivered the cake board slid into the side of the box when I had to hit the brakes). I found a roll of it at my local grocery store for $1.99 with the contact and shelving paper. I've only cut 2 squares out of it so far, and it will probably last me years. Great investment for <$2!

HTH!

OfficerMorgan Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 3:46am
post #28 of 38

Dummy cakes are tricky-I use just plain water to get mine to adhere. Everything gets easier and better with practice, so don't give up.

Rae-that cake is stunning.

tonedna Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 4:21am
post #29 of 38

I just spray mine with water..When I need to take the fondant away, I just soak them in hot water until it dissolves... Works like a charm no matter how old the dummy is..
Edna icon_smile.gif

sjholderman Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 4:21am
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Or....buy the rounded edges ones that I get...no sanding! Square and round! www. tay lor foam . com

icon_smile.gif




Um THANK YOU!!! Soooo much cheaper than su gar cr aft!!!

Rae, when you cover them in fondant, do you ever reuse the fondant (just for making more fakes). I have to ship in any decent fondant and I hate to use it on a fake.

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