The Sturdiest Cake, The Best Bc, And The Foolproof Process!

Decorating By NewSleuth Updated 9 Jun 2009 , 4:25am by Kenzy

NewSleuth Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 12:34am
post #1 of 22

Hello All,

I am new to the world of cake baking and decorating. I am interested in expanding my expertise in cake baking and am having a hard time figuring out the perfect recipes and processes to prevent my cakes from weeping and buttercream from melting.

I recently was asked to do a baby shower cake and it was not as nice as I wanted it to be.

I made a 12/10/8 X 3 tiers of chiffon cake. I cooled them on a rack inverted, and had no issues with the cakes cooling. The batter stuck to the sides, although sunk in a tiny bit from the top. After the cakes were completely cooled, I removed the cake from the pans (luckily, I used removable bottom type pans). I then put the cakes w/o shrink wrap into the freezer for an hour or so.

I then took the cooled cakes and divided them into layers. I then filled the layers with swiss merigue buttercream and crumb coated them and put them back into the freezer to cool for another few hours.

I removed the cake from the freezer again and put a second crumb coat of buttercream. And put it back into the freezer, let the buttercream coat harden and then wrapped with platic wrap, and back into the freezer overnight.

I removed the cake from the freezer the next morning, let it sit at room temp. for an a half hour or so (while I rolled out the fondant) and it was still hard enough that I could still put fondant icing on it.

However (this is where is all goes weary) as I begin to decorate the cake, I notice the tiers start to weep. (the temp. in the room and outside is no more than 23 degress celsius). On touch the buttercream is soft underneath the fondant, and in some places the bc underneath the fondant is oozing out fron the fondant. The buttercream filling is starting to buckle between layers (like love handles) and the fondant is starting to gather on the bottom of each tier. I am praying and begging that the buttercream wont melt. And although it didnt, the cake wasnt as nicely presented at the baby shower as I would have liked it.

Did I let the cake sit out too long as I decorated it? I wish I could have put the fondant covered cake with gumpaste decorations back into the fridge before delivering, but I heard that one shouldnt do that as it makes the gumpaste and fondant droop and dissintegrate.

What would you suggest I do differently to prevent this from happening again?

Thanks for all your help in advance.
LL

21 replies
NewSleuth Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 12:36am
post #2 of 22

I thought about chiffon cake being the culprit as well and thinking it is too light and airy to maintain the weight of the fondant and filling. However, the person from who I learned to make chiffon cakes from say they use chiffon cake for their wedding cakes etc. and have no problems.

I used to make butter cakes but find that it changes in texture after freezing (tastes best fresh). It is also more costly to make, hence the cost of ingredients goes up significantly. I know some cake makers who make genoise, sponge, and other light cakes for their event cakes, how do their cakes hold up?

Could it be that I didnt freeze the cakes long enough? Overnight (8 - 12 hours) is usually the standard requirement. No?

Also, I really dont want to use a shortening based buttercream, I do not enjoy the after taste. I keep hearing rave reviews about Roses moussaline buttercreamwould it be a better alternative than swiss meringue?

3GCakes Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 12:38am
post #3 of 22

I am not really an expert on chiffon cake....but it looks like your cake was not sturdy enough to support the fondant.

Usually, most scratch bakers I think will use a butter cake or pound cake to support fondant.

Mix cakers will use WASC or....plain mix cake...which is sturdier.

indydebi Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 12:49am
post #4 of 22

First, welcome to CC, the best site for anything cake.

I dont' work with merinque icing or chiffon, so I'm kinda useless on those aspects, but what caught my attention was all the in-and-out of the freezer that was going on.

Anything that is frozen will begin to melt when placed in a normal room temperature. I do put my uniced cakes in the freezer to firm them up before I start crumb-coating and icing them, but once I apply any icing to them at all, they never go back in a cold environment .... refrigerator OR freezer.

Except for the little bit of sagging, the cake is really cute!

sadsmile Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 12:51am
post #5 of 22

Cake needs time to settle at room temperature. You can freeze is to cool it as long as it gets time to settle at room temperature after fully defrosting. Settling is just the nature of cake and it looks like yours settled after it was covered in fondant.
I don't know much about SMBC but I think I read you have to re-whip it after storing it in the freezer. So putting your iced cake in the freezer may have changed the consistancy of the icing making it seam to melt.
Give your cakes time to settle and make sure you use proper cake support so that the top teirs are not resting on the bottom teirs but rather their weight it resting on the supports. And I think putting your cakes into the fridgerator instead of the freezer may help.

JanH Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 12:54am
post #6 of 22

Hi and Welcome to CC, NewSleuth. icon_smile.gif

Decoding CC acronyms:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-2926-.html

Everything you need to know to make, decorate and assemble tiered/stacked/layer cakes:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-605188-.html
(Has recipes for popular CC American buttercream, fondant and doctored cake mix/WASC cake and so much more!)

The first thing I notice is that the top tier is literally sinking into the middle tier. What type of cake support system did you use?

Not sure if it's the angle of the photo, but it appears that the middle layer is higher on the left side.

Also, how thick did you roll the fondant. (With chiffon cake, thinner would be better.)

Really darling design on the cake and it sure sounds delicious. icon_biggrin.gif

P.S. I've only done one completely fondant covered cake, and it was much harder than I thought.. Learned a lot from the experience, though.

josumiko Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:06am
post #7 of 22

ok..here's my 2cents. I agree about not putting them in the freezer once buttercreamed. I have used the swiss meringue buttercream. I did not put fondant on top of it, but I did refrigerate the cake before decorating, and the frosting firmed up quite well just being in the fridge. I would think that it would be fine for putting the fondant on as well.
Also, I have put fondant cakes in the fridge with no ill effects, but I don't know about gumpaste.
hope that helps!

artscallion Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:09am
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JanH

Hi and Welcome to CC, NewSleuth. icon_smile.gif


The first thing I notice is that the top tier is literally sinking into the middle tier. What type of cake support system did you use?

Not sure if it's the angle of the photo, but it appears that the middle layer is higher on the left side.




Aside from any support issues, I think it's like that because it's a topsy turvy design, no?

I also agree that all that in and out of the freezer can't be good. The only time I freeze a cake is if I have to bake it too far in advance for it to stay fresh. Other than that, once it's thawed, I fill and crumb coat once it's at room temp. Let it settle, covered, overnight in the fridge before applying the fondant to the cold cake. Then it never sees the fridge or freezer again.

Cute design though.

NewSleuth Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:14am
post #9 of 22

You posts have been so wonderful, encouraging, and kind. Thank you!

Actually, I should have mentioned that it was a topsy turvy cake (the angle from which the picture is taken is not so great) but that should explain the angled sides.

I have also been told that chiffon cakes are quite light to hold up filling and fondant. But I have heard of some bakers using chiffon cake as their cake of choice and they use it with either SMBC or IMBC.

The question is how do they prevent it from buckling and forming love handles after theyve applied the fondant.

So for my next project (lets say for a Saturday 4 pm delivery, and they cake will be sitting at the head table and cut and eaten at approx. 8 or 9 pm):

My process goes something like this, and I am definitely open to any other sugeestions:

1. Bake cakes in layer pans on Wednesday and refrigerate or freeze (what do you suggest?) overnight after cooling on racks.

2. Thursday torte cake tiers, make buttercream, and fill and crumb coat, place pans on top of cake tiers to let settle and let any extra buttercream squish out from sides and place cake tiers back in the refridgerator overnight.

3. Friday roll out and cover cake tiers with fondant, put back into fridge to chill overnight. Make any/all cake decorations needed for cake. Cake tiers have to go back into fridge because of the egg whites in the recipe. Should I cover or uncover with plastic wrap / or place in cardboard boxes before putting in fridge?

4. Saturday morning decorate with royal icing, set 50/50 decorations on cake, dowel, and deliver.

Or would you suggest a different process? I would like to keep my costs down and have chosen a chiffon cake over a butter cake. Would it be better to make sponge or genoise cakes instead?

I think ideally, I should apprentice with someone...maybe that will help.

Texas_Rose Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:19am
post #10 of 22

I think maybe you should try using a shelf-stable buttercream just once so that you can leave the cake out to settle overnight and see if that eliminates your problems. If the cake develops the same problems, you can assume that the chiffon cake is too light for fondant, but if it doesn't, then you'll know that the fridge was the cause of the problems.

NewSleuth Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:21am
post #11 of 22

Process of elimination....That's a smart idea! Good thinking!

Now when you say shelf-stable what would you suggest?

Texas_Rose Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:33am
post #12 of 22

It's not going to be gourmet like your SMBC, but a basic crisco and powdered sugar buttercream. Those can sit out for days. I like Indydebi's recipe the best and it keeps without going in the fridge forever, I think (yesterday I caught my mom eating some from a piping bag she'd hidden in my cupboard and the last time I used chocolate was the second week in May, so it was at least that old. I asked what she was doing and she said she's been snacking on it every time she comes over...not that I'm recommending storing it like that icon_biggrin.gif but that's an example of how long it keeps).

ptanyer Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:48am
post #13 of 22

Welcome to CC - the greatest website in the world! You will make many friends here and will learn, learn, learn. Which is exactly what we are all looking to do when we visit this site for the 1st time.

Now, I am no expert, but I'll take a stab at helping you. I am going to list your plans and I will respond in bold. Okay, here goes:

1. Bake cakes in layer pans on Wednesday and refrigerate or freeze (what do you suggest?) overnight after cooling on racks. I don't see the need to refrigerate or freeze. I take my cakes out of their pans, completely cool and wrap in Press n Seal or Saran Wrap and leave on the table or counter top overnight.

2. Thursday torte cake tiers, make buttercream, and fill and crumb coat, place pans on top of cake tiers to let settle and let any extra buttercream squish out from sides and place cake tiers back in the refridgerator overnight. Have you ever used a "dam" to keep the filing from bulging from the layers? Sugarshack has a great video about buttercream and is worth every penny. The "dam" is thick buttercream placed around the top of the layer you are working on. Sugarshack pipes hers from a piping bag, I actually take some buttercream and knead in extra confectioners sugar until it is stiff and can be rolled into a "snake" about 1" in diameter and laid around the top of the layer. Once in place, fill in with the regular buttercream and smooth it. Be sure to place the "snake" so that it is about 1/2" inside the edge of the layer. Repeat on other layers if needed. Then crumbcoat and set aside. You can place something slighly heavy on top if you want to, but I just set mine aside and leave overnight for the cake to settle. I don't put it in the refrigerator.

3. Friday roll out and cover cake tiers with fondant, put back into fridge to chill overnight. Don't put in refrigerator after covering with fondant. Make any/all cake decorations needed for cake. Cake tiers have to go back into fridge because of the egg whites in the recipe. The cake layers are cooked, so not sure why you need to refrigerate. Should I cover or uncover with plastic wrap / or place in cardboard boxes before putting in fridge? Again - don't put in refrigerator after covering with fondant.

4. Saturday morning decorate with royal icing, set 50/50 decorations on cake, dowel, and deliver. Sounds good to me.

Or would you suggest a different process? I would like to keep my costs down and have chosen a chiffon cake over a butter cake. Would it be better to make sponge or genoise cakes instead? Out of curiosity, how much does it costs you to make a chiffon cake vs a butter cake? I use a pound cake recipe that costs me $4.06 per recipe and makes 8 cups of batter.

I hope that I have helped a little and I am sure that there are lots of other opinions about this process, but that's how I do my cakes. Good luck thumbs_up.gif

NewSleuth Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:49am
post #14 of 22

I know Sharon Zambito (the genius behind) Flawless Fondant DVD uses shortening in her BC. I think I'll try the shortening version, cuz I see she does all sorts of magic with it. I hope it tastes good...your mum surely liks it! icon_smile.gif

And I'll keep my SMBC for my cupcakes.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?

How about cakes? I know most wedding cake bakers use sponge cake as their base. I heard genoise is good also but it requires moistoning with syrup (which usually have alcohol content) and I am staying away from that. Butter cakes are great but I find that they change in texture after being frozen or chilled and don't taste the same once chilled.

How do you geniuses get such wonderful shaped cakes. What's your cake base of choice, with what type of BC, and what's your process?

Cheyanne25 Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:51am
post #15 of 22

I've noticed on some of my cakes, if I put too generous a coating of buttercream the icing can tend to react more from the weight of the fondant/gravity. Especially when it's a softer icing like SMBC or IMBC.

ptanyer Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:56am
post #16 of 22

I have several cakes that I offer clients, all are scratch recipes because that is what I prefer to use. I have pound cake, chocolate cake, carrot cake and red velvet. A good cake can be shaped just about anyway you need to.

I use Seriouscakes buttercream recipe when appropriate (cooler weather, or client preference), Indydebi's buttercream (for hot weather) and Sugarshacks recipe (keeps forever on the counter). I also use whipped chocolate ganache and cream cheese icing.

I am working on other cake recipes and when they are perfected to my preferences, then I will add them to my list of cake flavors.

For fondant to cover a cake I prefer Satin Ice, for gum paste I prefer Satin Ice and for fondant/gumpaste decorations I use Satin Ice and sometimes Wilton.

NewSleuth Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 2:54am
post #17 of 22

Thanks ptanyer. It costs me approx. $5.85 CDN to make about 8 cups of chiffon batter (10" X 3")

Butter cake was costing me approx. $8 for a 10" X 3" cake.

costumeczar Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 12:00am
post #18 of 22

I agree with the no-freezer idea. I keep my baked cakes at room temp overnight,t hen decorate the next day. At no point in the decorating process do I put them in the fridge at all, it isn't necessary, really. Even when covering them with fondant.

Another advantage of doing them at room temp is that if they're going to sink due to the weight of icing or fondant on them, it will happen and be obvious at room temp, then you can fix it! As opposed to putting the cake in the fridge, then realizing after it's been decorated that there's a big air bubble forming.

I do refrigerate the cake after they've been decorated and have sat at room temp for a while. I put fondant cakes in the fridge all the time if the fillings are perishable. If there's a huge amount of humidity in the air when you take them out of the fridge they'll get sticky, but it will be fine after a while.

micaelasmami Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 1:45am
post #19 of 22

I do refrigerate the cake after they've been decorated and have sat at room temp for a while. I put fondant cakes in the fridge all the time if the fillings are perishable. If there's a huge amount of humidity in the air when you take them out of the fridge they'll get sticky, but it will be fine after a while.[/quote]

up to how long have you kept a fondant covered cake in the fridge? and do you use mmf? or another type?

costumeczar Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 3:05am
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by micaelasmami

I do refrigerate the cake after they've been decorated and have sat at room temp for a while. I put fondant cakes in the fridge all the time if the fillings are perishable. If there's a huge amount of humidity in the air when you take them out of the fridge they'll get sticky, but it will be fine after a while.




up to how long have you kept a fondant covered cake in the fridge? and do you use mmf? or another type?[/quote]

I refrigerate them overnight and up to 24 hours all the time, I'm sure they'd be fine longer than that. I use a standard fondant recipe, not MMF. I don't know how MMF would react to being refrigerated, I've never used it. My recipe is 8# confec sugar, 4 Tbsp gelatin, 1 bottle corn syrup, and 1 bottle glycerine. That's pretty much the basic fondant recipe that I've seen a lot of places.

NewSleuth Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 2:39am
post #21 of 22

I have never put my fondant cake in the fridge. I was scared to, but I think I'm going to experiment this week. I am going to make a a few chiffon cakes. Then fill and crumb coat each with various BC's: one cake with SMBC, another with Rose Levy Beranbaum's Moussaline, and another with shortening based BC. I am going to put fondant on top of each. Then I am going to see which cake holds up the best if left out on the counter overnight and last while being decorated the next day.

Things I am going to do differently; I am going to work with a filling dam (1/4-1/2" away from the edge) and make sure my filling rises lower than the dam, I am going to work with a thin layer of crumb coat.

I am hoping that through this process, I can conculde the following:
what BC works best with chiffon cake and fondant. If the experiment is unsuccessful then I have to think about using a sturdier cake...like butter cake.

BTW the fondant I use is Mil-lane, tastes good and easy to work with.

My family will be happy with all my experimenting.

Kenzy Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 4:25am
post #22 of 22

All I have to say is WOW! I too am very new to this site and this particular thread answered soooo many questions for me.

Thank you for posting and thank you to everyone who answered.

I look forward to hearing how everything turns out - - I live in South Texas and the heat and humidity have been fondant hell for me!

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