I have so much fun making creative cakes, especially multiple layers and tiers. BUT I can't get a cake level to save my life. I usually bake the cake about 48 hours in advance, crumb coat the next night and decorate either that night or the next morning. I use BC so I don't put anything in the fridge. The house is always cool with the AC and fans. I have started using the wilton leveler and it has helped get the cakes level. I make the "rim" to hold the "puddle" of filling (icing) to try to avoid the bulge in the middle.
BUT inevitably I get a leaning cake with a bulge around the middle. Is it because I am not refrigerating the cake? Am I putting in too much filling?? Is it the timing/process?
Any advice would be so appreciated.
Maybe there is too much filling? Its so hard to tell without seeing it for sure. Filling should be very thin. usually you should be able to almost see cake through it. Sometimes I have had weird things happen if Ive made the dam too tall and put too much filling in. The layers will slide or the filling may leak out the sides. Maybe that is causing your cakes to not be level and bulge? Maybe next time you do a cake, take photos of how its assembled. That way if you have problems we can see what happened.
I thought I was getting things level till I got a turn table and gave a cake a whirl and saw the wibble wobble. Cakes shouldn't dance like that! LOL I use that now and can see where I need to make adjustments.
It could be too much filling. Also, it's best to let your cake settle for a few hours (or overnight, ideally) after filling (either with or without a crumbcoat), before frosting or fondanting and decorating.
Is the frosting you are making the dam with stiff? It should be stiff consistency.
Oh and not too much filling inbetween each layer. What is it no more then 1/4 inch...? and less if you are torting and having more layers of filling.
I usually use the dam as a guide of how much filling goes.
Thank you so much for the feedback. Here is a cake I made wednesday that I had this problem with.
Otherwise I am making a cake for tomorrow - I made the fondant flowers wednesday night, baked the cakes last night then put in fridge in zip locks after they cooled - maybe that will help??? I will post pics as I go thru the process
Thanks again and keep the advice coming
Here is pictures of the next cake I made - someone recommended I post pictures through the process. Any advice to stop the "filling bulge" would be appreciated. Someone told me to put filling in at half the height of the "puddle" or "damn" around the outside. someone else told me the layers are too tall -- so they are too heavy. Does any of this make sense? Again any advice would be fantastic!!! Thank you --
p.s - sorry they are posted in the wrong order - technical difficulties
I just noticed in your pics that you have a really high "dome" on each of your cakes. If you bake at a lower temp you won't have that happen as much and you don't have that cake to waste! (300 - 325 no higher!)
As far as the bulge goes, I fill and crumbcoat and then let them set overnight then finish icing and decorate.
When I stack and fill, I use the dam method, and like Indidebi, I fill the "crack" with icing first, (the crack between the 2 cakes - where there is just "space) then crumbcoat it..
great advice on the domes - i will try that! Otherwise, i am not sure I understand how you stack and fill your cakes -- can you explain?
Sure - first, I bake one day, wrap and stack the cakes the way they will be on the cake (usually 2 layers, one on top of the other) that way they are already knowing how they are gonna be put together!
Next day - I unwrap the cake, making sure I have the one that is supposed to be the bottom cake, I dam it (about 1/4 - 1/2 inch inside the edge of the cake) then I fill whether it be buttercream or filling. I then put the next layer on top of that.
Now, I take an icing bag with stiff icing and use that to fill that gap that is still there (I see in your pics you take the icing clear out past the side of the cake - you won't see this gap if you do it the way you do it) The gap is where those 2 cakes are together - but there is nothing there, because my dam is just insdie the egde of my cake.....hope that makes sense. Anyhow, fill that gap!
Then crumbcoat the cakes, and let them set a few more hours (or overnight) then ice and decorate.
I read a helpful tip on here. After you fill and stack, cover the cake in plastic wrap and set a heavy book on top. Let it sit a few hours. Then if anything is bulging, scrape it off before crumb coating and frosting.
At what point do they start to lean or do you notice the lean? I'm wondering if it's a doweling issue. How full are you filling your pans? I don't know if it would cause leaning, but I'm thinking with domes that high perhaps your pans are too full and you either need to make a collar for your cakes or not fill them as full. If turning the oven temperature down doesn't work, you may want to buy an oven thermometer to check the temperature in your oven.
Anyway, you asked the lean, not the domes. Have you tried filling your cakes and then letting them rest for a couple of hours with something heavy on top to ensure they are settled and level?
I also observed that if you push the dome down (lay a clean towel on top and gently push down), it kinda makes the cake a little denser, easier to handle. I still do some trimming, but I've noticed a nicer texture on the cakes. My unscientific reasoning is that it pushes some of the air out of the cake, then you have less settling and a more sturdy cake.
Agree that the dam is too close to the edge.
Excellent! Thank you all very much for the advice. How tall are your layers typically? Do you think I am making the layers too tall and thereby making them too heavy? Also, do you make the filling the same height as the damn or shorter? Thank you again! I am officially addicted to this site. I think my husband has become a cakecentral.com widow
I just did my first tiered cake a few weeks ago for fun. I filled and crumb coated the top tier and let it set overnight because it was getting late. The other 2 tiers, I filled, crumb coated, iced, then assembled. I had some bulging in the middle of each of the bottom two layers, but not the top one I let sit overnight. This made me a firm believer in letting the layers settle a bit on their own before you add the extra weight of the other cakes immediately after filling/icing. That way, you can smooth out any bulging before you ice the cake and reassess the levelness before stacking.