Why Does My Buttercream Crack?

Decorating By Crystal74 Updated 26 May 2014 , 2:00am by kakeladi

Crystal74 Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 6:21am
post #1 of 20

I usually use the Wilton recipe or occassionly will buy Sam's Club Buttercream if I'm short on time. No matter what I do, after my icing crusts, when I go to transport it always ends up cracking. It's very frustrating icon_cry.gif



19 replies
jamison3boys Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 6:30am
post #2 of 20

I'm not sure why this happens, but I do have an attempt at a solution...I make sure that my cake board is VERY sturdy to that it does not bend when the cake is picked up. I've also resorted to using sanding sugars or sprinkles if the cake is simple and has cracks...it seems to hide all of the flaws. I'll be watching for help on this area as well...so thanks!

indydebi Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 12:08pm
post #3 of 20

Sounds a like cake board sturdiness issue. I use at least 2 cake boards for any cake 11x15 and at least 3 for 12x18 or larger. If I have to cut my own boards, I turn the grain of the boards in opposite directions to add strength.

This may be a silly question, but how do you pick up the cake? I'm sure you're aware, but I see a lot of cake civilians pick up a cake by holding the two sides. When they come to the shop to pick up a cake, I practically fly across the counter with a loud, "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOt like that!!!!!!!!!!!!" and show them how to slide BOTH of their hands under the box, centering their hands in the two halves of the cake, to give proper support.

kakeladi Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 12:20pm
post #4 of 20

Definitely what they ^^^^^^^ said!

Now, if making your board(s) stronger still results in some cracking they you need to make your icing a bit creamier. You don't want to thin it w/liquid, but add a bit more fat (Crisco or butter, whatever you use). You will have to play around with how much....it might be as little as another Tablespoon, but most likely up to as much as 1/4 - 1/2 Cup icon_smile.gif

1234me Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 12:36pm
post #5 of 20

I agree with the others....you need a sturdier board icon_smile.gif Good luck on your next one!

icingcentral Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 12:39pm
post #6 of 20

I share in your frustration!! icon_mad.gif I have heard of people using a "few drops" of white vinegar in their buttercream to prevent cracking. Does anyone do this and how many is a few? I always doulble Wiltons recipe = approx. 8 cups.

jlsheik Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 12:47pm
post #7 of 20

I agree with the others....it's the board. I had three weddings this weekend and 2 were great...but the last one I did not have a heavy wooden or masonite board so I wrapped a base of 5...16inch cardboard rounds for a 14 inch base cake and I noticed that, that base had the crackles but the others were fine. For me lesson learned...

leah_s Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 12:50pm
post #8 of 20

Cracking is almost always a support/board problem.

maude Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 11:22pm
post #9 of 20

I tried a few drops of the white vinegar because I was having problems with cracking as well. It worked, the icing didn't crack at all and it didn't affect the flavor.

mcmahon Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 11:40pm
post #10 of 20

Hi Maude,
would you mind letting us know what was the ratio of vinegar to icing??

TIA icon_surprised.gif)

nicole1877 Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 11:54pm
post #11 of 20

I put a little vinegar in my icing, and I started using the Hi ratio shortening recipe and it's way better.It don't crack at all.

nicole1877 Posted 5 Jul 2009 , 11:55pm
post #12 of 20

I put a little vinegar in my icing, and I started using the Hi ratio shortening recipe and it's way better.It don't crack at all.

JanH Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 12:22am
post #13 of 20
erinalicia Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 12:28am
post #14 of 20

I've added vinegar to my icing... I think I added a 1/4 tsp to a double batch (4 lbs sugar) of icing. You can probably add up to 1/2 tsp, but it doesn't affect the flavor at all. I've noticed that I don't have cracking if I use whipping cream for my liquid and make sure that it is "creamy" and not too thick.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 12:33am
post #15 of 20

1/4 inch foam board is much sturdier... Little flexing and you don't have to worry about doubling up or the grain, which can be tough on the bigger pieces.

maude Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 3:31pm
post #16 of 20

I'm sorry mcmahon, but I didn't measure. Probably about a 1/4 tsp. to a double batch.

cylstrial Posted 6 Jul 2009 , 10:01pm
post #17 of 20

I have never heard of using vinegar in frosting before. Interesting.

Carolina girl Posted 27 Jul 2013 , 4:03pm
post #18 of 20

It may be a support problem but I never use cardboard.  I always use masonite boards covered with white contact paper.  They do not flex, so it would not be a support problem.  I still have cracks.  It makes sense that the icing needs to be more creamy.  Next time I'll try to vinegar and more crisco. 

dugan625 Posted 25 May 2014 , 2:01pm
post #19 of 20

Pulled my cake out of the fridge this morning after smoothing the buttercream to perfection last night.  It looked like a 90 year old woman.  So it that completely the board support or is the cold affecting it as well?  I can definitely get stronger boards and I might try to vinegar solution too, but want to make sure I'm not doing something wrong by refrigerating.  BTW - I do not cover it in the fridge.

kakeladi Posted 26 May 2014 , 2:00am
post #20 of 20

You are NOT doing anything wrong by refrigerating a b'cream cake :)  The cold has nothing to do with what you experienced.  It definitely sounds like your base board is not strong enough.  You don't tell us what size the cake or what you have it on but that's my best guess.

Other possibilities:  Your icing is too thin and runny OR it is too stiff - needs to be creamier.  Try another icing recipe. This is a great one: http://cakecentral.com/a/2-icing

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