Collapsed Cake

Decorating By chanda Updated 10 Aug 2009 , 6:01pm by jenmat

chanda Posted 21 Jul 2009 , 6:55pm
post #1 of 24

I made a wedding cake last week. It was due Friday. I made the cakes on Wednesday from a mix. I filled them and put them in the fridge. My middle tier was short. I used imb. The next day I mad one more layer and added it to my middle tier, then back in the fridge. I brought them out and put a little more icing on, then back in the fridge. I took them out and covered them with fondant and inserted sharpened dowels. The fondant looked fine and the cakes were level. On Friday I put them all in my car for about a half hour delivery. My car was cold and I had the air conditioner cranked. It was a very humid day. When I carried the cakes into the place, it was pouring. I stacked them and began to decorate. The middle tier totally sagged to one side and the fondant seemed like it was not stuck to the cake. I took the middle tier out and left them with a two tier cake. It was hot and humid in the building...I think they just turned the air on before I arrived. My royal icing was getting soupier as I piped it on. I have to make another fondant cake in September and I am scared. Should I but those plastic support systems? What about the fondant and humidity? HELP!!!



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23 replies
kakeladi Posted 22 Jul 2009 , 5:42pm
post #2 of 24

Oh that is just a shame you had such a time. Heat & humidity sure can wreck even the best made cake icon_sad.gif
Many venues do not turn on the air until a short time before guests are to arrive. If they only understood how long it takes and how much extra electricity they could save
if they would run it hours ahead and get the room/building cool before all those warm bodies heat it back up.

I've not had to deal w/humidity problems. Sorry I can't help you more. I have read on this site that fondant is the icing of choice for humid areas.

rvercher23 Posted 22 Jul 2009 , 10:36pm
post #3 of 24

The only thing I see that alarms me is that you said you used sharpened dowels?? Were you talking about one sharpened dowel all the way through, or alll of your supports had sharpened ends? Cause that might have been why your cake had so many problems?

stephaniescakenj Posted 22 Jul 2009 , 11:38pm
post #4 of 24

how hot was it? I would almost bet your buttercream melted. IMBC can only withstand heat up to maybe 80 degrees and not for very long. butter actually starts to melt at about 85 degrees I believe, combined with the humidity, I bet it started to break down under the fondant.

OregonCakeLady Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 1:22am
post #5 of 24

I think that the problem was the cake. You really shouldn't use box cake for tiered cakes. You can substitute sour cream for the milk that the box cake calls for. That will make it denser but I would really suggest baking from scratch or even going more towards a pound cake when doing numbers of tiers.

Deb_ Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 1:38am
post #6 of 24

I see a couple of problems here........you say the fondant looked like it wasn't sticking to the cake. Did you mist the icing before you covered with fondant? This would help the fondant adhere to the cake. (you said that you iced and refrigerated, so maybe the icing was too hard)

It really doesn't matter if you used a mix, scratch or whipped cream for that matter..........your support system supports the cake tiers, not the actual cake.

Be sure all your dowels are cut evenly and that they are exactly the same length. Also be sure you place them in straight up and down, not at a slight angle, as this could cause them to slip when the weight of the upper tier is placed on top.....resulting in a collapsed cake.

Sorry you had so many troubles!

indydebi Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 2:36am
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyP

I think that the problem was the cake. You really shouldn't use box cake for tiered cakes.




dkelly is right. the cake itself has nothing to do with support issues because the upper tiers are not sitting on the cake ... they are sitting on the dowels/support system. You can make a bottom tier of jello or cool whip and as long as you have a good support system, it will support the upper tiers.

I've used mixes for 30 years and have made 6 tier cakes that stood over 4 ft tall (way taller than me) and they held up just fine.

What concerned me was all the in and out of the refrigerator that was going on. I dont' ever refrigerate my cakes. Basic Science: Anything that is placed in a cold enviroment to stay "firm" will start to "melt" when moved out of that cold environment. Combine this with what stephanie said about IMBC having a lower melting point anyway and I think this could have contributed to the problems.

chanda Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 8:09pm
post #8 of 24

oh no...I hope the cake was not gross underneath!!! I have not heard from the couple since the wedding. i did sharpen the dowels. I do not know why I did that. I think one of the dowels slipped. Thanks for the repplies. I cannot post a picture for some reason.

OregonCakeLady Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 8:40pm
post #9 of 24

okay, you say the cake has nothing to do with the support. I would like to see you set up a dowel and cake board support system without any cake. The cake does have to do with whether the dowels are going to shift. If you are using a higher tech support system, then your right but dowel and cake board needs cake to stand up with. That's okay if you don't agree, good luck with those falling box cakes. It's okay if they fall though, no one should have to pay for box cake anyway.

LaBellaFlor Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 8:47pm
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanda

oh no...I hope the cake was not gross underneath!!! I have not heard from the couple since the wedding. i did sharpen the dowels. I do not know why I did that. I think one of the dowels slipped. Thanks for the repplies. I cannot post a picture for some reason.




Just so you know, people do use a sharpen dowel sometimes. But they only use it to dowel straight through the middle of a stacked cake, so it keeps the tiers together better. Thast why it needs to be sharpened. Other then that, there is no need to sharpen.

Texas_Rose Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 8:50pm
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyP

okay, you say the cake has nothing to do with the support. I would like to see you set up a dowel and cake board support system without any cake. The cake does have to do with whether the dowels are going to shift. If you are using a higher tech support system, then your right but dowel and cake board needs cake to stand up with. That's okay if you don't agree, good luck with those falling box cakes. It's okay if they fall though, no one should have to pay for box cake anyway.




I used box cakes for years before I tried something different, and never had any trouble with tiered cakes. I wasn't using anything high tech either, just foamcore boards and dowels. Now my cakes taste better, but they stand up just the same as they did before.

If you read more, you'll see that she sharpened her dowels, which is probably the cause of the disaster, not the box cake.

indydebi Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 9:00pm
post #12 of 24

what falling "box" cakes are you talking about? icon_confused.gif I've never seen one. Not in 30 years, darlin'.

Jayde Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 9:40pm
post #13 of 24

Like Debi said a box mix wouldnt affect a collapsing cake, its the support system that causes a cake to fall.

Plus, I have people who pay $6 a serving for box mix and tell me that it is the best thing they have ever tasted. Its all what you put into it hon.

Texas_Rose Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 9:50pm
post #14 of 24

LOL, maybe I should edit my post to call her "sugar" to go with the "hon" and the "darlin"

You ladies always know how to make me laugh icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

Deb_ Posted 29 Jul 2009 , 1:28am
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyP

okay, you say the cake has nothing to do with the support. I would like to see you set up a dowel and cake board support system without any cake. The cake does have to do with whether the dowels are going to shift. If you are using a higher tech support system, then your right but dowel and cake board needs cake to stand up with. That's okay if you don't agree, good luck with those falling box cakes. It's okay if they fall though, no one should have to pay for box cake anyway.




You're taking what we said way too literally kelsey............what we ARE saying is that it is the support system that supports the tiers it is NOT the cake itself.

If the decorator doesn't properly assemble that support system, whether it be dowels with boards or SPS, then that will cause the finished cake to collapse. User error will most certainly equal a collapse.

Your last sentence is just unnecessary. icon_rolleyes.gif There are a LOT of great talented decorators that use a mix........I don't see their cakes collapsing or "falling" regularly, as you claim.

I bake from scratch and I can think of 2 tiered cakes that collapsed because I did something wrong, my dowels were not cut evenly. So even my scratch cakes couldn't save me on those occasions.

LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Jul 2009 , 2:10am
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyP

okay, you say the cake has nothing to do with the support. I would like to see you set up a dowel and cake board support system without any cake. The cake does have to do with whether the dowels are going to shift. If you are using a higher tech support system, then your right but dowel and cake board needs cake to stand up with. That's okay if you don't agree, good luck with those falling box cakes. It's okay if they fall though, no one should have to pay for box cake anyway.



You're taking what we said way too literally kelsey............what we ARE saying is that it is the support system that supports the tiers it is NOT the cake itself.

If the decorator doesn't properly assemble that support system, whether it be dowels with boards or SPS, then that will cause the finished cake to collapse. User error will most certainly equal a collapse.

Your last sentence is just unnecessary. icon_rolleyes.gif There are a LOT of great talented decorators that use a mix........I don't see their cakes collapsing or "falling" regularly, as you claim.

I bake from scratch and I can think of 2 tiered cakes that collapsed because I did something wrong, my dowels were not cut evenly. So even my scratch cakes couldn't save me on those occasions.




I totally agree with you. icon_confused.gif The comments made were just silly.

3GCakes Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 12:21am
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyP

okay, you say the cake has nothing to do with the support. I would like to see you set up a dowel and cake board support system without any cake. The cake does have to do with whether the dowels are going to shift. If you are using a higher tech support system, then your right but dowel and cake board needs cake to stand up with. That's okay if you don't agree, good luck with those falling box cakes. It's okay if they fall though, no one should have to pay for box cake anyway.



You're taking what we said way too literally kelsey............what we ARE saying is that it is the support system that supports the tiers it is NOT the cake itself.

If the decorator doesn't properly assemble that support system, whether it be dowels with boards or SPS, then that will cause the finished cake to collapse. User error will most certainly equal a collapse.

Your last sentence is just unnecessary. icon_rolleyes.gif There are a LOT of great talented decorators that use a mix........I don't see their cakes collapsing or "falling" regularly, as you claim.

I bake from scratch and I can think of 2 tiered cakes that collapsed because I did something wrong, my dowels were not cut evenly. So even my scratch cakes couldn't save me on those occasions.



I totally agree with you. icon_confused.gif The comments made were just silly.




I must agree. The method of baking has nothing to do with collapsing. It's your treatment of the cake that will cause it to collapse. And most often, the placement of the dowels.

I switched from wooden dowels to bubble tea straws, and have much more confidence in my cakes. No collapses....so far so good!

Also, when I use WASC, which is a popular "doctored" cake mix...please know Kelsey, that people will pay what I ask because they love it.

Sam's, Costco, and Wal-mart don't give away their cakes just because they are from a box. I guess by your deductions, that Duncan-Hines, Betty Crocker, and Pillsbury should just hand out their mixes since they are in a box? How about instant mashed potatoes, canned green beans, and Dawn soap? Free....since it's pre-packaged? icon_biggrin.gif

miss-tiff Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 3:27am
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

l

I bake from scratch and I can think of 2 tiered cakes that collapsed because I did something wrong, my dowels were not cut evenly. So even my scratch cakes couldn't save me on those occasions.




This made me chuckle. Can I have your permission to have my new signature be: "Not even your scratch cakes can save you?" icon_lol.gif

Deb_ Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 12:56pm
post #19 of 24

LOL!! Sure......it adds a whole new twist to the scratch/mix debate, I can see it now! icon_biggrin.gif

notjustcakes Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 3:26pm
post #20 of 24

There are many good reasons to use a boxed cake mix...(doctored up of course)...Where I'm at, we can go from zero humidity to almost 100 % humidity in the same day...Plus high altitude. Cake mixes take the guesswork out of scratch baking because they have emulsifiers, etc, to ensure good outcome EVERY time....Scratch cakes will have to be adjusted for a number of different weather situations, altitude, etc...If I have several orders, I don't have to worry that my cake is going to fail because the weather changed...and then have to do the whole D...N thing again.....
I saw somewhere (don't recall, prob. one of my many cake books) that in taste tests, no one could tell the difference between doctored cake mix cakes and homemade...Even professional chefs!

LaBellaFlor Posted 30 Jul 2009 , 5:31pm
post #21 of 24

When the new cupcake shop opened up I bought 1 cupcake to see if it was scratch or mix & I could tell it was from scratch. I told her how great it was she baked from scratch & she was pleased that someone could tell the difference. In fact, she told me how a vendor tried to sell her wholesale cake mix & his sale pitch was that he supplied all the store front bakeries. Needless to say, she told him she bakes only from scratch. Another cupcake shop just opened up and you can tell its from a mix. You can even see the shortening shine of the frosting. It was a very well doctored mix, but it still tasted from a mix. I find it hard to believe that professional chefs or pastry chefs (don't know what type of chefs they were) couldn't tell the difference between a scratch cake from a cake mix cake, when I can. I live in an area that gets all 4 seasons, its never affected my scratch recipes. Altitude does affect scratch batter, but it also effects cake mix. Thats why cake mixes have directions on them on how to bake them in high altitude.

kikster Posted 31 Jul 2009 , 4:50pm
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Quote:

okay, you say the cake has nothing to do with the support. I would like to see you set up a dowel and cake board support system without any cake. The cake does have to do with whether the dowels are going to shift. If you are using a higher tech support system, then your right but dowel and cake board needs cake to stand up with. That's okay if you don't agree, good luck with those falling box cakes. It's okay if they fall though, no one should have to pay for box cake anyway.




This is just rude. Just my 2 cents, if you want people to listen to your opinion, then don't be nasty. Obviously it isn't ok if people don't agree with you, when they do, you make a sarcastic and annoying post.

indydebi Posted 31 Jul 2009 , 6:44pm
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Quote:

It's okay if they fall though, no one should have to pay for box cake anyway.




Obviously she under the illusion that all bakeries and restaurants make everything from scratch, when many of them use the same freezer to serve items as everybody else. These people crack me up.

jenmat Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 6:01pm
post #24 of 24

i worked at a bakery where they did everything from scratch, and then stuck it all in the leaky freezer to sit until someone ordered a certain flavor, without being wrapped. And then some of the case cakes sat in there for 2-3 weeks. Sometimes its the treatment of the cakes that makes it so great. I agree that scratch cakes can taste much better if done right, but they can also taste worse!

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