I made my 4th ever fondant covered cake and I admit, it was a bit adventurous. I'm making a 28" tall, 3D Sundrop bottle for a 91st birthday. It was @ 22 layers tall. I did a trial run and it looked more like the Jolly Green Giant than a bottle (i ended up airbrushing the jolly green giant on the back). So here are my questions for all of the experts out there, so that the cake for the birthday isn't a disaster:
1. When I sculpted the cake with a serrated knife, the cake was very crumbly (moist). Should I have frozen the layers and then stacked the cake? And if so, do I wait for them to thaw before crumbcoating it?
2. Once the cake was stacked but before I crumbcoated it, the layers were all uneven - I obviously needed to sculpt the sides. However, I had cardboard circles so I couldn't sculpt the cake to even out the sides because I couldn't cut through the cardboard easily. So, do you put smaller circles between the cakes to leave room for you to cut the cake in? (for example, the bottom cakes were 9 inches, which I had 8 inch circles under them..do I put 6 inch circles and shave the cake to that exact side - or can you have some cake hanging over the edge of the circle?
3. I covered the entire cake horizontally with one sheet of fondant. I rolled the fondant over a long, cardboard tube (as suggested by a reputable baker). When I went to tip the fondant on the tube vertically, the fondant slid down on the tube and it was almost impossible to get the fondant onto the cake vertically. How do you do vertically apply fondant to a very tall cake??
4. A day later, the cake began to sink about 2 inches, fondant cracking and everything. I had supports & cardboard between layers (every 3 cakes). How do you prevent sinking on such a tall cake?
1 - chilling or freezing helps ... by time done carving should be thawed enough to crumbcoat and the back in the frig.
2 - yes. excellent way to get a built in guide. ex: 8" cake boards with a 10" cake or if wanting slanted sides, gradually decreasing sizes and then use the knife to cut down to board. Longer the knife the better. In essence creating an internal cutting guide. Duff and crew, Buddy and others can be seen doing this.
3 - considering shape of bottle in question - I'd do in two pieces -- one for the main body and a second which will need special trimming for the neck and shoulder (top rounded part) of the main body.
4 - let the cake rest 24 hours before putting on the fondant. try supports every two cakes. keep cake chilled.
and in a hint from all the cake shows -- note how they have those be fridges and keep the cakes there until shortly before deliver? the chill keeps things firm and stable -- gives gravity less chance to win which it always eventually will!
Thank you for the responses!! Very helpful. I'm doing the final cake next week and have a few other questions.
1. How do you vertically roll on fondant? Do you roll it tightly on the rolling pin or will that smush it? How do you keep it from sliding down the rolling pin as you roll it?
2. Is it ok to refrigerate it after putting the fondant on? I gather that is what you are saying in your hint below but I didn't know if that will make the fondant hard or taste weird.
3. I used Wilton cake circles between the layers. By the 3rd day they were getting soggy. I called Wilton before I used them and asked if they needed to be covered (in contact paper as seen online) but they assured me this wasn't necessary. Any suggestions??
4. What are the best things to use as supports for the layers, the plastic dowels? I figure you cut them all the same length but do you want them a little higher, even or a little lower than the cake before stacking the next layer?
1 - i'd roll on vinyl sheet and use that to put it on -- or assemble, freeze and then lay cake on side and just roll it up like a big jelly roll and then stand up straight.
2 - well I suppose if you have cut onions, smashed garlic and cooked or old raw fish it will stink from being in the fridge, otherwise chilling doesn't affect taste. Fondant will get stiffer from the cold, but thaw when warmed. Fondant does "harden" as it sits out and looses moisture (air dries)
3 - over in saran warp (not contact paper - not truly food safe) or coat w/ the wax used for canning
4 - SPS system -- talks to LEAHS about that. ans see this thread:http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-603925-sps.html