I am just in tears! No matter what I do, my cakes never look level. They are level on the island, level on a board, level on the table, but once I stack them they are not level. Hours of work, and my cake looks like its supposed to be a topsy turvey cake! I even bought the SPS system (seems like it work nicely) hoping maybe the support I was using was the problem.
Tell me what am I doing wrong? If I take a Wilton class will they be able to teach me how to solve this problem? Is there a class on stacking cakes? I am SO FRUSTRATED!!!
Are you freezing your cakes? If you are make sure they are completely thawed before you start leveling, filling or frosting. Even if you are not freezing make sure you let them rest wrapped in saran wrap for several hours after they are leveled and filled so they can settle. Then frost and make sure you measure the cake again before stacking.
I know how you feel because I've been there!
The best thing you could do for yourself is to get Sharon Zambito's DVD called "Successful Stacking" Best $25 (+/-) investment I ever made and have never had a crooked cake since. Her method is as easy as 1-2-3!
She's at the convention now, but Global Sugar Art sells it too.
I agree that you should let them sit once they are filled. I don't let them sit for several hours like the other poster, but I do give them a good half hour at room temperature even before I crumb coat.
When you fill your cakes and make a dam around each layer, do you use a stiffened buttercream? That may also help to keep everything level once it's together.
It'll all come together, but I know it's a pain in the backside when things aren't going your way!
Thank you for the tips and I will look for the DVD. I have three more wedding cakes this summer/fall and I just can't handle the stress. I keep trying to talk them into sheet cakes or (gulp) cupcakes.
I don't let the cakes rest really. I am thinking maybe I should bake on Tuesday, freeze until Wed, level on Thursday and re-freeze, and decorate on Friday, letting the cakes rest a little. Does that sound a little more in line with what you do?
Right now I baked Mon and Tuesday, froze until Friday; leveled on Friday and decorated on Friday. I thought maybe if I leveled them earlier that would help???? I don't know. I have to go deliver this thing soon and I am embarrassed. The bride has only paid me half and that may be all I get. It is, unfortunately, sitting in the middle of the dance floor cakes, so I can't even turn it to hide its crookedness.
Sadly, my motto is "My cakes may not look good, but they will taste DELICIOUS!"
Sad, but true.
it could be that the tops of your cakes are level but the sides are not, what i mean is are they exactly at a 90 degree to the board. just taking too much icing off the sides, or holding your spatula at a slight angle will make them look like they are leaning. look at the sides nexttime.
Sweetcakes - I do think that may be part of the problem, but how do you level the sides? Do you actually cut off the sides of the cake? I have tried to make it "look" level with frosting. Maybe this IS my problem!
Why are you re-freezing the cake?
You want to make sure your cake is defrosted before you ice it. I usually let it defrost in the fridge a day or so before and make sure the cakes are completely defrosted before I remove the wrappings so that there is no condensation on the cakes. You can defrost on the counter as well just make sure you do not take off the wrappings (I usually wrap with a few layers of saran wrap and then with heavy duty foil paper) until it is completely defrosted.
After you fill the the cake let the cake rest overnight or at least for several hours before you ice it. This will allow the cake to settle and you can take care of any bulging before you ice the cake. Make sure you use super thick icing for your dam before you fill the cake though.
After you have finished icing the cake and the icing has crusted (this is assuming you are using a crusting buttercream) then use a leveler to make sure your cake is level. If it is not build up the icing with more bc until your cake is level.
I highly recommend that you buy Sharon's (Sugarshack's) dvd's as well. You can get them her website at http://sugaredproductions.com/
Other cake stores carry them as well. Fondant Source gives a 10% discount to all cakecentral members. Just enter cakecentral in the coupon code.
Are your tiers level? Go to the hardware store and pick up a torpedo level - they're under $10. After you fill and stack your tier, lay the level on top to make sure it's completely level. Do this with each tier. That and the SPS, you will be fine!
For the sides, ice your cake as usual, then use a bench scraper or spackle knife. Let the edge of it rest on your turntable - this will create a 90* angle, spin your turntable, taking off the excess icing on the sides. Voila - straight sides!
Thanks for all the tips! I will try them all with the next one. Hopefully, with more success!
I would recommend watch this video - Edna shows how to stack and ice a cake. The icing video helped me to make nice round and straight edges.
I am so there with you...I wonder if the SPS would help me? It seems like my torting is the problem. My concern is with the SPS your cakes have to be exactly the right height for it to work...I guess I'm just not that precise.