Bulging Bubbles In Buttercream

Decorating By Echooo3 Updated 31 Jul 2010 , 9:53pm by SeriousCakes

Echooo3 Posted 11 Aug 2009 , 9:25pm
post #1 of 36

Why do I get those annoying BULGING BUBBLES? I do a crumb coat with thin icing. Let it harden. Then I do the final coat of buttercream. Let it form a crust. Then I use Viva paper towels and make it as smooth as I possiblYe can. So far, looks good, I'm happy.

Go to bed, wake up in the morning and there they are. Bulging bubbles beneath my buttercream. What on earth makes that happen?

I bake my cakes several days ahead, pop them in the freezer. The day of frosting, I take them out, keep them wrapped and let them thaw completely, then unwrap, torte, crumb coat and final coat.

Ugggggghhhhh.

35 replies
sugarshack Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 12:06am
post #2 of 36

my guess is the cake is "wet" when you ice it. After it is thawed and you unwrap it, do you let t sit out to surface dry? The thawing and wrapping make the cakes outsides mosit; which leads to blow outs.

DianeLM Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 12:18am
post #3 of 36

I've had such horrible trouble with blowouts lately in this 100 degree heat, my new policy is "FONDANT ONLY" until November!

I agree with Sharon. It's moisture. I iced 6 cakes in buttercream last weekend and all but the hex developed blowouts!

One of the tiers was a 12-inch round that sat perfectly iced for a whole day. Then, I moved it to the other side of the table and by morning, it had a HUGE blowout! IMO, it's a combo of moisture and movement. Even tho my 12-inch was on a masonite board topped with 1/2 inch foamcore. Grrrrrr.....

-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 12:46am
post #4 of 36

My experience is that cake farts develop because the icing is pliant and air forms under the surface and collects in those miserable bulbous pockets. I have never been able to determine a common denominator for this happening.

Whether cakes are previously frozen or fresh baked or whatever, those things can form.

Opening a hole in each cake layer through the icing with a hat pin helps to avoid these--place it in an unobvious place & be sure it stays open & it will help.

Pin pricking the developing bulge will deflate it and give you a chance to repair the area.

Cake fart thoughts for you.

sugarshack Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:42am
post #5 of 36

K8 and I have an on going (friendly) feud about this topic. I do not think pin pricking helps in any way, except as a placebo...LOL

I think moisture/condensation is the biggest culprit.(but not the only one I am sure). I do not believe cakes emit gas or farts.

But we do agree on this: no matter what preparation schedule you follow; they will happen from time to time and no one really knows the cause or how to totally fix them.

JenniferMI Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:48am
post #6 of 36

Not to disagree with anyone...but I used to get them all the time as well. I do nothing different now except put a few pin holes placed around the side of the cake. I can't tell you the last time I got one.... I think it's just trapped air and it's looking for a way out.... a cake fart...hm,mmm LOL

Jen icon_smile.gif

sugarshack Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:51am
post #7 of 36

Well you are disagreeing with me, friend! ROFL!

Funny how what works for one does not for another!

JenniferMI Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:53am
post #8 of 36

I'm really not disagreeing with you icon_smile.gif Just stating what works for me. Yes, that's right, what works for one, doesn't always work for another.

MWAH!! ROFLOL Cake farts.... God that sounds HORRIBLE!! LOL

Jen icon_smile.gif

cylstrial Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:56am
post #9 of 36

LOL about calling it a cake fart!

JenniferMI Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:58am
post #10 of 36

LOL! It just doesn't sound like a word I would associate with CAKE!!!

Jen icon_smile.gif

sugarshack Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 2:08am
post #11 of 36

I hear ya friend!

That's just like the wrinkling thing. What worked for me did not work for you. Frustrating too!

Cake_Bliss Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 2:08am
post #12 of 36

OMG!! So glad ! I needed a laugh!!! Ahhhhh!

JenniferMI Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 2:09am
post #13 of 36

Yup, any cake issues can be VERY frustrating...

Jen icon_smile.gif

-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 4:18am
post #14 of 36

I can speak for myself--thanks though.

That's why I chose my wording more carefully because a pin prick that just pierces the surface of the icing is not what I meant.

I've worked in many commercial bakeries and this-- placing a hole into the cake through the icing and keeping the hole open-- is what is done to effectively remedy the problem.

Clearly, the icing bubble fills with air--when it is pierced it deflates - air is a gas.

If a cake with a previously bone dry surface later develops a bubble and they do then it's not a surface moisture issue. Good cake is moist.

sugarshack Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 4:38am
post #15 of 36

Forget it. Not worth aruging over and I was not speaking for you. Only for myself.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 4:47am
post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarshack

...
But we do agree on this: no matter what preparation schedule you follow; they will happen from time to time and no one really knows the cause or how to totally fix them.




I recommend you try it again, Cake Buddy, it works for all the places I've worked. It's simple science. Air is trapped--you can release it after it bulges or make a way for it to escape in the first place.

Take Care

matthewkyrankelly Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:10am
post #17 of 36

I am intrigued! What is this you speak of? Does anyone have pictures of this? I've heard of this but thought it only happened to fondant people!

My intrigue lies in the perfection we are looking for in a cake: light and airy (gas) and moist (water). How can these become my enemy in correct proportions?

If the cake is gassing (excuse me!), then is something nasty and organic going on in the cake? eeeww!

As a scientist at heart, I would really love to understand this phenomenon.

Would anyone like to share?

Normita Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:12am
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarshack

K8 and I have an on going (friendly) feud about this topic. I do not think pin pricking helps in any way, except as a placebo...LOL

I think moisture/condensation is the biggest culprit.(but not the only one I am sure). I do not believe cakes emit gas or farts.

But we do agree on this: no matter what preparation schedule you follow; they will happen from time to time and no one really knows the cause or how to totally fix them.



I recommend you try it again, Cake Buddy, it works for all the places I've worked. It's simple science. Air is trapped--you can release it after it bulges or make a way for it to escape in the first place.

Take Care




I'm sorry but just for my own understanding....I prick holes all around the cake before I ice it in BC which will help prevent the "cake farts"?

-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:14am
post #19 of 36

matthewkyrankelly
--There have been pictures in the past--somebody's got some somewhere. You've never seen it before???

Where the icing that had been smooth, lumps up in some odd way with an air bubble under there--it can stay that way along time--it can lift up almost the entire top or side of the cake and languish there or just be a small area or be a small area that gets ginormous and can also burst and deflate too.

Somebody can post a picture.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 5:18am
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Normita


I'm sorry but just for my own understanding....I prick holes all around the cake before I ice it in BC which will help prevent the "cake farts"?




Opening a hole in each cake layer through the icing with a hat pin helps to avoid these--place it in an unobvious place & be sure it stays open & it will help.

Poke the holes after it is iced. After it is decorated is even better really because often you cover up the hole with the piping. And after it is decorated you can find places to hide the holes better too.

One place I worked at poked a hole with a dowel--I use a hat pin.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:01pm
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-



Where the icing that had been smooth, lumps up in some odd way with an air bubble under there--it can stay that way along time--it can lift up almost the entire top or side of the cake and languish there or just be a small area or be a small area that gets ginormous and can also burst and deflate too.

Somebody can post a picture.




Another kind is where there can be more than one bubble on one cake--this would be the time when one pin hole in advance might not have been effective in remedying the problem.

Who's got pictures?

It's kinda like crop circles huh. But some of us have been in the process of icing a cake and there it forms before our very eyes,

Wonder if radon gas interacting with cake juju has anything to do with it ???

DianeLM Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 1:45pm
post #22 of 36

I've tried the pin-prick method with no success. A pin prick will have no effect on an air pocket developing 3 inches away.

I believe there are external forces at work as well. Like I said earlier, I had a miserable time with these blowouts just this past weekend during our heatwave. Yet, I can't remember the last time I got a blowout prior to that weekend.

(Oh wait... I do remember... it was on tapered tiers. I applied the icing too thick and I'm sure I didn't press it firmly enough against the cake. By the next morning it looked like the mumps! That was back in April of '08.)

-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 2:09pm
post #23 of 36

Question: If you put the icing on thick again and repeated that process could you create the same bubbles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeLM

I've tried the pin-prick method with no success. A pin prick will have no effect on an air pocket developing 3 inches away.




Here's my thought on that. When the hole is left open and does not close it does prevent the bubble from forming there. And most often it does prevent the issue from happening altogether. Is it 1000% accurate to a scientific certainty 365 days a year and leap year... icon_rolleyes.gif

Sometimes planes crash out of the sky but we still use them every day.
Stuff happens.

You can't put a hole in every surface of the cake but it does work.
That's how we get rid of them is to pop them.

And you're right a pin prick will not work --it's a hole through the icing on every layer through to the cake.

Generally speaking the holes are placed in a line down the back of the cake. If it will prevent a damage control call after a delivery it's worth it to me.

DianeLM Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 2:30pm
post #24 of 36

I understand ya, K8. I guess my ratio of plane crashes to safe landings demonstrates to me that pricking doesn't help. Your results may vary. icon_smile.gif

Yes, I understand it's a hole through to the cake. I generally don't even use a 'pin', which is too thin. The icing just closes right up behind it.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 3:55pm
post #25 of 36

So K8. What is the cake frosting combination that does this? And, the bakery put holes in all the layers to prevent the bubbles? I'm really wondering about this and would love to recreate it in my kitchen. Any ideas on how to make it happen?

This is serious. I'm not poking fun or anything. I just assumed the bubbles were always a fondant thing. When people are talking about blowouts, they are referring to the dam in a torted layer giving way aren't they? - I'm just trying to orient my thinking on this.

This one has me hooked.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Aug 2009 , 4:10pm
post #26 of 36

I have never been able to find a common denominator. For a loooong time I thought it never happened with smbc but it does. For a loooong time I thought it never happened with fondant but it does. Likewise for frozen, thawed, fresh baked, all kinds of cakes, all kinds of cake coverings.

It is an air bubble between the cake and the cake covering. Could be small or large could be multiples on one cake.

Yeah no not the filling bulging-- air trapped under the cake covering and causing a bubble under the icing that will stretch the icing. Iin some cases will burst through the icing or just hover there like a mutant bubble. You can play with it a little and watch it morph (a little) because the cake covering is pliant and conforms to the trapped 'air'.

Also when you poke a hole in one that has already formed it will deflate--sometime it's all wrinkled and nasty and sometimes it looks fine. Aggravating problem.

Would love for someone to bust this mystery.

I'm thinking it's:
a) Pod People
b) Evertime a cake farts a crop circle is formed
c) all of the above

But truly seriously it's a for real thing.

Mug-a-Bug Posted 15 Aug 2009 , 2:48am
post #27 of 36

A bulging cake (yes, it IS buttercream)

I still don't know for sure what caused this, but my personal opinion is that for whatever reason the icing wasn't sticking to the cake. The next cake I did I made sure I really pressed the icer tip close into the cake so it was sure to stick. Seemed to work better.
LL

Mug-a-Bug Posted 15 Aug 2009 , 2:52am
post #28 of 36

Oh, AND we decided previously that it is kitchen gremlins forming a nest under there icon_lol.gif

matthewkyrankelly Posted 15 Aug 2009 , 3:07am
post #29 of 36

K8 and Sin - Thanks - I had no idea. I'm kind of stunned to see it right there!

I haven't had it happen yet - so, of course, it will happen it the worst possible moment.

Now I wish I was CSI.

Echooo3 Posted 15 Aug 2009 , 11:33pm
post #30 of 36

Cake farts decribes them perfectly.

After reading all of the responses. I believe I don't let the surface of the cake dry after it is defrosted and I take the plastic wrap off I frost it right away. Next time I will let the surface area of the cake dry out some before I start to frost it.

Thanks everyone.

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