I Have A Few Questions About My Cake Disaster If Anyone

Decorating By crc1018 Updated 21 Nov 2009 , 9:02pm by dl5crew

crc1018 Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 1:11am
post #1 of 17

could please help me I would be ever so grateful.

My niece wanted me to make her birthday cake, so I chose to do a topsy turvy 2 tier. I watched videos and read on how to do it. Here are the stops I took hopefully someone can help with what went wrong.

I made the cakes (white and chocolate cakes/box mixes) in advanced and freezed them.
I purchased my buttercream icing premade from Sam's Club
I took the cakes out of the freezer and let them set out for about 30 minutes to unthaw before I carved.
I carved the bottom tier which was a 10',9' and 8' round was not real happy with my carving job, but it was my first time.
I then started crumb coating it and the icing was peeling off so I put in in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up a little bit.
Got the icing on and put it in the fridge to chill the cake.
I take it out of the fridge to put the fondant on it and the icing was still peeling of in big chunks

I carved the "well" out of the top for the top layer to rest on
I then put it back in the fridge whilst I rolled out the Satin Ice fondant

I get the fondant on the cake and it was lumpy and did not look as good as I wanted it to, but hey it is only my third time using fondant.

I put 3 dowel rods in the cake to support the top tier.

I then repeated the above process for the top tier and it still looked the cake and would not set up straight. I did try and cut the bottom to make it straight.

I then put the top tier on and put a dowl rod down the center and the back of the bottom cake started falling and buckled the fondant.

I used a cardboard to prop it up to make it look better.

Anyway I put the embellishments on it and the items on the top of the cake (none of it was heavy at all)

I stepped back and looked at it and thought was not a bad for a first timer working on a topsy turvy. i left it set out on the counter and when I got up this morning well you guessed it the top tier fell of and took half of the bottom tier with it.

Are box mixes to soft?
why did the buttercream peel off?
and what else did I do wrong.

As embarrassed as I am to show you the pictures here are the before and after. Excuse the mess from the fondant.

thank you so much for any help

16 replies
FromScratch Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 1:37am
post #2 of 17

Was the center dowel as thick as the other ones? Those are some THICK dowels.. are they 1/2 inch? You really only need 1/4 inch dowels and I am betting working those thick dowels into your cake didn't help the stability. Did you just rest the top tier on the tier below it without carving a notch out for it? If you don't angle the bottom of your upper tier to match the top of the tier below it, it is disaster for sure. Looking at your before it fell picture, you can see that the top tier is leaning pretty heavily and even with a central dowel... that is a lean that isn't going to hold. There was a cake board in between the tiers too right? I only ask because there is a lot of chocolate cake crumbs on the top of the bottom tier, but I know carving can make for a messy situation (been there plenty of times.. LOL).

I always carve a notch out of the lower tier so that the tier above it can sit level and you don't have the sliding issues like you do when you try to just sit the cake on the slant.

Editting to add a smile and a hug... I went into cake detective mode there and it sounded kind of cold and impersonal. The cake was really cute and it's a shame that it fell. Heart breaking when that happens.

sweet-thing Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 1:47am
post #3 of 17

Wow! I am so sorry. Your design was adorable!

I am probably not much help here but I have some questions. First, imo I think maybe your cake was "sweating" after being cold and the frosting wouldn't stick. My questions are, what size dowel did you use? Those look HUGE! That could be a problem. Also, how thick was the buttercream under the fondant?

Again, sorry this happened. It really did look cute.

sweet-thing Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 1:54am
post #4 of 17

I always carve a notch out of the lower tier so that the tier above it can sit level and you don't have the sliding issues like you do when you try to just sit the cake on the slant.

Oh, yep, I didn't notice. If it was just sitting on top that would be the main problem. Good eyes, cake detective! icon_biggrin.gif

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 1:56am
post #5 of 17

You're very brave trying a topsy turvy. I haven't done that yet.

Although I have not carved anything this big, I can tell you that box mix alone is not strong enough for carving. You can use box mix, but you have to enhance it. There's a small recipe on CC for this. I'll see if I can find it and post it for you.

And I agree with the others - those dowels are way too big. Bigger doesn't always mean better. If they had been hollow plastice dowels that would have been different, but wooden ones that size are OTT.

But we live and learn. At least it wasn't for a paying customer.


Here's the extender recipe. http://cakecentral.com/recipes/1977/cake-mix-extender

I also have used one where you add boxed pudding to the mix. Again, I'll try to find it.

I can't find it here, but I know I got it from my "Cake Mix Doctor" book - which I don't have where I am so I can't look it up. Perhaps someone else does???

Kitagrl Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 1:59am
post #6 of 17

Cute design!!!!

Just some tips I'd think of...

I don't like to cut out a "well"....I tried it a time or two and it seemed to really weaken my cake. Now I prefer to just stack it carefully without cutting into the cake underneath.

With these cakes you really want to try to work on making the tops nice and flat, and the icing nice and flat, so its easier to support and stack.

I like to refrigerate everything to make sure its firm and cold before adding fondant. I've never used Sam's icing though so I don't know if it firms up?

I use Bubble Tea Straws for support...easier to cut, especially at an angle for topsy turvy cakes. Then put a dowel all the way through the whole cake.

You did a nice job...your next one will be even better! Practice makes perfect!

cakenutz Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 2:08am
post #7 of 17

okay here is my 2 cents. I think you did a good job for a first timer First I think your cake mix was to soft I like a heavier crumb for carving In the area you notched out did you place small dowels to support the top tier? Then place the top tier on a cakeboard that fits in the hole Then A support dowel through the center. I always carve cakes frozen then usually wrap back up in saran wrap and let thaw before applying a thin layer of buttercream to crumb coat. When I was new to fondant I thought you iced the cake with the same amount of buttercream you put on a non fondant cake So my fondant was always bulging. Try thinner and see if that helps I hope this helps if I explained it right . Try it again as you do you will get better and better. Good luck thumbs_up.gif

crc1018 Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 2:26am
post #8 of 17

thank you ladies! You all are wonderful!!!!! From scratch I did not think it was impersonal at all. I did forget to put a cake board between the layers. and I will try the bubble straws I am on vacation in a few weeks so I may try again.

Kitagrl Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 2:32am
post #9 of 17

The cake board is a BIG thing...

Enjoy your vacation, and then happy baking!

lomikesa Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 2:32am
post #10 of 17

I am sorry this happen, it really was a cute cake. the reason the icing was peeling off is because the cake did not thaw enough for frosting, next time let sit longer before icing.


crc1018 Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 2:43am
post #11 of 17

Another question when you say that you cut a notch out of the bottom of the top tier does that mean you angle the bottom as well?

crc1018 Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 2:45am
post #12 of 17

Cutie pie thank you. I was thinking about buying that book anyway so I will use my borders coupon on it.

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 5:54am
post #13 of 17
Originally Posted by crc1018

Cutie pie thank you. I was thinking about buying that book anyway so I will use my borders coupon on it.

I have the older one and haven't seen / read the newer one, but I can't see them being all that different in general context - just different recipes.

Using powdered pudding makes it more like a sponge cake - stronger for carving.

Good luck!

FromScratch Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 6:38pm
post #14 of 17

Hi there... vacation... I am jealous!! icon_wink.gif

When I do TT cakes, the bottoms are all flat and level. I just think it makes for a much more stable cake. So only the tops are angled and it only looks like the tiers could tip over. I don't like to cut a well in the tier below... just a wedge out so you can slide the cake into the notch rather than trying to drop it into a hole. If that makes sense.

I attached a picture here to show what I do for a TT. It works for me every time and the resulting cake is very sturdy for transport. Make sure you use a sturdy cake. Straight box mix cake will be too soft so make sure you are at least doctoring it up to increase the density. And be sure to have that cake board in between the tiers... VERY important and I am sure that had a lot to do with why your top tier fell.

If you have any questions please feel free to PM me. icon_smile.gif

FromScratch Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 6:40pm
post #15 of 17

I also put a central dowel through the whole thing... just a sharpened 1/4" dowel... for extra insurance.

springlakecake Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 8:37pm
post #16 of 17

That's an awesome drawing!

Having never done a TT cake myself I don't have a lot of ideas. I think it was very ambitious of you to try and I think you should give yourself a big pat on the back!

I do agree that having a cake board between the cakes is a big thing. Dowels really arent going to do much without the support of the board.

Your buttercream might have just been too thick or too cold if it was pulling off. If it wasnt cold, you might just want to try and thin it down a little with some liquid.

Personally I don't like to put fondant on cakes that are cold (on the inside) because it causes it to sweat when it warms up. I do like to pop it in the freezer for a few minutes (less than 10) just to firm up the outside.

dl5crew Posted 21 Nov 2009 , 9:02pm
post #17 of 17

Coming from someone who hasn't tried this yet...


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