Wedding Cake Problem

Decorating By hpcakes Updated 11 Dec 2009 , 6:51pm by Rosa2745

hpcakes Posted 24 Nov 2009 , 9:31pm
post #1 of 54

Okay so my first problem with my wedding cake is that it was crooked. Next I can't seem to get my icing smoothing enough on my cakes so they look like this. There is a easy way to smooth my cakes I tried viva and didn't work for me. Please help.
LL

53 replies
indydebi Posted 24 Nov 2009 , 9:37pm
post #2 of 54

When you cut your dowels, did you cut one, then measure the rest of them against that one? Or did you do each one individually? You should insert a dowel, mark it, cut it, then use that one as your measuring stick.

The cake I did last weekend had 2 dowels that stuck up out of the cake about 1/8" higher than the other two. The cake had a couple of high spots .... the dowels were all the same height, which means the cake would be level.

It looks like you needed to add more icing. I remember in my early days, I was like almost afraid to put "too much" icing on a cake, but that what you have to do. Edna (and others) has some great videos on doing this. Really pile the icing on there .... then when you take your spatula or bench scraper to smooth it, removing all of that excess icing is easy and actually helps with the smoothing. You're not actually smoothing the icing that's on there .... you're removing the excess, leaving a smooth trail of icing in your wake. thumbs_up.gif

Overall, you did a good job. work on starting out with more icing and you'll be amazed how much easier that smoothing job will be for you! thumbs_up.gif

Texas_Rose Posted 25 Nov 2009 , 4:58am
post #3 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by browniebatterer

Was this cake for a client? If so, you need a LOT more practice before you start selling them.




That's mean. thumbsdown.gif

She didn't ask if the cake was good enough to sell, she asked for smoothing advice.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 25 Nov 2009 , 5:30am
post #4 of 54

Chilling your cake can help considerably. The cold cake helps the frosting set up quicker. It also makes the warm spatula method work so well.

whit6 Posted 25 Nov 2009 , 5:36am
post #5 of 54

I still struggle with smooth cakes as well so you are not alone! But just like indydebi said you just need to use ALOT of icing. Ever notice how theres like 1/2-3/4 in of icing on the end of your slice of cake at a weeding? Its he only way to get it smooth.
In culinary school my chef always said to just MOUND it up on the side. You want so much on it that as you go around the sides you will build up an excess towards the top Then you use your spatula and go at angle toward the edge and sort of "cut off" the excess and smooth as you drag across the top.

indydebi Posted 25 Nov 2009 , 5:46am
post #6 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by whit6

In culinary school my chef always said to just MOUND it up on the side. You want so much on it that as you go around the sides you will build up an excess towards the top Then you use your spatula and go at angle toward the edge and sort of "cut off" the excess and smooth as you drag across the top.


This is a very good description! thumbs_up.gif

whit6 Posted 25 Nov 2009 , 5:51am
post #7 of 54

Why thank you haha i actualy kept rereading it to see if it even made sense lol

browniebatterer Posted 25 Nov 2009 , 5:52am
post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Quote:
Originally Posted by browniebatterer

Was this cake for a client? If so, you need a LOT more practice before you start selling them.



That's mean. thumbsdown.gif

She didn't ask if the cake was good enough to sell, she asked for smoothing advice.



Um, it's in the disasters section. And she griped about it being crooked as well. I'm not being mean, I am being honest. And if you sell a cake of this quality, you are going to get burned, big time. Like promising something perfect and then ending up on Cake Wrecks. That's why I told her about SPS and Sugarshack.

LeckieAnne Posted 25 Nov 2009 , 5:56am
post #9 of 54

Yes, it looks like your icing was put on too thin. I think I can actually see some of the cake showing through the icing. Also - what icing recipe are you using? I think some of them are easier to smooth than others. Indydebi's icing tastes great and smooths really well.

Also - I found over time that it helps to thin the icing consistency out more than I would have thought. It's easier to smooth if it's not too thick or stiff. Just takes a little bit longer to "crust" so that you can do the viva smoothing method.

Here's a link to her icing recipe:




Keep trying - your cake actually looks pretty good. icon_smile.gif

JanH Posted 25 Nov 2009 , 6:01am
post #10 of 54

Everything you need to know to make, decorate and assemble tiered/stacked/layer cakes:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-605188-.html

HTH

muddpuppy Posted 25 Nov 2009 , 8:55pm
post #11 of 54

Keep trying... the more cakes you do, the more confident you'll get, the happier you'll be with them...

hpcakes Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 2:00am
post #12 of 54

browniebatterer wrote:
Was this cake for a client? If so, you need a LOT more practice before you start selling them.


I never said this was for a client I was just practicing and wanted to know why is it that my cake was crooked. I never claimed to be a professional by even a long shot. And I would never sale something like this to a client icon_sad.gif

hpcakes Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 2:06am
post #13 of 54

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I have been frustrated with myself because I really love making cakes but can't get them the way I want them to be. And it all comes back to smoothing for me on all the cakes I've made. I have learned from this and moved on. I used seriouscakes recipe for buttercream.
LL

Texas_Rose Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 4:27am
post #14 of 54

You should try Indydebi's recipe for buttercream...that stuff does not melt icon_biggrin.gif It crusts really well and you can smooth it with the foam roller (Melvira method).

It looks like maybe your icing consistency was a little thin, just from the looks of the shell border, or maybe it was melting in the bag from the warmth of your hands, if your recipe has butter in it.

It helps to let the cake settle once the filling is in, before you put the frosting on the outside, so the cake doesn't settle later and leave a bulge.

I'm glad you didn't let one mean person discourage you...CakeCentral is a great place to learn and there are tons of helpful and supportive people here!

What did you use to make the texture? That's a really interesting texture.

chefjess819 Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 4:47am
post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose


What did you use to make the texture? That's a really interesting texture.




it kinda looks like bubble wrap! I LOVE BUBBLE WRAP!!! lol...very awesome.. icon_lol.gif

jackmo Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 5:16am
post #16 of 54

hon just keep trying for practice makes perfect. amd the more you practice the better you will get. just keep telling yourself i can do it!!! And please keep posting. some folks need to go to the school of tact.

FromScratch Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 5:32am
post #17 of 54

It looks like a.) your icing is way too thin and b.) you aren't putting enough on.

Keep at it... it's the only way to get better. We all started somewhere. icon_smile.gif

CarolAnn Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 6:08am
post #18 of 54

Yah, you just need to put the icing on thicker (be generous) so you can scrape it off to get a smooth even finish you want. Takes practice and practice. Go to Wal Mart or somewhere you can get a bench scraper or wall paper smoothing tool to use for scraping the icing off the top and sides of your cakes. I think I gave about $1.28 for the one I got in the wall papering section. Both of your cakes are pretty. I was going to ask about the texture on the second. Very interesting! Keep it up, you do pretty work! Just think what you can do with more practice! Yee ha!

jennicita Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 6:29am
post #19 of 54

All those tips have really helped me get my cakes smoother, too.

One other thing: when putting icing on and smoothing, don't blindly follow the contour of the cake. Decide what shape your final cake should have and remove just enough icing to get that shape. If your cake droops a little on one side, ignore that and simply make sure the icing ends up level. Inside it doesn't matter if one side has 1/4" of icing and the other has 3/4". The main thing is that the exterior of the icing is level and smooth.

Hope that helps!

Jenny

DetailsByDawn Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 7:08am
post #20 of 54

I wish I had the patience to do practice 3-tier cakes!! Keep at it, you'll just get better and better! All the advice you're getting is tried and true. Make sure to listen to Indydebi and mark and measure your dowels - it has helped even my wonkiest cakes become magically level!! Smoothing just takes practice - keep trying and you'll find your groove. Thanks for sharing and please let us know what you did to make that texture on the second cake you posted - it's very unique!

hpcakes Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 8:06am
post #21 of 54

LOL I used a paper towel to make the texture because my icing wouldn't crust. Had to find a way to get past that. My icing always starts to melt in my hands. When I make my next one I will make sure to use Indydebi's recipe. I have it saved in my favorites. Yeah I still have a ways to go. Considering I only have been serious about this since July. I started cake decorating last year but really didn't make cakes like that. So i'm trying every other week to get practice.

hpcakes Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 8:15am
post #22 of 54

Thank you so much for these encouraging words. And i'm going to try my best and practice, practice, practice. Yeah I didn't use a special paper towel just a regular dollar store pack of paper towels,lol.
@Carolann, Walmart is my home away from home, lol. I was wondering where I could get something to make it smoother. I like the bench scraper thing and will have to look into that. I would like to work with fondant but I don't know if I could do it. However it does seem easier than buttercream because you can do some many things and cover mistakes from your cake, lol.

indydebi Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 8:49am
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by hpcakes

Yeah I didn't use a special paper towel just a regular dollar store pack of paper towels,lol.


That is amazing that you got that look with a paper towel! I luv it and will definitely be giving it a try!

This is such a great example of how we all learn something new from this site .... from novice to professional! Thanks for sharing! thumbs_up.gif

-K8memphis Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 10:13am
post #24 of 54

Here's another icing/construction idea for you to consider.

You may or may not want to add it to your repetoire right away but anyway-- I have learned that after I stack a tier if I trim a little bit of cake off the sides all the way around--kinda like shaving the sides so it's all 'bald' and perfectly level it really helps when I then apply that overabundance of icing and go back and scrape off the excess, the cake never peeps through anywhere. If I hold my scraper straight while twirling the turntable my icing comes out great.

Previously, I'd have to fight with the icing some to get it to conform to a slightly irregular shape underneath. Once I made the surface perfectly uniform the icing is even easier to apply.

I put the chilled cake on a footed turntable, put a parchment or sheet tray under it and shave off sections going top to bottom in approximatley one inch slices.

An icing idea for you.

Wiltonlady Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 12:34pm
post #25 of 54

You're on your way, dear. I think the secret is to practice, practice, and practice some more.

hpcakes Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 3:58pm
post #26 of 54

To everyone is there any cake that you would call easy to do? Because I need practice but don't want to go all out and make a whole lot of cake. My family can only eat so much cake.(lol)@ K8Memphis I am always looking for good advice and thank you so very much.

-K8memphis Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 4:10pm
post #27 of 54

Got another idea for yah. Consider making a couple mini cakes--bake a shallow cake and cut out the cake layers using either graduated cookie cutters or cut out shapes & sizes in advance out of foam core or even paper patterns.

And decide if you wanna torte that shallow layer, stack it to make it a two layer tier or use it as is. You'll get a look at dimension and how to play with sizes and setups without investing tons in ingredients/calories.

Minis present a little bit type of different challenge but it's a way to keep progressing/practicing on a smaller scale.

For example--do star cakes, heart cakes, round, square--do buttercream smoothy smooth smooth and try fondant covered. It's still gonna be an additional learning curve to do a full fledged regular sized cake--but just some thought for you.

DetailsByDawn Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 4:38pm
post #28 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by hpcakes

LOL I used a paper towel to make the texture because my icing wouldn't crust. Had to find a way to get past that. My icing always starts to melt in my hands. When I make my next one I will make sure to use Indydebi's recipe. I have it saved in my favorites. Yeah I still have a ways to go. Considering I only have been serious about this since July. I started cake decorating last year but really didn't make cakes like that. So i'm trying every other week to get practice.




Def. try Indydebi's buttercream, but in addition to that, it seems like you have "hot hands". I do too and it is a challenge that I was constantly struggling with. The easiest way to keep it under control is filling 2 piping bags when you start, instead of one. Put one in the fridge while you work with the other. As soon as the first starts to get soft, top it up and put in in the fridge and start working with your second, already chilled bag - then switch back and forth as needed. Also, as you're working, stop for a second and run your hands under cold water for a few seconds, dry, and continue working. It really only takes a few more minutes than it does for those with cool hands, but it makes a HUGE difference. I hope this might help you!! Good luck and keep those cakes coming!

mommyle Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 4:52pm
post #29 of 54

hpcakes, you should invest in some dummy cakes. The only problem with them is that they are so darn light, every time I try to work with them they slide all over the place. So glue it down with Royal Icing to your work surface, and away you go!

erinalicia Posted 27 Nov 2009 , 5:43pm
post #30 of 54

The only time I have a problem with my icing melting on me is when I use an all butter or high butter ratio icing. If I use all shortening or 3/4 shortening I don't have an issue with melting or being too soft to crust. I do have the problem with "hot hands" though. I just try to work really fast, wear gloves or just do small areas at a time and put the piping bag into the fridge or freezer for a few seconds. It's a pain.

I agree with applying more icing. I put WAY more needed on, and after using my bench scraper I end up putting about half back in the bowl, and I still have areas where I've taken off too much and I'll have to put more back on and smooth again.

Seriously, check out SugarShack's Buttercream DVD. It's awesome! She shows you how to straighten the sides of your cake before you ever put icing on the cake and it helps a lot. I just don't always take the time to do it. icon_sad.gif

Good Luck!

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