So What's Your "dam" Secret?

Decorating By emiyeric Updated 16 Dec 2009 , 1:20am by Nellical

emiyeric Posted 14 Dec 2009 , 10:37pm
post #1 of 17

No, I'm not cursing! I'm wondering what everybdoy does to make their dams as stiff as possible when stacking, since my dams never quite seem to be as large and sturdy as I would like. I know the correct mode of application, but what to do to get it as strong as I want?

16 replies
Loucinda Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 1:29am
post #2 of 17

I just add powdered sugar to my regular buttercream till VERY stiff and then hand roll it into a rope - put on the cake where I want it - works perfectly. (and no icing bag to deal with)

indydebi Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 1:37am
post #3 of 17

I just use the same icing that I use to ice the cake. I don't mix it any sturdier or thicker just because I'm using it for the dam.

3GCakes Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 1:44am
post #4 of 17

I just use my normal IMBC. Never had a problem.

Nellical Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 2:03am
post #5 of 17

I use regular BC but sometimes that is still not sturdy enough if I am doing a strawberry shortcake filling. One of my favorites is modeling chocolate, rolling it like Loucinda said. I use that when filling a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse. Have't tried white chocolate modeling chocolate yet but it should go very nicely with the strawberry shortcake filling.

emiyeric Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 3:17am
post #6 of 17

Thanks, guys! Indydebi and 3GCakes, I usually use my regular buttercream (or ganache) as well, but still have issues sometimes getting crisp sides with no bulging between layers. Nellical and Loucinda, with such a stiff dam, do you guys have issues when applying the crumbcoat, trying to shave off any salient dam bits to get it all even with the sides of the cake? Thanks for all your feedback, guys!

indydebi Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 3:27am
post #7 of 17

Do you place the dam slightly inside the edge of the cake? This helps prevent bulging because when you place the top layer on and press down, the dam 'rolls' to the outer edge of the cake .... instead of rolling outside the edge of the cake.

If I place mine too far in and after assembly, the dam isn't right on the edge, I just pipe in some icing while I give it a spin on the turntable ... like adding caulking between tiles. Then use the spatula to scrape it smooth, apply crumbcoat and let it set overnight.

lilthorner Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 3:30am
post #8 of 17

if I am using buttercream as a filling I don't use a dam.. If I am making a mousse, I use a dam out of the same buttercream that I am icing the cake with. I try to plan so my cakes settle for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. I trim off any bulge that I get from the settling

Sassy74 Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 3:40am
post #9 of 17

I use Sugarshack's technique...VERY stiff BC piped out of a bag (just cut a hole...no coupler) right to the edge of the cake, then fill with regular BC or whatever. Seal the seam with regular BC. I've found it extremely helpful to let the filled cake sit over night to settle before crumbcoating or icing. Since using her method, I've had NO BULGING DAMS!

emiyeric Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 3:08pm
post #10 of 17

Thanks, guys! VERY helpful! I'm going to try one of those double-tall cakes, since I LOVE how pretty the odd dimensions look, but I would hate to have odd bulging and disfigurements here. Thanks so much!

lilthorner Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 3:27pm
post #11 of 17

for the double tall cake, you should put a board in between the layers..
taya did a tutorial on flickr here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/deliciously_decadent/sets/72157621850372685/

Loucinda Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 4:08pm
post #12 of 17

I have just gotten in the habit of using that stiff buttercream as a dam -no matter what the filling is. I NEVER have a bulge since doing it that way. I know a lot of folks don't use anything special, but for me, that is what works. I don't put the dam right on the edge, I put it just a tad inside the edge of the cake, after putting the top tier on, I then go back and fill any spaces that might be there with additional buttercream before I crumbcoat.

One other thing I do, is after baking, (BEFORE any icing) I wrap the layers in plastic wrap, and stack them however they are going to be on the final cake. I let them set like that for a couple of hours or so. THEN I unwrap them and do the filling, crumbcoat and icing. I do not ever put cakes in the refrigerator either. Never had a problem. (I do not use any thing that requires refrigeration though)

Mike1394 Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 4:50pm
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I just use the same icing that I use to ice the cake. I don't mix it any sturdier or thicker just because I'm using it for the dam.





Yeah.

Mike

Mensch Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 6:14pm
post #14 of 17

My dam(ned) secret?

White trash frosting (yes, we really do call it that). You know the stuff..... butter and powdered sugar and vanilla and milk. The really gross stiff kind that grits in your teeth.

I ice all my cakes in SMBC, but we always use WT for the dam.

Nellical Posted 15 Dec 2009 , 6:27pm
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mensch

My dam(ned) secret?

White trash frosting (yes, we really do call it that). You know the stuff..... butter and powdered sugar and vanilla and milk. The really gross stiff kind that grits in your teeth.

I ice all my cakes in SMBC, but we always use WT for the dam.




Hahahahaha! Love it!

emiyeric Posted 16 Dec 2009 , 12:38am
post #16 of 17

LOL @ Mensch! Thanks, guys, this is a wealth of tips and information. Loucinda, your stacking-without-filling method is actually what I currently do, although I typically end up freezing for a day or so. And thanks for the tip of piping inside (not flush with the edge) for the dam ... for some reason (meaning my lack of more frequent practice), the Sugarshack method has not quite jelled for me yet, and the dam doesn't quite seem to hold its own when I pipe right on the edge. But this is wonderful, thanks for the advice. And thanks, lilthorner, for the tutorial. I'm excited to try this thing ... I'd been getting a little bored lately, and this is something a little different icon_wink.gif.

Nellical Posted 16 Dec 2009 , 1:20am
post #17 of 17

I too am grateful for the info on the positioning of the dams and will implement it right away.

Told my DH about the WT frosting after dinner while tasting a new cake recipe I tried today. After I told him it was WT frosting he replied it was WTF. Mensch, you made my day!

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