Please Help!! Leveling.

Decorating By sister340 Updated 27 Dec 2009 , 12:40am by sister340

sister340 Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 1:38pm
post #1 of 13

I need help!! Every cake I've completed looks a little crooked to me. I level with an agbay, it seems like they get uneven after I fill them. I read that with buttercream you don't need a dam, but to have the outer edge a little thinner than the center so it doesn't bulge. Sometimes my cakes seem higher in the center because of the filling, I think.
The worst problem seems to always be one side a little lower. I use a level.
Do you "shim" your cakes? This is really my largest and most concerning obstacle now.
Any ideas or suggestions??
Thanks;
j.

12 replies
prterrell Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 1:50pm
post #2 of 13

Are you judging the levelness of your cake on or off of the turntable? I find that if I level my cake or judge the levelness on the turntable, it will be crooked. I level all my cakes on the flat countertop and place on the countertop to judge levelness after filling and icing and make any needed adjustments while it is sitting on the countertop.

_Jamie_ Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 1:51pm
post #3 of 13

Hmmmm, you already have the Aston Martin of cake levellers, so we know you're not levelling wrong...nice! Ok. Some people don't dam, myself included. I put an even layer, not higher or lower on any surface of the cake. I don't understand why someone would suggest that, it would make the sides sag in my opinion.

Try the above (even layer) and see if that helps. If not, do this:

Try putting a weight on your cake after filling. Take a cake pan a size larger that the cake you filled (8 inch cake, grab a 10 inch pan) and put a plate or piece of tile inside the pan. Put this on your cake and let it sit there for an hour or so. That will probably level things out for you.

mrswendel Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 1:52pm
post #4 of 13

Are you sure the surface that you are levelling it on is level? I had the same problem and couldn't figure out why until I checked the table I was using and found that it wasn't level!

_Jamie_ Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 1:56pm
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrswendel

Are you sure the surface that you are levelling it on is level? I had the same problem and couldn't figure out why until I checked the table I was using and found that it wasn't level!




I forgot that! Yes--please check that too.

Also, are you absolutely sure you are removing any humps from the cake (if you have them)?

sister340 Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 2:55pm
post #6 of 13

I think the counter is level, I'll check that. prterrel: tell me what you mean about "make any adjustments". I don't think I have humps, I do when the cake comes out of the pan. But then level it off.
I level it on top, the bottom is level, because it was the bottom of the pan.
I usually dam with fruit or creme fillings, which is the majority. I put on the fondant and that's when I start to notice the unevenness. Maybe my fondant is not rolled evenly. Perhaps I need to pay more attention to that. the layers are only off 1/8 to 1/4 inch, but as you know, that's too much for a cake.
It is frustrating to work so hard and have the cake look a little off. No one mentions it, but...........................
I was going to shim the last one with a bit of cake board tucked under but that would have made it so the ribbon didn't sit even against the cake under it
j.

prterrell Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 3:04pm
post #7 of 13

By adjustments, I mean once I've filled the cake and before I ice it, I check to make sure it is level. If it's not, I might deconstruct it and adjust the filling amounts, or I might push down on the top of the cake to make sure it is fully settled. Once I've iced the cake, I'll check it again. Here it might be a case of more swipes with the bowl scraper I use to smooth the icing or maybe adding more icing to part of the cake.

HTH!

Mike1394 Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 4:04pm
post #8 of 13

Once you cut the cake, are yopu putting it back together the same way you took it off?

On your second layer is your bottom of that layer the top of the cake?

Mike

sister340 Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 4:12pm
post #9 of 13

Trying to remember....................I cut the cake in half. Usually I fill it and stack it the way it was cut. I remember sometimes using the bottom of a cake, turned upside down, to be the top.

I level, fill, stack, wrap in plastic wrap and sit in fridge to settle. They look level when I take them out. But maybe I need to be more conscious at this point. checking with level. then I do a crumb coat, then the fondant. It is at this point that I noticed unevenness.

It is almost every cake I make. They look so level coming out of the fridge prior to crumb coat. But before I'm done, they are not.

icon_cry.gif j.
thanks for your tips. I've been making cakes for 6 months. Like I said, this is a reoccuring issue.

j.

_Jamie_ Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 4:34pm
post #10 of 13

Are following the shape of the cake when you ice? Meaning, like if you were driving on a road that had hills and dips, your car follows along nice and snug. Are you icing to the contour of your cake-like a road?

You could have the lumpiest and bumpiest cake in the world, but completely disguise it by following a different guide, like your cake board. And end up with a perfectly straight flat and smooth cake. It's all about disguising the cake.

Get a bench scraper like this: http://common3.csnimages.com/lf/1/hash/1600/309158/1/Bash+%27n+Chop.jpg and I mean just like this. Don't get one with a handle that prevents you from lining it perfectly flush to the cake board.

Put your cake on the turntable, and turn your scraper on it's edge. Apply a LOT of frosting to the sides. Put too much on. It's all about removing excess to reveal a perfect surface. You'll see instant results.

Best thing I can recommend, is Perfecting the Art of Buttercream, a DVD by Sharon (in here-she is known as SugarShack)

sister340 Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 6:35pm
post #11 of 13

Ok, I get it, kind of. So build up with frosting where it is low? keeping cake top parallel to board, not going with curve of cake..............

I'll get the scraper. I have sharon's DVD about fondant, don't have her buttercream one. So even doing fondant, I need to get better at buttercream cause of the crumb coat layer? so much to learn..............

Thanks for helping me.
j.

_Jamie_ Posted 23 Dec 2009 , 6:50pm
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sister340

not going with curve of cake..............




No, not one bit. Follow the curve of the perfectly round board, so you end up with a perfectly round iced cake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sister340

So even doing fondant, I need to get better at buttercream cause of the crumb coat layer?




Abbbbbbsolutely. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think you can be sloppy or half a$$ the icing on a cake that is going to be covered in fondant. I finish my cakes as if they weren't going to have fondant, before I put the fondant on. That way, there is not one bump, lump, low spot, high spot, chunk of icing, whatever, to impede a well smoothed fondant finish.

sister340 Posted 27 Dec 2009 , 12:40am
post #13 of 13

I do take a lot of time with the buttercream coat. It seems I'm much slower than the examples on utube where it seems they throw the frosting on. I'll keep working on it.
thanks;
j.

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