From Perfect To Saggy.... ???

Decorating By SusD Updated 18 Apr 2010 , 1:55pm by Sassy74

SusD Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 4:08pm
post #1 of 23

Yesterday I made my first topsy turvy. I had made the cakes (red velvet, Sarah's Tweaked recipe) previously and had frozen them. Everything went perfectly... from the carving, to the icing, to the fondant, to the stacking. I went to bed last night all smug with pride.

THEN... this morning I find that my top layer had sunk! Not into the bottom layer, but into itself. How can that be? Did the cake settle? The dowel that I had run all the way through the cake was sticking out almost half an inch at the top whereas last night it was all the way in. And, the fondant had now turned to elephant skin. My perfect beautiful fondant!!! The bottom layer was fine, thank goodness.

So... what did I do wrong? After I iced and stacked the cakes, I put them in the fridge for a couple of hours to "settle", or so I thought. I put fondant on them right after they came out, so that it was firm. Then stacked. Is that correct? I'm thinking that maybe I should have let them settle at room temp? Maybe even overnight?

Yikes. I really hope this cake makes it until 4pm today! I delivered and I almost don't even want to know.

Here's an after and before pic.

22 replies
cakemamaP Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 4:43pm
post #2 of 23

oh I'm so sorry that happened to you...I've had this happen once before, I haven't done a tonne of cakes but I found that I let the cake settle at room temp it seems to work out better, also I found that I need to stick to a slightly more stiff vanilla or choclate for the outside layer....I've used the chambord icing recipe to ice the cake and it totally bulged....mind you that was the same time that I let the cake settle in the fridge b/c it had cream cheese in the icing. So really don't know if it was the icing or the fridge. Okay so maybe that wasn't all that helpful....but your cake is so well done, I hope it holds up for you:0)

elainem51 Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 5:01pm
post #3 of 23

The same thing happened to me, last week..... It was not a topsy turvy but a flower pot that was made from the doll dress pan......If anyone know the reason and solution, please help! Thank you so much.

jojonrek Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 6:19pm
post #4 of 23

I'm newer at the cake making thing too, but what I was taught by an expert for proper storage of a fondant cake (especially if you have a buttercream frosting) is to put your cake in a box in the refrigerator until the day of your party. You then take your cake out of the refrigerator but KEEP IT IN THE BOX - don't even peek. It will be tempting to look, but keep it in the box at room temperature for 2-3 hours...I error on longer. After 2-3 hours you can remove the cake and stack unless your stored it stacked. This whole process is suppose to prevent the falling as well as the sweating that can happen with your fondant. It preserves the buttercream as well. A cake falls and sweats when the there is too drastic of a temperature change. Therefore, leaving it in the box helps the cake to change temperature slowly. I hope that helps!

mamawrobin Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 6:32pm
post #5 of 23

When I'm doing a stacked cake I always let the tiers rest before I stack them. Don't know if this is why I've never had the "sagging" problem or not but it's the reason I do it that way. I figure if it's going to shift or sag or whatever it's much easier to correct the problem if it isn't already stacked. I don't stack my cake until all of the tiers are fully decorated. I maybe an oddball in doing things that way but it's my way icon_lol.gif .

I've never done a topsy-turvy but I have done a few that were tapered to be smaller at the bottom. I also don't use a filling that requires refrigeration when I'm using fondant. I know that some say you can successfully refrigerate a fondant covered cake but I've never been able to. The one fondant covered cake that I did refrigerate had serious issues icon_lol.gif

Anyway, so sorry this happened to you. I love your cake. I commented on it and saved it to my favorites thumbs_up.gif

hamie Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 6:38pm
post #6 of 23

It looks like it settled. Did you give it some time after filling to tell it settle? I fill and crumb coat, then let it rest over night. If time is an issue I place a book or tile on top for a few hours.

tiggy2 Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 6:40pm
post #7 of 23

It looks like a support problem. Did you use boards and support for every 2 layers of cake?

still_learning Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 6:42pm
post #8 of 23

What type of icing did you use? Since you wrote about red velvet cake I was wondering if you used a cream cheese icing. I've read lots of stuff on here about bad results with regular cream cheese icing under fondant. So sorry - I know how hard it is to wake up to find a mess waiting for you!

leah_s Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 7:19pm
post #9 of 23

1. Cake won't really settled in the fridge. The torted and filled cake needs to spend 12-24 hours at room temp to settle or two - three hours if you weight the top of it. then you can ice it.
2. Unless you have used a perishable filling there is NEVER a reason to refrigerate a cake. Never. Stop doing that. Better yet, just don't use perishable fillings. You've got options.
3. That's a really nice cake!

SusD Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 8:21pm
post #10 of 23

Thanks everyone! The filling for the cake is buttercream and the top tier was supported on a board with 4 dowels in the bottom tier. The whole support system felt very secure... even on the drive over to the party.

I think my big mistake was to not let it settle at room temp before I put the fondant on. In my head I was thinking that while the icing was nice and hard from the fridge that it'd be better to put the fondant on. Lesson learned! Must settle at ROOM temperature!!

I just "cake-stalked" the party and the cake is holding up. It's sagged another .25 inch or so, but at least it hasn't "turvyed" over!

luddroth Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 8:35pm
post #11 of 23

When I saw the title of this thread, I thought it was about aging... you know, "from perfect to saggy".....

dstbni Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 8:47pm
post #12 of 23
Originally Posted by luddroth

When I saw the title of this thread, I thought it was about aging... you know, "from perfect to saggy".....

Ha ha, I thought the exact same thing. I was gonna say "happens to the best of us, hon!"

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 8:48pm
post #13 of 23

Personally I think it's from condensation. I always let my cakes sit out of the fridge for at least two hours before covering with fondant. Make sure the cake is at ROOM TEMPERATURE before covering with fondant. I too learned this the hard way when I had a blow out on one of my cakes.

elainem51 Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 10:46pm
post #14 of 23

Would you pleased share what you use for delicious non perishable fillings that you use that does not need refridgeration.... and where to find the recipes... thank you so much...
and if you make buttercream with butter and hi-ratio shortening does it need to be refridgerated or can it set out at room temp?
what if you use butter and cream cheese to make a cream cheese buttercream?

mamawrobin Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 10:59pm
post #15 of 23

Just wanted to say that I fill and ice my cakes several hours or the day before I cover with fondant. That way they have time to settle before adding the fondant. In my previous post I failed to mention that very important step icon_lol.gif

cheatize Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 11:13pm
post #16 of 23

It's confusing to me. Sometimes I read to fondant cold and sometimes I read don't fondant cold. What's a caker to do?
Sorry about your sag.

Debi2 Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 11:17pm
post #17 of 23

Great tips everyone! I've been having issues with this too. I now realize it's because I wasn't letting the cake settle at room temperature. I had never read or heard that before now. Can't wait to do another stacked cake now because I have a feeling things will go much better icon_smile.gif

Reimagining_Confections Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 11:45pm
post #18 of 23
Originally Posted by luddroth

When I saw the title of this thread, I thought it was about aging... you know, "from perfect to saggy".....

Yup I wasn't thinking of cake when i saw this topic either I was thinking of my chest before children then after icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif . Hey if you guys have a way to fix THAT sagging after perfection icon_wink.gif let me know! No surgery please!

Sorry about the cake. Yeah, room temp. and I even use a 2- 5lb dumbbell weight on a cake board on mine. I figure if it doesn't settle after that weight on it overnight(it ain't gonna!).

Win Posted 17 Apr 2010 , 11:49pm
post #19 of 23
Originally Posted by cheatize

It's confusing to me. Sometimes I read to fondant cold and sometimes I read don't fondant cold. What's a caker to do?
Sorry about your sag.

Right! Some of the biggest names in the biz advise to cover a cake when it has been chilled. Mind you, chilled is different than "cold." For me, ideally, filling the cake and crumb-coating the afternoon/evening before I begin the laying of fondant, etc. is my best outcome. I wrap it in plastic and allow it to settle overnight. The next day, I take care of any bulge between the torted layers, add the final coat of bc and then I chill it for about twenty minutes in the fridge --not long enough so that it gets so cold it has to come back up to room temp. That give it just enough for the fondant to go on and adhere beautifully to the cake.

That's a darling cake! Sorry it sagged on you.

leah_s Posted 18 Apr 2010 , 12:01am
post #20 of 23

Win - perfect instructions!

Kitagrl Posted 18 Apr 2010 , 12:12am
post #21 of 23

What I don't understand is howcome for some, cold is horrible, but for ppl like me, room temp is horrible!

My caking improved a TON once I learned the value (at least for me) of keeping everything cold at all times until served (then sit at room temp at least 2 hours). I can't imagine doing it different. Before I had my refrigerators I did stuff room temp and it was SO hard for me.

But I guess its different for everyone.

Toptier Posted 18 Apr 2010 , 5:00am
post #22 of 23

I'm with you, Kitagrl, cold is my friend. I think it depends on the materials you're using. Some use SMBC/IMBC, some use crusting bc, some with butter, some with shortening, ganache, it goes on and on, the variables. You just have to learn what works for you and topsy turvys in particular will test you!

For me, I have found that ganache is the best to use for TT cakes as it provides great external structure to the cake - no sagging. If I have to use bc for some reason I would definitely do as Leah says and let that settle overnight or put some weight on the top, then cover with bc the next day. And, use a thin piece of fondant - 1/8" if you can do it, a heavy piece will put a lot of weight on the top pulling down.

This is what I've learned works for me.

Sassy74 Posted 18 Apr 2010 , 1:55pm
post #23 of 23

So sorry this happened, dear!

I have to agree with Win and Kitagirl. I always let my filled (but not iced) cakes settle at room temp overnight. If I'm covering with fondant, I pop them into the fridge for about 20 min, then cover.

Also, I've learned that if I'm covering with fondant, I have to use a cake that's more dense, and stiff dam in my filling. A cake that's really moist might sag under the weight of the fondant. Not sure about the red velvet recipe you used, but it's just a thought.

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