Kitagrl Posted 15 May 2010 , 9:31pm
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Did a fondant cake for a bridal shower today, it was a freebie/gift. Did everything like I usually do.

After I served the bigger tier (I did two separated tiers) I sat down and noticed the smaller tier had a HUGE bulge!!!! I poked it to flatten it back out and of course it cracked. I sliced it up to remove it from the plate when we were cleaning up and found sure enough, a HUGE air bubble where the icing separated from the cake.

I wasn't necessarily upset about this particular cake because nobody noticed, and it was fine for most of the shower. What I WAS upset about is the thought/fear that this had happened to other cakes too and I just was never told?????

I did it the same as always...filled and crumb coated/fridge/ice the cake/fridge/fondant (actually it sat overnight in the fridge before the fondant was applied). The bubble did not occur (or rather, become painfully obvious) until it sat at room temp for several hours.

So...how do I know that this will not happen in the future? Yikes.

34 replies
jammjenks Posted 15 May 2010 , 9:37pm
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I think it's a crap-shoot. Several have speculated to the cause of it, but no one seems to be very sure as to why it happens. I've had it happen a time or two with bc, but I rarely cover a cake with fondant.

Kitagrl Posted 15 May 2010 , 9:42pm
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Well I know we can rule out stacking, because they were single tiers, placed on ceramic plates.

I guess maybe somehow there was an air bubble trapped in the buttercream??????

I'm so gun-shy now, worried that this will happen in the future. Because of the timing of it, it would NOT be obvious until well after a delivery, and around serving-time.

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 16 May 2010 , 12:39pm
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I would love to know why this happens too! I had that happen to me when I put my cake in and out of the fridge while decorating. I assumed it was a condensation bead under the icing. Since then I've not refrigerated my cakes (I don't use perishable filling). But now I'm having problems with my fondant not sticking well enough to the cake. You just can't win sometimes! I wish I had the answer, I'm still trying to find it!

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 16 May 2010 , 12:59pm
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By the way kitagrl, your cakes are awesome!

Juneclever Posted 16 May 2010 , 1:55pm
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I am not completely sure about this, but I also had a slight problem with this yesterday in a fondant covered cake. I have found that when I bake my cakes and let them set overnight I don't have this problem. But if I bake a cake and then use it on the same day I will occasionally see this. ??could gas from the cooling cake or ?? some type of reaction be happening inside the cake?

mamawrobin Posted 16 May 2010 , 2:03pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Sugar_Fairy

I would love to know why this happens too! I had that happen to me when I put my cake in and out of the fridge while decorating. I assumed it was a condensation bead under the icing. Since then I've not refrigerated my cakes (I don't use perishable filling). But now I'm having problems with my fondant not sticking well enough to the cake. You just can't win sometimes! I wish I had the answer, I'm still trying to find it!




I don't refrigerate my cakes and this is one of the reasons. Sugar_Fairy..I brush my crusted buttercream with simple syrup using a pastry brush to help my fondant "glue" to the cake. I've watched many tutorials on youtube such as PLANET CAKE on "how to cover a cake with fondant" and this is how they show to do it. I don't have any trouble with my fondant not sticking to my cake. To make simple syrup I mix 1 cup of hot water to 1 cup of sugar. It takes very little brushed on your cake and there is absolutely no problem with condensation like when using water.

imartsy Posted 16 May 2010 , 2:22pm
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Huh. I don't think I've ever seen this - of course, most of my cakes don't have a full fondant covering - I usually use fondant just for decorations. I"d love to see a picture of this though - and find out what the issue is just so I can avoid it in the future!

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 16 May 2010 , 2:39pm
post #9 of

Thank you mamawrobin! I'll try this next time! What type of brush do you use though?

mamawrobin Posted 16 May 2010 , 3:46pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Sugar_Fairy

Thank you mamawrobin! I'll try this next time! What type of brush do you use though?




A pastry brush thumbs_up.gif You can get one at Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby or Michael's for under $5.00.

Kitagrl Posted 16 May 2010 , 4:11pm

As far as I know its never happened to me before....I'm used to working with firm cakes so I'm not sure I'd be able to work with them room temp, plus I use the fridge to keep the cakes safely stored as often I will work on several in one week.

I guess I will just have to work harder on making sure everything is settled and smooth. I *will* say that on that particular cake, I had messed up the fondant and tore a hole in it. I decided not to redo the cake and instead just to put a flower where the hole was (it was a large hole) so I'm wondering if somehow that left an area for icing to sink into or compromised the stability somehow, and then allowed the bubble to form.

It so happened that I've never allowed that large of a hole to stay in fondant, but since this was a freebie and I wasn't planning to let it show, I just let it stay. And so happened this is the cake that allowed the big air bubble....just above the wrecked portion, too, actually.

Hm.

catlharper Posted 16 May 2010 , 4:21pm

From what I understand you have a higher chance of gas bubbles with fondant if you apply the fondant while the cake is cold. I crumbcoat while the cake is cold but then allow two hours for the cake to settle and come to room temp before covering with fondant. The only time I've had gas bubble issues is when I pushed that time schedule and cover too soon. So you may want to wait longer before covering after you take the cakes out of the fridge. I think the gas bubble appeared on your cake as it came up to room temp. HTH. Cat

inspireddecorator Posted 16 May 2010 , 4:22pm

I too have to deal with the air bubble situation. I always thought it was the fondant pulling away from the icing, but now I am thinking maybe it's the buttercream pulling away from the cake. It's a pain as you can't carry on with decorating until you have airbubbles fixed. Nightmare. Sometimes if I roll my fondant a bit thicker and it's not too soft, it helps. But like others have said, it's a crap shoot, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't.

Kitagrl Posted 16 May 2010 , 4:26pm

Its hard to cover a cake with fondant when its not firm though. icon_sad.gif

Yes it did happen when it came to room temp, and it was the icing pulled away from the cake...not the fondant from the icing.

I'm wondering if its ever happened to a delivered cake...I wonder if they'd tell me if it did? To my knowledge it has not, but....I guess one never knows. If it has not, then my odds are pretty good...but if it has...hmm.

artscallion Posted 16 May 2010 , 4:50pm

I always apply my fondant to a completely chilled cake. In fact, I won't let it sit out a minute before fondanting it. Just long enough to run my clean hands under cold water, shake them off and run them over the surface of the buttercream. This gives it a nice final smoothing and a tacky surface for the fondant to adhere to.

The buttercream needs to be firm and smooth with sharp firm edges to get the same result in the fondant. Applying fondant to a room temp cake will give you rounded edges and no real solid surface for the fondant to adhere to.

Once it's fondanted, I leave it at room temp for 12 hours before decorating. This gives any and all problems a chance to surface before decorating, and while it's still in my possession. I think I've only had two bubbles in all the years I've been doing it this way.

I also use cornstarch when I roll out my fondant. So I think the cornstarch/fermenting theory is just a myth. I think that most bubbles are just random occurrences that just happen occasionally, no matter what you do. Think about it. A cake, by its nature is filled with air pockets. So it's inevitable that you'll occasionally get the perfect little storm of circumstances that pull some of this air together to form a bubble.

There are precautions I take that I think help prevent it though.

- LET THE FILLED, UNFROSTED CAKE SETTLE! Probably the most important thing you can do.
- I also will push a dowel down into the center of a fondant covered cake, and then pull it out, before leaving it overnight before decorating. This gives any air that's trying to work itself out a place to go, and a way out besides under your fondant sides. This only works if you'll be stacking later to cover the hole...or placing a decoration over it.

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 16 May 2010 , 5:49pm

I was just on the Satin Ice website and watched a video by Mercedes Strachwsky - Two Layer Cake. She inserts small straws into the fondant-covered cake so that air can escape and not cause problems later. Have you guys ever heard of this? Anyone ever tried it? I'm desperate to find out why these bubbles, blow outs, air trapped under fondant happens. I'm on a mission, lol! Check out this video guys and see what you think (she does it at the end).

mamawrobin Posted 16 May 2010 , 6:03pm

I've never thought of it but I use straws as supports in my cakes. Maybe this is one reason I don't have any problem with bubbles?

Kitagrl Posted 16 May 2010 , 8:59pm

Oh that's very interesting because this bubble was caused on a single-tiered cake!!!!! No straws, or even wires stuck into it, or anything.

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 18 May 2010 , 6:50pm

Hey guys! I heard back from Mercedes. She is an amazing decorator from Florida. Her bakery is called Bake Me A Cake. She used to have her pictures on here, but I can't find them now. I saw her video on Satin Ice and asked her about the straws in the sides of the cake. She puts them there when she is done covering the cake with fondant so that any trapped air can escape. She told me to insert small straws right into the cake. You can see this video on the Satin Ice website. Maybe this method will help with this "trapped air" problem we are all having. She was so nice and said that I can call her anytime with questions. And she also has a detailed technique book that will be coming out soon. If anyone tries this before I do, let me know how it goes. Thanks!

Peridot Posted 18 May 2010 , 7:02pm

Question....

And then what do you do about all of the little holes that are in the fondant covered cake? Decorations don't necessarily go on every place that there is a little hole and those holes aren't that little. You can see a pin prick in a perfectly covered fondant cake.

I have seen her video on the Satin Ice site and I wondered about that the first time I saw it.

Thanks

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 18 May 2010 , 8:55pm

Very true Peridot! I guess you'd have to have decorations on the cake if you did it this way. Does anyone else have any ideas on how to avoid this problem?

Kitagrl Posted 18 May 2010 , 9:14pm

I don't know that my customers would like straws in the cake if it was not for support...hm.

lecrn Posted 18 May 2010 , 9:49pm

Not sure I'd like to stick straws into the sides either. Maybe for a 1 tier, stick a bubble tea straw right down the center (that is, if you had a decoration to go on top)?
I have a lot of problems with bubbles and bc covered cake too. I let my cakes thaw from the freezer @ rm temp, fill & crumb coat, let settle several hrs/overnight, then apply the bc. I always get bubbles when I'm smoothing. I just poke the bubble with a toothpick then re-smooth. The hole usually just disappears.
I think that the air is either btw the cake & bc or btw the bc & fondant.
I've never heard of letting the cake settle again after the fondant if applied (before the decor). I'm going to try that.

MissRobin Posted 18 May 2010 , 9:49pm

I recently did two cakes back to back, and had air bubbles in two of the tiers, to the extent, that they cracked and made a mess. One was easy to fix and hide, the other not so easy. The only correlation between the two tiers (for different cakes), was I used the same green fondant on both. I had baked and iced and let them settle, I even did the tile method on top while settling! It is such a mystery why this happens so randomly and can really cause a lot of heartache!!! On one of the bubbles, the one that was easy to hide, I took my hairdryer and put it on the coolest setting, and ever so slightly heated my fondant up and was able to close the crack pretty easily, the other one I had to make a design change to hide it!! Crazy, frustrating stuff.

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 18 May 2010 , 10:09pm

Sorry if I wasn't clear... you remove the straws when you place a decoration in that spot.

Kitagrl Posted 18 May 2010 , 10:19pm

See now here's the thing...on my cake that bubbled (it was the smaller cake in the navy flower ones I uploaded recently...the bubble happened on the smaller cake above the flower, you cannot see it in the pic because it did not happen yet) I had a HUGE boo-boo in the fondant, and basically the entire place under the flower was ripped. So technically until I put the flower on, there was room for air to escape. But the air didn't start to try to escape until it came to room temp.

So I guess the straws would not work unless the cake was allowed to come to room temp...?

The_Sugar_Fairy Posted 18 May 2010 , 10:27pm

Beautiful cakes Kitagrl! Well maybe it's a combination then of letting the air escape but while at room temperature. Wow, complicated stuff, eh? I just would love to know the answer though, because it's really stressful wondering if a cake you've made for a customer is going to be okay. Let keep each other updated on what works and what doesn't and maybe ONE DAY we'll figure this out, lol!

artscallion Posted 18 May 2010 , 10:40pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

See now here's the thing...on my cake that bubbled (it was the smaller cake in the navy flower ones I uploaded recently...the bubble happened on the smaller cake above the flower, you cannot see it in the pic because it did not happen yet) I had a HUGE boo-boo in the fondant, and basically the entire place under the flower was ripped. So technically until I put the flower on, there was room for air to escape. But the air didn't start to try to escape until it came to room temp.

So I guess the straws would not work unless the cake was allowed to come to room temp...?




I make my escape hole for the air just after covering a cold cake with fondant. Then the cake sits out at room temp for 12 hours before I decorate. This lets the cake settle completely while coming to room temp and the air forms/gathers/escapes.

I only do one hole and I always know in advance where my decorations will be going. And as someone has said, you just make a hole with the straw or dowel. You can't leave it in for any time or the escape hole won't work, because it's filled with dowel or cake filled straw, and thus not a good escape route.

Kitagrl Posted 18 May 2010 , 11:05pm

I really don't have a safe place to put a cake at room temp for 12 hours....oh well... I better just hope that the cakes continue to be safe. haha. Sometimes my bigger cakes I actually work on them long enough to see them at room temp....the smaller cakes (like the one in the thread) not so much.

dalis4joe Posted 18 May 2010 , 11:21pm

most of use fondant the cake with a chilled cake... I have a spray bottle and it's set to mist.... I mist the cake with water then put the fondant....

as far as the air bubble Kita.... did you read leah's thread on "burping" a cake?
her tech. helped me a lot and now I don't have any air pockets.... I used to have to use a pin to deflate them.... but now I don't have to.... it's a good way to make sure this will not happen....

hth

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