What Am I Doing Wrong?

Decorating By mama_twinkie Updated 26 Jun 2010 , 1:17pm by sadsmile

mama_twinkie Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 11:48pm
post #1 of 21

Hi all,

Sorry for asking such a beginner question, but I haven't been able to figure this out and I can't seem to word the search query correctly to find the answer.

When I frost/ice (not sure of the right word) my cake, I keep taking chunks of cake off while trying to spread the frosting. I'm not talking crumbs...I mean CHUNKS of cake.

I thought maybe the cake was too soft so I tried a couple of different recipes (straight box mix, extender recipe, WASC). I thought maybe the icing was the problem so I tried both indydebi's recipe and the wilton recipe. I even refrigerated the cakes beforehand to see if that would help. No success. What am I doing wrong?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

20 replies
MJoycake Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 12:03am
post #2 of 21

Is your icing too thick, maybe? Icing will pull cake apart if it's not the right consistency/too thick.

FACSlady Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 12:05am
post #3 of 21

Try putting your cake in the fridge for awhile efore you frost it.

nhbaker Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 12:12am
post #4 of 21

Are you crumb coating your cake first? To do this, spread a light thin (you may have to thin your icing a bit too) layer of icing on your cake, then refridgerate until firm. This will set or seal in the crumbs and create a base for your final coat of icing. Good luck!

poohsmomma Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 12:24am
post #5 of 21

If it is a crusting bc recipe, you won't need to refrigerate your crumb coat; it will crust better and quicker if it sits at room temp.

Here's a link to a video that shows how to apply a crumb coat:

Malakin Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 12:43am
post #6 of 21

I had that same problem using the Wilton spatula to ice with. I switched over to using the icing coupler to go around the cake first and seal it all with a thick enough coat and then take the spatula to smooth it out. Now, I have no problem!

mama_twinkie Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 1:41am
post #7 of 21
Originally Posted by Malakin

I had that same problem using the Wilton spatula to ice with. I switched over to using the icing coupler to go around the cake first and seal it all with a thick enough coat and then take the spatula to smooth it out. Now, I have no problem!

Malakin, I never even thought that the problem might be with the spatula! I'm using the Wilton one. I'll have to try your method.

And yes, I've tried to do a crumb coat....but I can't even do that without pulling up the cake. I think maybe my icing is too thick/heavy. Just to make sure, though, I would "thin" it out by adding more liquid, right? Or do I whip/beat it longer? Both?

MJoycake Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 1:50am
post #8 of 21

Yes, you would add more liquid, just a tsp at a time and mix it in thoroughly until you have the right consistency. Best of luck!

Marianna46 Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 1:53am
post #9 of 21

You only need to add more liquid, a little (like a teaspoon or so) at a time, and mix/beat it in. Don't go overboard with the liquid, though - a little can go a long way.

leah_s Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 2:09am
post #10 of 21

Your icing is definitely way too thick/stiff.

mamawrobin Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 2:37am
post #11 of 21

I agree with Leah. Your icing is way too stiff. No need to refrigerate your cakes before icing but you may want to thin your icing and also "crumb coat your cake.

Jenn2179 Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 3:00am
post #12 of 21

I concur, thin down your icing with some more liquid.

Tclanton Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 5:31pm
post #13 of 21

Until recently I discovered that the top layer of the cake needed to be the crusted layer upwards. I wasnt doing it this way and I was pulling off chunks of cake also when trying to crumb coat.

cupcakemkr Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 5:42pm
post #14 of 21

Are you letting your cakes cool off completely before frosting? I wrap mine after they cool and frost the next day. And I agree with others maybe your frosting is too thick.

sadsmile Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 5:45pm
post #15 of 21

It's just like peanut butter and soft white sandwich bread. Push the peanut butter don't drag it across the bread.

So a nice mound of icing on your spatula and push and paddle the icing along- don't drag and pull the icing.

mbark Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 5:50pm
post #16 of 21

what kind of icing do you use? In a pinch I bought the chocolate Wilton decorating icing & couldn't believe how thick it was. Also using an icing coupler/tip will help.

KHalstead Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 5:57pm
post #17 of 21

make sure when you pull the spatula up off of your cake that you pull away on a section of the cake that is iced, otherwise you'll pull off bits of your cake!

BeanCountingBaker Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 6:09pm
post #18 of 21

There are some vidoes on youtube of icing cakes. When you watch someone else do it you think that they are using tons of icing then as the video continues you'll see more and more icing making it back to the bowl as the cake gets smoother and neater. I have learned to use tons of icing and push it around then make multiple passes to remove excess. It's easy to flick your wrist the wrong way and pick up crumbs but having a lot of icing helps keep that from happening. I usually have to tell myself not to panic when the icing bowl seems to be getting low and I've just started. It's amazing how much you take back off to get a smooth cake.

Joyfull4444 Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 6:23pm
post #19 of 21

Heres a couple more video's that might help too.

mama_twinkie Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 5:00am
post #20 of 21

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions and tips. My icing was definitely too thick! I made sure to cream the crisco for a good 15 minutes and that helped a lot too.

Now here's the kicker....now I can't seem to get my icing to stick to the cake! It sticks to the spatula instead, so when I try to smooth it out, it pulls up off of the cake (but at least it's not bringing crumbs with it!). Is it *still* too thick?

sadsmile Posted 26 Jun 2010 , 1:17pm
post #21 of 21

Yes you meed to thin it just a little bit more.

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