I just started making cakes and decorating them. I have been using the box cakes at wal-mart because i havnt found a good homemade recipe that will stay together and allow me to have tiers. I just made my daughters 1st birthday cake, as i started putting the bottom tier together the top layer started cracking and the next thing i know part of the top layer starts falling off. I put it in the freezer with some drinking straws for support but when i toke it out and decorated it, the bottom tier only held up for just a few hours then it started to fall apart and you could see the straws but by that time we were eating it so it worked out ok. I just want some advice on how to avoid having my cakes fall apart.
Any tips are welcome too.
Thanks for reading, Im very new at cake making and writing about it.
Did you use cake boards under the tiers, or just straws?
Welcome to our little "club" here on CC. You will find out SOOO much about cake baking and decorating here...really..like a free cake school here! Anyways, here are some tips:
When baking your cake use pans that have straight sides...you may have to buy new pans to do so if you are using the old style Wilton that have slanted sides. There are several lines, such as Magic Line, that have great pans for you. Before pouring your batter into the pan cut a round of parchment (and the wonderful thing is you can buy them already in circles!!! Look online if you don't have a cake supply store near you...they are an indulgence but wonderful) and place the parchment into the bottom of a sprayed pan. You will never ever have sticking cakes again. When they are done baking then you want to run an offset spatula around the sides to loosen it up and then wait for about 10 mins for the cakes to cool a bit in the pan (don't rush this or you may end up with burnt fingers!) Tip the cake over onto a cooling rack and then immediatly cover it with another cooling rack and turn it over again. This will let the domed side of the cake be face up. If you leave it domed side down then the pressure from the dome will crack the cake. Let the cake cool completely and then level the cake with a serrated knife or cake leveler. (this gives you cake top which is not only a treat but can let you know how your cake tastes before anyone else. You don't need the cake top for anything so it's just extra cake) At this point you will be able to see how cool and cooked your cake is.
There are many schools of thought of what comes next so I'll just tell you what I do. After the cake is completely cooled I wrap each layer in Press and Seal wrap twice and then put it into the freezer for overnight. The next day I take the cake out of the freezer, unwrap, fill and then crumbcoat the cake. Then I walk away for at least 2 hours (more if you have the time) and let the cake settle. If you try to put your last coating of buttercream or fondant on at this stage you may end up with your cake settling, the filling buldging out and creating a line on your cake and you may even end up with gas bubbles that will push your cake covering out of shape (and maybe even have a blow out). This is from the cake coming to room temp and expelling gas. Best to let your cake settle and come up to room temp over a few hours than have to deal with issues later. After the 2 hours you can smooth any buldge from your filling that may have splooshed out and finish covering your cake.
As for using boxed cakes. They are just fine. You will find many recipes on here for "doctored" mixes as well as from scratch. On canned frosting tho you will find that most of us use a form of buttercream. Either make it ourselves or purchase it from cake supply stores. Wilton has a very easy to make recipe on their website if you are ready to try to make your own. Canned frosting has a very soft, even runny consistancy, and trying to make designs with it is very hard. If you do choose to go with that then try sifting in powdered sugar to firm it up a bit.
Hope all of this answered your questions and gave a bit of guidance. Anything else you want to know just ask! There are lots of people on here who have been decorating for years and years and they always seem SO happy to help!
You can try this recipe that is posted under recipes: "Durable Cake for 3D and Wedding Cakes" It uses a duncan hines box cake mix with extra ingredients to firm it up.
Hi, RainbowStar. Let me welcome you to this site, too. It's the go-to site for cake decorators, from rank amateurs to accomplished professionals, and nobody's too big or small to give advice and show how they've done things. I couldn't live without it, and you'll probably be thinking the same thing pretty soon! My procedures for keeping a cake from falling all to pieces (and believe me, I had a few of them do just that when I was starting out!) is very similar to catlharper's: level the cake, wrap it and freeze it at least overnight, let it thaw, fill it, stack it, put a light layer of thinned-down icing (called a crumb coat) on it and walk away for a while; come back and put the final wrapping on (buttercream, ganache, fondant or whatever) and decorate any way you want. The only thing I do differently is to wrap and freezed my cakes (two layers of plastic wrap inside one or two ziplock bags) while they're still warm. I find this holds in the moisture better. Happy caking!
I prefer Betty Crocker cake mixes but will use Duncan Hines if Betty doesn't have a flavor I am looking for. I refuse to use Pillsbury to crumbly and falls apart. The only thing I will make with it is cupcakes and that's if I am looking for something to make in a hurry or really cheap. As others have said after you let your cakes cool and level the tops I place mine on top of a cardboard with a piece of wax paper under it. The wax paper helps keep the moisture from the cake from damaging the board so I can use it later. I then wrap the cakes twice and place them in the freezer. When I am ready to decorate my cakes I take them out of the freezer two hours before I need to start decorating. This keeps my cakes moist and helps with the crumbs. As for support you do need to leave the card boards under the layers of cakes. You shouldn't have trouble with the cakes falling apart. When cutting your straws make sure you are measuring and marking each straw. Most of the time each straw will not be the same height. I personally use Stress free cake supports and I love them. No cutting just screw the legs to the level you need mark and press the entire ring down. I have never had a cake disaster using this product. They are a little pricey but I got mine when I made a friends wedding cake. I told her that I wanted to keep the supports when she was done with the cake. This was supposed to be my payment but she surprised me with a check anyways. WOO HOO. Keep practicing cake decorating is so much fun. I got started when a friend at work asked me to make her daughters wedding cake. I ended up making three wedding cakes that year while I was taking the Wilton classes. Now I'm hooked. That was ten years ago. LOL