My First Cake Disaster :( :(

Decorating By southernswthrt Updated 21 Jul 2010 , 10:27am by southernswthrt

southernswthrt Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 8:18pm
post #1 of 27

I had my first major cake disaster today, and I'm trying to figure out what went wrong. I was trying to recreate the Coach Cake in my photos and it just flopped. The only good part was the bow! icon_confused.gif

When I got to my destination, the icing was starting to slide down the sides of the cake. I'm using Indydebi's recipe, so I don't think it's the recipe...granted it is about 100 down here in Louisiana today. I suspect that it is either because 1) I had the icing too thick on the cake or 2) I tried to transport the cake too quickly after assembly or 3) the cake was chocolate.

The cakes were baked yesterday and room temperature when iced. I waited until this morning to fill, ice and decorate.

I'm a little nervous b/c I have several family events this month and now I'm worried that those cakes will flop too icon_redface.gif Can anyone give suggestions on timing? Should I always aim to complete a cake the day before it is due? I waited until this morning b/c I was worried the cake would look dried out if I finished it yesterday. icon_sad.gif

Any suggestions are appreciated. TIA

26 replies
etr2002 Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 8:40pm
post #2 of 27

I'm not professional at all but I always complete my cakes the day before the event - especially if they will be transported. The one time that I didn't do this, I had problems with the cake. I personally think they need time to settle and firm-up a bit.

catlharper Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 8:47pm
post #3 of 27

You say the cakes were baked yesterday but iced today? Where were they stored before you iced them? Why you had issues I have no idea...sounds like you did everything right. I've just started using indydebi's recipe but it holds up to heat really well...maybe 100 was just too much for any icing to stand up to for any length of time. I have no idea if refridgerating would have helped or not. The reason I ask about where you stored the cakes is due to your "dry" question. I have heard that storing a non frosted cake, even well wrapped in the fridge can dry it out. I freeze mine after cooling, double wrapped, and then fill/crumbcoat them the next day and let them sit for 3 hours to settle before the final coat of buttercream or fondant. My cakes are always very moist and never dry. I'm sure someone here will tell you about what may have happened and how you may have been able to prevent it but with that high of heat it just may be too hot for a cake to withstand any time out in the heat. Good luck!


southernswthrt Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 10:35pm
post #4 of 27

Thanks for the replies. The cakes were wrapped on the counter overnight.

so I just iced a small cake b/c I had extra batter from the first cake and the icing is "sagging" down on this one hasn't gotten to the point where the cake is exposed though...

My A/c is at 76 and I don't find it humid in the house. I haven't brought this one outside but I have a feeling it would do the same.

would crumb coating help and then putting the buttercream on thinner???

I have two baby shower cakes to make in a couple weeks and I'm terrified that the same thing will happen...HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! icon_cry.gif

Marianna46 Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 10:50pm
post #5 of 27

I think your cakes are just too "tender" to hold the icing well. My only real cake disaster to date was under just such circumstances - minus the heat (and humidity). I made a cake in the morning, iced it in buttercream and put about a month's worth of gumpaste flowers on top (it was my MIL's 102nd birthday, and I was just learning to make gumpaste flowers). She only lives about six blocks from me, but by the time I got the cake to the car, it had totally fallen apart. I always bake my cakes at least two, and usually three, days in advance, freeze them for a day or two, and thaw, unwrap, crumb-coat and ice (or cover with fondant) at least the day before. Cakes really do need time to settle before being iced and again before they're moved after being iced. The trick for keeping them fresh is to ice them as soon as you unwrap them, so you don't lose any moisture. I wish you the best in solving this problem, because know just how frustrating this can be!

southernswthrt Posted 4 Jul 2010 , 11:48pm
post #6 of 27

I suppose I should add that I used Sweetex to the make the icing...not Crisco.

I've been searching the forums and it seems like others have had issues with chocolate cakes, but I'm not seeing how to "fix" the problem...

catlharper Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 12:02am
post #7 of 27

I have no idea what difference Sweetex would have on the icing...I used Crisco and it seems to stand up to the heat well. Maybe it was too thin? I always do a thinner crumbcoat first then let the cake settle for 3 hours while it comes to room temp and then add a regular stiffness buttercream on the outside....not as stiff than what I use for roses but not as thin as the crumbcoat...about a medium stiffness. I wonder if your buttercream had been thinned down too much to hold up to the heat?


southernswthrt Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 12:18am
post #8 of 27

My husband (being the cake expert that he is) thinks my icing may have been too thick....I consider it medium - couldn't make a rose with it but would thin in if I wanted to write with it...

Thanks for your replies!

tyty Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 12:40am
post #9 of 27

So sorry about your cake. I freeze my cakes after baking. Let the layers thaw in the wrapping, then level, torte and fill. I use an icing dam between the layers. Then I crumb coat and let them sit for about 3 hours before the final coat. I just made a 3 teir wedding cake and two of them were chocolate. The cake was in the car for the 25 miles I had to drive. It was between 85 and 90 degrees outside. I did put the cakes in the frige for about hrs before I left. They had to be taken in individual boxes because it had pillars. Since I started using the icing dam, I have not had a problem.

ddaigle Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 12:46am
post #10 of 27

Southernswthrt....I am in Louisiana so wanted to throw in my 2 cents worth. I ALWAYS crumb coat and let set overnight in the frig to "settle". I ice and decorate the next day. I have iced the same day if I had HOURS in between crumb coating and icing...but I usually never do. I travel with tiered cakes all the time and have never had my icing fall. I do not use IndyDebi's, but it is a very good recipe for our heat here in Louisiana. I actually use a 1/2 shortening, 1/2 butter recipe, so if anyone, I am asking for disaster! LOL. Your icing may not be too thick, but I think since you are not crumb coating (not that everyone does), you are putting too much on. Hope your next ones work out for you!!!

cabecakes Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 5:54am
post #11 of 27

Have you tried a little meringue powder in you icing. This really helps when you have to deal with heat and humidity. I too agree with the freezing the cake after cool and then thawing the day before you need the cake. After thawing, give it a crumb-coat and let set to settle. Then add final coat of icing.

GenGen Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 6:33am
post #12 of 27

some tips already mentioned i use too. one routine that helps mine stand up better is:

when the cake comes out of the oven take a dish towel and drape over across the cake and press down gently till you feel resistance (cake is still in the pan at this time icon_smile.gif). this helps especially if the cake comes out uneven. the other benefit to this is it compresses the airpockets in the cake and makes it all around sturdier and more stable. less spongey.

then as others have said- wrap and freeze. some do this when absolutely cool or give it sometime to cool then freeze.

i then crumb coat (making sure you've added your filling too if you are)

then i toss mine back in the freezer again for about oh 15 min to an hour depending how long it needs to firm up good. then remove and ice.

then i like to take my cake knife, dip in HOT water, tap knife to remove excess water then smooth icing to desired finish.

then i allow the cake to come to room temp - you'll notice it "sweating" at this point and then it dries. i dont like to do this if i've used dark colors for the icing such as red or black though. if you are using these shades some "repair" or smoothing etc after the "drying" time is over may be needed. most of this you'll find what works best for you. no one method is key for everyone.

hope some of this helps

GenGen Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 6:36am
post #13 of 27

good point, i forgot to add meringue powder to my list above lol. now days with crisco the way it is- etc its a must for warm weather.

ddaigle Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 12:32pm
post #14 of 27

FYI....Meringue powerder is not required. I ommited it a long time ago from my recipe. I have cakes that sit out side and survive the Louisiana heat.

southernswthrt Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 12:45pm
post #15 of 27

Thanks to everyone for the replies.

I think I will try crumbcoating...Can I leave a cake out overnight if it is crumbcoated?

leah_s Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 1:08pm
post #16 of 27

I'm voting with your husband. The icing was too thick. The correct consistency for bc is Whipped cream. Really.

And always complete the cake the night before. If the cakes aren't done, I don't' go to bed.

ddaigle Posted 5 Jul 2010 , 1:27pm
post #17 of 27

Many leave out overnight southern. I always put in the frig. Your call.

southernswthrt Posted 18 Jul 2010 , 6:00am
post #18 of 27

...made some adjustments from this thread as well as others to try to prevent the icing from "drooping/sliding" off the sdies of the cake, but it's still doing it! I'm at the end of my rope and don't know what else to do.

I have a feeling that by the time I get to my destination in the morning, the cake will fall apart icon_sad.gif

it hasn't broken through yet like the one from a couple weeks ago. So far it's only happening on one side...I've re-done this side 3 times icon_cry.gif

The icing is not thick - 1/4 inch at most....and this is a chocolate cake (again)...I'm beginning to think that's the reason...could it be?

mamawrobin Posted 18 Jul 2010 , 6:37am
post #19 of 27

I read that you used hi ratio shortening instead of Crisco. When using hi ratio in Indydebi's recipe you have to reduce the amount of shortening by 1/3 cup per batch. I would bet money that by doing this you will prevent this from happening. Or just use Crisco. thumbs_up.gif

This is the only thing that I could think of that may be causing your problem. I live in Arkansas and we also have temperatures over 100 degrees with humidity at 100% and I have never had any issues with this icing no matter what flavor the cake was. I do use Crisco, which I prefer with this recipe.

southernswthrt Posted 18 Jul 2010 , 12:51pm
post #20 of 27

Mamawrobin - I did reduce the shortening by 1/3 cup per batch and it still did it! Now I had to make two cakes this weekend = one white, one chocolate - they both sagged but the chocolate one more so than the white. The white cake made it to its destination, but I'm not so sure the other one will without the side falling off b/c it's drooping more this morning than it was last night icon_cry.gif

Thanks for your help and advice...think I'm going to try Crisco next time and see what happens! Do you mix it together any certain way? heat the milk, use half and half, etc? I think I will try it exactly the way you do it and hopefully that will be a charm...

bluerose26 Posted 19 Jul 2010 , 11:43pm
post #21 of 27
Originally Posted by cabecakes

Have you tried a little meringue powder in you icing. This really helps when you have to deal with heat and humidity. I too agree with the freezing the cake after cool and then thawing the day before you need the cake. After thawing, give it a crumb-coat and let set to settle. Then add final coat of icing.

What does it mean to crumb coat?

southernswthrt Posted 20 Jul 2010 , 12:20am
post #22 of 27

A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing on the cake. You put it on first and it catches a lot of the crumbs so that when you ice the cake the crumbs don't come off and get into your nice smooth icing. It also helps to seal in the moistness of your cake.

bluerose26 Posted 20 Jul 2010 , 7:28pm
post #23 of 27

im confused what is crisco used for?

CakeandDazzle Posted 20 Jul 2010 , 7:42pm
post #24 of 27

the same thing happened to me with indydebis bc.... the first batch i made came out amazing, the second time is was just like running off my cakes..... dont know why, except it was alot hotter that weekend.... sorry!

DeeDelightful Posted 20 Jul 2010 , 8:21pm
post #25 of 27

Are you smoothing the icing with a Viva towel? That helps to press the icing into the cake, especially on the sides where it may droop.

bluerose26 Posted 20 Jul 2010 , 9:57pm
post #26 of 27
Originally Posted by DeeDelightful

Are you smoothing the icing with a Viva towel? That helps to press the icing into the cake, especially on the sides where it may droop.

what is a viva towel?

southernswthrt Posted 21 Jul 2010 , 10:27am
post #27 of 27

im confused what is crisco used for?

It's one of the incredients in Indydebi's BC recipe.


Are you smoothing the icing with a Viva towel? That helps to press the icing into the cake, especially on the sides where it may droop.

Yes, I always smooth my icing w/ a Viva paper towel.


what is a viva towel?

It's a paper towel that is white and has no imprinted design, so it's perfect to smooth out your BC with it.

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