Help! Helmet Fell! What Do I Do Now!? Delivery By 4

Decorating By chillysmommy Updated 29 Aug 2010 , 1:55am by chillysmommy

chillysmommy Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 12:26pm
post #1 of 31

I had the hardest time putting it together and then carving. Didn't seem to work right but got the buttercream on, stiff and then covered with (black) chocolate MMF which had also given me extreme trouble. I was happy with what I ended up with thinking I could just put "grass" in the messed up areas. This morning I wake up to the face area of the mask caving/falling. I think the cake was too moist?? The dowels I put in for the round top layer turned sideways, which could be the end of the buckling... WHAT HAPPENED? Do I try this again??? Need to deliver something by 4:00!!!

30 replies
nanascakes Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 2:08pm
post #2 of 31

Did you promise a 3D cake? If not, you might be better off to do a flat cake with an image piped on, embellished with the theme around the helmet, considering the time you have left.

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 2:35pm
post #3 of 31

I'm feeling for you! Is a flat cake possible?
Would some molded rice krispie treats help? I've been adding white chocolate to mine and it helps them to firm up.
If you need the rkt in a hurry, I would suggest putting them in the fridge to chill.

Like the above poster said, maybe a flat cake with piping would get you where you need to be.

Let us know how you make out.
I'm thinking of you!

chillysmommy Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 2:41pm
post #4 of 31

thanks you guys but my piping is worse than my carving. It would take me a lot longer to try it, plus it's steelers which is BLACK and yellow. I did find a place locally that sells black fondant. Have new cakes cooling and fresh buttercream batch. Question is, what did I do wrong so I don't do it again! I put a board under the half circle and doweled it so the bottom rounds wouldn't take the weight but they didn't seem to hold the dowels. I didn't cut the board as I just left that to be where the forehead area of the helmet would be. Wish this would let me upload pictures. Maybe I doweled it wrong? I've done several cakes, but nothing with carving out of the side like this. Maybe I should have angled the top half so it wasn't a horizontal surface with not underneath...

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 2:50pm
post #5 of 31

I wish I could see photos too because I'm having a hard time understanding.
If you carved out where the face would be, I wonder if you could not carve that piece out? leave it dark or black?

If you are supporting it, are you supporting every layer as you would a wedding cake?

Personally, I like using chilled cakes. I bake them in advance and freeze. (as we did in the bakery I apprenticed in ) When I assemble them, (I don't do carved cakes! I don't know how!) I let them sit and thaw for almost an hour, or put in micro for 30 seconds, they are still very cold and firm.
I wonder if your cake was too fresh. Cake is very soft when it is fresh.
If you are stacking, I would try to support every layer you are stacking. That's the only way I know of to keep it from falling.

I hope I am helping....

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 2:57pm
post #6 of 31

I think I have an idea, I think I'm starting to see the issue.

You carved out where the face mask would be.

Football helmets have facemasks on them. Can you put a cake circle under your top part of the helmet, and some how use drinking straws to act as supports, but make it look like a face mask? Let the upper layers rest on the drinking straws which are place vertically in the lower layers and then put a horizontal straw to act like part of the face mask? Or cover the straws in white fondant to make it look like part of a face mask?

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 2:59pm
post #7 of 31

Oh my gosh!

Gum paste face mask...but I don't think you have that much time.

http://www.ehow.com/how_5228039_make-football-helmet-cake.html

(it's a steelers hemet too! Who knew?!)

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 3:03pm
post #8 of 31

I wonder if royal icing, piped in the shape of a face mask, would dry in time for you to use. It should dry rock hard.

Just another thought...not necessarily a good one

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 3:06pm
post #9 of 31

Okay, I don't know if this will help...and I promise, this will be the last post from this little pia!

this cake is not really carved out so much in the front.... It appears that the top part is just kind of over lapping.

http://www.cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1199214

chillysmommy Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 3:57pm
post #10 of 31

OK, here's the link to the photos in my photos since I couldn't attach here. Let me know what you think happened. I did have it supported, I think the dowels moved though. I was moving it around a lot with the shaping. Not sure how to work with the board since it's kind of in the way where the face mask carving should gooooooo..... Help. It's time for me to carve again!

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_1786926.html

(thanks for that last link-I will try to carve not so much this time... Plus, I think the freezer made my cake "softer", not sure though.

chillysmommy Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 4:22pm
post #11 of 31

Tokazado - You are awesome. I thought I exhausted the web for tutorial - thanks for the eHow link!

tmelrose Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 4:45pm
post #12 of 31

Let us know how your 2nd one goes. I had a similar problem about a week ago. I did my first two tiered cake. It was fine until the second day after the top tier was cut, then came the land slide. I don't think it liked the unbalance after cutting. Not sure if my cake was too soft (just used a cake mix), or I put too much icing around my cake board support or if my straw supports weren't out far enough. Let us know how it goes.

jsmith Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 4:56pm
post #13 of 31

That really sucks. Did you use a center dowel? As soon as I cover my carved cakes with fondant, I place it on it's final board which is about 1/2 an inch thick and then hammer the central dowel through so it's anchored down. Even with support dowels in the bottom tier, the cake will shift when it's moved around if there's no central dowel. I also think the cake should be refrigerated to keep it firm so it doesn't buckle and slide.

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 5:05pm
post #14 of 31

Looking at the photo you posted the link too, I'd say it was top heavy the way it fell and for some reason, the bottom wouldn't support it.

Just a thought....

If I was making this cake, I would put supports on the bottom layer, at least every 2 inches and again, in the middle. (drinking straws should be enough) but you could use bamboo skewers if you wanted more strength. This design looks very top heavy. I'd rather have too much support, then not enough.

I'd set maybe 3 or even 4 of the supports up close on the carved flat part to where the top layer would over hang, and I'd let a cake circle over hang too, which I think you mentioned you had done.

I'm thinking maybe you cut off to much of the face part and the lower layer wasn't supported enough. It looks like two larger layers on top of a smaller layer.

The only reason I can think of that would make supports shoot out the side, would be the excess weight on the top.
'Doug', our caker from Lumberton NC, seems to be great at engineering and designing cakes and could probably tell you exactly what went wrong. (His icon is a golden lab with glasses on!)

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 5:19pm
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmith

That really sucks. Did you use a center dowel? As soon as I cover my carved cakes with fondant, I place it on it's final board which is about 1/2 an inch thick and then hammer the central dowel through so it's anchored down. Even with support dowels in the bottom tier, the cake will shift when it's moved around if there's no central dowel. I also think the cake should be refrigerated to keep it firm so it doesn't buckle and slide.





This could be the trick! I've had success with smaller cakes :4 or 6 inch on top of 8" by hammering a bamboo skewer down into the center of the cake like Edna supports her cakes. I can transport them stacked that way.




The last minute of the video, she hammers a pointed dowel down through all 4 layers of the cake.

jsmith is right, if you hammer that dowel/bamboo skewer down, it should keep the 'accident' from happening again.

carmijok Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 5:22pm
post #16 of 31

Looks to me like you didn't have a strong center dowel....if you had one at all. If you did, it could have moved because the end was not quite flat and was off center. And you might need another long dowel towards the back besides a center one to help stabilize it since it is so top heavy. And freezing cakes or refrigerating them does NOT make them softer. I only work with really cold cakes and they hold up great...even after thawing. good luck!

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 5:28pm
post #17 of 31

P.S. Chillysmommy,

I looked at your cakes! You are awesome! You know what you are doing, and I know you can do this!

Now get in there and tackle this cake! Get it? Football helmet? Tackle? OH I crack myself up! icon_wink.gif

You can do it! I have faith enough for both of us!

chillysmommy Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 5:57pm
post #18 of 31

Thanks everyone. Just to explain. I had like 5 dowels in the top half circle which rested on 2 8" rounds. Probably not close enough to the carved part though because I didn't want to cut into one. I wasn't sure if freezing would soften, guess they started out too soft because I noticed some stuck to the pan center (should have clued in to that). So, also, I forgot to mention, I ended up moving the dowels around after carving because they were sideways and I think that ruined any remaining solidity on the bottom cake. SO. This next one is going pretty decent so far. "tougher" cake, and better dowelling. I carved a C shape, and less of it and used a small board under the top layer so I would have to saw through it and shake the whole thing apart like last night. I'm taking progress shots so I'll put them up when I'm through and (hopefully) successful. You guys make things look so easy - AHHHH. So, how bad is it to cover a cold cake/buttercream with fondant? Wondering if I should put this in the fridge to get firmer and then cover in fondant... Yes, No, Maybe? (umm, please no maybe's, lol)

chillysmommy Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 6:24pm
post #19 of 31

TWO MORE THINGs!!! First-I forgot I was going to ask this even before I had this toppling problem. Why does my fondant bunch at the bottom? Don't know if you can see in the original cake but at the bottoms it was bunching causing lots of issues. I was using chocolate MMF but I've had the problem before and it was regular MMF. Is it MMF? I'm using Satin Ice-black for this next one. Will it be better? What am I doing wrong? I've tried putting it on where it hangs down, and I've tried putting it on with the cake flat on the surface.
Second-should I go ahead and put the cake on the display board THEN adding fondant, or should I fondant first then transfer? I'm so nervous!

summersusu Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 6:41pm
post #20 of 31

My fondant bunches if I don't continue to rub it and slowly pull the fondant down beyond the cake. I have atleast an inch of fondant beyond my cake to cut off when I am finished. This is with any fondant. You just have to rub downward so that it stretches beyond the cake. I would go ahead and put it on the display before covering. And maybe not cut so much out of the helmet. Also, maybe the recipe you are using isn't sturdy enough. I always use WASC with different variations of flavors. Good luck.

chillysmommy Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 7:07pm
post #21 of 31

Thanks summersusu. I did use the WASC, chocolate. It is sooo good. This fresh batch the cakes are much denser, so maybe that first batch wasn't right... I'm about to put the fondant on now... ahhh

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 7:48pm
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by chillysmommy

Thanks everyone. Just to explain. I had like 5 dowels in the top half circle which rested on 2 8" rounds.
The way I read this, there are only dowels in the top part of the cake? Are there dowels in the bottom layer?
I can be such a pain in the butt, sorry!



So, how bad is it to cover a cold cake/buttercream with fondant? Wondering if I should put this in the fridge to get firmer and then cover in fondant... Yes, No, Maybe? (umm, please no maybe's, lol)




It is much easier to cover a cake with buttercream when it is chilled, the cake is more solid. In the bakery, we baked a big batch of cake mix about once a week. (It was in a busy area in New Jersey) We kept our layers frozen until we needed them. I still follow that same practice now. Life is much less stressful that way. Some people think it's bad to freeze a cake, but for me, it seems more moist. I've heard of many cakers here on cc who do it this way.
chillysmommy, I am thinking of you. It's almost showtime. I hope you are having a good afternoon and I hope you have had better luck!
Best Wishes!

chillysmommy Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 8:56pm
post #23 of 31

It's working so far. Putting on the face mask and emblems and extras. So far the only issue I have is a little bunching (which I'll cover with "grass" and elephant skin. I get that a lot, does anyone know why? I'll rub a tiny bit of vegetable oil over everything when I'm finished to give the black a nice shine but I'm guessing that won't help much with the itty bitty cracklin'... 45 minutes left before I have to be in the car!!! ahh Thanks to everyone. You all are the greatest!!!

chillysmommy Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 11:35pm
post #24 of 31

OK folks. Thank you so much for all your help. Here's a link to the finished product. I was able to use the face mask I had, though the sides broke, it probably worked out better though. Don't like the elephant skin.. (boo) Wanted to do a chin guard and other things but I'm happy with at least getting this done. The customer seemed really happy and excited about it! That's the best part! Thanks again!!!

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_1787453.html

tokazodo Posted 28 Aug 2010 , 11:51pm
post #25 of 31

Your cake turned out great! I knew you could do it! Woo Hoo! Nice Work!

bmoser24 Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 12:26am
post #26 of 31

wow, you did it! That's what it's all about icon_smile.gif I bet you had some cake already made?
Good job~

chillysmommy Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 12:51am
post #27 of 31

bmoser24, the only thing I had made was the top half circle - thankfully because that took forever to cook originally! Everything else I had to make or buy - which was another blessing that I found a store nearby that carried black fondant! Whew!

chillysmommy Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 12:53am
post #28 of 31

Thanks for hanging in there with me tokazodo and all you other lovely and wonderfully helpful people!

chillysmommy Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 12:54am
post #29 of 31

By the way tokazodo, that ladder on the fire truck was straight gumpaste. I cut a rectangle and then used a square cutter for the inside sections. Thanks for your comments!

tokazodo Posted 29 Aug 2010 , 1:26am
post #30 of 31

I'm glad it worked out for you chillysmommy!
My nerves would have been so shot, my hair would have been falling out!

Thanks for the info on the fire truck ladder. I have to make one this week.
Your was so nice and neat, I thought it was purchased or molded.

Again, I'm glad it worked out!

I hope you have a restful evening. I had the cake day off, so I kept checking in on you.
I have 2 to do tomorrow, A small wedding cake, 8" and 6" with seashells, and a 1/4 sheet baby shower cake with an octopus.
I might be the one running to the forums tomorrow looking for support! Lol!

Rest well!

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