Newbie Question - What Happened?

Decorating By sweetsirten Updated 17 Oct 2010 , 8:28pm by sweetsirten

sweetsirten Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 2:37pm
post #1 of 11

After being a lurker for quite some time, I am finally posting my first topic! Too bad it is a question after a night full of frustration! (warning, this is kind of long) I have to bake a wedding cake for a November 7th wedding, and i am super excited about it! SO, I decided a couple practice cakes were in order. Last night, I baked and stacked an 8" and 6" round. The 8" was baked in two 8x3 pans and the 6" in two 6x2 pans. I used the White Velvet WASC by CakeMommyTX and Extra Special Buttercream Icing posted by auntbeesbaking. I have made both of these recipes before, to rave reviews by family and friends, but the cake was in cupcake form.

The cakes would not get done in the middle. They formed a hard crust on top, yet they were gooey in the middle. I had to overbake a little bit to make sure they were done, so I washed them in simple syrup to try and avoid dryness. What would have caused this?

I iced both cakes using a bench scraper and Viva paper towels, but I COULD NOT get straight (up and down) sides. Both cakes are wider at the bottom than they are at the top - is this the cake's problem or my icing skills? I stacked the cakes together and used three plastic dowels for support. I went ahead and decorated them and decided that i just needed to practice more, but when I woke up this morning, there was a small crack about 2 inches long in the side of the bottom cake! What could make this happen?

Despite all this, I still want to do the wedding cake for the 7th. Do I need a different buttercream? A different cake? The wedding cake will be a 12" 9" 6" round with extra tall tiers frosted in bc with scrollwork and ribbon.

I couldn't get the picture to attach, so here is a link to it in my photos http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1837073 Any and all advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

10 replies
DianeLM Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 3:21pm
post #2 of 11

Regarding the long baking time... Even the 6x2 inch cakes took too long? Or was it just the 8x3? Couple of things - Lower your oven temperature so the outside doesn't overcook before the inside is done. On the 3 inch deep pans, use a flower nail or heating core to help with even cooking. Also, wrapping the pans with bake-even strips will prevent the outside from becoming overdone.

Regarding the straight sides... Did you use a bench scraper than sits level on the cake board while you use it? I used to use a triangular shaped putty knife that would tilt up or down if I wasn't very careful to hold it straight. I don't use that anymore. icon_smile.gif

Did you make sure your cake was straight before applying the icing? Sometimes the cake needs to be trimmed. Many times I just rely on the crumbcoat to fill in any dips or imperfections. Then, I can ice over that and get straight sides. Also, it looks like you may not have used a thick enough layer of icing. I can see the filling layer through the icing. The thicker your icing layer, the easier it is to get straight sides. Of course, you don't want it so thick that it falls off the cake!

Regarding the crack in the bottom tier... The dowels were probably cut a little too short. This will cause the top tier to rest on the bottom tier rather than on the dowels only. Thus, cracking.

Hope this helps!

artscallion Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 3:49pm
post #3 of 11

If you read the reviews of that recipe you'll see that while many people love it, there are also many people, including myself, that had trouble with the cake rising then sinking in the middle.

I'm a scratch baker and just tried that mix recipe yesterday on a lark. So I don't have any real advice on fixing mix recipes. But It doesn't seem like a reliable enough recipe to risk on a wedding. I'd just find another recipe if I were you and not waste time futzing around with one that for half the people who tried it failed. No offense to the recipe's creator, but some recipes are just finicky and temperamental, be it scratch or box. I don't waste time or money on them.

cakemama2010 Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 3:50pm
post #4 of 11

Sorry you had problems, but cute cake and great design!!

Echooo3 Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 4:09pm
post #5 of 11

I did two wedding cakes last week with that recipe. Great cake taste but the results are unreliable!! I modified it which helped. I used 1/2 cup sugar instead of the full cup, 1/2 cup White Chocolate Mocha coffee creamer and 3/4 cup water and reduced the oil to 2 tablespoons.

I did lots of test runs before I would use it for a customer. Now I have a LOT of cake to go done the garbage disposal.

Good luck!!

sweetsirten Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 4:19pm
post #6 of 11

DianeLM YES! Even the 6x2s took too long. I baked them all at 325. If I try this recipe again, I will lower it more. I did use a flower nail in the 8x3 pans. I may need to invest in some bake even strips, I have never used them before. I did use a stainless steel, perfectly straight bench scraper, but I think the problem was that I did not use enough icing. I am thinking that the crack came from the sinking cakes (unless my husband and I did not get the dowels straight, but we were very very careful). The cakes looked okay after I torted them, but, since writing this post, I have taken the cake apart, and it kind of heaved I could literally hear it sigh! I think the middles did not get done enough. Plus, there was probably a whole 2 inches of icing on top, and barely any on the sides what was I thinking?! I guess now I know icon_wink.gif

Artscallion This is the first recipe I have ever made using a mix. I have always been a baker and am just now getting into the decorating. I have been recently criticized for being a scratch elitist, so I was trying to prove a point by using a mix and being okay with it, lol. I guess I learned my lesson. You wouldnt happen to know a good White Velvet recipe, as the couple for my wedding cake wants white velvet?

Thanks for the support! I loved the design and was sad to see it go. I have taken the cake apart and am going to try and fix it who knows if it will come out, but at least Im learning!

sillywabbitz Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 4:26pm
post #7 of 11

On another note I find the non stick sprays like Bakers Joy caused my top edges to get really crusty while the rest of the cake still wasn't done. I switched to homemade cake release and I haven't had the issue since. Homemade cake release is equal parts flour, shortening, and oil. Mix well and apply to pans with a pastry brush.

There is a white chocolate wasc that I've had success with, just adding white chocolate to the wasc recipe. I have not tried the white velvet recipe. If you have time, consider ordering Sugar Shacks perfecting the art of buttercream DVD. She teaches you how to get those straight sides. Www.sugaredproductions.com
Good luck on your cake.

sweetsirten Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 4:28pm
post #8 of 11

Thanks for posting your modifications, echooo3! Its good to know that the recipe can work, because the cake is SO yummy ... I nibbled on the scraps all night icon_smile.gif

careylynn Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 4:30pm
post #9 of 11

I've read that sometimes the variations of the WASC contain too much sugar therefore can't rise properly icon_sad.gif

Also, before you ice the cake, if there is bulging, especially at the bottom, use a serrated knife and trim the edges of the cake to get a striaght side. I've also read that if you fill the cake and let sit a couple hrs up to overnight, it will settle and then you can do the above with the knife, etc.

I suggest you get Sharon Zambito's "perfecting the art of buttercream". She has some great pointers!!!

sweetsirten Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 8:23pm
post #10 of 11

Thanks everyone! I just wanted to share my 'fixed' cake ... I can't believe it is the same cake under the frosting! I took the cake apart and just started from the beginning again. I have learned so much this weekend!

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1837515

sweetsirten Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 8:28pm
post #11 of 11

Oh, and careylynn, I meant to say that I am totally with you on the 'too much sugar' thing. When I made this recipe as cupcakes, I only had the 1 oz. size of instant jello to put in, and they baked up beautifully and were delicious. Last night, I put in the 4 oz. size that the recipe calls for and disaster struck! Maybe that is what made the difference?

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