Bleeding Colors On Cakes--Need Help, Please!

Decorating By BakerMama21 Updated 20 Oct 2010 , 1:44pm by BakerMama21

BakerMama21 Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 1:35am
post #1 of 15

Hi! So it seems lately that I've been having trouble with my icing colors bleed after they've been on the cake for a while. My icing looks greasy/wet, almost like it's sweating. I hate to officially call it sweating, though, because I don't refrigerate my cakes or my icing. So here's what happened today to give you an idea...I used a buttercream recipe (1 cup shortening, 1 cup butter, 2 lbs. powdered sugar, 1/4 cup water, flavorings, and a bit of salt). I got my entire cake iced and decorated and the longer it sets, the more it starts to look wet and the colors start to bleed. So the cake is iced white, with purple/pink on it and I'm sure then when I look at it in the morning, the purple will have bleeded into the white. This isn't the first time this has happened. Is it humidity? I can't imagine my house is very humid in October in Iowa! I'm so sad because by the time I give the cakes to the people I'm making them for, they look bad! icon_sad.gif Does anyone have any idea why this is happening? Do I maybe need a different brand of shortening? Or do I need to try hi ratio shortening? Any hellp is greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Sarah

14 replies
sweetheart6710 Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 1:40am
post #2 of 15

Are you using Wilton purple coloring? I read some where just the other day that many people have their purples fade and bleed and leave the flowers looking blue, could that be whats happening to you?

BakerMama21 Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 2:20am
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetheart6710

Are you using Wilton purple coloring? I read some where just the other day that many people have their purples fade and bleed and leave the flowers looking blue, could that be whats happening to you?




It is Wilton's purple but I've had it happen with other colors, too. A couple of cakes I did recently, it was any color that was on white bled into the white. I touched the icing on the top of the cake tonight and it just feels greasy. It seems like it's a shortening thing but I've always used shortening in my icing and I don't remember having this much of a problem with it. I think the only difference is that I used to use Crisco sticks and now I buy the tub. Could that be it? Seems like that wouldn't matter but perhaps it does?

Crazboutcakes Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 2:47am
post #4 of 15

I also use the tub crisco and don't have any problems with colors running except when I don't refrigerate. If I do not refirgerate my cakes when the are done, they don't set and I usally have a running problem. It's like a crayon sort to speak, if you leave them in a room temp area the temp change even with the ac on, so its on and off all day they tend to become weak. I always try to get cakes done the night before just in case of schedule changes for my customers or myself for that matter, and I live in Florida so moisture here is a huge issue. And I never recall Buddy or Duff leaving their peices out of the frig they are always refigerated (not frozen) and it also helps with transporting them.

BakerMama21 Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 3:32am
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazboutcakes

I also use the tub crisco and don't have any problems with colors running except when I don't refrigerate. If I do not refirgerate my cakes when the are done, they don't set and I usally have a running problem. It's like a crayon sort to speak, if you leave them in a room temp area the temp change even with the ac on, so its on and off all day they tend to become weak. I always try to get cakes done the night before just in case of schedule changes for my customers or myself for that matter, and I live in Florida so moisture here is a huge issue. And I never recall Buddy or Duff leaving their peices out of the frig they are always refigerated (not frozen) and it also helps with transporting them.




Do you put it in a box in the fridge? It doesn't bleed when you take it out and bring it to room temp? Thanks for the reply!

Crazboutcakes Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 11:15am
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakerMama21

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazboutcakes

I also use the tub crisco and don't have any problems with colors running except when I don't refrigerate. If I do not refirgerate my cakes when the are done, they don't set and I usally have a running problem. It's like a crayon sort to speak, if you leave them in a room temp area the temp change even with the ac on, so its on and off all day they tend to become weak. I always try to get cakes done the night before just in case of schedule changes for my customers or myself for that matter, and I live in Florida so moisture here is a huge issue. And I never recall Buddy or Duff leaving their peices out of the frig they are always refigerated (not frozen) and it also helps with transporting them.



Do you put it in a box in the fridge? It doesn't bleed when you take it out and bring it to room temp? Thanks for the reply!


Yes, I do put it in the box. I haven't had it bleed but the longer you have it in direct light, natural or otherwsie, the colors intnsify so if you use colors for tinting make sure you don't use too much, becaue the color not only gets darker but may also be the cause of bleeding. The only time that I have had issues with bleeding is when I use whipcream and that's a whole nother topic. Hope it helps!

Crazboutcakes Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 11:19am
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazboutcakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by BakerMama21

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazboutcakes

I also use the tub crisco and don't have any problems with colors running except when I don't refrigerate. If I do not refirgerate my cakes when the are done, they don't set and I usally have a running problem. It's like a crayon sort to speak, if you leave them in a room temp area the temp change even with the ac on, so its on and off all day they tend to become weak. I always try to get cakes done the night before just in case of schedule changes for my customers or myself for that matter, and I live in Florida so moisture here is a huge issue. And I never recall Buddy or Duff leaving their peices out of the frig they are always refigerated (not frozen) and it also helps with transporting them.



Do you put it in a box in the fridge? It doesn't bleed when you take it out and bring it to room temp? Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I do put it in the box. I haven't had it bleed but the longer you have it in direct light, natural or otherwsie, the colors intnsify so if you use colors for tinting make sure you don't use too much, becaue the color not only gets darker but may also be the cause of bleeding. The only time that I have had issues with bleeding is when I use whipcream and that's a whole nother topic. Hope it helps!


Also, I take my cake from the frig to the customers hand and just let them know to let it satnd for aprox an hour before serving, gives the cake time to become room temp and I have had no customers come back with complaints icon_smile.gif

Jen80 Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 11:39am
post #8 of 15

Is this after it's been covered in fondant?

I have never added water to buttercream. From my experience, fondant hates water.

Maybe try adding less powdered sugar and no water?

If it's just a buttercream cake. Maybe it has something to do with fat and water not mixing.

Crazboutcakes Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 12:09pm
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen80

Is this after it's been covered in fondant?

I have never added water to buttercream. From my experience, fondant hates water.

Maybe try adding less powdered sugar and no water?

If it's just a buttercream cake. Maybe it has something to do with fat and water not mixing.


No this was just on the b/c, I haven't had any issues with fondants unless I brush color directly to get a more intense affect & I usually use milk with my butter cream not water (just makes it heavier and sustains better) unless customer has lactose issues, and yes fondants and liquid in general have issues together the less the better. But I also put fondant cakes in frig again it just helps them set. And I had one of my fondant cakes take a 2 hour drive in florrida and cust said it was great so, something is going right icon_smile.gif

Jen80 Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 12:24pm
post #10 of 15

Sorry Crazboutcakes, I was referring to BakerMama21's OP and trying to answer her question icon_smile.gif

She uses water in her buttercream. Which I think would be a good idea to have a test run of not using, whether it be a buttercream cake or a fondant cake.

Water and fat do not mix unless an emulsifier is added. So my guess is that the "sweating" is caused by the butter and water separating.

BakerMama21 Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 2:07pm
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen80

Sorry Crazboutcakes, I was referring to BakerMama21's OP and trying to answer her question icon_smile.gif

She uses water in her buttercream. Which I think would be a good idea to have a test run of not using, whether it be a buttercream cake or a fondant cake.

Water and fat do not mix unless an emulsifier is added. So my guess is that the "sweating" is caused by the butter and water separating.




I was just thinking about this last night! I had said that I hadn't really changed much because I was using one recipe but then switched to another that was basically the same...except the first one uses milk and the second uses water. Duh! Can't believe I didn't think of that! Thanks so much for helping this tired Mama see what was right in front of her! LOL I will switch back to milk and hope that fixes things!

kathyran Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 2:31pm
post #12 of 15

I use crisco and water in my buttercream recipe. I don't refrigerate my cakes either and I don't have any of these problems. Could it be that maybe too much water is being used in the recipe?

BakerMama21 Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 3:08pm
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathyran

I use crisco and water in my buttercream recipe. I don't refrigerate my cakes either and I don't have any of these problems. Could it be that maybe too much water is being used in the recipe?




I also started to wonder this because I know a lot of people use this recipe successfully. But I'm pretty sure I didn't have these issues when I used milk. The recipe is:

1 cup shortening
1 cup butter
1/3 cup luke warm water
1 tsp popcorn salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond
1 tsp butter flavoring

I actually use 2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp of almond emulsion because I don't like butter flavoring. I also only use about 1/4 cup water because I think 1/3 of a cup is too much. I don't always use a full tsp of salt either.

Jen80 Posted 18 Oct 2010 , 11:50pm
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathyran

I use crisco and water in my buttercream recipe. I don't refrigerate my cakes either and I don't have any of these problems. Could it be that maybe too much water is being used in the recipe?




It's the only thing that I can think of that's going wrong since she doesn't put her cakes in the fridge.

Unless................

The salt isn't dissolving properly. I don't add salt to mine either, but I do use salted butter.

Salt draws moisture to it. Try this...sprinkle a little salt on a plate and leave out over night. By the next morning there should be little water droplets there instead of salt crystals.

Now that is a long shot, I'm still tending to think it's more of a water issue.

BakerMama21 Posted 20 Oct 2010 , 1:44pm
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen80

It's the only thing that I can think of that's going wrong since she doesn't put her cakes in the fridge.

Unless................

The salt isn't dissolving properly. I don't add salt to mine either, but I do use salted butter.

Salt draws moisture to it. Try this...sprinkle a little salt on a plate and leave out over night. By the next morning there should be little water droplets there instead of salt crystals.

Now that is a long shot, I'm still tending to think it's more of a water issue.




I dissolve the salt in the water before I add it to the recipe. And it's popcorn salt, which is finer than table salt. I know of so many people in the online community (which is where I got this recipe) that use this and it works for them! I just don't get why it wouldn't work for me. I think I might switch to salted butter and remove the salt and go back to milk instead of water.

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