Cracks In My Crusting Buttercream -- Help!

Decorating By cakegirl1973 Updated 7 Nov 2010 , 8:42pm by craise79

cakegirl1973 Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 3:02pm
post #1 of 16


I just iced my 12" cake and all was well until I smoothed it with Viva. Tiny cracks have now appeared. I measured all ingredients in the recipe properly. I made a large batch to ice a 9" cake, too. I am thinking that I need to add a little bit of liquid and/or shortening to the batch. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Have an awesome day!!

15 replies
Loucinda Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 5:57pm
post #2 of 16

What kind of board are you using? Typically it is the board that causes the icing to crack, it needs to be a sturdy board under the cake, just cardboard isn't strong enough.

carmijok Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 6:10pm
post #3 of 16

I agree your board may be to blame. If it is warped your cake will move and crack the icing. Also, is your cake completely level on the bottom?

Melchas Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 6:32pm
post #4 of 16

If you are using a crusting bc, you may be letting it sit too long before you use Viva. I usually wait 15-20 mins, when the bc is no longer tacking, but still movable. hth.

HeyWife Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 7:33pm
post #5 of 16

It's been posted on here a few times to add a few drops of vinegar to your icing. I've been doing that and my buttercream is really smooth! I use 1 tsp for a 2lb batch.

Melchas Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 8:04pm
post #6 of 16

heywife...does it affect the taste at all? And how many cups is 2lbs?

squeaky121603 Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 9:56pm
post #7 of 16

I would like to know if vinegar alters the taste also. I can't seem to get rid of these cracks. I use 1/2" foam board under all my caks and I still get them. Tried to make my icing stiffer, still get cracks. Would love to solve this problem.

snoox Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 10:03pm
post #8 of 16

I asked this question last month and got basically the same wonderful replies that you have. I can tell you that I doubled my cake boards and added more milk to my buttercream recipe and have not had a problem since. I was too scared to try the vinegar.

Loucinda Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 10:29pm
post #9 of 16

I use sugarshack's recipe, and foamcore, and never have any problems with cracking. I don't wait that long to smooth - usually 5 minutes or so.

eieio1234 Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 10:43pm
post #10 of 16

I had that happen for one of my cakes a long time ago, and I never knew what caused it then. It wasn't a structural thing, it wasn't lack of board strength, because they were teeny hairline cracks in the icing only, not the whole cake. Then the coloring (light blue) settled in the cracks, and made it more noticeable, I was horrified! I offered the customer a discount, but they paid full price and said they wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't said anything. In hindsight, I think it was that I might have messed with it after it crusted too hard. It might have caused an 'elephant skin' effect.

beenie51 Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 11:12pm
post #11 of 16

1/2 foam core may not be strong enough if your cake is very large. I don't have any problems if the board I place the cake on is sturdy enough. It took me a long time to figure that out on my own. Of couse that was before Cake Central.

cakegirl1973 Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 1:02am
post #12 of 16

Thanks everyone. I think I waited too long to Viva. I am dying to try the vinegar suggestion on a practice cake. You guys are a wealth of knowledge. Thanks again!

HeyWife Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 3:30am
post #13 of 16

The vinegar doesn't affect the taste at all. I was a little scared at first because i kept thinking I smelled the vinegar in the icing, but it was just my measuring spoon sitting nearby. LOL! I was shocked at how much smoother the icing came out. You can always start out with 1/4 tsp and go from there. If you look in my photos at the stacked floral cake, you can see how smooth the buttercream is.

Kitagrl Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 4:02am
post #14 of 16

You said you made your icing stiff is "stiff"? I prefer to work with a creamier icing....

I also refrigerate everything...I suppose its possible if you started with a cold cake...then iced...then let sit at room temp...if the cold cake expands just enough to crack the outside crust of the icing? Make sure you either work with the cake cold and then keep it cold OR work with it room temp if you plan to keep it room temp.

carmijok Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 4:28pm
post #15 of 16

I've never had a problem with cracking buttercream...but then I've never had luck with the Viva method either. I'm intrigued by the vinegar but kind of afraid to try it since my ingredients are rather expensive. My buttercream is made with real butter, cream cheese and PS and that's it. Is the buttercream you all are using made with shortening? I've often wondered if my all-butter buttercream is the reason the Viva towel (and even the roller method) won't work?

craise79 Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 8:42pm
post #16 of 16

I just asked the same question...I keep getting cracks, I use a very sturdy wooden board under all my cakes.I just can't figure it out...

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