Critique Please!

Decorating By Niki11784 Updated 13 Feb 2011 , 6:35pm by Niki11784

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 2:57am
post #1 of 48

Hi, I know you guys will pull through for me- I have made 2 tiered cakes in my life ( hopefully attached to this post) and I have 2 more orders coming up. (One 4 tiers 6/8/10/12 with fondant covered, and one 2 tiered 6/8 in buttercream) Can you guys please give any feedback that you can , no matter how harsh- I really want to improve with each cake I make, and I know I have lots of room for improvement. The first thing that comes to my mind, is the bulge on the bottom tier of the flower cake. Also, the top tier on the 2 tier cake fell, so no brainer there, but it still looks like its sinking into the bottom layer. Criticism?

47 replies
Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 2:59am
post #2 of 48

Ok, I CANNOT figure out how to get pictures to attach to forum posts! Both cakes are in my photos on my profile...

heyjules Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:13am
post #3 of 48

Your fondant could be smoother. Also, I think you should roll it thinner for your decorations. Your top border isn't against the bottom because the fondant decorations on the lower cake are too thick. The bubbles on top are too thick too. Your bottom tier could use a border. I only saw the 2 tiered cake, forgot to look for the other one. It's a good start though. Good for you for looking for advice to improve. Have fun!

heyjules Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:16am
post #4 of 48

Now I've looked at the other one. I think it looks pretty good! Other than making sure that fondant is really smooth, I do see the bulge. You can find lots of threads on how to stop that.

crp7 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:18am
post #5 of 48

Jumping in with a question of my own. I see what heyjules is saying about the top tier border not sitting right because the fondant stripes on the bottom are too thick.

Do you make the stripes thinner or do you cut the stripes for a space for the top tier to sit in?

cakeandpartygirl Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:20am
post #6 of 48

on the most recent tiered cake I noticed a couple of things. The first thing was that the fondant wasn't applied very smooth. The best way to improve on it is practice, practice and of course more practice. Also when putting on fondant your icing has to be smooth and level. You can help with that by getting a bench scraper and holding it vertically and as you turn the cake press against the cake to take off excess icing. If you are a visual learner look at youtube for some videos. I find for me that if I refrigerate or freeze the cake for a short time and then put on the fondant the process goes a lot better.

The most common cause for a cake sinking into the bottom tier is that the top one wasn't properly supported. The best support system is to me the sps but I don't always do it for a 2 tier, you could use boba tea straws, some people use plastic dowels or the wooden ones (yuck).

I also noticed that your stripes looked like that they were placed before the top tier was placed on top of that you could fix that by doing it after the top tier was placed.

It also seemed that the fondant stripes were a little thick, for aesthetic purposes I would roll them out a little thinner.

HTH

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:24am
post #7 of 48

crp7 and heyjules- I know the baby shower cake needs lots of work> I dont know the correct way- are the bottom tier stripes supposed to go up to the top tier border or are they supposed to go under the top tier? In this cake it went under, but it definitely looks funny. I see the decorations are too thick too....

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:26am
post #8 of 48

My main concern is improving the 3 tier flower cake, since I am making a new one similar. I was wondering if the bottom tier bulge is coming from improper support ( i used wooden dowels) or the fondant was not put on correctly.

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:28am
post #9 of 48

Another question- I just read in a forum on CC that its good to freeze the cake that has a crumb coat before putting on fondant to help keep its shape- wont that ruin the fondant?

cakeandpartygirl Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:28am
post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki11784

My main concern is improving the 3 tier flower cake, since I am making a new one similar. I was wondering if the bottom tier bulge is coming from improper support ( i used wooden dowels) or the fondant was not put on correctly.




for fondant cakes you are supposed to dowel after you have placed the fondant on.

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:29am
post #11 of 48

I did dowel after the cakes were completely covered and decorated. I just wasnt sure if the bulge developed from the weight of the cake, or nothing to do with the tiers, but because the frosting wasnt laid on properly.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:30am
post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki11784

Another question- I just read in a forum on CC that its good to freeze the cake that has a crumb coat before putting on fondant to help keep its shape- wont that ruin the fondant?




Not necessarily. You just aren't supposed to touch the cake to avoid smudges.

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:31am
post #13 of 48

Ok, so thats something I am going to do next time, that I havent done before. I hope that will help with a smoother fondant surface. I am really worried about that bulge...

cakeandpartygirl Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:34am
post #14 of 48

Chiming in again... icon_smile.gif
The three tier one looks like the top two tiers don't have enough height on them. It looks like you tried to place the ribbon on when there wasn't enough room for the width of the ribbon and the inscription. I would have put the ribbon on the cake and then adjusted the inscription to fit. In the middle tier it looks as if the ribbon was placed with an overhang and when you placed the roses on it caused it to crease.

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:40am
post #15 of 48

thank you so much cakeandpartygirl-these tips are great! This brings me to the next question- how do you get each tier to be exactly the same height? I see on my cake they are three different heights! Definitely takes away from the professional look that I am going for!

cakeandpartygirl Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:40am
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki11784

I did dowel after the cakes were completely covered and decorated. I just wasnt sure if the bulge developed from the weight of the cake, or nothing to do with the tiers, but because the frosting wasnt laid on properly.




The dreaded buldge icon_cry.gif When you are putting a filling or if it's just buttercream make a dam of really thick icing and let the cake settle

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:42am
post #17 of 48

But that bulge isnt where the filling is! Its toward the bottom of the cake, like a huge air bubble I think.

LilaLoa Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:45am
post #18 of 48

The bulge is probably from icing squishing out between your layers. When you put icing in between, and then put the top layer on...gently push on the top layer, ice the cake and then let it sit for about 15 minutes. If its going to bulge, you will see it and be able to correct it before putting fondant on. After about 15 minutes, I put it in the freezer to firm up a little bit.

Vanessa7 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:46am
post #19 of 48

The bulge on the bottom tier could be from a couple different things. First, the weight of the cake(s) often make the filling buldge. I had this problem and another CCer recommended that I put a ceramic tile as a weight on top of my cake after filling it. This and gravity helps the cake settle better. Also, you need a really thick icing dam to keep that filling in place. The icing dam is just a really really thick buttercream icing.

How many wooden dowels did you put in as support? I use straws but tend to put several in to give added support. You'll really need a good support system for the 4-tiered cake so you might want to go with sps.

For the most part, I think your fondant is pretty good. It might could be a little thinner but overall good. I did notice a little overlapping/pleating towards the bottom. I would recommend that you smooth down your fondant about an inch or two at a time all around the cake and straighten your excess fondant as you go. I think there is a good you-tube tutorial on this but I can't think of it right now. Also, place your cake on a low turntable so that the fondant doesn't stretch as you are trying to apply it.

Hope that helps!

cakeandpartygirl Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:46am
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki11784

thank you so much cakeandpartygirl-these tips are great! This brings me to the next question- how do you get each tier to be exactly the same height? I see on my cake they are three different heights! Definitely takes away from the professional look that I am going for!




A cake leveler will definitely help. When I take a cake out of the oven I use a serrated knife and cut off the crown of the cake and then flip it out of the pan and put it on a cooling rack. Some people do the first step and flip it out on a cake board. There are professional grade cake levelers, agbay and I want one really really bad but I can't afford one right now.
Here are some videos on how to level a cake: ( Just did a quick search)

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+level+a+cake+&aq=f

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:49am
post #21 of 48

sorry to drive you guys crazy, i have so many questions! for a four tier cake, does it make sense to do each tier 3 pans of each size? do I HAVE to torte it? That scares the heck out of me, i would rather make three separate pans. I think thats where the size discrepancy is creeping in...

cakeandpartygirl Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:49am
post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki11784

But that bulge isnt where the filling is! Its toward the bottom of the cake, like a huge air bubble I think.




What brand of cake pans are you using?

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:50am
post #23 of 48
Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:51am
post #24 of 48

it wont let the link, but its
4 Tier Round cake Pan Set by Wilton 2'' deep

cakeandpartygirl Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:52am
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki11784

sorry to drive you guys crazy, i have so many questions! for a four tier cake, does it make sense to do each tier 3 pans of each size? do I HAVE to torte it? That scares the heck out of me, i would rather make three separate pans. I think thats where the size discrepancy is creeping in...




I would do the same thing.... but make sure that all the layers are the same height

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 3:57am
post #26 of 48

thanks guys! You're the best!! I'll post pics after...not till mid Feb, but I'll post here so I can get some more feedback. You know, I read alot of discouraging posts on the forums here on disaster cakes, but I have to say that I really do believe that practice makes perfect. I see it myself!

cakeandpartygirl Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 4:00am
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki11784

it wont let the link, but its
4 Tier Round cake Pan Set by Wilton 2'' deep




OOOh those pans aren't the best pans to use for baking. I noticed that they have a flare to them. If you just have to use the wilton ones I would use the professional and not the performance. The best pans in my opinion is magic line. They are more expensive but are so much better.

cheatize Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 4:05am
post #28 of 48

Wow, there's lots of good tips in here!

Niki11784 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 4:14am
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakeandpartygirl

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki11784

it wont let the link, but its
4 Tier Round cake Pan Set by Wilton 2'' deep



OOOh those pans aren't the best pans to use for baking. I noticed that they have a flare to them. If you just have to use the wilton ones I would use the professional and not the performance. The best pans in my opinion is magic line. They are more expensive but are so much better.




What do you mean by flare? Also, can you please direct me to a thread that talks about the problem with folding/pleating at the bottom of the cakes from the fondant?

Vanessa7 Posted 26 Jan 2011 , 4:21am
post #30 of 48

This a tutorial using "the mat". Even if you don't have the mat, you can still use the same technique once the fondant is on the cake.


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