Rspitzer Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 8:23pm
post #1 of

Ever make one of those cakes that just seems to go wrong from the beginning and ends up a hot mess? Yeah..me too, last night. It was a birthday cake for a friend, for his two girls. I wanted to make it something really special, because I know he has been going through some hard times, and I wanted him to have something really nice to suprise his daughters with.

I set to work with a vision in mind of how great this cake will be. I had to make MMF as I could not afford to get a tub of Satin Ice, and for the life of me I could not get it the right texture. I have a love/relationship with MMF, for every good batch, I've probably thrown out an equal number of disaster batches. I wanted to do a fondant ruffle around the bottom of the cake, but mine kept breaking when I tried to make the pleats, regardless of how much crisco I used to make it more supple. The junk was just too dry, so I ended up doing a solid band of it instead icon_mad.gif

Then I realized I was out of Viva towels to smooth the buttercream on the rest of the cake, so I tried parchment paper, having read that it works too. Nope, icing kept sticking. The icing wouldn't crust(same recipe I have used for 5 yrs without fail) I tried waiting, putting it in the freezer, cursing at it, nothing would make it crust. So I opted for using the paper towels I did have, which left an imprint on the cake, and didn't really smooth it any. I managed to get some flowers cut out of the craptastic fondant, and tried to make it look as non-terrible as I could, but went to bed pretty much disgusted with the cake and myself, having failed to make it "special" as I had wanted. He came to pick it up from my boyfriend while I was at work...and I had mispelled a name on it, even after double checking the spelling right before I did it. Great.

So tell me about that one cake that you hated. And how do you make some MMF that won't go in the trash and require you to get some anger management therapy in the process? I use the basic marshmellows, water, and powder sugar recipe.

33 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 8:45pm
post #2 of

If it's the zebra one in your photos, that's not a disaster at all. It's very cute. Those little girls are going to love it.

When I make MMF, I use the mixer with the dough hook. I use 2lb powdered sugar, 1 lb marshmallows, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup butter (not margarine). Sometimes I will use 3tbsp water and 1 tbsp clear vanilla extract. I don't grease the bowl or the dough hook. It comes out the same every time. I can make ten batches and the consistency is the same in all of them.

If you add too much Crisco, sometimes that will make MMF impossible to work with.

indydebi Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 8:51pm
post #3 of

this past summer, I made the (free) cake for a friend who was renewing her wedding vows. that 6" top tier wouldn't ice well. No problems with the bottom two tiers, but I scraped the top tier off about 3-4 times. Icing wouldn't stick, wouldn't smooth, woudn't crust (and the other 2 tiers worked FINE! same icing!).

I was ready to throw it across the room. shared the stories with my friend (and we were laughing the whole time) and i told her "Good thing I luv ya, 'cuz I won't go thru this for anyone else!" icon_lol.gif

Rspitzer Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:06pm
post #4 of

It's not the zebra one, although me and the fondant went rounds on that one as well. I didn't bother posting a pic of it, but he put it on his facebook page and tagged me in it so all his friends will now know who messed up the name lol

Deb, I'm glad I'm not the only one who wants to shotput a cake every once in a while!

Herekittykitty Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:11pm
post #5 of

This past Fourth of July I attempted to make the "Flag inside" cake but the cakes just kept falling apart, no matter what I tried. Then my frosting wouldn't crust or go on smooth. Then my fondant and candy clay insisted on being sticky and difficult so I couldn't make a pretty banner. From beginning to end it was a "hot mess" and I was finally forced to throw up my hands with a Good Enough. To this day it is an embarrassment to me. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I did load the mostrosity into my photos.

The only positive - it tasted great. It was the last time I made indy's frosting - just can't get it to work. Se-la-vie.

Rspitzer Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:15pm
post #6 of

Kitty, I think it looks good, but I know if you hate it, you will always hate it. Is there a "my worst cake" thread? I'd contribute.

Texas sugar - does the little bit of butter improve the "flexibility" of it?

sillywabbitz Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:23pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose


When I make MMF, I use the mixer with the dough hook. I use 2lb powdered sugar, 1 lb marshmallows, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup butter (not margarine). Sometimes I will use 3tbsp water and 1 tbsp clear vanilla extract. I don't grease the bowl or the dough hook. It comes out the same every time. I can make ten batches and the consistency is the same in all of them.

If you add too much Crisco, sometimes that will make MMF impossible to work with.




Ok Texas Rose, I have tried MMF twice and it was a disaster, your recipe is the first that I've seen that uses butter and a fixed amount of water....so would you mind walking me through the process you use making your MMF. I really need to try to make it again. The premade stuff is expensive and I'm not that happy with it most of the time.

As for cakes who fight back, the ivory and pink roses cake was a royal pain for me. I know you probably can't see it in the pics but it was my first time using Choco-pan it was too soft, and then it ripped along the top...I was able to hide a lot of flaws with all those roses but that cake was a battle. Even the filling didn't work right.

I've had one true disaster and that was my mad hatter cake that fell actually split apart AFTER I had finished iticon_sad.gif Thank god it was a cake for my own wedding shower...but I still cried. It was going to be so cuteicon_sad.gif I vowed to remake it but still haven't done it.

cs_confections Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:23pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

If it's the zebra one in your photos, that's not a disaster at all. It's very cute. Those little girls are going to love it.

When I make MMF, I use the mixer with the dough hook. I use 2lb powdered sugar, 1 lb marshmallows, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup butter (not margarine). Sometimes I will use 3tbsp water and 1 tbsp clear vanilla extract. I don't grease the bowl or the dough hook. It comes out the same every time. I can make ten batches and the consistency is the same in all of them.

If you add too much Crisco, sometimes that will make MMF impossible to work with.




Sorry to highjack - have a couple questions for Texas_Rose. After giving up on MMF over a year ago, I'm trying it again tonight because my niece wants to decorate cupcakes again with her friends and hubby won't let me use premade fondant for that! Niece is insisting on fondant since we did buttercream on her last birthday and she got to try fondant at Christmas.

I was researching more recipes hoping to find one that would work better (hopefully!!) and have a few questions. Do you melt the butter with the marshmallows and water? Dump that in mixer before or after adding the powdered sugar? Also, what did you mean by "sometimes will use 3TBL water & 1 TBL..." - in place of the butter or in addition, too? Thank you!

Rspitzer Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:27pm
post #9 of

*Texas Rose - sorry, as you can tell, I'm bad with names!

Herekittykitty Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:35pm

I only use MMF. I use the recipe from here as written and it never fails. For a change I'll use Tesso's jello MMF.

I always kneed by hand and stop when it starts to get difficult to incorporate any more PS. Usually after about 1.5lbs. Then coat in crisco, tightly wrap and let sit in the cabinet for 24hrs. Then I add more PS the next day if it's sticky until it feels right.

If the whole batch needs to be one color I add color to the melted mallows while stirring, before adding ps.

HTH.

Corrie76 Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:37pm

Last month I made a cake for a friend-of-a-friend's daughter. in our correspondence, mom really stressed how everyone mis-spells daughters name and that it was really important to spell the name right.....and yeah... icon_redface.gif I totally mispelled it.
Mom was in a rush when it was picked up and didn't notice until the party that the name was mis-spelled, she called later to tell me and I was so horrified, I mean we had a whole conversation about it and everything! (I have a weird name and have grown up with everyone mis-spelling my own name!). Luckily she was so forgiving and way nice about it-didn't want money back or is going to sue me or anything icon_biggrin.gif

cupcakemkr Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cs_confections

I was researching more recipes hoping to find one that would work better (hopefully!!) and have a few questions. Do you melt the butter with the marshmallows and water? Dump that in mixer before or after adding the powdered sugar? Also, what did you mean by "sometimes will use 3TBL water & 1 TBL..." - in place of the butter or in addition, too? Thank you!




cs_confections; 4TBS = 1/4 cup. so she uses either 1/4 (4TBS) water or adds flavor to it - 3TBS water 1 clear vanilla.

oh, I'd put the powdered sugar in the mixer and the melted mm's in next and mix with dough hook - Texas Rose, please correct me if I am wrong

Good luck with you next try!

HTH

Texas_Rose Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:53pm

I melt the marshmallows with the water. Add extract after the marshmallows are melted, if you're going to. Add color at that point, if you're going to color the whole batch one color.

Put the melted marshmallows in the mixer, add the powdered sugar on top, then add the butter, cut into small pieces. Mix on stir or 2, never any higher, until the consistency looks right and all the butter is blended in.

If you're using it on a cake, at that point wrap it up and let it rest 24 hours. If you're using it on cookies, you can use it right away.

I think the reason most recipes have a range of water amounts is because you're mixing it by hand and may not be able to get all the sugar into it. I've experimented with different amounts of water to figure out what works best for me. Also, I used to grease the dough hook and the bowl with a lot of crisco. I had read that you should do that to keep from burning out the motor in the mixer. Then I started making bread in the mixer and realized that when you're using the dough hook, you want whatever you're mixing to stick to the hook and to the very bottom of the bowl, so all I was really doing by greasing up the bowl was to mix in Crisco. I'd rather eat butter than Crisco any day (and I've noticed that using butter in my bread recipes makes it mix more easily) so I tried using butter in the MMF and it works well for me. I haven't tried it in the summer yet...I have trouble with butter in buttercream during the summer months, so it may be an issue in the MMF, but I don't know yet.

Texas_Rose Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 9:55pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cupcakemkr

cs_confections; 4TBS = 1/4 cup. so she uses either 1/4 (4TBS) water or adds flavor to it - 3TBS water 1 clear vanilla.




This is exactly right icon_biggrin.gif That way you can add flavor without adding more liquid.

If I add an emulsion or oil instead, I don't add as much, so I don't decrease the water amount.

Herekittykitty Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 10:01pm

Another "facepalm". My state fair entry - misspelled Needlecraft. Doh! That one really torked me. icon_mad.gif

GenGen Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 10:11pm

this was the cake i had the most "work" trouble with..

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/591243
*hm can't seem to attach pic for some reason*

i think that day was cursed all around.. it was SO hot that day that even with a swamp cooler on in one area of the house and an airconditioner in the other end (closer to me) of the house and a fan on my working area it was still about 95 in the house - yup no lie- and this is Northern Idaho lol..

the frosting was melting ON the cake as i worked.. i could only work for barely 10 minutes then the cake had to be whisked back to the fridge to spend about up to 45 minutes solidifying again.. this was around the time crisco changed to 0 transfat and i was unaware of this- had i been i could have made a few changes to help with the heat and humidity...

Then in the middle of working on this blasted thing my -ahem- neighbor.. nice lady very nice but i have such "yard" frustrations with her.. she takes her weed blower and blows the pine needles in MY yard from her driveway.. this irked me to no end i stopped what iwas doing and went out grabbed a rake right in front of her and her reasoning for this was and i quote "well i didn't know what else to do with it- hahah"

WHAT?!?!?!!?!? she herself knows this court offers yard clean up services for free.. all you have to do is make a pile even at the corner of your drive way- they come around and pick it up FOR you free of charge.. all she had to do was aim the blower OTHER way!! *see note at end of post*

ok so we have the cake done.. this cake was for a neighbor's daughter's Boyfriend's graduation.. (confused? lol) we gave her a ride to the location 10 minutes away- just before leaving i called and asked if they had gotten the topper they kept saying they wanted to get and were getting and were ordering etc.. i get "um.. does it NEED a topper?" i'm like um Yesssssssssssssss..

so luckily i had picked up - on a hunch- the walmart graduation jiggly type plush ball and used that- stopped at store on way to location and grabbed those curly ribbons to throw on. Phew.. i was SOOO mad..



*note inreference to neighbor lady with the yard issue*
last year she had the gall to ask me to top off my tree that has been there for almost 30 years- so she could get better satellite service- instead of moving her dish to another area on Her house. (there are more things she frustrates me with but this isn't the place for it lol)

cs_confections Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 10:17pm

Thank you so much cupcakemkr and Texas_Rose! This will be a great help. I'm so behind on her cake! We were without water for 5 days and I didn't get to decorate my cake (still in freezer) and hadn't baked hers or started any decorations because we were staying in a hotel. Finally got home Monday, but with work and catching up on housework, laundry, and grocery shopping, running way behind. This may be a disaster in the making because I'm keeping my design plan the same on her main cake and still doing the cupcakes and fondant.

Rspitzer, this has major potential to be "one of those cakes that just seems to go wrong from the beginning"! I mean to ask if you freeze your cakes? If so, was it completely thawed when you iced it? If I ice a partially frozen or very chilled cake, I can't get it to crust, so I'm wondering if that may have been your not crusting issue. I read that the condensation keeps it from crusting. Now I leave the layers out (still covered) for several hours until they are room temp.

Rspitzer Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 10:30pm

ohh..you know..normally I will freeze then thaw for 24 hours before I mess with them, but this was due the day after the zebra cake, I pulled it out of the fridge about 3 hours before I tried to ice it, I usually never do that. Good point, maybe that was the probem with the icing. I didn't know if it was because it was so cold outside( a record night for the big D in temps) or what. I will keep that in mind next time! I am also going to try the ideas here about the MMF, it's such a pain to make, but so much cheaper than store bought. CS, let's see pics when you are done!

keonicakes Posted 11 Feb 2011 , 10:55pm

This is an easy one, EVERY STINKING CAKE I HAVE EVER MADE, I HATED! Either costumer wanted something really weird or I had this great vision of something and didn't turn out. Or I got sick of looking at the cake and just never wanted to see another one done out of my kitchen again. It's been almost a year since I made one. Love everyone else's cakes, just detest my own.
Funny thing, I get inspired by pictures on here and think, "Oooh, I want to do that, then in the same thought, am I out of my flippin' mind"?!?!?!! lol So, here I am, after a year, still trolling around on CC.

cs_confections Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:00am

Texas_Rose - again, thank you so much for sharing your fondant recipe! I made two batches. It was very quick and easy to make and clean up wasn't too bad. Probably since I did it right away, but I was a little worried since I wasn't using crisco on anything. I made them Friday night and the kids used them last night. The fondant took color easy and mixed well with the red and black Satin Ice to help cheaply make more of those colors! It was a little more sticky than Fondarific or Satin Ice, but it still seemed to be very workable. They used it all up, so I'll make another batch and try it on a cake to see if I like working with it for my main fondant - hubby is hoping so to save $!

I posted the Twilight cake in my photos. I ran into problems and then went to bed on Friday night and redid most of the decorations. I also had some issues with the black Satin Ice, but then again, I expected that-always do! And with the height, I should have put supports because my nice straight edges and sides sagged a little when I put the fondant on. I was trying to do the entire book covers on each panel, but really should have made everything earlier. In the end, I just chose elements from the covers. My niece got it and loved it, though. She and her 11 friends had a blast decorating the cupcakes, too! Glad it's all done because I'm still wiped out!

Rspitzer Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 2:21pm

CS - It looks great! Sounds like the fondant worked well for you, I am going to try it next time I need to make some too

Mug-a-Bug Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 2:56pm

See this cake: http://www.feedthemcake.com/images/Owl1_big.JPG

It was the opposite, it went flawlessly right from the start and I was so happy with the result. It was also a free-be for a friend. When I was delivering it to her I tripped on a snowy uneven walkway, fell face-first, and dropped it right in front of her! Skinned up my hand and wanted to die from embarrassment.

icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

Sh*t happens. It sucks but we move on icon_redface.gif

Hope you feel better about your cake-mishap icon_rolleyes.gif

Rspitzer Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 3:28pm

oh mug..how awful! I have only dropped one, in the parking lot on the way to the party. It was in a box so it was not a total loss, but it looked fairly beat up. I handed her the cake while crying(there is no crying in cake decorating!!! yeah right) and I could tell by the look on her face she wanted to kill me. She just took it and cancelled the other order she had with me.

Your cake looks amazing, im sorry it had a bad ending, seriously cute!

ChilliPepper Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 4:07pm

The cake I hated doing was the Scooby Doo and the Haunted House cake. Designed by Debbie Brown and I have to say I sweated buckets getting the icing on that darned house. It was a castle in her design but I coggled it together as best I could and prayed my nephew would like it!!! LOL

luckylibra Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 4:40pm

as a hobby baker I struggle with most of my cakes..I get a little discouraged and inspired by all the amazing talent here. My most recent disaster was my thomas the train
http://cakecentral.com//gallery/1924716
which I ended up scraping all the frosting off and redoing with fondant and then it was just ok... I think all your cakes are lovely and amazing. thanks for sharing

FromScratchSF Posted 15 Feb 2011 , 7:16am

We should have a "worst cake thread!"

I have had a few bad cakes, just starting out and all, but I have a pretty big disaster, was making a wedding cake, the bottom square tier was supposed to be fresh strawberry cake, the top 2 tiers were lemon cake. I made the strawberry 1st, then made the lemons. Hours of mixing, baking and cooling. Next day I start to assemble, grab the strawberry cake, start to torte, and realized it was raw in the middle. I had never made that particular recipe into a cake that large before, and I had to trash it and start over. I had no time to mess around and didn't trust the recipe I was using, so I literally made up a recipe on the spot. You could have knocked me over with a feather when it actually came out! Of course, it ate hours into my icing time so although the finished cake looked OK, I just didn't have enough time to get the corners scraped and as straight as I wish I could have, and was literally up decorating it until 3AM, which is why my swiss dots look like dimes. At least to me. Cake got rave reviews, but all I see when I look at it is flaws.

It's the square off-set cake in my pics. thumbsdown.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 15 Feb 2011 , 7:17am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mug-a-Bug

See this cake: http://www.feedthemcake.com/images/Owl1_big.JPG

It was the opposite, it went flawlessly right from the start and I was so happy with the result. It was also a free-be for a friend. When I was delivering it to her I tripped on a snowy uneven walkway, fell face-first, and dropped it right in front of her! Skinned up my hand and wanted to die from embarrassment.

icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

Sh*t happens. It sucks but we move on icon_redface.gif

Hope you feel better about your cake-mishap icon_rolleyes.gif




I would cry too, that cake is adorable!

noahsmummy Posted 15 Feb 2011 , 11:08am

mm yeah basically every cake i have done has been a disaster. most recent was for my best friends sister. My friend was so excited about it, saying she couldnt wait etc etc, had the most beautiful design for it, and then the heat wave strikes... 45 degrees C (111? F) for a whole week. wow. my fondant crusted while it was resting so got horrible lumps all through it, apart from that it would have been fine. expcept for these UGLY UGLY LUMPS! so then my friend wasnt able to pick it up, i had to drop it to her, with my two year old in the car.. p.s.. i dont have air con.. so of course the number 1 of the standing gumpaste 18 snapped didnt it.

oh joy.


sometimes i wonder why i bother.

oh thats right.. everytime i get on of those rare *dream run cake* and come on here.. my heart gets all a flutter and my mind starts racing with possibilities.. and i just cant contain myself! lol

kirasmom Posted 15 Feb 2011 , 12:29pm

My sister asked me the other day had I ever gotten so frustrated with a cake that I just threw it out and started completely over. I told her except for completely cracked cakes before icing them, I have never thrown one out (that doesn't mean I haven't wanted to). She said her friend throws them out all the time. One time just because she didn't like the color of the frosting.

GenGen Posted 15 Feb 2011 , 10:27pm

FromScratchSF would love to hear that "made up recipe on the spot" recipe if your willing to share *grins*

Quote:
Quote:

We should have a "worst cake thread!"


agreed lol, after i'd posted my cake post here in this thread i realized- it was not just about cakes we hate but more so mmf lol.. well the cake i posted wasn't about mmf use but my worst disaster cake incident lol

after i learned a few tricks to tweek my mmf i haven't had a problem with it. the biggest help for my mmf was adding light corn syrup- and then prior to kneading if its been resting a while- i microwave the mmf for about 10 seconds at a time to make it nice and soft for my hands.

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