Having An Issue With Fondant And Scratch Cakes

Decorating By bobwonderbuns Updated 18 Mar 2011 , 11:51am by bobwonderbuns

bobwonderbuns Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 1:46pm
post #1 of 24

Hi Everyone! I'm not exactly sure where to put this, so this seemed like a good enough forum. My question is this: I do a lot of fondant cakes. When I do fondant cakes I usually use a doctored box mix of some sort because of the density. I do have scratch cake recipes that I use for other things but what I'm finding is the scratch cakes cannot hold up under the weight of the fondant. Has anyone had this trouble too? I'm not talking like an angel food cake under fondant icon_confused.gif or anything like, more like a layer cake recipe. I roll the fondant to a little less than 1/4 inch and a touch more than 1/8 inch thick. That works best for me. Sooooo, if anyone else has had this problem, how do you scratch bakers who deal with fondant deal with this?

23 replies
lrlt2000 Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 1:58pm
post #2 of 24

I am not that experienced and do not do from-scratch cakes, but I've just recently started using the durable doctored mix cakes to hold up better to carving and fondant. Those recipes add sour cream and pudding mix to the box mix, so I'd look for scratch recipes with those things in them! HTH.

luddroth Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:02pm
post #3 of 24

I'm surprised by this, because I've found the reverse. My scratch butter cake is much sturdier than the box cakes I've tried. My favorite scratch chocolate cake is too light and soft for fondant, so I use a dense mud cake type for that. I'm thinking it's the scratch cake recipe you're using. If you have Toba Garrett's book, try her "Moist Yellow Cake". It's amazingly delicious and it's what she (and I, as her student) use most often under fondant. Using ganache under the fondant will also make a sturdier base.

aprilismaius Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:09pm
post #4 of 24

it sounds like you are rolling your fondant thin enough, so i think it might be the recipe you are using. i only make scratch cakes and do not have this problem.

bobwonderbuns Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:09pm
post #5 of 24

I'll have to try that. I've tried Sylvia's yellow cake which tastes great and holds up great under fondant, but it doesn't bake up consistently. Sometimes it's too dry. I've tried pound cakes from scratch which work well but they're so darned dense that they lose moistness. I also have a ton of scratch baking books and I'm trying all kinds of recipes from them lately. Stay tuned... icon_rolleyes.gificon_lol.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:12pm
post #6 of 24

Let me ask this -- the reverse creaming method everyone is talking about lately -- would that give a more dense texture to a cake without sacrificing moistness?

aprilismaius Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:18pm
post #7 of 24

i personally have not tried reverse creaming. i am usually going for a tender crumb. i usually cream the butter by itself for 3 to 5 minutes, then add the sugar and cream for another 3 to 5. toba garret's recipes are excellent and really do stand up to fondant quite well.

Kellbella Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:24pm
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by aprilismaius

i personally have not tried reverse creaming. i am usually going for a tender crumb. i usually cream the butter by itself for 3 to 5 minutes, then add the sugar and cream for another 3 to 5. toba garret's recipes are excellent and really do stand up to fondant quite well.




I agree...Toba's yellow and chocolate cake recipes are what I like to use and have made many a fondant covered cake using those recipes. thumbs_up.gif

luddroth Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:39pm
post #9 of 24

Me, too. Toba creams the butter and sugar for FOREVER. Butter first and then when you think you're going to die of boredom, you start adding the sugar and creaming for a full minute between additions. The net result of all of the creaming, I think, is that the sugar is almost dissolved in the butter by the time you start adding the other ingredients. It caramelizes more evenly and must result in the finer grain and may even contribute to the moistness of her recipe. I don't know. But if you've ever taken a class with Toba Garrett, you learn very quickly that SHE MEANS WHAT SHE SAYS in the method instructions and isn't just giving loose suggestions. It's the way she does it (and the way all the pastry students and chefs at the Institute for Culinary Education in New York do it, as a result) and it always works.

cakeyouverymuch Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 2:41pm
post #10 of 24

I only bake from scratch and despaired of ever having a moist chocolate cake that would hold up under fondant. There are plenty of dry as dust chocolate cake recipes out there that will hold up under fondant, but who wants to eat a dry as dust cake? My chocolate cake recipe is similar to the Hershey one. It is moist moist moist, but never held up well under fondant. It calls for 3 cups of AP flour.

Research tells me that the density of a cake can be changed to something more spongy with the addition of cornstarch so I started by subbing out 3/8 of a cup of the flour (about 2 Tbsp per cup) for cornstarch. That gave me a spongier cake that held up better, but still not as well as I wanted.

Then I read (here on CC I think) about using liquid non-dairy creamer with box mixes to improve the density and thought it might be worth it to try the powdered coffee whitener since it comes non-flavored and I didn't need to change the flavor of the cake. I added 1/3 cup of powdered coffee whitener with the dry ingredients and wound up with a cake that not only holds up to fondant, but also to stacking. This cake ( http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1952032 ) not only held up to stacking, but did so without any support in the bottom tier (because I forgot). It only had to stand up for a little over 24 hours and only traveled from the kitchen to the dining room, but it held up remarkably well.

The best part was that both the adults and children who tasted it loved both the flavor and the texture.

So, I'd start with your favorite scratch cake that you know is consistently moist and begin with a little cornstarch, then move on to other additions to alter the texture in subtle ways till you get the density you need without losing the moistness or the flavor.

Sorry so long and HTH.

leah_s Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 9:11pm
post #11 of 24

I looked at this thread early in the day and was frankly mystified. I've never, ever had a cake "not hold up " under fondant. I roll fondant about 1/4 inch, so it's pretty heavy. And I've baked from scratch for 50+ years.

I do like the reverse creaming method and think that it produces a fine crumbed cake.

But, honestly, truly, I don't get what you guys are talking about.

bobwonderbuns Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 9:14pm
post #12 of 24

That's odd. The problem I have is the weight of the fondant causing the sides to bow out and turn it into a round cake (which is DIFFERENT than cake bulging with the fillings.) I hope that made sense. Huh! Back to the old drawing board! icon_lol.gif

debbief Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 9:21pm
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I looked at this thread early in the day and was frankly mystified. I've never, ever had a cake "not hold up " under fondant. I roll fondant about 1/4 inch, so it's pretty heavy. And I've baked from scratch for 50+ years.

I do like the reverse creaming method and think that it produces a fine crumbed cake.

But, honestly, truly, I don't get what you guys are talking about.




I have to agree with you leah_s. I've made many different scratch cakes and always cover them in fondant. They hold up fine. The chocolate cake recipe I use is the Hershey recipe. Very moist, but it holds up under the fondant just fine. One thing I always do is make sure my cake is chilled before covering it with fondant.

I will say though, if you're ever worried, use ganache under your fondant. It's amazing how durable it makes your cake. You can still fill it with buttercream or whatever you want, but ice with a layer of ganache and it creates a a firm "shell" between your cake and fondant.

bobwonderbuns Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 9:22pm
post #14 of 24

Thanks Debbie, that's excellent advice!! I'll definitely try that! icon_biggrin.gif

debbief Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 9:32pm
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

Thanks Debbie, that's excellent advice!! I'll definitely try that! icon_biggrin.gif




You're welcome thumbs_up.gif

I've only posted this link on here about a hundred times icon_lol.gif But it's such an amazing tutorial. This is how I do my ganache under fondant.

http://sugarsweetcakesandtreats.blogspot.com/2010/05/covering-cake-in-ganache.html

TiffyB73 Posted 16 Mar 2011 , 9:41pm
post #16 of 24

Re: Toba Garrett's recipes:

Are these recipes on this site? I couldn't find them.
Thanks icon_smile.gif

LindaF144a Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 1:32am
post #17 of 24

I will add that I get the same results at Leah. I don't get how it is that scratch is the culprit.

All the cakes in my photo section are scratch cakes, even the fondant covered ones. I have no problem at all using fondant.

And they are moist too! The wedding cake was described as "what heaven tastes like", it was that moist.

Kellbella Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 1:58am
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiffyB73

Re: Toba Garrett's recipes:

Are these recipes on this site? I couldn't find them.
Thanks icon_smile.gif




You can find them in her book...it's called The Well Decorated Cake.
http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.amazon.com/dp/1402717733/?tag=cakecentral-20

Larkin121 Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 2:19am
post #19 of 24

Also strange to me. I only bake from scratch and only do fondant cakes and I've never ever had this problem. How many different scratch cakes have you tried? Maybe it's just that recipe?

Kitagrl Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 2:40am
post #20 of 24

Hmmm I've never had a scratch cake not hold up under fondant either....I refrigerate everything, which makes it more firm....

I feel like most of my scratch cakes are actually MORE dense than my doctored box mixes, which tend to be fluffier.

Kitagrl Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 2:41am
post #21 of 24

Hmmm I've never had a scratch cake not hold up under fondant either....I refrigerate everything, which makes it more firm....

I feel like most of my scratch cakes are actually MORE dense than my doctored box mixes, which tend to be fluffier.

icer101 Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 2:49am
post #22 of 24

here is her yellow cake recipe. it looks like all her recipes are on this epicurious site. I do have her book. Google what you need from her book . It is there


http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Moist-Yellow-Cake-109358


http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Fudge-Cake-109712

KitchenKat Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 7:42am
post #23 of 24

Someone asked about the reverse creaming method and whether it affects the moistness or perception of moistness in the cake...

When I used to have a business, all my recipes were based on this method. Now that I'm a home/hobby baker I've been experimenting with lot of other recipes and techniques. I've found that reverse creaming produces a very fine, velvety crumb. It's not dry but it's not different. It pairs very well with an all butter IMBC or SMBC or with ganache. I think the butter and moistness of the frosting soaks into the cake making it moister. But with an American buttercream (butter or shortening + powdered sugar and flavoring) the overall mouthfeel is dry probably cos the frosting is stiffer and doesn't yield as easily as SMBC.

Using the same recipe but with the traditional creaming method produces a cake with a coarser crumb but with a moister mouthfeel.

so yeah there's a difference. icon_biggrin.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 11:51am
post #24 of 24

I've spoken with other decorators so I know I'm not the only one with this issue. The biggest cakes I have issues with are the super moist scratch cakes. Glad to hear others have this issue too! icon_biggrin.gif

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