I am a beginner and trying to figure out how to alleviate problems through trial and error, but I can't seem to figure this out. I thought at first I was putting too much buttercream between the layers but that definitely isn't the case now. I am referring to the buckle in the top tier. Thank you in advance for your comments
Cant see your photo
I didn't see a photo posted but I thought I'd give your question a stab anyway.
I think you are possibly referring to either the filling between layers bulging out, OR the edge of the top layer dropping downward. For either of these problems my biggest recommendation would be to make sure your cakes are very level. What I have found is that the closer the cake layers themselves are to my final desired shape, the less fussing with fillings/buttercream I'll have to do in the end.
If the problem is with bulging (like the fillings or frostings are bulging out from between layers, it is important to make sure you have piped a dam of really stiff buttercream or ganache all the way around the edge of the bottom layer. Even still though, if the layers you started with were domed in the middle, regardless of how stiff your BC dam is, your cakes will still droop.
Another thing to consider is how sturdy the cake recipe you're using is. Many scratch cakes are very dense, especially if they sit out on the counter for a while. Whereas boxed cake mixes can be extraordinarily fluffy and fragile. Fluffy might taste good, but it won't hold up well under the weight of fondant/BC/ and fillings. Freezing cake layers, even if only for a few hours, before decorating can also help add rigidity to otherwise floppy layers.
I hope some of this helps. Please post a picture so we can give better advice!! Thanks,
Thank you Claire! I posted a link. So should I let the piped buttercream sit for a while before I put the next layer of cake on? I do use a dense cake and I do freeze prior to icing. Thanks again!
Ah, the dreaded bulge! Cakes settle... it's just the way it is. There's nothing wrong with freezing cake layers, but there's no point in icing layers that are still completely frozen if, after they settle, you need to scrape off the bulge/buckle to re-ice. It's best to allow your cakes time to settle at room temperature before icing (and they won't settle when they're cold in the refrigerator).
........ boxed cake mixes can be extraordinarily fluffy and fragile. Fluffy might taste good, but it won't hold up well under the weight of fondant/BC/ and fillings......
I *TOTALLY* disagree with this statement! I have used box mixes for over 30 yrs and have made 1,000s of cakes covered in fondant and b'cream w/o problems.
Your advice that cakes should be *level* is right on. That and make sure the board the cake is on is strong enough - you might need to glue 2 or even 3 of them together.
To the OP: very nice cake. I bet not too many people other than cake decorators really notice things like that. Sure we want to improve our work because pix help promote more orders and when people see such a pic they will be a bit slow to think to order. So make very sure you level the cake and let them settle for a few hours (over lightly w/plastic so they don't dry out) before you ice them
In my experience, I'm less likely to get a bulge if I pipe my dam a good 1/4" in from the side of the cake, then fill inside the dam. Once each tier is completely put together, I still let them settle for at least a couple of hours (sometimes I crumb coat before settling, sometimes after) before I finish decorating.
It makes NO difference if the cake is from scratch or from a mix...both will hold up just fine.
I make a stiff dam - but what I use is my regular buttercream with enough powdered sugar added that I can literally roll the buttercream into a rope by rolling it in my hands. I use that "snake" as the dam around the edge of the cake, then put the filling in. Since I have been doing this method, NO bulges whatsoever.
I also let my cakes settle several hours (overnight) first. I wrap them in saran wrap and set one on top of the other like they will be when they're iced.
Doing both of these steps has cured the bulge problem. (you can check my pics to see how they look)
Thank you ladies! Great advice. I have been icing straight out of the freezer so I am sure that is my problem.
Loucinda, So you take you`r cakes out of the freezer, Do you torte and stack them And let them come to room temp. Before filling??
I had this happen a lot when I first started. Here's what I came up with...
I'm not a big fan of freezing cakes unless I have to bake them more than 4 days in advance. Otherwise, I bake 3-4 days prior to due date. I triple wrap them and stack them up as they will be layered then place them in the fridge at least overnight. For really big cakes I will place a cutting board on top. I guess you can say I force them to settle.
The cakes MUST be wrapped well as if you weight or stack them, the sides will want to release the pressure. The plastic wrap hold them in. If I have the time, I will switch the top & bottom layers so both get even compression.
I level the cakes cold for less tearing & crumbs. I dam them with my standard buttercream before filling. When I fill, I put firm pressure on the still cold (therefore firmer) top layer. Then I dirty ice them and let them settle for at least an hour or 2.
This works especially well for carved 3D cakes which is most of my work, but my layered cakes are clean & straight.
Another thought is ganache, which someone mentioned above too. Either fill with ganache or use it as a dam. It stiffens up really well but melts in your mouth. I strongly encourage my sculpted cake clients to use a ganache filling for this reason.
I freeze all my cakes - even if I bake them just before decorating. I truly believe it does something to make/keep the cakes very moist.
To avoid tipping of the top layer.... put that layer on a cake board and be sure to use bubble straws or dowels to support it... even if it's a 6" or smaller layer. It will settle into the bottom layer and these steps will keep it all level.
When I have time I like to fill and settle my layers before freezing. I weight them for a few hours, crumb coat and then thoroughly wrap and freeze. When I take them out of the freezer, I let them thaw overnight, unwrap, and then trim the sides of the layer to make sure that they are perfectly straight. Then I ice, smooth, chill to firm up the icing, and then cover with fondant. Be careful not to "overwork" your fondant once it is on the cake. Keep your leveler vertical and be careful not to press too hard into the cake. That will move the icing around and you may get bulging.
One other thought.... if your cakes have a crisp/hard edge on the top after baking, be sure to trim this off before stacking the cakes. Because it is more rigid and denser than the rest of the cake, the icing flows around it when you level the fondant and it is very likely to show through the fondant. Practice makes perfect.... you'll get there!
I had the same question and posted it and I got a great answer to which I will be using this week...
I bought a 13" heavy ceramic tile on sale at Home Depot for 69 cents. Don't know what I'd do without it. Also bought a cheap plastic level there and use it all the time with the tile to level my cakes when weighting.