My First Cake Has Beaten Me Into Exhaustion

Decorating By Cosima Updated 23 May 2011 , 3:10pm by sugarxosugar143

Cosima Posted 20 May 2011 , 1:32pm
post #1 of 28

Anybody get beat up by a cake before? I've worked for weeks on elements for this cake and enjoyed every bit of it. Baked cakes three weeks ago and put in the freezer. Even though a lot of long hours were put into those....NOTHING....and I mean NOTHING beat me up like preparing the cake.

Out of all of this preparation the cake and the carving, the crumb coat, the buttercream application and that damn fondant application kicked my butt last night. And I thought that was going to be the easiest part. OH MY GOODNESS!

So to start,
1) I unwrapped first cake and crumb coated it. Not bad just took a lil longer then I expected.
2) Unwrapped the second red-velvet and noticed it looked raw in the middle....THANK GOODNESS I happened to bake a third!
3) Next cake I pull out of the freezer right away and it's rock hard but LOVE the process of carving the FROZEN cake. Only thing I would change in the future is after baking and the cake is cooled, split it for the filling and prior to freezing put some wax paper in between. That way when you remove it from the freezer you can just carve the shape you need and not worry about trying to cut through the center of a frozen cake.
4) Now QUESTION here, I don't know if I did this wrong or right but after the crumb coat I applied the buttercream for the frosting. Should I have let that set in the fridge first prior to the fondant application? The only thing I found is that as much as I smoothed the buttercream out, once the fondant was applied it still looked bumpy.
5) Fondant seemed a lil dry :-/ I tried to fix where needed. Applied to the cake....WHAT A PAIN IN THE BUTT THAT WAS! Well the top layer more so then anything - it's an odd shape. Either way it wasn't the smoothest application I would have liked to see. Actually NOT at all. Nothing compared to some of the images on CC.
6) Tiering the cake. I set the top cake to the bottom just to see how it looked. I was like...NICE....then ran to the pantry to get my dowels and I hear PLUMP! I'm like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! LOL Yup top layer was on the counter. I refused to let it ruin my night so I conqured through it.
7) DOWELS...OMG! icon_eek.gif What the heck and how the heck are these guys supposed to be cut after in the cake? I understand how to do it but it was like cutting through a tree trunk! YOUR ADVICE HERE would sure help!

Whelp that was my first cake experience. I did enjoy it for the most part. More so can't wait to see how the end product comes out.
TRULY BEATEN UP
Suz

27 replies
cookiemom51 Posted 20 May 2011 , 1:55pm
post #2 of 28

Your post made me actually laugh out loud. I can't answer your questions, but it sounds like you are well on your way to being a great decorator! Power through those problems! Keep us posted!

KakeMistress Posted 20 May 2011 , 2:10pm
post #3 of 28

the best thing I have found for the dowels are pruning sheers, I had my husband buy a pair just for me to cut the dowels.. they are awsome, still a struggel but not too bad

Unlimited Posted 20 May 2011 , 2:33pm
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosima

7) DOWELS...OMG! icon_eek.gif What the heck and how the heck are these guys supposed to be cut after in the cake?




Don't cut them after they're in the cake. You're suppose to cut the first one to the height of the cake and use that as a guide to cut all of the others to the same length, then insert them.

Norasmom Posted 20 May 2011 , 2:39pm
post #5 of 28

icon_biggrin.gif Keep up the good work!

mareg Posted 20 May 2011 , 3:05pm
post #6 of 28

welcome to the club. LOL icon_smile.gif

luntus Posted 20 May 2011 , 3:10pm
post #7 of 28

high five.... you made it through. Now many more cakes to come.

LayerCakes Posted 20 May 2011 , 4:09pm
post #8 of 28

lol yes, I think all of us have our butt's kicked...and on a regular basis.

Few things, for larger cakes dowels are great on smaller try bubble T straws. I find a food safe marker is great to mark where I need to cut, I insert the straw/dowel notch it with the marker and pull out and cut. Crumb coat your cake and let it sit in the fridge overnight if possible, or at the very least in the freezer for 10 min or so to firm up. Then apply BC, I love Sharon Zambito's method for smoothing buttercream and stacking cakes. Try not to stack your cakes directly after covering. In some climates it takes a bit for the fondant to dry (even with tylose added) Some fondants are easier to work with than others, Wilton is super easy, dries quickly etc but of course taste horrible, Satin Ice as well as Quality work best if you need in a bit of the Tylose and for me does the best if I do this a couple of days before and then just knead to soften the day I cover.

SweetDreams98 Posted 20 May 2011 , 6:32pm
post #9 of 28

I have a very handy boyfriend so I use the table saw for cutting my dowels. It's super easy and after they're cut I just go ahead and file down the end to ensure there's no splinters. If you don't have access to a power tool like that, I would say just go to home depot and look for a small hand saw, you'll be amazed how easy it makes cutting the dowels!
Hope this helps!

Cosima Posted 21 May 2011 , 12:38pm
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosima

7) DOWELS...OMG! icon_eek.gif What the heck and how the heck are these guys supposed to be cut after in the cake?



Don't cut them after they're in the cake. You're suppose to cut the first one to the height of the cake and use that as a guide to cut all of the others to the same length, then insert them.




Good to know, I'll do that next time, thanks! I will say I took my technique by what I've seen the bakers do on the many cake shows on the cooking channels. I've seen it several times where they insert the stick all the way down and bring it back up and cut where the cake shows its mark on the stick.

I like your idea better icon_biggrin.gif

Cosima Posted 21 May 2011 , 12:44pm
post #11 of 28

Thanks everyone for the encouraging and advisable words. I will take it all in for my next cake..... my son's birthday is next week so I think I might attempt a small.....hence the word....*small* beer bottle cake? It'll be good practice and a good challenge. He turns 21.

Just to let you know, I had the birthday girl over last evening to help me put all the elements on the cake. She loved it and that's what counted. I would have changed a lot of things... but for my first cake I think I did pretty darn good - LOL. As with everything in life you learn as you go and I've learned a few things this time around.

Now I can only keep my fingers crossed that this cake and all of its elements hang tight throughout the day icon_cool.gif

Cosima Posted 21 May 2011 , 12:48pm
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LayerCakes

lol yes, I think all of us have our butt's kicked...and on a regular basis.

Few things, for larger cakes dowels are great on smaller try bubble T straws. I find a food safe marker is great to mark where I need to cut, I insert the straw/dowel notch it with the marker and pull out and cut. Crumb coat your cake and let it sit in the fridge overnight if possible, or at the very least in the freezer for 10 min or so to firm up. Then apply BC, I love Sharon Zambito's method for smoothing buttercream and stacking cakes. Try not to stack your cakes directly after covering. In some climates it takes a bit for the fondant to dry (even with tylose added) Some fondants are easier to work with than others, Wilton is super easy, dries quickly etc but of course taste horrible, as well as Quality work best if you need in a bit of the Tylose and for me does the best if I do this a couple of days before and then just knead to soften the day I cover.




Oh I wanted to reply to this one before posting my thank yous to everyone.

I made the marshmallow fondant recipe myself. I wanted to make sure it tasted good and I hear so many speak of how fondant doesn't taste that good. My first batch was perfect but the second one was a challenge but I think I know what I did wrong.

Can you please direct me to where I can find Sharon Zambito's techniques. I must check that out!
Thank you icon_smile.gif

shar7599 Posted 21 May 2011 , 1:05pm
post #13 of 28

I use lollipop sticks for dowels. They have seemed to work for me so far, but with my last cake, I had to add more than normal on the bottom layer (3 tiers with deco hat on top) I add them in after I apply the fondant. Stick it down into the cake, then pull it up and cut where I need it. Put some a very thin layer of BC and then sit the next layer on top. I ended up purchasing THE MAT online. It is a pain in the butt to use sometimes as I don't have a very big table so they kept sliding off and hitting the floor UGH!! But it did make life easier for rolling and moving the fondant. As for the lumps, that's just going to take practice. It will get less lumpy as you go. Sorry, I can't help more. I just did my 3rd last weekend so I am by no means an expert. I can't wait to see pics of it, I'm sure it's much better than you think it is!

Unlimited Posted 21 May 2011 , 1:51pm
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosima

I've seen it several times where they insert the stick all the way down and bring it back up and cut where the cake shows its mark on the stick.




That's okay for the first dowel. If the rest of the dowels are cut that way, they're pegging it based on the shape of the cake which might not be level. It's best to peg your cake with dowels that are exactly the same length if don't want it to lean.

Unlimited Posted 21 May 2011 , 1:56pm
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by shar7599

I use lollipop sticks for dowels.




They'll absorb moisture and get soggy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shar7599

Stick it down into the cake, then pull it up and cut where I need it.




You're pegging it based on the shape of the cake which might not be level. It's best to peg your cake with dowels that are exactly the same length if don't want it to lean.

Cosima Posted 21 May 2011 , 2:37pm
post #16 of 28

Here's a good question...after u put the dowels n how do u cover the holes?

Unlimited Posted 21 May 2011 , 2:47pm
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosima

Here's a good question...after u put the dowels n how do u cover the holes?




You don't. You're only doweling tiers that have another tier above, so that tier covers the holes.

sugarxosugar143 Posted 21 May 2011 , 3:14pm
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosima

Here's a good question...after u put the dowels n how do u cover the holes?



You don't. You're only doweling tiers that have another tier above, so that tier covers the holes.




i thought the center dowel was supposed to go through the middle of all the tiers not just the ones the cakes are on top of?

cvoges Posted 21 May 2011 , 3:20pm
post #19 of 28

I laughed when I saw the title of your post. I love to bake and decorate for family and friends. I love to practice and play with recipes and techniques and take the results to work the next day for my co-worker to munch on. However, whenever specific instructions and deadlines are implemented, it wears me out. Everytime, and I mean every single time, I finish a wedding cake, I swear it's the last one I will ever do. However, a few days later, I'm ready to rock again. I have two nieces getting married this summer, and I'm prepping myself for the that feeling before it even hits.

The dowels? I bought a tiny hacksaw (less that $10) to cut those wooden dowels. Just measure twice and cut once.

Unlimited Posted 21 May 2011 , 3:44pm
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarxosugar143

i thought the center dowel was supposed to go through the middle of all the tiers not just the ones the cakes are on top of?




They asked about dowels (plural), not a center dowel.

The center dowel is completely different. (You can fill the hole on the top tier if it shows or isn't covered with a topper. Alternatively, you can slide the top tier onto the center dowel, if you don't want to pierce the top surface.)

shar7599 Posted 21 May 2011 , 6:12pm
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by shar7599

I use lollipop sticks for dowels.



They'll absorb moisture and get soggy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shar7599

Stick it down into the cake, then pull it up and cut where I need it.



You're pegging it based on the shape of the cake which might not be level. It's best to peg your cake with dowels that are exactly the same length if don't want it to lean.




I hadn't thought about that until I saw your reply. Thanks for the tip! That's why I love this site!!

Paperfishies Posted 21 May 2011 , 6:58pm
post #22 of 28

I HATE wooden dowels! HATE THEM! I use bubble tea straws, unless I'm stacking a gigantic cake that weighs a ton, then I will fold and use wooden dowels.

The process gets easier and becomes less time consuming once you find your groove and get your own routine down.

Cosima Posted 21 May 2011 , 8:03pm
post #23 of 28

I love this site too! That's how I've learned how to make and create this cake. All the advice pictures tecipes etc., PRICELESS! I'll post pictures later. Waiting foe it to be on display.

Cosima Posted 21 May 2011 , 8:53pm
post #24 of 28

Sorry misspells on my iPhone. I hate typing on it!

mcaulir Posted 21 May 2011 , 9:37pm
post #25 of 28

Every cake in my gallery has been stacked with regular drinking straws, and no center dowel. Of course, most of them are mudcakes, and could probably support the weight of the tiers above without anything. icon_smile.gif

Cosima Posted 22 May 2011 , 2:35pm
post #26 of 28

icon_biggrin.gif Here is my finished cake icon_biggrin.gif It was a HUGE success and the little girls loved it!

Image

Sassy74 Posted 22 May 2011 , 4:09pm
post #27 of 28

HOLY SMOKES!!! THAT CAKE IS AMAZING!

Congrats to you, Cosima! That's quite an accomplishment.

sugarxosugar143 Posted 23 May 2011 , 3:10pm
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassy74

HOLY SMOKES!!! THAT CAKE IS AMAZING!

Congrats to you, Cosima! That's quite an accomplishment.




AGREE!!!! GREAT JOB!

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