What Is *your* Preference For Dams/fillings??

Decorating By lrlt2000 Updated 5 Jun 2011 , 1:18am by lrlt2000

lrlt2000 Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 4:45pm
post #1 of 15

I have read so many things over the years, most of the time with people saying "it really doesn't matter."

BUT, this past weekend, I used SMBC as my dam, a chocolate fudge filling, white chocolate ganache outer with fondant on top. The cake was one 3-layer 11" bottom tier and one 3-layer 9" top tier, with 5 dowels supporting the top and one dowel driven through the whole thing in the end.

I found that after 24 hours on the counter (dry and cool basement level, BTW), that the layers started to sag. I assumed it was because the butter in the SMBC was softening up, as it was just bulging at the filling layer, leading me to believe it DOES matter what we use!

I want to know what your personal preferences are for:

Outer icing:
Covering (if applicable):
Storage: [i.e., refrig or room temp]

If you have different combos that go together, you can do multiple answers icon_smile.gif

Thank you! I have no formal baking/cake education, so I am not familiar with the science of it all.

14 replies
lrlt2000 Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 4:50pm
post #2 of 15

Oh, I forgot, I haven't posted a pic yet, because I forgot to take a final and the client (a friend of a friend) is going to send me one but hasn't yet icon_smile.gif

Here's an incomplete one. . .


You cannot see the sagging, because this picture was taken right after I finished most of the cake (except the writing).

cakification Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 4:54pm
post #3 of 15

Dam: really stiff BC... So stiff that I can roll it between my fingers
Filling: anything that isn't runny or slippery. I try to avoid fruit fillings for this reason.
Outer icing: I have neer tried ganache, but i like any crusting BC
Covering (if applicable): virgin ice fondant
Storage: [i.e., refrig or room temp]: room temp on the counter, unless theres a creemcheese filling, then it's in the fridge. I only put fondant covered cakes in the fridge, unwrapped.

I am not a pro by any means, but thats what works for me.

My thoughts are, are you sure your dowels were cut to the right height? also, what were you using to separate the tieres? A cake plate?

MikeRowesHunny Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 4:59pm
post #4 of 15

Umm, your ganache recipe must be off - no way, no how, if you are using the right consistency and depth, should you get filling ridges - ever, no matter how hot it is.

lrlt2000 Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 4:59pm
post #5 of 15

cakification: I guess it is possible I didn't have them cut tall enough, but they were sticking up like I usually have them. I used regular cardboard cake boards. I can't remember if the bottom layer of the *top* tier was sagging too, which I think would indicate it was not a dowel issue?

I'll have to wait for the client picture to see.

I will definitely make a mental note to review dowel-cutting for this weekend's cake icon_smile.gif Thanks

lrlt2000 Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 5:01pm
post #6 of 15

MRH: I used the 3:1 ratio recipe for white chocolate ganache. It was so hard, I could barely spread it! Maybe I didn't use enough?? What are your thoughts on ganache under fondant?? Do you aim for a particular thickness or number of 'coats'?

cakification Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 5:05pm
post #7 of 15

Ps.. Such an adorable cake!

MikeRowesHunny Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 5:15pm
post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by lrlt2000

MRH: I used the 3:1 ratio recipe for white chocolate ganache. It was so hard, I could barely spread it! Maybe I didn't use enough?? What are your thoughts on ganache under fondant?? Do you aim for a particular thickness or number of 'coats'?

Look at my photos - I only use ganache under fondant, and I never, ever use a dam - see any ridges?

I cover my cakes in ganache until I can no longer see the cake through the ganache, a good 1/8in. I also let my cakes set up overnight and chill them for at least an hour before covering with fondant.

In hot weather I add even more chocolate to the cream. If I have to soften in it in microwave to use it, so be it! I am using ganache today made from 500ml (just under 17floz) heavy cream and 1.75kg (62oz) of white chocolate (quality of this chocolate *does* matter - I use Calebeaut).

Hope that helps!

lrlt2000 Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 5:25pm
post #9 of 15

Thanks, MRH--what do you use for your filling that you don't need a dam??

For the one I have this weekend, I want to use lemon curd coating surfaces of layers with raspberry SMBC in between. I've done it before, and it's sooooo good! It's more sturdy than the fudge filling I used in the Elmo cake, so maybe it won't be such an issue.

TexasSugar Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 5:33pm
post #10 of 15

Did you let your cake settle any between the filling process and putting on the fondant?

MikeRowesHunny Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 6:56pm
post #11 of 15

I use butter only standard buttercreams, meringue buttercreams, whipped ganaches, often paired with preserves or curds. Never had a problem with any of them. I fill, squish down on top, remove the excess with a pointed palette knife (so it leaves a recess along the filling line), chill for a couple of hours. Then I do a rough crumb coat with ganache, chill until firm and then do a top final coat using a hot side scraper to get a super smooth surface. Leave to set overnight at room temp, and then chill again for an hour or so before covering. HTH!

yummy_in_my_tummy Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 7:11pm
post #12 of 15

Dam: Ganache (white or chocolate)
Filling: Whatever the client wants, normally nothing that needs refrigeration
Outer icing: Ganache (white or chocolate)
Covering (if applicable): Fondant
Storage: Room temp

I also use a little more chocolate in my ganache than the receipe calls for. I microwave it to get it to a spreadable consistancy. I do this because once it cools and dries, it's solid enough to not let any air bubbles escape (although I do my best to get them out before crumb coating), it holds everything in and its also easier to get sharp corners. If your ganache is solid enough, a dam probably isnt necessary, although I would feel more comfortable using one anyway. Personal preference icon_smile.gif

lrlt2000 Posted 3 Jun 2011 , 4:45pm
post #13 of 15

Thanks, everyone! I feel ready to tackle this attempt!

calicopurr Posted 3 Jun 2011 , 5:27pm
post #14 of 15

I use thick icing like cakification. I mix enough powdered sugar in so it's thick like a clay.
It works very well, but on the other hand, I was wondering about the cash mashed with
buttercream. I read that some use that. That's the same as the recipe for cake pops or
cake balls. Just mix in the cake that has been leveled off with some buttercream until
it's moist enough to hold the cake crumbs. Pipe it as a dam. I recently bought some ceramic
tiles in two different sizes so I can set them on top of my cake after I dam and fill. Of course,
I will wrap my cake with a layer of plastic wrap to protect my cake. I'll even wrap the tiles. icon_smile.gif

lrlt2000 Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 1:18am
post #15 of 15

I did a small cake today for my youngest daughter's baptism tomorrow--this time I did not use dams at all. On the bottom tier, I used a sweetened peanut butter (just added powdered sugar and water) to coat surfaces of layers and then chocolate SMBC for the fillings; on the top tier, I used seedless raspberry jam to coat layers with plain vanilla SMBC for the filling.

Then I flash froze, and warmed my ganache a little. I coated the frozen cakes twice--this worked so well! The ganache was warm enough to coat well, but then hardened pretty fast to be firm.

Hopefully, this will work to keep everything sturdy this time. Thanks for all the advice!

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