Fondant Draping: Cake Settles Every Time Advice Pleeease!!!

Decorating By MrsCakesAJ Updated 18 Oct 2012 , 3:38pm by chrissyr

MrsCakesAJ Posted 7 Aug 2011 , 11:35pm
post #1 of 10

I NEED HELP BADLY! Whenever I drape my buttercream covered cakes with fondant my cakes have a rippled effect afterwards (you can see every layer of my cake through the fondant). Right before I lay the fondant on my cake, my cake looks perfect! The icing is completely smooth! I have read all the tutorials I can find and they all make it look so rediculously effortless but I am so tired of draping cakes in fondant and having this happen. My cake layers are refrigerated and I ice and stack them, wait about fifteen mins for my icing to harden a bit and then lay the fondant on. I do not place my cakes back in the fridge once fondant is on (never any room in thereicon_smile.gif.... its as if my cakes warm up to room temperature and then sag down or settle within half an hour of placing the fondant onicon_sad.gif I thought fondant cakes could be kept at room temp for a day or two???... I'm not putting a lot of icing between my layers... My cakes aren't too thick or heavy.... my fondant isn't too thick or heavy either I don't think. I use a cake leveler so all my layers are perfectly even. Why are my cakes settling and creating this wavy sided effect instead of a smooth professional finish?? What am I doing wrong??!?!? PLEASE someone help me out hereicon_sad.gif I'm getting really discouragedicon_sad.gif Thanks in advance! PS Go to my photos and check out my Bob the Builder Cake. Those pics show where the top part of my cake settled. I managed to hide the rest by placing vines around the house).

9 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 2:40am
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Do you compress your layers after you fill? After you crumbcoat you need to put something heavy on top of your cake to compress out all the air and make sure the layers have settled. For a 6" cake I put a sheet pf parchment, a cake circle, then a large can of enchalada sauce. For a 12" cake I put a 1/2 sheet pan on it then a 10 lb bag of sugar. Try that.

Jen

southerncross Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 2:58am
post #3 of 10

I agree with ScratchSF although I'm not sure you need to put a 10 pound bag of sugar on top. The idea of compression is to push the air out by replicating the weight of the fondant. 75% of my cakes are covered in fondant and in addition to compression I find that smoothed chocolate ganache under the fondant prevents blowouts completely. Don't be discouraged.

ycknits Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 3:29am
post #4 of 10

When I'm adding lots of extra weight to the cake with draping and/or decorations, I add extra reinforcement to the cake. Always use bubble straws or dowels to reinforce each layer that is supporting another layer. If I'm adding draping or decorations to an exposed edge or corner of the cake that is not supported, I pre-form and dry a circle or square of fondant to place at the spot where the drape and/or decorations will be anchored. If the weight will be significant, I place a bubble straw in the cake beneath the extra circle or square of fondant.

If the weight will be on the top layer of the cake, I make a large circle or square of fondant (and pre-dry) to place on the top of the cake and support it with bubble straws, just as if that layer were going to support another layer. For heavy figures, I put a circle or square of fondant under them and support it with several bubble straws to keep it from sinking into the fondant and to keep it level.

This has solved my problems with draping dragging down the corner of a cake or making it lopsided. It prevents my elephants from sinking into the cake overnight, etc. I had lots of problematic designs teach me to put in the extra work upfront!

MrsCakesAJ Posted 9 Aug 2011 , 2:37pm
post #5 of 10

Thank you ALL for your advice about placing weight on top of my cake before draping with fondant. That makes so much sense and is a step I completely did not know about! I'm definately going to try this on my next cake and see if it has better results. You all have already been so extremely helpful so any further answers would just be... well "icing on the cake" so to speakicon_smile.gif

One of you mentioned you place weight on your cake after you do your crumb coat... wouldn't that mess up the top of your crumb coat and make it a mess? Shouldn't you do the weight on top after you've iced in between the layers, but while the outside of the layers are still bare? Just curious on how that would work...

Also, once your cakes have been covered in fondant, how do you store them until your event? I usually bake my cakes and complete them two days before the birthday party (so I can relax the day before and not have to rush to complete anythingicon_smile.gif I usually let them sit out at room temp covered with a large light peice of cloth (I was afraid saran wrap would develop condensation or moisture and make my fondant goopy). Do you cover yours? If so, with what (saran wrap? a loose cloth?), or do you place in the fridge?

Lastly, the bubble straws..... do you place them horizontally through each layer of your cake? Or do you place them vertically down through all the layers? Either way, do they get in the way of cutting your cake? Do you remove them before cutting or as you cut each peice? I am obviously a newbie but I never knew all the structural components to making these creative cakes. It seems like it is a common thing to have a whole arsenal of support items throughout your cakeicon_smile.gif

Thanks again to everyone who responded, I really appreciate you taking your time to help me. I really LOVE making cakes, and thanks to you all maybe I will get a little better at iticon_smile.gif Have a great day!!!

FromScratchSF Posted 9 Aug 2011 , 3:36pm
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsCakesAJ

Thank you ALL for your advice about placing weight on top of my cake before draping with fondant. You are welcome That makes so much sense and is a step I completely did not know about! I'm definately going to try this on my next cake and see if it has better results. You all have already been so extremely helpful so any further answers would just be... well "icing on the cake" so to speakicon_smile.gif

One of you mentioned you place weight on your cake after you do your crumb coat... wouldn't that mess up the top of your crumb coat and make it a mess? Shouldn't you do the weight on top after you've iced in between the layers, but while the outside of the layers are still bare? Just curious on how that would work... I put a piece of parchment over it, then a cake circle, then my weight, then I pop it in the fridge to chill. I have even used plastic wrap instead of parchment. When chilled, it peels right off. You still have to do another layer of buttercream over the top.

Also, once your cakes have been covered in fondant, how do you store them until your event? I usually bake my cakes and complete them two days before the birthday party (so I can relax the day before and not have to rush to complete anythingicon_smile.gif I usually let them sit out at room temp covered with a large light peice of cloth (I was afraid saran wrap would develop condensation or moisture and make my fondant goopy). Do you cover yours? If so, with what (saran wrap? a loose cloth?), or do you place in the fridge? Fridge. If you are worried about condensation when coming back to room temperature, box your cake then wrap really well in plastic. As it comes to room temperature the moisture will stick to the plastic and be absorbed by your cake box.

Lastly, the bubble straws..... do you place them horizontally through each layer of your cake? Or do you place them vertically down through all the layers? Huh? You wouldn't put a horizontal straw, I don;t see how that would help. Either way, do they get in the way of cutting your cake? Do you remove them before cutting or as you cut each peice? I am obviously a newbie but I never knew all the structural components to making these creative cakes. It seems like it is a common thing to have a whole arsenal of support items throughout your cakeicon_smile.gifSPS all the way. If you are new to caking and stacking then I suggest using SPS instead of trusting straws. Your tiers will be level and centered, it makes it really easy to stack, easy to transport, and easy to cut since the plates pull right out and take the pillars with it. Read the sticky about SPS posted at the top of this fourm, there's a tutorial with pictures on how to use it.

Thanks again to everyone who responded, I really appreciate you taking your time to help me. I really LOVE making cakes, and thanks to you all maybe I will get a little better at iticon_smile.gif Have a great day!!!


You too![/b]

katj012 Posted 9 Aug 2011 , 6:06pm
post #7 of 10

MrsCakes, I also refrigerate my cakes between each step, just for a short time for the frosting to "set" (it's what I was taught in school). When I fill my cakes, I press each layer down slightly when I place it on top, just to make sure I don't have any big air bubbles caught. As soon as all layers are on, it goes IMMEDIATELY into the fridge for a half hour. And it will go back in the fridge for another half hour after I crumb coat, and another half hour after I finish coating, before I put fondant on. So far, using this method, I have never had a problem with any bulging/rippling/etc.

Also - if you take your buttercream and run it in a mixer on low for 10 minutes, you will knock all the air out of it. It doesn't make for good fluffy buttercream, but it works for good glossy buttercream with no air bubbles!

For supporting a cake - you put the dowels or bubble straws straight down into the cake, so it goes through all cake layers. This is the only thing to keep your top tiers (which should be on cake boards) from crushing your bottom tiers - otherwise you better have a pretty solid cake! This will also help with any sagging under the weight. Then you just pull those straws or dowels out before you cut the cake - easy as pie icon_smile.gif

I always put my fondant covered cakes back in the fridge - I move everything around until I have enough room (and it makes me clean out my fridge very often, which is good). Some people say not to do that, but I have never had a problem - as long as you pull the cake out a couple hours before it's going on display to let the condensation go away, it works just fine.

AND I have found that using the plastic bags from dresses that have been dry cleaned or purchased at a store works wonderfully for very loose wrapping while in the fridge.

MrsCakesAJ Posted 13 Aug 2011 , 1:53am
post #8 of 10

Thank you again for these additional details (and my apologies for just now getting back on here to reply... had to get through the first day of preschool..... my lil guy was so braveicon_smile.gif Anyways, I cannot wait to try all these new techniques on his birthday cake!!!! His 3yr birthday is in September so maybe you all can take some credit if I have any success with the cake turning out really good!!! I'll have my fingers crossedicon_smile.gif Appreciate all your comments and additional responses! Very very helpfulicon_smile.gif

MrsCakesAJ Posted 21 Sep 2011 , 1:22am
post #9 of 10

Okay everyone, drumroll please!!!! I followed the advice of placing something heavy on top of my cakes and if you look at my albums you will see my most recent cake... the John Deere Tractor and Combine Cake. I leveled my cakes, then layered my cakes, making sure to use a decorating bag to apply a thick buttercream barrier on each cake layer around the edges of its top. I filled in the center of the barrier with slightly thicker than regular consistency icing. Stacked the next leveled layer on, and so on until I reached desired height. Then I placed a cake board on top of each of my three stacked cakes, and placed a large Baked Beans can on each. They sat overnight at room temp. Then, the next day, I refrigerated them, carved them and then placed in the freezer. They were very very cold but weren't entirely frozen when I took them out to do my crumb coat. Again, after the crumb coat was on, I placed them back in the freezer until the crumb coat was nearly frozen (just really cold and hard enough to put on a smooth final coat of icing on). I did my final coat and draped with fondant. My result was MUCH cleaner than the Bob the Builder cake I had previously done, but I am still not getting that "Professionally Smooth" cake look. I look at fondant draped cakes that celebrities order for their birthdays or weddings and mine are not as smooth as those. HOW do the best of the best get their cakes so incredibly smooth? Please take a look at my latest John Deere tractor cake if you would. You can notice the rippling the most in the picture showing the back view of the tractor and combine with the orange caution triangle on each. The rear of my tractor also drooped somewhat to more of a 100 degree angle instead of a perfect 90 degree angle as intended when looking at its side view. I am overall pleased with the results, but I'm still not getting that supremely smooth look that I see with celebrity wedding cakes or cakes done on the reality cake TV shows. Any additional advice? Thanks to you all, the "Thank you" in my cake description in my album was directed at you all as wellicon_smile.gif

chrissyr Posted 18 Oct 2012 , 3:38pm
post #10 of 10

Ok I realize this post is old but it might help someone else. I too am having issues with cake settling and bulges. Sharon Z recommended a stronger dam of BC between layers, which actually has MORE powder sugar in it. This is to make it stiffer. Her video on fondant cakes is great. I've let my cakes settle longer too and I LOVE the ganache method of covering cakes! I also saw the video of Jessicakes where she spritzes her cakes with half corn syrup and half water before covering with fondant. Gonna try that next. so I'm winning the battle of the bulge and settling cakes lol! More to learn though icon_smile.gif

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