Help! Elmo's Arms Fell Off And I Don't Know Why!

Decorating By tokazodo Updated 21 Aug 2011 , 11:36pm by wildflowercakes

tokazodo Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 8:54pm
post #1 of 12

I just finished a 3-D Elmo cake for a friend. (it was a gift) Luckily, I took photos along the way. I supported the snot out of the cake. If you look closely at the photos you will see where I inserted a horizontal dowel, sharpened on both ends to hold the rkt arms. As I was putting Elmo's fur on, I watched the arms slowly detach from the cake and the rkt just kind of broke apart. I used regular rkt plus I added white chocolate to make it extra strong.

I tried to fix the rkt with added buttercream fur but gravitiy didn't want to play nice. Finally, I cut Elmo's arms off at the elbow (hmmm..sounds like a joke, doesn't it? icon_lol.gif ) and just kind of built up the buttercream fur to look like arms. (Now Elmo's built like a wrestler!)
Then I let the cake sit while I cleaned up. After taking photos, the buttercream started to pull away from the cake. It had crusted so I took my hand and smashed the buttercream arms into the side of the cake and just put enough light buttercream fur to make it look like fur and not add any more weight, to the outside layer of icing on the side of the cake.

Can anyone figure why the rkt arms didn't stay put and came apart? And can you tell me how to do it the right way so it doesn't happen again?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks
tokazodo

Today's Elmo Cake: http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2131709

11 replies
tokazodo Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 11:36pm
post #2 of 12

A little help.....anyone? icon_cry.gif Please? icon_smile.gif

katboss Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 12:32am
post #3 of 12

He is still really cute!!! and i am sure the little girl loved it!!
Maybe if you put dowels in the arms and then coated them completely in the chocolate?? I hate working with RKT but over the weekend i had to work with them to make a cake for my daughter and after I shaped them I brushed on melted chocolate and that held the tower together that I was working on. Don't know if that helps but I at least wanted to reply! lol Kat

Kiddiekakes Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 1:01am
post #4 of 12

The only explanation I have is the law of gravity.The arms may have been too heavy and fell off.I seriously try and steer away from cakes like these as I'm afraid the same thing would happen to me also...Hopefully someone will come along and give a better solution.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 1:12am
post #5 of 12

Elmo's mother told him that would happen.

cutiepiecupcake Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 8:29am
post #6 of 12

He is really cute icon_smile.gif I had the same issue with my Elmo cake I recently done.. I actually tried to have one arm raised in the air waving, but this failed due to the weight/gravity issue. I actually used fondant rolled into shape, then covered with buttercream. I always put the body (covered in buttercream and sealed real well to prevent drying) in the fridge to firm up and set real well prior to adding the limbs. Instead of having the arms straight out in front of the body, I actually curved mine inwards and rested them against the belly. This positioning enabled me to stab the arms in 3 separate places with skewers - shoulder, elbow and hand. I then placed him the fridge again to set up and keep the buttercream fur nice a stiff. I notice in your pics you use a really nice moist looking cake.. however, this is where you may encounter problems when attaching weight, as the sponge/lighter cake mix may not be capable of holding up the weight. I actually only ever use mud cake.. and most of the time it is filled and covered with ganache.. this makes for a great sturdy set up. Elmo was mud cake, but covered and filled with butter cream.. and I encountered issues because the butter cream doesn't set up as firm as the ganache. I guess it all comes down to ingredients and structure. At the end of the day though, your cake turned out wonderful xx

Alana7 Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:28am
post #7 of 12

Haha! I know it's not funny icon_biggrin.gif just sounds so familiar and brings back nightmares from a couple of months ago icon_biggrin.gif

In my case, I too had pretty good armature to begin with but ended up using enough skewers to start a bonfire! I used rice crispy treat arms and legs supported by 1/4" thick wire. Of course Elmo looks much better covered in buttercream fur which is what I did. To make a long story short, the nice moist buttercream made the rice crispies moist and unable to support the weight of the buttercream and kept coming away from the wire!. If I was brave enough to attempt it again ( not likely) and to answer your question, I would cover the entire cake (arms and legs included) in a firm ganache, chill to set it and only then cover in buttercream. The lesson I learned was never to put buttercream directly on rice crispy treats. Hope that helps.

leah_s Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 12:16pm
post #8 of 12

1. homemade or purchased RKT?
2. cover the RKT in melt chocolate or wrap in candy clay.
3. put a horizontal dowel in the cake that supports the shoulders and then reinforce the arms to the body every 3" - 4" inches, since these arms are resting against the body anyway.

tokazodo Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:16pm
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewkyrankelly

Elmo's mother told him that would happen.




I like you! I like you alot! You can come and sit in my corner of the room any old time! Thanks for the great laugh! icon_lol.gif

tokazodo Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:22pm
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

1. homemade or purchased RKT?
2. cover the RKT in melt chocolate or wrap in candy clay.
3. put a horizontal dowel in the cake that supports the shoulders and then reinforce the arms to the body every 3" - 4" inches, since these arms are resting against the body anyway.




Thanks leah_s. It was homemade rkt with white chocolate added for strength (butterless rkt). There was on horizontal dowel at the shoulders, but none other. Elmo arms are kind of long and thin so having the other horizontal supports at 3-4 inch intervals makes a lot of sense.
I did not cover the rkt with anything, but the next time, I will. They just kind of pulled apart from gravity.

Thanks for taking the time to help my trouble shoot this problem, leah_s, I really appreciate it!

tokazodo Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:28pm
post #11 of 12

Thank you everyone for your help!

wildflowercakes Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 11:36pm
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewkyrankelly

Elmo's mother told him that would happen.


icon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gificon_twisted.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%