I am new to cake decorating and learning with each one I make. Although I am sure it is out there, I searched for a while on these forums, but couldn't find an answer to my problem.
Anyway, I iced a cake with BC today, it was smooth (mostly as I am still learning to perfect this too), I finished the cake around noonish, put the cake in a box with lid open (too tall for the lid to close), and put on a flat surface. I went about my day, then when the customer came to pick it up at 7:30 I looked at the cake and the BC was cracking and had a weird swirly look to it. I did read some other posts about it being on a sturdy board. This was on a cake board that I feel is pretty sturdy. Thing is, I didnt even touch or move the cake all day, what happened? And I am so nervous, because the cake is for tomorrow, is it going to continue to crack? Recipe I use is butter, confec sugar, vanilla, milk-then this had food coloring in it to make it a midnight blue color....
Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated!
If you could post a pic of the crack that might help. If there is any bend or give in the cake board it can cause the cake to crack. I don't know what the swirly part is, that is weird and a pic would help. Not to tell you how to run your business, but if you are new to cake decorating and still learning as you said in your post, are you really ready to be selling to customers? Depending on what caused the crack and swirling, it could get worse over time. As the cake is moved, if the board bends a little, it will cause the cake to crack more. What kind of coloring do you use?
I don't have a picture from after the cracks started, good thought though for next time. The before is the star wars cake in my gallery. I have been playing with decorating for a while and enough people have bugged me to do cakes, ive just recently started charging mostly to cover my expenses (ive only had about 3 paid cakes). I do mention to people that im still learning.....(and i have a FT job I don't intend on leaving)
Anyway, the colors were Wilton gel sky blue and mccorrmicks black, don't think I used too much.....but in the end not sure
What is the best BC recipe to use for cake with fondant accents?
Just be sure your b/c icing is not too thick to apply to your cake. Be sure it is between med. and thin consistency. Too thin is bad too. Yes, a nice sturdy board. some people say to use vinegar in it. I have never used vinegar in my b/c icing. When i first started, i had some cracking . Then i made the boards sturdier and never cracked again. I like my b/c(american) to be creamy consistency, when i get thru. somes the dark icings will show cracks, especially if the b/c cream is not beat long enough to be creamy. I use the one on the wilton site. ( when i make american b/c). i use the butter , crisco(or hi-ratio) . I use whipping cream instead of milk or water. Has a very good taste. Sharon Zambito has a very good one and good tasting on this site and also she shows how to make it on youtube. Lots of decorators on this site use indydebi"s on the site. and swear by it. So look up these recipes i have given you and try them out. There is also on called buttercream dream on this site. Very good also.
I feel for you. I have put mine on a good firm board and have still had cracks. Swirls IDK, I have had this happen to me on dark colors too. NOT sure why this has happened. And we are all ALWAYS learning I feel. Have fun and good luck.
I'm impressed, you do nice work! I wonder if it had something to do with the McCormicks black. That is a liquid coloring, isn't it? I would pick up a bottle of Americolor black and red. They get lots of rave reviews for making good, dark colors. And I think you the board you used may have been part of the problem. I know they are made to be used for cakes, etc but they still have give in them. You might try doubling them up and taping them together with a glue gun or double sided tape. Or given your skills, give some thought to using a board cut to size and cover/wrap with any number of coverings to add to your cake design. There is no give to the board then and you can add design onto the board.
I hope you don't mind me giving you another un-asked for suggestion. Ditch the aluminum foil for a board covering. At least use fanci foil. Your cakes are way too nice to put on an alum foil board. And have your board a little larger than most of what you have been using, it kind of frames the cake a little better in my mind.
Just a note about the board. I looked at your picture. The cake appears to be on one of those Wilton-type silver cake boards. They are not sturdy enough to hold a cake of the size is it is going to be moved.
BTW, the cake is really cute. Your figures and lettering are perfect.
Thank you for all the compliments, and even more thanks for the suggestions!! (I love this site!) It was a wilton foil board, but I like the idea of doubling them up for heavier cakes. Are there boards out there for 'heavy' cakes that I could purchase? What type of board does a wedding cake go on, wood? This cake was moved, a couple times actually, so really nervous about what I may hear back from her...
If your cake was not completely level...that is say you flipped your bottom layer so the 'dome' was on the base and the square flat was on the top, unless you shore up the around edges with something sturdier than frosting, (like cake scraps mixed with frosting) your cake will bend--not necessarily enough to crack the cake, but it will shift enough to cause cracking in your frosting. If you don't level first now, you need to start.
Another thing. Keep your cake in the fridge to harden the frosting. It makes delivery easier and your cake can come to room temp in plenty of time for an event where it will be out for several hours.
I learned at a bakery to use foam core as boards (cut to size) and we would cover them with white freezer paper from the grocery store then put a ribbon around the edge. That's a basic go-to way to get a nice looking board for less money than buying the Wilton boards.
NEVER use liquid food coloring! Only use gels. Additional water from the food coloring will thin out your frosting.
I always add highly colored frosting at the very last so as not to have a funky tasting frosting and your customers won't have to deal with stained teeth and tongues.. If you frost your cake and let the BC harden in the fridge, then you can layer a thin layer or two of the highly colored stuff on for the effect you want. I do that for all my cakes that call for colored frosting.
Last, (and this is not the fun part), be very careful if you are not a legal baker. All it takes is someone to claim they got sick off your cake, call the health department or worse...sue...and you could be in a heap of doo-doo. If your state has a cottage food law you need to look into that if you haven't already.
It's also possible that your layers may have shifted a little after you decorated it. I'vehad that happen a couple times when i didn't have enough time for my cakes to completely unfreeze before decorating them (We bake, then freeze our cakes at my work). As the pp said, they shifted a little and I think that's why mine cracked
One other board that you could use besides doubled boards or covered foam core, is a cake drum. I use drums for most of my cakes. We use foam core for odd shaped cakes and covered plywood for the larger and/or the heaviest cakes. I like the drums because they are pretty and I don't have to take time to cover them to make them pretty. I add a ribbon sometimes but that is it. I prefer the look of Bakery Crafts drums over Enjay, but that is just my preference. They both perform well.