How To Avoid Buttercream Blowouts?!

Decorating By cakemeech201 Updated 10 Feb 2013 , 2:46am by shanter

cakemeech201 Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 5:57pm
post #1 of 34

Lately I've been experiencing a lot of 'cake farts' in my buttercream iced cakes!!! 2 out of 3 I made this weekend had blowouts in the icing. Fortunately I was able to fix and hide them but I'd rather not have to deal with them at all. Any advice on how to avoid this problem would be greatly appreciated icon_cry.gif

33 replies
mommachris Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 6:20pm
post #2 of 34

I used to have issues with a 'stripe' around the cake where the filling had ballooned out.
I'm going to guess that you leveled, filled and iced the cake 1..2..3. in succession.
Once I began to fill the cakes and rough ice them and THEN let them sit for several hours to settle. This issue disappeared.
Some on CC have suggested putting weight on the cake while is sits. A cake pan or a cookie sheet that helps rid the cake of air bubbles which force out the filling later.
Hope this helps.


CWR41 Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 8:52pm
post #3 of 34

Are you icing them while frozen or still partially frozen? Normally, blow outs happen as the cake thaws because the air has nowhere to escape through. If you poke a hole somewhere in the icing, it helps to prevent the blowout.

Prima Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 10:06pm
post #4 of 34

Thanks CWR41, for the advice. I'll have to try poking a hole in my next cake.

Also, I weigh my torted & filled cakes down with a large cake pan filled about 1/2 way with water. This helps them settle before covering. I think others have used tiles to weigh them down (I just don't happen to have any extra tiles laying around).

Sometimes, on especially problematic cakes, I use Toba Garrett's cake spackle. It's like creating a thin strong shell around your cake that you can ice over. You can use buttercream or ganache in your spackle. Here are a couple links, if you want to learn more about the technique:


cakemeech201 Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 12:42am
post #5 of 34

I don't freeze my cakes, I do bake them a few days before and stack them on my counter and let them rest for at least 24 hrs. Then I level and fill, let it hang in the fridge for a little and then dirty ice. I let that first coat get super hard and then ice with the colored icing twice, with time in between to let the icing set and firm up of course. I use a spatula dipped in hot water to smooth the final coat and then the Viva method. It's only happening to my tiered cakes, usually the base tier at the very bottoms. I never poked holes in my cakes before.. I should give this a try!! Also I've never weighted them with anything besides other cakes, could that be a problem? I used to have issues with the filling bulge not blowouts, it's opposite nowicon_sad.gif

CWR41 Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 3:22am
post #6 of 34
Originally Posted by cakemeech201

Also I've never weighted them with anything besides other cakes, could that be a problem?

No. It's actually the perfect amount of weight, if you're helping them to settle with the cake sizes that are being used for that cake.

cakemeech201 Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 6:07pm
post #7 of 34

Thanks Prima!! I might try the spackle on a fondant covered wedding cake this weekend. I'm traveling over an hour in the car with it and SCARED TO DEATH of getting bulges or bubbles from blowouts. It's a super plain design so no little trinkets to hide any imperfections icon_redface.gif

debbief Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 6:17pm
post #8 of 34

poking a hole in the cake works really well for me. I read that on here awhile back. So whenever I notice an air bubble forming anywhere, I just run a wooden dowel down the top of my tier all the way to the bottom. It gives the air a place to escape. I cover most of my cakes with fondant and it works well for that too. A lot of times I make the hole before right after icing before I cover with fondant just to prevent bubbles. You can cover the hole with a decoration, or icing or whatever if it happens to be the top tier.

Sassy74 Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 6:32pm
post #9 of 34

I avoid blowouts by filling, stacking, and then letting the uniced cake settle over night, or at least for a few hours. I do put a thin layer of icing around the outside of the cake where the filling is (between layers), just to seal any exposed cake well. No blowouts since doing it this way!

AZCouture Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 6:50pm
post #10 of 34

Is this pretty much an American style buttercream problem because it's heavier than say, a meringue BC? I really don't know, it's been so long since I made ABC. I would imagine the same volume of both on scales would show one to be heavier.

jenscreativity Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 6:51pm
post #11 of 34

I let my cakes settle for hours with some weight on it..

AZCouture Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 6:59pm
post #12 of 34
Originally Posted by jenscreativity

I let my cakes settle for hours with some weight on it..

But talk to just about every person who uses a meringue BC, and we don't have to do that.

AnnieCahill Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 7:11pm
post #13 of 34

Correct. I have never had a bulging or blow out issue with meringue buttercreams, and I never weigh my cakes down with anything. I switch between IMBC and a lightly crusting powdered sugar based recipe. Now I don't settle my cakes with my non meringue recipe because my dam is stiff enough to withstand the weight of the cake. I also don't ice my cakes cold when I use that recipe. The one time I experienced an air amoeba I had iced a cake cold (with the powdered sugar recipe). It's crazy how different the two types of BC are. Overall I prefer IMBC and I love not having to mess with powdered sugar when I make it. icon_smile.gif

Prima Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 7:15pm
post #14 of 34
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Originally Posted by jenscreativity

I let my cakes settle for hours with some weight on it..

But talk to just about every person who uses a meringue BC, and we don't have to do that.

I always use SMBC on my cakes, and I've always weighed my cakes prior to crumbcoating. I guess I always thought since meringue BC's are lighter, that they were more delicate, & more susceptible to squishing under the weight of the fondant. I suppose, too, that I always weigh my cakes to settle them because I've been too afraid not too. After all, we don't want to skip a step, work so hard on our cake, & end up with the nasty bulges.

Have I been doing this step unnecessarily? What about when you use fruit fillings (these always seem especially susceptible to leakage)?


AZCouture Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 7:18pm
post #15 of 34

Not even with fruit! I don't ever use anything that is super runny or slippery anyways, but any fillings other than plain ole BC gets dammed in with a ring of SMBC to contain it anyways.

AnnieCahill Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 7:20pm
post #16 of 34

Same here. Most of my fillings are stiff anyway, but I don't ever ever put the dam right on the edge of the cake. I think that is key with a lot of these issues. For me, the dam gets piped about 1/4 inch in from the edge. Then it gets refrigerated so it's nice and hard. But even if it's a loose filling it will stay in. Two things-don't overfill and don't put the dam right on the edge of the cake.

Prima Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 7:25pm
post #17 of 34

Oooh, I think this has been my problem. I always try to pipe the dam right to the edge. Then the dam seems to squish out a little when I place the layers on top. Sometimes I've seen some leakage of fruit filling when the dam squishes out. I will try bringing them in 1/4" and chill next time. Thanks so much (and sorry if I have digressed this thread a bit)!

AZCouture Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 7:25pm
post #18 of 34
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill

For me, the dam gets piped about 1/4 inch in from the edge. Then it gets refrigerated so it's nice and hard. But even if it's a loose filling it will stay in. Two things-don't overfill and don't put the dam right on the edge of the cake.


cakemeech201 Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 7:37pm
post #19 of 34

I've never made or used a meringue BC before. It seems like it would be more time consuming than your traditional BC and a little intimidating?! I'd love to try this but I'm afraid to try something new for such an important event!!
Debbief: Do you let the iced cake with holes poked in it sit for a while before covering with fondant??
Sassy74: I've done that before but I don't think I let them sit in there long enough. I was afraid they would dry out. I'm going to try it again letting them sit longer but also use the spackle AND poke a few small holes in the cake!! Maybe all my bases will be covered then?
It's super important that I nail this cake guys, no room for mistakes!!!!!! icon_cry.gif

Prima Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 7:50pm
post #21 of 34

Swiss Meringue Buttercream is super easy, & to die for delicious. I was nervous at first, too. But after I realized how wonderful it was, I never looked back. I use FromScratchSF's recipe. Here is the link:


juliepalangi Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 8:02pm
post #22 of 34

Ok I am coming in on the tail end of this conversation and hopefully my question(s) are appropriate for the the thread! I'm not sure what a BC blowout is so I'm guessing here...

I am noticing that a couple of hours after covering a cake in fondant, the sides become bumpy/lumpy. It's like the cake has settled a bit and relaxed and maybe even sunk a little on the sides (I've never weighed down a cake - never even heard of such a thing until reading this thread!).

I am using a BC with 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter. I make my cakes ahead, freeze them, let them thaw maybe halfway before I crumbcoat. Put the crumbcoated cake in the fridge for 30 min or so, then do my top layer of icing. Back to the fridge, then fondant. Yesterday I had my first ever mysterious bubble appear on the top of the finished cake (possibly the blowout of which you speak?). I poked a hole in the fondant then let the air out.

Reading through all of these posts, I see there are roughly a million ways to ice a cake as well as a million types of BC!! I have also not tried a meringue BC for fear of screwing it up! Could this be my issue though? Wrong BC? I use MMF and yesterday I actually combined my MMF with some Duff's fondant because it made the right blue shade. Could my fondant be too thin?

Any advice is surely appreciated.

Prima Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 5:24am
post #23 of 34

So I was just pouring over Beyond Buttercream's blog (fromscratchsf), just because I love her advice & sassy writing skills. In one of her posts, she mentions that she weighs a freshly crumbcoated cake, filled with SMBC, with a heavy object, to help settle it & prevent airbubbles. This is what I've been doing, but is it not necessary with SMBC? Is it just personal preference? I'm a bit confused.

Here is the link to her blog post:

Prima Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 5:32am
post #24 of 34

And yes, just in case you were wondering, it's 11:30 at night, and I'm reading baking blogs in bed. Healthy, no?

AZCouture Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 4:03pm
post #25 of 34

If Jennifer does that, then it's probably a personal preference. I personally have found no reason to do it by following the steps I do.

Prima Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 4:17pm
post #26 of 34

Thanks! Maybe I'll try skipping this step on a cake that's not super vital, & see how it goes. I really appreciate your advice.

Paperfishies Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 7:08pm
post #27 of 34

I fill my cakes, crumb coat...let it crust, then put a piece of parchman paper on top and set a cookie sheet on of the parchment...Then I allow the cake to sit at room temp for an hour or so. Then I ice my cake like normal. this prevents bulging.
I also make sure my dams are made with stiff icing.

robinmarie Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 8:06pm
post #28 of 34

When you guys let the cake settle for a few hours or overnight, what do you do to prevent the cake from getting stale? I've always wraped the cake in saran wrap while its setteling, but I am now wondering if I'm doing the right thing because I still get air bubbles. Thanks for any help

cakemeech201 Posted 17 Jun 2012 , 4:52am
post #29 of 34

ok so I had my important wedding cake today. I followed all the steps to prevent the blowouts.. stiff dam, let them settle with the same size pan on top with some water, used 'cake spackle', made wiltons high humidity icing, didn't bring it in n out of the fridge much, poked holes in it.. so the cakes had to be transported almost 1 1/2 hours to the venue in my trunk, unstacked and except for the giant bottom tier were in boxes. it wasn't super hot today, and I took my time driving. when I got there and opened the trunk there was a huge blowout on the side:/ I was SO mad since I did pretty much everything possible to avoid that. the second tier which was pretty big was also in the trunk but in a box and I had no problems. the other 2 small tiers rode inside the car with the air on and I didn't have issues with them either. it was easily fixed but I hate opening the trunk and finding stuff like that icon_sad.gif and the florist was mean and wouldn't let me put the flowers on the cake myself. ok, that is allicon_smile.gif

AnnieCahill Posted 17 Jun 2012 , 9:40am
post #30 of 34

Did you ice the cake at room temperature or did you chill the cake first and then ice it?

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