Cake Carving Issue (Cracking) - Need Help Asap!

Decorating By vogt51 Updated 14 Jan 2013 , 12:00am by Evoir

vogt51 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:53am
post #1 of 16

So today I did my first cake carving. A purse. The client does not like fondant, so I only iced it. I have read that when carving cakes, you need to put a board in between every 2 layers and dowel it. So I did that. I finished the cake, all was well. Then I moved the cake from my counter to my table and a crack showed up right where the board is inside the cake. I could fill it in and smooth it out, but will it just crack again when the cake is moved? What can I do? The cake is due Saturday morning.

15 replies
pieceofcaketx Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:56am
post #2 of 16

What kind of board do you have the cake on?

Is it one of those flimsy Wilton boards or is it foam board or something strong like that?


I've had that happen when my board wasn't strong enough to hold the cake, so now I use foam board (foam core) for all my cakes.

vogt51 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:58am
post #3 of 16

Yeah, I've had that happen before and now I use sturdy boards. The problem is not the board the cake is on. The problem seems to be that the icing is cracking around the board that is inside the cake in between the layers.

pieceofcaketx Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 3:03am
post #4 of 16

How big is the cake? And when you doweled it did you cut the dowel flush with the bottom layer of cake?

If the cake is sitting completely on the dowels it may of left enough room for the cake to shift when you moved it.

When I dowel carved cakes like that I make sure the dowels are flush if not slightly below the cake, does that make sense?

vogt51 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 3:15am
post #5 of 16

I did make them flush, but maybe I should have made them a little lower because the top part of the cake wobbles slightly when I move it. I take it there is nothing I can do to fix this now short of taking my cake apart?

costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 3:26am
post #6 of 16

You'll probably have to take it apart...Maybe try to cut the dowels a little bit shorter, and make sure that the board is slightly less wide than the upper part of the cake so that the board itself isn't sticking out between the layers. If you leave about 1/4" of cake visible around the board that seems to help keep the space between the sections from showing. Put some icing around the board to make it level with the board, then stack the layers.

vogt51 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 12:21pm
post #7 of 16

I decided to leave it alone last night and went to bed. This morning, there is so much space between the inside board and the dowels (straws) it was sitting on that I could look right through it to the other side! So, I took the top part of the cake off and the dowels are not even close to being flush with the cake now. The cake was a little frozen when I did all this and I'm thinking now that it's thawed, it's settled and is shorter. I don't know how to avoid this in the future though because shouldn't the cake be frozen when you shape it? I can't imagine trying to cut it if it's not.


Thank you for your replies by the way! :)

Evoir Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 12:30pm
post #8 of 16

AI tend not to carve semi frozen or frozen cakes. Keep it at room temp.

Also allow the cake to settle before final carving and outer ganaching/buttercreaming. Also you may need to consider a larger central dowel(s) through the whole cake, vertically to help minimise top wobble.


vogt51 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 12:57pm
post #9 of 16

Thank you! :)

costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:05pm
post #10 of 16

AI agree with Evoir, I never carve frozen cakes for that exact reason. When they thaw things can shift, and I want to know how the cakes are going to behave while I'm working with them. I carve eveything at room temp.

vogt51 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:44pm
post #11 of 16

Isn't it difficult to carve a cake that is not semi frozen? Doesn't it crumble? When I was carving, the cake was thawing and towards the end, it became very difficult to carve because it was falling apart where I would try to cut.

BakingIrene Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:55pm
post #12 of 16

Cakes are easiest to carve when they have chilled overnight NOT frozen.  They stay firm for at least an hour, plenty long enough to fuss over the shape. 


Of course you would normally use buttercream or ganache as the filling for a carved cake, instead of fruit filling or jam.  Just to make it hold together as well as possible.

vogt51 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:59pm
post #13 of 16

Okay, thank you to all! I won't be freezing my cakes anymore. It's amazing to me how many people (even professions) say to carve your cakes when they're semi frozen. Obviously there is going to be shifting as the cake thaws. Live and learn!

costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 3:12pm
post #14 of 16

AI take cake out of the pans at room temp, stack them up and carve away. As long as you're doing it bit by bit it shouldn't be falling apart. If your cake is too soft you might have to change recipes because some cakes just stand up to carving better than others, but there's no reason that you HAVE TO chill or freeze anything.

Everyone does things differently, but the reason I like to work with room temp cake is that how it's going to end up before it's cut. Fnd out the hard way that when things warm up they settle, and that can change the final shape of the cake. Same thing when you ice a round tier that's frozen, then people wonder why they get a bulge between the tiers or air bubbles in the fondant showing up. When the cake warms up the layers settle, so if they're going to compress down, the icing or air between the layers has nowhere to go but out.

vogt51 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 3:17pm
post #15 of 16

That makes complete sense and I've had trouble with those issues (bulging, bubbles) in the past as well. I will always have my cakes at room temp from now on. :)

Evoir Posted 14 Jan 2013 , 12:00am
post #16 of 16

I have no issues with crumbling as all my 3D cakes are mud cakes. I bake, cool, place in cardboards and cover in cling wrap. Leave overnight. Stack and carve the next day.

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