Settling The Cake/avoiding The Bulge!

Decorating By Smash Cakery Updated 4 Jul 2013 , 6:26am by md21010

Smash Cakery Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 5:16pm
post #1 of 25

I am working on a two tiered cake for Saturday, which is a lemon WASC cake. The recipes were a nightmare, but that's neither here nor there....


For those of you experienced in settling your cake/those of you who DONT get the bulge in your BC/fondant, I need your approval of what I've done. ha! Sounds naughty.


Anyway, I baked cakes yesterday, leveled, cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap and soft froze them overnight. This morning, I unwrapped, torted, filled, and stacked them. The lemon WASC caused one of my precious layers to literally collapse on the edge, so I suppose some carving is in my future as well. Anyway, I wrapped the whole tier in plastic wrap, and put my 3" pan on top, with two cake mixes. Probably weighs about 2-2.5 lbs. Is this too heavy? Should I just leave them on the counter until tonight?

24 replies
melanie-1221 Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 5:23pm
post #2 of 25

I weigh mine down to speed up the process. 

I think by tonight, with the pan & mixes you should be fine.

leah_s Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 6:01pm
post #3 of 25


The ceramic tiles really are the perfect weight.  I never actually put one on the scale though.

Smash Cakery Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 6:10pm
post #4 of 25



Yes! I am trapped at home today, and haven't had time to get to the hardware store to pick up some tiles. I will do that this weekend, i'm just trying to figure it out in a pinch.


Do you think that the weight will be too heavy?

Also, how long do you wait to cover in frosting/fondant after the weights come off? To allow the cake to spring back a bit?

FullHouse Posted 6 Feb 2013 , 7:21pm
post #5 of 25

I wrap well in Press n Seal and use upside down cake pans to weigh down my layers all the time.  Start with the pan the same size as the cake you baked, this helps the top keep its shape while still encouraging settling.  I then just put 1-2 pans of whatever size I can on top of that (2-3 pans total, MagicLine brand) and let it set on my counter for a few hours.  Then remove the pans and put the cakes into the fridge overnight.  All ready for icing the next morning, no bulges.

Smash Cakery Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 8:19am
post #6 of 25

Please help me figure out what went wrong? I settled my 10" and 8" tiers for 24 hours on the counter, about half of that time, they had a weight on top. They were wrapped with saran wrap. I unwrapped them this morning and scraped the bulges off the sides, and crumb coated. I put a moderately thin coat on the 10", to where I cound still see the cake layers through the icing in most places. On the 8", I ended up putting a thick layer of butterceam. I let the cakes sit on the counter for another 12 or 13 hours, and tonight I covered them in fondant.


I used a MMF  that I have used before (not covered a full cake with it). The fondant looked great at first, and then I started to see the bulges. I mean, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? They settled for almost 48 hours at room temperature! Was it the weight of the fondant? My filling is a shortening based buttercream, at medium "spreading" consistency.


Thankfully, there are lots of embellishments and things going on this cake that will artfully hide the flaws, but I need to know why this happened AGAIN, as I have a cake due at the end of the month that is part of a huge order, and I cannot have this happen again...

Annabakescakes Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 8:24am
post #7 of 25

Can you post a picture? Maybe your fondant was too thin? It is hard to say. Maybe your fondant was too soft, and stretched?

BakingIrene Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 1:35pm
post #8 of 25
Originally Posted by Smash Cakery 

Please help me figure out what went wrong? I settled my 10" and 8" tiers for 24 hours on the counter, about half of that time, they had a weight on top. They were wrapped with saran wrap. I unwrapped them this morning and scraped the bulges off the sides, and crumb coated. I put a moderately thin coat on the 10", to where I cound still see the cake layers through the icing in most places.


If you want to get all the air out then you cannot wrap in plastic wrap.


I have never had this trouble--but I bake cakes in the evening and let them set at room temperature at least 6 hours and up to overnight.  Crumb coat only takes a half hour in the fridge to chill before you add the final coat of bttercream.


Cakes should be baked only until done.  If cake needs to be frozen then it needs to be stone cold to the touch.  I freeze cake layers on a cookie sheet and then wrap well after the have frozen solid.


Lemon cake with lemon juice as well as sour cream in the batter will bake softer than other cake because the acid softens the gluten.  Next time add another half cup of all purpose flour--this is one variation where the smaller cake mix is too small for the liquids.

Smash Cakery Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 2:40pm
post #9 of 25

This is what happened. After the first, smooth layer of fondant did in fact did look too thin, I added a second layer, which is not so perfect. ha! ;) Like I said earlier, I can cover these bulges on this particular tier. But GEEZ! This is hideous. when the cake was crumb coated, it was perfect for 12 hours on my counter, unwrapped...


denetteb Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 3:58pm
post #10 of 25

Is that 3 layers of cake and 2 filling?  It looks like the opposite of a bulge, like it is indented where the filling is.

Annabakescakes Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 4:21pm
post #11 of 25

AIs there support in it, or is the top cake sitting directly on the bottom cake?

Smash Cakery Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 4:51pm
post #12 of 25

it is three layers of cake, two of filling. It may look like its not bulging, but indented...but i assure you, it's bulging. :-/


And yes, there are dowel supports in the bottom layer. I dont believe this was caused by the stacking. This was happening as soon as I got the fondant on, hours before it was stacked. sigh. I wish I could identify the issue.


I have ordered Sharom Zambito's perfect buttercream DVD, and will order the fondant DVD this weekend as well.

leah_s Posted 9 Feb 2013 , 9:47pm
post #13 of 25

AEven though the filling was bc, was there a stiff bc dam near the edge? You said the bc was soft/spreading consistency. Maybe it was soft enough that it was just going to squush out no matter what.

Smash Cakery Posted 10 Feb 2013 , 11:28pm
post #14 of 25

ALeah, I didn't dam the BC. Didn't think I needed to! But, I will try that on my next cake. I think you are right that it was the weight of the fondant and the squish ready BC.

Thankfully, this particular cake didn't need perfect fondant! Here is the finished job:


MelissaRDH Posted 11 Feb 2013 , 2:12am
post #15 of 25

AVery cute! How did you do the saw?

Smash Cakery Posted 11 Feb 2013 , 2:43am
post #16 of 25

Melissa, I did the saw with gumpaste. Rolled it very thin, then used a GIANT round cookie cutter to cut the cirlce. Then, I used an X-acto knife and cut the "teeth" around it. I used a tiny and small fondant cutter to cut the hole, and mark the circle around that hole. The gumpaste was tinted gray, and then I painted several layers of luster dust on. :)

Annabakescakes Posted 11 Feb 2013 , 4:53am
post #17 of 25

ALove the cake! You sure can't tell it is bulgy at all;-)

soinspired Posted 8 May 2013 , 2:19am
post #18 of 25

Hi there, 

Not sure if you've conquered your bulging issue yet but I used to get it all the time until I used the damming method, but I still found I needed to dam with ganache when using soft fillings. I also use a sterile needle and puncture the top of my cakes after applying fondant and let them sit for a couple hours to let any air bubbles that may have popped out from the filling (I got this tip from Sweetwise website).

laella Posted 8 May 2013 , 3:18am
post #19 of 25

AOne tip that became very helpfull is using spacle instead of buttercream to crumbcoat my cakes. When i level and tort my cakes i always have scraps. I then mix my SMBC with the cake crumbs and mush it untill it becomes a smooth spreadible paste... I then use this to dam my cake after filling it with SMBC. I then use leahs method with the tile and leave it outside overnight or in the fridge. No more bulge.

md21010 Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 7:47am
post #20 of 25

OMG im so nervous! I feel like I'm reallyl behind! i Have a 2 tiered cake due sundaymorning (tomorrow morning im in san diego ca).  I froze my cakes a few hours ago and i just removed them just a few minutes ago to thaw till morning cuz I read I shoud'nt freeze them before I add my bc. I'm really nervous about bulging.  I'm so so confused about when and how to have my cake settle? in 8hrs or so when its 8am I plan to unwrap my thawed/room temp cakes and fill them with bc.  I guess I should pipe a thick dam of bc around the edges of the cake, stack, and push down on the layers. Then what? Do I smooth out the sides then put in the freezer or dont smooth out the sides and still put in freezer? after that do I crumb coat, put back in the freezer, then add my fondant? I've read several different ways to have my cake settle. I also read to fill cakes and layer then put weights on it to push out the air? I'm really confused. Any suggestions? Sorry for all the misspelled words and run on sentences! Thank you! :)

Smash Cakery Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 1:35pm
post #21 of 25

You need to pipe a thickened dam of buttercream around the edge. Think soft play dough consistency. I do this with doubled up piping bags and a coupler. I fill the bag then zap it in the microwave for 10 or so seconds to soften to stiff bc. Then I pipe the rope dam, then fill with regular bc. After you've filled the cake, reassemble the layer back on top, then leave on your counter wrapped loosely in saran wrap for several hours, with the cake pan that you baked those layers in, on top of the wrapped cake. put ONE inch of room temp water in the pan, and let it sit for as long as you can before decorating (3+ hours).


Dont press on the cake, as I have broken FAR too many cakes this way, and you have no time to take those chances.


After the 3-4 hours has passed with the weighted pans on top, ice in buttercream, stack, and decorate. You should have no bulging issues at all. The key here is the dam of stiff buttercream holding it all in, and the settling of the cakes under the weight getting rid of the air bubbles. Dont ice the cake until this has been done, or you will get bulges. 


Good luck!

ddaigle Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 1:59pm
post #22 of 25

I've never understood squishing or putting bricks and books on cakes.   That just make me shake my head.  But then I came from a production bakery where we didnt do those practices so I learned differently...I crumb coat, let sit in frig over night, ice the next day.  No buldges.  I also completely ice my cakes before applying fondant.   No buldges. 

tesso Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 3:57pm
post #23 of 25

Aafter having one of my cakes bulge on me i came here and asked for help. the best advice i ever got. put the dam one inch from the edge of the cake, by the time it has settled on its own, it squishes out perfectly to the edge. bless who told that advice. not a bulge since.

ddaigle Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 4:48pm
post #24 of 25

Tesso....that was great advice!  I think the placement of the damn is 95% of the reason of a buldge...or not.   The other 5 is the amount/type of filling and just allowing the cake to sit & chill in the frig over night....that is strickly my opinion. 

md21010 Posted 4 Jul 2013 , 6:26am
post #25 of 25

HI!!! I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for your help!! I put a thick dam in between the layers and added a cake pan to it and had it settle for 30min.  I cleaned off the sides, left it in the fridge for a few hours, then crumb coated, fridge, fondant. NO BULGES! AHHHH  you saved my cake! :) Thank you so very much!!

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