What Am I Doing Wrong? Help, Please!

Decorating By LeeshaCakes Updated 9 Jul 2014 , 4:03pm by petitecat

LeeshaCakes Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 12:54am
post #1 of 16

This is my first post here, but I have gotten a lot of awesome information and am hoping for just a bit of help!

 

I have an issue with my cakes sinking. I've read a lot about how to stop this happening, and on the last cake I did I used every suggestion I found hoping that it would solve my problem once and for all. Alas, that was not the case.

 

Here are pictures of the cake: http://imgur.com/a/kMpus

 

The first picture is from the morning before it was to be delivered. The second picture is from right after delivery at the venue. This is the timeline I followed, roughly as I don't remember exact times, so estimates:

 

Wednesday: Baked all cakes using this recipe http://www.cheftalk.com/t/45372/finally-that-perfect-homemade-yellow-cake . Allowed to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then turned out onto wire rack to cool the rest of the way. Once cool, double wrapped each layer in plastic wrap and left at room temp to settle.

 

Thursday: Tort/level and filled all layers. This is the recipe I use for buttercream, with all butter and no shortening http://allrecipes.com/recipe/buttercream-icing/?scale=40&ismetric=0 Put all cakes into the fridge with wax paper, baking sheets, and a clean floor tile on top to help with settling. Kept this way until Friday morning.

 

Friday morning: Cleaned up any filling that seeped out after settling and then crumb coated. Back into the fridge to firm up for several hours.

 

Friday afternoon/evening: Removed bottom tier from fridge, wet with a little water and covered with fondant, and poked a hole down the middle of the tier with a skewer to make a "chimney" for any trapped air to escape. Added all decorations and put this tier on the decorated cake board. Repeated all steps with second tier. Put 9 bubble tea straws into bottom tier as support (bottom tier 10", second tier 8"). Stacked second tier on top of bottom tier. Each layer had a cardboard cake circle underneath.

 

Top tier is a dummy 6" with an RKT Hulk hand. Decorated this tier, put 8 bubble tea straws into the second tier for support, and then put the dummy tier on top.

 

Finished any final touches and went to bed (5am, sheesh!)

 

Saturday Morning: Cake had settled a little bit, but still worlds better than usual. I think it was only obvious to me because I had stared at it so long. My husband said it looked great and he is VERY honest with me about my cakes so I know he was telling the truth, lol! I carefully took the cake to my back patio for pictures in natural light but found after the cake was outside my camera's battery was dead.

 

Now, I mention this because I live in Florida and it was HOT. I wonder if that's what caused the cake to start sagging because it wasn't long after that I noticed it developing the lean. I was outside with it for maybe 3 minutes.

 

Once we got to the venue with the cake, we saw that the cake was now severely leaning. Luckily this was a charity cake, though I do wish it had looked nicer. The boy still loved it, at least!

 

Anyway, the point to all this is that I am hoping someone can look at my timeline and tell me what I did wrong. Could it have just been from the short trip onto my porch? For delivery we used a packing box and cooled the car for 20 minutes before loading the cake, so I don't think it was anything to do with delivery. Before I wouldn't put any weight on the tiers to help with settling, wouldn't put in a "chimney" for any air to escape, didn't use as many bubble straws, etc, and still had leaning issues.

 

I am going insane, so any help is greatly appreciated!

15 replies
FioreCakes Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 2:02am
post #2 of 16

I think you are putting too many straws in the bottom tier, this will ruin the integrity of the bottom tier and thus cause a collapse like that. To hold up an 8" cake I would use 5 straws MAX (always use odd numbers though). You should try SPS...all your nightmares and fears will vanish. 

FioreCakes Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 2:04am
post #3 of 16

Also, heat usually just ruins icing, it wouldn't cause the cake to collapse on its own before melting the icing, your problem is structure in my opinion

lanawith Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 2:46am
post #4 of 16

AStraws are the worst! I'd use poly dowels instead. They are so much stronger, can be cut with a good pair of scissors, and I've never had a single problem with them. Straws for a large cake like yours is asking for trouble.

LeeshaCakes Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 2:57am
post #5 of 16

A

Original message sent by FioreCakes

I think you are putting too many straws in the bottom tier, this will ruin the integrity of the bottom tier and thus cause a collapse like that. To hold up an 8" cake I would use 5 straws MAX (always use odd numbers though). You should try SPS...all your nightmares and fears will vanish. 

Thanks for the replies! For the sps system, it's a bit pricey. Is that something you work into the price or is it expected that the client will return it? I'm definitely willing to give it a try if it will stop the collapses happening!

LeeshaCakes Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 3:01am
post #6 of 16

A

Original message sent by lanawith

Straws are the worst! I'd use poly dowels instead. They are so much stronger, can be cut with a good pair of scissors, and I've never had a single problem with them. Straws for a large cake like yours is asking for trouble.

Thank you so much for replying! My husband actually told me, "you really should try wooden or plastic dowels." and my response was, "but so many people use straws with no problem!" I guess I should have just listened to him :P

It's looking like for my next cake I'll either use the sps system or poly dowels and keep my fingers crossed!

FioreCakes Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 3:04am
post #7 of 16

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeshaCakes 


Thanks for the replies! For the sps system, it's a bit pricey. Is that something you work into the price or is it expected that the client will return it? I'm definitely willing to give it a try if it will stop the collapses happening!

I incorporate into the price. Look at oasis cake supplies they have them pretty cheap there, I think for a cake like yours its $15 including shipping. You can always ask for it back and you'll give them $10 for returning it or something. Honestly, when I finally made the switch to SPS I was in shock at how sturdy the cake was. Straw work fine, I think you just put too many in the bottom tier causing it to collapse. 

LeeshaCakes Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 2:30pm
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by FioreCakes 
 

I incorporate into the price. Look at oasis cake supplies they have them pretty cheap there, I think for a cake like yours its $15 including shipping. You can always ask for it back and you'll give them $10 for returning it or something. Honestly, when I finally made the switch to SPS I was in shock at how sturdy the cake was. Straw work fine, I think you just put too many in the bottom tier causing it to collapse. 

Thanks for the info! They really aren't too terribly expensive for the size cakes I normally make. It will really only be about a $5-maybe $10 difference on what I'm charging now which shouldn't be an issue. Definitely trying this with my next cake. Thanks again! :grin:

petitecat Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 3:15pm
post #9 of 16

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeshaCakes 

 

Thursday: Tort/level and filled all layers. This is the recipe I use for buttercream, with all butter and no shortening http://allrecipes.com/recipe/buttercream-icing/?scale=40&ismetric=0 Put all cakes into the fridge with wax paper, baking sheets, and a clean floor tile on top to help with settling. Kept this way until Friday morning.

 

 

 

LeeshaCakes, you're meant to let cakes settle outside of the fridge. Butter will set in the fridge, so it won't allow cakes to settle. I think what may have happened is after being taken out of the fridge, you covered and decorated with fondant, and when the butter started to soften, the cake started to settle properly. The ony time this has happened to me, I put a cake covered in buttercream in the freezer because I made a mistake with my timeline. I let it thaw while decorating (big mistake!!), instead of letting it thaw properly and decorating a day after. The cake collapsed big time!

 

Let your cakes settle out of the fridge after crumb coating, either several hours with a tile on top, or overnight. Then cover in buttercream/ganache and then fondant. HTH

LeeshaCakes Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 4:08pm
post #10 of 16

Quote:

Originally Posted by petitecat 
 

 

LeeshaCakes, you're meant to let cakes settle outside of the fridge. Butter will set in the fridge, so it won't allow cakes to settle. I think what may have happened is after being taken out of the fridge, you covered and decorated with fondant, and when the butter started to soften, the cake started to settle properly. The ony time this has happened to me, I put a cake covered in buttercream in the freezer because I made a mistake with my timeline. I let it thaw while decorating (big mistake!!), instead of letting it thaw properly and decorating a day after. The cake collapsed big time!

 

Let your cakes settle out of the fridge after crumb coating, either several hours with a tile on top, or overnight. Then cover in buttercream/ganache and then fondant. HTH

 

Ah that makes sense. So should I let settle with the tile only if I need to use it within a few hours, or use the tile even overnight just in case? I don't want to risk overdoing the pressure. Thank you for the reply!

petitecat Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 6:09pm
post #11 of 16

LeeshaCakes, A few hours should do the trick. But if you have the time, overnight is best. So long as the tile isn't too heavy the cake should be fine overnight. If I'm pushed for time, I squish the cake down by placing a piece of parchment paper on top of a crumbcoated cake, placing something flat like a cake board on top, and squishing down fairly hard on the cake. 

LeeshaCakes Posted 7 Jul 2014 , 10:44pm
post #12 of 16

A

Original message sent by petitecat

LeeshaCakes, A few hours should do the trick. But if you have the time, overnight is best. So long as the tile isn't too heavy the cake should be fine overnight. If I'm pushed for time, I squish the cake down by placing a piece of parchment paper on top of a crumbcoated cake, placing something flat like a cake board on top, and squishing down fairly hard on the cake. 

Perfect, thanks so much for the info! Holding out hope that these new tips will finally net me a non-leaning cake :)

MinaBakes Posted 8 Jul 2014 , 1:40am
post #13 of 16

AThese dowels are pretty good:

http://sweetwise.com/poly-dowels-lg-package-of-4.html

I use them all the time without a problem, super sturdy. I must agree with the majority, the main problem was definitely the straws. I've never had a problem with the cake settling afterwards. Also, what kind of filling did you use? That may have done it too along with the support system you used.

If it's a soft filling, do you make a dam first before filling?

LeeshaCakes Posted 8 Jul 2014 , 1:49am
post #14 of 16

A

Original message sent by MinaBakes

These dowels are pretty good:

http://sweetwise.com/poly-dowels-lg-package-of-4.html

I use them all the time without a problem, super sturdy. I must agree with the majority, the main problem was definitely the straws. I've never had a problem with the cake settling afterwards. Also, what kind of filling did you use? That may have done it too along with the support system you used.

If it's a soft filling, do you make a dam first before filling?

Thanks for the link! On this cake I just had a plain buttercream filling, the same recipe I crumb coated the cake with. I didn't dam, just glopped and smoothed on each layer because it was a bit thick.

maryfink Posted 9 Jul 2014 , 3:41pm
post #15 of 16

AAt the risk of sounding stupid, what is the sps system?

petitecat Posted 9 Jul 2014 , 4:03pm
post #16 of 16

Quote:

Originally Posted by maryfink 

At the risk of sounding stupid, what is the sps system?

 

This video shows what SPS is. If you google SPS dowels you'll get websites that sell them. 

 


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