Need Advice And Encouragement

Decorating By kparks2 Updated 23 May 2016 , 2:32am by Cake-orations

kparks2 Posted 22 May 2016 , 1:01pm
post #1 of 12

Maybe this is not the best spot for this but this weekend I had two cake orders (nothing too crazy) and both were disasters.

I am a home baker and I have never had major problems Roop my cakes apart from some minor imperfections in the decoration and I have had this LLC for almost two years. This weekend I had to re-do do both cakes and one as I just checked up continued to fall apart.

I can reflect on when decorating them that my first batch of my go to crusting butter cream was a thinner consistency and maybe adding a hot liquid to it instead of room temp was a bad idea. Maybe i added too much simple syrup I Dunno. I live in Florida by the way. I the buttercream overnight started to droop and sag at the bottom. 

I took the frosting off and did a more thicker consisted buttercream and ended up covering one of the cakes in frosting and it seemed to hold ok. The other one at room temp(which was for an event the next day) held fine at room temp and as soon as it hit the car when I got to the destination the icing sagged and cracked at the top. I asked this morning after suggesting the client put it in the fridge and she informed me the cake underneath started to crack.

Now I am anxious because my next order is for a bridal shower and now I am not confident that will turn out well. I am tempted to cancel all future orders and not do this anymore. Do you have an advice as to what I did wrong?

11 replies
costumeczar Posted 22 May 2016 , 1:16pm
post #2 of 12

Without knowing more about the recipes, I don't think there's a lot of advice that people can give you. If you knew there was something wrong with the icing that's probably your first suspect, and if you didn't refrigerate the cakes after decorating them that could be a problem, too. I decorate everything at room temp but I refrigerate after decorating so that they're cold when being transported.

kakeladi Posted 22 May 2016 , 1:32pm
post #3 of 12

I agree w/costumeczar - we don't have enough information to really help you.  All cake layers must be level before stacking to prevent the cake from cracking at any time.   Never having visited FL it's hard to understand how much your weather can effect cake & icing.  If the batch of  icing didn't seem right you should have adjusted it or started over before applying it to the cake.  Did you take pictures before handing the cake over to the customer?  You really should be sure to do that - it often can help show problems that you can learn from.  I cringe often when I see some of my cakes - "how could I have not seen that" when something glares at me from a picture :)

kparks2 Posted 22 May 2016 , 2:57pm
post #4 of 12

Thank you for responding. Well basically my go-to vanilla cake recipe comes from the Magnolia Bakery and I use it all the time and I have never had a problem with it and my clients love that cake. I always use a little bit of simple syrup to add extra moisture to the cake. I can definitely say my first batch of icing was too thin and I think after a long week because it was not my full-time job I was stressed and thought that the icing would hold up but I agree that I should have started over. It is possible the cake did break apart I know I'm one of the cakes did start to crack after trying to remove them from the old cake board and move them to the new cake board and separate the layers. Well if you're not from Florida it is usually hot and humid right now the temperature is getting into 92 degrees. And it will get hotter later but I think that it is a good idea to refrigerate the cake before transportation although I am curious about that because I researched and other forums and some people say that if you live in a hot and humid place it's a bad idea to refrigerate the cake sprayer because going from cold to hot will definitely cause problems but I'm not sure about that. Also I use a crusting buttercream which has a mixture of butter and high ratio shortening but again I also use that for 2 years and never had an issue. I think just having two cakes go wrong in the same weekend just has me worried because I have upcoming cake orders which I don't want to mess up. I hope that gives you more info.

kakeladi Posted 22 May 2016 , 8:39pm
post #5 of 12

Refrig'ing cakes even in hot humid places is a good idea.  The problems alluded to  probably is sweating.  This can be toned down or eliminated by proper covering of a cake.  Place it in a cake box, then place that in a plastic bag OR wrap in plastic wrap.  When removing from frig, DO NOT unwrap, remove from plastic for several hours.  If there is any moisture beading do NOT touch or try to blot/dry in any way. By coming back to room temp it will evaporate on it's own.  At least it has in my very limited experience w/hot/humid weather :)  Transporting cakes that are cold helps prevent other problems also.  

Pastrybaglady Posted 22 May 2016 , 9:06pm
post #6 of 12

What kind of board are you using? Is it thick enough to support the weight of the cake without bending? Is it greaseproof? Just some other thoughts.

kparks2 Posted 22 May 2016 , 10:47pm
post #7 of 12

Thanks Kakeladi and Pastrybaglady yes I use the same board all the time.  They were just double layer 8 inch and 10 inch cakes.  If I reflect I think what went wrong (because I am using the same cake recipes, same boards, same frosting, etc... as I always use) is that this is not my full time job and I tried to save time by doing both cakes at the same time.  With that said I was making double the crusting butter cream and in my kitchen aid I could not add more powdered sugar or it would have overflowed.  Also, I use a mix of coffee creamer and water to make it dairy free and it was hot when I poured it which I am sure did not help.  I think I rushed because I am in an crazy situation where I bake at my old house but live 30 minutes away in a condo which is too tiny to bake and decorate in and until we move in July I have to travel to bake and it is not ideal so I was trying to get both cakes done in one day and I ended up having to go back the next day and re do them to still have them fall apart.  I am sure moving the cakes from one board to another aided in the weakness and cracking.  I can say next time I will take my time and focus on one cake at a time because I am doing this by myself so I cannot do too much multi tasking.  Most it just shook my confidence because I have 4 future cake orders and I have never had a major issue with my cakes and this was scary for me.  I am going to decorate a practice cake this week just to see if I take my time will I get better results as opposed to if I need to use a new recipe of something.

costumeczar Posted 23 May 2016 , 12:12am
post #8 of 12

I'm sure it will be fine...It sounds like you were just trying to do too many things at once.

I used to live in Florida...It has a special kind of humidity, doesn't it? :(

kparks2 Posted 23 May 2016 , 12:33am
post #9 of 12

Yeah.  Going to take my boyfriend's advice (although he gave it as a baseball reference) to try and do a practice cake and see if I have the same problem.  Luckily I do have a cake sitting in the freezer ready to frost.  Yes Florida heat and humidity sucks and maybe I need to refrigerate prior to the delivery.

rlm0806 Posted 23 May 2016 , 1:55am
post #10 of 12

I wouldn't add the simple syrup to the icing itself. Since it is a crusting buttercream (aka american buttercream or butter and powdered sugar) adding too much liquid will prevent the crusting. If you want to add more moisture to the cake, i was taught to generously brush the layers of the cake itself with  the simple syrup. Also if you want something to replace the simple syrup in your buttercream recipe without making it too thin, try adding a little corn syrup. Hope this helps!

kparks2 Posted 23 May 2016 , 2:03am
post #11 of 12


Quote by @rlm0806 on 7 minutes ago

I wouldn't add the simple syrup to the icing itself. Since it is a crusting buttercream (aka american buttercream or butter and powdered sugar) adding too much liquid will prevent the crusting. If you want to add more moisture to the cake, i was taught to generously brush the layers of the cake itself with  the simple syrup. Also if you want something to replace the simple syrup in your buttercream recipe without making it too thin, try adding a little corn syrup. Hope this helps!

Sorry I think I did the speak and text a little messed up.  No I add simple syrup to the cake and wait a few minutes to let it soak in.  I use a squeeze bottle.

Cake-orations Posted 23 May 2016 , 2:32am
post #12 of 12

So sorry for your experience :( I live in South Carolina and have to deal with hot, humid summers. In summer I add 1-2 Tablespoons corn starch to my buttercream recipe. This makes it a little more stable in the heat and humidity. 

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