I recently made my first two tier cake. It was not a complete disaster, but it definitely gave me fits through several steps of the process. I'm hoping you lovely ladies can help me with where I went wrong and troubleshoot some of these issues.
This was a gift for a retirement party of someone who was a mentor to my husband. It was going to need to travel over an hour to it's final destination, so I decided to use SPS supports. I've been having trouble getting height to my cakes, so I was extra careful with baking, measuring, leveling, etc. Once the final layer of icing was on it was exactly 4". However, when I stuck the pillars in, there was a good 1/8" clearance between the plastic plate and the bottom tier of the cake. I was able to hide it with a fondant boarder, but I was really frustrated because I know I measured everything. I even used a level to make sure it was truly flat across the top.
I tend to make my cakes over the course of about two days, I have young children and it's hard to get anything done with them running around. So once the cakes were covered in fondant, I put them in my cake cabinet over night. The next day, the bottom tier, which was white cake filled with vanilla butter cream, had a small bulge at the filling line. I've been tweaking my butter cream recipe, so I'm guessing I just need a firmer icing. But the top tier, which was chocolate cake with raspberry filling, had a huge bubble on one side. I popped it with a sterile pin and smoothed it out. A few minutes later, it was back in the exact same place. So I used a knife to make a slit in the fondant, and smoothed it out again. A few minutes later it was back in the same place, huge and ugly as ever. I investigated further and discovered that the bubble seemed to be originating from below the butter cream layer, not between the butter cream and fondant. So I used the knife and slit through to the cake and tried to push the air out. I was placing fondant cut-outs on this tier, so I wasn't too concerned about the knife marks. But no matter what I did, the bubble would not go away. I finally ended up putting a flower over that spot, but it still looked awful.
The last part that was giving me fits were the fondant cut-outs. My fondant just seemed way too sticky. Even after kneading in a significant amount of extra powdered sugar, when I would roll and cut the flowers, they would stretch when I picked them up off the mat giving me wonky shapes. I use a home made marshmallow fondant, which I love for covering cakes. I have no tearing/cracking/or elephant skin issues with this recipe, but getting those cut outs off the mat and onto the cake was crazy making. I peeled them off and started over several times before it was passable. Especially the peace sign on the top, would stretch completely out of shape when I picked it up. I ended up rolling it really thick, and leaving it on the mat for a few hours before trying to place it on the cake. That helped a lot, but I still had to nudge it back into a circle shape once on there.
Ok, I lied. The really last thing that gave me fits was that I over blended the tie-dye colors for the lettering on the bottom tier and the boarders. I fixed my mistake when I re-rolled the top peace sign, but it was too late for the other parts. They look muted and gray in comparison to the bright flowers on the top tier. Thanks for reading my novel. Any insight into the mystery bubble from hell would be great, I have no idea what happened there.